This post is an attempt to offer further clarity on how and why we make our moderation decisions.
Thank you for standing up for free speech and independent writers. I certainly don't agree with every writer on here, but I appreciate you letting us (the readers) decide what we read. People on both the right and left are becoming increasingly censorious, and having a platform committed to free ideas is refreshing. P.S. Heather Cox Richardson's daily overview is my favorite read of the day. Thank you for introducing me to her work.
Good. Not great but good. Most concerning is the portion of the article on not allowing 'hate' which is always the trap door used for illiberal censorship.
It blows my mind; Substack’s utter insistence in using common sense to interpret their content guidelines.
If this doesn’t convince you that those trying to cancel Substack are simply malcontents and misanthropes, nothing will.
You folks are working this out and so far I like the effort and direction--it's not perfect, but what is especially now when the slightest move left or right (up or down) has someone climbing up your ass. Glad to be on the platform and pleased with your biz model (which also helps MINE) and I'll continue to support it and recommend it to my colleagues.
This is bullshit, Graham Linehan is actively violating your supposed anti hate, doxxing, and harassment rules. Absolutely embarrassing for you to publish this.
Substack is awesome.
You guys will feel unbelievable pressure from above to fold. You need to protect your access to financial institutions as well, because they will come after that.
But always remember, you have a winning hand, because, when it starts getting tough, we subscribers will support you.
If you need help, you should call on us, and we will detect our talent, time and resources to protect what is being created here!
The cast majority of us care, and while you shouldn't take us for granted, our combined effort is a powerful resource you can deploy.
“We do not allow hate, defined as publishing content or funding initiatives that call for violence, exclusion, or segregation based on protected classes. This does include serious attacks on people based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, or medical condition.”
This is an extremely vague and troubling standard, particularly its reference to “exclusion, or segregation.” In fact, will you forgive my expression: I hate it. Are you going to block my comment because of my virulent dislike of the way your standard is worded? If I start a religion and sanctify it, will you be okay with it?
I am biracial, black and white, bisexual, and non religious (and an atheist). And I mention this so people don’t just assume I’m some evangelical Christian white supremacist trump worshipper and thus just dismiss my perspective. There is a lot of *hatred* toward such a stereotypical “right-wing extremist” and unfortunately some people won’t listen to anyone who even likes the same food as someone categorized as such. So let me make myself clear: I’ve never eaten Chick-Fil-A.
Would it be a violation for an author to suggest that atheists shouldn’t be allowed to vote? Would it be a violation for an author to suggest that black people be made to sit at the back of a bus? Would it be a violation for an author to suggest that it should be permissible to have black only public schools? Would it be a violation for an author to suggest that atheists not be permitted to attend a Christian ceremony? Would it be a violation for an author to suggest that transgender women be excluded from women only college sports leagues? Would it be a violation for an author to suggest that white people be allowed to be excluded from black fraternities on college campuses? Would it be a violation for a Catholic to suggest that an atheist be excluded from eating their magical crackers? All of these things would arguably be problematic based on your policy, while I think any platform that actually honors free speech should not find them problematic—even if owners of platform may find some of them bad.
Unfortunately your rules regarding “hate”—I’m guessing you don’t care if people tell nazis to go to hell—is bullshit. Hate is not immoral—hating particular things is arguably immoral. Banning all hate, regardless of its target, is itself immoral—and ironically, an act of hate.
Religions particularly express their own forms of hatred—it is logically impossible to both protect the free expression of religion and ban “hate”. And it is absurd to expect people who are objects of religious hatred never to express hostility to that irrational hatred. That too, could arguably be “hate”, and toward particular religions.
So please reconsider your rules. I’d suggest starting by reading some classical liberal perspectives on free speech and that which are the foundation of the first amendment. I mean only if substack actually doesn’t want to end up just being controlled by the Church of the Awoken like so many other corporate entities out there. It is not enlightened, it is not progressive. It is degenerate.
Twitters crybullies already in the comments section whining that you don't cave to them. Good for you to show some backbone and allow people to write what they want, as long as its not illegal by law.
Still, if I were you I would just cordon off erotica/porn to a different section with disclaimer on the site. Allowing both makes the rules less vague, while at the same time porn is like an anchor on any internet site, that makes sure theres always going to be an active community in it, ad infinitum. Also makes reporting about kink-communities or erotic art much easier.
Thank you for this statement. Increasing censorship online - especially when prompted by organized campaigns by ideological and/or bad faith actors - is exactly why many of us support Substack. The platform is a little bit of hope in a very bleak landscape and I genuinely hope you continue this transparent commitment to “the marketplace of ideas”. As long as that is the case you will find a lot of people to support your mission. Thank you.
Sounds ok to me . I can not begin to tell you how many sites I’ve been knocked off for simply stating cdc facts off of a pubic website because it does not fit there point of view. I joined this site specifically to talk about ideas and actually specific policy to repair problems that the USA and the world has . 🙏 thank you
Transphobia is hate. "We do not allow hate." I'm confused.
Excellent, sensible way to moderate. Thank you for not caving in to the pitchfork mob.
Sounds reasonable, as the consumer, I will decide to stay or go based on how I am treated.
As a Substack writer, I remain deeply disappointed by these posts. This narrowing of your terms today seem purely defensive and even specious, a narrowing that retroactively excuses bad behavior and leaves room for more organized harassment campaigns that launch or thrive on this very platform.
Thanks for putting yourselves out there. I hope you stick to your guns.