Apr 20·edited Apr 20Liked by Marco Fioretti

47% of the voters picked Trump in the last elections. A higher percentage picks Republicans almost every election. Increasingly, the Nazis are not just coming out, but also coming out of their shell.

In such a world, platform purity will remain elusive, because a very large, even if it’s not a majority, is Nazi-tolerant.

Are things really much different in life? Things we buy, things we use … they come from sources unknown. Sure some are Nazi-sympathizers. Brawny or Bounty. FedEx or UPS. Papa John’s or Dominos. Target or Walmart. I doubt we dive into the deep end to find out.

Substack is just trying to make a buck (okay, a lot of bucks), and they’ll make one from you just as non-discriminatingly as they’d from a Nazi. They learned their lessons from Fox News, not Gab. There is a healthy demand for such content. Once we get over the shock that so many of us are…Nazi lovers and NOT like us, we adjust, as in life.

Now, if there is no simple way to avoid Nazi content, time to move. So far that doesn’t seem to be the case here. But Nilay did all of us a solid by exposing the possibility.

I don’t tolerate Nazis, but I haven’t had to on Substack. Never have to read Andrew Sullivan, or Matt Taibbi. Not being force fed. That said knowing that I rent alongside such writers and readers is cringey enough. If too many move in to the building…I will move.

I suspect writers have it much harder.

Good luck to you. When you strike it filthy rich, you can set up a better platform.

Expand full comment

I read this a couple of times! Thanks for writing this.

I think this "cancelling you if you're on platform X" is a very Mastodon/far left position. A casual look at Substack Notes shows me that most people are delighted to be there and are having fun. I would say, pay these folks no mind. Most of us would be delighted to subscribe and follow you.

I feel your pain about getting heard and having feedback. I more or less set up my Substack for the very same reasons.

I also find the pursuit of the "purest" platform that is ideologically good a hopeless pursuit. We might as well give up using the Internet. I notice that this particular crowd is very reaction. Today it's Substack, tomorrow it's something else. It's like their hobby is to be mad at some topic/platform any given week.

It can be tiring to be part of this.

So I say we just rise about this and use these platforms while we still can to reach our readers - dispassionately and without bias.

Expand full comment
Apr 17·edited Apr 20Author

Just posted this on Mastodon, and am really sad I didn't think of THIS when I originally wrote the post, because it makes the point much clearer:

The "bar" part of all this discourse is flawed, and can badly backfire on independent authors though.

Think housing, not bars.

Think renting a studio in a building whose other tenants and landlords you know nothing bad about,

because it's the only affordable place you can get,

only to discover 2 months later, when you had just finished unpacking your stuff,

that the landlord may be a nazi (ADDED 2023/04/20: and/or may be renting, or be willing to rent, other flats in the same building to nazis)

and, again, there is no other place you can afford. Should YOU judged badly because you cannot leave? Especially considering that there is NO guarantee at all that the same thing could happen in the next place you find?

Expand full comment

I just started on Substack in November after leaving Meta products and joining Mastodon, and I have no clue what to do now.

Some of my favorite writers and communities are here on Substack and none of them are avowed Nazis (to my knowledge).

But now I don’t know what the right thing to do is. I have not personally invested in doing a lot of writing here (still self-hosted on a site maybe three people read) but I have invested in subscribing to and paying people that I care about and want to support. None of those people are talking about this, though.

It reminds me of a Buddhist community that I had been involved in. The founder was a complete a$$hole. He did terrible things and abused a lot of people, but his most dedicated students still just say things like “well, I did not witness that.” It makes me feel insane! And it gaslights the people who were abused. I still practice the meditation technique but I’m distanced from the community now because I cannot reconcile the reality with the practice.

I’ve already preemptively posted my goodbye post here, but I’m also hanging out for a little while longer because I would like to see more of the people that I respect on here weigh in. For the record, I also think the Notes thing was a stupid move. I have zero interest in participating in it.

Expand full comment