• frog 🐸
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    1385 months ago

    It is true that removing and demonetising Nazi content wouldn’t make the problem of Nazis go away. It would just be moved to dark corners of the internet where the majority of people would never find it, and its presence on dodgy-looking websites combined with its absence on major platforms would contribute to a general sense that being a Nazi isn’t something that’s accepted in wider society. Even without entirely making the problem go away, the problem is substantially reduced when it isn’t normalised.

    • alyaza [they/she]M
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      5 months ago

      the weirdest thing to me is these guys always ignore that banning the freaks worked on Reddit–which is stereotypically the most cringe techno-libertarian platform of the lot–without ruining the right to say goofy shit on the platform. they banned a bunch of the reactionary subs and, spoiler, issues with those communities have been much lessened since that happened while still allowing for people to say patently wild, unpopular shit

      • frog 🐸
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        395 months ago

        Yep! Reddit is still pretty awful in many respects (and I only even bother with it for specific communities for which I haven’t found a suitable active equivalent on Lemmy - more frogs and bugs on Lemmy please), but it did get notably less unpleasant when the majority of the truly terrible subs were banned. So it does make a difference.

        I feel like “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” is apt when it comes to reactionaries and fascists. Completely eliminating hateful ideologies would be perfect, but limiting their reach is still good, and saying “removing their content doesn’t make the problem go away” makes it sound like any effort to limit the harm they do is rendered meaningless because the outcome is merely good rather than perfect.

      • @[email protected]
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        155 months ago

        They took way too long unfortunately , but totally agree. thedonald, femaledatingstrategy and fatpeoplehate should have been banned a lot quicker

        It feels like they’ve let it degrade again too now. Last I was on it, lots of subs had gone really toxic and weird

      • @jasory
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        65 months ago

        You’re literally on a platform that was created to harbor extremist groups. Look at who Dessalines is, (aka u/parentis-shotgun) and their self-proclaimed motivation for writing LemmyNet. When you ban people from a website, they just move to another place, they are not stupid it’s pretty easy to create websites. It’s purely optical, you’re not saving civilisation from harmful ideas, just preventing yourself from seeing it.

        • alyaza [they/she]M
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          5 months ago

          When you ban people from a website, they just move to another place, they are not stupid it’s pretty easy to create websites. It’s purely optical,

          you are literally describing an event that induces the sort of entropy we’re talking about here–necessarily when you ban a community of Nazis or something and they have to go somewhere else, not everybody moves to the next place (and those people diffuse back into the general population), which has a deradicalizing effect on them overall because they’re not just stewing in a cauldron of other people who reinforce their beliefs

          • @jasory
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            35 months ago

            “A deradicalising effect”

            I’m sorry what? The idea that smaller communities are somehow less radical is absurd.

            I think you are unaware (or much more likely willfully ignoring) that communities are primarily dominated by a few active users, and simply viewed with a varying degree of support by non-engaging users.

            If they never valued communities enough to stay with them, then they never really cared about the cause to begin with. These aren’t the radicals you need to be concerned about.

            “And those people diffuse back into the general population”

            Because that doesn’t happen to a greater degree when exposed to the “general population” on the same website?

            • alyaza [they/she]M
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              5 months ago

              I’m sorry what? The idea that smaller communities are somehow less radical is absurd.

              i’d like you to quote where i said this–and i’m just going to ignore everything else you say here until you do, because it’s not useful to have a discussion in which you completely misunderstand what i’m saying from the first sentence.

            • @[email protected]
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              5 months ago

              The deradicalizing effect occurs in the people who do not follow the fringe group to a new platform.

              Many people lurk on Reddit who will see extremist content there and be influenced by it, but who do not align with the group posting it directly, and will not seek them out after their subreddit or posted content is banned.

              • @jasory
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                25 months ago

                Sure but what degree of influence is actually “radicalising” or a point of concern?

                We like to pretend that by banning extreme communities we are saving civilisation from them. But the fact is that extreme groups are already rejected by society. If your ideas are not actually somewhat adjacent to already held beliefs, you can’t just force people to accept them.

                I think a good example of this was the “fall” of Richard Spencer. All the leftist communities (of which I was semi-active in at the time) credited his decline with the punch he received and apparently assumed that it was the act of punching that resulted in his decline, and used it to justify more violent actions. The reality is that Spencer just had a clique of friends that the left (and Spencer himself) interpreted as wide support and when he was punched the greater public didn’t care because they never cared about him.

          • @[email protected]
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            35 months ago

            deradicalizing effect on them overall because they’re not just stewing in a cauldron of other people who reinforce their beliefs

            Whom are we talking about here, the ones who get kicked out and seek each other in a more concentrated form, or the ones who are left behind without the radicalizing agents?

