TruStory: Values & Guidelines



  1. Be inquisitive
    Question everything. Nothing is true until proven true.

  2. Be open-minded
    Be able to entertain different viewpoints and perspectives even if you don’t believe them or are convinced by them. You often learn the most from people you disagree with the most.

  3. Be assertive
    Have the conviction to defend your viewpoints.

  4. Have humility
    Have the humility to change our viewpoints when someone has made a better point.

  5. Think for yourself
    It’s easy to bandwagon off other thoughts but that’s not going to get us to the best answer. Instead, reason your way through the argument independently.


  1. Confront the issue, not the person.
    Address the issue you’re debating. Don’t make arguments personal by bringing people into it.

  2. Ask clarifying questions.
    Always ask why if you don’t understand something or don’t see how a piece of evidence proves the point a user is trying to make. It’s his or her responsibility to prove. Don’t be afraid to ask for better evidence.

  3. Admit when you are wrong.
    It’s okay to be wrong. Openly acknowledge when you are. People will appreciate you for it.

  4. Keep your identity out of it.
    The reason conversations become hard is because it becomes an attack on the ego. Keep your identity unattached to the conversation.

  5. Flag bad stories.
    Stories have to pass certain filters to be voted on. If you think a story is not falsifiable (e.g. too subjective or ambiguous) or abusive (e.g. trolling or spam), point it out!

  6. Use constructive criticism when replying.
    When refuting someone’s point, start with “I agree with X but I disagree with Y”.

  7. Be clear and concise.
    Brevity is always appreciated. Strive towards keeping responses short and to the point.

  8. Cite evidence that is as direct to the source as possible.
    i.e. A BBC reporting of an event is a better than a Huffington post about that BBC reporting. But what’s better than the BBC reporting is a transcript of the local that the reporter interviewed.

  9. Be transparent about what’s required to validate/invalidate a claim
    When analyzing a claim, evaluate and publicize what the audience needs to know to evaluate the information. This makes it easier for others to contribute.

Welcome to TruStory!


These seem good to me! The main point I’d consider changing is the example for guideline #6. There are going to be times when people completely disagree and as long as people don’t say that in a rude manner then that should be fine. Maybe just remove guideline #6 and add Use constructive criticism as a second sentence in the description for guideline #1.

I also think I’d replace the description for value #4 with the description for guideline #4 since and remove guideline #4. I think value #4’s existing description makes it seem too similar to value #2.


A platform built around getting to the truth should have transparency as a value. It makes sense philosophically (especially considering its close parallels to journalism) and in the details.

In The Elements of Journalism, the author notes that in the Spirit of Transparency, the journalist must address the following questions:

  • What does my audience need to know to evaluate this information for itself?
  • Is there anything in our treatment of this that requires explanation?
  • What is unknown?

We should also consider them when providing evidence for/against a claim.




Inquisitive vs skeptical
Be inquisitive should be changed to “Be skeptical.” You can’t teach someone to be curious. You can’t force someone to ask a question or have a doubt. You can ask someone to be more doubtful and less trusting. Be skeptical captures that.

Number and ordering of values
Also, I’ve tried to dwindle down the values into 3 because people don’t remember lists of 5 but 3 is very catchy, very hummable. But they all say something important and different. I would change the ordering though and change it to the following:

  • Think for yourself
  • Be skeptical
  • Be assertive
  • Be open-minded
  • Show humility

Because just like the 12 steps of interview or 5 stages of grief, this ordering reflects the thought process of an expert better as they go from doubt --> creating a claim --> validation process --> outcome of validation.



As always, thanks for raising such brilliant points. I was writing why I disagreed with your point but halfway as I was writing, I realized yeah, I actually agree with his point but I’m just being holding onto old perspectives rather than being open-minded to ideas that aren’t my own.

I agree because people should explain their reasoning and methodology in such a way that the right things should be questioned (is that an accurate proxy for the thing you’re trying to quantify vs. can you explain the methodology so I am able to understand if I am able to critique it.


When writing about a claim, moving forward, I’ll keep the three questions noted in your post in mind. Thanks again for sharing.


Wasn’t sure where to post this, but it looks useful. (Source)

[T]he Toulmin model provides us with useful tools for analyzing the components of arguments."
(J. Meany and K. Shuster, Art, Argument, and Advocacy . IDEA, 2002)

  • Claim: A statement that something is so.
  • Data: The backing for the claim.
  • Warrant: The link between the claim and the grounds.
  • Backing: Support for the warrant.
  • Modality: The degree of certainty employed in offering the argument.
  • Rebuttal: Exceptions to the initial claim.
  • “[Toulmin’s] general model of ‘data’ leading to a ‘claim,’ mediated by a ‘warrant’ with any necessary ‘backing,’ has been very influential as a new standard of logical thinking, particularly among scholars of rhetoric and speechcommunication.”
    (C. W. Tindale, Rhetorical Argumentation . Sage, 2004)