How to Report Crazy / Bad / Stupid Responses in rbutr

I received an email yesterday asking this question, and I am sure many more people have had the same question, so I am going to take this opportunity to address it here.

How do you report Crazy Rebuttals in rbutr?

Contrails behind a plane in the chemtrails article on wikipediaThe email specifically referred to the General rbutl on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemtrail_conspiracy_theory, which links to a patent for “Stratospheric Welsbach seeding”. ie: Evidence that someone has patented the process for depositing chemicals in the stratosphere. The person emailing me wanted to know how to report the link, so that we could (presumably) remove it.

The answer to this, is that there is nowhere to report rebuttals, however there are two expected reactions to ‘bad’ rbutls.
  1. If the rebuttal is so out there that it could be fairly considered to be ‘not relevant’ we expect people to hit the downvote button (which will be replaced with a ‘spam’ button one day), and when enough people indicate that a response is in fact spam, the response will stop being displayed. Note though, that this action is intended only to deal with spam posts – that is, rbutls which aren’t on topic at all, or don’t rebut, but in fact support the original article. Just because an argument is ‘bad’ in your judgement, does not mean you should downvote it – it means you should either ignore it, or go to option 2….
  2. If the rebuttal is just poorly argued, or ‘crazy’ (again, in your own judgement) then the expected action is to connect that response to another counter-rebuttal. That is, we don’t want to hide the bad rebuttal – we want it addressed. Because like it or not, there are people out there who think that this response is a valid one, and just ignoring those people because you don’t like what they have to say, doesn’t actually make them and their arguments go away. They need to be addressed.

So, in this specific instance of the Chemtrails article, I personally believe that this article should NOT be downvoted (spammed), but should simply be addressed. It should be counter-rebutted. Someone should take the time to explain why this patent in no way proves that the Chemtrail Conspiracy is a real conspiracy.

That is the only reasonable response here, because someone has taken the time to make this connection to begin with. Someone clearly believes that this patent shows that the wikipedia page is incorrect in its conclusions, and if we choose to ignore that person, or censor their belief, or otherwise sideline their opinions, then they will continue to hold those beliefs, and additionally feel justified that their opinions are being suppressed. This neither changes their minds, nor helps other people who are ignorant on this subject to reach a fully informed conclusion because they are having information hidden from them. People should see that this patent exists, and that some people see this patent as a valid reason for believing in chemtrails, AND also see why it is that this argument is perhaps in fact a poor one.

rbutr is about the discussion of difficult topics – not about the suppression of ideas and arguments. I cannot overstate the importance of this fact enough.

Carl Sagan Quote better argument not the suppression of ideas rbutr

So I call on you, rbutr nation, to find or write an appropriate response to this patent, and explain why it fails to counter the wikipedia page adequately. That is how you use rbutr.

 

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