75 Comments

I do not really have to listen to this. I know enough to not really need to schedule this into my day. Let me tell you what I am thinking then: The so-called 'liberals' in today's word. They is crazy. This is not conservative speech you are reading/hearing. I am not at any point beyond two weeks ever been one - been a conservative or not after the age of about eleven. Before that, I may have been (there are a few suspect things). I am totally by ACCIDENT replicating speech patterns. I mean to say, I am replicating ways of speaking that I know. I have heard already from conservative sorts of people at times in my life. So I am not one, but it jut sounds like that. There is no reason to be against conservatives anymore if it is a matter of who is crazy. Because --- THEY ARE. I don't need to hear any more of it. We have people in public life today who are crazy. Those of us who, by contrast NOT CR'ZY, need to band smilingly together. calmly, I mean!

Expand full comment

“Misinformation” as category is problematic for a number of reasons. “Inciting violence” concept is within my academic realm and requires cause-effect evidence/data. Thus far, none of the woke claims of “inciting violence” are legitimate in my opinion. “Hate Speech” - I am short and I hate people who are tall, (not really). What is wrong with expressing my hatred against others? “Explicit Call for violence or physical harm” - is the only category I consider harmful. Media platforms need to have numbered rules with an example of a sentence that breaks each rule. Platform discipline towards user violation needs to (a) Include quote of offending sentence, (b) Reference to rule that was violated, (c) Explanation of how sentence broke rule.

I wrote down numerous sentences from April 23 Goldblatt discussion. All sentences sounded normal to me. Public Health/APA were supposed to create new words for trans people, rather than allow existing language to be appropriated and redefined. My Dec 2022 letter to AG Garland addresses this. If I send new letter to media platform CEO’s; I will forward to Loury/McWhorter.

Expand full comment

Question for Loury and McWhorter: Who is the nation’s leading expert on Due Process?

Expand full comment

I heard Jordan Peterson make a suggestion for Twitter. Allow users to ignore comments from anonymous users. It can be a box to check that says "show anonymous users."

The default should be unchecked, so people have to choose to see the anonymous content. And then if people are curious or want to see the anonymous user content, they can click to see it.

I also like how reddit does the hide comments and upvotes.

Expand full comment

Glenn and Nikita, I find it very disappointing that only paying subscribers will be allowed to comment on this Substack. I can't afford to pay for a subscription, but I have never been trolling here and I genuinely enjoyed the discussions. If the goal is to prevent trolling, you can simply ban certain accounts.

By limiting the discussion to paying subcribers you are going to impoverish it, not enrich it. And as Richard Bicker has pointed out, many of the people who have enthusiastically supported your decision are not active commentators on this Substack.

Expand full comment

The Reddit upvote/downvote system is what has made that site a virtual echo chamber. The original intent was for upvotes to be given for insightful posts and comments, and for downvotes to only be used for post and comments which were off-topic or broke the rules of the subreddit (harassment, doxing, illegal activities). The market however decided differently and tribalism naturally took over where upvotes are given to views I agree with and downvotes are given to views I disagree with.

If the only effect of the system was a score attached to a post or comment then I'd be less wary, but it's the automatic hiding of posts or comments below a certain score, -5 in Reddit's case, which causes the biggest problem. Newcomers may venture into a discussion with their own ideas and question themselves when they never see such ideas discussed simply because they are all hidden as they don't conform to the groupthink. Sometimes it only takes a few brave souls to speak out and signal the quiet ones that they are actually not alone in their beliefs, yet when those few brave souls are downvoted to the point of being hidden, critical mass is never achieved.

Nikita is correct in that the culture of the forum itself can help shape the norms, but that's typically evident in the quality of the responses and not in the actual voting system. Each comment can be traced to a specific user, which has a reputational impact, so there's an incentive to conform to the cultural norms. However the voting system is anonymous, so there isn't the same incentive structure. I could comment how lovely it is to see dissenting opinions, yet quietly bury those with whom I disagree.

Ultimately I think a hidden voting system could work, which alone does not have any impact on the visibility of a comment, or on the order in which comments are presented, but could be used by moderators to identify comments which should be manually reviewed. Rules should be transparent and in the event they are broken the commenter should be made aware of the actual reason rather than them be left guessing. That's my 2 cents...

Expand full comment

Interesting conversation. Zero panaceas.

Free markets eventually and almost inevitably butt heads with free speech principles, particularly in cases like these. That is to say, economic interests don't always align with any of our political or social principles.

Google censoring you guys without explanation is bad enough. But the "you've been warned" part is next level. Thus, I get the outrage. But I am also reminded of an episode from the old Flintstones: "I'm the only caterer in town." It's a vibe that seems to resonate here.

Obviously a calculation has been made. Google would rather you go away/complain incessantly/campaign against them/compete against them/etc. than go to war with the Zeitgeist. While it may be f'd up on your end, it's quite tricky on theirs.

