1. The world's best reading app

    Great articles, no ads. Get started for free.

    blog.readup.comBill Loundy1/18/217 min
    52 reads23 comments
    9.6
    blog.readup.com
    52 reads
    9.6
    You must read the article before you can post or reply.
    • vkvikram9 months ago

      The Best Article on Moderation I have Read.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScout
        8 months agoWriter

        Thanks so much!!

    • skrt9 months ago

      At my work, I manage a hyperlocal social media site in a rural area heavily focused on discussion and debate of issues. While we continue to work really hard to develop a good misinformation moderation strategy, one thing I’ve personally learned and disagree with from the post is that that people who believe in misinformation or conspiracy theories may very well read — but what they read is impacted by the quality of the “news” sources and echo chamber media environment around them. They think and come to logical conclusions... based on the heavily biased and often false sources they are unfortunately exposed to. Unfortunately I do think there is a way for misinformation to spread on Readup with the rise of outlets like the Epoch Times and Gateway Pundit. And I think if Section 230 is repealed, you will need to have a very careful moderation plan in place.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScout
        9 months agoWriter

        Very good points. Especially this:

        one thing I’ve personally learned and disagree with from the post is that that people who believe in misinformation or conspiracy theories may very well read — but what they read is impacted by the quality of the “news” sources and echo chamber media environment around them.

        Well said. I do think that being well read (+across a diverse range of sources) is a way to rise above misinformation. But you're right that it's more complex than how I described.

        Then again, Epoch Times and Gateway Pundit are nowhere to be found on Readup - and not because we moderated them away!

    • Postprandial8 months ago

      Your system while great for most can still be exploited to falsify having read an article.

      The solution to moderation is open moderation. Moderation where anyone can moderate for any reason but the reader can choose WHO moderates for them or even choose to have no moderation at all. Ideally moderators would form groups and be rated with good default mods selected by default, i.e. several of the highest rated auto selected. Discussion.app is a platform with some of this implemented. Hopefully many sites will one day and things like federation will be the main way of the internet.

      • thorgalle
        ScoutScribe
        8 months ago

        That sounds interesting.

        but the reader can choose WHO moderates for them

        Does this mean that different readers see different views of a comment thread for example? That sounds to go in the direction of a filter bubble or echo chamber, where you are only exposed to the views of the moderators that you like. Some Readers value being exposed to differing views in respectful ways, and see this as a means of personal and societal growth.

        Am I seeing this correctly?

    • kellyalysia9 months ago

      Wow. Yes.

      A totally non fleshed out that I had while reading this (although the notion that Trump wouldn’t last on Readup since it’s hard to imagine him actually reading really nails it): it’s also hard to imagine Trump on Readup because it’s inherently not Capitalist (unlike all other social media platforms out there).

      I don’t know how you’d feel about that statement though, Bill🤓

      • jeff
        ScoutScribe
        9 months ago

        I'm curious what you mean by "not Capitalist." We're very much in the process of trying to become a self-sustaining for-profit company!

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScout
          9 months agoWriter

          Yeah. I can understand why people could think we're anti-capitalist (me a lot more than Jeff) because we clearly care 10x more about global impact than money - almost to a fault. But we need to undo that perception, pronto.

          To achieve our goals we're definitely going to "play the game," and that means move (and make) a lot of money. Which, as Jeff notes, is hella capitalist.

          Still, I think that the best and brightest capitalists alive right now are envisioning what's next, post-capitalism: UBI, "back to the woods," true gift economies, blockchain, etc. Within a few decades (and thanks in large part to the internet) humans will rise above optimising everything in life around wealth maximization. Other things in life are way better.

          • jeff
            ScoutScribe
            9 months ago

            Now I'm even more confused! I think it's almost impossible to have a discussion about these things if we don't have a shared understanding of the vocabulary. Capitalism does not mean wealth maximization. It's an economic system based on private ownership of property and businesses versus public ownership.

            I don't agree with your statement about post-capitalism because none of the things you list are incompatible with capitalism. Wealth maximization is a personal (or organizational) choice that can be prioritized under any economic system. A truly non-capitalistic version of Readup or any social media company would be one funded by taxes and run by the state.

            • bill
              Top reader of all timeScout
              9 months agoWriter

              Lol - Don't be confused. I agree, up and down. But we do need a different "-ism" for what I described, and what I think Kelly is talking about: the dominant belief across society that wealth maximization is the purpose/meaning to life. I think that gathering resources is totally sweet, but I have also noticed an upper limit beyond which the satisfaction/payoff reduces to zero. Not too many people think that way. In the future, more will.

              Given the lack of a word, I sometimes say "capitalism-consumerism complex" or just "capitalism and consumerism and culture." It's all clunky.

              ANYWAY The important thing for Readup here is that the pie chart at the bottom of this blog post is super-duper important. We need brand new users to see Readup and think: Readup is a business. They're taking a cut. And maybe, if we're lucky: This seems fair and transparent.

              People should not be thinking: Does using this app fit in with my capitalist/anti-capitalist worldviews lolol, although I, for one, have that thought pretty much every time I do anything, digital or real world, these days.

              1. Update (1/19/2021):

                Correction: *Readers (not users) ;P

              • jeff
                ScoutScribe
                9 months ago

                I say no more "-ism"s! I think we should be thinking and talking about incentives instead. From there we can start looking at externalities. What happens when a company like Readup (or Substack, Flattr, Patreon, etc.) gets big? What about Facebook or Twitter (or other ad-based businesses)? Are the side effects beneficial or detrimental to the rest of society? With you on everything else of course!

