Trying to find quality information on the internet can be like sifting through garbage looking for that one good piece of information. When writing a paper, especially an academic paper, your references have to be of good quality and reputable. Most peoples first stop when it comes to doing research is Google. Here is the problem that comes along with using the internet, anyone can post anything on the internet.
I do not completely agree with Rheingold's point of view. The internet is a tool and yes people need to be taught how to use it. By the time someone is in college they have already established very poor habits. And who is to decide what is the best way to use the internet? I do believe that people have a responsibility not purposefully place false information on the internet, but regardless of how crazy something may be, people should be able to place what they want on the web. For anyone who is somewhat knowledgeable about how to use the internet, it is easy to sift through the good and bad on the internet. I've learned many skills in this class that will benefit me for a long time on doing just that.
Some of the things I do this is verifying that any site I use is a reputable site. Once that's done verify that any article I cite has an author. I also like to check on other works of that author to make sure he or she is not crazy. If need be, I check to see who owns the actual website. It is a lot like being a detective, looking for detractors from an author or an article.