True story: I didn’t know that Beto O’Rourke was going to be posting at the same time until last night. Here’s to hoping this doesn’t get completely buried.

Credder was started with the idea of creating a rating and review platform for news, with the goal of improving trust and understanding between journalists and news consumers. We started before Elon's tweet, and since then we've waited to see if another big challenger would pop up, but nothing yet.

A few months ago I did an AMA announcing the public beta launch of our website. Things have been going well since then, but with the election news cycle heating up we’re trying to help people keep better track of what’s going on. Let’s face it, most people don’t have time to come all the way back to our site to check the ratings on every article they come across.

From comments on the previous AMA to feedback from our users, many people have expressed interest in a browser extension that will give them rating breakdowns on articles while browsing online. (We had a limited version of this in the early days).

So we put our heads down for a while, and now we’re announcing the (re)launch of our Chrome extension. Firefox extension on the way.

I know you all love to ask the hard questions, so let’s get started.

You can check out the Chrome Extension here.

Proof: https://imgur.com/JfMQhZw | https://twitter.com/CredderApp/status/1174706761787305984 | https://credder.com

Product Hunt

The previous AMA

Comments: 268 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

semtex94384 karma

How do you prevent people from rating based on their own opinion, rather than factual accuracy? The public isn't an infalliably logical machine, as seen with stuff like global warming, strawmanning, and ant-vaccination hysteria.

_oscilloscope174 karma

We won't ever be able to completely stop people from rating based on their opinion. However, part of why we started this was to increase the public knowledge of media literacy. As part of that, with every review that people leave they have to select a specific reason why they left their review. The list includes most logical fallacies, biases, and common mistakes. Soon we're going to be including short descriptions of each of the reasons to help people pick the best one. If the reason that they select is at odds with the review they left, it will negatively effect their user rating. The goal here isn't to be the end-all-be-all of truth, it's to re-engage consumers with journalists and try to make the new ecosystem less hostile.

MagnumThunder136 karma

Will you be reprising your role for the new Breaking Bad movie?

_oscilloscope33 karma

There's going to be a movie? They don't tell me anything these days!

Hustlemuscle106 karma

How do you prevent brigading? What is to prevent someone who doesn't like the content of the article giving it a bad grade despite the article being fairly written?

_oscilloscope82 karma

So we're dealing with that in two ways. The first way is by having user accountability ratings. Everyone on the platform has their own rating that is based on how helpful their reviews were in the past. The second way is by verifying users through a "trust ladder". Verification steps can include verifying your email, receiving a phone call, and eventually could include verifying your address by receiving a postcard in the mail. So brand new users can only impact ratings so much.

In addition, if we detect that someone is using two accounts, both accounts will be banned.

Edit: spelling

casualblair34 karma

Don't forget to consider account selling. Build up an account then someone else takes it over to abuse.

_oscilloscope28 karma

If we detected irregular activity on an account that would be addressed with either a phone call or video call to the user to reconfirm them. Other websites like Upwork and some dating apps already do this, it's already been proven.

casualblair13 karma

How do these approaches reconcile VPN usage against ip geolocation, or do they not bother?

_oscilloscope10 karma

So it's my understanding that VPN usage can't be entirely stopped. However, we can block common VPN's from being used and evern for VPN's we can't detect if we notice weird usage behavior we can still ask them to reconfirm their account by phone or video call.

Dragoniel2 karma

Verification steps can include verifying your email, receiving a phone call, and eventually could include verifying your address by receiving a postcard in the mail.

So this is USA-only service?

_oscilloscope6 karma

For now it is USA, Canada, and Australia centric. We will be working to expand into other countries eventually.

Happyazz84-6 karma

It’s a great idea, but look at rotten tomatoes rating for Chappell’s “sticks and stones”. it was something like 23% rotten from critics, and 93% positive from viewers.

How will you combat the current cancel culture, or the current obsession with finding offense in everything that seems to be so prevalent lately.

