Frequently Asked Questions

Go to: Basic | General | Graph | Topic Statements

The Basics

The TruthSift® platform is for establishing verifiable proofs for statements. TruthSift allows members to post topic statements and to debate whether those topic statements have a verifiable proof on various topics of interest and hold focused discussions within a community. Anyone within the TruthSift community can post arguments for or against the topic under discussion. Depending on the arguments on either side of the topic, the TruthSift engine decides whether the topic statement has been "Tentatively Established" or "Tentatively Refuted". Debates may be public or private (accessible only by members invited by the topic author).

The TruthSift algorithm (US patent number 10, 043,134 ) combines member contributions logically, point by point. On TruthSift, a statement is rated Tentatively Established if and only if an unrefuted proof is provided. If you don't believe the proof is adequate, you may challenge it if you can state a rational reason why you don't believe the proof. A challenged proof is not considered Tentatively Established unless and until someone explains what's wrong with the rebuttal.

Other debate sites present somebody's opinion, they don't combine multiple inputs logically. They decide by voting, which leads to groupthink. Many things that are believed true by a majority can be established as being delusional or propaganda.

TruthSift is not for establishing those. If you want to add a topic or a statement to TruthSift you should phrase it carefully so that you believe you can establish or refute it. For example, a title like "vaccines are safe" is too vague to be established. TruthSift deals with this by allowing a body of the statement where it can be spelled out in detail, specifying exactly what you hope to establish as considered "safe". Also, while it may be impossible to rigorously prove "anthropogenic global warming is heating the planet by .5 C per decade" it might be easier to establish "the preponderance of the evidence indicates anthropogenic global warming is heating the planet by .5° C per decade". Note though that this is not established merely by counting papers for and against. TruthSift statements should provide rational arguments and 100 papers can be refuted by one rational argument.

When a TruthSift topic is completely expanded, you should have a carefully worded statement that you actually know nobody can raise a rational dispute with. We believe that is better than having a vague grandiose statement that you believe but is likely wrong.

In math, you can publish a proof (which also corresponds to a proof tree). If someone publishes a refutation of part of it, it is no longer a proof. If you publish a refutation of the refutation, and the math community looks it over and finds no further problems, it is considered proved. TruthSift supports similar collaboration on any topic. The debate is rational and the results are organized and displayed by a diagram that transparently keeps track of what has been rationally established by the collective contributions and why.
This is a convention. However, if you don't believe the statement is evident you may challenge it, ask for further proof and explain why you don't believe it. When you write a statement with no incoming proof statement, you should provide within it sufficient reason to believe it. Spell out a proof or link to a trusted source to do this.
Proof is evidence that establishes or helps establish a particular topic or statement. If the proofs presented are insufficient to establish the truth of their target statement, the target statement may be challenged on that basis.
A graph diagrammatically shows the different levels of supporting and refuting statements for a particular topic statement.
Topic statement is the actual statement under debate. A topic statement has both a title and a body. The body of the statement specifies the content to be established or refuted.

General

A statement is tentatively established if it has a tentatively established proof reply and every challenge reply has been tentatively refuted. If you feel the proofs are insufficient you may challenge the statement.

A statement is also tentatively established if no proof statements for it have been offered and every refuting statement targeting it has been tentatively refuted. This is to handle statements that are self-evident or contain their own proof in their body. If you don't believe such a statement is evident, you may challenge it asking for further proof.

If a statement is not tentatively established, then it is considered tentatively refuted.

"Tentatively Established" for a topic statement means that the statement has been found to have a great probability of being true, based on proofs that nobody has been able to validly refute.
A statement is tentatively refuted when one of two things has happened. Either a tentatively established proof has been offered that the statement is wrong. Or a tentatively established proof has been offered that no proof has been established for the statement. In other words, every argument that has been offered that the statement is proved has faced a valid refutation. The status of the statement is thus at best unknown.

TruthSift supports probabilistic ratings if switched to probability mode. This allows users to simply collaborate on constructing a Bayes net modeling any question on all supplied evidence, and automatically compute the probabilities predicted using a fast Monte Carlo algorithm.

