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Definitions Used In Rumor Central

Working group members categorize public statements about Y2K using the following definitions.  The definitions are chosen to promote logical and objective choices.

Rumor   An assertion of fact that has not been confirmed by a named authoritative sources.   Many rumors are unattributed, no source of any kind is given.   Seemingly authoratative but anonymous reports are rumors.

An assertion of something that could happen and the possible consequences without an accompanying estimate of how probable the event is, is meaningless prater.  Especially technical people are liable to answer "yes" to any "could it happen" question.  In order to promote speculation to a prediction, there must be some quantifying context.  Examples: "We could all be struck by lightning and be toasted." "The chip could have non-Y2K-compliant clocks, and it could use date sensitive software, whose failure could cause a computer crash and human injury. "


Something that comes from a crystal ball.  A prediction can not be rebutted or refuted except by waiting to see if it comes true.  It can be contradicted but only by another prediction.  Example: "The Dow Jones will sink to 4000"


An assertion of fact from an authoritative source, but not confirmed by  a second source.  See Confirmed. 

Fit to print

Using the same standard as the traditional New York Times`, a story must be confirmed by at least two authoritative sources, before it is "fit to print".  A source is authoritative if he/she has independent qualifications to know the facts first-hand, or if it is a reputable journal.


An assertion of fact that has been rebutted by an authoritative assertion that the fact is false.  To reach X status, there must be at least one noteworthy source for the assertion and at least one authoritative source for the rebuttal.  Example: Assertion: "All elevators will stop."  Rebuttal: "Not our elevators.  We checked" - Acme Elevator Company

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