Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Spotify signs ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ to an exclusive multi-year deal (techcrunch.com)
414 points by mmq 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 709 comments

I agree with JRE leaving YouTube over the censorship but I disagree with him moving exclusively to spotify for following reasons:

1. Spotify was the one who conspired with Facebook, Apple and Google to ban Alex Jones and others. So if Joe is moving off of YouTube because he doesn't like the censorship, he's not getting anything better with Spotify.

2. Currently, Spotify doesn't have video (except album cover clips which occasionally show up). I prefer JRE's video format instead of audio. Think of Elon smoking weed on video vs on audio - very different. Seems like Spotify might be adding video later in the year but until that happens, we don't know what we will be getting.

3. "Exclusive" deals in the podcast world is bad. Podcasts were supposed to be platform independent audio files. Making things exclusive is going backwards.

4. Spotify is not available in many countries.

5. Spotify's desktop player isn't the best imo. Their web player is only for audio so far, so they need to make major changes.

Regarding point 1, the article has been updated to reflect that Spotify is holding Rogan to their content policy. This content policy prohibits "Hate Content" [1]. By any mainstream definition that would include Alex Jones and potentially other guests. Some people would even say that applies to Rogan himself for his comments about transgender people. Unless Rogan makes changes to his show or his booking, it is only a matter of time until this becomes a big issue for him and Spotify.

[1] - https://artists.spotify.com/faq/music#what-content-is-prohib...

> By any mainstream definition...

Rogan has millions of downloads month and had at least one presidential candidate appear for an interview. Joe is one of the people who sets the mainstream definition.

Joe Rogan doesn't move culture by himself. It doesn't matter how many presidential candidates he talks to, he has had multiple guests on his show that have already been kicked off mainstream platforms like Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook. I guarantee there will be controversy for Spotify if Rogan continues to have on this type of guest in the future.

There will surely be controversy for Spotify now, given that Rogan has had such guests in the past. I could be overly optimistic, but I would guess that means that people at Spotify have considered the issue and decided they're okay with it.

(And I'm sure you know this, but I think we should be explicit about it in this context: Joe Rogan is extraordinarily popular, with JRE being one of the most followed podcasts in the country. He's not some niche voice that Spotify could have failed to do due diligence on or silence without expecting blowback.)

Nonsense. Nobody cares about the fact that he is willing to have a conversation with just about anyone, except the whiny cancel culture twitter mob.

We need more conversations with people we don’t (think we) like.

His conversations are like empty calories. No substance. No hard questions. 100% ego stroking. His podcast is basically an advertorial. It’s painful to watch.

I disagree. I've watched most of them and have learned a lot over the years, both from the high-profile experts sharing their knowledge on topics I would never otherwise think about to the BS conversations with friends.

Rogan is also not an interviewer and explicitly does not approach the podcast as an interview (outside of special guests). The free uninterrupted conversation is what gets the best out of people.

His podcast is about getting to know the guests, it is not meant to be an adversarial interview.

Hard questions are how you get to know someone.

There many ways to do that, the format Rogan chose is to try and let each guest feel at ease and let them properly explain their stances. Rogan's role is then to play the audience role in the conversation, asking question/clarifications.

What rogan usually does not do for example is to bring up controversies about his guests.

Letting them talk for hours also works.

And what of it? JRE has routinely had both sides of debates on -- equal opportunity ego stroking.

Uhh... no. The reality is YouTube, Twitter and Facebook's censorship do not actually line up with mainstream. People _know_ Alex Jokes is mental, but they still want to hear him talk.

>The poll showed 61 percent of registered voters surveyed believed Jones, who spreads unfounded conspiracy theories through his radio show Infowars, should be banned from the sites of tech companies


if they try and control who he can have on and what they talk about, i hope rogan gives them a good 'fuck you!'

Alex Jones has been on JRE multiple times in the past. Will he be allowed to return under the Spotify banner?

No reasonable person would accuse Joe Rogan of "Hate Content". He disagreed with an actual instance of a recently transitioned transgender woman fighting women in MMA. This is the definition of pragmatic. That person can fight men or not fight. This is not discrimination, it is protecting fighters as much as possible in a brutal and extreme sport.


I saw it live. I remember it being crystal clear that he was talking about the context of someone's physical attributes when they are fighting. Maybe you should actually listen to someone before you call what they say "transphobic and borderline hate speech".

I did listen and have watched it more than once. I understand the context, but at the very least, he's being a dick. And he shouldn't be surprised when his words are interpreted in that way. It's a vulnerable population and there are better ways to talk about sensitive issues like that.

Before you just said it was "transphobic and borderline hate speech". Now you are saying he was being a dick, which would make a lot of sense if he wasn't talking about someone literally using confusion of how to handle transgender athletes to brutalize women.

Do you understand that this person was beating women unconscious and broke a woman's skull in 2014? Fallon Fox had a daughter, joined the navy, worked as a truck driver, transitioned, and fought in MMA without disclosing her past. This person is doing a huge disservice to transgender people.

So is it "transphobic" or "being a dick"? Just because you don't like what someone says does not give you right to censor them or label them as inaccurate labels like "transphobic".

I listen to Rogans podcast all the time , when has he ever made hate comments about transgender people ???? No way I'd have missed him saying something hateful about anyone period, let alone transgenders

He explicitly referred to Fallon Fox, saying "You are a fucking man." Not a very tactful way to speak about a transgender woman. And yes, that's transphobic speech.

He said that in the context of the physicality of someone who was fully grown, recently transitioned and was actually brutalizing women in MMA fights.

So? "you are a fucking man" isn't some dispassionate analysis of how to develop a rule system that works for both trans and cis athletes. Just because the context isn't inherently transphobic doesn't mean that he gets a free pass.

He doesn't need a "free pass". The context and what he was saying was crystal clear and has nothing to do with disrespecting someone who is transgender.

This person was able to brutalize women because of attitudes like yours, where you are too afraid of using the incorrect pronoun even in the context of making a point about dangerous differences in physicality.

This person beat a woman until her skull cracked and you are hung up on someone saying she has the physiology of a man. What do you think sets the acceptance of transgender people back more?

That's why should verbally slap him around a bit, preventatively, just in case? Because as you admitted "the context isn't inherently transphobic".


You are choosing the most uncharitable reading which is not what he meant. How do I know that? Because, despite his meatheaddy appearances, he has consistently shown himself to not be transphobic, I watch his show. What he wanted to say is that her sex was biologically of male and that's why she has in this specific case unduly enormous advantage, to a degree that she is depriving others of fair chance at competing.

Transphobia is a property of actions, not an immutable property of people. Rogan may not hold transphobic beliefs. That does not stop a particular action from being harmful.

This isn't a judgement on his person. I don't want to shoot him into space. I want people to recognize that this specific sentence is harmful and we can be better than that. We can have conversations around transgender people in sports without using the same exact same phrasing as people who want to kick them out of their homes and call them freaks.

Whether or not trans athletes should be allowed to compete in the same classes as their cis counterparts in MMA is a conversation we can have, but it is beside the point. Trans women are women. If someone makes plainly transphobic comments, and then refuses to apologize for them (or even doubles down), I'm not going to go and listen to hundreds of hours of their content to attempt to gain a more nuanced understanding of their attitude towards the trans community. I'm just going to think of that person as a transphobe.

Respectfully, I understand you have good intent trying to stand up for a marginalized group, but you're being very ignorant. You can't just helicopter in, show no interest in understanding the situation, then cherry-pick something to spew off some unwarranted opinions about before helicoptering out again. While that singular sentence is absolutely insensitive, the context absolutely matters if you're going to judge the character of the person who said it.

And I appreciate that you are not trying to impute ill intent on me, although you may be underestimating my proximity to the transgender community personally. From my reading of the longer-form quotes – those that I have based my opinion on, I really don't think the context helps Rogan out all that much.

"Look, [Fox is] huge! She's not just huge, she's got a fucking man's face. I mean, you can wear all the lipstick you want. You want to be a woman and you want to take female hormones, you want to get a boob job, that's all fine. I support your life to live, your right to live as a woman. Fight guys, yes. She has to fight guys. First of all, she's not really a she. She's a transgender, post-op person. The operation doesn't shave down your bone density. It doesn't change. You look at a man's hands and you look at a women's hands and they're built different. They're just thicker, they're stronger, your wrists are thicker, your elbows are thicker, your joints are thicker. Just the mechanical function of punching, a man can do it much harder than a woman can, period."

"If you want to be a woman in the bedroom and you know you want to play house and all of that other shit and you feel like you have, your body is really a woman's body trapped inside a man's frame and so you got a operation, that's all good in the hood. But you can't fight chicks. Get the fuck out of here. You're out of your mind. You need to fight men, you know? Period. You need to fight men your size because you're a man. You're a man without a dick. I'm not trying to discriminate against women in any way, shape, or form and I'm a big supporter of women's fighting. I loved watching that Ronda Rousey/Liz Carmouche fight. But those are actual women. Those are actual women. And as strong as Ronda Rousey looks, she's still looks to me like a pretty girl. She's a beautiful girl who happens to be strong. She's a girl! [Fallon Fox] is not a girl, OK? This is a [transgender] woman. It's a totally different specification."

I'm not talking about a single sentence here. Despite whatever permissive or lassiez-faire attitudes he might hold, there is a constant drumbeat of "they're not really women." "Benign" transphobia is still transphobia, even if it's preferable to more aggressive forms. It's possible to be sober about physical differences that might exist between trans women and cis women without denying the former "full" womanhood. I'm not even necessarily disagreeing with the main point he's making, but I still find these comments to be transphobic, and I don't need to be a fan of his to hold an informed opinion here.

I premise that your is a perfectly valid interpretation, he said the things your criticize him for saying.

I would disagree with calling this transphobic... On the topic of the statement "trans women are women" for example wikipedia notoriously offer an interesting position

Trans woman: A trans woman is a woman who was assigned male at birth.

Woman: A woman is a female human being.

This is not necessarily contradictory, but it as the effect that the statements "Trans women are women" and "Trans women are females" are linked together.

My assumption (which I believe you agree with, if you disagree with the next statement I would be interested in hearing your opinion on it) is that many people that (strongly) agree with "trans women are women" do not necessarily fully embrace "trans women are female"

I am not arguing for or against any of those statements (I am trying not to inject my opinions (if any) on them in this comment), but to me this says that the linguistic concept of woman is not intrinsically obvious in this phase of an evolving language.

In my opinion what Rogan says here is that in term of fighting he believe the only contextual concept of gender is similar to duck-typing: If you punch like a man, then you are a man.

Agree or disagree with that I believe it is (still) important to be able to express that concept without being transphobic, as in my opinion that would impede our ability to talk about the complex multidimesional bimodal distribution that is human sexuality.

What I am trying as hard as I am able to is to steel-man Rogan's position without straw-manning yours.

A short summary of what I am trying to say is that I believe that Rogan's position is not transphobic; maybe he is toxic, maybe he is poisoning the conversation with inflammatory language, maybe he is on the wrong side of history. And maybe he deserves being called transphobic for what he said; I am not trying to defend Joe Rogan the person, I am trying to find a small reasonable kernel of his position where I believe we can agree.

> Agree or disagree with that I believe it is (still) important to be able to express that concept without being transphobic

I fully agree with this. But if he is viewed as transphobic then surely that falls flat?

I am not entirely sure what you mean, what I am trying to say is that if someone believe he was transphobic, then it would be enriching of the conversation if they took care not to use the fact that he is making that distinction as an argument for that statement.

Specifically I think it is in the interest of the side challenging the status quo to keep their arguments as precise as possible.

Otherwise conversations become extremely difficult and layered, like a relationship fight that stem from a resentment decades old. There are so many branches and so many directions that even if the core problem might be easy it requires a monumental effort just to get close to it.

Intrinsically examples of where I think this happened would be flamebait topics :)

> what I am trying to say is that if someone believe he was transphobic, then it would be enriching of the conversation if they took care not to use the fact that he is making that distinction as an argument for that statement

Yes, I think I'm definitely not understanding you correctly. It seems like you're objectively stating that conversation would be of higher quality if people would construct arguments more like you do. But what if people do want to use that argument for their statement that they find JR transphobic?

"Don't use this argument; it's wrong and devalues the conversation" reads very strange to me when discussing something as fuzzy as "does this person exhibit transphobic behaviour?"

One more reply just to make sure we hit the depth limit...

This is close to what I am saying. If people want to use that argument they are free to do so, I intend to keep butting and try to steel man the opposing position without strawmanning their argument.

In part I see this as trying to avoid the `Proving too Much` fallacy [ https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/04/13/proving-too-much/ ]

Also I need to confess that, no, I do not actually want people to argue like I do, I argue this way because otherwise I would make terrible, inconsistent, and vague arguments. Many other people are better than me and they do not need a whole paragraph where they preemptively state their intentions.

Overall I believe that there is great value in trying to find a common ground we can agree on and base the discussion. In my perception arguments in forums like this one should be the complete opposite of a debate. If I believe A is true and you believe B is true and they are mutually exclusive, I believe that the "proper" way to argue my position by exposing the basis of my opinion so that you can both understand why I believe A and explain me your interpretation of those positions.

Now I am devolving into rambling, but I think that shaping conversations as debate is indeed damaging. As an example if I am convinced of A by some internal reasoning and you prove not A to me then only half the job is done. We (or I) need to also resolve the conflict between my internal reasoning and what you are saying. Or at the very least take note of the fact that there is an internal conflict to be resolved.

There is no foundation in anything for this opinion, but I believe that the lack of this second step in the popular sciences made the scientific community elitist and was fertilizer for things like antivaxxers.

>Whether or not trans athletes should be allowed to compete in the same classes as their cis counterparts in MMA is a conversation we can have

Thats the conversation he was having. You don't have to listen to hours of content, just take it from people here telling you that that was the context of the discussion. Or don't and simply don't comment on the matter. You are not obliged to have an opinion on everything.

He was probably using the word "man" in reference to Fox's biological sex rather than gender identity.

I agree not very tactful. But also not enough to be 'cancelled' over.

Why does he have to abide by your personal ultra-conservative moral compass as to what is deemed "appropriate" or "not tactful enough"?

Most people agree with Rogan that transgender women who have only recently started on female hormones should not hide that status from biologically female opponents in mixed martial arts. It isn't feminist for women's bodies to be brutalized by men's bodies.

> It isn't feminist for women's bodies to be brutalized by men's bodies.

If you broach the topic in this way—jumping straight to an inflammatory statement on one of the most divisive of all topics—you're guaranteeing a flamewar. That's vandalism, nay, trolling. It breaks the site guidelines, damages this place badly, and you've done it more than once before. You also committed to us that you wouldn't to do it again. Would you please stick to that and not actually do it again?

Your comment would be fine, from a site guidelines point of view, without that last sentence.


I apologize. I thought that statement was inoffensive, but clearly I was wrong. I would edit it out if I could. Fortunately it seems not to have ignited the flamewar you anticipated, since none of the 36 replies other than your own have referenced it.

The main complaint seems to be that I didn't portray the full variety of statements that Rogan has made on this issue. I had listened to a recent podcast in which he claimed to make his definitive and comprehensive statement about this, but perhaps I shouldn't have taken his word for it.

