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Panel Discussion

Thirty minutes of animated discussion, moderated by Stella Dextre Clarke, followed on from the three presentations in th False Narratives session.  Among suggestions to emerge were these:
Establish a non-profit search engine that would be publicly available on a more cooperative basis, not biased by the pressures of advertisers;
Consider the profit motive: can we find ways to discourage those who distribute fake news for commercial gain, and/or can we find financially sustainable ways to make a living from exposing the lies?
Education/training in information literacy – a key defence mechanism for all people of all ages;
Cooperation – build a pro-truth alliance among professional societies, educational institutions and others;
Make a study of false narratives – is there a typology to explore?
Build a Knowledge Organization System (KOS)
The whole discussion was recorded - see accompanying link. Really it could have gone for hours more, as plainly the above list is just a start. And we could usefully engage with colleagues in domains close to ours, as these concerns are widely shared. For example at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), Prof Phil Howard recently drew attention to the way “algorithms allow junk news from untrustworthy sources to proliferate like wildfire over networks of family and friends.”  (See whole Lecture.)  Current research at the OII includes analysis of how tools like social media bots are used to manipulate public opinion by megaphoning or repressing political content in many ways: disinformation, hate speech, fake news, political harassment, etc. 
With his missionary spirit, David Clarke plans to take all the ideas from our conference forward in a series of upcoming initiatives, to include presentations to our colleagues in Asia, Europe and America. He has already released the beta version of a “post-truth KOS and knowledge base” at It is a small, simple taxonomy of discussion topics organised by Causes, Effects and Solutions, plus a scheme comprising Resources and References grouped by Websites, Books, Quotes, Videos, etc.; and it will grow as he collects feedback from around the world.
ISKO UK will be happy to support the continuing efforts of all our speakers, and encourage activities and debate among our members on topics such as:
Do we see post-truth phenomena as an object of study, or as a threat to be countered by our own tools and expertise?
How do we go about distinguishing evidence-based facts from the alternative variety?
Can the criteria for evidence-based science be applied equally to political decisions?
We are accustomed to analysing documents of all sorts to determine their subjects and make them accessible. Can our tools and skills also evaluate content for its veracity?
What do we think about suppressing items that somebody has judged “untrue” or “unworthy”?
What more can the KO community contribute to the current debate?
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