There aren't that many companies with trillion-dollar market caps. It's almost awkward to call Google a company for it is so much more than that--it's an institution. Half the world's population uses it. More importantly, it's roots are American, and they would rather look oversensitive than bigoted.

Google is not Elon-Twitter. They gain nothing if they appear to be endorsing anything resembling unbridled anti-transgender rhetoric. That said, I cannot excuse their lack of transparency. For if we don't know the rules, how can we play?

Then again, maybe that's the point.

Expand full comment

First I want to say that I enjoy the Glenn Show and watch/listen to every episode. I comment occasionally.

Glenn’s participation in the conversation has dwindled to almost zero. This reduces my motivation for writing comments significantly. Whether Glenn actually reads comments or not is not at all clear. John has stated many times that he doesn’t. He seems to be proud that he doesn’t. I have assumed that if anything, Mark Sussman curates comments for Glenn to consider reading. It seems to me that the monthly Q&A is meant to take the place of active engagement with comments. I also assume that Mark also curates the Q’s. Personally I find the Q&A’s to have degenerated over time and become kind of repetitive.

Various Substacks have a wide range of author participation with comments. Nikita’s comments and suggestions apply more to those with authors who actively engage with their community.

Expand full comment

Looks like Glenn took your comment to heart. He's actively engaging (both commenting AND giving "likes" to other comments) in the Reparations Substack.

Expand full comment

I think it’s just 1 or 2 commentators who basically said they love him. We will see if he is going to actually engage.

Expand full comment
author

For the record, I don't curate comments for Glenn to read, nor do I suggest Qs for him to address. I read as many of the comments as I can, and occasionally I'll call something to Glenn's attention that I think warrants discussion, often a suggestion from a reader about one aspect of the show or another. I glance at the Q&A threads once or twice, just to get a sense of what's on people's minds.

Expand full comment

Sounds like curating to me.

Expand full comment
author

Ok.

Expand full comment

What’s the purpose of a comments section when the owner/author of the site doesn’t engage?

Expand full comment

Terrible audio. PETROV gets an F for failing to speak LOUD enough to record. His less-than-audible level was torture to endure for 90% of his sentences. PLEASE turn up the audio and preview the quality of recordings before posting.

Expand full comment

You'd think after 15 years of doing these videos, Glenn would know to do a quick sound check before hitting the RECORD button. Nope. Or adjust the lighting so he and his guests don't look like airport x-rays. Nope. I guess some things are just beyond the capabilities of a brilliant economist and public intellectual...

Expand full comment

"To delete a violent video is one thing; to censor an unpopular opinion (or any opinion) is quite another."

We've been at the "quite another" stage for a few years now, what with Covid, the laptop tale, and a host of other examples in which govt worked in concert with private actors to silence certain voices. I'm less amazed that it happened than that so many people were okay with it. They began to parrot "mis" and "disinformation" the same way they parrot other words that flow from their preferred politicians and media mouthpieces. At first, they tried to give big tech cover by claiming that these are private platforms, and when that was no longer tenable, they attacked the reporters that documented the Twitter files.

I agree re: child porn and explicit calls for violence, but those have always been exceptions, just as they have been the sorts of things that violate terms of use. Beyond that, I'd say let everything go and give adults the opportunity to make adult decisions for themselves. If someone posts blatantly obnoxious things, we're intelligent enough to figure out and to provide some pushback. When wacky ideas are silenced, they don't go away. They're just pushed into corners where they can ferment and become even worse. A marketplace that allows for dissent, disagreement, and pushback is how lousy ideas get exposed. It's no small irony that the people forever pearl-clutching about "our democracy" are frequently the biggest violators of one of its central tenets.

Expand full comment

"so many people were okay with it." Yes. They were actively training and improving their minds in college in the eighties and nineties, then it took twenty years for them to accumulate status and offices and positions in administrations, etc. So now we see it. How could anyone have seen it before? Now we see them for who they are.

Expand full comment
May 22, 2023·edited May 22, 2023

Hear! Hear! Be great if Glenn and Mr. Sussman kept your wise words in mind while reviewing and hopefully modifying the current TGS "policy" (whatever it happens to be) on comment acceptability. At a minimum, ANY censoring of comments should be made known and visible to all readers, and the specific policy violation behind the specific "moderation" applied should be cited.

Expand full comment

The moderation system Nikita describes sounds a lot like that on Slashdot from decades ago.

Expand full comment

Slashdot is a bit different in that people get moderation points to use sparingly. On Reddit anyone with an account can upvote and downvote.

Expand full comment

I expect you're correct. I have a lot more experience with Slashdot than Reddit. Did Nikita say he was thinking of a Reddit-like system?

Expand full comment

Yes, specifically like Reddit. I prefer Slashdot as well... been a user since 1998 and got to meet CmdrTaco at LinuxExpo in 1999. It's been interesting to watch the userbase shift since the late 90s to today... as has much of the politics of Silicon Valley.

