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Jordan Peterson is launching Thinkspot, a “free speech” platform where his fanboys can downvote posts they dislike and make them vanish

By David Futrelle

Jordan Peterson, the sulky alt-lite celebrity professor who likes to sue people who disagree with him, has announced the imminent arrival of his new Free Speech Social Media platform Thinkspot, which promises to be the freest free speech venue in human history except that you have to pay for it and if you say something that offends the Peterson fans and oft-banned alt-right weirdos who will likely populate the service, they can downvote your comments until they disappear.

Also, Peterson is saying that there might be a 50-word minimum to comments — designed to make sure that comments are “thoughtful” — so that Nazis who want to post the 14 words will be allowed to but they’ll always have to post them four times in a row.

Here’s how the right wing site Newsbusters described it, drawing the details from a recent discussion between Peterson and stoner podcaster Joe Rogan.

Peterson discussed Thinkspot with podcaster Joe Rogan on June 9, emphasizing a radically pro-free speech Terms of Service. He described that freedom as the “central” aspect saying, “once you’re on our platform we won’t take you down unless we’re ordered to by a US court of law.”

That will be a profound contrast to platforms that ban users for “misgendering” people who identify as trans, or for tweeting “learn to code” at fired journalists. 

Well, with the 50 word comment minimum, they’ll actually have to write:

Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to code.
Learn to.

Clearly this will encourage only the most thoughtful of discussions.

As for the downvoting thing, Newsbusters explains that

All comments on the website will have a voting feature “and if your ratio of upvotes to downvotes falls below 50/50 then your comments will be hidden, people will still be able to see them, if they click, but you’ll disappear.” 

Obviously this whole thing is going to be a smashing success, as right-wing “free speechers” love it when algorithms hide their comments from view, and they don’t consider this censorship at all or yell about it endlessly or anything.

Peterson has apparently got a bunch of true a-list free speech warriors lined up to beta test the “anti-censorship platform,” including, well, himself; failed-comedian-turned-alt-right-booster Dave Rubin; celebrity “skeptic” and alleged rapist Michael Shermer; and YouTube blabber/rape joker Carl Benjamin, a.k.a. “Sargon of Akkad,” a.k.a. “Carl of Swindon,” recently in the news for his disastrous campaign for the European Parliament, which went so badly that it kind of took down the entire UKIP party with it.

So basically, the consummate control-freak Peterson is asking the prickliest assholes in the world of social media to pay him money to use a platform that allows their political enemies to downvote their comments until they vanish. I really can’t imagine anything going wrong here.

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Lainy
Lainy
1 year ago

So like redit but probably with even more child porn.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
1 year ago

DOWNVOTE THIS, LOBSTER BOYS.

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
1 year ago

I can’t wait for this to compete with Gab.

Cheesynougats
Cheesynougats
1 year ago

I can’t for this to compete with Gab.

The flame wars will light up the skies for years.

Aron
Aron
1 year ago

*DOWNVOTE*DOWNVOTE*DOWNVOTE*

— Lobster boy

😋😋😋😋😋😋🦞

Aron
Aron
1 year ago

(Obviously, I am not a lobster boy. I am actually a lobster MAN!)

/s

Amy E
Amy E
1 year ago

*breaks out the popcorn*

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Of course you have to pay to use it. Grifters gonna grift. I’m not sure how successful it’s going to be though, given that there are numerous sites where you can go be awful for free.

Flora
Flora
1 year ago

There’s no way this won’t immediately devolve into targeted down voting campaigns that are designed to -shock- silence people they disagree with. Truly, the freest of speech.

Flora
Flora
1 year ago

@WWTH, I mean at least he’s anticipated that there’s no way he will get any advertisers for this trainwreck.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
1 year ago

Oh, how I love watching them tear each other down . . .

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

So, that me too hating “leftist” woman from that post a few weeks ago just got totally busted liking a blatant Nazi tweet.

https://twitter.com/hannahgais/status/1139374091998248960

I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

Bina
1 year ago

And they said irony was dead…

PeeVee the Tired
PeeVee the Tired
1 year ago

I am greatly amused at the thought of folks paying for free speech.

