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FAQ

Thank you for visiting our Frequently Asked Questions page!

Please note, we frequently make improvements to the platform, and sometimes this may cause the information here to be out of date. If in doubt, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions!

Last Updated: September 19, 2018

General

What is Our.News?
 
Our.News is a social news platform that crowdsources fact-checking and news ratings. Our mission is to combat misinformation by making it easy for anyone to fact-check and rate news.
How does Our.News work?
 
Our.News works by making it easy for anyone to fact-check and rate news. Through our website, browser extensions, mobile apps, and platform integrations, we provide all the latest tools, background, and source information for every news article online. Users are then invited to add sources, and rate the news for various factors. Taken together, all ratings from all platforms provide a public opinion gauge for the news.
How does Our.News differ from other news websites?
 
Most other social news websites do not provide users easy tools for enable their own fact-checking or rating of news. Our.News is different, it’s a social information platform where users directly participate in fact-checking news and determine for themselves what’s true.
Does it cost anything to participate?
 
No. Everything on Our.News is free for individual news consumers.
Where do I download the Browser Extensions?
 
You can download Browser Extensions for both Chrome and Firefox at these links:


Firefox versions coming soon!
Ok, I installed the Browser Extensions! Now what?
 
Great! A new icon should now have appeared in your browser, usually to the right of the address bar:

Now, just browse to any news article on the web, from any publisher. When you’re ready to dig into the details, click the icon to open up the Browser Extension. Follow the prompts from there!

Fact Checking

How do I fact-check with Our.News?
 
Our.News provides several features to make fact-checking easy:

  • Newstrition Label – Find out everything you need to know about the Publisher behind every news story with verified publisher data provided by the Freedom Forum Institute.
  • Fact-Check Tool – Sources – Review the Sources behind each news article.
  • Fact-Check Tool – User Sources – Find a source for any article that either supports, refutes, or add context? You can add it here, and up/down vote the relevance of contributed sources.
  • Fact-Check Tool – Top Indicators – Review the scores from any other third-party fact-checkers (such as Politifact, Snopes, etc) who have performed analysis on this article. Coming Soon.
  • Fact-Check Tool – Meta – See when the article was originally published, view the Author’s profile, check to see how many ratings it has, and its trending score.
What is the Newstrition Label?
 
The Newstrition Label was created by the Freedom Forum Institute and Our.News to provide verified background information about news publishers online. It is included by default as part of the Fact Checking tools, within the Our.News website and Browser Extensions.

What’s the difference between Verified -vs- Unverified Publisher info?
 
The Verified label on any publisher within the Newstrition Label means that the information provided has been corroborated from at least two sources by the Freedom Forum Institute. This does not necessarily mean that the publisher is trustworthy, as we leave that up to the consideration of the user. It just means that the information provided within their publisher profile can be relied upon to be accurate.

The Unverified label means that the information presented has not yet been corroborated, and cannot necessarily be relied upon. In this case, we encourage you to do your own digging, as knowing who published the content is the first step in fact-checking. It does not necessarily mean that the publisher is trustworthy.
What is the Fact-Check Tool?
 
The Fact-Check Tool was created by Our.News as a way to help make it easy for anyone to fact-check the news themselves. It is included by default on all of our platforms. Some of the features are:

  • Sources – Review the Sources behind each news article.
  • User Sources – Find a source for any article that either supports, refutes, or add context? You can add it here, and up/down vote the relevance of contributed sources.
  • Top Indicators – Review the scores from any other third-party fact-checkers (such as Politifact, Snopes, etc) who have performed analysis on this article. Coming Soon.
  • Meta – See when the article was originally published, view the Author’s profile, check to see how many ratings it has, and its trending score.

Why does this one article not have any Sources?
 
As of this update, Our.News automatically imports article Sources from roughly 200 Publishers. We’re always adding more to this list! And sometimes, even those publishers do not list sources with their articles.

So, what do I do now?

