Getting to know rbutr…

rbutr is a tool which fights fake news and misinformation while promoting critical thinking.

It works by connecting fact-checking articles, corrections, critical reviews, rebuttals and all forms of counterpoint style articles to the webpages they counter.

Here is one of the claim-rebuttal connections in our system, as an example:

guardian rebuttal of daily mail article on sea ice growth screenshot

 

 

Think of rbutr like Google for rebuttals, but instead of being keyword focused, we’re article focused. You don’t search for rebuttals to a general topic, you use rbutr to find direct rebuttals of a specific article.

See our Best of rbutr emails to get a sense of what a good rebuttal pair might look like. You can also view our Browse page to see all claim-rebuttal pairs coming through our system.

How are these claim-rebuttal connections used?

Our database of more than 30,000 rebuttal pairs is currently used in the following ways:

  1. As a browser extension which tells you when the webpage you have just navigated to has been critiqued elsewhere on the web.
  2. Within an iFrame which you can call on any webpage by adding rbutr.com/ to the beginning of the URL.
  3. As a Twitter reply widget anyone can use to tweet at people sharing critiqued, corrected or contradicted webpages.
  4. By a Reddit reply bot which automatically replies to people who link to rebutted webpages.

The rbutr plugin improves your browser

Install rbutr and it will sit in the corner of your browser, out of the way, waiting for you to browse your way on to one of the thousands of websites in our system which have been linked to rebuttals. When you visit one of these rebutted pages – whether you got there by a friends recommendation, a google search, or any other way – rbutr will pop a small alert up on the page for a few seconds to let you know, and indicate how many rebuttals are connected to the rebutted page with a small number on the rbutr icon.

rbutr's alert

rbutr alerts you when you find a rebutted page

Click on the rbutr icon and you will see the list of rebuttals drop down.

rbutr's list of rebuttals

Click on the plugin to get a list of rebuttals

Any webpage can be rebutted, even the rebutting pages can be counter-rebutted.

Rebuttals can be rebutted in rbutr

Rebuttals can be rebutted

This means that you can follow multi-step discussions across several websites, several authors and a range of view points on the one subject very easily.

Note:
When rbutr indicates that there is a rebuttal to a page, it only means that someone, somewhere else on the internet has argued against the information present on the page you are looking at, and that someone has submitted that connection to rbutr. rbutr makes no claims about the validity of the rebuttal, or of the rebutted page – our purpose is to make it easy to access more, contrary information so that you can inform yourself fully about whatever subject you are already reading about.

rbutr is not the internet police. We aren’t trying to pick and choose who is right and who is wrong. Nor do we want to tell you what to think. Our goals are simple: to present the best information available on contentious subjects in a way that is immune to the trappings of bias. The rest is up to you.

rbutr is a community effort

Rebuttals are added by people in our community. Anyone who finds a rebuttal can submit it, and anyone who finds a page which they want rebutted can request it.

Are you interested in a subject? Consider subscribing to that subject and get alerted whenever requests are made for rebuttals to pages in that area – maybe you know of rebuttals, or could write one yourself in your own blog, or on a forum somewhere, which you could then submit to rbutr.

The community also votes on the rebuttals. Vote up any rebuttal which is a well constructed counter-argument to the page it is rebutting (regardless of whether you agree with the conclusions or not!), and vote down any rebuttals which are off topic or completely fail to address the subject matter of the rebutted page. This way we can identify the best rebuttals available on the internet, and push down the irrelevant articles and poorly argued rebuttals.

Note:
It is incredibly tempting to vote down rebuttals which you disagree with, but try to avoid doing it. It is far better to help the people you disagree with present their strongest argument possible, and then rebut that! No one wins when we all argue against straw man versions of each others arguments.

More questions?

Well luckily, we love talking about rbutr, so if you have more questions, try visiting our F.A.Q. page first, and if your question still hasn’t been answered, you can find our contact information through our About Us page.

rbutr is always improving

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