I'll have to think about this more than I have.

They don't have to reference it in order to react to it or otherwise be affected.

I appreciate your reply though.

How is that even remotely inflammatory? It’s the truth.

Those two things are compatible. Why wouldn't they be? If you know some truth that others don't, you have more responsibility, not less, to express it in a way that isn't inflammatory. Otherwise you just end up discrediting the truth, because you give the people who don't know it an excellent reason to resist and reject what you're saying. (I don't mean you personally, of course. We all do it.) Previous comments on this: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que....

See also my reply in the current thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23243538.

Btw, if you read those links and still feel like there's some question that hasn't been addressed, I'd love to know what it is. I'm beginning to feel like years' worth of moderation comments (the ones I keep linking to with HN search URLS) are converging into a set of building blocks that can be articulated relatively clearly.

Did you also know that the government add hydroxyl acid (a chemical commonly found in cancer cells and many vaccines) in the water supplies of many cities? Sometimes it is even illegally used to accelerate vegetable growth for our own food.

Facts are inflammatory!

People frequently bring this up with a triumphant tone, as if they have the point that trumps all points and they can't wait to blow its horn, certain that all opposition will crumble before them. I'm not sure what's going on there, since there's no logic in this. Is it magic imputed to the word "facts"? Or an inability to think beyond one step? If it made sense, you could win any argument by shouting "1+1=2!" over and over. It's a fact!

Go one step beyond that magic word to see that nothing follows from this. There are infinitely many facts. They don't choose themselves. Humans do that, and they do that for complicated reasons that have nothing to do with "facts" being transparently pure and true. Previous comments on this: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu....

Errors of logic aside, the GP comment was not "facts". The word "brutalize" is an interpretation, not a fact—and let's not get started on "feminism".

8 hour old account, with a one liner about "facts", and using the right wing "cuck" as a pejorative.

How the fuck is this comment flagged? This is not controversial at all. To think otherwise is truly absurd.

It is flagged as flamebait, not specifically controversial.

Flamebait is about tone and formulation, not necessarily facts

The risk has never been that Rogan is holding reprehensible views.

It's that those masquerading as progressive have a penchant for misconstruing in the most creative ways: https://twitter.com/sadydoyle/status/1220513471995031554

I mean, this isn't quite a misconstrual. The author of this tweet just comes from a bizarre subculture where "puberty blockers for kids" is not only good policy but self-evidently right. I'm sure it's legitimately challenging for her to understand what Rogan is saying - such a large inferential gap is hard to cross.

You are not giving the full extent of his comments on transgender people. He is against women who transitioned as adults from competing against other women. He is also against people taking steps as a child to make transitioning easier as an adult such as taking completely reversible hormone blockers to delay puberty until they are old enough to transition. So he leaves no possible path for a transgender woman to compete in sports. It seems like he wants transgender people out of sports completely.

In my opinion, the whole discussion of transgender people in sports is a proxy war for their role in society as a whole. Transgender people have been allowed to compete in the Olympics and most American sports (at least at the college level) for roughly a decade if not longer. It is still extremely rare for a transgender woman to dominate other woman in any of these sporting events. It just doesn't seem like a possibility worth focusing on when compared to the downside of further marginalizing the transgender community at large by singling them out for harsher treatment.

People born as men who transition to women, and I fully support them, have unfair advantages against people born as women. Would you agree with that statement?

A better solution would be to allow a gender-agnostic bracket alongside women and men, where anyone can compete.

To people downvoting me: Please use the upvote/downvote as marking my contribution relevant or irrelevant, not to mark disagreement.

PS: I fully support trans people in all their rights, should go without saying but that is far from the default these days.

The part of that first statement that I question is the "unfair" part. Almost all world class athletes are born with a natural gift that most of us don't have. Most of those athletes need to train and hone that gift over decades to be truly elite, but that natural gift is still present. No matter how many hours I train playing basketball and no matter how long Lebron James goes without touching a basketball, I am never going to beat him in a game of one-on-one. Is that "unfair" or is that just how sports work? I don't see birth gender as any different than that.

That said, I think it is reasonable to put certain restrictions on transgender athletes such as rules regarding hormone treatments. I am just not an expert enough in the field to say exactly what those restrictions should be.

Also we generally do have gender-agnostic brackets in sports. What we call men's sports are generally gender-agnostic. People of any gender are free to compete in them. The question for transgender athletes is almost always whether than can compete in women's sports.

If you were born an average American male and you trained your whole youth (and I mean really trained) to be the best basketball player you could be, you wouldn't ever beat Lebron James but you'd beat a lot of elite women basketball players. The physical gifts bestowed upon you by your mom would give you the advantage

We just don't have any evidence of that. Like I said in a previous post, we are in the second decade of this being allowed. Where are all the world class transgender athletes that are dominating men on a routine basis? People always point to the same 2 or 3 examples while acting like this is a widespread epidemic of men deciding to switch genders just to win athletic competitions. I don't think this is as big of a problem as people pretend it is.

EDIT: Please keep my post in context. When I say there is no evidence for that, I am not referring to a basic physiological difference between men and women. I am referring specifically to this: "If you were born an average American male and you trained your whole youth... you'd beat a lot of elite women basketball players." There is no basis for a statement like that.

In track and field the 800m race is my favorite race because it's every bit training and determination as it is natural ability.

Here are the results of the women's Olympic 800m championship in Rio in 2016: https://www.olympic.org/rio-2016/athletics/800m-women

Here are the results of the 2016 Texas UIL 5A high school boys 800m championship in 2016: https://tx.milesplit.com/meets/224994/results/451208/formatt...

If those boys had competed in the same race as the Olympic women -- women athletes who have the benefits of the best sports science in the world at their disposal -- the boys would have taken the top 4 spots and it wouldn't have been close.

At the class 1A level, which means high schools with enrollments of less than ~100 kids, the top boys runner in 2016 would have beat the womens olympic gold medal winner.

Here is the satellite view of the dirt track he trained on.


In the women's 800m in Rio, the top 3 all had XY chromosomes and lived with high testosterone levels through puberty.

- Caster Semenya[1] (1st place). Here is an interview with her.[2]

- Francine Niyonsaba[3] (2nd place). Here is an interview with her.[4]

- Margaret Wambui[5] (3rd place). Here's an interview with her.[6]

I see a lot of people saying things like, "Where are all the world class transgender athletes that are dominating men on a routine basis?" Well they've failed to notice the intersex XY people who are dominating women's events.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caster_Semenya

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeQYdyDsioY&t=1m03s

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francine_Niyonsaba

4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTC3B2sgYf4

5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Wambui

6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpCPnTBAWF4

> “Where are all the world class transgender athletes that are dominating men on a routine basis?"

Who says this? Most people I think naturally assume that’s not going to ever happen.

I was quoting verbatim from this comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23242020

You are moving the goalposts by switching from a highly skilled game like basketball to one that is mostly dictated by physiology. There are certainly athletic competitions in which the gap between men and women differs.

I also notice you chose a race in which Caster Semenya won. I don't know it that was intentional, but that specific race highlights the ridiculousness and arbitrary nature of a ban on transgender athletes. By seemingly all credible accounts she was born, raised, and identifies as a women however she has a genetic condition that gives her some characteristics of a man. Should she be banned from competing against women? If so, what precedent does that set? Do we need to test the chromosomes of all athletes to see if they have rare genetic conditions? Are XX males allowed to compete against women even if they identify as men? What if they are on testosterone therapy?

> You are moving the goalposts by switching from a highly skilled game like basketball to one that is mostly dictated by physiology. There are certainly athletic competitions in which the gap between men and women differs

There are no goalposts, but this is just an internet argument for you so I can see why you'd think that.

As for Semenya I don't know what the right answer is. Intersex is hard. It's also rare. So I don't know. Despite being easily the most elite 800m female runner in the world she wouldn't have even touched the top 150 high school boys times that year, so it's hard to know what to do. Forced downregulation of natural T levels just to compete seems immoral.

Let me leave this moving video here about a "right answer" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP6eZAfO0Yg

> We just don't have any evidence of that.

Are you aware that high school boys soccer and hockey teams are competitive with elite, world class women's teams? Do you think the advantages that men appear to have are anywhere near fully erased by transitioning genders?

> I don't think this is as big of a problem as people pretend it is.

This is not really about the specific issue to anyone on either side. To you, it's about acceptance of transgender people. To your opponents, it's about not accepting the denial of what seems like blindingly obvious reality.

>Are you aware that high school boys soccer and hockey teams are competitive with elite, world class women's teams? Do you think the advantages that men appear to have are anywhere near fully erased by transitioning genders?

You are exaggerating with that first claim. It is in no way common for high school male athletes to be competitive against world class female athletes. Secondly, the advantage that men have is certainly decreased when transitioning. I don't believe it is "fully erased", I simply don't think we need to have the goal of fully erasing any advantage. I won't agree with you on that until there is an NBA for men under 6 feet for me fairly compete in against my peers who were similarly disadvantaged at birth.

>This is not really about the specific issue to anyone on either side. To you, it's about acceptance of transgender people. To your opponents, it's about not accepting the denial of what seems like blindingly obvious reality.

I am perfectly willing to admit that my primary motivation here is the acceptance of transgender people. I don't know what to tell you if you don't prioritize that over the sanctity of the outcome of some high school girls soccer game.

> I am perfectly willing to admit that my primary motivation here is the acceptance of transgender people. I don't know what to tell you if you don't prioritize that over the sanctity of the outcome of some high school girls soccer game.

Here's the problem (aside from deriding something a lot of average people care deeply about): you are forcing these two things to be in conflict, when they simply aren't to most people, including Joe Rogan (and myself). By forcing them into conflict, you are hurting the cause of transgender rights far more than helping it.

Banning trans women from competing in sports it telling them they aren't "real" women. The societal repercussions of that are much larger than the outcome of high school athletics (and this issue is almost always about high school athletics and below). I fundamentally don't understand arguments to the contrary.

For the record, I care deeply about sports. I think it is fundamental part of both our culture at large and the education of a lot of people. You can dig deep into my comment history on HN and see I regularly defend the importance of sports to the usually derogatory "sportsball" comments that are common in intellectual and technological communities like HN. I just don't think the outcome of specific games is important enough to justify further ostracizing a group of people who are already incredibly marginalized.

I don’t understand equating competing in a sport as representative of being a “real” [gender].

I support trans+ rights, but I haven’t been able to get my head around some of the assertions that seem to be bedrock here.

> You are exaggerating with that first claim. It is in no way common for high school male athletes to be competitive against world class female athletes.

They're not though.


That's the best under 17 soccer players. It's essentially people who will be pro soccer players in 1-2 years. That's not the same as common hs male athletes.

The US Men's U-17 team is not a high school team. It is a team made up of world class athletes who are high school aged. That is a huge distinction. You are saying a team a world class men can beat a team of slightly older world class women. That isn't surprising.

The US women's team is best in the world, US men's team doesn't even come close to being best 20 teams in the world. They are high level athletes but not world class (especially for soccer) by any sorts.

Anyway's here another link: https://www.cbssports.com/soccer/news/a-dallas-fc-under-15-b...

I know you don't care about the high school girls soccer game, but the girls do, and their parents do.

And yes, having women's sports not be dominated by former men is a priority for people.

I'll leave the epidemic of "men deciding to switch genders" to one side.

Let's dig in where you wrote: "If you were born an average American male and you trained your whole youth... you'd beat a lot of elite women basketball players. There is no basis for a statement like that."

No. That is incorrect.

If I took some of the top 1000 male tennis players and pitted them against the top 50 female players you think the women would dominate?

Perhaps serving speed is more specific? Benchmark that. There's just one basis of discussion.

I'm surprised you think there's no basis.

>We just don't have any evidence of that.

Unfortunately delusional statements like this only end up hurting the cause you are trying to promote. Biological males are physically stronger than biological females - full stop. If biological reality doesn't line up with your ideology then you should consider the flaws in your ideology rather than ignoring reality (and insisting that everyone else ignore reality too, or be guilty of "hate speech").

American males are an average of 5½ inches taller [1], which is an extreme advantage in Basketball [2]:

> Empirically, the over-representation of extremely tall athletes in basketball lends credence to the theory that the sport provides tall players with a very significant advantage. The average American male is 5 ft 9.3 in (1.76 m).[18] Yet, in a 2007-08 player survey, the average player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) is listed at 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) in shoes.

The average male is either taller or within a couple of inches of the top female Basketball players [3].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average_human_height_by_countr...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Height_in_sports#Basketball

[3] https://www.ncsasports.org/womens-basketball/recruiting-guid...

Imagine this conversation:

"Hey, remember that 'basketball' game we invented?"

"Yeah, what about it?"

"Well, lots of people are playing it, but some of them are unhappy."

"Oh no! What's wrong?"

"Well, they say they're not winning."

"Hm. Well, by the rules of the game, only one team can win, so... maybe we should split the sport up into different divisions, based on skill? We can use the Elo-like algorithms to determine which teams should play each other so that each team has a good chance to win."

"Well, we don't want to do that- it sounds a bit complicated to implement in practice. And, see, there's another thing."

"What is it?"

"Taller people tend to win more. From the stats, they have a big advantage, and it just makes sense if you think about what playing basketball well requires- being taller really does make you better at the game. A lot of the players who aren't having fun are shorter- they feel like they don't really have a fair shot at winning, just because of their height, which is something they can't really change."

"Ah! So you want to split the players up based on their height. Well, we might have some unwanted second-order effects from that - since we aren't accounting for things like muscle mass or aerobic capacity, anybody who is disadvantaged in those attributes might still not feel like they're getting a fair shot. But if the main effect really is height, then I guess-"

"No, no, no, we don't want to do that, either. We want to do it based on genes."

"Oh! Well, that's a bit tricky- loads of genes might affect height, and even more probably affect how good somebody can be at basketball- but maybe with enough data we can build a model to roughly determine somebody's 'innate' basketball ability, and split players up based on that, instead. Now, we need to be careful, because this won't take into account things besides genetics- say, early childhood environment- that folks could reasonably argue are outside of their control- but I guess it could be a clever solution to the pr-"

"Well, that sounds hard. So we want to do it based on whether somebody has two X chromosomes or only one. It's correlated with height, and height is correlated with innate basketball ability."

"But if you care about height, why not just split players up based on height?"

"Well, there are other factors related to basketball ability, too. Not just height, that's a straw man. And many of them are correlated with how many X chromosomes players have."

"But you brought height up... Well, okay, maybe a weighted combination of different metrics that affect basketball ability? Seems like that might be easier than doing genetic testing on everybody."

"No, we're not going to actually do genetic testing on everybody- honestly, that just sounds invasive and creepy. We're going to look at other attributes that correlate with how many X chromosomes players have, and we can usually guess how many X chromosomes they have that way, without having to test. If a player wants to do genetic testing to prove how many X chromosomes they have, maybe we'll let them do that, too. But mostly, we'll guess based on things like their facial structure, voice pitch, whether they have breasts or not, and their genitals."

"But none of those things directly affect height, much less basketball ability, to any meaningful degree! You're measuring a proxy of a proxy."

"... Well, that's what we're going to do."