Dig a little deeper! Search our site for related articles that might be helpful, or open up Google and see if you can find anything relevant. Then, when you find sources that either support, refute, or add context to an article, please Submit them to the system by clicking the “Add Source” button within the Fact-Check Tool.

Content Validation

How does the News and Content validation process work?
 
News and other content submitted to Our.News is validated by the crowd, as follows:
  • Any user can rate content based on four factors:  Spin, Trust, Accuracy, and Relevance
  • The users ratings are then weighted based on their Cred weights
  • Ratings are additionally weighted based on Bias Detection algorithms that check to see what kind of fact-checking a user did before rating, including:
    • How long did the user read the content?
    • How many sources where checked? How long were they read?
    • Check the users ratings history and adjust for patterned bias
  • All the weighted ratings are totaled and then divided by total possible rating score
How does news get entered into the system?
 
All registered users can add news URL’s using the Submit News  input at the top of the Activity Wall, or within the Browser Extensions by clicking the Add Article button on any article not already indexed. Additionally, Our.News automatically scrapes news from leading sources on a daily basis.
What are Sources and where do they come from?
 
Sources are links to outside URLs which either support, refute, or add context to the content in question. Our.News automatically attempts to scrape sources when new content is added, and users can also submit their own sources by clicking the Add Source button within the Fact-Check popup on any article.
Can I rate the same news or content multiple times?
 
Yes, you can rate any news or content however many times as you wish. But, the system only counts your latest rating of any content towards the validation scores. And you can only earn a maximum of four points for rating any content (one for each of Spin, Trust, Accuracy, and Relevance).
How can you ensure political neutrality?
 
Our.News is absolutely committed to being a 100% non-partisan platform. All people of all beliefs are welcome, and all content validation is driven by our users. Our.News staff may participate in the Open News Validation process by submitting news, ratings, sources, etc., however, they do so under the same terms and using the same system as all users and do not receive any extra weight, points, or privileges for their participation. The difference with Our.News is that everyone can participate and starts out on equal footing.
How do you stop bias in the ratings?
 
Every human has at least some innate bias, and we therefore assume all ratings will have a bias. In general, the more ratings an article has, the less individual bias matters. And, we’ve built a variety of Bias Detection processes to further minimize its impact. This includes weighting ratings based on user behaviors, such as:
  • Length of time a user read the article before rating
  • How many sources the user reviewed before rating
  • Did the user submit their own sources
  • Does the user have a history of patterned bias

Not all of these processes are fully implemented yet in the Beta version.
Is there any automated rating or validation happening?
 
In certain rare cases, Our.News will automatically submit content ratings:
  • Content from publishers known to only publish satire receives one “Satire” rating
  • Content identified by publishers as an opinion receives one “Opinion” rating

Community

What is the Our.News Community?
 
Our.News is driven by a community of users who are passionate about finding the truth in news. All political views are welcome, and everyone is invited to join the community by registering for a free account.
What Community features are available?
 
Our.News features a complete social news network, where users can:

  • See what the Community is doing by viewing the public Wall
  • Post news articles and status updates on the public (or your private) Wall
  • Follow other users to make it easy to see their public updates & activities
  • Add Friends who can see your private Wall and profile information
  • Profile to highlight your background & community participation
  • Message other users privately using secure messaging tools
  • Discuss the news or any topic through Comments on any article
  • Engage directly with the Our.News team and other users using Slack

Accounts

How do I create an account?
 
Click on the Join button at the top of Our.News to get started. Users creating an account with an email address must verify their email address prior to starting. After verifying your email address, you will be able to immediately login and participate.
What information do I need to provide in order to create an account?
 
We only require your name and email address. However, as part of our Creds system to prevent SPAM, users who verify their identity, whether thru phone number verification, linking to social media accounts, and/or other verification methods on the Creds page, will receive substantially more weight (and more points).
Can I update my email or phone number?
 
Yes. First, login and then click on Profile -> Settings.
Can I create more than one account?
 