            I don’t want to have to deal with Nazis, or several other sects, but I don’t think forcing them into a smaller echo chamber is helping either.

            Ideally, I think a social platform should lure radicalizing agents, then expose them to de-radicalizing ones, without exposing everyone else. Might be a hard task to achieve, but worth it.

            • @[email protected]
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              5 months ago

              Ideally, I think a social platform should lure radicalizing agents, then expose them to de-radicalizing ones, without exposing everyone else. Might be a hard task to achieve, but worth it.

              You really think this works? I don’t. I just see them souring the atmosphere for everyone and attracting more mainstream users to their views.

              We’ve seen in Holland how this worked out. The nazi party leader (who chanted “Less Moroccans”) won the elections by a landslide a month ago. There is a real danger of disenchanted mainstreamers being attracted to nazi propaganda in droves. We’re stuck with them now for 4 years (unless they manage to collapse on their own, which I do hope).

              • @[email protected]
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                5 months ago

                No, that’s why I said “Ideally”, meaning it as a goal.

                I don’t think we have the means to do it yet, or at least I don’t know of any platform working like that, but I have some ideas of how some of it could be done. Back in the days of Digg, with some people, we spitballed some ideas for social networks, among them a movie ranking one (that turned out to be a flop because different people would categorize films differently), and a kind of PageRank for social networks, that back then was computationally impractical. But with modern LLMs running trillions of parameters, and further hardware advances, even O(n²) with n=millions becomes feasible in real time, and in practice it wouldn’t need to do nearly that much work. With the right tuning, and dynamic message visibility, I think something like that could create the exact echo chambers that would attract X people, allow in des-X people, while keeping everyone else out and unbothered.

                Of course there is a dark side, in that a platform could use the same strategy to mold the opinion of any group… and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Meta had been doing exactly that.

      • @[email protected]
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        5 months ago

        I’d argue that it still broke Reddit.

        Back in the day, I might say something out of tone in some subreddit, get the comment flagged, discuss it with a mod, and either agree to edit it or get it removed. No problem.

        Then Reddit started banning reactionary subs, subs started using bots to ban people for even commenting on other blacklisted subs, subs started abusing automod to ban people left and right, even quoting someone to criticize them started counting as using the same “forbidden words”, conversations with mods to clear stuff up pretty much disappeared, application of modern ToS retroactively to 10 year old content became a thing… until I got permabanned from the whole site after trying to recur a ban, with zero human interaction. Some months later, while already banned sitewide, they also banned me from some more subs.

        Recently Reddit revealed a “hidden karma” feature to let automod pre-moderate potentially disruptive users.

        Issues with the communities may have lessened, but there is definitely no longer the ability to say goofy, wild, or unpopular stuff… or in some cases, even to criticize them. There also have been an unknown number of “collateral damage” bans, that Reddit doesn’t care about anymore.

        • alyaza [they/she]M
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          205 months ago

          imo if reddit couldn’t survive “purging literally its worst elements, which included some of the most vehement bigotry and abhorrent content outside of 4chan” it probably doesn’t deserve to survive

          • @[email protected]
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            35 months ago

            I see it as a cautionary tale about relying too much on automated mod tools to deal with an overwhelming userbase. People make mistakes, simple tools make more.

        • nackmack
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          65 months ago

          @jarfil @alyaza i have said plenty of wild stuff and haven’t been banned from any subs? None of it has been bigoted tho

          • @[email protected]
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            5 months ago

            The only time I got banned for bigoted stuff, was precisely for quoting someone’s n-word and calling them out on it. Automod didn’t care about the context, no human did either. Also got banned for getting carried away and making a joke in a “no jokes” (zero tolerance) sub. Several years following the rules didn’t grant me even a second chance. Then was the funny time when someone made me a mod of a something-CCP sub, and automatically several other subs banned me.

            There is a lot more going on Reddit than what meets the eye, and they like to keep it out of sight.

            • Vodulas [they/them]
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              25 months ago

              The only time I got banned for bigoted stuff, was precisely for quoting someone’s n-word and calling them out on it. Automod didn’t care about the context, no human did either.

              It sounds like the right call was made (as long as both you and the OP were banned). As a white person, there is no reason for you to use the n-word. In that situation simply changing it to “n-word” is the very least that could have been done

              I’m not really sure how that provides and example of stuff going on in the background that someone wants to keep out of sight.

              • @[email protected]
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                15 months ago

                The thing is I did not “use” it, just quoted their whole message. In hindsight, maybe I should have changed it, but I still find it a flaw to not take context into account.

