Does the Internet need an information filter?

Obviously, I'm against censorship and restricted access to information. But there are times when I think our reliance on completely unfiltered, all-inclusive sources like Wikipedia and, well, Google search is making people stupider. Or, at least, misinforming them horribly.

Case in point: my sister. The girl has to learn word definitions for her Language Arts class (wow, how long has it been since English went by that name...? Unlike me, she actually learned the parts of a sentence, though). She just goes to Dictionary.com and gets these nice long definitions, which seems well and good until it comes to the bit where she has to make sentences out of them.

The thing is, English synonyms are accurate, but when it comes to practical usage they're not nearly so interchangeable. Most words in this language have a ton of context attached to their use--for instance, 'piqued my interest' is a common phrase although 'to pique' actually means 'to irritate'; and yet you won't find someone saying 'that butter piqued my open sore.' (I hope you won't find anyone saying that. Ew.)

And this isn't just limited to language--I can't remember where I read it, but some doctors were complaining about the way Dr. Mehmet Oz claims to just offer unbiased information--there's a reason you go to medical school, and tossing that level of information out at someone who took one biology class in high school and thinks cold weather actually causes colds isn't necessarily a good idea. (Consider drug advertising, too: do you really think they'd rather be sending this information to doctors instead of a gullible and/or desperate consumer?)

So...yeah. We might have access to more information, but there was a good reason things weren't always like this.

Stop reading the news! :D

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