I hope it works out, but I fear it will become an echo chamber like Twitter has, where blue checks are handed out to people who should never have received them in the first place.

_oscilloscope28 karma

I'm not going to comment on cultural trends, but in my opinion a similar situation to that special on Rotten Tomatoes would make me feel like the system was working. The ratings aren't just supposed to be telling you what is good and what is bad, they're supposed to help reveal biases inside of the different categories of reviewers. Usually when the ratings are so drastically different it means one of the groups is wrong or out of touch. Right now people might think they know that, but it's different when it's in your face and so starkly contrasting.

I guess what I'm saying is I want to know what the equivalent to that Rotten Tomatoes page is in news. So that everyone can know that it is an issue.

mike____35 karma

[deleted]

_oscilloscope23 karma

So that article actually doesn't have enough reviews yet to generate it's own rating. Before an article has enough reviews, we'll put the rating for the news outlet in as a placeholder. So currently that news outlet has a rating of 63%. We indicate if a rating is a placeholder or not by putting "Author" or "Outlet" under the rating, depending where we got the rating from. If the article gets another positive review though, an article rating would be generated that would be 100%.

mike____39 karma

[deleted]

_oscilloscope1 karma

Hey I understand if the ratings don't match how you think they should. They don't always match how I see things either. If you don't want to use the platform that's fine, but if you feel like the articles you see rated are under or over represented the best thing you can do is get involved in the community.

mike____38 karma

[deleted]

_oscilloscope13 karma

I do think there is some validity to what you're saying, but I think people get hung up on issues that they see going wrong on other websites currently, and then try to apply those same issues to our site. Which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. The difference is that we see those issues too.

We're trying to strike a balance that allows people to interact, but we aren't letting people just post whatever they want. We're making people build up their reputations and ratings on the site over time, and having the critic ratings as well, and having a three part review process. Eventually we might even require that you include sources or references in your review if you want your review to have the most weight.

Sites like Wikipedia and Stack Overflow have their problems, but that doesn't mean the content that's produced is worthless.

But it could just be a difference of opinion. Have a great day!

bsbing35 karma

What is your revenue source?

_oscilloscope58 karma

Since the news industry has been struggling with the transition to the online format, we are actually working on a Twitch/Patreon style revenue model. You'll be able to tip a journalist or outlet for an article you enjoyed, or setup a monthly reoccurring tip to whichever outlets or journalists you like to read. The goal is to help bring money back to the industry, especially local reporters and investigative journalists. We'll be launching that in the next few months.

bsbing16 karma

Thank you, so are you intending to rely on voluntary donations to you directly or do you take a % of that tip? How much has been invested in the platform? Source of funding?

_oscilloscope23 karma

We're going to take a percentage of tips. Somewhere between 10%-20%. We're currently pre-seed, and have accepted angel investment from friends, family and people who reach out to us.

decimalturn22 karma

Have you considered adding social media functionalities in your Chrome Extension, like for example to add an option to review the article in a tweet? I'm thinking of something like what the Pocket Chrome extension does by adding a button to the right of the Reply, Retweet, Like and Share button.

_oscilloscope15 karma

That's a great idea! We've already been exploring adding Twitter integration, I'll see about adding this feature to our road map.

cracksilog19 karma

Have you developed any plans to go beyond the English language (from your site, you list the US, Canada, Australia, and the U.K.)? Have you encountered any challenges (other than the obvious language barrier) in interpreting and reviewing foreign news?

_oscilloscope14 karma

We'd love to eventually branch out into other languages or countries, but we're just trying to prove ourselves in the English speak countries first. Generally though, any news article can get posted to the website. We just ask that for now people leave reviews in English. The U.K. has been a bit of a challenge due to their situation, but other than that we know the problem with online news is not unique to English only and people ask us all the time about launching in their language.

BabousCobwebBowl17 karma

What’s up Flynn? What’s for breakfast?

_oscilloscope10 karma

Idk, but I do like breakfast. I like bacon...

