FAQ’s: Frequently Asked Questions
About Proof and our upcoming “Fake News” Platform
We have put together a list of frequently asked questions and provided our answers while citing the academic literature where necessary. We attempted to group questions together and answer them to make this page easier to navigate and to remove duplicate answers.
What is Proof?
Proof is a website, where people globally can read, submit and vote on the trustworthiness of content published over the internet. Note: The content submitted must be written in the English language. Integrated into the Proof website is Proof’s own proprietary voting platform, where readers can vote on the truthfulness of an article’s content by submitting a blind monetary vote in the form of a game token called Proofs. Upon the successful aggregation of a large crowd, and after a series of proprietary metrics are met, the vote will close, and a non-simple majority who placed votes as mostly true or mostly false will win the vote. The outcome of this vote is referred to as the wisdom of crowds. A portion of the minority’s game tokens will be transferred to the majority.
Visit our website at www.Proofmedia.io
What is the philosophy behind Proof?
Proof was built to create a revolution — taking power away from elites and giving it to the people. We believe that our mechanism is built for the common person and gives the common person the opportunity to have a say and identify fact from fiction. Today, all media is forced upon us from the elites (corporations, intellectuals, government, media). Proof is a place where there is no dependence on advertisers, no dependence on journalists or journals (blogs included), no dependence on corporations and no dependence on government. The only dependency we have is on the global citizen. We want to create a revolution that fosters dialogue, understanding and critical analysis so that we as a species can move forward in a productive manner. There has been no better time in the history of the world, where truth and fiction can be better identified by the masses. We hope you join the revolution.
Who uses Proof?
The Proof website can be used by multiple users (community members) each of whom can engage and receive incentives for their work. There are three community member roles within the Proof ecosystem: Submitters, who provide us with content that they believe is questionable and are relying on our community to vote on the factual content of the article. Submitters should only submit articles that are in the English language. Readers come to the platform because they value vetted content and the experience of the community’s proprietary news analytics. The final community member role is the Voter, who reviews and votes on content as part of a larger community driven effort to ascertain facts. By leveraging various concepts, including blockchain, cryptographic schemes and applied microeconomics, Proof was conceptualized to secure access to truthful content in text, video and photographic form. However, during our alpha and beta releases, Proof will only accept text documents, which includes articles and social media posts
Why does Proof assume that a majority of voters will provide the best answer?
Aren’t crowds usually the worst source of information?
Is this considered mob rule?
Proof relies on a theory, typically referred to as the Wisdom of Crowds? The wisdom of crowds is also referred to as collective intelligence. Under the appropriate conditions aggregated individual decisions provide highly reliable judgments which over time are greater than any one individual by themselves. Since its early adoption in economics, the wisdom of crowds has been utilized in political science, sociology, psychology and other disciplines to solve simple to complex problems. Following is a snippet of research articles on the topic of the Wisdom of Crowds for your review, and verification:
1. Galton, Francis (1907) Vox Populi Nature 75, 450–451.
2. Hertwig, Ralph (2012) Tapping into the Wisdom of the Crowd — with Confidence Science 20, Vol. 336, Issue 6079, pp. 303–30
3. Kittur, Aniket and Robert E. Kraut (2008) Harnessing the Wisdom of Crowds in Wikipedia” Quality through Coordination Proceedings of the 2008 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work Pages 37–46
4. Maloney, Michael T. and Harold Mulherin (2003) The complexity of price discovery in an efficient market: the stock market reaction to the Challenger crash Journal of Corporate Finance Volume 9, Issue 4, Pages 453–479
5. Prelec, Dražen, H. Sebastian Seung, and John McCoy (2017) A solution to the single-question crowd wisdom problem Nature Vol 541, 26
6. Surowiecki, James. (2005). The Wisdom of Crowds. Anchor Books
7. Tideman, T. N., and Tullock, G. (1976) A new and superior process for making social choices. Journal of Political Economy, 84(6), 1145–1159.
