90% true: Introduction

Around 2015 was the Golden Age of numbered lists on the Internet. Articles whose title started with “10 things that…” quickly filled the web. Today, I want to bring back this forgotten format from the dead. The problem with numbered lists was that, out of 10 items, about half turned out to be complete bullshit. As a result, people started to associate it with clickbait and stigmatize the format. But my clickbait will not be like other clickbaits. In mine, you know that exactly 90% of the list is real, and 10% is made up.

This series will be known as 90% true and will contain 9 true items and 1 fabricated item about various politically-sensitive topics. This way, you are somehow required to do a little bit of fact-checking, or at the very least exert some suspicion. I think this is one of the most effective methods against confirmation bias. In regular blog posts, if one piece of information flatters your own opinions, you are more likely to believe it without checking. But not in 90% true – imagine how shameful you would feel if the item you believed the most was revealed to be false? I hope the threat of feeling dumb will ensure you remain critical at all time.

It goes a bit deeper than that: since one item is false, you have to be critical and do some fact-checking. But since I know you will be doing some fact-checking, I have to be as honest and rigorous as possible, because you would spot any attempt from me to be dishonest. In some paradoxical way, the deliberately fake element is a proof of my honesty to you.

I’ll make sure that the false item is not too obfuscated, so you do not need to spend a lot of time researching obscure literature to find it. Just following the links to the sources should be enough, and you can always discuss in the comment section.

One last thing: I sometimes make mistakes, so there is no guarantee that the number of bullshit items will always be exactly one. But you were going to fact-check anyway, weren’t you?

Articles in the 90% true series

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