If what you care about is basketball ability, try to split the sport up based on that, based on actual wins and losses. If that's too hard in practice, and what you care about is height, then split the sport up based on height. Don't segment based on some second-order proxy measure- that's just sloppy. And, honestly, it makes it a bit hard to believe this is actually some high-minded concern for fairness- it starts to seem like it's being motivated by something else.

Rogan is happy for people born female to complete in male sports just not the other way around.

You can't discount how unfair it would be for women to compete against people who have lived for years with high testosterone levels.

Maybe we need a new non gendered sports category where athletes are free to take any hormones they wish. That might be fair. But may cost the athletes their health.

> You can't discount how unfair it would be for women to compete against people who have lived for years with high testosterone levels.

If a man has had naturally low testosterone all his life, should he be allowed to compete against women?

If a woman has had naturally high testosterone all her life, should she only be allowed to compete against men?

Perhaps, I think that would be worth investigating.

You'll find that most athletes at the top are genetic outliers. There is already some unfairness towards those with low testosterone. However if you allow people that have lived long periods of time with high testosterone to complete against women who have not I suspect you'll find very few of those women ever make it to the top.

Maybe, but why is fairness on this one particular axis the only one I ever hear about?

Look at the 100m sprint. Of the top 25 (regardless of gender), as far as I can tell, none of them have two X chromosomes.

But none of them are Caucasian, either.

Why isn't there a large movement arguing that sprinters should only be allowed to compete against those of the same race? If I (as a white man) took up sprinting (ha!), it would kind of suck knowing that I don't seem to stand a chance of setting the world record just because of my genes. But it seems like white sprinters manage to deal with it.

And, well, if there were separate races for people of different races... that wouldn't really change anything, would it? The world's fastest sprinter would still probably be non-white, the only real difference would be that the world's fastest white sprinter would get to say "I'm the world's fastest white sprinter (but still not the world's fastest sprinter)". You're just giving out an extra trophy- everybody knows who's actually the fastest.

Why isn't this argument valid for sex separation in sports, too?

Perhaps it's the historical significance of womens sports as part of the feminist movement?

I don't really know?

In many sports there is actually no rule that forbid women to joining the other championship.

The reason a separate women sport exist is the same as why there are weight brackets in boxing, to allow athletes that score lower in brute-metrics to compete reasonably. Trans women would be less of an issue if women sports did not exist.

(Trans men are a different issue if they take hormones, as that often fall under doping technically)

> In my opinion, the whole discussion of transgender people in sports is a proxy war for their role in society as a whole.

There are a lot of people out there who care way more about sports than they do about the role of transgender people in society.


Have you ever been an athlete in a serious way? Honest question. If people who've competed or deeply cared about sports seem to all get hung up on this, maybe they're seeing something you're not?

Your two issues are issues because, even without any prejudice, there are physical differences that we have to handle and it's not easy to figure out how to be fair to all parties.

In the case we're talking about, for example, the trans women fractured a woman's skull. Broke her skull. Was the skull the problem here? Should it have been less breakable to match the rhetoric?

It's important to make a distinction here. One that Rogan fails to make in his comments.

Fox fractured her opponent's orbital. This is a facial fracture, not a skull fracture. Skull fractures are life threatening whereas facial fractures generally are not.

There is a large discrepancy in the force required to cause a facial vs skull fracture as well.

Yes, I have been heavily involved in high level athletics.

MMA is a violent sport. There are risks to anyone participating in it. If you are seriously worried about protecting athletes, there should be more widespread changes than just eliminating the handful of transgender athletes because I guarantee the majority of injuries occur in matches between two cisgender athletes.

What if the reality is that transgender people already have a reasonable set of rights in our society?

If the front line of the battle is people being assholes about pronouns and transgender women competing in combat sports... maybe the war is won?

I dont know, I'd say the front line of the battle is things like transgender persons having 9x the suicide rate of the general population. Is that a war that looks won to you?

Some women are uncomfortable sharing bathrooms with trans-women. Should we continue to dictate how these women should behave and feel?

We generally established that "I don't feel comfortable being around them" is not an excuse to discriminate back in the 60s.

To clarify: would you argue that the existence of separate drinking fountains for white people and black people is justified because many white people feel uncomfortable drinking from the same fountain a black person has just used? If not, why not?

Isn't this an argument that there should be no bathroom segregation whatsoever? Why should women care if men use the same bathroom as them?

Yup and gender neutral bathrooms are a thing without much ceremony in a whole bunch of places.


I have to say that I have seen a lot of arguments in support of bathroom bans, but trans women have stinkier shits is new to me and perhaps the most outlandishly petty reason I could imagine. So while I disagree with the entirety of your post, I will give you kudos for coming up with that one.

Well, thank you. Eyerolls and disgust right back at 'cha.

> It seems like he wants transgender people out of sports completely

I think this is something you're reading that's not quite there. He isn't sensitive to the topic, but I don't think he hates trans people.

It is the "if you aren't with us you are against us" mentality. Any opposing opinion (even when based on valid arguments) is labeled as hate speech.

Can you help me understand how it's fair for transitioned women to compete against men? I would expect this to be unfair in many sports because of natural biological differences. Not a troll, just looking for relevant facts to inform my world view.

His comment was specifically aimed at martial arts and I think could be extended to any contact sport. The on average smaller stature, different bone structure etc are giant disadvantages and would most likely lead to a higher potential of harm and damages.

I think nobody cares if differently gendered people run a race, you would see who is the fastest and people can draw their own conclusions if that is fair or not. I think this is very different if people start punching or run into each other at full speed.

He can't actually be leaving over censorship because if he was there is no way phrases like "exclusive multi-year" would be thrown around. Once burned twice shy.

There might have been some tea-leaf reading involved that YouTube isn't a supportive platform these days but this move is probably linked to obscene amounts of money changing hands.

You have to keep in mind that Joe is a comedian first and foremost. Comedians have had the rug pulled out from under them with COVID-19. He's doing what's right for his family at the moment. I fully expect this to come up in one of his next episodes and since he's up front about this stuff it'll probably be summed up as "Sorry you fucks, a man's gotta eat!"

He made over $30 million last year on just his podcast. HE still gets checks every month for News Radio since it syndicated. He has several investments in several businesses. He works for the UFC. He has Netflix specials.

Some guess he is pulling in over 100 million a year. I'm sure he and his family are going to be ok.

I figure Jamie probably makes 1 million a year...

Of all the places on the internet I visit, HN is the only place I regularly see comments like the one you’re responding to, suggesting that people with literally tens of millions of dollars are making some decision so they can “provide for their family”, as if they couldn’t do that already with a fraction of the interest they can make on their wealth.

I can’t put my finger on why it’s used so much. To frame the super rich 0.1% as merely responsible fathers and mothers?

1 million you say? I dunno... Jamie, pull that up!

Rogan makes tens of millions a year with the podcast ad revenue alone. I’ll make an educated guess his family is eating fine.

He has a $5M house in the LA Hills.. I think "doing the right thing for his family" means "buying a vacation home in Jackson Hole" or something by now..


What the heck. That's quite modest.

Hmm.. maybe by certain definitions of the word.. 9,000sq ft. 6 bed/9 bath..


Lifestyle inflation is a bitch.

I'm fairly sure he makes a lot more money from having the most popular 'pod in the world than doing a couple of comedy gigs here and there.

Both your reply and another assumes that Joe Rogan should just be happy with not making any money from other sources of revenue that have disappeared.

Why is that?

I don't think anyone is explicitly faulting Joe for trying to make money. The initial assumption in this comment chain was Joe NEEDS money, which is unlikely. The man can be enterprising without us having to pretend his family will starve otherwise.

Y'all are taking this way too literally. "a man's gotta eat" is a figure of speech, I meant he needs to maintain his current income. YouTube has probably been jerking him around for years now so moving to a signed multi-year deal is a smart choice in uncertain times.

Sure it's a figure of speech, but especially in a time with record unemployment, food insecurity surrounding remote schooling, and fiscal uncertainty, it's not exactly the best choice of words.

Also, the reference to "doing what's best for his family" is often used to describe making ends meat, not making sure 30M a year doesn't become only 10M a year.

I think having both phrases in one comment made people rightfully see it as a bit strange (hence the response) given he's a multimillionaire.

> the reference to "doing what's best for his family" is often used to describe making ends meat, not making sure 30M a year doesn't become only 10M a year

Actually I think that's entirely appropriate. Seeing a loss of earnings that large would be devastating to any individual or business.

I don't see how 1 is an issue when Alex Jones et al were deliberately spreading hateful misinformation.

Aiming to CYA by booting someone off of a private platform and others following suit is not the same thing as "conspiring to censor" someone

It's not an issue if you happen to agree this time.

Next time you might not. And then it's too late, you've made your bed.

That only makes sense if you consider someone like Alex Jones to be “just another person who happens to have different opinions about some things than some other people”. He never got shit from anyone for merely offering unpopular opinions, his history (and present) is much more complicated and fucked up than that. He’s definitely on a short list of people for whom humanity in general is worse off overall for having him in it. Like a negative contributor on a team who just makes work for other people, he’s a negative contributor in many, many ways for all of humanity, and not just from spreading transparent lies and obvious disinformation. He never got in trouble for simply saying something someone else disagreed with, he got in trouble for directly fucking with the lives of victims of horrible tragedies, over and over again.

What does this even mean? Are you suggesting a private company should be forced to host content they don't want to? Should Fox News be forced to host Rachael Maddow and a Huffpost show? Is Fox News "censoring" Huffpost by not hosting a show on their network?

No, none of that. This is different.

Imagine a public town square. Would you want any company acting as the gatekeeper, deciding what speech is allowed or not in that setting?

YouTube, Twitter and a few others are effectively the new town square. I don't think we want to end up in a position where a few corporations are dictating acceptable speech and open debate.

What about a private business is "public town square" and why doesn't it apply to Rachel Maddow being hosted by Fox News?

Even the Supreme Court has called social media "the modern public square".

> what for many are the principal sources for knowing current events, checking ads for employment, speaking and listening in the modern public square.

The power to ban someone from social media is the power to cut them off from society. That's too much power for any private corporation to hold.


Just because you can apply a rule with one set of nouns and achieve an unjust outcome doesn't mean the rule is bad.

There's no daylight between "we can't restrict shitty speech because one day we might restrict non-shitty speech" and "we can't have laws against bad things because one day we might have laws against non-bad things". It's an obviously stupid argument and it's not any less stupid because the operating verb is speech.

I don't understand this attitude that we shouldn't say "don't do bad things" because someone else might come along and disagree about which things are bad.

I think you mean "don't say bad things".

First they came for Alex Jones, but I said nothing, because screw that guy.

Let's see if this goes any further. If it doesn't, there's no problem.

Nothing is set in stone. Everything is a spectrum, and fights for where to draw lines on a spectrum will continue in society in perpetuity.

You are absolutely right. Right now, it isn't an issue, because Alex Jones is a legitimately awful, possibly insane human being who contributes nothing to actual political discourse, and directs hatred at parents of murdered children for his schtick. It's Youtube, not the federal government.

And while I do believe "The Internet" is the public square, I don't think Youtube is /quite/ that protected yet, and I don't think Alex Jones deserves that protection.

Other people may get shut down like AJ did, and I may not like it, and I'll argue against it.


tldr - AJ can set up a server at home or on AWS. He may have to do compressed audio only.

Conspire - To join or act together; combine

Censor - prohibit or restrict the use of something

Yeah, they conspired to censor.

Come on.

Verb (with object) > to agree together, especially secretly, to do something wrong, evil, or illegal.

verb (without object) > to plot (something wrong, evil, or illegal).

We all know that "conspire" has connotations beyond just to "join or act together", otherwise there would be no difference between "coporate" and "conspire".

The main difference between my definition and yours is the emotion underlying the interpretation. The base definition is the same.


vernie 13 days ago [flagged]

Heh, got 'em. Can I interest you in some brain supplements?

We only burn the bad books!

Nobody burned anything. You can head over to his website and watch his videos if you want.

Not giving someone a platform isn't taking their free speech away, any more than me telling religious people attempting to convert me to get off my property is violating their religious rights.

if you had many videos up, and they were all taken down, it is like book burning. they were published, then destroyed.

Alex Jones said trans people murder babies with democrats for their blood...

one can be against censorship and against the message being censored.

in other words : don't assume those that defend people like Alex Jones are defending his opinions.

Many are defending his ability to transmit his message, regardless of the quality of that message, in the interest of preserving that ability for themselves and causes that they support.

Nah, they are using that as a front to push their agenda, because otherwise they'd be super in favor of google and youtube's free speech too, which they are not.

Alex Jones isn't legally prohibited from saying lies about Sandy Hook, and the people up in arms defending those hateful lies and saying we should be careful to preserve hateful lies on private platforms are either idiot patsies or purposefully misleading liars(like Alex Jones himself actually.)

I think you're confusing YouTube's "free speech" with YouTube's ability to censor anything they want. I have no issue with Google uploading YouTube videos or blog posts spreading essentially whatever message the company wants to spread.

Spotify actually has supported video for a while (https://support.spotify.com/us/using_spotify/features/videos...). However, the feature itself is horribly hidden. I have in the past accidentally come across music videos, but right now can't intentionally find any video content to cite as an example.

Edit: Another article discussing Spotify testing video content https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/6/21249389/spotify-video-pod...

I don't agree entirely with all these, but I think 3 is the most compelling. It was kind of magical to younger me discovering the interoperability of podcasts and the freedom that granted listeners (and creators too). I've been a big fan of Spotify, but I don't like this recent push to fracture the podcast market with exclusive deals.

That being said it does allow some podcasts to exist that might not otherwise. The only examples I can think of is The Besties.

I remember podcasts. Exclusively streamed audio isn't a podcast.

Alex Jones being kicked off those services isn't the same thing. He was spreading major misinformation and targeted harassment at innocent people that were involved in a tragedy. He wasn't "conspired" against. They just told him to go host his hate somewhere else.

And stop with these "censorship" BS. Alex Jones has every right to start his own network if he wants and put anything on it. There's nothing stopping him from doing it. But there is also zero reason why another private company has to be forced to carry something they don't want to. Free speech doesn't mean everyone is forced to listen to that speech. Why not say that CBS/NBC/ABC/PBS are also "conspiring" against him too because they don't carry his show? OMG, Nickelodeon doesn't carry Alex Jones! They're censoring him!

Come on.

You are conflating two forms of free speech: The right to freedom of speech enshrined in the constitution and the norm of free speech that we all tend to grant each other. Of course YouTube is a private company and can ban and delete whatever they want. But they are breaking a norm and the consequences of that may be worse than the consequences of letting us watch videos of crazy people.

I've said it before and I'll keep on saying it: The original formulations of freedom of speech weren't about protecting the rights of the speaker or writer. They were about protecting the rights of those who wanted to listen or read. Every time you ban a document or silence a speaker, you are also preventing people from reading what they want to read or hearing what they want to hear. That harm is far greater than whatever happens to the author.

