A 24×7 reader recently emailed me to point out that a bylined article on our website did not include a biography or affiliation for the author. Wasn’t such information essential to disclosing what the reader saw as the bias of the author, who worked for a company involved in the technology the author was writing about?
In fact, as I explained to the reader, that omission was inadvertent. At 24×7, we believe that transparency about an author’s associations is critical to disclosing potential biases. That is one reason why we always include a bio for the authors of articles, and why we immediately added the information to the article in question when the error was pointed out.
Now, you might ask, why don’t we just publish material that is completely unbiased, objective, and authoritative? Because those goals, while they sound nice, are never completely obtainable. Suggesting that they are is, in fact, a dangerous assertion.
While some authors are more biased than others, no one is completely without bias. While authors should strive to be impartial, they should always disclose their potential biases. Likewise, even the most authoritative authors sometimes get things wrong, and for that reason, it is always healthy to question authority.
The value of such questioning is why we encourage you to comment on all of our articles, so that our readers can engage our authors in a dialog that will get us closer to an accurate and complete picture of a subject than any single article can do by itself. In fact, the article in question has already produced a lively dialog among readers who have added their comments and questions to the discussion.
While our authors and I welcome emails from readers about the articles we publish, even more I would encourage you to post your comments on the site, so that all our readers can share your thoughts and respond to our articles. Why not start by commenting on this one?