“Final week, we caught some warmth after Chris didn’t settle for the phrases of a query from a podcast interviewer about how Substack will deal with bigoted speech on Notes,” McKenzie mentioned. “It got here throughout poorly and a few folks sternly criticized us for our naivety whereas others questioned how we’d discourage unhealthy behaviors and content material on Notes. We want that interview had gone higher and that Chris had extra clearly represented our place in that second, and we remorse inflicting any alarm for individuals who care about Substack and the way the platform is evolving. We messed that up. And simply in case anybody is ever in any doubt: we don’t like or condone bigotry in any type.” (Emphasis ours.)
However McKenzie nonetheless doesn’t precisely specify how that bigotry might be moderated on Notes or how Notes moderation will evaluate to Substack e-newsletter insurance policies. As a substitute, like Finest in his Decoder interview, McKenzie questions the “default assumption that aggressive content material moderation is the reply to the issues it’s supposed to resolve.” He argues that regardless of having giant content material moderation groups, Fb, Instagram, and Twitter haven’t lowered bigotry or solved considerations about misinformation.
Substack’s declare is that it may clear up these issues by utilizing a special enterprise mannequin targeted on paying writers as an alternative of “consideration that’s harvested by algorithms” for adverts. “We give communities on Substack the instruments to ascertain their very own norms and set their very own phrases of engagement fairly than have all that handed all the way down to them by a government,” McKenzie says. (This sounds rather a lot like Reddit’s coverage of letting folks run their very own moderated subreddits, though Reddit remains to be largely ad-supported.)
Proper now, these instruments are nonetheless of their early levels. Notes lets folks block and conceal customers and delete replies, and McKenzie mentioned Substack is experimenting with methods to restrict replies to subscribers. And sooner or later, “we’ll design Notes in order that customers can outline the particular phrases of engagement of their group as soon as, or solely often,” McKenzie mentioned.
McKenzie additionally acknowledges that Substack could need to make adjustments alongside the best way. “The reality is that we all know Notes is a brand new area, and that it has some essential variations from the core Substack platform that individuals have come to know during the last 5 years,” he writes. “We absolutely anticipate to need to adapt our content material moderation insurance policies and strategy because the platform evolves.”