TheSplurg16 karma

Has anyone mistakenly called you Flynn by chance?

_oscilloscope14 karma

No, but lot's of people on Reddit tell me that.

bERt0r14 karma

How do you deal with bad faith actors as in botnets and intelligence agencies?

_oscilloscope4 karma

That's a fair question. I feel at least some of the other security measures I've mentioned in other comments will help address issues like these, but honestly we're just not to a size yet to turn our focus towards solving these issues yet. I do think about how we will eventually deal with them on fairly regular basis though.

practivist8 karma

I'd call myself a power-user on Credder, but when will there be an iOS app I can use?!?!?!? You could send me the Credder Daily as push notifications to pull me back into the app. Let's go!

_oscilloscope15 karma

We're currently working on an iOS app, and we're hoping to launch it sometime in the next two months.

Corm6 karma

Why does this extension need to see my copy/paste data? I really wish I could use it but I'm not giving that permission.

_oscilloscope5 karma

Ah yeah. That's so we can copy the rating page url for you if you click the share button. If it bothers enough people we might consider rethinking how we implement it. It's difficult to work around though.

TheNaughtyMonkey5 karma

Neal Stephenson's latest book goes in to the idea of personal editors for what we see on the Internet.

Have you read that? And, if so, is this sort of what you are aiming for?

_oscilloscope3 karma

I haven't heard of it. What's the book's title?

TheNaughtyMonkey6 karma

Fall; or Dodge in Hell

Starts off with a hoax that the entire world falls for, and then has some interesting discussions as to how we consume internet media.

AR glasses are by now as widespread as those of us in the 2010s assumed they would be, delivering newsfeeds directly to people's eyes; however, unless you can afford a human editor or you pool your money with others to subscribe to a feed with decent AI filters, that feed is algorithmically determined to keep you in what one character calls a "personalized hallucination stream"—one synced with your pulse, how fast you blink, and other markers. - Src.

Not his best book, TBH. But, has some very thought provoking parts.

_oscilloscope2 karma

I'll look it up, thanks!

DirtyProjector4 karma

This sounds like an absolutely terrible idea. Most people are completely uninformed and are not going to rate things objectively. They are going to rate things emotionally and with flawed logic and it’s going to be completely irrelevant. Also, how do you prevent griefing, or people leaving thousands of reviews on NYT calling it fake news?

_oscilloscope1 karma

Look I don't have a problem with you criticizing something specific I've said, but at least try to read my other comments first.

itsorange4 karma

Do you think it's a good idea to have a user contributed and votable short synapsis above popular articles to save time for the average reader?

_oscilloscope5 karma

We've discussed auto-generated or manually curated summaries before. We're not ready to try something like that yet, but we're not ready to rule it out either.

2FAagent4 karma

Hey Austin

What method are you employing for deciding the rating of the articles? And does this extenstion work across all news websites?

_oscilloscope3 karma

The main ratings you see are broken down by whether a user "trusted" an article or not. Three stars or lower is "not trust", three and a half star or higher is "trust". Then it's just the percentage of people that "trusted" the article. We also include the average review score in the details below the main rating, for anyone looking for more detailed information.

The extension should work on all news outlets, we just might not have a rating for every one yet.

chickaboomba3 karma

I volunteered to try it out last round, and the thing that kept me from engaging is that I couldn’t post an article - I could only rate ones already theee. Are you now supporting user generated posts?

_oscilloscope4 karma

Yes! We weren't happy with ourselves for not having that available last time but you can post articles now both on the website, and automatically on the extension by just reviewing an article that doesn't have any reviews.

Bitswim3 karma

How concerned are you that your site will become another media matters?

Atlantic rated 100%

Buzzfeed rated 98%

Fix those and you may be onto something. Otherwise probably just another echo chamber for the left to feel good about feeling bad

_oscilloscope2 karma

Keep in mind that those are the critic or journalist ratings. The user ratings are much different with Atlantic rated 69% and BuzzfeedNews rated 68%.