            • bill
              Top reader of all timeScout
              9 months agoWriter

              A truly non-capitalistic version of Readup or any social media company would be one funded by taxes and run by the state.

              Also, in addition to the communist/collectivist model you describe, you could say that an anarchist approach would be the "truly non-capitalistic version of Readup."

              • jeff
                ScoutScribe
                9 months ago

                What do you think that would look like in practice? Reminds me that I have to read the article about Noam Chomsky that's on the front page!

    • benwhitelaw9 months ago

      I have written a weekly newsletter about content moderation for 2+ years and my work as a digital journalist/editor has encompassed many of the challenges that Bill notes: namely incentivising ‘good’ behaviours and creating an environment where expertise and insight can flourish. Right now, Readup does that through its very product and that’s why I, and others, come to it often as part of a routine.

      But it shouldn’t become complacent. Readup could easily be gamed by groups intent on causing harm and destruction. We’ve seen it countless times before in different ways (eg Facebook’s micro targeting of ads altering the course of many elections). If I’ve learnt one thing from writing the newsletter each week and noting the moderation catastrophes of platforms all over the world, it is ‘prepare for the worst’.

      • jeff
        ScoutScribe
        9 months ago

        Wow, that's dedication! Just found your newsletter, lots to catch up on. Totally agree that we can't become complacent and that automated/technical solutions won't give us 100% coverage at scale. On that topic though, I feel like our upcoming switch to being a subscription-only platform should act as an additional layer of protection.

        Once that happens, only our existing userbase (known good eggs!) will be able to post articles and comments without having to fork over a few bucks a month for a subscription. My intuition says that potential trolls would be less likely to post problematic content knowing that their real identity is tied to their account via a credit card or Apple ID, but I realize that might not necessarily be the case. As a counterargument, didn't Parler have an onerous ID verification scheme that required users to submit pictures of their driver's license, etc.? Would like to know what you think!

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScout
          9 months agoWriter

          This is a great thread.

          My intuition says that potential trolls would be less likely to post problematic content knowing that their real identity is tied to their account via a credit card or Apple ID, but I realize that might not necessarily be the case.

          I think you're right. Beyond just trolls, all manner of violent people, racists, insurrectionists, terrorists, etc.

    • bartadamley
      Scout
      9 months ago

      "Violence and conspiracy theories don't spread amongst people who read! On the flipside, they spread like wildfire on platforms that incentivize non-reading, knee-jerk reactions, and attention-grabbing language and visuals. In other words, platforms thrive on content that is fast, shallow and fake."

      Understanding this context for what Readup is trying to accomplish by creating an ecosystem of attention versus the contrast in the predominant current social media which is an ecosystem of inattention... this is what draws one to Readup!

    • Florian
      Reading streak
      9 months ago

      Alright, let’s talk about moderation. I was literally waiting for that day ;) As a Trust and Safety professional I’d bet my house that the more you grow, the stronger you’ll feel pressured into building moderation tools. And once VC is involved they’ll demand it for compliance reasons. I’d recommend you work towards a democratised moderation mechanism. That is, a community driven way of moderating content on the platform (articles as well as comments). You’ll still need a human oversight to prevent abuse of the democratised system (which unfortunately is a high probability) but it will take a way a large part of the manual review burden. I should have started with this: Here are some examples why you’ll want to not be completely hands off and also why the VC firms and other partners will push you toward moderation:

      • what if a weirdo decides it’s fun to promote articles on ReadUp that glamorise sexual assault, violence, racism, etc?
      • what if a group of trolls join who like to read but then keep harassing the other readers in the comments?
      • what if politically extreme people / conspiracy people start flooding the system with QAnon style fake news? Etc etc Obviously this is not an issue now but with growth it will become a topic. In my job as head of trust and safety I keep saving that there is a small percentage of people on the planet with bad intentions. If your sample size is big enough, the small percentage can actually be a big number in terms of total users or total content generated.

      Again, you still have time but I’d recommend that over the next few months you consider what it would mean to build (community driven) moderation tools. You don’t want to go down the slippery slope of being known as the next version of Parler (not that this is a real risk but you get the point... Parler people can only read 5 words at the time if it’s part of a meme 😂)

    • justin9 months ago

      Reddit can be incredibly unwelcoming in my experience. The general self-promotion policy on Reddit does motivate people to hide their identities, when honesty would be better. But the moderation standards vary hugely by sub (community), since they all have different mods. I've posted this article to a small community on Reddit that I created which welcomes posting your own stuff so long as they are up front and on topic.

      I love the idea of a platform that doesn't require moderation or very little of it, due to the design. It seems to work on some platforms with a good reputation model eg. StackOverflow.

    • Raven9 months ago

      Elimination Substitution Engineering Administration PPE

      This is the hierarchy of controls for removing/mitigating hazards in any environment. Thanks for taking the high level approach again!

    • DellwoodBarker
      Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
      9 months ago

      Aptly & Soundly Covered topic! Thanks for insight into Reddit mod interactions. Interesting experience you have there.

      The way ReadUp Is Built tracks so intrinsically and organically grown in a way that taps into a Natural Flow of Civility. The amoebic nature will be interesting to witness shape over time during periods of progress and expansion.

      1. Update (1/19/2021):

        Amoebic is possibly a terribly chosen word. Not meant to insinuate disease Here; rather early developmental; transformational promise.

    • deephdave
      Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeReading streakScout
      9 months ago

      Violence and conspiracy theories don’t spread amongst people who read. On the flip side, they spread like wildfire on platforms that incentivize non-reading, knee-jerk reactions, and attention-grabbing language and visuals. In other words, platforms that thrive on content that is fast, shallow, and fake.