online trust: that old chestnut?

every new generation needs to reinvent the wheel in some way.
below is an excerpt from an article in the WSJ on the old chestnut (for us cranky old netdynammers) of “How to tell if someone is lying to you in an email”.
you’ll note that the expert quoted on this is working for the military, and thank goodness us language experts can still get a job paid for out of tax dollars spent on defence.
but wait – why is this so old hat and ho-humifying to the likes of us over 50s?
a cursory search of the netdynam archives using, say, the term ‘trust’, will reveal that the topic was indeed thrashed almost to death back in 1996.. if my memory serves me well…

meanwhile, here’s a bit of what the article has to say on the topic:

It is possible to catch people lying because they often are bad at it, says Tyler Cohen Wood, an intelligence officer and cyber branch chief at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Science and Technology Directorate, and author of a 2014 book titled “Catching the Catfishers: Disarm the Online Pretenders, Predators and Perpetrators Who Are Out to Ruin Your Life.” (Her views on the subject are her own and not those of her employer, she emphasizes.)

“The majority of people prefer to tell the truth,” says Ms. Cohen Wood. “That’s why when they are lying, the truth is going to leak out.”

There will be clues. To identify them, Ms. Cohen Woods suggests using a modified version of a law-enforcement technique known as statement analysis, which is a way to look for deception by analyzing a person’s words.

To begin with, pay attention to a person’s use of emphatic language. It doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is lying, but rather that he or she really wants you to believe what is being said. This is also the case when a person keeps saying the same thing over and over in slightly different ways. “They wouldn’t repeat it if it wasn’t important to them,” Ms. Cohen Wood says.

Look for language that distances the writer from the intended reader. In person, someone may unconsciously distance himself by crossing his arms in front of him. In writing, he can achieve this same effect by omitting personal pronouns and references to himself from a story.

Say he receives a text that says, “Hey I had a great time last night, did you?” He might reply, “Last night was fun.”

Another technique to watch out for is the unanswered question. You ask, and the other person hedges or changes the subject. Most likely, the person doesn’t like saying no, or doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. But he or she also may also be keeping something from you.

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1 Comment »

  • Apurr Sonar says:

    i’ve unearthed this thread starter from the files:

    X-POP3-Rcpt: l-don@globe
    Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 18:43:00 GMT
    Reply-To: NetDynam / Network Group Dynamics Mailing List Sender: NetDynam / Network Group Dynamics Mailing List
    From: “EleanorA”
    Subject: whom do you virtually trust?
    To: Multiple recipients of list NETDYNAM


    New topic, sort of. But related to our past threads.

    Whom do you trust? Why?
    And corollary: whom do you distrust? Why?

    …in an environment of “just” text. Though Storm is right: frequency and the consequent “recognition” factor, and thinking you kind of know where someone is coming from, are part of it.

    My thesis is that although in text many things are hidden from us, many things are also revealed. Few people have complete control over their presentations in any format. Not that they can’t present themselves as they wish to be seen, but that what they think is worth presenting is backgrounded to them–it is something you perceive “behind” whatever they are presenting.

    I would be most grateful if anyone would look back over the past six months and consider a few net relationships where trust developed, even briefly, and try to pinpoint what it was that clued you as to the “type of person”–whether content, common interests, style, “heart”, mind, or some kind of sincerity cues you picked up.

    And consequently what did you feel free to “exchange” as a result, that you wouldn’t have said in another setting, either open post or another list?

    Your replies could be a list discussion or private communications, whatever you are comfortable with. Stories OK.

    E.g. after Natalie Maynor’s posts, and my having trouble with my mail not showing up on the list, I sent her a private mail, and we discovered over the course of the day that we had quite a few things in common, including people we knew. Before I even knew Natalie was a linguist (shared background), I related to her direct and cut-through-b.s. approach. And with someone else yesterday from another list, I discovered a few other things in common. (Actually I got to know that guy better by first mistaking him for someone else. The breakdown motivated me to establish the relationship better to make up for the error.)

    We all have many “worlds” we participate in. It takes a “trigger” of some kind to pull those worlds out of the many possible affinities floating about in our history. One the net provides us with is the ability to reinforce the various threads in our own lives, which we may not have time physically to attend to.


    Eleanor W
    [address sigfile removed]


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