First Click: The internet’s imperfect peer review system – The Verge

A scientific paper is only given credence after it undergoes peer review, and on the internet bold claims are subjected to a similar trial by fire on a global scale. Whereas before the internet experts would have needed the attention of mass media companies in order to point out the weaknesses in Wright’s announcement, today their insight can be quickly and widely disseminated through the amplifying forces of the web. It’s an unstructured form of public peer review.

We’re all familiar with the negative aspects of amateur sleuthing, which has shown itself unreliable and sometimes even dangerous when having to establish facts rather than disprove them. There’s no better example of this than the misidentification of the Boston bomber back in 2013. But when it’s channelled correctly, the eagerness to reveal falsehoods functions as a self-organizing, spontaneous social good.

Whether Craig Wright is indeed the real Satoshi Nakamoto, mythical Bitcoin originator and geek god in waiting, is something that may never be conclusively proven. But if there’s a way to disprove it, we can trust the hordes of eager debunkers to dig it up.

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