More alt-right crowdfunding shenanigans

About a month ago I came across a very odd thing. It was odd enough that I thought the interesting thing to do is to just watch if anything happens. Nothing did happen and so now seems about the right to time to write about it. For context you need to go back to these posts:

Yes! It is our old pal Vox Day engaged in yet another winning gambit in a game of one-dimensional chess. The ‘odd thing’ is this neon-green thing https://www.patreon.com/castalia [no archive link, patreon pages don’t archive well]. It is a Patreon account for Vox Day’s vanity publishing house Castalia and the account is ostensibly there to promote his recent book (see my review above).

However, the public verbiage around the site is a parody of left-leaning language, as if it was attempt to hide the actual politics of Castalia, even down to the bearded guy in the logo.

Unless I missed it (which is possible) there was no big announcement of this Patreon account either at Vox Day’s blog or the Castalia House blog. It’s been sitting there since late October and after a very sudden flurry of subscribers has stayed stuck at around 16 hundred patrons.

There is an explanation from Vox Day himself but it is the form of two of his rambling videos.

I’ve seen elsewhere Vox say he wouldn’t watch his own videos and on that one point, he is absolutely right. I don’t know who has the patience to watch this stuff but people do and Vox’s fans watch even longer and less coherent stuff from Owen Benjamin. However, mid November I sat through most of those.

The gist of the explanation is this. Day has launched a ‘replatforming’ campaign, to take back the presence of the alt-right on online platforms. Of course, the extent to which the right have been pushed off online platforms is actually minimal (and largely through unforced errors by given individuals) but put that aside for a moment. Day is claiming the right has been forced off platforms and he will valiantly fight back. The bridgehead of his fightback being the Patreon account above.

I’m watching these videos with my head cocked to one side, a bleary confused expression on my face and saying ‘huh?’ to myself. Yet we must persevere to understand what today’s Xanatos gambit is:

  1. Hidden SJWs in Patreon will be outraged by the existence of the Castalia account and ban it. At this point Day launches legal action as do the 16 hundred loyal followers. The resulting legal victory defeats no-platforming. [No, I don’t get how that works but I’ll come back to it]
  2. The hidden SJWs in Patreon will still be outraged by he existence of the Castalia account but discover that they cannot do anything about the account legally and reluctantly let it continue. Having conceded victory to Day, no-platforming is defeated. [Again, No, I don’t get how that works but I’ll come back to it]

I’ll come to the gaping flaw in the reasoning in a moment but the initial issues that struck me were these:

  • If the plan is to provoke a banning, then why the weird stealth aspect of the Patreon? Pretending (even sarcastically) to be a left anti-capitalism group rather than a white nationalist group and then NOT getting banned hardly sets a new precedent for the alt-right to make use of mainstream crowd-funding. Likewise pretending to be a left group and THEN getting banned would undermine the right-wing narrative that only the right gets banned.
  • The whole ‘replatforming’ idea runs exactly counter to Vox Day’s avowed strategy that the alt-right needs to be building its own tech infrastructure.
  • Day wanted lots of subscribers with low level pledges so that many people would have standing in a potential law suit. I’m not a lawyer but I’m not sure that makes much difference. Is losing a court case of one person for $1000 any better than losing a court case of 1000 people for $1? Maybe it is?

In the following weeks here is what happened: nothing.

I guess by clause 2 of the Xanatos gambit that means Day won but a survey of the world around us shows that the status-quo from before October 28 is pretty much the same.

What Day has actually done is disproved his own narrative.

Day’s version of events (and it is one that extends beyond alt-right circles and is common among conservatives as well) is this:

  • a right-leaning person is on some online platform
  • leftists within the business running the platform hate free speech
  • the innocent right-leaning person is then cruelly censored for some minor infraction by the leftist underling…
  • and/or the right-leaning person is driven off by biased rules enacted against conservatives by the anti-free speech tech-giant
  • and/or a leftwing mob attempts to ‘cancel’ the right leaning person and eventually the tech-giant caves under the pressure of the howling mob etc

A survey of both high and low profile actual examples shows a quite different story.

  • a right-leaning person is on some online platform
  • they violate the terms of service of the platform
  • nothing happens
  • they violate the terms of service of the platform
  • nothing happens
  • they violate the terms of service of the platform
  • nothing happens
  • they violate the terms of service of the platform
  • something finally happens and they get a slap on the wrist
  • histrionics break out all over the place

The more substantial examples, were alternative platforms such as Gab or Freestartr lose access to key commercial infrastructure, are also when they themselves create significant business risks for other businesses. This may include dodgy financial processes but may also include connections to potentially criminal activity (e.g. enticement to violence that is closely connected to actual cases of violence).

What isn’t happening is a mass, concerted campaign by the technology companies to censor the right JUST for being right-wing. The myth of the SJW influence over social media and crowd funding platforms is exactly that: a myth. Yes, people on the left would like Nazis not to have a platform on Twitter or Facebook but these companies aren’t quick to remove people without repeated and overt violations of the rules users had agreed to.

