About rbutr

rbutr is a community driven system which maps links between webpages where the content of one page is a critical response to the other.

ie: URL1 critiques URL2. See a real example here.

The content of the rebuttal may be directly arguing against the rebutted content (a direct rebuttal), or simply contain contradictory evidence (a general rebuttal).

Our priority is to build and maintain this database of claim-rebuttal connections so that the connections can be used to fight misinformation and promote critical thinking.

We invite third party collaboration and encourage creative use of the rbutr data in whatever way you wish. Feel free to contact us ( email to contact rbutr) if you would like to collaborate and integrate rbutr with your platform/system/application/whatever.

How can this Database be used?

We have developed several prototype applications to demonstrate how these rebuttal connections may be used:

Submitting Rebuttals to the Database

The Chrome browser extension is currently the only method for users to add new rebuttals to the system. Making it possible to add rebuttals without using our Chrome extension is a priority for us. We are also eager to partner with organisations who wish to automatically submit quality rebuttals to the rbutr database.

The Philosophy of rbutr

Philosophy of rbutr image

The ultimate goal of rbutr is to improve critical thinking skills and foster a culture of critical thinking in all internet users.

The more immediate, but secondary goals of rbutr are to correct misinformation wherever it is found, reduce the spread of fake news, warn people away from hoaxes and scams, and expose people to arguments and ideas they wouldn’t normally encounter.

To achieve all of these goals rbutr is committed to providing a completely neutral platform which aims to collect all appropriate critiques, corrections and contradictions to any given webpage (or collection of essentially-identical webpages), and work to organise those critiques amongst themselves so that the best are at the top of the list (live example).

rbutr makes no judgements on truth

rbutr gives no regard to whether the rebutted page(s) are true or not, nor whether the rebuttals are true or not. The only requirement is that the ‘rebuttal’ is critical or contrary to the ‘rebutted’ page. With enforcement of this simple rule we can be confident that factually incorrect webpages, hoaxes and scams will tend to be corrected, debunked and exposed, while ‘factually correct’ pages will also be critiqued, and complex issues may be explored in greater detail from multiple perspectives. In the end it is up to the audience to decide what they believe is true or not – as is unavoidably the case regardless.

We believe that our approach is not only ideal in a philosophical sense, but also ideal for technical implementation. It is incredibly simple, naturally resistant to gaming and it increases the impact of high quality critiques.

For more on these points, please see the relevant sections in our FAQ, and the blog post Why rbutr must share misinformation.

Our key hypothesis is that continual exposure to high quality critical analyses of all online content will foster a skeptical attitude towards information and improve critical thinking skills as a result of that exposure.

We firmly believe that a culture of critical thinking and a population trained in critical thinking is the key to solving the eternal problems of misinformation, propaganda, fake news and hoaxes.

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F.A.Q | Getting to know rbutr | What we have achieved so far

George Carlin quote dont just teach your children to read question everything

Historic Timeline

(Updated 7 March 2017)

Founders

Shane Greenup rbutrShane Greenup graduated from the University of NSW in 2005 with majors in Philosophy, Molecular biology (hons) and the History and Philosophy of Science. After graduation he developed a profitable niche website which allowed him to explore multiple entrepreneurial opportunities over the following years, giving him the experience and confidence to found rbutr at the beginning of 2012 with Craig.

Shane is an alumni of the Startup Chile (2012) and IndieBio (2016) accelerator programs, and is a Creative Innovation 2013 scholarship recipient.
Craig O'Shannessy rbutrCraig O'Shannessy has over 25 years of experience operating his own software engineering freelance business, which has given him an expertise in software analysis, design, project management and application development.

Another successful solo entrepreneur, Craig's project management and technical expertise is the perfect complement to Shane's Internet marketing experience and visionary drive.

Advisors and Advocates

Aubrey de'Grey rbutrDr. Aubrey de Grey is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, the Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, and Author. He received his BA and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000 respectively. His original field was computer science, and he did research in the private sector for six years in the area of software verification before switching to biogerontology in the mid-1990s. (More on Wikipedia)
Michael Shermer rbutrMichael Shermer is the founder of the Skeptic Society, editor of Skeptic Magazine, columnist at Scientific American, and science writer with over 15 published books behind him. Michael Shermer joined rbutr as an advisor and supporter early August 2012. (More in Wikipedia)
Tim Farley rbutrTim Farley is a computer software engineer, writer and instructor with an expertise in computer security and reverse engineering. He is a Research Fellow of the James Randi Educational Foundation, the creator of the website What's The Harm?, and the owner of the SkepTools blog. (more on Wikipedia)

Tim was one of rbutrs first serious supporters and has written and talked about the value of rbutr as a tool for critical thinking online numerous times since rbutr was started.

Contact Details

You can reach Shane at email to contact rbutr

Also possible to reach us via twitter: @rbutrcom or @aegist

And also through our facebook page: rbutr

 

 

 

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