Much of the tech press doesn’t seem to understand much in the way of technology they cover in a fundamental way. Sadly, they also do not seem to fact check before publication, much less second source information before publication.
The most recent example of this is a listing of AMD’s Volcanic Islands architecture that is making the rounds. Here are a few of the sites that have discovered this “scoop”.
You might have noticed that this “scoop” did not appear on SemiAccurate’s front page, but it did appear in our forums in the fall of 2012. The person who made the image was SemiAccurate’s own Leo Yim, and he made it then and posted it to illustrate a discussion he was having last fall.
We asked him about it and his response was one of surprise more than anything else. “I thought I made myself clear that I was just illustrating a point in transistor scaling from 28 nm to 20 nm when I first posted the image on the forums: http://www.semiaccurate.com/forums/showpost.php?p=168728&postcount=7″
So what we have is an illustration to go with a forum post from last fall that was discovered by tech sites. These technology “news” sites all appear to have taken an image from a random Flicker site, now pulled to avoid more stupidity, that was not claimed to be real by the author, not meant to look like an official AMD slide in any way, and explicitly posted under the authors handle on our forums and turned it into their own “news”.
That didn’t stop XBit Labs, Toms Hardware, WCCFTech, Hardware.Info and many others from “discovering” this “Top secret AMD architecture news” though. Did any of these “tech” sites actually research it? Did any of them actually ask AMD about it? Did any of them do so much as a mere image search to see if they could verify where it came from? Did any of them attempt to contact the author who’s email was on the forum post? If you said yes to any of these questions, you would be wrong.
And that brings us to the sad state of technical news and the sounding board that is the Internet. No one checks or researches anything even if they say they do. People find random posts and images and proclaim them news. Another site will pick it up without even following the links from the last site, if they bothered to credit at all, and suddenly it is everywhere. And it still isn’t true.
Worse yet, though they may claim otherwise, none of these purportedly technical sites seem to have the background to understand why it could not be real. They also don’t seem to have the critical reasoning skills necessary to ask even the most basic questions to sources that could set them straight. That or they didn’t bother to send out an email or two before putting this hot “news” on their sites.
That is the sad state of Internet technical news. No one checks anything, no one second sources anything, no one verifies anything, and no one seems to have the technical ability to tell black from white. The hottest scoop of the moment seems to be a nine month old illustration for a SemiAccurate forum post from one of our authors that everyone just slapped up on the front page as truth instead of doing the bare minimum required of a journalist. This is beyond sad.S|A