Again, YouTube is a private company and they can do whatever they want when it comes to curating the information they store. I would be against any law that compelled them to host information that they didn't want to host. But in the long run, I think their current policy is extremely counterproductive. Imagine if YouTube existed 30 years ago. Would they have banned atheist views? Would they have banned videos critical of Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal? What about videos endorsing transgender ideas? Many views that were considered crazy at that time are now acceptable today. Suppressing heterodox views means that fewer are exposed to them and moral progress is impeded. Yes, most fringe ideas are bullshit, but every once in a while we stumble onto a diamond: Slavery is wrong. Men and women should have the same rights. Homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals. Etc. These were all extremely controversial ideas when they first came into the public sphere. Earlier versions of our society suppressed them as dangerous misinformation.

So far, we haven't figured out a way to separate good ideas from bad ones besides exposing people to them and seeing which memes reproduce in the population. In other words: If you ban people like Alex Jones, you also ban people who are activists for causes that society will adopt in the future. And we all end up worse off.

There are certainly views that we hold today that future generations will condemn us for. Better that we discover them sooner rather than later.

You know who else breaks norms? Alex Jones when he peddles lies and threatens lives for profit. He needs to play by society’s rules if he wants to play by society’s rules. You can’t just pick and choose which norms you’re entitled to. That’s called being an asshole and 10 times out of 10 you will be shown the door. There’s a reason no one cried over him getting the boot. It isn’t an indication of some chilling dystopia. It’s society operating as it should.

Nobody wants to be in the position of defending Alex Jones. He's totally indefensible. But that is always how these things start. Once you start regulating content on the basis of factual accuracy, you put these companies in the position of making decisions about political truth, and that is an extremely dangerous thing.

These are really hard ethical questions, and I think both views are reasonable and understandable. But ultimately I think it's more dangerous to put Google in charge of regulating truth. It feels like a win in the short term to ban Alex Jones, and it is a win in the short term. But the long term consequences of things like this are really really important, and the fact that they're obscured by distance doesn't make them any less so.

This is not how it starts, it’s how it ends. Thousands, maybe millions, of accounts were banned by YouTube in the decade and a half preceding with this for harassing people, selling scams and spreading lies. It’s like the bare minimum a network can do to keep things civil.

The simple fact is that for almost no investment Alex Jones could have his own site serving just as many users per month. My guess is he probably does, and did, so the only thing he’s really missing out on is YouTube‘s free hosting, discovery and traffic and their generous ad revenue split.

> But that is always how these things start.

There is no automatism. In many countries hate speech is forbidden, without them devolving into a dictatorship.

I think that's pretty arguable. Hate speech laws in the UK have been used in pretty questionable ways:




This is just a small selection. Obviously the UK has not "devolved into a dictatorship", but it is clearly censoring non-violent political speech.

Birrell and Ahmed's convictions seems to go too far, they didn't actual incite violence or criminal activity and I think that's an important line. Is 'I hope they die' reasonably interpretable as incitement to kill? I'd say no, but is it hate speech? I'd have to say yes so from a legalistic point of view the prosecutions may have been legitimate. The concept of hate speech is a slippery slope though.

On the Satanic Islam case, the guy was acquitted on all charges so I don't think that supports your argument.

Anyway thank you for your last comment. I agree some of these cases went too far, but that doesn't mean we're some kind of oppressive police state. Neither of the two people convicted in these cases deserve any sympathy, in a broader moral sense they deserved everything they got, but at the cost of an erosion of our civil liberty protections at the margins that I hope we don't come to regret.

Ya I don't want to make it out to be more than it is. It's certainly not an oppressive police state. But is it chilling speech a bit at the margin? I'm not sure that the answer is yes, but i'm also not sure that the answer is no, and that is concerning to me.

Count Dankula was a big case as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Meechan#Arrest

He was arrested and convicted for literally saying "gas the jews". That is inciting violence, and a very clear case of hate speech.

"My GF thinks this pug is the cutest thing ever, so I'm going to make it the least cute thing in history - a Nazi"

And then trained it to react to things like "Gas the Jews" and "Sieg Heil". This is not at all a central example of speech inciting violence.

Funnily enough, Nazi Germany also tried to prosecute someone for training a dog to salute when Hitler was mentioned [0] - apparently that was disrespectful.

0: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_(dog)

How was he inciting violence? He trained a pug to do a nazi salute as a way to make it less likeable to his girlfriend(or at least, that is the set-up to the video). A prerequisite for the joke is that "gas the Jews" is an abominable thing to say, and that the Nazi salute is as far away from "cute pug" as you can come.

Hate speech involves intent. Here he used "gas the jews" as a means to project intent on a pug to make a cute pug Nazi. The joke is that a cute pug is a Nazi, and the joke would not work if that wasn't considered that a bad thing. The point of the video is "Nazi = bad".

Jesus, what a brain dead ruling.

It was clearly a joke. Are we also going to ban stand-up comedians for making Holocaust jokes?

He was arrested and convicted for making a pug react when he said "Gas the Jews" to make the puppy appear less cute.

I don't think there was any intent for a Pug to start a new holocaust.

That's not incitement to violence unless he actually has the means to do it. If you tell a joke in bad taste, it's not incitement.

> "Hope they [ie, Celtic supporters] all die. Simple. Catholic scumbags ha ha."

This is non-violent political speech?

Robert Watts said this about the draft during the Vietnam war:

> They always holler at us to get an education. And now I have already received my draft classification as 1—A and I have got to report for my physical this Monday coming. I am not going. If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J.

L.B.J. meaning president Lyndon B. Johnson. Watts did this in front of a crowd while miming aiming with a rifle. The crowd applauded him.

SCOTUS ruled it legal under the first amendment.[1] I agree with their decision and I wish more countries had such stringent protections for freedom of expression.

1. https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/394/705

> Nobody wants to be in the position of defending Alex Jones.

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all." - H.L. Mencken

I agree that's how these things start. Now doctors in the field and epidemiologists are being censored on YouTube for having unorthodox views on COVID-19.

I don't think you understand the point I'm trying to make. I don't care about Alex Jones. I care about collateral damage: Deleting "communist bandits" comments.[1] Banning the Podcast Addict app.[2] Banning other apps.[3][4] I didn't have to look very hard to find these examples. There are certainly dozens more if one cares to delve into the issue.

There are people who we don't know about who are currently having their views suppressed. A few of them probably hold views that future societies will endorse. But because they don't have a voice, it will take longer to make moral progress. Compared to that, Alex Jones is a rounding error.

1. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23223219

2. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23219427

3. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23221447

4. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23229073

> Alex Jones is a rounding error

I will not support any legislation that needlessly endangers individuals. Society needs to protect people. You don’t need everyone to go through a tragedy before a society is illegitimate, just anyone.

I can’t speak for the latter three threads, but I was active in the first one, arguing the same position.


You are so wrong and you dont see it.

You just identified society as corporation and corporation is dictatorship.

He didn't got booted by society and collective ostracism but by a business decision. That's a corporation making decision for the peoole which information the society should be exposed to.

If the society is not resistant to stupid ideas and need to rely on corporations and politicians to police information, that's a malfunctioning society.

Also, ToS are not society rules.


I have a neighbor who has a "Queers Hate Techies" sticker on his car. I don't like it, but I don't want him banned from YouTube or Twitter or wherever he's saying crazy stuff.

If you had a sticker saying the exact opposite - would you expect to get banned?

There’s this strange thing that often happens online, where it is implied that the people who promote tolerance don’t do so in an equitable fashion.

You’ll be surprised, then, when the answer to your question is “yes”.

I’d want Westboro Baptist Church to be able to have a YouTube channel. Cloudflare still does TLS termination and DDoS protection for their website https://godhatesfags.com so it doesn’t seem totally out of the question.

A generic statement like that is "fine" in my opinion.

But it would become a problem if it turned into violent action or the statements would be more targeted and specific.

(and I give a 50% chance of that person with the sticker being a techie themselves)


What are you talking about? We’re talking about a person getting kicked off of platforms for breaking rules of society. What do companies have to do with anything?


> What are you talking about?

The "breaking of norms", from your comment.

Whose lives did Alex Jones threaten?

> Whose lives did Alex Jones threaten?

Is this a genuine question? This is HN, so it should be. However, I’m not sure how you can be this far down into this chain and not know about Sandy Hook, since it is the very incident that pushed him over the line.


At the risk of sounding like a troll, I don't see anything in that link about Alex Jones threatening lives.

I think they are saying Alex Jones is responsible because his followers ended up stalking and harassing the victims parents. One could argue he never directly said to do that so it isn't his responsibility, but he also has a big platform.

So do you now expect content creators to be in direct responsibility for any stupid action that any of their self-identified fans do? That's just crazy, how do you even consider this a defensible view?

Sorry, are you trying to convince me of something? I just translated what I think is a fair view of a different comment...

When you tell your fans to do it, yes. There’s a lawsuit about it. Look it up before grandstanding on false premises.

Can you post a quote in which Alex Jones told his followers to threaten the lives of these people? Looks like the lawsuit was only about defamation, not Alex Jones directing people who listen to him to make death threats.

I’m not trying to make some gotcha argument that you can cause your followers to make death threats and therefore you had no part. I’m making the case that Alex Jones is an idiot who says things about water turning the frogs gay, and under no reasonable interpretation of his actions or beliefs can I see that he intended to cause death threats to occur.

By this logic Bernie Sanders endangered lives because one of his supporters shot Steve Scalise. To my knowledge Jones just said something like Sandy Hook was fake, which is clearly a bad thing to say, but it doesn't threaten people.

Alex hammered his Sandy Hook conspiracy theory to the point of being sued for defamation, and losing (https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=alex+jones+sandy+hook+lawsu...). Families were forced to move multiple times, unable to visit graves. When the families faced hardship, Alex doubled down on his claims. He never took a moment to ask his supporters to back off or seek a calmer resolution.

Whereas Bernie immediately denounced the shooter and reached out to Steve Scalise. Steve does not blame Bernie for having a deranged fan (https://www.newsweek.com/steve-scalise-shooting-bernie-sande...). Bernie did not imply Steve deserved to be harassed or shot. He has, in fact, asked his supporters to back off (https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/bernie-s...).

These two things are obviously not equivalent.

Not quite "never". You may not be aware because the Joe Rogan podcast was the only outlet that covered his apologies and regret for his behavior. For years since the incident he's been telling his followers in his own show that he was wrong about it and to not harass the families.

It's still the case that he changed his attitude too late, only after some of his listeners acted and the escalation became real.

> He never took a moment to ask his supporters to back off or seek a calmer resolution.

This is an interesting point, because had he done that it could be used against him as an admission of guilt.

Similar arguments have been for Trump as well

> Is this a genuine question?

Incredulity is not an argument, nor does the link you provided have any information on Alex Jones threatening anyone's life.

> Whose lives did Alex Jones threaten?

Well he recently threatened to eat his neighbours!

"I'm ready to hang them up and gut em and skin em and chop them up"


> He needs to play by society’s rules if he wants to play by society’s rules. You can’t just pick and choose which norms you’re entitled to.

This is "a murderer has not granted others the right to not be killed, so why should we not just hang him right here and now?", make no mistake.

> Alex Jones when he peddles lies and threatens lives for profit. He needs to play by society’s rules if he wants to play by society’s rules.

Do you think Alex Jones should not have been talking about Epstein having a pedophile island, or promote a study by MIT about the effect of groundwater pollution on animals?

> But they are breaking a norm

Media companies selectively choosing what to publish has been the norm since forever.

My local paper won't publish libellous comments I may write against a particular person whom I hold grudge against. And my local TV station wouldn't show a pornographic commercial that I thought would be hilarious to see.

Private media companies ultimately answer to their advertisers and most of them simply don't want to be associated with inflammatory or socially unacceptable content.

It would be more in line with your local library refusing to catalog your book. Youtube is a content host, not a publisher.

TV stations almost entirely host content.

So my point still stands that the norm is for media companies to be able to curate their content as they see fit.

YouTube looks a lot like a content publisher to me. It's a monitisation platform. It transcodes for devices. It indexes the content and makes search & discovery available.

Even the terminology is consistent with publisher - channel, subscriber, and so on.

If the content is explicitly uploaded to YT, then how is it not a publisher?

> YouTube looks a lot like a content publisher to me. It's a monitisation platform. It transcodes for devices. It indexes the content and makes search & discovery available.

The monetization aspect seems to be the only differentiation between what would consist a virtual library and a publisher.

And we know how difficult it is to get monetized on YouTube and make it a viable source of income.

Public libraries are required by law to catalog books. Very different. Private libraries can and will often deny to catalog your random book.

> My local paper won't publish libelous comments

would your paper do that it would become a likely target of defamation. Youtube claims to be a platform and is exempt from that risk.

> you are also preventing people from reading what they want to read or hearing what they want to hear. That harm is far greater than whatever happens to the author.

When long-term under-informed people mumble over insane issues on a macro scale, sometimes a barrier should be summoned to simply get their point of view on record. Once you get to see their insanity, you can begin to sanitize back to common sense. imho

OK, but that raises another question: Who decides? Censorship requires a censor. Who are you willing to let decide for you what you're allowed to read and hear?

I don't know about you, but I'd like to decide for myself what media I can consume.

You can, but much like you can’t hear someone whispering 5 miles away you can’t consume anyone’s content who does not have a vehicle to get it to you.

> Again, YouTube is a private company and they can do whatever they want when it comes to curating the information they store. I would be against any law that compelled them to host information that they didn't want to host.

Not necessarily related to Alex Jones (I am not informed about what happened with him), but I would like to mention that YouTube in the US need not to be politically biased toward content curation, otherwise it becomes possible to sue them directly for defamation based on videos the users upload.

That to say that they can do whatever they want, but currently they are promising not to act with political motivations in mind, so a possible venue of criticism is claiming that they are not upholding this promise.

(again, I have no idea of how this relates to Alex Jones, this is only to mention that it is not only about a freedom of speech issue when it comes to online platforms)

What original formulations of freedom of speech do you refer to?

edit: also, not sure if you lived through the 90s. But none of the examples you gave were off-limits for TV or radio.

John Milton in Areopagitica[1]:

> Bad meats will scarce breed good nourishment in the healthiest concoction; but herein the difference is of bad books, that they to a discreet and judicious Reader serve in many respects to discover, to confute, to forewarn, and to illustrate.

Thomas Paine's introduction to The Age of Reason[2]:

> You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.

Chapter 2 of Mill's On Liberty[3]:

> But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

None of these argue from the rights of the speaker or writer. They're focused on the ideas and the reader. They point out that even bad ideas have good uses. These are the arguments that moved us away from a censorious society.

1. https://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/areopagitica/...

2. https://www.ushistory.org/paine/reason/intro.htm

3. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/On_Liberty/Chapter_2

Thanks for the reply and the specifics. I don't know much about free speech as it was conceptualized in the U.S. Constitution, so I'm cribbing from the Wikipedia page [0]. With respect to Milton and Mill, the Wikipedia entry actually cites each in arguing for free speech and for limits to rights, respectively:

- "[Milton] Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties" (Areopagitica)

- "[Wikipedia] Freedom of speech and expression, therefore, may not be recognized as being absolute...Justifications for such include the harm principle, proposed by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty, which suggests that: 'the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.'"

