As fine patrons of the Internet we’re bombarded daily with brief, one-sided snippets of news at a terrifying rate. News aggregation sites like Fark, Hacker News, and Reddit can further exacerbate the issue with even more sensational (or funny) headlines, and calls to action. Stories can “go viral” long before the other party knows what’s happening, let alone mount a convincing defence. Secondary updates or retractions rarely receive the prominence of the original article.
What I’d like to see is an easy way to ask to be “brought into the loop” on future updates to a story. When someone feels outraged, or surprised by an article they’d be able click a button, and future updates (possibly weeks or months later) would be pushed to them via email or standard aggregation systems. Ideally, this would be a third party service, provided like the social buttons we see on sites now (Like, +1, Tweet, Stumble, Trip, Fall, etc.), which would curate the links between stories. They’d understand how many sites re-hash the same wire stories in the present, and be able to link those as related stories to what was issued in the past. This way when we’re “Looped” in we’d be able to see the full series of articles in chronological order, and updates could effectively root out long standing (and now unwarranted) misconceptions.
As an example: I read an article on Saturday where a girl alleges that she was forced to give up her facebook & email password to school administrators while basically being interrogated at school. A lawsuit is at play, so it’s unlikely I’ll hear the full story until it’s played out in a court case. At present, I’m astounded and disappointed in the school, though it’s entirely possible in the end I’ll simply feel deceived by a sixth-grader. At this point, it’s unlikely I’ll ever hear the end of this story; boring updates to yesterday’s sensationalism rarely receive comparable coverage, even in today’s 24 hour news cycle, and I feel that does a disservice to everyone.