                It provides an example of context-less rules blindly applied by a machine, with no public accountability of what happened, much less of the now gone context.

                There are many better ways of handling those cases, like flagging the comment with a content warning, maybe replacing the offensive words, or locking it for moderation, instead of disappearing everything. I didn’t have half a chance of fixing things, had to use reveddit to just guess what I might’ve done wrong.

                • Vodulas [they/them]
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                  25 months ago

                  The thing is, no context would have made it OK. You may have just been quoting someone, but you still used the word in the quote. Quotes are not some uneditable thing, so it was your choice to leave it in. Zero tolerance for hate means repeating the hateful thing is also not tolerated, and that, IMO, is a good thing and the perfect use of an auto-mod.

                  The other examples are a bit nebulous, and I have no doubt that communities on reddit have esoteric moderation guidelines, but this particular example seems pretty cut and dry.

  • @[email protected]
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    925 months ago

    I really struggle to take seriously what these tech people say about ‘not wanting to censor’. They made a business calculation, and maybe an ideological one, and decided “we want that nazi money, it’s worth it to us.” which really tells you everything about a company and how it is likely to approach other issues, too.

    • FlumPHP
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      415 months ago

      It’s also disingenuous because they already decline to host sex workers newsletters. So if the censorship angle was true, they’re already censoring.

      • @[email protected]
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        15 months ago

        Right, and if the profit motive angle were true, they’re already violating that by censoring the sex workers you just mentioned.

        So that eliminates profit as the reason for their actions here

      • @[email protected]
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        175 months ago

        I feel like they always try to make it sound more complicated and high minded. I really don’t believe it is!

    • @[email protected]
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      125 months ago

      What do you call a company that puts profits above all? A company.

      Last time I asked for advice about registering a nonprofit, I was told “but you don’t yet have enough profits to use a nonprofit for tax evasion” 😒

      • NumbersCanBeFun
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        25 months ago

        I’m not sure I understand your point here. Everyone from a sole proprietor to a mega corporation is in it for profit. Just because the upper one percent is dodgy as hell and plays fast and loose with the tax code doesn’t mean every single company in existence is terrible or out to do sketchy business. I’m pretty happy with mine. I wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t working with honest people.

        • @[email protected]
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          5 months ago

          My point is that it’s nothing to be surprised about when a company makes a decision to increase its profit.

          As for the rest, getting a profit from your work, is called “a job”. Companies are created to get a profit in excess of whatever job the owners are doing, otherwise it’s called a “non-profit”… for the owners in excess of their job at the company, which they still get paid for.

          I don’t know the company you’re working for, but if it has any profits that don’t revert to the people doing the job, or the amortization of the initial investment, then the owners are “skimming off the top” from everyone.

          The people I asked for advice, from the corporate world, were so entrenched in that same “profit first” mentality, that they couldn’t even grasp the idea of only getting paid for your actual work, and only saw non-profits as a tool for tax evasion.

          • NumbersCanBeFun
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            25 months ago

            Thank you for clarifying your position. I’m not in full agreement but I respect the points you brought up here. Cheers 🍻

  • @[email protected]
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    685 months ago

    Not gonna lie. I’ve never heard of Substack but I appreciate their stance of publicly announcing why I would continue to avoid them.

    • @[email protected]
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      75 months ago

      My only interaction with Substack is that one podcast moved there for premium content. I thought it was mostly for written newsletters, which I always wondered how much of a market there actually is for paying for one newsletter, but then again I guess it’s just the written version of podcasts so I guess there is a market. Though promoting Nazi content gives me a lot of pause.

  • alyaza [they/she]M
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    605 months ago

    techno-libertarianism strikes again! it’s every few years with these guys where they have to learn the same lesson over again that letting the worst scum in politics make use of your website will just ensure all the cool people evaporate off your website–and Substack really does not have that many cool people or that good of a reputation to begin with.

    • @[email protected]
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      175 months ago

      They just really, really love running Nazi bars. They just don’t like it when the normies realizes that the neighbourhood bar is a Nazi bar.

      • alyaza [they/she]M
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        105 months ago

        i go back and forth on how much i think this tendency’s willingness to host content like this and/or go to the mat for it is agreement and how much of it is just stupidity or ill-conceived ideology. a lot of these guys seem like they agree with elements of fascism, but a lot of them are also… just not smart.

        • @[email protected]
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          85 months ago

          The Nazi bar analogy says nothing about agreement. Just that failing to remove Nazis from your bar is a great way to flood your bar with Nazis, because once they know its safe for them to Nazi it up in your establishment, they’ll tell their friends about you.