Bina
1 year ago

@PeeVee:

Well, as we all know, Freeze Peach isn’t free…

Amtep
Amtep
1 year ago

It sounds like the 50/50 rule won’t be applied to individual comments, but to your whole account. The account you paid for.

Well, I’m sure he’ll be willing to accept an additional payment to unlock your account again.

I’m also glad that trolls have an inherent sense of fairness and certainly won’t organize mass downvoting campaigns against people they dislike.

occasional reader
occasional reader
1 year ago

Thanks to the system vote, free speech is going to become speech free.

Shadowplay
1 year ago

Thanks to the system vote, free speech is going to become speech free

Why not?

Their speech is most often content free anyways, so this is just the next logical* step.

* For a certain value of logic

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

Someone in the Pharyngula comments christened it “Stinkpot” which sounds about right

Penny Psmith
Penny Psmith
1 year ago

Regarding that Newsbusters report:

That will be a profound contrast to platforms that ban users for harassing people, or for harassing people.

Fixed that for you.

(How can I do a strikethrough, on here? This would probably work better with a strikethrough of the original, rather than just a straight replacement.)

Tovius
Tovius
1 year ago

Thinkspot certainly sounds like an idea one might come up with while on the john.

Nick Kiddle
Nick Kiddle
1 year ago

“I really can’t imagine anything going wrong here.”

Well, running out of popcorn would be quite frustrating … Oh you meant for them!

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

@Tovius:

Thinkspot certainly sounds like an idea one might come up with while on the john.

Heck, it sounds like a euphemism for the john, given how many people claim to do their best thinking there. “‘scuse me, I’m just off to the thinkspot to, um, cogitate on what you just said” 😉

occasional reader
occasional reader
1 year ago

> Shadowplay

Their speech is most often content free anyways, so this is just the next logical* step.

Indeed. And as their speech is also logic free, they are going to miss the next step. And tumble down in the credibility stair (maybe ?).

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

So the subscription thing is interesting. He’s promoting it as a way to reward creators. Instead of making money from youtube, and risking demonetisation, or signing up to Patreon, and losing that income stream when you violate their ToS, you sign up to ThinkSpurt as a creator, and take a cut of the subscription stream. That’s not an objectively terrible idea, I think, but the devil is in the details, and I suspect the site is going to struggle. It’s also going to be a hellscape, of course, but that’s life now.

once you’re on our platform we won’t take you down unless we’re ordered to by a US court of law.

Hmm, “once you’re on our platform”. I wonder how much gatekeeping there will be to ensure that only the right sort of people get onto the platform? If, say, Natalie Wynn wanted to create a channel on LobsterGab, would they be happy to take lefties’ money for that?

Newt
Newt
1 year ago

I hope the 50-word minimum applies to images too. That would mean alt-right shitposters dedicating even more time to their ridiculous wall-of-text memes.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

@Moggie : I think they would agree, and let their angry mob downvote each and every post of her into oblivion.

That seem in line with how thoses libertarian type censor stuff.

Hester
1 year ago

OF COURSE Peterson would think you can’t say anything “thoughtful” in less than 50 words. He’s so obviously in love with the sound of his own voice. Thus why his prose is turgid and takes hundreds of words to say something you could say in like, 30. See also this piece.

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/03/the-intellectual-we-deserve

Aren’t college professors supposed to teach their students NOT to write like this?

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

@Ohlmann:

That seem in line with how thoses libertarian type censor stuff.

It’s not censorship! It’s The Marketplace of Ideas™ at work¹! All hail Teh Market! 🙄

¹ I love how these guys are invested in the “marketplace of ideas” when their market wouldn’t pass a cursory health inspection IRL, what with all the ancient, rotting and downright unsafe produce they offer…

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

@Hester:

OF COURSE Peterson would think you can’t say anything “thoughtful” in less than 50 words. He’s so obviously in love with the sound of his own voice. Thus why his prose is turgid and takes hundreds of words to say something you could say in like, 30.

