Computer: Browsing
Myth Detector   (+6)  [vote for, against]
I shall not like this, as it is a falsehood

For years, I've been replying to idiotic officewide forwarded emails about made up drama. To me, it's instantly obvious that it's rubbish, but to supply proof I simply Google the email subject and or another site has an explanation, which I send back around the office as proof.

Nowadays, most of this misinformation is spread through social media, so I propose an app that you can paste your post into and it will search to see if that particular piece of information has been marked as false.

The app could also work on posts that you read, marking them with some appropriate icon.

The more I think about it, this could just be a browser extension that scans all text and matches it to a bullshit database. I wish I had the cash to buy the necessary server farm to bake this.
-- marklar, Mar 18 2013

As a first approximation, just assume it's bullshit. It's like predicting that tomorrow's weather will be the same as today's. You'll be right more often than you're wrong.
-- Wrongfellow, Mar 18 2013

You shouldn't need a server farm, just a client app, and an updatable list of short checksums that can be used to identify text in a browser. On finding a match, the browser extension could wrap it inside a big red css < div> section and apply some suitably rude background graphic extolling the reader to consider the content with an appropriate level of skepticism.
-- zen_tom, Mar 18 2013

This idea relies on the premise that it is possible to prove anything. How do you know that "this myth is a falsehood" isn't itself a myth?
-- mitxela, Mar 18 2013

I take it on faith that most forwards are b.s.

"But how do we know that snopes hasn't been infiltrated by the MIB's?"
-- RayfordSteele, Mar 18 2013

My first advice would be to not reply to fowarded emails. This is true. One cannot believe things people say to your face let alone those emails. I believe they are for amusement purposes mostly.
-- xandram, Mar 18 2013

The halfbakery community is not a normal sample of the human population. I know that most of you filter stuff in your subconscious, it just gets scrolled past. But to improve the quality of the general internet, there should be something to help the less fortunate/jaded.

I agree that there may not be a perfect source, in the same way that Google (hehe, Chrome shows google as a spelling mistake, but not Google) cannot guarantee that the search results are perfect, but any source claiming (and judged by the likes of us) to be authoritative would be better than nothing.

I give you the argument of "teachers shouldn't have to teach kids that can't learn on their own".
-- marklar, Mar 18 2013

Marklar, marklar. Marklar! You need to move past the truth or falsity of these statements, and to the reasons they are relished and forwarded. Myths are mythic because of the human psyche and their representation of ageless archetypes. . It is the telling, the communal thinking, the stories that reinforce values and beliefs. Once we had campfires and perhaps gentle bongolike drums with which to accompany these tales. Later, water coolers. Now there is the internet. It is all part of the cosmic unconsciousness.

Rather than deflate, I propose you improve. Rather than find links to disprove, find links that are in the same general spirit, but that are true on at least not disprovably untrue. When you are included on an effort to make fire, bring wood not water!
-- bungston, Mar 18 2013

//this could just be a browser extension...// Perhaps you're not aware of the recent court case? Genuity (one of the major providers of internet infrastructure) won in their bid to *suppress* tools to filter out spam and limit its circulation. They claimed that their revenues would be considerably reduced by the decrease in traffic that this would cause.

As is the always the case with stuff that moves around: there are people who make money when it moves one way; and people who make money when it moves the other way; but the smart people just make money when it moves. This applies to data as much as to anything else.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 18 2013

[bungston] Are you perhaps, as I am, a little inebriated?

[MaxwellBuchanan] Revenue generating spam is one thing, random scaremongering about 'razors in candy' and 'how close Mars will be next month' is something else entirely and has nothing to do with my penis size.
-- marklar, Mar 18 2013

Inspector clouseau: "But I don't want to catch any myths!"
-- Ling, Mar 19 2013

"google" is a spelling mistake. The correct spelling is googol.
-- RayfordSteele, Mar 19 2013

//teachers shouldn't have to teach kids that can't learn on their own

All my child students seemed to learn quite well, despite my teaching. Can't be helped. Anyway who says there isn't a correlation between [redacted] size and the proximity of Mars, not to mention Uranus.

"Reversing the Enlightenment one step at a time" shall be my motto from now on.
-- not_morrison_rm, Mar 19 2013

Yes if everything shrinks by exactly the same amount, then Mars will be closer and your weeer will be weeer.
-- pocmloc, Mar 20 2013

I wish you luck, but the task is too large and it grows.

These myths feed off basic human needs to astound, to be important, and that "I know something you don't know." chant from childhood.
-- popbottle, Sep 15 2015

Hit and myth.
-- xenzag, Sep 15 2015

One of the most clever ideas I've ever seen on the Halfbakery.
-- doctorremulac3, Sep 15 2015

The idea of a publicly accessible and freely available bullshit database seems laudable, but is doomed to fail.

One story along the lines of "the bullshit database is a tool of {your choice of evildoer} and {they} have editorial control over everything" is all it takes to bring the whole thing down, by calling its veracity into question in a way that cannot be absolutely refuted.

Rather, lets implement the model used here at the halfbakery, by allowing users to award buns or bones, with the more highly regarded and respected contributors' awards having more weight. Of course each user would be able to allocate his own weightings to the views of his peers. But wait... don't we all do that subconsciously to every snippet of information we come across? I'm more ready to believe something I hear on the BBC than something arriving unsolicited in my email.
-- Tulaine, Sep 15 2015

Not sure I'm really understanding your post Tulaine, but I believe you're saying any rendering of judgement of veracity from this app is subjective and therefore suspect? Even if that's not what you're saying that's still a point worth addressing.

At some point we reach consensus on things. We did land on the Moon... No? That's doubted by some? Ok, we at least sent a big rocket the size of a skyscraper into the sky... No? That was mass hypnosis or camera tricks? Ok, there IS a Moon, can we at least agree on that? Ok, good, that's a starting point.

I believe this idea would be to hip people to generally agreed upon, verified busted myths, like the guy with the JATO pack on his car. That was a myth, it's verified, there's absolutely no record of that and there would absolutely be lots of police reports, eye witnesses, pictures, family telling the story of their dead wacky uncle etc. This app would scan for words like "JATO", "car" "killed" etc. and I'm picturing a B.S. meter or other indicator popping up with "NOTE: The urban legend of the man strapping a JATO to his car is a myth." You could click the popup if you wanted more details.

That's patentable mark. Get a patent and get funding. You have a very clever idea here. You can start by spending a hundred bucks for a provisional patent while you try to get your real patent going and funding from some venture capital firm. You now have until March 18 2016 to do so before this idea becomes public domain since you've published it.

Tic tock mark, tic tock. If somebody makes a million bucks with your idea you'll be sad and blue.
-- doctorremulac3, Sep 15 2015

'This One Weird Idea Promises to Change the Internet Forever...'
-- RayfordSteele, Sep 15 2015

[doctorremulac3] I never post anything on here I want to retain ownership of. I'm surprised it hasn't been done already in the last 30 months. I'm sure someone who knows the Google API reasonably well could knock out a Chrome extension relatively quickly. I wish I were in a position with a couple of minions to work on it. Perhaps in a few more years I will be.
-- marklar, Sep 16 2015

Kickstarter project perhaps?
-- doctorremulac3, Sep 16 2015

random, halfbakery