Have you ever run into an idiot on the internet? I know I have. It's a frustrating experience because not only are their malformed, monosyllabic opinions completely and irredeemably wrong, but they also refuse to budge from their iron-clad certainty that they're actually right and that it is you who is wrong. Flying around the world punching these smug bastards in the mouth just isn't practical so Intel, working alongside researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, has come up with the next best thing: A way of demonstrating to everyone that they are, in fact, very, very stupid.
It's a relatively simple concept at its core: Users who come across information that they believe is inaccurate or in dispute can highlight the text in question and then report it as disputed. More information can then be added, by the original reporter and others, both for and against the original claim; when people with the plugin read the story, they will be able to click on the disputed bits, see the various arguments and then vote on which side of the argument they believe is correct.
Fortunately, there's more to the process than simply disagreeing with what other people think and telling big enough lies. Disputes must be supported by "reputable sources" with differing points of view and the reliability of those sources can also be voted on.
Topics currently listed as disputed include "The 2009 Iran Presidential election was rigged," "Global warming does not exist" and "Recycling is good for the environment," alongside less intensely-debated matters like "2Pac is dead," "Dick Cheney is a robot" and my own personal favorite of the moment, "Italians look good."
It seems quite clear to me that, while entertaining, this is a monstrously bad idea. Using this new tool, anyone with Firefox, a slack jaw and a few minutes to kill can inflict themselves upon the internet. I take some comfort in the knowledge that they'll be interacting primarily with people who have similar predispositions toward endless, pointless internet fights, but I still don't think this is the sort of behavior that should be encouraged. It's like handing out extra buckets of poo at the monkey cage.
You are, of course, free to download the extension and dispute this if you happen to disagree.