Circling back. Castalia house set up a quiet Patreon that is playing strictly by the rules (I assume) so that when/if they get banned they have the best legal case they can. However, by sticking closely to the rules they are unlikely to get banned…which everybody with half-a-gram of common sense already knew.

Maybe Day knows this as well and this was just the simplest way of getting $6,000 a month from his marks/loyal followers? Maybe, I don’t know. As often with such activities, I’m not sure whether it wise to even write about it. We’ll see. At some point Day will declare checkmate and we will be none the wiser.

20 thoughts on “More alt-right crowdfunding shenanigans

  1. This seems like a good place to note that Beale recently whined about a world-building workshop lead by N. K. Jemisin, which under his usual bad overwrought sarcasm, was him complaining about how come Jemisin wins awards and gets to host world-building workshops, and not him?

    The answer of course being “she’s talented, and you’re terrible.” I mean, I’ve read his entire awful fantasy series, so I speak with knowledge.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Day can’t write fiction, he just can’t and he hasn’t got any better.

      Non-fiction? I find his ideas objectionable and his arguments weak but he knows how to pace out what he is saying and he is readable. So, it’s not that he can’t write at all but he has no idea how to write fiction.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’d argue that he has a certain level of raw talent, BUT his refusal to engage in any sort of self-criticism means he’s never progressed, while the constant validation from his cultists has seen him get worse in many ways.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Hey, sticking with it let me read sentences like….

        “His eyes burned like flaming emeralds, seeming to see right through to the depths of a man’s soul.”

        And,

        “Corvus put his hands on his hips and struck what he thought of as his lordly general’s pose, ignoring what he suspected were some stray flecks of Deodatus’s blood on his face.”

        And of course…

        “There was a tremendous metallic crash, accompanied by a sharp crack like a tree falling, and then the warrior who had been riding from the left reeled and fell heavily to the ground like a knight pierced through the skull by a crossbow bolt.”

        Needless to say, it made me appreciate my own talent more.

        Liked by 7 people

  2. I’m waiting for the day when his marks wake up to the fact that Teddy has been fleecing them for no return. He won’t know how to spin the results of that at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If they haven’t already then I don’t think they ever will now. This is just another piece of evidence that there are 800 – 1500 people online who shout “how high?” when he says “jump”.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. He’ll just keep doing what he is doing–declare victory and move onto the next poorly thought-out project and the next enemy.

      I wouldn’t expect his followers to desert him en masse unless something really bizarre happens (which we can’t rule out). If they figure him out they’ll (either disappear quietly or they’ll get banned and ignored if they complain on the way out. Perhaps they’ll get replaced, perhaps they won’t; if the numbers shrink too much he may try to take measures to prevent people from seeing that (assuming he can, of course).

      I could see Ted keeping up the same act indefinitely with half a dozen followers or without any at all.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. “Maybe Day knows this as well and this was just the simplest way of getting $6,000 a month from his marks/loyal followers?”

    I’m thinking it’s just this, or at least it’s the third prong of the $anatos gambit.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. IMHO, one pair of your bullets in one list should be:

    * They violate the terms of service hundreds or thousands more time.
    * Nothing happens hundred or thousands more time…

    ^_^

    I think as usual Teddy’s only endgame is to keep the money coming in.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The fact that most of the large social media platforms seem to be extremely anti-union (some of them going further than just opposing them) rather puts the lie to the “hidden SJWs” argument as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “Day wanted lots of subscribers with low level pledges so that many people would have standing in a potential law suit. I’m not a lawyer but I’m not sure that makes much difference. Is losing a court case of one person for $1000 any better than losing a court case of 1000 people for $1? Maybe it is?”

    I suppose that if you can argue that each individual supporter suffered emotional harm when Patreon closed a creator’s account, and that they should get compensatory damages for that, then 1000 is better than 1. But that’s going to be a difficult argument.

    If we ignore that fragile snowflakes may have their feelings hurt, I don’t really see how Patreon supporters have any standing at all in a suit against Patreon over a closed creator account. They paid to support Day and get a book – and they did support Day, and got access to the book. The only thing they loose is the ability to keep paying Day and get continued access to the book – but that’s not something Patreon have promised them. (And Patreon’s model specifically means people don’t get access to content they’re no longer supporting. Patreon is not an eternal vault for purchased content.)

    For what it’s worth, Patreon’s TOS limits their liability to the amount that Patreon have earned – i.e. Patreon say that if something goes bad they may pay people back the 10%* fee that Patreon took, but not more.

    And of course, the video where Day tells his followers that the scheme is a trap for Patreon just might be relevant in a court case.

    (*) Or whatever it is.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. //And of course, the video where Day tells his followers that the scheme is a trap for Patreon just might be relevant in a court case. //

      I was wondering that as well. Stating on video what your plan is surely would impact any court case?

      Like

      1. Only if you really believe that there’s going to be a court case.

        *That meme of Eddie Murphy tapping his temple*

        Like

  7. I assume it’s just a money laundering scheme, like Donald’s dad buying and tossing chips for his loser casino.

    Liked by 1 person

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