8. Welinder, Peter, Steve Branson, Serge Belongie and Pietro Perona (2010) The Multidimensional Wisdom of Crowds Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) 23
9. WHO (2003) A Multicentre Collaboration to Investigate the Cause of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome The Lancet 361: 1730–33
10. Arrow, Kenneth J. (1974). The Limits of Organization.
11. Lorge, Irving, David Fox, Joel Davitz, Marlin Brenner (1958) A Survey of Studies Contrasting the Quality of Group Performance and Individual Performance, 1920–1957. Psychological Bulletin 55 (1958): 337–72.
Why do we need Proof?
In the mid-1990’s, the commonly held belief was that the internet would democratize the creation and distribution of content supported by a new advertising model. While this did occur, what many failed to anticipate was that there may be a need for a global editorial system, built with the same industrial scaling capabilities of the publishing tools themselves. In many ways, content has been weaponized by people, groups, publishers and countries for purposes of generating clicks, destroying personalities, modifying elections, or lying for the sake of self-interest.
Do voters need evidence for claims?
When someone decides to vote on the truthfulness of an article, they do so blindly. What does this mean? This idea of a blind vote is a simple one — people who vote on an article do not know how others have voted. While a vote is currently open, no one will be provided any information about the vote. Will a voter vote their token based upon his or her bias? Maybe. However, if the voter does not want to lose their Proof game token, and the money associated with the token, then they will do the work and take a position with respect to the facts. The question that is being asked of a voter is — “Is this article mostly true or mostly false?” From our early research, we know that voters will perform research and understand the facts, and then vote the article as mostly true or mostly false based exclusively on the facts, but very rarely do voters vote with their bias. If voters vote with their bias, they will most likely lose in a blind vote scenario.
Why is your algorithm proprietary and secret?
Proof has developed a voting algorithm that is used to close a vote, and to assist in calculating payouts to vote winners. However, this algorithm is not shared with our Proof community for one simple reason — manipulation. We do not want any one person or group to have access to our algorithm, so they can create schemes to uncover anomalies in the algorithm and exploit the opportunity to manipulate a votes outcome. We have done substantial research into the algorithm and the manner in which it closes a vote, and we feel comfortable that it is extremely challenging to penetrate, however, we do not want to leave any opportunity for manipulation to chance.
Why are Proof voters anonymous?
Can this system be easily manipulated?
We create anonymous Proof voters because we do not want to encourage bad actors to contact others with the intent of colluding on the platform. We believe that even if this were the case, and someone was attempting to collude that the blind vote would make this behavior less successful. As suggested in game theory, when either party wants to collude but the payoff may be greater to one who defects from the collusion — we believe a defection will in fact occur. Also considering a blind vote, we believe that collusion will be minimal, and we believe that functions in our algorithm will account for this small possibility. For a succinct overview of game theory and collusion, see the following video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukQkBcmsvAg
What if you find that somebody does collude/cheat to buy votes or bribe voters?
If we find that someone is cheating, colluding or buying votes, they will be removed from the platform, and should we require the legal authorities we will work with them to the greatest extent possible.
What types of online content are best suited for Proof?
Proof is being built to accept any digital media content where a truthfulness vote is needed. This includes text, video, and photography. However, during our alpha and beta releases, Proof will only accept text documents, which includes articles and social media posts.
Is there such thing as too close to call?
It is possible that a vote is too close to call. When a vote is too close to call, the vote will close and be listed as “Too Close to Call” and tokens will be returned to voters. A Too Close to Call vote is where the majority side has less than 52.5% of the overall quadratic voting population.
Couldn’t the wealthy sway the result their way?
So, what is stopping an elitist or someone really wealthy from manipulating your system?