The author of a topic can set it to probability mode in the settings panel. In probability mode, contributors are asked to assign a "proposed belief", to the statements they add, between zero and one to reflect how much confidence they have that their statement either proves or refutes its target. In probability mode, in addition to pro and con statements, users can add test statements which are like epidemiological tests that provide evidence favoring the truth or falsehood of their target. Given some observation claimed in the body of the test statement, the author of the test statement supplies a likelihood of the observation given that the target statement is true and the likelihood of the observation given that the target statement is false. According to Bayes law, this evidence multiplies the likelihood of the target statement by the ratio of the first number to their sum.

A proposed belief can also be assigned to the test statement reflecting the confidence in the observation being true. TruthSift displays the computed probability for every statement as its "probability" which may be viewed in the pop-up when you hover over the statement or at the bottom of the statement's body. TruthSift makes it easy to construct and evaluate Bayes nets that combine all available evidence according to Bayes law.

In science nothing is ever actually established. New evidence can always come to light. A good indication of whether you should believe something in TruthSift is how many views it's been since the rating of the statement has changed. If there is extensive debate that eventually stabilizes, it is a good chance nobody has further arguments against it currently. If a lot of people have seen it and have been unable to raise an objection, there is a better chance that there is no valid objection.
Yes, a draft of your statement can be saved before posting it.
  1. On the top right of the Home Page screen, you will find the button "Add Topic". Click on this button to post a new topic.
  2. An Add New Topic Statement page will open up.
  3. Specify the statement category, statement title, statement details and source URLs. Select the topic sharing option as either Draft, Private, or Public.
  4. Click on the Post button to save the draft of the new topic or to Publish it. Once a draft has been saved, it can be accessed through the "My topics" link on the "My Account" drop down.
All the topics (featured and trending) can be found on the left of the screen. Click on the Category name to navigate to the category's topic page.
Trending topics are the most popular topics (on which there is most activity).
Featured topics are the topics which are being highlighted by those involved in the website.
On the homepage all categories can be found on the left of the window. All the topics can be seen by scrolling down "Hottest topics" and clicking the "More" button and scrolling down.
After logging in to TruthSift, select "My Account" (top left corner of the home page screen). Select the option "Edit my Profile". This will navigate you to a page containing your profile details.
You can see details such as authors' names and credentials on each topic box on the page that lists all the topics under a particular category, or all the topics for a search result. Click on an author's name to go to their page to read their stats and statements.
After logging in to TruthSift, select "My Account" (top left corner of the home page). Then click on "My Bookmarks". You'll reach the page that has topics and statements you have bookmarked.
On the top right of each topic or statement box, you will find a Share icon. You can click on the icon to share the topic or statement with your contacts through email or WhatsApp.
To view your notifications, log in to TruthSift. Click on the Notifications button on the top of the Home page screen to view all the updates for your account.
Notifications are updates about activities on your account on TruthSift. If other users follow you, upvote your statement, write a new statement or respond to your statement, you will be notified.

Click on any of the categories (left of home page screen) to see all the topics under that category. Click on any of the topics to go to the topic's graph page.

To view the history of a topic being updated use the two gold buttons at the top of the graph on the right. Click on '1st' to select the first statement added to the graph and open two more gold buttons: left arrow and right arrow. Click the right arrow successively to see each statement added in sequence. Likewise, clicking the 'Last' button will select the last statement added to the graph and clicking the arrow button will successively select the next to last and so on.

There is also an "Edit History for Topic" tab at the very bottom of the graph page that will allow you to explore the history of when statements were added.

Add Topic is a page where you can add a new topic with an image (optional), and select the Category and Topic Type (Public, Draft, Private). You may also make any public graph you have authored private using the private button. You may invite friends or groups using the Invite button below the diagram listing on your "My Private topics", or "My Public topics", or "My Draft topics". Friends may be invited either by supplying an email address or a TruthSift username. They will receive an email invitation to participate with a link. You may specify either "View Only" or "Edit" access. If you want to repeatedly invite a group, you may create groups on your "My Groups" page. Individuals who haven't been invited to a private diagram will not be able to see it.