I'm happy to defer to your knowledge of Milton and Mill if you think Wikipedia misquotes/decontextualizes the latter. That said, the reason why I prefer the U.S. Constitution as a starting point isn't just because of YouTube's location or because – as an American – that it's my default frame of reference. I prefer the First Amendment because unlike writings from Mill and Milton, it has actually been implemented as law in a successful government and society. You can dismiss the Constitution as a flawed document written by a bunch of connected white guys, but the fact is that – through original intent and living interpretation by the Supreme Court – it has weathered a far, far greater scope of human communication and freedom than Milton or Mill could ever imagine.

Putting aside personal preference, what's the justification for giving pre-Constitution philosophers greater or equal weight to the Constitution? Because they thought about things decades/centuries earlier? How were their thoughts proven in implementation, not just in their own time, but in all the epochs of societal and technological change since then?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech

I think there are philosophical arguments for free speech that can be evaluated on their own merits:

1) If some idea is true, I'd like to be able to learn that it's true.

2) If a system silences a dissenter, then other dissenters (who could have better arguments) will know that there's no principled protection for them, and won't speak.

3) If some idea has been silenced, then most people don't know the best arguments for it, so they can't in good conscience support the silencing.

4) Clearly false ideas don't need silencing. Historically, an alarming proportion of silenced ideas have been true, but dangerous to the prevailing power of the day.

Just to remember this later:

5) Stopping a political idea from being heard by people is removing political agency from these people, which is undemocratic.

> And we all end up worse off.

That's a bold and simple claim about complex interactions. Can you support this position at all or is it more like a conviction you have?

Sorry, that's not a great analogy.

Are you saying that Alex Jones's views are just ahead of their time and the culture is not ready for it?

I understand that there is one perspective on free speech that says any restriction means that in the future people will abuse it to suppress ANY ideas they disagree with, and I find that this is only true with a very specific type of religious, authoritarian, American, republican voice.

The entire western world bans holocaust denial, and it hasn't led to a chilling effect on other expressions.

Truth is truth. No matter how much some people try to redefine it to be meaningless today, there are still some essential facts. Humanity did go to the moon. The earth is not flat.

> The entire western world bans holocaust denial, and it hasn't led to a chilling effect on other expressions.

Debatable. Banning holocaust denial is one of the greatest travesties in Western free speech. You just gave anti-Semites one more reason to believe there’s a global Jewish conspiracy going on and another recruitment tool.

You'll have to explain why it's such a great travesty because it's not obvious.

Because the types of people that would believe in Holocaust-denial in 2020, are the same types of people that are fed by conspiracy theories when things are banned.

So what's the problem?

The existance of such ban. It feeds the conspiracy theorists, and it's just weird - why only this genocide, and not the communist one, which is increasingly denied thanks to Russian online presence? Why saying "Heil Hitler" and the gesture is criminal offense, but "Cest praci, soudruhu" (a Czech communist greeting) is not, and why the Hakenkreuz is forbidden, but the star, hammer and sickle is not? Why do statues of Stalin and Lenin and other communist leaders remain standing around the world? Surely you can imagine the outrage if it was Hitler's statue.

The laws shouldn't have such weirds corner cases of completely banning references to one thing and ignoring another, arguably worse thing.

Why is banning speech a great travesty?

Because it hides the truth. Perhaps someone will discover people you wouldn't expect involved doing things we wouldn't expect which may cause some aspects from being denied to cease to be true. Silencing one groups end up silencing another.

Why don't we have a law banning denial of other genocides like the Armenian genocide. There should be an equal concern for all genocides being denied.

> Are you saying that Alex Jones's views are just ahead of their time and the culture is not ready for it?

No. In fact I thought I explained that pretty clearly. I said, "So far, we haven't figured out a way to separate good ideas from bad ones besides exposing people to them and seeing which memes reproduce in the population. In other words: If you ban people like Alex Jones, you also ban people who are activists for causes that society will adopt in the future. And we all end up worse off." I don't know how you can interpret that to mean that I am somehow in favor of Jones.

> The entire western world bans holocaust denial, and it hasn't led to a chilling effect on other expressions.

That's not true. For example: David Irving's version of the Goebbels diaries is considered by many (including the late Christopher Hitchens) to be an important work. Irving was imprisoned in Austria for holocaust denial because of something he said 17 years earlier.[1] Apparently the statue of limitations is a long time when it comes to words. There are quite a few other examples, not to mention the chilling effect such laws have. There are also tiny annoyances such as Germany banning the swastika in Wolfenstein games and on models of Zeppelins. Is Germany's society so fragile that a symbol can topple it? They seem to think so.

These laws have a cost. Maybe they're worth it. Maybe they're not. But don't pretend they're pure upside. Many countries have no laws about holocaust denial and get along just fine. Personally, I prefer places and platforms where I can decide for myself what I'm allowed to read and hear.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_trial

> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_trial

So someone got convicted for holocaust denial because they denied the existence of the holocaust? The system works!

Not being facetious, this is not a problem.

> If you ban people like Alex Jones, you also ban people who are activists for causes that society will adopt in the future. And we all end up worse off." I don't know how you can interpret that to mean that I am somehow in favor of Jones.

Easily because that's the implication of your statement. That there is no way to differentiate between Alex Jones's ideology and the ideology of human rights activists.

Which is a ridiculous premise.

I've been making this point for a while on hackernews, but never so eloquently. Very well put.

Some part of the heterodox ideas of today will invariably be Orthodox in the future. A small fraction of them, mind you, but you impede progress if you enforce the orthodoxy. That's what the church used to do when it had sufficient power.

I noticed that one of the videos removed by YouTube is medcram #71. Which discusses, logically and with citations, treatment results using zinc and hydroxychloroquinine. Surely because the media are quick to paint it as Trump's widely discredited treatment that he was pushing. However, if you dig into the actual studies, they don't support that conclusion, in my opinion. The media jumped on one Veterans study where the treatment was given too late in the disease to make a difference. They never reevaluated their conclusion when other studies contradicted that result, possibly because they badly want Trump to be wrong. So here is one heterodox idea being suppressed potentially to the detriment of all mankind, in our hour of need. Even if you ascribe a very small probability that I'm right on this, you have to admit censorship could be doing us a great harm.

My prediction is this gets down voted to hell because the hn voting system itself not only is a way of suppressing heterodox ideas by moving them down the page and greying them out, but it leans left as well, and I had the gall to defend a thing Trump said. I can't stand Trump for the record, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.

It is still a grey area as to whether Youtube is legally responsible for the content it shows.

So given that HCQ kills people in certain situations you can understand why they might be reluctant to allow non-experts to promote its use.

They would have to ban most medical advice and a lot of health advice in that case. Not to mention videos of people doing or talking about risky things. That's a shallow excuse that I don't buy.

Here's the banned video, make up your own mind if you think censorship of it is justified: https://fast.wistia.net/embed/medias/td0v8taipc

And when upstream service providers cut him off, he can start his own one of those.

When payment processors close all his accounts, he can start one of those.

Remember, kids, censorship refers to the government and only the government. Stray far enough onto the wrong side of history, and society may voluntarily decide you're an asshole and show you the door. And that'll be on you.

I hate Alex Jones, but I have to agree. There's a difference between being kicked out of a restaurant for being an ass, vs being kicked out of EVERY restaurant on Earth for the rest of your life - without due process.

These online services aren't small mom/pop shops that you can just replace and patronize another. They are global near-monopolies that you cannot function without.

Google isn't just my search provider - they run my email, my internet connection, my cell service, my company's cloud repository, etc... They could destroy me at the drop of a hat.

> I hate Alex Jones, but I have to agree. There's a difference between being kicked out of a restaurant for being an ass, vs being kicked out of EVERY restaurant on Earth for the rest of your life - without due process.

That's a bit of a straw man, no? Jones still has plenty of perfectly-functioning restaurants to visit, with quite extensive menus. If one of the biggest assholes on the internet still has a platform to spew his hate, I don't think we're in any danger of this dystopian society existing where people can be completely silenced based on the will of a few corporations.

> Google isn't just my search provider - they run my email, my internet connection, my cell service, my company's cloud repository, etc... They could destroy me at the drop of a hat.

That's a choice you've made, not a required state of being. There are plenty of other companies that provide search, email, internet service, cell service, cloud repos, etc. that are just as (if not more) functional and featureful.

I don't see how this is a straw man. He's been banned from all major social media platforms, for life, without due process.

> That's a choice you've made...

No, not really. Because my argument (perhaps wrongly) focused on Google, but it's still true that I have to choose a major near-monopoly corporation to do email, mobile, social media, telephone service, cloud, etc...

There are no alternatives. Have you ever tried to stand up your own email server? You can't. Google won't even relay the emails.

> Google isn't just my search provider - they run my email, my internet connection, my cell service, my company's cloud repository, etc... They could destroy me at the drop of a hat.

More fool you. Maybe you should diversify a bit.

Aye, a bit part of my push this year has been de-googling my life. Along with de-facebooking and de-microsofting.

A more apt comparison is being banned from every bar/pub in town for causing issues, without due process and without having set foot in some of them.

Which is perfectly fine and acceptable

Being banned from every bar and restaurant in the world for something he said? Have you ever heard of such a thing? It would be ludicrous.

> Google isn't just my search provider - they run my email, my internet connection, my cell service, my company's cloud repository,

You have no alternative to any of those services?

I'm skeptical of "kicked out of EVERY restaurant on Earth"

The Daily Stormer is fairly bad as sites go "Jews Howl as Portuguese Move to Shut Down Their Citizenship Scam" typical story - and after various attempts to get rid of them all you have to do to go to the site is google them and click on the link in the wikipedia page.

About the only sites that are really kicked out of all restaurants are paedophila ones and they deserve that and more IMO.

Twitter has actually vowed to support pedos, as long as they don't talk about plans to hurt actual, particular children.

But the community of "MAPs" is protected by social media these days. Repeat the 13-50 statistic, though, and you're out (though the likes of "kill all white people" appears to be ok).

So where were you when the Isis videos were taken off YouTube and ISIS twitter accounts were deleted? The thing is the outcry always only comes when companies don't want to be associated with some right-wing nutjobs hate speech, while I never hear the same people shouting that ISIS promo videos should not be taken down because of censorship. If all censorship is always bad, why not complain about those cases? Call me sceptical, but to me this sounds very much like, "hey they remove content that I sympathise with, instead of content that I don't like" and almost always aimed at propagating the myth of right-wing victimhood.

You really cannot differentiate between content that should criminal murder in progress versus Alex Jones's conspiracy theories?

That's a pretty soft shell you have.

If I advocate for criminal activity and my advocacy is likely to produce said criminal activity, that speech is not protected.

I think you missed the parent's point. I read it as, "if you get kicked out of every restaurant on the planet, it might be your fault."

Of course there are protections for certain classes of people based on their attributes or fundamentals, but society can call your bullshit out.

You're arguing this as if the censorship you're talking about has actually happened to anyone ever. We're literally talking about Alex Jones because he's the most extreme example, but actually the opposite is true. We have Alex Jones as a great demonstration of the most objectionable person on the internet. Is he censored?

I don't know, I suggest you ask him here: www.infowars.com or listen to one of his 6 podcasts a week, or subscribe to his newsletter, or buy his Tubo Force tablets in his shop, or download his app, or his soundcloud, or his reddit account, or his Gab account, or his Telegram account, or on liveleak.

The fact of the matter is that Alex Jones has more ability to braodcast his speech to people around the world than any single individual who was living before 1980.

> You're arguing this as if the censorship you're talking about has actually happened to anyone ever.

It has happened.

When Gab tried to compete with Twitter, Apple and Google banned their app.

Payment processors have banned controversial sites like Wikileaks too.

You can download the Gab android app here: https://apps.gab.com/application/5d3f982c9dd49a5b1d9fc881

Or visit gab.ai on your Chrome browser.

Wikileaks explains the 5 different ways you can donate to them here: https://shop.wikileaks.org/donate

Including about 75 different cryptocurrencies

It's still censorship if a school library bans a book even if you can still buy it from Amazon. The existence of alternatives doesn't mean censorship hasn't happened.

> We have Alex Jones as a great demonstration of the most objectionable person on the internet. Is he censored?

Oh come on there must be far more objectionable characters on the internet. Genuine terrorists and pedophiles and whatever. Or at least they would be, but they are so toxic they actually are censored by most every platform.

Of course it is censorship to remove someone because of the content they create. Plain and simple.

And no, he isn't the only one by far. He was just the notorious one to sell people the practice of content controls on platforms. Since then many content creators have either been removed or demonetized.

Nothing controversial will ever find a home on Youtube as a consequence. You will just get the most benign shit you will get on TV if trends fortify themselves.

Where are you drawing that line, I'm really curious. Can you put me live on Zoom in your house so I can talk about things I like? If not, are you participating in censorship?

It's censorship to stop someone saying something, not to stop them saying something on your property. The New York Times isn't censoring me by choosing not to publish my incoherent ramblings on their front page.

It is still censorship if you do it on your property. It is your right to do so, not the point here but still censorship. The NYT is a publisher and we did a lot of work separating the two. Currently there are ambitions to moderate platforms because those have more listeners.

As I said, there are enough creators demonetized because they are just controversial. Advertisers don't like that. So what are you arguing here for exactly?

If all publishers, persons and organizations are censoring everyone who is not allowed to use their platform/property to express whatever they want... then it seems to dilute the meaning of censorship into nothingness.

> Stray far enough onto the wrong side of history, and society may voluntarily decide you're an asshole and show you the door. And that'll be on you.

Remember kids, there's no such thing as being an actual arsehole, harassing people and endangering people. It's just that they are people who strayed on "the wrong side of history". My neighbour who's kicking his cat? Not an arsehole.

I mean, at some point in history your asshole who’s kicking his cat was probably not seen as an asshole. If only because domesticated cats haven’t always been a thing.

He could end up like Laura Loomer and get banned from Uber, Uber Eats etc as well.

Maybe smarter people (Zizek?) have already talked about this, but for me the current global political compass is very weird. I consider myself a hard-leftist and yet somehow I sometimes feel ideologically closer, or at least not so estranged from your salt-of-the-earth Trump/Brexit voter than to the current modern western progressives, or what people in the 60s used to call a somewhat similar group: Champagne socialists. For me, at least, using my conspiracy hat this is a big big victory for the dominant class, because the existent cries for stricter corporate oversee, dismantling of the lobbying system , unjust labor conditions are totally drowned in a sea of political correctness, in which many of the issues are less important. Many people counter-argue saying that all injustices are worth to be talking about, and I of course agree, but not to the expense of the most important ones, and even less to the expense of basic issues like freedom of speech and equality before the law. The same people who cheer and request the banning of all platforms for their political enemies are scandalized if the workers demographics of any "chic" industry or company does not match exactly their perceived ideal.

This possibility seems lost on far too many people: if they can do it to him, they can do it to you, too.

This feeling of closeness is not new (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_theory)

Nice try, but no. I would say it is more an orthogonal thing. Most of the worries of the common folk(left and right leaning) are not shared by the vocal pieces of the progressive movement.

