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    • Alexa
      Scout
      5 months ago

      I've always wondered what will happen when Readup gets HUGE in the moderation front. Will it matter, will the trash just sink to the bottom and not be seen? Since there's no inherent method to adding "virality" to the hot topics.

      I've found even differing opinions are fun to tussle with on this platform, it's done with kindness, empathy & reason, like the good 'ole days of Highschool debate team...is that the nature of the "users" on the platform not being dirtbags (sorry Bill, i know u hate the "u" word) or is that directly influenced/created by the UX? TBD on that one.

      • benwhitelaw5 months ago

        People who were part of early Twitter (somewhat annoyingly) reminisce about those days when they knew everyone and conversations were civil. Do you think they wanted or expected it to turn into the mess that it is?

        I agree that Readup’s focus on reading dissuades a lot of people from participating; the bar is higher and the number of users will thus always be smaller. But people behave unexpectedly. And so my advice for @bill is: think the worst, war game hostile scenarios, put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s motives are not like yours.

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          5 months ago

          And so my advice for @bill is: think the worst, war game hostile scenarios, put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s motives are not like yours.

          Omg I love this! I'm so suited up for battle! ⚔️

          People who were part of early Twitter (somewhat annoyingly) reminisce about those days when they knew everyone and conversations were civil. Do you think they wanted or expected it to turn into the mess that it is?

          Nope. They definitely didn't. They couldn't possibly have imagined that Twitter would turn into a singular, global platform with a massive, hard-to-describe monopoly on a certain type of public discourse that covers several whole portions of humanity: journalism, politics, business.

          In the early days of Twitter, Facebook wasn't big yet. Neither was Reddit. So, even with wild, vivid, sci-fi imaginations, none of the earliest users of any of these platforms could have had any clue what kinda of dystopian stuff was coming.

          Instead, they were just chit-chatting away about whatever they wanted to talk about. And all was cool and chill.

          But things got out of control.

          Readup started from a place a frustration. @Jeff and I felt like social media sucked. I really wish I had a better word than "suck" to tell this story, but honestly I just keep thinking about that time in our lives, how often we would just be like, "This shit," meaning social media, "just totally sucks. All of it." Lol. Then we'd crack a beer and watch The Apprentice, before Trump was president.

          That's not the "public" story, but it's the most direct, honest way I can put it. We just really thought social media sucked and we thought reading was the magical key to unlock the non-suck.

          Here's what I'm trying to say: We went into this with open eyes. We've been in "war game hostile scenario"-mode since Day 1, unlike the huge competitors we're trying to take down. Becuase of this, our DNA is undoing the status quo and fixing things. From the very beginning, Jeff has had more of a Reddit-lens and I have had more of a Facebook-lens.

          Also, because of the way that we have grown (extremely slow, one real human person at a time) the community itself is invested in making this work. We're all in "war" mode! This thread proves it!

          It is unfortunate, but impossible to deny that some of the magic will be lost when there are thousands of people commenting on each article. Honestly, I'll miss THIS. These times. Where we're all watching with bated breath to see if evil forces will take over. A well-organized group of 10 readers could easily hijack the entire AOTD game, and the AOTD gets sent to thousands of people daily. That's real power. If it's a bunch of lunatic, racist, conspiracy theorists, that would totally suck.

          Also, it's not what's happening. Instead, Toni Morrison was a recent AOTD. Today it's a second trophy for Sabrina Orah Mark in The Paris Review.

          We're winning.

          We will continue to have to confront new, unforseen challenges. That's how this works. For example, we'll need to improve Following and Notifications to a point where you can stay in touch with a crew-within-the-larger-crew. To some of us, Readup itself feels like a crew, but soon it will just feel like "the public." An obvious "solution" here is personalized feeds. But they create echo-chambers. So we'll do what we always do: slow and steady, work out loud, and do what feels right.

          We'll figure it out. I really believe we'll figure it out.

          This is really hard work. I sometimes get exhausted having to talk about our "good intentions." It sounds fake and flat, even to me, because, unfortunately, we live in a world where everyone talks about their good intentions. (In the corporate world, it's just the absolute default. All corporations say that they have a mission [beyond making money] and almost none of them actually do.) It's a whole lot of lies. Fake news. The cause of that strange, persistent feeling like everything is completely made up (another great read!)

          That's why real news, like Readup, is easy to mix up with the noise. We're okay with that. Because we also have faith that the real news, eventually, always gets out. Especially amongst Readers. 😉👍

          • thorgalle
            Top reader this weekScribe
            5 months ago

            I was first thinking “Bill, you’re not answering Ben’s probe”, but then halfway that flipped, and now all I can say is “amen”.

            Growth will bring so many challenges and change. It’s probably also hard to avoid concrete negative incidents (like that 10 people hijack, or the first series of offensive comments), but I’m sure Readup will be able to respond to these in a good way. Because the willingness to find real solutions is there. And the incentives are (will be) different than with ad-supported social media, they create opportunities rather than work against real solutions.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        5 months ago

        It's gotta be both. People who read are smart, interesting people. Reading makes you that way. Plus the platform prevents people from behaving poorly, inadvertently or otherwise.

        also lol Alexa (!) c'mon now: I'm not a user and you're not a user. Neither is anybody else on this thread or in this community. We're people. Readers.