The Proof platform allows any voter to vote up to 1,000 Proofs per article voted on. However, each voter only receives the square root of the total number of Proofs voted as consideration. As way of example, assume I place 1,000 Proofs ($1,000 in value) on an article. I will receive the square root of $1,000 or approximately 32 votes. Now say there is another voter who votes 100 Proofs ($100) — they will receive 10 votes. What you may notice here is that a voter who places a larger vote starts to lose their ability to influence the vote with additional Proof he/she votes. Consider the example further (this is hypothetical because a real vote requires a large crowd). Assume I place 1,000 Proofs on an article as “mostly true” and there are three voters who vote 144 Proofs each, taking the position that an article is “mostly false”. In this case, my 1,000 Proofs provides me 32 votes (square root of 1,000), and each of other voters receive 12 votes (square root of 144) each or a total of 36 votes. Notice, that a group of 3 voters with a total of 432 votes ($432) placed (144 x 3) has a higher number of squared votes than a person who puts up 1,000 Proofs ($1,000). Under this scenario, the three voters with less Proofs will win the outcome.
Our system is based off a concept called quadratic voting (QV) which addresses issues of voting paradox and majority-rule. The premise of QV is that it becomes exponentially more expensive for every additional vote you want to buy, forcing even the elite to consider the consequences. In addition, QV has shown that a weak majority can lose vs a strong minority in numbers as one single large vote carries less weight than a bunch of smaller votes. Steven P. Lalley has shown mathematically that QV is the only pricing rule that gives individuals an incentive to truthfully report their preferences.
An interesting article on nature and the importance of the quadratics can be found here https://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/05/humans-are-doing-democracy-wrong-bees-are-doing-it-right/?fbclid=IwAR19U9WVBHHCbGO9NSIjSBPW0XDpEncmbbKuGNhrXd6uoCQlos2FUoRv4JQ
How is the payment made to winners of a vote?
Once a vote is closed and the majority is identified, using the square vote mechanism as discussed in the previous question, the majority winners receive their overall percentage of the vote multiplied by the total votes voted by the minority, less Proof’s 10% transaction fee. As way of example. Assume that the majority of voters accounted for 75% of total votes. Further assume that the minority voters placed 1,000 Proofs in total. Under this scenario, the majority winners will receive 75% of 1,000 Proofs, or 750. This 750 will be reduced by a 75 Proof transaction fee to Proof, leaving the winners 675 Proof. This 675 Proof will be allocated to the majority based on their votes as a percentage of all the Proof majority voters.
This seems like another censorship scam
Is this a controlled opposition site posing as unbiased?
Is this a left- or right-wing driven account?
Proof does not censor anyone — this is extremely important to our core values. Any type of article can be submitted on the Proof platform. As explained above, the articles are voted on in a blind manner, and so no one has the ability to know what others are doing or thinking. No Proof employee can vote on any article. Members on the Proof team come from all different backgrounds and walks of life. If someone votes with their bias, and fails to consider the facts, they will many times lose their Proofs and thus lose money.
Is this a marketplace where truth can be purchased?
Interesting question. Philosophically, in order for truth to be purchased, truth must be sold, which it is not. So, what is Proof then, with respect to the question. Proof is a marketplace, where people gather to perform work, where the ultimate goal is to find truth. Those who find the truth, are paid.
How does voting on something make it true?
This is a wonderful philosophical question. The wisdom of crowds suggests that the mean of a crowd’s score is the best reflection of the most accurate outcome. Is this always correct? No. The literature suggests that the crowd will identify the proper answer about 90+% of the time. The crowd will come closer to the actual truth, then any one individual over time. What is also important and different with Proof, is that we will show you the actual score, after the vote closes. We will show you what the crowd thinks.
What if the crowd system was purposely gamed or simply came up with the wrong answer?
During our Alpha testing, there will be no appeal process. However, we are presently developing a process where a vote can be resubmitted, and challenged by an individual. This process will be identified prior to our beta release in Q1 2019.
How can everyone read every article?
The purpose of Proof is not meant for a person to read every article, but only to read and vote on articles that interest them. All articles on the website are available for viewing but we anticipate that people will vote on content that they feel comfortable with.