Nice try? Look, mate, I intentionally only provided a reference to show that the idea of commonality between hard-left and hard-right is not a new one without going into the correctness of it or if it is the same as what you feel. My point is that it is not new and not weird. It is not even only an idea, as one can already observe both sides cooperating on some issues in Europe.

Apparently my bland non-committal comment was already provocative enough to get down-voted.

I don't have an inclination to debate it further as both of your comments are peppered with descriptions (salt-of-the-earth Trump/Brexit voter, common folk...) that suggest this would unlikely be fruitful.

The one dimensional left-right spectrum is clearly inadequate, as there are many more axes. 2D maps are more useful (e.g. the Pournelle and Nolan Charts) but still a bit simplistic.

I doubt this is just your perception and companies notice it too and are already trying to leverage the desires for indiction.

> Zizek

50% of what he says is him talking out of his ass.

> what people in the 60s used to call a somewhat similar group: Champagne socialists. For me, at least, using my conspiracy hat this is a big big victory for the dominant class, because the existent cries for stricter corporate oversee, dismantling of the lobbying system , unjust labor conditions are totally drowned in a sea of political correctness

Absolutely. That's the point. Talk a big game about tolerance and blowing the progressive dog whistles... but keep data mining the fuck out of people and racking up insane profits.

> society may voluntarily decide you're an asshole and show you the door

For all people who support the "marketplace of ideas" argument (which I don't, not least because there is fairly compelling research that documents why a marketplace is a bad metaphor for how ideas spread and damaging ideology takes hold) – wouldn't this be evidence that your idea is failing in said marketplace? Your comment seems to confuse a laissez-faire approach with supporting and subsidising anyone who comes along no matter how problematic their speech is.

Being anti-censorship is not the same being pro-megaphone: freedom of speech doesn't require giving everyone the widest possible audience with no restrictions.

(obligatory XKCD https://xkcd.com/1357/)

You're really going to delegate censorship decisions to big tech? What's classes as "misinformation" should be our choice as consumers, not theirs.

Example: David Icke may be a conspiracy theorist, but banning him is one step closer from Alex Jones towards a censorship nightmare.

The slippery slope is 10ft behind and we're cruising down at 100 mph.

No we're not, calm down.

Alex Jones is riling people up on conspiracy theories that actively do harm in order to make money. What happens if a private company removes him from their platform?

he can still post on his website?

This isn't some Orwellian nightmare.

A lot of people are trying to figure out how to balance absolute freedom with building a better collective human society.

It's messy! People are messy! And sometimes we make mistakes, even with the best of intentions, even when we make the best choice with the information we have.

It's not like they're kicking math off of YouTube. And, no, this isn't one step towards that.

"It's not like they're kicking math off of YouTube."

Actually, a funny thing happened to me recently that is sort of in this vein. I made a simple app for tuning theory nerds, for examining how a given equal temperament approximates different whole number ratios. I couldn't link to it when posting on a Facebook group; I was told it violated Facebook community standards (I think they just completely blocked the 1mb.site domain that I hosted it on).

> Alex Jones is riling people up on conspiracy theories that actively do harm in order to make money.

This is literally what Rachel Maddow did with the Russia conspiracy nonsense.

Let's go to specifics. Alex Jones is facing a civil suit alleging that he defamed the families of Sandy Hook victims, the harm from which include harassment and death threats from Jones' followers [0]. When you say that Maddow's coverage of Russiagate is "literally" the same: what actual harm – both in layperson's terms and legally actionable – do you see as a consequence? Defamation? Who would be the aggrieved and threatened party? Trump, personally? The U.S. law affords a much higher legal burden for the president of the U.S. (or anyone as public and powerful) to prove defamation.

[0] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/31/alex-jones-p...

Calm down, Sparky! Perhaps you misread what I wrote. I did not bring up defamation at all. The term used was conspiracy theory. Rachel Maddow pushed a conspiracy theory. It was completely disproven by the FBI investigation. She pushed it for three years with literally not a shred of evidence.

Perhaps you misread the discussion, Goofus! Youtube didn’t ban Alex Jones for being wrong about something.

Where did I refer to Alex Jones? I fear you may be responding to someone else.

It doesn't count when the popular side does it.


They only think they’re popular because they’re raving so loudly in the public square that they can’t hear the silent majority.

I avoid Rachel Maddow for the same reason I don't bother with the majority of Fox presenters. MSNBC is quite liberal and as much as I like Ari Melber, Chris Hayes and Nicole Wallace, they don't always keep their biases in check. Can be amusing* though to watch Wallace lose it over something Trump said.

*I'm Australian, so my interest in US politics is largely entertainment.

“Big tech”? What are we 5?

What if it was the investment banks controlling the censorship?

there was a great talk by david icke i saw last year. i think it was in a central american country. man, it's hard to search for it. results are a lot crazier than him, for sure. i think he's a good bloke. his ayahuasca experience and talk of other dimensional beings isn't too different what joe rogan talks about sometimes. i see icke has some new media platform thing called Ickonic.. good luck to him.

"Alex Jones has every right to start his own network if he wants"

Ah, the tired old "start your own Google / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube" trope. That can't be too hard /sarc

Why is delegating (effective) censorship to Big Tech suddenly a good idea?

I mean, in general - yeah. But Alex Jones? I've personally launched a few streaming video platforms for audiences within the same # of listeners as AJ's demo - with far less money than AJ has. It's actually not that big of a deal to load an MP4 into a <video/> tag, turns out.

> It's actually not that big of a deal to load an MP4 into a <video/> tag, turns out.

Kind of a big deal if you can't host that MP4 somewhere? If Google/Twitter/Facebook/etc. don't want your stuff ... chances are Amazon doesn't want to host it either. Even if you stand up your own hardware, you're at the mercy of whatever company is providing you the internet connection.

Free speech as a principle isn't about hearing stuff you like. It's about hearing stuff you don't like. That's where the tolerance part of it comes in. When you're tolerating something, it means you're putting up with it even if you don't like it.

And it's not about the law. Yeah, they can do whatever they want since they're private entities. It's about what values we choose to uphold as a society.

> Free speech as a principle isn't about hearing stuff you like. It's about hearing stuff you don't like.

Free speech is not about the "right to be listened to," it's a very specific concept that means that the government cannot punish you or restrict your ability to make speech. If one person has a wildly unpopular idea, that is simply what it is: unpopular. To quote the first amendment of the United States Constitution:

> Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The true problem in all of this is that the right to "speak freely" is not something that was conceived thinking it would be possible to immediately transmit speech over thousands of miles to millions of people. We have so far enshrined corporations with protection and simultaneously not created any government backed properties for people to share ideas (akin to a digital public square).

If anything is a problem it's that there is no equivalent to a public square because most Internet forums are privately owned places. It would be like if the only land that people didn't own was the sidewalk to city hall.

Amazon isn't very likely to care what's hosted on their servers, as it's not as likely to be damaging - both in terms of brand and of legal liability. You don't know a website is hosted on Amazon Web Services the same way you know a video is hosted on Youtube.

It is knowable, by IP address.

That's... not the point. When you watch a youtube video, you have the youtube logo staring at your face. No matter how technically illiterate you are, you know you're on youtube. When your website is hosted on amazon, there's no component of the UI saying "Hey, we're on amazon property". Thus Amazon hypothetically hosting an Alex Jones website would be a lot less damaging to their brand than Youtube hosting an Alex Jones video.

> Amazon doesn’t want to host it either.

This is total bullshit. Amazon doesn’t give a fuck about what you’re hosting on an S3 bucket as long as it’s not illegal.

Also, Amazon is not the only storage provider in the world. Serving your bullshit to the world is definitely not an impediment or limitation.

You’re making it sound like all the major corporations in the world colluded to ban fucking Alex Jones. The reality is that he is probably too incompetent to figure out that he can build his own distribution without relying on major corporations.

But he doesn’t want that. Why? Because how else could he monetize his moronic bullshit?

Alex Jones is a drunk fuck who explodes the stupidity of his base with full knowledge and awareness about it. He knows the more shit he talks the more he can leverage his base to get financial benefits.

People defend Alex Jones on the merits of free speech and they fail to realize that you can say whatever you want and still be 100% factually wrong. So anybody has the right to refuse giving a platform to that. This is not about left and right, this is literally the difference between right and wrong.

You’re claiming that free speech is about hearing things you don’t like. Do you really believe that you’re entitled to an audience just because you have a right to freely speak about anything?


They explicitly prohibit content that is "offensive".

"Offensive Content. Content that is defamatory, obscene, abusive, invasive of privacy ..."

Pretty sure he hits a few of those? So "Amazon doesn’t give a fuck" isn't quite right.

> It's about what values we choose to uphold as a society

> "Offensive Content. Content that is defamatory, obscene, abusive, invasive of privacy ..."

> Pretty sure he hits a few of those?

I have a hard time reconciling your two statements.

The slippery slope argument is great when you encounter a (seemingly) insignificant step in the wrong direction.

Banning Alex Jones on platforms is simply upholding societal values, by your own account.

You're selectively quoting me. I'm pretty sure I spent a bit of time talking about tolerance and what it means.

They could have easily said we don't allow illegal content and that would be the end of it. I would be fine with that. It would mean a jury of my peers would determine if whatever was said violated our societal values.

That's not what they said. That's not what any of them say. Instead, they very clearly state that they will determine what is and what is not allowed by their standards.

They are within their legal rights to do so ... but I am in no way in support of that. I do not want Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, etc. in charge of what we can and cannot say in public. We, as a society, should frown on that and those working in those companies should speak up during meetings when that is proposed.

I don't think I was selectively quoting you. You specifically brought up the part about offensive content and the examples they provide, and you yourself agreed he hit a few of those.

> That's not what they said. That's not what any of them say. Instead, they very clearly state that they will determine what is and what is not allowed by their standards.

This is in confliect with your quoted offensive content.

Sure, they will determine what constitutes the examples of offensive content, but at least in this case you yourself agreed with it, yet you claim you don't?

Again, make the argument when they do something wrong, not when they do something objectively in line with their terms and societal norms.

I might agree with you in principle, but I don't agree with the case put forth.

Quashing hateful, exploitative, conspiracy-theory-for-profit "free speech" is a societal value I can get behind.

He doesn't have to start all of those things?

He can go to alexjones.com and post whatever he wants.

delegating censorship to Big Tech is not suddenly a good idea. Louis CK makes millions more a year by funneling distribution through his own site.

I came here to write exactly this about Louis. Hell, he was doing that long before he became a pariah.

I think that cries of "censorship!" from bien-pensant tech folks are largely overblown, and not only for the reasons cited in this thread. If some heterodox ideas of today truly will be part of future orthodoxies, they'll find a way - YouTube or not. A powerful concept that dies on the vine because it cannot get onto Facebook isn't a powerful concept.

it does come across as them supporting it, yeah. they may as well just say they like to silence people. we all know they can kick alex jones off if they want, and there are plenty of people who dislike him. cheering it on though? i guess it's whether you want people you don't like silenced or you have principles. a major source of the 'think of the children' book-burning emotional behavior seems to be the ones they cheer on too. infantilized and scared into cheering on the infantilization. similar to how the corrupt will become a corrupting influence to others, but with more a denial of cognitive dissonance rather than a darkening of the heart.

>Why is delegating (effective) censorship to Big Tech suddenly a good idea?

Because they currently have alignment with the correct political ideology. When that changes, so will this attitude. History shows that it will eventually change. History also shows that those currently in control will erroneously believe they will forever be in control.

Ah, the tired old "everyone is owed access to every platform in America" trope.

Think of "Youtube" as "CBS/NBC/Network of your Choice". They don't have to produce/host any content they don't want. They should be very transparent about how they choose their content (and "not going to piss off our users" is as legitimate as any other reason) but that's all the consumers are owed.

Do I want Youtube or whomever controlling things? No. Do I understand that unless you want to pass some laws dictating them a different utility status than they currently have they're going to be in control of their own platforms? Yes. Does it just so happen that I'm fine with Alex Jones being de-platformed? Yup

If it could be guaranteed to be limited to the Alex Joneses of the world, I would wholly agree with this.

However, now that a strong majority of the influential communication that takes place in society is divided across perhaps 5 tech platforms, with 1 tech company controlling the ability to search for other platforms, it's hard to say getting booted off all platforms isn't functionally restricting freedom of speech.

At what point do we concede that allowing a small set of 'private companies' carte blanche over public discourse is a restriction of public freedom?

If a regular user can be banned from Youtube for violating their TOS, what makes Alex Jones special and immune from community moderation?

Either a site has the right to moderate its users or it doesn't.

Alex Jones was banned from YouTube, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify pretty much simultaneously and after years of successful use of each service. You can argue that the conspiracy to remove him from those platforms was a good thing, but I don't think it is reasonable to suggest that each of the platforms coincidentally decided to boot him at the same time. They clearly coordinated to ban him, they didn't coordinate in public, so I think it makes it quite clear he was actually conspired against.

It also strikes me as a bit disingenuous to suggest that because he can just go create his own Twitter or his own YouTube and host things there he wasn't censored. He technically could, but that doesn't change the impact of banning him from the major services. It seems as perfectly clear that they are censoring him as it is that the big tech companies conspired to do so. Again, you may argue that it is right to censor Jones - he is either a liar or crazy, but it makes no sense to argue that he wasn't censored.

I think in isolation, it would be better if Jones didn't share his opinions. But if I had to pick between realities, and in one Jones was free to spread his conspiracy theories, and in the other big companies get to decide what we can and cannot say online? Well, it's a pretty obvious choice for me.

> They clearly coordinated to ban him

This is not necessarily true, it is perfectly reasonable both that individual employee were simply like minded, or that given the high visibility his character they all acted quickly not to be "accused" of supporting him.

It surely looks like they conspired, and effectively it is as if they conspired to do it, but personally I believe that as a default it should not be accredited to a conspiracy (as in the dictionary meaning of hidden agreement) unless we have some direct evidence.

Especially since the possibility that individual employees were biased and like minded is much more likely and stable.

There was no conspiracy, and no censorship. He broke rules of all these platforms and the final straw pushed all platform owners to enforce their rules, that's it. It should be obvious to anyone that Facebook or Google or any other company can't be expected to publish anything anyone wants (did you even read the rules?) - since the dawn of the Internet we had to set up our own servers for that purpose. How is Facebook different from any old phpBB forum? Bans were often given for fun during these days!

If there was no conspiracy you think it was a coincidence that he was banned across all major platforms at the same time after using them for years?

I guess I can kind of see how it is possible to believe that it was a coincidence that all companies banned him simultaneously. It's obviously overwhelmingly unlikely that it was a coincidence, but that is at least a coherent thing to believe. On the other hand, I cannot say the same for the claim that there was "no censorship".

What do you call banning people because you don't like what they have to say and want to stop them from sharing their viewpoint if not censorship?

If you want to argue that Jones should be censored, that seems like a rational and worthwhile conversation. I don't get how you can argue that he wasn't censored though.

Regarding how Facebook, Apple, Twitter, YouTube, and Spotify are different than a random phpBB forum, I think I'll just leave that one as an exercise for the reader...

