Jordan Peterson’s new version of Gab will have all the same problems as Gab

I’m not sure I have to write a post to accompany the headline as I’ve encapsulated the main point in the headline.

The longer version is this. Jordan Peterson has announced his own social media platform “Thinkspot”

He described that freedom as the “central” aspect saying, “once you’re on our platform we won’t take you down unless we’re ordered to by a US court of law.” That will be a profound contrast to platforms that ban users for “misgendering” people who identify as trans, or for tweeting “learn to code” at fired journalists. The only other major rule on comments he mentioned was that they need to be thoughtful. Rather than suggesting that some opinions are “off limits,” Peterson said they will have a minimum required length so one has to put thought into what they write. “If minimum comment length is 50 words, you’re gonna have to put a little thought into it,” Peterson said. “Even if you’re being a troll, you’ll be a quasi-witty troll.” All comments on the website will have a voting feature “and if your ratio of upvotes to downvotes falls below 50/50 then your comments will be hidden, people will still be able to see them, if they click, but you’ll disappear.”

These are mainly features and claims offered by Gab or seen in other platforms. Gab, of course, descended so rapidly into nothing but Nazis, dodgy-porn, and dodgy pornographic Nazis that Vox Day found himself harassed off the platform by obnoxious Nazi trolls as if trying to embody the concept of “unintended irony”.

Peterson’s platform will have the added advantage over Gab in that there’s no shortage of Nazi-trolls who actively hate Peterson, so they’ll have an added incentive to destroy the platform intentionally in the same way the destroyed Gab unintentionally.

The only unusual feature mentioned is a minimum comment length. That will be very hard to beat I’m sure!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Peterson’s own pitch implies that they won’t ban users for harassment. This pretty much guarantees that people who don’t want to be harassed won’t use it (at least not for long) and the people who want to harass will.


46 thoughts on “Jordan Peterson’s new version of Gab will have all the same problems as Gab

  1. The only unusual feature mentioned is a minimum comment length. That will be very hard to beat I’m sure!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Liked by 3 people

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        Liked by 8 people

  2. Peterson said they will have a minimum required length so one has to put thought into what they write. I can’t wait for him to experience James May.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. “If minimum comment length is 50 words, you’re gonna have to put a little thought into it,” Peterson said. “Even if you’re being a troll, you’ll be a quasi-witty troll.”

    No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Back when I used to see more inbasket spam and see it in newsgroups, there were these bits of gibberish attached to the messages, to give a little heft and maybe to evade some sorts of supervision. I called them spam noodles, and they have largely gone away.

      Sounds like JP is setting the stage for the return of spam noodles!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Meanwhile, it’d impose a requirement to write verbose replies or a resort to spoofing on people who just want to say ‘Yes’, ‘Thanks’, or ‘That’s right’ to something.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that sort of downvoting proceedure decried as censorship when used elsewhere – e.g. Reddit. Probably just shows that it’s only censorship when they think it’ll affect them.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I actually think it’s a handy way to handle comment sections that are too large to just trawl through, but I don’t pretend they’re anything other than a way to amplify prevailing opinions.
        When the various segments of the alt-right start sniping at each other, the voting wars are going to be hilarious.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I think the first place I saw that had ‘comment rating’ like that was Slashdot back at the end of the 1990s. Watching how that devolved over time should have been a lesson in how ‘community moderation’ can break down over a decade ago, even when you start with a moderately thought-out system. Even when it worked it tended to encourage complaints over information. (I remember one article about AIM throwing an error in Pidgin because they were changing authentication methods. Screams about how AOL was trying to shut down all open source software that talked to their servers got upvoted over the comments of people from Pidgin who were actually working with the AOL people on how to update the software to work with the new scheme.)

        It’s like the whole ‘September that never ended’ when AOL suddenly dumped its users onto the Internet. When the number of new people was small and controlled enough to allow for education, community standards can work. Dumping a large group of people with no pre-conditions into something is going to rather rapidly get taken over by the people who just don’t care about niceties.

        And that’s even without the fact that sites like Gab or Peterson’s new suggestion are actively recruiting the edgelords. Those tend to have lifespans measured in months.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “we won’t take you down unless we’re ordered to by a US court of law.”

    — Here the site acknowledges that some things cross the line, are legally banned and so his site will not have actual full free speech but instead will be curated. Peterson acknowledges here that private sites have potential liability if they keep something up that a court in a hosting or contracted country has deemed illegal and so that this affects their policies on removing (banning) material, that protecting themselves from a legal liability and consequence by removing material — as Twitter and other sites do — is actually perfectly legitimate. While at the same time saying it’s not legitimate and that’s why the new site is needed. What Peterson claims to be avoided on the site is not avoided at all — restrictions on speech and material that might violate others’ civil rights (crimes.)