Expand full comment

I would speculate that someone like Goldblatt sanctimoniously placing himself in judgment of some group that he is not a part of would be crossing the line. As I said previously someone (eg Charles Murray) whose "research" purports to show the black race to be cognitively inferior to other races you might not find so interesting. You Tube is obviously too big to give a shit but if it did give a shit it should at least make it known what is objectionable and give the site the option of suppressing that portion itself.

No doubt automatic suppression of comments based on the net up/down vote will lead to the echo chamber effect. No doubt some site creators want it that way in which case the automatic suppression is all well and good. Otherwise comments that reach a specified net negative can be referred to the moderator. Most sites have a facility to report comments as inappropriate so that this would just be an alternate way to get the moderator's attention.

Expand full comment

Are you suggesting one cannot reasonably judge a group to which they are not a party?

Expand full comment

You can judge anyone you want for your own purposes. When you publish it for public consumption as authoritative what I would suggest is that no one embarks on such "research" without a preconceived opinion of the outcome, and invariably with the further intent of persecuting the particular group.

Expand full comment

Interesting that some consider calling men men and women women a form of persecution.

Expand full comment

This is extremely naive. Clearly you are out of touch with reality here. You won’t get 1 strike much less 3, they will just close your YouTube channel. If you want the content you better save it and move on. Now you’ve been “tagged” and you will be off in no time.. especially with an election coming up. Join the rest of the thousands who have been kicked off .. AND it has nothing to do with “hate” speech. It’s all political. You are either with them or against them. And it’s believe EVERY THING they believe. It’s why there is now Rumble. All those people didn’t say hateful things.. 🙄

Expand full comment

"the line between commonsense moderation and censorship grows hazy"

Not for me. If I believe your opinion is nonsense, I want it front and center so that readers can either see what I see, or convince me I'm wrong. And, yes, about a quarter of the time I change my mind.

Expand full comment

Can't really agree with that sentiment. If I look at some other Substack pages (Bari Weiss and Matt Taibbi come to mind), the comments are so flooded with fringe-y, rage-filled comments it's difficult to get anything out of them.

That's the paradox of content moderation. If you leave things unmoderated, virtually any online community will turn into a sewer. But moderation against anything is a slippery slope towards a more manicured but more horrifying dystopia.

Expand full comment

A paradox for sure. Far better a starting point than most others

Expand full comment

Yes, I believe a paradox is what it is.

Expand full comment

With respect to the voting idea, this admittedly complicates things, but maybe there could be 2 forms of voting. One would be whether you agree or disagree with the comment. The second as to whether you think the comment is inappropriate or if you think it's a troll. That way people with unpopular, but substantive comments don't get penalized.

Expand full comment

I once took a field trip to the FBI, probably late elementary school age. When the FBI agent talking to our tour group showed us his gun, one of the kids asked if he had a silencer. The FBI agent replied that there would be no need for a sworn law enforcement officer to try to silence his gun because even if he were in the rare situation where using his firearm became an option, “why would we not want anyone to know what we were doing?”

Whenever I see these people denying to give reasoning for their decisions, I think about that moment. Forget whether it’s legal for a company like Youtube to deny to give reasoning. If they were on the side of the right, they would do it voluntarily. If they were trying to maintain an atmosphere by banning content, wouldn’t they want onlookers to know what content was banned and why? The means by which these decisions are handed down suggests a different motive.

It also bears keeping in mind that in pretty much any decision outside of a court of law, businesses or other entities have no obligation to disclose the reasoning for their decisions, so it becomes a question of norms. And the norm is increasingly tight-lipped. Whoever it is that makes these decisions in secret clearly believes they have something to hide.

Expand full comment

"suggests a different motive." Yeah, a bad one.

Expand full comment

I understand your point that we should demand transparency from government agencies, especially the FBI. However, suppressors/silencers on guns are valuable to protect hearing and reduce noise pollution.

Expand full comment

It isn't my point; I'm not a gun person and I certainly wasn't at age 11 (ballpark figure). One might also argue that silencers don't actually silence guns and the noise is still likely to be audible in most cases.

It's the second part of the statement “why would we not want anyone to know what we were doing?”, which is pretty close to an exact quote of a uniformed FBI agent with a badge if I recall correctly, that's important.

Expand full comment

...here, the idea of using a silencer never occurs to him. It never came up. If there is a noisy gunfight, the noise would be helpful. Other persons would know to stay away. If you use a silencer they might walk right up to you. It was simply totally inappropriate for the agent to have any silencers around, and the agent was just saying so (I believe) candidly.

Expand full comment

As I said, I agree that we should expect more transparency about the FBI and it is not sufficiently transparent. I'm increasingly swayed by those who say that FBI is so corrupt that it can't be fixed and must be replaced.

Also, it is true that silencers do not make guns silent. They are called that because that was the brand under which such devices were originally sold. Silencers/supressors are useful in the same way that mufflers are useful on cars.

Expand full comment