Website accuracy & reliability: How does one decide on the accuracy and trustworthiness of information found at a website?
This document discusses the issue of assuring the credibility and accuracy of online website publications, the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest, and the use of citation of authoritative sources and technical article peer review within each profession.
Our page top photograph shows a dangerously collapsing brick structure in Saugerties, NY. Where major expense and life safety risks are involved is no place for conflicts of interest in giving advice to building owners, buyers, or contractors.
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In electronic publishing such as online on the Internet, as well as all other media publishing, concern about the quality, accuracy, and possible conflicts of interest regarding the material you're reading as well as the credentials of the authors are important questions.
InspectAPedia.com® - Daniel Friedman is the principal researcher, editor and writer for articles found here. at ABOUT InspectApedia.com you can find the names of our principal technical review team. But there are a great many other individual contributors, researchers, and critics who participate in the effort. Credits to other participants are cited at individual articles and in the references and technical reviewers section at the end of every article at this website. .
Critique, contributions are invited: Contact Us to suggest corrections or additions to articles at this website, and if you wish, to receive online listing and credit as a contributor. Particular thanks are due to the many experts and also consumers who read and critique technical articles at InspectAPedia.com.
InspectAPedia.com offers Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair, & Problem Prevention Advice.
Typical website content is a mix of original research and technical articles, articles and research contributed to the website by others, and links to other pertinent research or website published elsewhere on Internet. Beyond author competence, the reader needs to test any author's attitude towards information. This test is essential, particularly in the construction field where opinions are loud and rampant and rarely distinguished from arm-waving "opinion."
InspectAPedia is supported by ads placed on our pages by Google. InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.
We are scrupulous at our websites about the following:
Regardless, readers considering potentially dangerous or costly procedures must consult a qualified expert before proceeding.
Readers wishing more detail should see ACCURACY & BIAS IN REPORTING
Finding that we have been asked certain building science or environmental safety questions repeatedly and in depth by readers and clients, it made sense to research and write accurately in some depth, to publish this information so it could be provided easily.
Exposing diagnostic, repair, and good practices advice to very broad public comment by providing it on internet invites critique, content suggestion, content corrections, and material expansion as readers ask questions or provide feedback. So the website and its web-published articles are provided in the online forum of the internet for several purposes:
The value of an expert in construction problem recognition, diagnosis, repair depends on being professional, competent, ethical, and professionally neutral but as informed as possible on a myriad of construction and environmental topics which concern our clients. To be well-informed requires being a continual student. We have found that researching, writing, and conducting as well as attending education classes on pertinent construction and environmental topics has been a great way to keep myself as informed as possible.
The audience of this website includes people facing questions about the inspection, diagnosis, repair, or proper construction of residential and light construction buildings and their mechanical systems, and people facing concerns about the indoor environment, indoor air quality, energy conservation, and building-related illness. Please see the list of major topic areas across the top of each of our web pages.
Examples of the reader audience include the curious public, home owners, home buyers, home renters, tenants, landlords, building contractors, disaster relief agencies, engineers, architects, technical researchers, repair personnel, clients, building inspectors, building code developers, building failure researchers, health professionals, professional associations.
Some of the early information articles at this website were developed as a prototype website for the American Society of Home Inspectors. That portion which was ASHI-specific has been transferred over to American Society of Home Inspectors website where others maintain it.
Other and subsequent specific and in-depth technical, research, and writing projects surrounding building and indoor environmental inspection, diagnosis, repair, and best practices were personal interests of the website publisher and remain at this website - InspectAPedia.com®, and also at the original prototype at inspect-ny.com as well as at the original prototype ASHI Website.
It's rarely money. Rather it's in establishing valuable contacts with other experts in our fields of interest, and in getting critique and corrections to our data from experts whom I'd otherwise find difficult to contact. Electronic media makes contact and comment easy. This feedback and these contacts have been the chief payback for providing the data.