          If you don’t proactively remove the Nazis, you’re creating a Nazi safe space, whether you agree with them or not.

          • alyaza [they/she]M
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            i am familiar with the analogy, but i think it would obviously be worse if they agree with what they’re platforming instead of just being kind of half-baked morons who don’t have good political positions or cynically platforming it because it makes them money. one can, in effect, be remedied by showing them social or financial retribution, but the other would be a manifestation of a much more serious social problem that cannot be immediately dealt with

        • @[email protected]
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          25 months ago

          I think you have to look at the money here. The most charitable view for substack is their payment provider doesn’t ban Nazis, and their VC funders don’t want them to ban Nazis, and so they don’t really have a choice.

          I think substack is well up for being a nazi bar based on what they’ve said so I’m happy to give them some blame but I won’t be letting the other two off the hook either.

    • @[email protected]
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      35 months ago

      Joyce Carol Oates is there; She counts for hundreds of cool people; I think some other writers make use of it too. I hope they voice their discontent.

      Nazis find a way to ruin every fucking thing. I really believe certain groups of people should not have right to free speech. In 2024, we should be well-aware that tolerating intolerance does not work. Just fucking look around and take a look at what these people are doing with their free speech. I am not the gatekeeper or good morals and the bastion of good values. Some ideologies are objectively bad, though.

  • @[email protected]
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    5 months ago

    Translation: “We support Nazis and would like to offer them passive protection. If you have a problem with them, we will ban you”

  • @[email protected]
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    415 months ago

    2023 and talking about deplatforming nazis is controversial. This is where we’re at, folks.

  • @[email protected]
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    355 months ago

    Any writers still on SubStack need to immeadiately look at alternative options and shift their audiences to other platforms. To stick around on the site when the founder straight up condones neo nazis and not only gives them a platform, but profit shares with them and their nazi subscribers is insane.

  • @[email protected]
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    325 months ago

    Reading about this at work the other day, I announced to my coworkers that Substack is officially bad. Profiting off of nazi propaganda is bad. Fuck Substack.

    I had recently subscribed to the RSS feed for The Friendly Atheist and was considering monetary support. They accept via Substack or Patreon. I would have opted for Patreon anyway, because that’s where I already have subscriptions. But after learning about this, I’ll never support anything, no matter what, via Substack. Eat my ass, shitheads.

    • @[email protected]
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      35 months ago

      Well, you can create an account from EU, although mine got locked after creating just one blog post. And the support does not seem to respond, so I moved to a different platform.

  • @[email protected]
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    305 months ago

    What do you mean banning doesn’t work? The less reach those Nazis have the less people can see their Nazi-Posts and get turned into Nazis. Also it needs to be clear that being a Nazi is not acceptable so they don’t have the courage to spread their hate. This bullshit needs to stop.

  • @[email protected]
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    215 months ago

    Nope, never supporting anything from substacks again. “Freeze peach” libertarians can go to hell.

  • katy ✨
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    5 months ago

    if you say nazi and white supremacist content is just a “different point of view”, you support nazi and white supremacist content. period.

    and it’s not surprising since lulu meservey’s post on twitter when the whole situation with elon basically abandoning moderation.

    “Substack is hiring! If you’re a Twitter employee who’s considering resigning because you’re worried about Elon Musk pushing for less regulated speech… please do not come work here.”

    https://www.inverse.com/input/culture/substack-hiring-elon-musk-tweet

    • @[email protected]
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      45 months ago

      The problem is that some people are quick to call things Nazi and white supremacist, when it’s actually just something they disagree with.

      • @[email protected]
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        105 months ago

        That’s not the problem at all. If you support fascists then you support Nazi’s and white supremacy.

  • @[email protected]
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    155 months ago

    There’s a lot of empirical claims surrounding this topic, and I’m unaware who really has good evidence for them. The Substack guy e.g. is claiming that banning or demonetising would not “solve the problem” – how do we really know? At the very least, you’d think that demonetising helps to some extent, because if it’s not profitable to spread certain racist ideas, that’s simply less of an incentive. On the other hand, plenty of people on this thread are suggesting it does help address the problem, pointing to Reddit and other cases – but I don’t think anyone really has a grip on the empirical relationship between banning/demonetising, shifting ideologues to darker corners of the internet and what impact their ideas ultimately have. And you’d think the relationship wouldn’t be straightforward either – there might be some general patterns but it could vary according to so many contingent and contextual factors.

    • Pigeon
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      135 months ago

      I agree it’s murky. Though I’d like to note that when you shift hateful ideologues to dark corners of the internet, that also means making space in the main forums for people who would otherwise be forced out by the aforementioned ideologues - women, trans folks, BIPOC folks, anyone who would like to discuss xyz topic but not at the cost of the distress that results from sharing a space with hateful actors.

      When the worst of the internet is given free reign to run rampant, it has a tendency to take over the space entirely with hate speech because everything and everyone else leaves instead of putting up with abuse, and those who do stay get stuck having the same, rock bottom level conversations (e.g. those in which the targets of the hate are asked to justify their existence or presence or right to have opinions repeatedly) over and over with people who aren’t really interested in intellectual discussions or solving actual problems or making art that isn’t about hatred.

      But yeah, as with anything involving large groups of people, these things get complicated and can be unpredictable.

      • @[email protected]
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        15 months ago

        Thank you! Even on lemmy I find the atmosphere often oblivious or ignorant to marginalized views. The majority here are cis men (regarding the poll earlier this year) and it certainly shows. And the people here are probably mostly left-leaning? So I definitely couldn’t imagine sharing a space with anyone more right-leaning than that.

        • @[email protected]
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          5 months ago

          It depends a lot on the instance IMO. I didn’t like the attitude at lemmy.ml but I like it here at beehaw. I’m very left-leaning, progressive and LGBTQ+ friendly.

          Lemmy.ml and lemmy.world are more right-leaning as far as I can see.

          • @[email protected]
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            15 months ago

            Yes sure, beehaw is more progressive. But still I sometimes don’t feel so comfortable in its community because it can at times feel very male-centered.

    • PenguinCoder
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      105 months ago

      The problem when you own a space that if you let certain groups of people in, such as, in this example, Nazis, you’ll literally drive everyone else away from your space, so that what started off as a normal, ordinary space will become, essentially, a Nazi bar.

      It’s not only Nazis — it can be fascists, white supremacists, meth-heads, PUAs, cryptocurrency fanboys — some groups will be so odious to others that they will drive everyone else from your space, so the only solution that you can enact is to ensure that they don’t come to your place, even if they’re nice and polite and “follow your rules”, because while they might, their friends won’t, those friends have a history of driving away other people from other spaces.

      "you have to nip it in the bud immediately. These guys come in and it’s always a nice, polite one. And you serve them because you don’t want to cause a scene. And then they become a regular and after awhile they bring a friend. And that dude is cool too.

      And then THEY bring friends and the friends bring friends and they stop being cool and then you realize, oh shit, this is a Nazi bar now. And it’s too late because they’re entrenched and if you try to kick them out, they cause a PROBLEM. So you have to shut them down.

    • @thesmokingman
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      85 months ago

      What evidence did you find to support Substack’s claims? They didn’t share any.

      You can quickly and easily find good evidence for things like Reddit quarantining and the banning of folks like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos.

      Which claims are empirical again?

    • katy ✨
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      25 months ago

      we also do know that going after nazis and white supremacists works since all through the 90s they were relegated to the fringe of the fringe corners on the internet.

    • @[email protected]
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      5 months ago

      There’s a lot of empirical claims surrounding this topic, and I’m unaware who really has good evidence for them. The Substack guy e.g. is claiming that banning or demonetising would not “solve the problem” – how do we really know?

      Well it depends what you define as “the problem”.

      If you define it as Nazis existing per se, banning them does not “solve the problem” of nazis existing. They will just go elsewhere. A whole world war was not enough to get rid of them.

      However, allowing them on mainstream platforms does make their views more prevalent to mainstream users and some might fall for their propaganda similar to the way people get attracted to the Qanon nonsense. So if you define the problem as “Nazis gaining attention” then yeah sure. It certainly does “solve the problem” to some degree. And I think this is the main problem these days (even in the Netherlands which is a fairly down to earth country, the fascists gained 24% of the votes in the last election!)

      However however you define “the problem” making money off nazi propaganda is just simply very very bad form. And will lead to many mainstream users bugging out, and rightly so.

  • garrett
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    145 months ago

    I always hate policy talk trying to split the hairs of Nazism and “calls for violence”.

    Even worse, I just can’t get allowing monetization. If you truly “hate the views”, stop lining your pocket with their money…

  • ArugulaZ
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    135 months ago

    There are too many of these goddamned social networks anyway. After Twitter/X exploded, everyone else wanted to grab a piece of that pie, and now we’ve got a dozen social networks nobody uses.

    If you want a progressive social network that doesn’t take shit from goosesteppers, Cohost is probably the place to go. It’s so neurodivergent and trans-friendly that I can’t imagine them blithely accepting Nazi content. It’s just not how Cohost works. “Blah blah blah, free speech!” Not here, chumps. We’ve got standards. Go somewhere else to push that poison.