Graphs

TruthSift diagrams are for establishing what is true according to a verifiable proof and what is not. Many things many people believe are fake or delusions. A mature TruthSift diagram allows you to see instantly whether the topic statement is tentatively established or tentatively refuted and to burrow down into the proof of why or why not. If you find a logical hole anywhere in a proof tree you can add a challenge describing the problem and the target of your challenge will be considered tentatively refuted until your challenge is itself refuted by another rational argument. Other websites consider something true or false based on popularity, which leads to groupthink delusions, or present somebody's opinion as fact. TruthSift shows you whether or not there is a proof, to which nobody can raise a rational objection.
You begin with a topic statement, which has a title and a body. The body spells out what is to be established or refuted. Then you add arguments or pieces of evidence for the topic statement as proofs (as a reply to the topic statement). If there is an argument that it is false or is not yet proven, you can add a challenge statement refuting it (as a reply to the topic statement). Pieces of evidence for the challenge can be added as proofs of the challenge statement. Pieces of evidence for or arguments against the proof statements can be added as proofs for or challenges to the proof statements respectively. If somebody has added a challenge that is not correct, you can add a counter challenge stating why. TruthSift diagrams critical thinking and works forward from statements nobody disputes, to find what can be logically established.
Clicking on any of the categories (left of home page screen) will display all the topics under that particular category. Clicking on any of the topic title links, will take you to the topic's graph page.

The topmost level on the graph view shows the topic title with the topic status. The graph gives a diagrammatic representation of different levels of supporting and refuting statements for a particular topic statement.

A statement box has two elements: - Pro or Con - All the pro statements are in green boxes and all the con statements are in red boxes. - Status - All the established statements are marked with a tick mark. All the refuted statements are marked with a cross.

When you hover the mouse pointer over a red or green box, in the graphic view, the title and body are displayed in the upper left corner of the window.

Clicking on any of the statement boxes highlights that box in a different color. It also displays the graph line and the associated supporting or refuting statement boxes (i.e., the graph is expanded one layer below it).
Clicking on a topic title will take you to the statement's graph page. You can navigate between different branches of an argument using the graph view.
The "Private" button for a Topic Statement box is displayed only for authors of topic statements. Authors can use the option to keep the discussion private or share it with a specific group of TruthSift users.
The selected users will receive an email invitation to the topic.
The graph page for a topic statement displays the graph on the top section. The topic statement detail information is displayed below the graph.
The Last Updated date field indicates the last time that the particular statement was edited.
The Status Updated date field indicates the last time that the status changed from tentatively refuted to tentatively established or vice versa.
If the TruthSift community feels that any statement has been inappropriately added into an ongoing discussion, then any member of the community can choose to flag that statement, stating the reason for doing so.

Topic Statements

a) On the top right of the Home Page screen, you will find the button "Add Topic". Click on this button to post a new topic.
b) An Add New Topic Statement page will open up.
c) Specify the statement category, statement title, statement detail and Source URLs.
d) Click on Post button to post the new topic.
Click on "My Account" on the top left. Select "My Topics". The title and description of all the topics written by you will be displayed. Below this list, a list of all the statements you have added will be found.
A "Pro" statement is one that supports the topic statement and a "Con" statement is one that refutes a topic statement.
Clicking on the topic title will take you to the statement's graph page. The graph page for a topic statement displays the graph at the top and the topic statement detail information at the bottom. The topic statement detail information has a list of both pro and con statements.

Clicking on the topic title will take you to the statement's graph page. The graph page for a topic statement displays the graph at the top and the topic statement detail information at the bottom.

Below the body of the topic statement you will find a reply button. Clicking on that will open a window and allow you to add either a proof or a challenge.

Similarly, you can select any node in the graph. This will display the title and body of the statement below the graph. A reply button at the bottom allows you to either add a proof or a refutation to that statement.

Sources lists the URL sources for a particular topic.
Sources (citations) can be viewed on the graph page below the topic statement details.
On the graph view, the Pro statements are displayed in green and the Con statements are displayed in red.
Tentatively established statements are marked with a tick. Tentatively refuted statements are marked with a cross (X).