Good part: rbutr
does something no one has done before to my knowledge. It collects rebuttals to web pages -- articles, columns, blog entries and so on -- that make (scientific) claims, and lets you access them just by clicking the plugin button. You can mark rebuttal pages as direct rebuttals to a specific paper or whatever, or just link something that generally rebuts the basic idea. Personally, I think this is a fantastic idea.
So far, it'e embryonic, with only 2000 rebuttals as I type this, but it's growing and you can submit a request for a rebuttal -- or link to a rebuttal if you already know of one that you want others to see. (I've already submitted one rebuttal
, to this story
in the Guardian.)Bad part:
So far, it's only for Chrome, Google's pet browser. I never used Chrome much before now, but now I'll be using it for this.
As it sees more users the quality of the info will probably go down. There's no really solid control on the quality of rebuttals, so there's no easy way to prevent -- for example -- creationists "rebutting" papers and articles on evolution by linking to creationist sites or even just the Bible chapters of Genesis online. As hotly argued stuff like climate change gets more rebuttals, there'll be a morass of rebuttals and counter-rebuttals. You can vote rebuttals up or down, but that's likely only to be slight help -- especially if a wingnut cabal organizes to take rbut
over, like what happened to Digg.
Still, it would be nice if they branched out into Firefox, IE and Opera plugins.
Excuse me, I must share this.