Why would I pay to vote if something is true or false? Why should I care?
Everyday we make decisions based on information and science. This information and science are most often communicated via news and content published online. If society is too make prudent decisions, and if the species is to move forward, accurate information is necessary. Many philosophers have written about this failure of accurate information, including but not limited to Alasdair Macintyre and Friedrich Nietzsche. Without factual information, society breaks down — and as we are seeing now institutions and philosophies such as democracy become quickly strained. So why vote? In addition to helping save society from itself, you can make money in the process.
Why are you built on the blockchain?
We are storing the outcomes of each vote on the blockchain, so that the vote outcomes can be audited by voters at any given time. Second, we are putting the vote outcomes on the blockchain to help alleviate the chances of hacking a vote by a bad actor.
Do Proofs have monetary value?
Yes, each Proof has a monetary value of $1 USD.
What about articles that have true and false comments?
Most articles have many facts included within them. We believe that an article is mostly false, if all of minor facts are correct but the one fact that is driving the theory or hypothesis of the article is false, then the article will most likely be false. Similarly, if a minor fact is wrong, yet the overall article is accurate and most of the important facts correct — we find that this article will be considered and voted as mostly true.
How is this different from gambling?
Voting on the Proof platform is not gambling in the sense you are placing a bet at the racetrack or on the outcome of a football game. Proof is a market mechanism, that ensures that no one has to pay to read truthful content but rather gives an opportunity for people to make extra money by performing an important service. To win in a Proof vote, the voter will need to spend time researching the facts of an article. Should a voter perform the research, and are thorough we believe they will receive income from their efforts. Additionally, there are no odds for a voter, they perform the work, vote and are paid based on the outcome. The Proof mechanism is typically referred to as a skill, rather than a bet based on beating the odds.
Is the vote constantly aggregated?
Each vote is submitted blind, meaning that no one person will ever see how an open vote is progressing. Absolutely no information is shared with voters while a vote is in progress. On the back end, Proof’s technology is constantly aggregating the votes and running the vote through its algorithm. When the algorithm hits its many functional hurdles the vote will close, and only then will information be shared with the voter.
Can votes be voted on at any time or does the voting close?
Votes can be placed at any time a vote is open. Once a vote is closed, it no longer can be voted on. Voting is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There will be no set time when a vote will close, however it will close when all parameters have been met.
Why would you need my credit card info?
There is no charge or any payment required to be a ‘Reader’ on the Proof website, and or to ‘Submit’ articles for Proof voting. The only charge is to ‘Voters’, who need to purchase Proof tokens. These tokens are used on the Proof platform to vote on articles and will increase or decrease based on a voter’s success. If a voter wants to exchange their Proofs for cash, they can. (exceptions with alpha-testing)
How does Proof get paid?
Proof receives a 10% fee on the number of Proofs that move from a loser to winner, after a vote is closed.
If your algorithm for defining a wise crowd is a proprietary one, how can I be assured that everything that is voted on is really truly fair?
What if you change the algorithm, can you manipulate the vote results?
This is where we plan to use a trustless voting system and blockchain. We are building a system so that we can prove the votes we received are the votes we publish after the vote closes. Each voter will be able to audit that their vote is included as well. In addition, we could actually put the algorithm in a smart contract one day so that everybody would know if we touched or changed anything.
Why do you require verification from voters?
We require identity verification from our voters, to prove they are who they say they are. They will remain anonymous to other voters and the outside world. The alpha will not require identity verification but once we upgrade for beta, it will be required.
We hope you found this information helpful. If you have any other questions please visit our telegram chat for direct conversation with our team at https://t.me/joinchat/IMcyCAv0AcR1FkTMi0X67A or comment on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/proofmediainc/.
Please check back as this page will be updated periodically.
We are currently looking for 1000 people to help test our alpha-version which will launch in December 2018. If you would like to become an alpha tester, we are giving free credits to the first 1000 people who sign up at www.proofmedia.io.