Online Credibility and Information Labor: Infrastructure Reverberating through Ethos

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Book Chapter

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This chapter examines how information infrastructure influences ethos in information labor. The primary text is discourse about ACID3, a web page created by members of the Web Standards Project. ACID3 tests the compliance of infrastructural standards for web browsers. In addition to analyzing ACID3 code, several other related conference presentations, job announcements, and web pages are analyzed to theorize ACID3 as a rhetorical text. This chapter argues that three rhetorical commonplaces (mastery, purity, infallibility) are central for the credibility of ACID3 as a text of legitimacy. This study provides a better understanding of rhetoric and infrastructure. To understand rhetorics of infrastructural standardization is to understand the power structures embedded within the modern world. ACID3 is a significant case because of its criticality for standards that enable publics to publish Web content. This chapter contributes to literature in information infrastructural studies, science and technology studies, and the rhetoric of science.

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Online Credibility and Information Labor: Infrastructure Reverberating through Ethos, in M. Folk & S. Apostel (Eds.), Online credibility and digital ethos: Evaluating computer-mediated communication, p. 37-55.