Narrative Consensus is planning to develop the first alternative model for news and news media content that promotes the interpretation and publication of material that is fair and bi-partisan.

The Why

We at Narrative Consensus have noticed the breakdown of media over the last several decades. The paradigm has shifted from substance and content to entertainment and shock value. Individuals are encouraged to share and believe sensationalism over objectivity. Companies are rewarded for providing hyperbolic content because it generates users, clicks, “likes”, “shares,” and eyeballs. As we see it, the externalities this model has created are two distinct groups of news consumers: One group turned off by the media they do not see value in following it, and the second group too polarized by hyperbolic media to parse through fake and real stories. The first group, finds the news partisan and polarizing, or filled with chaos it is hard to find sobering voices who try to resolve various opinions. The second group, devours the news “liking” and “sharing” without consideration of the social and political ramifications. Fake news, conspiracy theories, fringe news sites, and alternative media all have enjoyed a renaissance period because of the externalities created by the existing news media model. This is a boon for fake news sites and fringe networks which can generate massive amounts of money through “clicks” and ad-views all to the detriment of society. In our view, these two groups are dangerous for democracy: one, a less than ideally informed electorate; two, extremists. In the current model the only solution we have to fix this problem is third-party arbitration.

But, what happens when third-party arbitration breaks down? For example Facebook, over the course of a year Facebook has seen more disgruntled individuals, angry about the content shown to them and the real world impact that content can have.  Even though Facebook has put in guard rails and “fake-news” indicators to flag sensationalist content, citizens are growing more concerned about how they’re being targeted to form ideas. The issue is the lack of trust within our current model. As an average citizens, we don’t know how Facebook is making decisions and we don’t know why Facebook is showing us the content they are. This is called an information asymmetry problem, where one entity has more or better information. This is not just a Facebook problem, major search engine companies like Google and Yahoo! are removing content from searches as we speak. The consumer is given the news that third-party arbiters are deciding is correct. This moves all the power into the hands of a few companies. In our current news media model individual consumers are left without choices or left within their bubbles with no way of breaking out.

What We Do

This is where Narrative Consensus comes in. Building on top of the Ethereum blockchain, Narrative Consensus crowd sources for experts, rewards them for spotting fake news, and punishes fake news distributors. Narrative Consensus uses its news aggregation software to search for all different voices on the spectrum, not just left or right. In addition to news aggregation, we encourged the publication of specific stories directly to site by rewarding authors and OPs. Once individuals are on the site they are encouraged to spot fake news and dispute it. In order to “Dispute” an article the disputer needs to wager a certain number of tokens. This has two effects: One, it provides a level of accountability for disputing posts. If you are very confident the article is fake, you can increase the size of your potential return by wager more tokens. This encourages experts to weigh in quickly, and rewards those that are very knowledgable about a subject. Two, this discourages individuals from disputing articles they know nothing about. If the article is found to be “true” then the disputer will lose their wagered tokens. These two effects combined create an economic model where the Nash Equilibrium of each individual actor, or the best possible strategic decision for each party, is to dispute articles they have prior knowledge in and not weigh in on subjects they know nothing about.

After a enough anonymous individuals dispute a post, article, or paragraph (coming in phase 2), reaching the statisitically defined threshold based on the number of agents in the ecosystem, this will trigger a “Challenge” to the larger community. The number of disputers and the threshold reached will remain anonymous. Anyone on the network is allowed to vote in the “Challenge.” In order to promote honesty, you will not be able to see how other people are casting their votes or how many votes have been cast. The dispute will remain up until a statistically significant amount of network voters are able to cast their votes. There are two main reasons these rules are in place: One, the anonymity of voters and uncertainty of the real-time votes provides a level of security for the publishers by avoiding collusion and free-riders who would be incentivized to vote one direction or another if they know which outcome is likely to occur. Two, the statistically significant amount of network voters is a composite number which is used to gather all spectrum voters so not only one half of the spectrum is represented in any one Challenge. After the dispute period has ended and if the post is found to be fake, the article will be removed from the site at large, and put into a new location where consumers can reference the fake story for what it is–“fake”. If the post is voted as fake, all those that voted “true” will lose a certain number of tokens. The OP or publisher will lose a larger percentage of tokens for spreading fake content. All those that voted “fake” for the fake story will be rewarded with the losers tokens. Those that initiated the dispute will be rewarded with a higher percentage of tokens than those that only voted in the Challenge; and, those that disputed the post first will be rewarded more than those that disputed the article last. This encourages individuals to find fake news and dispute it quickly. There are no negative consequences for disputing an article that never makes it to a “Challenge.” This type of economic system incentivizes a moderate narrative by encouraging OPs and publishers to consider both sides of a story before publishing something because they could lose tokens if something is challenged and is considered “fake.”

However, as a society we ought to encourage people to write challenging posts, ones that push the boundaries of our understanding and challenge us to grasp complicated topics. Which raises this issue, disputed articles can take many forms, most of them will be fake news, but some of them will be real news just published early, or contentious but accurate. The latter is the type of content that is encouraged on Narrative Consensus. By writing a ground-breaking article we expect you might get “Challenged.” That’s alright, because of the incentivized structure of the ecosystem experts are encouraged to challenge each other while the uninformed are either likely to not participate or lose money in a Challenge. If an article wins a Challenge, all those that voted in favor of the article are rewarded. The OPs or publishers are rewarded significantly more than any other entity on the site for providing earily or compelling content. The rewards come from those that voted against the article, plus tokens created by Narrative Consensus. It will always be in your benefit to write pieces pushing people’s boundaries but within the scope of plausibility determined by experts in the field.

Why Blockchain

We here at Narrative Consensus place a high degree of weight on the democractic process in determining truths and narratives. We are committeed to avoiding the arbitration currently being done by leading technology companies and content providers. We want to give power back to individuals to decide for themselves if their ideas are resonating with society or not. The blockchain provides three benefits impossible before now: One, all votes will always be accounted for and cannot be tampered with. Two, all transactions are recorded on the blockchain providing security during the wagering process. Three, enables us to remove ourselves from the voting process, stopping all third-party arbitration.

The Coin

NarrCoin is a token used to power the entire market. The token will be tradable on exchanges in the future. We expect the value of the token to be cyclical, and correlated with the importance society places on factual news over fake news. The inflation rate will be fixed at 2%-3%, or roughly zero percent based on world GDP. However, inflation will vary based on the number of articles written which get challenged and win. We at Narrative Consensus believe the ambiguity this posses on our inflation rate is justified and won’t diminish the value of the token, exactly the opposite it will increase demand. As more posts are challenged and won, the value of the Narrative Consensus will increases as whole, more journalists will be encouraged to publish their pieces directly on the site, increasing their sources of income while bringing in more content.

How to Participate

If you’re interested in taking back news from third-party arbiters all you need to do is register and follow the news. It’s pretty simpe:

  • Dispute articles that you feel are fake.
  • Remember to vote in Challenges as they appear to win tokens and develop a consensus on a given topic.
  • Try not to vote in Challenges you know nothing about. You are far more likely to lose than to win.
  • Stay informed and follow the news, this increases your chances of winning tokens.

That’s basically it. The incentive structure rewards the informed, so we encourage individuals to stay and become informed. This a unique model. First of its kind. We plan to disrupt the media landscape.