Web of Trust (WOT) is a crowdsourced ratings system that rates the safety and reliability of web sites. These ratings are generated by users who visit the sites. They can be based on security concerns, but they are mostly based on ratings from individuals who either like or dislike the content. WOT has been integrated into Facebook so that when Facebook users click on a link to a site with a poor WOT reputation, they are warned the site may be unreliable. This has a great potential to influence the traffic to a web site.
WOT can be both useful and problematic for skeptics. It is useful for us to be able to rate and comment on sites that offer unreliable, unscientific information on alternative medicine, for example. However, it also provides an opportunity for those who don’t like our message to rate our sites negatively, which can discourage those seeking information from coming to them.
Tim Farley, of the site What’s the Harm? and Erik Davis of Skeptic North have discussed the potential positive and negative effects of WOT on the ability of skeptics to educate the public, and Erik has created the WOT Project, an effort to identify reliable skeptical web sites and encourage skeptics to rate them positively so that their information will be more readily available.
This project is currently of particular interest to me since after reading about it I discovered that the SkeptVet and SkeptVet Blog have poor WOT reputations. Partly this stems from a hacking issue which I only became aware of several months ago when my host notified me that my site had been cleaned of some malware and that I had to reset all of my passwords. The blacklisting site that originally flagged my domain has since removed it’s warning.
But I also have had a small number of ratings by individuals (18) which are all negative. I suspect this is the work of CAM proponents angered by the content of my posts. So as well as encouraging everyone to participate in the WOT Project in general, I would like to ask readers who believe the content here is useful to got to the SkeptVet WOT profile and provide a positive rating and comment. Hopefully, this will help prevent those who see the site when searching for information about alternative veterinary medicine from being warned away from it by WOT.