    “All comments on the website will have a voting feature “and if your ratio of upvotes to downvotes falls below 50/50 then your comments will be hidden, people will still be able to see them, if they click, but you’ll disappear.”

    So again, not free speech. Organized groups can game the system to repress and censor your speech on the platform so you’ll disappear from click view and not get the benefits of using the social media. You’ll be MARGINALIZED, your speech discriminated against by running afoul of the majority. As long as others can control your speech on the platform, that’s not free speech.

    Essentially, he’s created a giant online game site in which you and your far right bigoted gang wage downvote war on rival far right bigoted clans for status (and money opportunities from the PR.) You can never win the game except if you’re Peterson making money off of ads and the like. It’s like rats being dropped reward pellets.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. At the risk of getting CENSORED by evil WordPress for including a URL, Peterson couldn’t even manage a unique name. There is already a THiNKSPOT–and in nearby Burlington, Ontario:

    http://thinkspot.ca/contact/

    It’s not a poorly-thought-out social media site (it looks like they run workshops intended to increase “communication and connection between individuals and teams in order to create better outcomes for organizations”) so Peterson shouldn’t have trademark issues. At the same time, this is something that JP certainly could have seen since it’s in the GTA and it’s sort of maybe at least adjacent to his alleged area of expertise. Come on, JP. Can’t you even be slightly original?

    Also, apparently Peterson’s Thinkspot is going to be subscription based. So you’re going to have to pay to use your free speech. This will simultaneously cut down on some of the inevitable bullshit (“it costs *how* much to enroll my army of trolls and bots?”) and make it less likely to succeed.

    We’ll see how much of the initial pitch survives until launch, though. Assuming there is one.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What I like is the idea of “free speech” that you have to pay for.

    Thinkspot: “I made my own Reddit!!! With Blackjack!! And Hookers!!!”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m wondering how they’re defining a “word” – is it “a word is a block of characters defined by a space at the end”, in which case t h i n g s l i k e t h i s could show up as a way to get past the “word” limit. Or are they defining it by characters as per typing “words per minute” counts, where a word is any five keystrokes? In which case they encourage the enthusiastic to excavate the more obscure and lengthy portions of their vocabularies in an attempt to engender compliance.

    Still it will be fun to watch this one’s inevitable rise and fall… from a distance.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. ” It’s being marketed as a free speech alternative to payment processors like Patreon in that it will “monetize creators” and as provide a social media alternative to platforms like Facebook and YouTube.”

    Facebook AND Youtube on one platform!? So. A platform that will attract a limited amount of followers (i.e those banned from other platforms). Should still have functionality from two of the largest platforms. Will allow people to for free add long videos that will require costly storage while not getting many viewers and even less income from advertising. Where they promise to never delete those videos, i.e save money, unless legal requirements. And they are going to pay creators. Add to that all the costs for the security requirements.

    Good luck with that one. It is going to be a massive money drain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I Funnily enough, I’m perfectly fine with Peterson having his money drained by this brainwave. Anything which limits his ability to cause damage ought to be encouraged and celebrated.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Wait, isn’t he an academic? He should be intimately familiar with students farting out 2000 words on a subject they barely know anything about.

    Wait, has he not read that ridiculous book about being an alpha lobster or some nonsense? You can write at length and still have put zero useful thought into what you’ve written.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Comments over at the Pharyngula posting on this note that apparently one of the beta testers/active bloggers on the platform will be failed UKIP MEP Carl Benjamin, aka ‘Sargon of Arkkad’. Just in case you didn’t already think it was going to be a garbage fire.

    Michael Shermer is also mentioned as an initial entrant. He’s a rather loud libertarian who (used to?) have a Scientific American column and became known for stalking women and making sure their glasses were always full at skeptic conventions. And who’s threatened to sue people for so much as mentioning the latter. And who apparently thinks Stefan Molyneaux is ‘one of the most articular podcasters for reason’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s amusing, the last thing Benjamin did was try to stand as a MEP and he did so poorly that he lost his deposit. May he keep up the record!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not just a pair. From the Guardian article:

        [Peterson] said: “I think we’ve got four, five or six people who are lined up. [Dave] Rubin is going to use it. I’m going to use it, James Altucher, Jocko Willink, Michael Shermer, oh and Carl Benjamin, Sargon of Akkad. They’ll be our first beta testers fundamentally.”

        Dave Rubin is one of those guys who calls himself a ‘classical liberal’ and who thinks he’s funny but failed as a comedian. Those alone should be raising enough red flags even before knowing that he signed up with this lot.

        Like

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