It’s especially amusing given that one of the biggest criticisms levelled against postmodernist and poststructuralist philosophy– one of Peterson and his Lobster Legion’s favourite bogeymen– is the overly verbose and seemingly deliberately obscure writing style adopted by so many of those working in the area. Specks and logs.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

This post reminded me of an interesting blog post I read recently titled, “Good Things Don’t Scale“, in which the author ruminates on the difficulties inherent in “scal[ing] systems that are based on humans”¹. The big social networks like Twitter and Facebook being some of the best examples of the issue. It’s clear that Peterson, in his own hamfisted tech-bro way, is trying to address this issue with his ridiculous comment policy.

On a related issue, I read another post recently called “Contempt Culture“, which points out a great many technical communities in the IT industry are driven by contempt for those outside their group (“you use programming language/ technology X?! What a loser!”). It’s a very cogent observation and is probably one of the leading reasons why a lot of tech online spaces rapidly become toxic cesspools.

¹ To be clear, the author does address the issue that small communities, on-line and off-, can become parochial and insular, and that being small is no guarantee of enabling the flourishing of the human beings that make it up. It’s a tough problem and not one that’s going to be solved with ludicrous technical bodges of the sort Peterson is proposing.

Dalillama
Dalillama
1 year ago

@Cat Mara

love how these guys are invested in the “marketplace of ideas” when their market wouldn’t pass a cursory health inspection IRL, what with all the ancient, rotting and downright unsafe produce they offer…

Health inspections are jackbooted government tyranny, didn’t you know? In a free market, anyone can sell anything, and buyers beware.

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

Can’t really take this new freeze peach platform seriously if it’s not even blockchain-based.

Katamount
Katamount
1 year ago

And a goooooood We The North morning, errybody!

comment image

Man… it’s a weird feeling I haven’t felt since I was eight years old. It really can’t be overstated just how big a deal Toronto’s NBA win is. For a city whose franchises have historically struggled, for its quarter-century old basketball franchise to finally do what Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Chris Bosh and DeMar DeRozan couldn’t… it’s something special and really feels like basketball coming home and will have a cultural impact for at least the next year if not the next few years.

And at the same time… I almost feel like it doesn’t really belong to me. I mean, I’m not a basketball fan, only went to a couple Raptors games like a decade ago and wasn’t with them through thick and thin. But I do like what it has come to represent: a victory for the diverse Toronto of today. You look at pictures of the crowd at… ugh… “”””Jurassic Park”””” and it is the face of Toronto of today and tomorrow:

comment image

So congrats, Raps! You finally did it! And we didn’t have to face LeBron! Yayyy!

Oh, and I think the best nickname for Jordan Peterson is “Kermit the Fraud.” Can’t claim credit for it, but I wish I had come up with it.

NiOg, filled with determination
NiOg, filled with determination
1 year ago

So, Thinkspot is the ultimate crab pot?

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
1 year ago

So this is very off topic, but I’d encourage US based Mammotheers to read it. It concerns atrocities the US is committing on the southern border.

Be warned, it is a horrifying read.

https://mobile.twitter.com/ECMcLaughlin/status/1139192167501484033

rv97
1 year ago

More evidence the world wants to get rid of liberals and atheists. Anyone who thinks they’re not oppressed should probably look further than coastal America and western Europe.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

(How can I do a strikethrough, on here? This would probably work better with a strikethrough of the original, rather than just a straight replacement.)

You can make a strikethrough by putting just an “s” inside of the pointy brackets. (In place of where the “em” goes for italics or where the “blockquote” goes for blocks.)

I would show you the way it should look but I don’t know how to get the brackets to be read as text instead of code.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

@Moggie:

Can’t really take this new freeze peach platform seriously if it’s not even blockchain-based.

🙂 But I’m sure there’ll be no shortage of bros hanging out there who will be only to happy to ‘splain the blockchain to you– whether you want them to or not.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

@Catalpa: In theory, you should be able to stop the site interpreting tags if you replace the opening less-than sign with <. Let’s see if this works:

<strong>bold text</strong> = bold text

<em>italic text</em> = italic text

<strike>strikethrough text</strike> = strikethrough text

solecism
solecism
1 year ago

Thinkspot?
^^^^^^

I don’t think that word means what he thinks it means. I agree with CatMara. It’s a misnomer. What he really meant was Tinklespot. Fixed it!

Jackson Ayres
Jackson Ayres
1 year ago

Somehow, he thinks “free speech” means starting a club that includes only people who agree with you and censoring anybody who doesn’t.

