Monthly Archives: January 2016

Welcome to TruthSift invites you to try our platform for crowd rationality in alpha.

The world hasn’t had a good method for deciding truth and establishing it in a transparently correct way. TruthSift solves this problem.

How it Works

TruthSift members engage in a process analogous to publishing in the scientific literature, but easier. If you think you can prove something, you can post a diagram of your proof. Or if you have a statement you’d like to know if others can prove or refute, you can post that. To get started you can just “Add Topic”, which will give you an edit window for a first statement in a new diagram. Or if you see a post that is wrong, and can give a not-yet-posted reason why, you can post a challenge.

Diagrams are composed of statements, represented by rectangles, with connectors represented by colored arrows: proofs are black arrows, assumptions blue, challenges red, remarks purple, and tests pink.
Statements have a title and a body. The title is shown on the diagram, the body may be viewed as a web page by selecting View from a menu displayed after rightclick on the statement.

Diagrams may be browsed in different layouts. Clicking on the Gold, Red, or Blue Box on the home page will take you to a view centered, respectively on either the Topic, most recent Con, or most recent Pro statement. You can walk around to see the rest of the diagram by double click on other statements.  This focused view is recommended for large diagrams. Alternatively, Clicking on the Diagram Title on the home page will display the whole graph. Double click on a statement or Layout in the right-click-on-whitespace menu lets you switch layouts.

TruthSift rates a statement “Tentatively Established” only when there is a proof of it with no step in active dispute. A demonstration that begins from observations that are unchallenged and proceeds through unchallenged proofs with no step of the demonstration in dispute.  Tentatively Established statements have thick black borders.

If anybody disputes any component of your proof, and can state a reason why its in error, they can add a challenge to the component, and if they want a supporting network of proofs and assumptions for their point of view. (EXAMPLE 2)

Now you or someone else may respond to this challenge. For example, you may edit the challenged component of your proof to fix the problem that was pointed out, or explain more clearly why the challenge is mistaken if it is. And you may counter-challenge the challenge if you believe the challenge was mistaken, or is mistaken after your edits, and you can state why. (EXAMPLE 3)

TruthSift keeps track of which statements are established by demonstrations that have no actively disputed assumption or proof.
Every Tentatively Established (TE) statement is easily recognized by its thick border and thick outgoing connectors. To have a thick border, a statement needs all of its incoming blue assumption connectors to be TE (thick), no incoming thick challenge (every challenge has been rebutted by a TE counter-challenge), and if it has incoming proofs, at least one must be thick (it has at least one TE proof).

TruthSift members lay out all the proofs and refutations members believe are pertinent to an issue until they run out of rational objections.
Like the scientific literature, the process naturally divides up a question and its field into important underlying issues and harnesses group intelligence in an optimized way. At the end what can and what can’t be rationally established, and why, is laid bare, together with a  demonstration that no literally no member can raise objection to any point in the proof. Every statement is either proved by a TE demonstration, or Refuted by a TE refutation.

Where users still unavoidably disagree, TruthSift diagrams include stipulations.  Stipulations make explicit any underlying assumptions that some still challenge, the arguments against them, and the differing consequences if they are true or misguided. Statements whose status depends on any of the stipulations in the diagram are shown with rounded corners. A statement that would be Tentatively Established if all of the stipulations are true, and Refuted if some of them fail, will have rounded corners and thick borders. A statement that will be Refuted if all the Stipulations are true but Established if some of them fail will have rounded corners and thin borders.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 4.47.25 PM
A Stipulation has been added that ele41, shown in green, is true. Ele41, ele33, and the topic statement ele0 all have conditional status and rounded corners. The topic node has thin borders, because it is Refuted conditional on the stipulation.

TruthSift Probability Mode supports construction of flexible and powerful statistical and causal models. TruthSift supports probability values to be entered into the statements, and then estimates the probability each different statement is true, marginalized over all the probabilities entered in all the statements of a diagram. Test statements affect only probabilities, but not the establishment status of statements. Test statements include an estimate of the likelihood some observation would have occurred given that its Target statement is True, and an estimate of the likelihood the observation would have occurred given the Target statement is False.   All statement types also have a Proposed Probability, which indicates the expected probability the statement has its claimed effect. For example, statement A may be a cause (proof) of statement B 0.3 of the time. Probability Mode does a Monte Carlo calculation reflecting all of the causes and tests in the diagram, and reports for each statement its probability of being true, printed at the bottom of the q-tip displayed when the mouse pointer hovers over the statement.