If you think that the critic ratings are more important to you than that's fine, but we present both ratings so people can decide for themselves.

Honestly the trend we've seen is that critic reviews just tend to be more forgiving than user reviews. I'll be interested to see how it continues to progress.

FinndBors3 karma

I wonder if it would be feasible to have two ratings instead of one for the article? One for the accuracy of the headline and another for the accuracy of the article itself.

I find that headlines are often very very bad, but the articles themselves are okay. Most people don't read the articles, but read the headlines and are influenced by that.

_oscilloscope5 karma

We played around with allowing users to rate the headlines as clickbait in the early days. The problem was people got confused about what was the actual review process. So we decided for now that we'd focus on doing one thing well and then maybe down the road we could add that feature once people were more familiar with us.

waldosan_of_the_deep3 karma

Has the beta proven effective so far? This sounds interesting I think I'll definitely download the extension when I get back to my desktop.

_oscilloscope5 karma

Yeah the beta has been going well. We're starting to generate real ratings for many of the more well known outlets as well as various smaller outlets and journalists.

thisidntpunny3 karma

Do you think it’s possible to release an IOS app so that mobile users can access it?

_oscilloscope6 karma

iOS app is planned to be released in a month or two.

Imsosorryyourewrong2 karma

my name is walter austin. hows it going?

_oscilloscope4 karma

Pretty good. Having a nice evening.

charlemagne19552 karma

How would u make sure that bots don’t target a specific news outlet and commit liable good and bad ?

_oscilloscope2 karma

So first, users can't directly leave reviews on news outlets. The ratings have to filter up from reviews on articles. That just adds difficulty to the manipulation. Second, reviews will have less weight from less verified accounts. So that makes it even harder to directly manipulate ratings using bots.

monkeysossidge2 karma

Are you aware of the Maidsafe project? I think you would do well on there when they finally launch.

_oscilloscope1 karma

The biggest problem I've seen with blockchain networks is that they focus so much on getting new apps built on their network, that they don't focus on making it easier for pre-existing apps to transfer over. I'll take a look at their docs though.

IAMBEOWULFF2 karma

The permissions needed for the extension are kind of spooky (reads all your interactions, basically). Are there any inbuilt safeguard from Google which stop you from personally reading my data?

_oscilloscope3 karma

I know the permissions sounds scary. Google forces us to say it that way. What we're actually doing is scraping the web domain from each page you visit, then comparing to see if we have that domain associated with a news outlet. If we don't, we immediately stop looking at the page your on. That's all we see unless you take further action with the extension. I think you can download and see the code that's used in extensions? I could be wrong on that but Google makes all extensions submit their code in a human readable format. So there isn't anything in the extension code that I'd be afraid of another person seeing.

ByonKun1 karma

How well do you think it works with sites like newsvoice and allsides that gives links to different articles of the same topic?

_oscilloscope1 karma

Not sure what you mean. Can you explain a bit more?

louiethe13og1 karma

Who are you?

_oscilloscope5 karma

I am a software developer, before working on this I did freelance/contract work. I got my degree in computer engineering. One of my other co-founders is a host on a public radio station, and before that owned and ran a restaurant. We partnered with a media watchdog organization to help us develop the review process. Our advisers include but are not limited to the founder of Rotten Tomatoes, and Columbia Journalism Review's Public Editor for the New York Times.

You can find more info on our about page

xiaopewpew1 karma

Why would anyone go through the trouble registering on you platform, verifying themselves and thus exposing personal information to you, just to be able to review news?

Even in its final form, how is your platform more useful than r/news

_oscilloscope5 karma

I don't know. Personally, I feel like the review process is fun and informative. We are trying to find a way to make sure we protect user information, and have been looking at possible blockchain solutions but haven't found any yet that have met our use case. As for how it's different from /r/news, well it's different in a lot of ways but one way that I like is that people are forced to pick a specific reason they don't like an article. It doesn't always stop them from ragging on it, but it does make it much more obvious that they are talking out of their ass.