Review: “Truthiness Check”

Truthiness CheckA different approach to fact checking partially unveiled itself on the Web in October 2014. Dubbed “Truthiness Check,” the site takes a Wikipedian approach to fact-checking.

We’ve moved slowly to review Truthiness Check partly since we’ve puzzled over how to figure out what the site is even saying about various political claims. The creators have acknowledged the problem and promise changes (bold emphasis added):

The consistent feedback we’ve gotten from people who have seen TruthinessCheck so far, is that once they understand it, the concept is incredibly powerful. However, we are also hearing that the interface isn’t intuitive and that it’s not optimized for mobile. We’ve heard you and are working to fix this.

 

How incredibly powerful is the concept? We can’t really say. Our experience with Wikipedia suggests that it isn’t hard at all for an ideologically motivated group to influence content. We don’t see how Truthiness Check addresses that problem. Truthiness Check features a voting system, and we’re not yet sure what significance we’re expected to give to the votes. The creators say the site is based on a proven technology. But we detect no attempt to inform non-members about the nature of the technology, including the manner in which it is proved.

The end result, at least for now, is a black box system for crowd-sourced evaluation with an impenetrably obscure presentation.

But maybe all of that is just because we don’t understand the concept.

As an example of the mysterious nature of the site’s fact checks, consider the No. 1 “trending statement” at Truthiness Check as of Oct. 24, 2014. It has too little context to allow an understanding of what the statement is about. It has no arguments listed pro or con, yet 66 members have cast votes for or against the claim’s truthiness.

We’ll revisit our review with an update or new version after Truthiness Check finishes its promised revamping.

1 Comment

  1. Jim

    Bryan,

    I am the person who is creating TruthinessCheck. Thank you for giving my work-in-progress some attention.

    I can see from your feedback (and agree!) that I need to do a better job with outreach in my early stages. I’ll contact you directly.

    Reply

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