Enforcing rules of platform is not censorship. I don't care much if it was a coincidence - I did not say that, anyways. Even if a group of people had a videocall about it, it's not a conspiracy, merely a group of people had a call about a long standing issue and did something about it, which was absolutely well within their rights - even if completely random, which it wasn't. We used to have chats with other Minecraft server admins about some specific people ("griefers"), too - not even the griefer thought they had any right of access or that we "conspired", though.

"Conspiracy - an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot." - https://www.dictionary.com/browse/conspiracy

These platforms policing content surely was the beginning of the end, they're getting dragged in to every he-said-she-said fight you can think of and it puts them right smack in the middle of the great culture wars that are now raging online.

They should have just drawn the line at legality & calls to violence and everything else well ... deal with it. "We're a platform, not a publisher".

Naval Ravikant basically said this, on JRE.

So McCarthyism was ok then, where you couldn’t find any job in Hollywood if you had leftist views? Private companies free to enforce the ideology they want.

> And stop with these "censorship" BS.

It is clearly censorship. The fact is simply that censorship is perfectly legal for private companies to engage in. Though when a private company starts to become a monopoly people often start trying to regulate it like a public utility.

A separate argument is whether customers and partners want to support a private company which engages in behavior they dislike such as censorship. Rogan also has every right to take his business elsewhere for such reasons, if that is actually what happened.

1. Be realistic. He wasn’t on Nickelodeon with a very large following. Google and YouTube have a heavy bias, that isn’t new news.

2. If your ISP starting preventing you from viewing HN, would that be censorship or their own right? Since you have your own right to start your own ISP.

3. If I own a cake business, is it perfectly acceptable to refuse to make a cake for a gay couple? (We all know how that turned out)

Youtube is a platform, Nickelodeon is a television channel. What a nonsensical comparison.

> Free speech doesn't mean everyone is forced to listen to that speech.

You are completely right. Free speech does not mean that anyone will force you to listen to Alex Jones or any other nutjob. It means that AJ will have the right to speak and you can ignore him.

From the top of my head, let me just list a few of the poeople that were considered crazy and could not initialy find a platform to express their ideas:

Clair Patterson E. Cuyler Hammond Albert Einstein Marie Curie Sklodowska Nikola Tesla

You get my point?

> You get my point?

If have come to the conclusion that you either get why people defend his presence as a price for many advantages or you do not. These are not the people that buy his "man-oil".

Some say the smarter ones give in, although that should not be applied on this topic in my opinion.

> Free speech doesn't mean everyone is forced to listen to that speech.

It is just a personal dislike of Alex Jones, not an elaborate thought. Not that hard to sympathize with, which makes defense against content regulation quite exhausting. But it is also a lie, since nobody was forced to listen to Alex Jones at all.

We have seen targeted harassment against Russians by mainstream media outlets. It is the same strain of reasoning, although I would put it anywhere near reason to be honest.

I hope I won't go too close to breaching the Godwin's law, but there seem to be some analogies to Herschel Grynszpan here. We can always find an outlier that would be a good excuse for an overblown reaction. We can also probably find outliers on the other side of the spectrum, but we choose to ignore them. Conveniently.

Once again a post that does not break any guidelines is being downvoted. Which proves why we need to battle deplatforming inj the first place. If you cannot even post something as harmless without people trying to bend the system to silence you, then I cannot believe that there will be a due process for anyone that has a really strong opinion.

You're drawing a false equivalency, and even contradicting yourself. Alex Jones is no Einstein. And it sucks that those people initially had trouble spreading their ideas, but clearly they were able to do so, otherwise we wouldn't know about them. Sounds like the system functioning decently well, perhaps with some initial hiccups.

No Sir, you are just strawmanning here. Please do not put in my mouth (or rather in my hand) words that I did not say. My point is, that you cannot always distinguish what is hogwash and what is legit. If you refuse someone the right to speak, you give people a convenient tool to silence everybody that is inconvenient to them. Also, it's just a matter of common decendy to allow people their basic rights.

Sounds like people had to go around a system to get results. System that was full of holes and not bordering on orwellian or huxleyan principles.

When were Einstein or Curie ever considered crazy or deplatformed?

Einstein was refused publication and ridiculed until Bohr, who was an authority, vouched for him. Madam Curie had to publish under her husbands name, because her publications were rejected on the basis that she was a woman.

Ok. But you cant have it both ways.

If this is the official position of google et al, that they should be free to boot people pf their platform. Fine. They are no longer pipes. They are editors for content.

As such. The agnostic pipes defense is no longer valid.

I would like to put my army of lawyers on attack mode to sue the sh*t out of them for copyright infringement, for trafficking stolen property, facilitating crimes etc.

You serve your dish and bow you must eat it.

Shouldn’t government accounts be banned too then? Every government has spread major misinformation & harassed innocent people.

How about CNN? They do it too.

He’s almost certainly moving to Spotify because they’re paying him to move.

Banning Alex Jones is a good thing.

I'm no longer convinced of that. He should be kept in the light where we can see him and respond.

Kept in the outer fringe he will operate in a bubble and the others who are attracted to him will also exist in that bubble. This also means no opposing views to pop that bubble. I actually think this is worse for society overall.

The more light shining on him to keep him honest the better.

Wow, the first link brought up ISIS -- in these Covid 19 times, I have not thought about that/them for some time. The global zeitgeist is a real thing!

> He should be kept in the light where we can see him and respond.

If you want to publish his content for him, you can go ahead and do that. But don't complain that other people don't want to.

>This also means no opposing views to pop that bubble.

But then you have the backfire effect. It'd be naive to assume everyone else is or can be as rational as yourself.

I always found America’s grips on these things a tad weird. In my country you’re accountable to print the truth, and if you don’t, it comes with fines or even prison time. Because lying to the public is dangerous.

That hasn’t stopped opinion pieces, but it has stopped media outlets from printing things like “the earth is flat” or “drinking bleach cures covid”. Unfortunately this is yet to apply to social media stars, but when they have audiences larger than news papers I think they should frankly be under the same laws.

Yet in America you seem to put that sort of thing in the same box as Chinese censorship. Which is really just so strange to me. Do you really think you can have a functioning democracy when people live in completely different bubbles of subjective truth?

>you’re accountable to print the truth

Whatever portion of government handles that in your country, is quite literally analogous to the "Ministry of Truth" in 1984.

>Do you really think you can have a functioning democracy when people live in completely different bubbles of subjective truth?

Nobody knows, its always been an experiment. The experiment is done with the basis that other ways of going about it (some system of enforcing a consistent "truth" among all citizens) would be totalitarian and tend towards tyranny every single time.

Case by case by a judge not by a ministry.

So you ban churchs?

Killed maybe billions over the past 100,000 years.

They also provide comfort and help to billions through their lies. Hard to ever know what their total effect has been. But still lies.

Or is your religion ok and 'normal', but thinking the world is flat not?

Countries that ask media to print the truth certainly go after religious sects that financially/morally exploit their worshipers. Every time there are threads than mention free speech, it's as if political science and those millennial old problems were new to hn.

We don’t censor fiction.

What if your country's government becomes corrupt and starts using its power to enforce "truth" against its citizen's own interests?

Well, what would stop them from doing that anyway? Look at Poland or Turkey, it’s not like a constitution is going to save a democracy.

5. In regards to number five, at the time Spotify came out I was still using Winamp. The just completely insane thing to me was that I could from a cold start, start the app and listen to a new song in Spotify in noticeably less time than in Winamp where the songs where on my PC!

To this day it still perplexes me. Nowadays I think(?) they have switched to a more web-centric GUI-framework and a Server-model, but at that time, Jesus Christ was it impressive on my crappy computer. It was a beast.

PS. for a nostalgic trip, anyone remember Foobar?

Great summary of the issues. I'll add that a nice part about having JRE on Youtube is having a comments section. Spotify does not have any kind of comments section.

#4 is a pretty big deal to me as I'm in Korea and Spotify is not supported here. I don't use Spotify mainly for that reason. I know I could use a VPN, but that's too much hassle only to listen to JRE (also I'm not aware of any quality free VPNs, and don't care enough to pay for a subscription).

> Seems like Spotify might be adding video later in the year but until that happens, we don't know what we will be getting.

He stays on YT 'til January 2021. Then Spotify is supposed to have full or more like better (because they already have) video support ready.

keep in mind that spotify mines an incredible amount of data. This is what someone got when they did a GDPR request few years ago, and companies have only gotten more aggressive in the amount of data they're capturing https://twitter.com/steipete/status/1025024813889478656

If you can't trust Swedes with your data, who can you trust?

Ah, shit. That's creepy as hell.

You list 5 reasons to not choose Spotify. Joe has over 100 million reasons to choose Spotify as his platform. I say "good for him".

it wouldn't be "the exact same show" if there wasn't video. there's no way it'd be audio only.

Spotify actually has video already, which they used for music videos. Although it seems like they removed it fairly recently.

A podcast is only a podcast if it has RSS.

Their web player doesn't even work with desktop Safari...

Yes it does, I'm using it right now. Safari 13.1; macOS 10.15.4; 2014 MBP. Nothing special here, it just works (though I normally use Brave).

Use another browser. Probably Apple saying "we don't support "obscure" file formats".

I believe it's due to the DRM protection Spotify use. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Encrypted_M...

Oh, I thought it was the webplayer that the podcast site uses. If that is Spotify, shame on them for DRM.

From what you say it’s as if Joe Rogan is a solipsistic prick with a disproportionate ego who runs a much overrated show and who cares mostly about getting richer and richer...

It's probably well over $100 million dollars. I would love to see you stand on those principles of yours and turn down $100 million dollars.

It’s $100m on the dot. JR is already a multi-millionaire. Surely there is a point where money buys you the ability to live by your principles otherwise what’s the point in having principles at all?

> Spotify was the one who conspired with Facebook, Apple and Google to ban Alex Jones and others

Alex Jones has a right to free speech, but if he's going to claim Sandy Hook was a hoax causing grieving parents to be harassed, nobody owes it to him to give him a platform. He can pay his own hosting fees.

YouTube: You can pay your own hosting fees.

Namecheap: Your users can find you at your IP address.

AWS: You can run your own server hardware.

Intel: You can build your own CPU.

Electric Co.: You can generate your own electricity.

VISA: You can take payments in cash.

Hospital: You can use your own butterfly strips and an ibuprofen.

I mean, these are all true. Lots of people chose to avoid particular hosting platforms, components, utility providers and healthcare providers.

Do you feel like Jones didn't have his proverbial "day in court"? He's had many, of course, and lost most of them. A basic google search tells me you can buy many books written by Alex Jones on his infowars shop. Even if he was kicked off the DNS system he would be able to host his page through TOR.

I do not think that we must provide equal quality of service to all speech. Just like we kick teenagers off online games when they won't stop yelling slurs, there's nothing wrong with banning people from the public square for spreading harmful falsehoods.

I don't know if he got his "day in court", and I'm not sure he deserved one since these platforms can do what they want on an individual basis.

What is dangerous is a handful of platforms dominating communication and then conspiring to censor the same person all at the same time, which is exactly what happened with Alex Jones.

Though it seems reasonable to tell an undesirable to "find your own X", it's also a sentiment that can be taken too far and could be dangerous when taken to its logical extreme. I don't think most reasonable people believe that platforms shouldn't prevent someone from shouting "fire" in a crowded room, metaphorically speaking, but it shouldn't necessarily follow that the same can be said for anything that people may not like.

I listen to Alex Jones occasionally. I don't listen to him because I believe what he says. I just think he's hilarious and I consider him to be a comedian. I can't say that anything that he says is dangerous, as ill informed or misleading some of it is. (maybe his stance on vaccines) Not everything that Alex Jones says is wrong. He is also often wrong.

That said, depending on where the Overton window lies and the climate of politics, I don't like "find your own X" because it signifies a disdain towards dissidence, and we're not far off from saying "If you disagree with the WHO, go find your own platform." That's scary, but a lot of prominent figures in the media lump in skeptics of the WHO with the likes of Alex Jones, conservatives(i.e. heretics), and anti-vaxxers. When someone says "find your own platform", that is a complete dismissal towards someone and their ideas. Coordinated efforts to expunge people from the public square isn't something to be pleased with, even when Alex Jones is the target.

Once we're told to find our own platforms, and that becomes the norm, there's nothing to stop that precedence from propagating to "find your own website" or "find your own payment processor". When these companies are all in cahoots and basically agree about everything, there's absolutely no guarantee that a company's privilege to ban users stops with people like Alex Jones. You might just do or say the wrong thing with good intention.

There's a reason why we stopped excommunicating people who have committed no crime, and coordinated efforts to censor people is effectively modern day exile. If someone is to be expunged from the public square, the argument should be "they did (insert bad thing)", not simply "they can go elsewhere". Most people who think Alex Jones deserved to be banned don't seem particularly well informed about Alex Jones, other than that he's crazy and that he'd eat his neighbors.

The challenge with giving an equal platform to bad-faith disinformation artists like Alex Jones is that it's simply not a fair fight.

Respectable news reporting organizations are bound by an obligation to research and vet their stories.

People like Alex Jones are not, and they can look 95% as slickly presented as a "real" news organization for 1% of the cost and 0% of the moral obligations. They can churn this stuff out at a rate that sources of respectable reporting cannot even begin to approach.

It's like the information equivalent of a DDOS attack, or the "Gish Gallop."

Give the Alex Joneses of the world an equal platform and the world will eventually be nothing but Alex Joneses -- whoever screams the most sensational stuff the most often is going to win.

    What is dangerous is a handful of platforms dominating communication 
I agree with the terribleness of this.

But I do truly believe it's less terrible than giving a platform to bad-faith creeps like Jones.

Ultimately, the answer is an educated populace with strong critical thinking skills that can do a better job of deciding for themselves. That is truly the goal.

I'll let you decide how feasible that is in the short term, the long term, or any term whatsoever.

20-30 years ago we all thought the WWW was going to be this incredible marketplace of ideas where the truth would win. What an idealistic crock of shit that was.

> Respectable news reporting organizations are bound by an obligation to research and vet their stories.

Bound by whom? Where is this obligation written? Who holds them to it? What are the consequences if they break it?

Or more to the point: what consequences have they suffered for the fact that they have already broken this obligation over and over again over the past decades?

I'll grant you some things.

1. The mainstream news sources have messed up lots of times. (I would argue that their success rate is very high, though)

2. The mainstream news are largely ad-supported and therefore their entire line of work is a bit of a minefield of conflicts of interest.

That said...

They are not perfect, but comparing them to a disinformation merchant like Alex Jones is an absolute farce.

Stories at "real" news organizations are vetted by multiple members of the staff. They make corrections. This cannot be said of wack jobs like Alex Jones. They are not even in the same league in terms of good-faith effort to get things right.

    Bound by whom? Where is this obligation written? 
    Who holds them to it? What are the consequences 
    if they break it?
One, institutions like the NYT and WSJ bank on their reputation as purveyors of the truth and as institutions with rigorous reporting standards. They rely on that in ways that Alex Jones does not. He relies upon being shocking and edgy.

Two -- and perhaps more tangibly -- traditionally in mainstream media, reporters caught fabricating stories or otherwise being unethical essentially forfeited their careers.

You can see both of those factors at work in the story of Jayson Blair, a reporter who was caught fabricating stories for the NYT.



