During a pandemic, it is important to correct falsehoods with evidence-based information, but facts against misinformation can sometimes be ineffective. Rumours and myths are an opportunity to understand and respond to anxieties of the people spreading them, and then adjusting messaging to respond to those.
“Epidemics often become an opportunity for people to express deeper worries,” says Melissa Leach, the director of the U.K.-based Institute of Development Studies (IDS). In fact, Leach balks at the term rumours, which she finds dismissive. Call them “anxieties,” she says. Leach and other social scientists have come to see those anxieties as legitimate reactions that can be mined for useful insight — insight that can help public health officials tailor their messaging.
Rumors spread for political or sinister reasons should simply be debunked though.
🔖 Don’t Just Debunk Covid-19 Myths. Learn From Them (archive)
The amount of email I get has increased since I joined the Wikimedia Foundation a year ago. Along with email, more written communication is expected off me on Phabricator and Gerrit. Looking at the amount of misunderstandings and arguments that happen on these channels I have developed fear and dislike for them. It might be rooted in my own insecurities of being unable to communicate well and so it needs to change.
No more flagging emails and bugs for later. I have finally gotten rid of my backlog, going through my flagged emails I found 3 month old emails that could have used my response. Starting Monday I am going to dedicate 6 hours every week responding to written communication. Rhea pointed out that deferring emails by flagging them for later is the issue. From now on I reply to email when I read it and I don’t read it as often as I do right now.