To ensure the integrity of the system, each person is only permitted one account. Creation of multiple accounts could result in the immediate termination, revocation of all points and unissued tokens.
Can I delete or deactivate my account?
 
Accounts can not be deleted, but you may request deactivation by emailing support@our.news. Deactivation will set your profile as private and disable login, but will not remove any previously submitted content, ratings, sources, comments, or otherwise from the system.
Am I required to verify my identity?
 
No, but it is recommended. Verification of your identity will earn you more Creds, which weights your ratings and earns you more points, meaning your ratings count more. In certain rare cases, we may require users to verify their identity (for public figures, disputed profiles, or in case fraud is suspected).
ERROR: Your account is still pending approval
 
During our Private Beta stage, all new users must also be approved by an Administrator. After activating your account using the account activation link in the email you received upon registration, this process can take up to 72 hours. To expedite, please join us on Slack or email support@our.news. Thanks for your patience!
How do I see or update my Creds?
 
Click Profile->Creds or click here: Creds
How do I change my avatar image and other profile info?
 
After logging in, click on Profile, then click Edit Profile.

Navigation

Where do I download the Browser Extensions?
 
You can download Browser Extensions for both Chrome and Firefox at these links:


Firefox versions coming soon!
Do you have mobile apps?
 
Mobile apps are currently in-progress! Check back again soon for more info.
What do the Headlines, Latest News, Trending, and Wall links show?
 
These links show various ways to sort Our.News content.
  • Headlines – Most recent posts categorized as major news headlines
  • Latest News – Most recent posts across all news categories
  • Trending – Popular, recent posts sorted by trending score
  • Wall – A live feed of all activities our users are doing on the site
How do I see or update my Creds?
 
Click Profile->Creds or click here: Creds

Reading

Are RSS feeds available?
 
Yes! RSS feeds of all News content is available as follows: Top Feeds
  • Headlines – https://our.news/category/headlines/feed/
  • Latest News – https://our.news/feed
  • Trending – https://our.news/feed/trending
Ratings Feeds
  • Most Spin – https://our.news/feed/most-spin
  • Most False – https://our.news/feed/most-false
Category & Subcategory Feeds All categories & subcategories are available and follow this format:
  • Business – https://our.news/category/business/feed/
  • Science – https://our.news/category/science/feed/
    • Internet – https://our.news/category/science/internet/feed/
    • Tech – https://our.news/category/tech/internet/feed/
    • etc

Posting

What can users post to Our.News?
 
Our.News is an open platform meant to host and welcome any news content. Users can post any news link from any source, national, local, independent, or self produced. Our.News will attempt to automatically scrape the content into the system. Non-news posts may be removed by Our.News moderators.
Why does my news post look messed up?
 
After a user posts an URL, the Our.News system attempts to scrape the content. In rare cases, this may not work well and gibberish or irrelevant content may make it into the system. Our moderators periodically review content, and will typically make corrections to bad scrapes within a day.
Can I remove a news post?
 
In general, news cannot be removed by users after it’s been posted. This is because other users may have added sources, rated the content, etc., and it would not be fair to retroactively remove their data (or their points). If you’ve made a post in error, or find that a post violates our Terms of Service, please notify us on Slack or by emailing support@our.news and our team will review it.

Alternatively, on the Our.News website you can “Flag” any news post as inappropriate, by clicking the “Flag” button in the Triple Dot menus. Our team takes all user reports seriously, and will do our best to respond quickly. Please be patient, as we’re a startup and cannot yet respond immediately to all requests.
How often can I post content?
 
You can post as often as you like! However, posting new articles earns fewer points than other content validating actions such as adding or rating sources, or rating content.

Rating

How do I rate the news?
 
To rate the news, click either the “Quick Rate” or “Ratings” icons associated with each news article. You’ll find these icons at the top of the Browser Extensions when opened on any article, or in-line with the article on the Our.News website.
Can I rate Publishers directly?
 
