rbutr Newsletter Number 5

by Shane on June 18, 2012

rbutr LogoWow! rbutr has had an incredible month since our last newsletter. We have more than quadrupled our membership base, made significant increases in the number of rebuttals and requested rebuttals in our system, attracted international press coverage, and released a few major upgrades to rbutr, with a couple more just around the corner.

As a result, this newsletter is jam packed full. Everything in it is worth reading though. There is a lot happening, and a couple of things you can do to help out, participate in, and gain from.

The email below includes all of this:

  • Upgrayedds – New logo, On-page Alerts, Comment on Link Pages, Tags Cleaned Up, and New Follow-up Emails
  • Exciting Updates to Look Forward To
  • Other Announcements – rbutr API expressions of interest, and Adopt-a-Blogger Initiative
  • Who is Talking About rbutr Now?
  • Like Our Facebook Page – Give Feedback

Upgrayedds!

With two D’s for a Double Dose of pimpin’ our app…

New Logo Replaces Old Speech-bubble Button

First thing to notice, is that the old green speech bubble is now the new rbutr logo – a red and blue R back to back with speech bubbles in side the R’s. If you can’t see this new button yet, then the automatic update hasn’t happened yet, give it a few hours more and it will eventually happen.

On-Page Alerts Added!

This upgrade was very important for us. rbutr’s main goal is to alert people to rebuttals of pages they are viewing – but even I was noticing that that tiny little red 1 in the top right hand corner of my screen never really caught my attention. I have to wonder how many of you browsed to rebutted pages and then left them with no idea that rbutr was trying to direct you to a rebuttal!

Well we have fixed that now! Now there is an on-page alert which appears and indicates the existence of a rebuttal. We still have some additions we want to make to it, but for now, it works exactly as it needs to – It alerts you to the existence of a rebuttal! It only lasts a few seconds before disappearing again and manages to be both effective and un-intrusive. Needless to say, this alert system will continue to be developed over time, and will gain improved functionality and design etc. Like everything else :) Hopefully from now on though, no one will ever accidentally miss a rebuttal again!

To see this in action, just click on the rbutr plugin, and click on ‘Random‘ – once the random discussion page is loaded, you should see the alert appear for 5 seconds in the top right hand corner.

Comments Added to Link Pages

We have added disqus comments to our link pages. So now whenever you look at a rebuttal link page (like this one for example) you are able to comment on that claim-rebuttal connection.

Go ahead, surprise us with how you will use this!

Tags Cleaned Up

The tag system, which was implemented early on in our Alpha Stage quickly grew out of control in to a messy pile of text which was getting unusable. We have tidied this up in to several categories which are much easier to navigate through now. The improvement to this system is immediately obvious and was much needed. This will continue to be refined over time.

If you want to suggest more default tags or tag groups, leave a comment, or join our Facebook page and leave a message on our wall.

New Follow Up Emails…

We have just created a new series of 3 emails which will start being mailed out over the next few days which provide simple insights in to the main features of rbutr. The emails cover Requesting Rebuttals, Subscribing to pages and tags, and our new Adopt-a-Blogger initiative which is all about adding rebuttals as soon as they are published.

Exciting Updates to Look Forward to…

We’re working on our Browse page and will be releasing a greatly improved version of it some time in the next month. I think this will make a substantial improvement in a number of the services rbutr is working to offer, specifically with regards to helping people identify topical issues and, more importantly, identify claims and arguments being made online which need rebuttals (our ‘requested rebuttal’ feed). This is quite unique, and something which will be very useful for aspiring bloggers who want to write rebuttals to topical issues, which will then have a guaranteed traffic source.

We’re also working on a website based submission form – so anyone can request rebuttals and add rebuttals without needing the plugin. Good news for all of the non-chrome users :)

Other Announcements

Expressions Of Interest For a rbutr API

A number of people have asked when we are releasing an API. Some have implied that they might use it. So in order to make sure we are using our time as effectively as possible and people will definitely use the API if we build it, we are looking for people who will use it to develop something for rbutr to say so, and if we get enough interest, we will get straight to work on it. Go here, read the post, and if you are interested leave a comment so we can get in to action and make it possible!

Adopt-a-Blogger

In an ideal world, everyone already knows about rbutr and the people who write rebuttals immediately add those rebuttals to our system. We have not yet created our ideal world, so instead we are creating a stepping-stone to getting there. We are looking to create a list of bloggers and content creators who regularly (or occasionally) create rebuttal content, and with that list we are looking for volunteers to ‘Adopt’ those bloggers. As a volunteer, your job will be to subscribe to that blogger, and simply keep an eye out for rebuttals. If they publish a rebuttal – add it to rbutr asap. Simple simple simple.

The more bloggers we cover in this way, the more effective rbutr will be as a resource, constantly keeping up with the topical debates and getting the rebuttals in front of the people reading the rebutted material at the time that they are reading it (rather than months or years after the subject matter was relevant.)

Read more about our Adopt-a-Blogger initiative here… (you will receive another email about this as part of the welcome email package. Sorry about the doubling up, but this initiative could be the deciding factor on rbutr’s success – so the more people who participate, the better it is for everyone. So participate!)

Who is Talking About rbutr Now?

Ha. I’ll keep this quick, because there is a bit to cover…

I made a post to Reddit Skeptics (Hello all of our new users from Reddit!). MichaelJW took the initiative and posted a link to rbutr on Hacker News and it went all the way to the front page (MichaelJW, we love you…). From there, spontaneously, GigaOm picked up on us, Techie-Buzz wrote a short article on about us, LifeHacker followed suit with their own article, and then ReadWriteWeb, MakeUseOf, and The Strange Quark all published articles. Then a journalist from Poynter Institute contacted me, which spawned two independent articles; One was a radio piece and text article, the other was on the Poynter website….

Not that we’re keeping count or anything…

Seriously though, it is this sort of spontaneous interest in rbutr that is keeping Craig and me working full time on a project which we still have no idea whether it will ever pay itself off. We are lucky to have some funding from Start-Up Chile right now, but that will run out very soon and we will return to self funding this project. But I am OK with that, because I really believe the time is right for rbutr, the internet needs it, and rbutr will work. And as long as people keep supporting us like this, then Craig and I will keep pushing. Some things are just worth doing, and rbutr is one of those things. Thank you everyone who has shown their support, and continues to do so.

I already can’t wait for the next newsletter to come out where I am sure we will have even more impressive spontaneous coverage by even larger and more well known organisations. :)

Like our Facebook Page – Give Feedback

You guys are the most important thing we have going for us at the moment, and we want to hear from you more to make sure we know what you do and don’t like. So if you want to give us feedback and talk about how rbutr works and what its plans are and all that stuff, facebook is probably the best way to do that. So go to our facebook page, and talk to us.

rbutr on Facebook (and Twitter too of course)

Why would you want to unsubscribe? :D
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