Happy New Year! We are off to a depressing start with a reflection on how to navigate the moral quandaries of social media extremism – and a plea to my readers to stick with me through it all
I can't thank you enough for this! I am new to Substack, just getting my profile set up and thinking about what writing I'll share here. In engaging with the platform's New Year's note about 2023 takeaways and 2024 goals, I stumbled upon notes demanding Substack stop publishing Nazis, and issue I hadn't been aware of. In educating myself I was brought by a Google search to this post. I appreciate your excellent read of the situation. You make important points, and I so appreciate your taking the time to detail how your Substack account is so critical to your career goals and financial concerns. You questioned the need for adding your voice when there are so many good statements already out there, but I think each member who speaks out hopefully adds persuasive pressure that forces Substack to reconsider their policy. Writers understand (or *should* understand) that free speech under the law doesn't necessarily equate to an open platform to say whatever one wants in a private space such as this. In their welcome statement where they explain the history and purpose behind Substack, they specifically state that, among other things, they wanted to create a place where writers could disseminate their work free from trolls. I would hope this philosophy extends to creating a safe community overall, where people won't feel endangered and affronted by hateful ideology. Again, thank you. This post will certainly be of help to others, and I hope in the long run it helps stem the flight you've experienced in your readership.
I'm very happy to have found your newsletter, and as you say, I only interact with Substack via the few people I subscribe to. Here's to Berg frei, Mensch frei, Welt frei in the New Year!
I will stick with you here, or follow wherever you go. I trust you. Been following since the very beginning of Is This Democracy? and not about to lose one of the sanest, most principled voices on social media. Hoping for the very best outcome for you, for your family, and for us all.
Yours is a very honest position, I fully agree with you. BTW, I'm reading you from Spain.
Keep on the good job and have a happy 2024
It’s a platform. I’ve been calling it platform whack-a-mole. Things change. We all need to be as platform diverse and independent as possible. We should all be able to withstand any of our channels going down with redundancy and overlap. I’ve been preaching it for 3 years since I started aggregating & producing content.
That means publishing to Wordpress, Locals, Hive blog.
Video means YouTube, Rumble, Rokfin & others.
Audio means distribution to every podcast platform, big and small.
Have a plan. Don’t be beholden to any one platform. But this whole thing about Nazis is a psy op attack from legacy media - please don’t get fooled.
I say we stay and fight! And keep our voices heard. Once they put the welcome mat out, it's our responsibility to stand and say NO y'all are not welcome by us readers & writers. I'm not going anywhere
Substack doesn't have a Nazi problem. Substack has a slow trickle invasion of wokeism coming into it. Just like californians are moving elsewhere and ruining other states by voting for the same policies that ruined California. Leftists are leaving broken censorious platforms like Facebook and Instagram to come to substack and implement the same dogmatic censorship that their weak minds need to be able to exist on a platform.
I feel like censorship leads to further extremism. I had a family member go completely down the QAnon rabbit hole and has not come back from it. It also seems like some of Katz’s proclamations seem like the standards would be arbitrary. https://open.substack.com/pub/freddiedeboer/p/these-rules-about-platforming-nazis?r=3gaff&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
Sadly, America is behind the eight-ball regarding protected vs. unprotected speech. Hate speech should have been classified as unprotected speech eons ago, ala Germany (who know the danger first hand). It takes bravery to call out nefarious behavior. Thank you.
Thomas I enjoy and learn from all your work. It reminds me of when I was in the classroom with Professors that dedicate their life illuminating for the benefit of our society. Sadly some of them sacrifice their personal lives with little reward and that’s not right. You explained the situation brilliantly for yourself and everyone involved. I understand you and agree with you. I for one will stick with you! Thanks for what you do!
Thank you for this thoughtful post, Thomas. I appreciate your perspective on these issues, and also identify with the uncertainties of dealing with Substack as a writing platform. I wish you all the best on your future career path changes, and in the meanwhile, I'll continue to read your column--and subscribe, when things get that far.
Thank you for such a very nice and generously personal reflection! There are Nazis everywhere I fear - disrupting, discouraging, destroying and you do such a great job of calling them out. Keep up the wonderful and truly valuable work here on Substack please. Have a Good New Year, and ignore those ‘trump’ signs when on vacation.
You really are in a hard spot, given your tenure and visa status. You have a lot invested in Substack for generating an audience. Nazis should not be given a platform to spread their murderous ideology. But I do not know a single tech company that is without problems. They all have a strong libertarian bent with a strong anti-democratic, let alone anti-state, posture. It baffles me that these tech bros could take the "Dark Enlightenment" seriously. Except, their vision for the future is where they make all the rules, enforce their rules, and are not accountable to anyone. It is almost hilarious to think that these libertarians want to produce a colony on Mars, as if there would not be strict protocols of how to enter and exit the complex, and the control of weapons that could puncture the infrastructure's membrane. I stay subscribed to a few Substack authors, despite the Nazi problem. I stay on X/twitter because all the alternatives seem small and the social media fragmented. It is like jumping from one vast vat into a small silo.
You don’t give Nazis platforms. They can build one themselves if they are so inclined, but we don’t have an obligation to provide them an audience.
like that ex-twitter too! every time someone says "x that used to be twitter" it feels like a small blow against empire.
thanks for that great and very honest piece. will be sure to follow as per instructions.
First of all, I want to give you huge props for calling it ex-Twitter!! I have been trying to get folks to call it that for months, but you are the first I have actually seen that has used it. I think it's the perfect name! Second, I love your writing and your thoughtful perspectives and I will follow you wherever you decide to go. I also think staying at Substack is currently the best option. Happy New Year!