How many times, while reading a great debunking, do you find yourself wishing you could get that debunking in front of the people who are reading about the woo? To get them the information they need, right when it matters? Right when they start forming their opinions about the subject...
Imagine an Internet where debunkings and rebuttals are made available right where the claims are being made. An Internet where there is no corner for ignorance to hide and multiply itself with self-referential confirmation. An Internet where our ever-present confirmation bias filters receive constant cracks in them, forcing us to thoroughly check our own thoughts...
rbutr started out as a simple idea. I wanted to see a good rebuttal to the page I was looking at. I couldn’t find one. I knew it would exist, I’ve been on the Internet long enough to know someone, somewhere, would have written their disagreement out in detail. But I just couldn’t figure out how to find the proverbial needle in the seemingly infinite haystack of the Internet. Google is great for finding content, but it is absolutely useless at finding rebuttals.
So we started building an application to solve this problem. The way it works is simple; First, install the plugin from http://rbutr.com. Then, whenever you find yourself reading a rebuttal, use the plugin to submit it, connecting it to the page it rebuts.
When looking at the rebuttal page, open the rbutr plugin, and click on 'Rebuttal'. This page will be saved in the plugin until you finish your submission or cancel it.
Navigate to the page being rebutted, and click on the button below 'Source Site:'. Comment, tag, indicate that it is a direct rebuttal, and click on submit.
Page B rebuts page A. Simple. Now whenever someone with the plugin visits the rebutted page, they will receive an alert and are able to open up the rebutting page.
Alert appears on rebutted page for a few seconds. Click on the rbutr plugin which indicates it has ‘1’ rebuttal, to access that rebuttal.
It is that easy to use and only getting easier as we improve things! But for all of the simplicity, the consequences can be incredibly far reaching. It is our hope that this simple act will help build a tool, which could completely change the way future generations consume information.
Rbutr at TAM
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to introduce rbutr to the skeptic community at TAM2012 in Tim Farley’s fantastic workshop on The Future of Skepticism Online: Crowd-sourced Activism. The video of that workshop is now available online, and you can see my 15min presentation at its conclusion, including a live demonstration!
TAM2012 was an incredible experience where I had an amazing opportunity to talk to so many people, meet the people who are out there making a real difference in the world of scepticism, and of course, just generally enjoy myself for a few days! As such, I am incredibly happy to report that I will back at TAM2013, and this time I will be leading my own workshop!
So I am very excited to be making the around the world trip again to attend, and I hope to meet even more of you all this time around!
Shane Greenup is an entrepreneur, traveler and extreme sports enthusiast.He has a background in History and Philosophy of Science, Molecular Biology, and Philosophy, and is one of the founders of http://rbutr.co