TruthSift asks of its members that you believe every public post you make is correct, not duplicative of a parallel post in the diagram, and clearly stated.

By correct we mean, does rationally prove or refute its conclusion. Ad hominem attacks are not permitted. The goal should be to create a clear exposition of what can be proved, and how the principal challenges fail. Think of yourself as publishing a paper in the scientific literature.
TruthSift also encourages editing of previously posted statements to improve clarity of the diagram. The default setting on statements is collaborate, which allows others to edit your statements, but if you don’t like their edits you can restore your previous statement from your my participation page or change the setting.

Quick Start Guide

In TruthSift, statements are represented on diagrams by boxes displaying a title, and containing a body that may be viewed as a web page. Connectors are represented by colored arrows joining the boxes: proofs are black arrows, assumptions blue, challenges red, remarks purple, and tests pink.

The topic statement of a diagram has a gold box, and the other statements are boxes shaded blue if they support the topic (PRO), red if they oppose it (CON), or grey if they don’t definitively do one and not the other.

Right-click of statements, whitespace, and connectors each display menus that together control most features.

Diagrams are represented on the home page by a title and 3 boxes. The Gold Box is the Topic statement, and it is Tentatively Established if its border is thick, else it is NOT-TE. The Blue Box is the most recent PRO Statement, and the Red Box is the most recent CON statement. Clicking on a box will take you to a focused view of that statement and its immediate neighbors in the diagram. The title links to a view of the full diagram. From the full diagram, Center-on-view (available from the statement right-click menu or by double-click on the statement) focuses on any selected statement and its incomers and outgoers.

The Add Topic Button at the top of every page launches an edit window where the Title and Body of a new topic statement may be added, initiating a new diagram.  Additional statements may be added to a diagram by right-click on an existing statement, which displays a menu including “Add In Statement” and “Add Out Statement“. Mouse over one of those will display a submenu that allows selection of the type of connector. Selecting a connector type will pop an edit window where the title and body of an additional statement may be added. Right-click on whitespace displays a menu allowing to save one’s new diagram, or one’s edit of an existing diagram.

On the edit window, a statement may be designated a citation. It will then be drawn with a dashed border. This may be used to indicate statements linking to (and perhaps summarizing) some trusted source, like a publication in the peer-reviewed literature. (Citations are  treated exactly like ordinary statements in terms of computing establishment status, however.)

The default save of a new topic is to Draft mode, but there is a choice on the save menu to choose Public, or drafts may be published from your My Drafts Page on the My Account dropdown. Once it is saved to Public, others will be able to edit it.

Every new statement that is added is initially TE, because it has been asserted and nobody has challenged it. This means that if you raise a challenge to any statement anywhere on any diagram, your challenge statement will be TE, and the statement you challenge will be classified Refuted until your challenge statement is responded to, and any other statements that are relying on that challenged statement in their Demonstration, will also be considered Refuted until your challenge is responded to. Your challenge of an underpinning deep in a graph may change the status of the topic statement, if its demonstration logically relies on the statement you challenge.

A statement will be TE only if all of its incoming assumption connectors are thick (TE), none of its incoming challenge connectors are thick, and, if it has incoming proof connectors, at least one of them is thick. Once proofs are added for a statement, we insist it have at least one TE proof to be TE. (If no proof has been added to a statement, we presume it self-evidently provides its own proof but it is perfectly valid to challenge it demanding further proof if you argue it doesn’t.) Each time the diagram is edited, the system rates all statements by starting at the statements with no incoming connectors, which are TE by definition, and updating statements once all of their parent statements have been updated. Statements will be graded Tentatively Established if all their assumptions are TE, and at least one proof is TE, and no Challenge is TE.

If you see a statement that is bordered in thick, you know there is a demonstration for it nobody has validly rebutted any statement of. On the other hand, if it has thin borders, then there is a TE challenge of it, or of every proposed demonstration of it.