No. Publisher statistics are the aggregate ratings of all their articles which are in the system. You can rate individual articles from Publishers, but not the Publisher directly.
Can I rate Authors directly?
 
No. Author statistics are the aggregate ratings of all their articles which are in the system. You can rate individual articles from Authors, but not the Author directly.
What does “NA” or “Needs More Ratings” mean?
 
When displayed on an article, it means there are not yet enough ratings entered for an opinion score to be calculated. You can still Rate, and scores will appear when the minimum ratings threshold is reached.
Are my content ratings public?
 
No. The platform never displays your exact ratings, and only shows display aggregate total ratings. When you rate something, an activity item appears on your Wall and the public Wall, however, the ratings displayed are the aggregate ratings. You can manually remove these too if desired, by clicking the Delete button. You can control more privacy settings by clicking on your Profile and managing the settings under Privacy.
How do you stop bias in the ratings?
 
Every human has at least some innate bias, and we therefore assume all ratings will have a bias. In general, the more ratings an article has, the less individual bias matters. And, we’ve built a variety of Bias Detection processes to further minimize its impact. This includes weighting ratings based on user behaviors, such as:
  • Length of time a user read the article before rating
  • How many sources the user reviewed before rating
  • Did the user submit their own sources
  • Does the user have a history of patterned bias

Not all of these processes are fully implemented yet in the Beta version.
Is there any automated rating or validation happening?
 
In certain rare cases, Our.News will automatically submit content ratings:
  • Content from publishers known to only publish satire receives one “Satire” rating
  • Content identified by publishers as an opinion receives one “Opinion” rating
Can I rate Tweets from Twitter?
 
Yes. Simply copy/paste the Tweet link into the Submit News box on the Wall. The system will automatically import the Tweet and rating.
Do you have mobile apps?
 
Mobile apps are currently in-progress! Check back again soon for more info.
Can I rate Posts from Facebook?
 
Yes. Simply copy/paste the post link into the Submit News box on the Wall. The system will automatically import the post and rating.

Education

Can my school or classroom use the Our.News platform?
 
Yes! Our.News inherently encourages critical thinking skills about the news, and is recommended alongside the media literacy programs by NewseumEd. All educators are welcome to use or encourage their students to download and use this free tool.
How can educators use Our.News in class exercises?
 
There are several possible approaches, including:
    • News Evaluation – Educator selects an article within the Our.News system (or, posts a new one from any news publisher) and asks students to read and think critically about it. Students can review sources and add their own, review publisher information, rate the news on various factors, and add comments as to why they reached the conclusion they did.
    • Publisher Evaluation – Educator selects a publisher within the Our.News system and asks student to review the publisher information, and answer questions like: Is this publisher trustworthy? Is this publisher bias? Why or why not?
    • Source Evaluation – Educator selects an article within the Our.News system, and asks students to review the listed sources to see if they’re good sources, or not. Students then upvote/downvote the existing sources on Our.News, and may also find and add new sources relevant to the article.
Who is Educational Vistas?
 
For over 24 years, Educational Vistas, Inc. (EVI) has developed and provided leading educational management systems and in-district services to assist schools in improving student performance. EVI has recently partnered with Our.News to integrate the validated news feed, and news validation process, directly into school software systems. This service is available without additional cost to all EVI clients.
What about student privacy?
 
The privacy of students is of utmost importance, and is diligently protected by Our.News. All software is compliant with the New York State Parents Bill of Rights, and all data collected from students (and all users under the age of 18) will never be shared, sold, transmitted, or copied to any outside party in any way.

Developers

Can I get involved and help develop Our.News?
 
Yes! Join us on Slack and introduce yourself.
Is Our.News code open-source?
 
Not yet, but we intend the production release to be open-source.
Is there a JSON schema available?
Yes! All ratings data is presented in JSON-LD format for all news articles. You can see this in the source of any post, or learn more about it here on our Schema Definition Page.
Is Our.News on Github?
Yes! Our primary repositories are private during our Beta stage. However, we do offer one public repo where we encourage everyone to report bugs or issues, and request enhancements.
Are RSS feeds available?
 