Is there any income from the websites or from web published articles?
Some home buyers read the depth of material we have developed and correctly surmise that the material provided at InspectAPedia.com is by authors who are serious about their profession and who share a compelling interest in competence, ethics, and accuracy. In some cases the quality of material presented encourages people to contact article authors directly for professional services.
While our writing and publishing career began in the 1950's, technical writing and publishing in the building science and environmental field dates from the 1970's. At the end of 2005, we began experimenting with paid advertising through Google to help defray the operating costs of a public information website that was originally found at www.inspect-ny.com, later located at InspectAPedia.com.
We have no relationship with nor direct control over any of the advertisers, nor do we endorse specific advertisers. InspectAPedia.com has thrived based on offering impartial, unbiased advice and that will not change. We do not select or approve the advertisers on the site - ads are generated by Google based on our page content.
The income received from this experiment pays web hosting fees and costs of technical research and content editing. We remain committed to assuring that the presence of web-advertising does not mislead or inconvenience our readers. we have found that often Google-generated-ads actually add useful information, such as providing additional sources for repair products or investigation services.
We will prohibit insertion of Google-generated advertisements from specific advertisers if we discover or if readers inform us of advertisements associated with bad business practices, false-advertising, or junk science.
Our contact information is at Contact Us. We invite reader comment on this approach to offsetting our website cost as well as reader comment on or suggestions for the technical content of our articles.
Please see details of our advertising policy found at ADVERTISING POLICY
Purchases: With the exception of links to recommended books at Amazon.com who pays us a microscopic commission on book sales, we do not sell anything. Please do not call or write asking to buy something.
InspectAPedia.com provides building and environmental diagnostic and repair information. In order to absolutely assure our readers that we write and report without bias we do not sell any products nor do we have any business or financial relationships that could create such conflicts of interest.
Given all this researched, published, free-online information, what is the "Proper" balance between making money and making the effort to increase one's professional competence. It's a personal decision for each professional.
our professional practice divides our time between field work (which produces income and supports our family and business), forensic laboratory analysis of building and environmental samples, and building science research, writing, and teaching - which are how we develop our own expertise.
Different professionals stop at different points along the range of continuing education and public service. Some never take another course after passing their state boards or obtaining whatever certifications are necessary to begin practice. Such practitioners may be adequate in their specialty, or maybe not, depending on the specialty and what's developing in it. It's the same with professional home inspectors. A portion of our ongoing personal education gets reflected in my website development projects. Teaching or research and writing have always been a great way to learn.
Yes. One is the risk of inaccuracy in the data. It is impossible to completely eliminate this risk and all readers and users of information provided via the Internet need to be wary, and to consult a qualified professional who can examine actual on-site conditions before taking any dangerous or costly actions. The very public exposure of data at this website has as a primary objective the discovery and correction of any inaccuracies.
A second concern for web publishers is sometimes the abuse of a writer's time by his or her readers. Free and well-researched information, often at greater depth than some consultants include in their fee-paid work, invites some internet readers assume that it's fine to telephone, or fax questions to the author instead of actually reading the material, literally demanding additional free consulting. Each such free "client" thinks of him or her self as "just one little question," and may fail to consider that there may be hundreds or thousands of such requests a week at an active website.
While we very much welcome questions about the clarity, content, or data missing from our web-published articles, a telephone call from someone who is simply in a hurry and who doesn't mind using the time of an author can be a difficult demand to meet.
On balance, feedback and even questions from readers is invaluable as a source of improvement of site content and for learning.
Link Exchange: Link exchange or listing submissions are welcome from websites whose content, services, or products are appropriate for our readers.
To provide your link exchange information and our link exchange policy see InspectAPedia.com - Directory Listing & Link Exchange Instructions There are no listing fees & no conflicts of interest. We reserve the right to list or not list individuals or companies and to provide notice of consumer compliments or complaints.
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