The key to creating useful content with TruthSift, required for all posts by the Guidelines, is that every statement you add to an existing diagram should have a body you believe is rational and novel within the diagram. For example, if you add a proof for a statement, your proof should in your view prove the statement is true, and it should not duplicate a statement already added to this diagram, and likewise if you add a challenge for a statement, it should rationally show (and give a novel proof) that the statement is not true. If you believe an existing statement can be re-used for another purpose, you may add an additional connector to it by selecting the target with a left click and then right-clicking on the existing statement. If you can supply a reason why a statement does not imply a result given by an outgoing connector, you may challenge the connector after right-clicking on it. It is valid to challenge a proof connector if you can state a reason why it does not provide a proof.

As long as people only post serious proofs and challenges, statements and connectors respecting the guidelines(LINK), a diagram should be created where people explain what is wrong or right with the proofs and challenges that are suggested, and which publishes transparently whether there is or is not demonstration for each statement to which nobody has raised a valid objection.

One suggested way of dealing with difficulty in providing absolute proof of statements, is to edit the statement into a form that can be proved, eg if “X” can’t be proved, you may be able to prove “All of the peer reviewed papers in the literature report X.” Note this latter is readily challengeable with a counterexample.

If there are underlying differences that simply can’t be resolved, statements may be stipulated using the right-click statement menu. A diagram with stipulations added may then be created (leaving the diagram without the stipulations intact). In this new diagram, statements then will be rated relative to the stipulations. In this case we provide the next best thing to consensus establishment: consensus establishment relative to key stipulations, and provide (as an aid to the user to form an opinion), the proofs of and challenges to the stipulation. Statements whose TE status depends on the stipulations are drawn with rounded corners. Stipulated statements on a diagram are shown in green.

Please collaborate with others in the search for and transparent publication of truth and proof, avoiding ad hominem attacks and other such banned frivolity. Users repeatedly posting irrational or ad hominem or other banned content will be banned. Unpopular content or content others feel is stupid is ok so long as you are genuinely trying to be rational—if someone feels its stupid they should explain why.

It is encouraged to edit a challenged statement, if you can improve it so the challenge is no longer correct, and then to add a challenge to the challenge pointing out that it has been responded to. It is also encouraged where appropriate to split the original challenged statement into a small multiplicity of statements, for example breaking down part of the original intent into a separate assumption or proof, if the challenge seems to be addressed to only part of the original statement, thus breaking out the parts where there is no discord, and specifying more precisely and narrowly points for which differences remain.

The edit history of each statement is available on its View page, which may be displayed using the statement-right-click menu.
The default setting for statements is collaboration mode, others will be able to edit your statements if they believe they can improve the proof or the clarity. If they do and you don’t like the change, you may restore your version using the history available from your My Participation page (and may change the setting).


Right-click on whitespace displays a menu that supports a selection of Layouts, 3 showing only a single statement and a small neighborhood of the diagram, and two showing the whole diagram. Center-on-view available from the statement right-click menu allows one to step around the diagram in tight focus. You may also center-on-view by double click on the statement. If a statement has connectors not shown in a focused view, they are indicated with an inward pointing triangle or an outward pointing triangle. The full diagram layout shows all statements arranged with all connectors pointing right to left. In the Community Layout, statements may be dragged and positioned. The Community Layout shows the last saved positioning.

If you position the mouse pointer anywhere on the document, you may zoom in or out of the pointer using the mouse roller. If you position the mouse pointer on whitespace and hold the mouse button down for a few seconds, it will display a small dark circle and you may then drag the diagram, allowing to look around a large diagram.

All members may post and edit public diagrams. Premium membership (automatically included now, later free for the first 3 months, $2/month thereafter) allows a user to host and participate in private diagrams for associates or colleagues. We hope you will find this useful for your work, planning, and studying. Invitations may be controlled by following the sharing link below your private topic.

We are in alpha and users with comments or suggestions for features or improvements you’d like to see are kindly requested to email them Here( or post or participate in a public diagram arguing for them.

TruthSift offers many features not described in this brief intro. More extensive documentation is in preparation.