Yes! RSS feeds of all News content is available as follows: Top Feeds
  • Headlines – https://our.news/category/headlines/feed/
  • Latest News – https://our.news/feed
  • Trending – https://our.news/feed/trending
Ratings Feeds
  • Most Spin – https://our.news/feed/most-spin
  • Most False – https://our.news/feed/most-false
Category & Subcategory Feeds All categories & subcategories are available and follow this format:
  • Business – https://our.news/category/business/feed/
  • Science – https://our.news/category/science/feed/
    • Internet – https://our.news/category/science/internet/feed/
    • Tech – https://our.news/category/tech/internet/feed/
    • etc

Authors

How are Author statistics calculated?
 
Author statistics are the aggregate ratings from all their articles in the system.
Can I rate Authors directly?
 
No. Author statistics are the aggregate ratings of all their articles which are in the system. You can rate individual articles from Authors, but not the Author directly.

Publishers

How do I correct info on my Publisher page?
 
To correct information on your Publisher page, you must first Claim the profile. This can be done by logging into your account (Register if necessary), and then clicking the “Claim” link on any Publisher page. Please note, we do not accept “Claim” requests by any other means.

After verification, you will be able to manage your Publisher information and content. We take all Publisher Claim requests seriously and will respond to all requests, however please note that we’re a startup and cannot respond immediately yet to all requests. Expect the verification process to take several days.
How do I claim my Publisher profile?
 
To Claim your Publisher profile, you must first Register for an account and include your phone number. Then, click “Claim your profile” on your Publisher profile. Our.News will contact you for verification.
Someone else has claimed my Publisher profile.
 
Please contact us on Slack or email support@our.news and include your phone number.
How are Publisher statistics calculated?
 
Publisher statistics are the aggregate ratings from all their articles in the system.
What is your Copyright policy?
Our.News respects the intellectual property rights and other proprietary rights of others. We may, in appropriate circumstances and at our discretion, remove certain content or disable access to content that appears to infringe the copyright or other intellectual property rights of others. If you believe that your copyright has been violated by material available through Our.News, please email support@our.news with:
  • Identification of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed;
  • The exact URL and location on screen of the material in question;
  • Your address, telephone number, and email address;
  • A statement by you that you have a good-faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
  • A statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the owner of the copyright interest involved or are authorized to act on behalf of that owner;
  • Your electronic or physical signature.
Can we add our news feed to Our.News?
 
All registered users can submit any news article, one article at a time. But if you’re a publisher and would like us to automatically import your news feed, please contact us by emailing info@our.news.
Will you remove our news or content from your system?
 
Except in rare cases, we do not remove public news or content. We believe that the public has a fundamental right to read and validate any public news or content. Our legal people tell us that “Fair Use” principles apply. If you still want us to remove something, email support@our.news with a very good reason.
Can we re-publish news articles from Our.News?
 
Yes! We actively encourage this, see the FAQ for RSS feeds.
What is the Newstrition Label?
 
The Newstrition Label was created by the Freedom Forum Institute and Our.News to provide verified background information about news publishers online. It is included by default as part of the Fact Checking tools, within the Our.News website and Browser Extensions.

Can I rate Publishers directly?
 
No. Publisher statistics are the aggregate ratings of all their articles which are in the system. You can rate individual articles from Publishers, but not the Publisher directly.

Security and Privacy

What is your privacy policy?
 
Your privacy is extremely important to us. Read our full Data Policy here.
What is your Copyright policy?
Our.News respects the intellectual property rights and other proprietary rights of others. We may, in appropriate circumstances and at our discretion, remove certain content or disable access to content that appears to infringe the copyright or other intellectual property rights of others. If you believe that your copyright has been violated by material available through Our.News, please email support@our.news with:
  • Identification of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed;
  • The exact URL and location on screen of the material in question;
  • Your address, telephone number, and email address;
  • A statement by you that you have a good-faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
  • A statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the owner of the copyright interest involved or are authorized to act on behalf of that owner;
  • Your electronic or physical signature.
How do I report a security vulnerability?
 