It makes it even more obvious than usual that it’s not free speech these people want, it’s freedom from dissenting opinions. They just want to pretend that their noxious views are widely held and accepted.

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

@Cat Mara:

But I’m sure there’ll be no shortage of bros hanging out there who will be only to happy to ‘splain the blockchain to you– whether you want them to or not.

You know what Peterson should do? Launch his own crypto-currency! It’s too easy for the jack-booted statists to cut off funding to his brave crew of freeze-peakers. That couldn’t happen if the subscriptions were paid in Lobstercoin. Plus, it would surely appreciate in value, and everyone who bought in early would become fantastically rich.

magnesium
magnesium
1 year ago

Well, it’s more feasible than that time he was planning to make a marxist professor-tracking “AI” to save free speech by silencing anyone left of Mussolini.

I’m a little curious who’s telling him that these tech projects are a good idea, or you know, plausible. Is there some programmer out there constantly trying to get his hands on Jordo’s Patreon bucks? Or Does Jordon Peterson, as an enlightened, superior, male man, just believe that his gender means he knows how to, as they say, code?

Hester
1 year ago

@ Cat Mara:

When I went on FB today, I found the faux-intellectual debate-club right wing evangelicals sharing the original Newsbusters piece, claiming the 50-word minimum will force people to be “witty.” I thought wit worked better when it was concise, but what do I know? I’m a member of the great unwashed who never joined debate club.

Jackson Ayres
Jackson Ayres
1 year ago

@Hester

Debate was never what it was cracked up to be. Most of the time, it wasn’t the person who made the best argument who won, but rather the person who successfully used the most underhanded debating tactics. For example, judges would give you the win if your opponent didn’t refute all of your points, so a tactic that often worked was to make as many spurious points as possible in the hopes that the opponent wouldn’t be able to get to them all in time.

The format that was plagued by such issues the least was Congress/Parliment, which made it my favorite, but the whole thing was still a mess and waste of time over all. I only participated because I was the sort of nerd whose friends were the sort of nerd that did debate, and they had me help them practice anyway.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

@Moggie:

You know what Peterson should do? Launch his own crypto-currency!

😂 O.M.G. Can you imagine?! “Lobstercoin is going to the moon!!1!!” 😂😂 Just too delicious for words!

@Hester:

I’m a member of the great unwashed who never joined debate club.

Yeah, me neither. The mere mental image of all the posturing Ben Shapiro-wannabes this is going to attract has just made me throw up in my mouth a little…

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

@Jackson Ayres said –

Somehow, he thinks “free speech” means starting a club that includes only people who agree with you and censoring anybody who doesn’t.

It makes it even more obvious than usual that it’s not free speech these people want, it’s freedom from dissenting opinions. They just want to pretend that their noxious views are widely held and accepted.

QUOTED IN FULL FOR TRUTH.

Having someone say “hey, when you do X it causes Y to happen and that hurts people” isn’t someone censoring your speech, it’s someone pointing out the consequences of your speech.

The frustrating thing is, Jeep is from a place with hate speech laws, so it’s something that’s understood in the fabric of Canadian society!

(How much though is always up in the air, I’m looking at you, Lynn Beyak, I hope you get booted from the senate and DON’T get any sort of retirement money from it. You’re a bad person, Lynn Beyak, and if you believe in hell, I hope you know you’re going to burn in it.)

Here’s a newer article, she’s been suspended, but she maintains her FREEZE PEACH is being threatened!!!!

Also, her suspension = the start of 1984 punishments.

I expect to see her on this platform as well.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

O/T: Just saw this on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/redditships/status/1139231135140143111

There are no words.

(I had to look up what “AITA” stood for. Dude, most certainly you are. You are the type specimen; when you die, we’re gonna pickle you and put you in a jar labelled Homo Arseholicus)

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

@Jackson Ayers:

For example, judges would give you the win if your opponent didn’t refute all of your points, so a tactic that often worked was to make as many spurious points as possible in the hopes that the opponent wouldn’t be able to get to them all in time.

There’s even a name for that tactic now: the Gish Gallop, after a famous creationist who was very fond of it.

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