        • Alexa
          Scout
          5 months ago

          hahaha i know i know, couldn't help myself. Readers is FAR better. Here's hoping we remain cultured, civilized readers for years to come on this gem of a platform ;)

    • thorgalle
      Top reader this weekScribe
      5 months ago

      Cool that ReadUp made it to the title! But “reluctance” sounds a bit bad and not accurate. What about “Readup’s inherent moderation”?

      Here’s the part you probably want to read. It’s fun:

      ReadUp — the social reading platform where users must have read the article before they contribute — has written about its content moderation policy — or rather, it’s lack of one. In the blog, co-founder Bill Loundy notes how he has never had to remove a user contribution because the technology ‘obliterates the need for moderation in the first place’. I use ReadUp most mornings — it is slower and more considered than other platforms — but its moderation policy doesn’t feel as simple as Bill makes out. I hope I’m wrong.

      • SEnkey
        Scout
        5 months ago

        The answer to the problems of free speech is more free speech. And the answer to lots of bad speech, is more good speech. ie The internet invites us to engage in poor free speech - meaning uninformed and reactionary hot takes. ReadUp imposes a moderation policy in its design, you have to read before you can respond. It happens frequently that I see a comment that strikes me as odd, but unlike elsewhere online I can't just respond to the comment. If I want to respond, I have to spend time gaining context. Sometimes it's not worth it (which has made me rethink most responses online), sometimes it is - but the price has to be paid.

        This could be hacked. Users could start posting one minute articles and responding to them and each other. I don't see that being a future since other platforms make it so much easier for everyone to spill their brains on the internet.

        • thorgalle
          Top reader this weekScribe
          5 months ago

          Well said! Love the point about mandatory context-gaining. You can sometimes reply something sensible to a comment without context, but having the context can change your reply to a more informed and considered version.

          Btw: I didn’t like “reluctance” in the sense of “Readup’s reluctance to moderate comments”, but it makes sense in “Reader’s reluctance to dump their brain on Readup”.

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          5 months ago

          📣🆙

          It happens frequently that I see a comment that strikes me as odd, but unlike elsewhere online I can't just respond to the comment. If I want to respond, I have to spend time gaining context. Sometimes it's not worth it (which has made me rethink most responses online), sometimes it is - but the price has to be paid.

          Yes! And you just unlocked something for me. The "noise-cancelled commenting" is about way more than being blocked from commenting on stuff you haven't read. Sure, removing uninformed, knee-jerk tomfoolery is meaningful, but it's still the "how" not the "what." The "what" is that that rule ('The Rule') changes the overall vibe of the commenting experience and makes us behave like our best, most thoughtful selves.

          Overall, my confidence level that Readup is raising the bar on comments is a B-, but comments like this one bump it up a bit! Meanwhile, my confidence level that we're raising the bar on article curation (yet another noise cancellation: "noise-cancelled article curation") is an A+. It's the stuff people really read.

          One thing's for sure: Ethically-sourced reading data (from smart freaking people!) has huge value.

    • Plum5 months ago

      I too believe that there is something inherently decent and civil about reading on Read Up. It will be an important experiment to see if it can stay a healthy community.

      • Jim5 months ago

        Yes..... Read the whole thing, that seems easy enough. We are a community of civil people because we READ. It's hard to be a goon if you are reading all the content. Informed people are able to digest facts (OK we are smarter). People that know stuff aren't usually disrespectful. Disagreeable at times, and vocal but I have never read any comments that are hurtful or intentionally incorrect to push any dishonest agendas. Oh yeah, we are here to stay!

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      5 months ago

      Awesome stuff.

      In this new AP interview, Weinstein tries to assuage fears that his platform is no better than Facebook, mentioning — much like ReadUp — the 'structural design prohibits the amplification’ and stating “We have absolutely no censorship for good people who follow our rules”.

      This is all very interesting and helpful!

      First, to quickly beat a dead horse: Readup actually does have a built-in mechanism to increase the signal to noise ratio. lol. I mean- When other startups and huge social media platforms say that they have that, they don't; they're lying. In fact, they have machines that systematically achieve the opposite: they amplify noise; they're incentivized to maximize your screen time, and the best way to do that is to addict, confuse, and anger you. The more they do that, the more money they make.

      But Ben's so right on that we don't have it together on the mod strategy front, which was the point of the blog post: Readup is currently flat-footed, resting on our laurels. And now is not the time for us to snooze on the mod front because it will be too big of a beast at some point soon and if the community (and curation) goes in a toxic direction we're really screwed. That could destroy everything we have worked so hard to build here.

      Nail-biting times to be building an internet company!

      And I'm so thankful to have the conversation moving. Thx benwhitelaw!