Friday, July 22, 2011

Credibility Assignment

The website authored by someone named Chuck Anesi is a good example of the primitive websites published by regular amateurs with some coding skills in the mid 90's when this website was published. It's amazing to look at what was pretty common for a homemade website at the time and how far websites have come.

Judging by the date when "The Titanic Casualty Figures" was last updated in 1997 I'm guessing that this site is not still under construction. Anesi created this site as an argument to people that he felt were misrepresenting the true casualty statistics of the Titanic disaster. Most of the links are external links except for the internal link he has to a page on his website that contains the full text of the court's recommendation for greater safety at sea. The one link that doesn't work is one at the end for the telegraph office website.

Chuck Anesi is the creator of this website and the information published on it. I can't find any credentials for Chuck or what qualifies him as a reliable source of information. I've only found the quote on his website that he is, "bringing strange information to the web since 1995." There is an email address listed to contact him, but, "If it's to tell [him] that Martin Bormann really died in Nebraska or some such nonsense, please don't bother." The site is a .com address with his name as the url which indicates that it's a personal website with no other affiliations that he uses to publish his own articles about various subjects. There are references to outside sources of information including the Titanic movie and the Encyclopedia Britannica, and there is no print version of this information.

The site is not professional looking at all by 2011 standards, or even by 1997 standards. It is mostly free of grammar issues with the exception of one or two minor issues. The formatting is adequate, but not ideal for usability. There are a few headings and page breaks, but for the most part the text at the beginning appears to run together. The primary images used on the site are charts and graphs that Chuck inserted to help support the statistics he uses in his argument. They are effective, but the layout is clunky and overbearing.

If Chuck is a knowledgeable person on the subject and has credibility, then the argument he makes is a strong point of view that makes a good point, but the problem is I don't know enough about him. With the comments he has on his website that I quoted earlier he comes off a little bit like a crack-pot. Also the website layout and design doesn't help him appear professional.

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