If you find a security issue, please report the details to us on Slack or email to support@our.news. If you provide appropriate details and help us resolve the issue, you may be eligible to earn up to 500 OUR tokens.
How do you prevent abuse of the system?
 
The quality of our content validation system is absolutely paramount. While no one could ever completely guarantee the integrity of any open/public rating system, we’re confident our methods are effective.
  • PCI-DSS – We follow technology and business standards proscribed by the PCI DSS Security standards, providing the same level of system security which banks and credit card processors rely on.
  • Creds – Users who do not validate their identity using our Creds system receive extremely low weights on their votes. It would take thousands of “fake accounts” to be able to make any noticeable impact on the validation process, and this would be detected and blocked in-progress.
  • Bias minimization – Our platform checks for biased ratings and minimizes their impact:
    • How long has the user been a user of Our.News before rating the content?
    • Did the user actually read the content before rating it?
    • How long did they spend reading it? Did they click any of the sources?
    • Did the user submit any of their own sources?
    • Does the user always rate one political ideology as “false” or “true” regardless other scores?
What privacy controls can I set?
 
You can control your privacy in several ways on your Profile page:

  • Anonymous Mode – On or Off – When On, you will not be identified as a rater on any content you’ve rated, & your activities will not appear on the Wall. This goes affect for activities after you’ve set this mode.
  • Default Visibility – Public, Friends, Me, None – this determines what group may see that you’ve taken an action. Remember, your actual ratings are never shown, at most, only that you’ve undertaken an action.
  • Include in User Stats – Yes/No – when No, your username will not appear in any public user statistics.
Are my content ratings public?
 
No. The platform never displays your exact ratings, and only shows display aggregate total ratings. When you rate something, an activity item appears on your Wall and the public Wall, however, the ratings displayed are the aggregate ratings. You can manually remove these too if desired, by clicking the Delete button. You can control more privacy settings by clicking on your Profile and managing the settings under Privacy.

Spam and Abuse

What is considered spam or abuse?
 
  • Posting content that is not news
  • Leaving nearly identical or materially similar comments on multiple posts.
  • Comments that are unrelated to the topic of discussion.
  • Sending users a link to your blog or a post if it is not relevant to the conversation.
  • Posts or comments that include little or nothing more than an offer to trade follows or upvotes.
  • Threatening users with any type of violence.
  • Not citing sources when using someone else’s material.
  • Posting ‘not safe for work’ content
  • Selling or offering to buy ratings, or schemes that facilitate this.
  • Scams or Fraudulent offers.
  • Any other activity in violation of our Terms of Service.
Where do I report a post or comment that contains spam or abuse?
 
Please report any abusive content on Slack or by emailing support@our.news. Alternatively, on the Our.News website you can “Flag” any news post as inappropriate, by clicking the “Flag” button in the Triple Dot menus. Our team takes all user reports seriously, and will do our best to respond quickly. Please be patient, as we’re a startup and cannot yet respond immediately to all requests.

Miscellaneous

How do I contact Our.News?
 
  • The best way to reach us is on Slack.
  • To submit a bug report or enhancement request, you can use our public Git repo.
  • For email support, email support@our.news and include your username.
  • For general inquiries, email info@our.news
Who are the people behind Our.News?
 
Checkout our About page to learn more about the team.
Who is the CEO of Our.News?
 
Richard Zack. Find him on Our.News and LinkedIn.
How is Our.News related to the Newseum or Freedom Forum?
 
Our.News is an independent, privately owned startup company based in Albany, NY that has entered into a Joint Venture with the Freedom Forum Institute (the Newseum‘s Programs & Initiatives Partner), to develop and launch the Newstrition Label and the Newstrition Tools.
 

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