Citizen Media serves the interests of the New Fourth Estate – citizens and their Households. Citizen Media is the source for information citizens must have to make intelligent decisions in the voting booth and in the market place.

Chapter Four provides an overview of a Litmus Test. Each Citizen Media Outlet might choose to have a Litmus Test. The Prototype outlined in this chapter would be used to screen / validate comments and input in the discussion of human settlement patterns and their impact on the economic, social and physical well being of citizens.


One way to understand the need for a Litmus Test for comments and input on ideas and strategies in the Citizen Media Context is based on an experience by the author over 50 years ago. One of the many ways the author paid for eight years of undergraduate and graduate study at three universities was as a professional food taster.

The Department of Home Economics department at the University of Montana received a contract from the US Navy to develop and test freeze dried food for use on Navy submarines. The Department hired a team of students who ate in the central dining facility to do daily QUALITATIVE taste testing of recipes under development.

After extensive screening a team of male students who matched the age and health profiles of a typical submarine crew was selected. Even though each student had pre qualified to be on the team, before every daily taste test each student was given a test update – three cups of water with additives so that he water tasted salty, sweet, sour, bitter or un-flavored. Only after one pasted the ‘right now’ test did they receive the days payment (a silver dollar) and were asked to give their qualitative opinion on the item of the day.

After all, why pay any attention to someone’s view the QUALITY of a Navy Bean soup (a big favorite) or a pudding (lots of puddings) if for some reason they could not ‘taste’ at the time for what every reason: Too much to drink or too much red pepper on a pizza the night before; just brushed their teeth; had a peppermint life savor between classes, etc. The same is true for opinions on the information, strategies and ideas that Citizens need to consider in coming to well considered public judgements.

Why pay attention to someone who has demonstrated that they do not know what they are talking about?

Unless one understands the basis and context for the discussion there is no way to make an informed comment beyond “I do not understand.” Unless the commentor knows what they are talking about, the listeners / readers do not know if it is a serious question from a well founded critique by a well informed individual or just Idea Spam – or worse – Intentional Information Sabotage.

Read the full essay.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


Leave a Reply