Yes, the NYT was duped. Embarrassingly. But the system worked. They conducted a pretty intense internal investigation to catch the guy. They caught him. They set the record straight. They admitted they screwed up. In that one instance they displayed more journalistic integrity than you'd see from Alex Jones in a lifetime.

And what happened to Jayson Blair? As I said above, his journalism career was over.

You can point out problems with "traditional" news organizations, and I'll agree with many of them, and they are still miles better than conspiracy hacks with zero journalistic scruples.

> I don't know if he got his "day in court", and I'm not sure he deserved one since these platforms can do what they want on an individual basis.

I was making a tongue-in-cheek comment about his many legal troubles, but I also think that he had extended periods on all the platforms that he's been removed from where he knew that he was violating policies and did not change his behavior.

> What is dangerous is a handful of platforms dominating communication and then conspiring to censor the same person all at the same time, which is exactly what happened with Alex Jones.

Is this what happened with Alex Jones? The wikipedia article lists a somewhat piecemeal series of bannings in 2018[1]. You can still find videos about alex jones on youtube and there are still conspiracy videos here and there[2] I don't see much evidence that Alex Jones, the person, has been exiled from the public square. He's very much still a subject of valid conversation on the platforms that banned him. I'm not sure how the same platforms I've been using to find his content can be engaged in a conspiracy to censor him.

What you can't find on youtube[3] are video from Alex Jones's own accounts. It's also hard to find videos promoting various theories and ideas that youtube considers dangerous (like covid-19 conspiracies). I don't think this is a problem. I think there are all sorts of problems with the tech ecosystem, but I do not think a public, meandering process where one organization was removed because it continually broke website standards is going to lead us to fascism.

>When someone says "find your own platform", that is a complete dismissal towards someone and their ideas.

I don't think this is true in any situation. If I'm running a fictional video site "teentube" which hosts videos about teenage life in the US, I am not censoring anyone if I refuse to host amazing, essential, gory documentaries on terrorism and current events. Saying "go find another place" is not saying "your content has no value," it's saying "this is not your place!"

In general, I agree that we could use more specialized media hosts and economic models to support them. But it's not like the current crop of media hosts (Alphabet, Facebook, etc) are dealing with fundamentally different questions than the previous crop (ABC, CBS) did in the broadcast TV era. There were no fewer conspiracy theories in the 60s, but good luck getting a tv station to broadcast your tape on one!

>When these companies are all in cahoots and basically agree about everything

I think, to the degree that payment platforms and website hosters are in cahoots, that it is because they are all members of society. That is to say they are subject to international law and the laws of their own country. Within the boundaries of "not breaking international law," I think there's a lot of diversity in terms of perspective.

Edit: To add a summation: There's a world where people are forced out of society without the appropriate process, a world where going "elsewhere" isn't practical. I don't think we're in that world and I don't think Alex Jones is either.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Jones#Social_media_restri...

[2] I found this one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGDuyDyMMDg), which I don't recommend watching, just by searching "alex jones" and scrolling down.

[3] Of course, if you want them, they are right there on infowars. Google will take you straight there.

Social media and sites like YouTube make it possible for anybody to instantly reach an audience far larger than ever possible with previous generation media, which provided at least some filtering and fact checking. This makes the stakes a lot higher when people are deliberately spreading misinformation. I don't know what the solution is but there are going to have to be some limits on what's allowed.

Utilities and the hospital don't ban people. They are considered a human right? The most effective censorship we have seen is from the finance sector. Assange helped kill off the liberal 'wild wild west' opportunities on the web, its all very closed off and locked down now.

You forgot Government: You can defend (what you consider to be) your rights/ideas/property with physical force.

Mixing up commodities and services I see.

The “Right to Free Speech” just means the government can’t impede. Nobody is required to give him a platform, though.

The Bill of Rights only covers negative rights: what Congress is explicitly forbidden from doing. Free Speech is a social norm as well as a legal construct; there are components of a civil society and Enlightenment values that have nothing to do with laws on the books: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_charity

Even if one concedes that any given platform has total authority over their private property (there is a case for regulating tech giants as utilities), one is still perfectly within their rights to vehemently disagree with those decisions, or find them to be grossly counter-productive.

What is a government but a corporation that owns land and has a military? Why would you bar the government from impinging on free speech, but give nearly unbounded power to corporations to expand and snuff out free speech? If Google owned nearly everything, should we not be upset when they negate our rights?

The difference is the monopoly on the use of force. The government can legally send men with guns to make you comply, while a corporation can't.

Corporations might not be able to legally detain or use traditional force against people, but they can coerce and threaten people's livelihoods. Exile is an effective means of getting compliance.

That's not even close to the same as the powers of the state.

Walmart can't put me in jail. Walmart cannot kill me.

This is a fairly cheap argument. Presumably the reasons why it's bad for the government to ban speech are also largely applicable to platforms that are almost universally used to discover new viewpoints.


In many perspectives, government is considered special because of the "monopoly on force."

Having a compelling platform is very different from that. Nobody is saying "you can't say that under threat of force" they say "I choose to respond to you saying that by exercising my own rights." Do you think anyone who waves a sign on the side of an intersection should also be entitled to an editorial in the local newspaper, say?

People today have fairly limited imaginations after a couple decades of "algorithmic search and recommendation" platforms. But the internet before Google was quite successful with organic word of mouth and hyperlinks. And nobody in that world was forced to provide links to anyone they didn't like either.

You're free to make that argument and try to get a new law or amendment passed, but the existing laws and Constitution very clearly only apply to government.

You're completely missing the point. I'm making an argument about how companies should behave, not how they are legally obligated to.

Incidentally, YouTube, Twitter, etc. should be subject to far stricter regulation when they enforce speech codes and don't behave as neutral platforms.

> I'm making an argument about how companies should behave, not how they are legally obligated to.

The same can be said of jackasses spouting harmful drivel within the confines of free speech.

I'm not sure OP would disagree with you. He made a separate point:

> So if Joe is moving off of YouTube because he doesn't like the censorship, he's not getting anything better with Spotify.

Every platform censors to at least some degree or they wouldn't continue existing as a platform. What matters to most folks is the degree of censorship. As YouTube is beholden to advertisers, it's kind of akin to cable TV in terms of what will and won't be shown.

You can have a fairly minimal degree of censorship limited to actual criminal speech. There's no reason why platforms can't adopt that as their standard.

Except that they would then be taken over by spammers and trolls. They might see that as a problem.

There is a reason, it's called money, which is why these platforms exist.

Alex Jones is a much less serious threat then 2 or 3 large companies deciding what can discourse can be promulgated.

(not a Jones supporter. nor can I imagine how anyone would be)

My point is that they don't get to decide that, though. They decide whether they will pay for hosting, but they can't stop him from paying for his own hosting elsewhere.

Likewise, if the WSJ decides not to publish my letter to the editor, they aren't violating my freedom of speech, they are just deciding not to amplify it.

You are comparing apples to oranges. WSJ is a publisher. These tech companies are currently enjoying the benefits of being a "platform" while acting as publishers.

> These tech companies are currently enjoying the benefits of being a "platform" while acting as publishers.

If this is referring to Section 230, I think it's a misinterpration. Section 230 gives platforms the ability to moderate without being (legally) treated as a publisher, but it doesn't make them into a utility. If it's referring to a different law, I'm curious which one.

In your view, if YouTube is not a publisher, should they be required to host pornography? Are the community features part of the platform, or is YouTube entitled to host content but make it undiscoverable?

You’re trivialising the issue a bit. Remember when CloudFront stopped providing DDos protection to some white nationalist website (I forgot which one). “Just start your own multi-billion company bro!”

It's also inaccessible to me to buy a printing press, but that doesn't make the WSJ compelled to print something I write.

You sure you're not referring to CloudFlare and The Daily Stormer?

I'd be more sympathetic to your point if you hadn't said at first (paraphrased) "Alex Jones said this awful thing I disagree with". Therefore you presumably believe it's ok he got kicked off of whatever platform, because of _what_ he believes.

You really don't see the moral hazard in that?

I believe YouTube has the right to remove it whether or not I agree with it, because they don't owe it to anyone to pay their hosting bill.

Should a restaurant be able to refuse service to an openly gay couple then in your opinion? What if it offends the other patrons?

There is no law protecting conspiracy theorists.

I'm not sure there is a national law requiring businesses to serve gay customers either. I'm just curious how OP feels about that.

Besides, who decides who is and who isn't a conspiracy theorist. You? A twitter mob? The government? Some people in San Francisco?

The fact that there is apparently such strong disagreement (most of which probably is from people who believe that it is appropriate to use the strong market share of these platforms to mold political discourse) is a bit alarming. No way that ends well.

Fine, let the court of public opinion decide.

Alex Jones is banned from Youtube. People, largely, do not give a shit. Now try banning gay people from a resturant.

Good luck with that.

And in many jurisdictions it is illegal to discriminate over sexual orientation. There is no such law protecting conspiracy theorists.

Your argument is juvenile and fails to address the point

And your reply is devoid of substance.

I think we're done here.

my argument has substance and I agree. not worth it.

And my point is that it's undesirable to have a handful of companies with this kind of control.

The "host your own" argument is done to death truly. If one type of speech can be hosted for "free" by a company with 80%+ market share, so should another without discrimination.

To allow otherwise is to risk of erosion of our values and enable corruption. Even if you don't like Jones.

I think the bigger threat is us enabling 2 to 3 large companies to the degree where their decisions can affect discourse.

Alex Jones is a thoughtless jerk though, and can still find/provide his own hosting/distribution.

You presumably also would be in favor of domain brokers restricting speech (correct me if I'm wrong). Does every controversial political speaker also need to host his or her own ICANN domain? Or should they just promote their speech entirely offline?

I'd like people to use a multitude of domains/providers/companies to minimize the ability of a small group of companies to influence discourse.

Having said that, I understand that practically avoiding those companies is tough.

There’s no shortage of companies who value money more than morals. Those affected can host their sites with one of them.

All these cries of "censorship" misunderstand that what is happening is fundamentally a business decision.

When Alex Jones gets pulled from Youtube, it's because he is effecting their business relationships and ability to make money.

Couldn't you make the same argument about gay couples in a small town rural restaurant?

But would it be morally right to ban those couples from a restaurant?

No one is born a conspiracy theorist.

Someone spouting asshole opinions is not the same as an immutable trait by birth.

Alex Jones is not even being sincere in his quackery, this has been explored in court and he admitted to being a fraud.

Because we have decided that after decades of bigotry, violence and discrimination that the rights of gay people to their life supersede the rights of free association for public businesses.

We have? Can you show me a national law in the US that says restaurants have to serve gays?

See how the "it's a private business so they can discriminate!" works?

Keep in mind, as you mention, the shoe has been on the other foot and it will be again. It's better to enshrine and uphold these principals at all times. Not be like a dirty cop planting evidence because "he knows the suspect did it" and try to get to "Right" by cheating. In the end that blows up and it was wrong all along anyway.

Why do you think I’m talking about the US? There’s a whole world out there.

In that case "We" haven't decided anything at all what you suggest.

But now you and I are in the weeds.

I hope you see my point, that's all. Discrimination isn't good. Even if you don't agree with the other party.

We aren’t trying to come to an agreement, we has a lot broader meaning than that. Good luck, have fun.

Discrimination isn’t good and propping it up in the name of free speech is gross.

"We" in a global context have many different views.

Agreed, we aren't trying to come to agreement, on that we apparently agree.

Speech might be hateful, but isn't discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination.

Free spread of ideas is vital to the continued progress of humanity but sometimes it will offend people.

You could if it was 1950. Fortunately it’s 2020 and laws exist to protect gay couples.

I'm not sure they do to the extent you suggest.

But I agree, if you open a public service you can't not rent to blacks, you can't not serve gays nor Democrats. That is how it should be.

When you open an upload streaming service to the public, _particularly_ if you have the majority market share, you have certain obligations of non discrimination. This should include religious and political viewpoints as well as race and sexual orientation.

Maybe Jones does cross the line from political discourse into trolling and incitement to violence. Not sure because I haven't watched him except on Joe Rogan. But we need to be very careful about moving that line.

I was replying to what you specifically said:

> Couldn't you make the same argument about gay couples in a small town rural restaurant?

And the answer is "no, you can't."

Well actually yes, you very clearly could.

Perhaps the restaurant is in a religiously conservative community and people won't eat there with their children if the restaurant has openly gay couples in attendance. So the gay couples being in the restaurant could negatively impact business.

What law prevents this? I'm not sure there is one in most of the U.S. Twitter and Reddit's opinion aren't so far law.

So the bottom line is yes, you could make the same argument.

But I think we both recognize this is morally unfair. When you provide a public venue, or offer something for sale to the public you have certain responsibilities towards non discrimination.

The fact the people being discriminated against are people you don't like or disagree with is irrelevant to this.

paulcole 12 days ago [flagged]

> About 20 states, including New York and California, have enacted laws that prohibit discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation


You learned something today!

mythrwy 12 days ago [flagged]

I think maybe you learned something today :)

I also thought these laws were more prevalent then they actually are until I looked into it.

Really? 8chan was unable to find any hosts for a very long time, and its future is still uncertain.

Lots of people in New Zealand and El Paso won't shed a tear for that fact.

Battles over freedom of expression have nearly always occurred at the boundary of the vile: see the obscenity battles over the rap group 2 Live Crew [0], or Chomsky's vociferous defense for the right of Europeans to express Holocaust denial [1], despite he himself finding those views to be inaccurate and repugnant.

It's a simple formula: Take the most awful idea you can imagine, that any reasonable person would also find unworthy of the public square. Now walk it back it by 1%. Still worth banning? Okay, do it again. Rinse and repeat, until anything anyone finds even vaguely controversial or upsetting is verboten. I can trivially produce a compelling argument that any opinion on abortion or the military (for or against), is hateful, vile, and dangerous.

In practice, we need specific exemptions for libel, slander, conspiracy to commit a crime, etc. (It's worth remembering that the infamous "fire in a crowded theater" line was used as a justification for suppressing pamphleteering against the draft [2].) We have such exemptions, and their details are certainly debatable. But they must be targted very narrowly, and the burden of proof must be high, lest moral panics or realpolitik throw out the baby with the bathwater, and outlaw thinking itself.

[0] https://mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1447/2-live-crew

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faurisson_affair

[2] https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/11/its-tim...

“despite he himself finding those views to be inaccurate and repugnant”

If only that were true. Most people who look into this are dumbfounded at Chomsky’s support of Faurisson—not just his right to speak, but his insistence that we take this holocaust-denying nutjob’s “research” seriously.

Spotify gave Joe money for services.

> JRE leaving YouTube over the censorship

Meh. Youtube is an open platform. You can upload anything to it and there's almost no oversight except for a few sensitive situations, which I'm pretty much sure Google doesn't want to be involved with to begin with, but they have to. That's the price of them staying open for anyone to upload anything.

But Spotify is a closed and controlled environment. Not anyone can upload anything they want to it...

So in protest against Youtube's censorship he moved to a closed ecosystem where most of the world cannot publish to anyways.

That's either a faulty decision making, or trying to get some PR and making it look like a moral stand not just a better deal.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact