The Truth Machine


The Truth Machine

Recently a Facebook founder decried how ugly Facebook has become:

“No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem - this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

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The problem is social media promotes terrible decorum, since there are rarely moderators.

Most people are too afraid to demand gracious and truthful dialogue on social media, as is normal during business meetings. They fear being labeled a “censor.”  “Hogwash!”  Demanding people use proven facts and removing opinion, beliefs and feelings in discussions about “things that matter”, promotes good discussion hygiene. Those unwilling to follow the rule of verified truthfulness being strictly prioritized over opinion – should exit the discussion.  This is VERY normal:

  • In a court of law, thesis reviews, medical discussions, business negotiations, and panels of inquiry, facts come before opinion – not after.
  • Imagine a court where the judge issued his opinion – and then the facts were discussed. That would be called a crooked court.
  • 100 years ago opinion was considered rude. Only modern man has exalted opinion.
  • So, you think “Opinions are all equal.”  Correct – then there is no need to consider opinions in an argument, since nothing of higher merit can be gleaned from opinion.  Discuss ONLY facts, verified facts.  Check your opinion at the door.

How do we fix decorum?

Use standard business meeting rules!  Especially when discussing politics – when discussing laws which we all must share amicably.  Let’s review the Truth Machine rules:

Truth Machine Rules

To keep discussions on topic and productive, the moderator should use the following rules:

Only 3 types of posts are allowed in response to any lead post:

  • You can disagree, but only with facts of support, or it may be summarily removed.
  • You can agree
  • You can request more supporting data for a lead post claim.

Participants will be required to answer questions about any “disagreement” or “off topic” claims with frank and gracious dialogue. Often this is needed just for clarity, not for suspicion of false claims or intentions. Evasive replies will be considered evasion of honesty, then summarily deleted.

Opinion, Beliefs and Feelings Are Contraband

Phrases with “My opinion is,” “I believe,” “I feel,” and “I think” are hereby contraband.

Contradictions and Logic

  • Contradiction in claims or logic is hereby contraband, subject to cross exam, then summary removal if explained in a surly, illogical, nonfactual or ungraciously manner.
  • The Ten Commandments of Logic shall be adhered to, and cited during cross exam, if detected.
    1. Thou shall not attack the person’s character, but the argument. (Ad hominem)
    2. Thou shall not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack. (Straw man fallacy)
    3. Thou shall not use small numbers to represent the whole. (Hasty generalization)
    4. Thou shall not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true. (Begging the question)
    5. Thou shall not claim that because something occurred before, it must be the cause. (Post Hoc/False cause)
    6. Thou shall not reduce the argument down to two possibilities. (False dichotomy)
    7. Thou shall not argue that because of our ignorance, claim must be true or false. (Ad ignorantum)
    8. Thou shall not lay the burden of proof onto him that is questioning the claim. (Burden of proof reversal)
    9. Thou shall not assume “this” follows “that” when it has no logical connection. (Non sequitur)
    10. Thou shall not claim that because a premise is popular, therefore it must be true. (Bandwagon fallacy)
  • Rule of Apology –
    If false claims, opinion, or contradiction are exposed, the contributor will be required to apologize before further posting is allowed. This keeps people humble, and usually the disruptor quits at this point.

Stay On Topic

  • Suggest a New Thread –
    When someone is passionate about what is considered an off-topic comment, I sometimes offer them to start a new thread. “If it’s so important, start a new thread.” They rarely do, which exposes the tactic was meant for disruption, not clarity.

Source of Rules

The rules above were derived from Ben Franklin’s Junto Club rule:

“Our debates were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute or desire of victory; and to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were after some time made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.”

Truth Machine Results

When I implemented these rules on my Facebook wall, all the liberals left within 3 weeks.  This was after I spent 2 years of reaching out to them with grace and patience, attracting dozens of liberal participants who complimented me on my grace and exceptionally good moderation.

Conversely, after adoption, readership from conservatives tripled to 2000 readers, yet we still manage to have disagreement and productive discussion.   Most conservatives like decorum and fact-focused arguments.   Very few conservatives dislike the rules.

The rules promote educational, fact filled discussion, eliminate disruptive liberal discussion tactics, and expose liberals are ONLY on social media to disrupt and divert truthful, productive dialogue.

John D. Lofgren @ Junto Club:
Author of “Atlas Shouts”  #13 rated Money book on Amazon:
Atlas Shouts, The Movie: