Unpacking a weekend with a tide of racism and bigotry - and its aftermath
Sorry you had to endure all that. But thanks for sharing it. Substack has been showing their true colours, cloaked in the "free speech" mantle, which is basically a coverall for "we want to say whatever we like, however we like because free speech!" The the Substack leadership panders to them and will never make a stand in support of safety. That evasive response by the founder tells you all you need to know. In some respects it's good all the racists and bigots and their enablers could not contain themselves on those notes/posts and showed themselves up. I had hoped it was better here, but this place is really no different from the other places (platforms) it thinks it is better than, complete with trolling, and they know it. Pretty predictable.
Sharon, I'm so sorry to hear about the trolling! Ugh.
Thank you for advocating for a social media platform to stop racist trolling. It’s predictable that this would happen and unconscionable that they aren’t prepared or immediately responsive. I am also disheartened that a lot of what I’m seeing in my notes is from creators I don’t and wouldn’t follow. It becomes useless information as I don’t trust these sources for reliable information and don’t really understand how they got in my feed since they aren’t being shared by writers I know.
So sorry you had this to deal with, Sharon. Glad you brought it out into the open. Hopefully things will change for the better soon at Substack!
Ms. Hurley- Hall, trolling is social media gone bad. So now part of trolling can be explained by poor screening and oversight by people responsible for this writing platform, but it also says a lot how low people can be- what they are possibly capable to another human beings. Trolling is a very hurtful practiced with absolutely no redeeming value. If anything trolling may encourage people with similar minds to " pile on" the hapless individual.
As I have said before," the road to Hell is paved with good intentions." Substack's intentions were to be a good writing platform to showcase a writer's ability an to promote a peaceful discourse. Yet trolling has hijacked Stack Notes to attack other subscribers when their views weren't the same as the troll's.
Unfortunately, it is very hard to restrict the actions of these," loose cannons." These troll have no tolerance for opinions other their own. Often, these unprovoked attacks on one's values may physically shake you to the core, but Ms.Hurley-Hall your unswerving belief in what you are doing is the right thing and you resolve to do so, will protect you and put you in good stead.
Additionally, I agree with you about not blocking or muting contributors. By blocking them you sink to their level of intolerance, and that is not you.
Please be sure that if you do decide to decamp you give us plenty of warning so we can follow you.
“Free speech” is definable as speech that does not include harassment, period. Free association means being able to join with others on a field of mutual respect - and an expectation of an underlying desire to respect. As soon as there is a demonstrated disregard for respect and listening, there should be a willingness to remove the trolls.
I’m a cis gay white guy over 60. At times I’ve blundered, not seen my own privilege and because of this said things to people I didn’t know I shouldn’t. But when my interlocutors took the time to help me see my error, I’ve learned. I may have been embarrassed, but that was exactly what helped me learn. Our problem now is the trolls are inflated with the emotional rush of not having to consider shame and they resist ever being humbled by considering the dignity of those they mistakenly see as beneath them.
I wish Best and McKenzie were more willing to limit the “herd” and the traffic for the greater good of their community - and state without qualification that bigotry, homophobia, misogyny, and transphobia is anathema on Substack and Substack Notes. It’s probably counterintuitive but culling for a healthier group with a foundational value of respect would bring them an enormously greater return on investment.
First off super sorry to hear this...totally awful...
...I saw a female author being harassed with death threats and misogyny weeks ago and reported it as harassment only to have substack customer service get back to me with the old we let our users control their own comments...no attempt to remedy...no ability to block or control hate speech...it is a bummer and I don't understand how that could be a good business model...here was the message from good old Tex in Substack support (probably an AI bot)...I don't want to share the initial comment as it could be triggering for folks...
"At Substack, we believe that writers are most capable of managing and defining norms for their communities. That’s why we provide tools to publishers on the platform to manage their own comment sections, or to choose to disable comments entirely. Though there may be specific instances where we step in to take action with particular comments, our standard protocol is to leave such decisions up to publishers.
Please know that we take reports like this seriously and we’ll continue to monitor this commenter’s account moving forward. If you have further concerns, we recommend raising them with the publication."
...the old hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil...from someone who has worked in CS I find this so odd...prepare for this to be an industry wide norm when AI fully takes over customer support for companies...
I'm sorry you had to go through that. And I'm especially sorry that Substack turned out to be a Nazi shitshow. This makes me glad I never set up a Substack account for myself — I just have a couple blogs on Blogger and WordPress. I'd been considering moving, but your experience tells me that I made a wise procrastination.
“And just in case anyone is ever in any doubt: we don’t like or condone bigotry in any form.”
Not really a stance. More like a preference.
I’m with you Sharon.
This is awful and I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. ❤️
As for moving forward, I’m all for free speech, but I wonder if a model like France’s free speech but anti hate speech could be adopted? Of course it takes time and money to do it.
I'm so incredibly sorry about your experience. It's unacceptable and ridiculous that Substack leadership is willing to accept the status quo. In a world where Donald Trump is a viable candidate for re-election, I suppose I should have seen this coming, but somehow I was still hopeful that Notes would be different... I will follow you wherever you go if you choose another platform, but you shouldn't have to! Thank you for being you and sharing your wisdom and insight.
That sucks 😢. Your voice and experience is helping. Thank you for sharing it.
The hate you received had been totally unwarranted. Unfortunately, the powers that be love the status quo. In fact, there should be a means of not having anything to do with "Notes." But that costs "money" to the establishment...
Also. if I might make a correction, there are no "Neo-Nazis" ... rather they are the KKK writ large... they are the Aryan Brotherhood... They are NAZIS...
The United States established itself (as did the rest of the Americas) on the foundation built upon the Twin Holocausts of the Americas... the deliberate actions to commit genocide against the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, and the kidnapping, theft of human beings from Africa trafficked to the Americas, moved into enforced hereditary chattel slavery for centuries...
Those who attack you Sharon are enemies of humanity. Plain and simple. They defend pogroms against ethnic minorities, such as Blacks, Indigenous Peoples, Jews, and the Roma.
Those who espouse the "MAGA" doctrine desire to return to an era of genocide and human trafficking against those of the Global South.
Thank you for your work! Please keep doing what you do!
Moving my 'Stack to Ghost was pretty easy. With the Creator tier, you can request assistance from the team who will actually move everything over for you without you needing to learn to code.
The team members who worked with me got it all done in a couple of days, start to finish, and kept me updated through the whole process.
It costs a year's subscription up front, which is a few hundred dollars USD. Heftier for me as a Canadian, but well worth the coin. I purchased my own domain name, set everything up, and I'm puttering along fine.
There's a learning curve, but if my scattered brain can make sense of it, everybody can!
Thank you a ton, Sharon. If you find a platform where you can publish your newsletter, let us know, please.
I as well invested into Substack but now I feel it was a mistake. When you search the profiles, you mostly see white cis men and fewer cis white women dare showing their faces. But many others prefer to have an avatar.
That tells everything.
I do not want to be part of this. But right now, I do not know well where to go to, either. Ghost.org is recommended quite often but it's not embedded in a community.
The statement of Hamish was like a joke. The interview of Chris Best was horrors. If Substack wants to change things, they need to announce it. It does not help tinkering in the grey to make things easier for people. They have to talk about it.
Now, on Mastodon for example, substack is called a Nazi bar. Are they right? Does the CEO team prove them right? So far, they do. By being inactive.
I’m so sorry. I just started following you to learn and hear what you have to say😞