What is rbutr?

rbutr is a solution to the problem of following online discourse. It is a tool, currently under development, designed to connect opening arguments (articles, blog posts, youtube clips – typically a webpage in one form or another) to replies posted by other people (again, in a webpage of some description).

Have you ever found yourself reading an article in a paper, or on a blog somwhere which you found to be quite compelling…but you weren’t quite sure if you could believe it or not? Maybe you were interested enough to go and try to google the subject and find replies to the case made in the article…but only found old information, or more copies of the original article (repeated many times across different publications). It isn’t always possible to find a direct reply to articles through search engines, or social networks – but with rbutr, that is all we do.

The idea with rbutr is to make it possible for anyone to connect ‘rebuttal’ based pages, to the original page they are rebutting. So, what usually happens online is that soon after some new article is posted on <your favourite/most-hated news website>, someone who disagrees with that article will feel compelled to go and write a response to it. Ideally, as soon as they have written their response, they will immediately use rbutr to connect their rebuttal to the original article, and straight away everyone who reads that article (while using rbutr) will be alerted to the presence of a rebuttal to it.

Other people may want to write replies to the original article too and submit them to rbutr – the more popular rebuttals will be voted up, and eventually one of the many submitted rebuttals will clearly be favoured, providing all future visitors to the original article a great response to it – if they want to read it.

But don’t worry – if the original article was actually really good, and all the people writing rebuttals to it don’t know what they are talking about, then anyone else is free to reply to them as well! And thus the objective of rbutr emerges:

To facilitate online discourse…

With an active rbutr community, the web will finally be a place that allows complex discussions on crucial topics to be progressed – for the discussions to be moved *forwards*. For too long now, internet wide discussions have only been accessible *backwards*. That is, you only ever arrive on one webpage, and that webpage only ever responds to the posts before it. It links back to the article it is replying to – you have never had any way of knowing if the discussion has progressed past the point you are now at! Sadly, it usually has! And has probably done so many hundreds of times on websites all over the internet!

rbutr fixes that problem. It connects all of those hundreds of rebuttals to the page you are looking at, and recommends the strongest replies to you. You follow that step, and again, if more discussion has followed on from that point, rbutr will recommend the next step.. and so forth.

The internet is about to change. Global discourse is about to change.

 

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