Why I Quit Gab

Farewell to Gab
Freedom of speech is essential. It is both a moral good and a practical safety valve; you know what happens when you turn up the heat on a pressure cooker with the safety valve blocked. I applauded and supported Gab soon after it came into being. Sadly, I must say, no more and farewell, because I must conclude I am no longer welcome. There are a fair number of members here who hate me despite the fact we agree on much in the political arena. They hate me not for who I am in the flesh or in the eyes of God, but for my genes.

Born to second-generation American Jewish parents, I became a Christian as a young adult. I agree with most of the ‘conservative’ (for want of a better word) political viewpoints expressed here and disagree, vehemently, with the politics of the ADL. I do not, however, hate the individuals promulgating those politics. Actually, my beliefs free me from the soul-crushing burden of hatred for anyone. Those who hate have a right to say so and Gab rightly permits that. Why, then would I conclude I am no longer welcome?

As has been said by many wise individuals, the answer to vile speech is more speech, not censorship. It is the very absence of that “more speech” here on Gab - to counter, to push back, to remind those who say they believe - that visceral hatred has no place in a community of Christians. This community lets stand - unopposed - Jew-hatred and thereby allow it to become the face of Gab and that is a shame.

In law, the Pharisaical-minded among you might say, there is no affirmative duty to act in the face of crime or evil. Caesar requires nothing of you when you hear speech or see words used to destroy the humanity of certain of your fellows, who are all just as vulnerable and as mortal and as fallen as you are. Yet, despite the commandment, you judge and you boldly say and painstakingly write your judgement. Many of you even know that to be the mortal sin that it is. Somehow, you rationalize it.

Nonetheless, I write not to those of you who reflexively hate me, my relatives and my ancestors. God knows, my ancestors were well-schooled in receiving hatred - yet I was taught to hate no one in my Jewish childhood. Thus I say God-be-with-you, goodbye, to those of you who practice their faith yet remain silent; who let the hatred stand, unopposed, who ‘like’ it with a tiny serpentine click now and then. What, after all, is one more tiny tap on a nail head whose sharp end is already embedded in the wooden Cross? You well know and yet make exceptions to the central commandments. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” and “…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren…”.

In sum, you - the silent - may rest assured you have no legal duty to cancel hatred with love. You who remain silent in the face of non-stop, venomous, anti-charitable hatred here, are obliged in quiet faith, to ask yourselves whether you may share some spiritual responsibility for letting stand, unopposed, this evil as a face of the Gab community seen by the world. Your silence is consent to the same kind of hatred which destroyed millions of innocent lives only 4 generations ago. After the next round being encourage on Gab, will you, like many so-called Christians at Nuremberg, also plead ignorance?

The above post received not one comment or like, confirming my observation, beyond any doubt.Though free speech is, indeed essential to a decent society, I am ashamed to have given my trust to those who offer no opposition to the content of vile speech. That speech is also essential. Absent that, freedom of speech has little value.

14 Likes

I am surprised also that more people don’t speak up

6 Likes

I’ve seen Dachau
I’m on your team

6 Likes

As long as we have centralised “silos” within which dialogue is confined, there will be a natural “self sorting” of people who frequent them into those who agree with one another, as others who don’t are repelled by what they find there or actively driven away by attacks from the consensus opinion they support. To the extent that non-“mainstream” opinions are banned from the largest platforms, they will be encouraged to concentrate where they are allowed, rendering those venues inhospitable to those who disagree.

The fundamental problem is, as it so often proves to be, centralisation. Back before the emergence of the silos, we had a vast proliferation of blogs, each with its own viewpoint, sometimes changing at the whim of the proprietor (I’m thinking of that site of the verdant American kicky-ball, for example). Readers could find these sites as they linked to or quoted one another, assemble their own “feed” of sources they found interesting into an RSS reading list, and build their own custom newspaper tuned to their interests. If one source veers into insanity or becomes too predictable or boring, simply remove it and add others you find more useful.

Once this flat ecosystem is replaced by something resembling the three television networks of the “vast wasteland” era of U.S. broadcasting, all of this wild and wacky diversity is flattened down into what the gatekeepers of each silo permit and allow to be visible. Why, you might call it a “vast wasteland”, surrounded by a variety of crazies obsessed by things running the gamut from the flat earth, dinosaurs and people living at the same time, climate change, and evil Zionist conspiracies.

Yes, the answer to bad, evil, wrong, or stupid speech is indeed more speech, but you’re never going to get that as long as that speech is confined to soda-straw-narrow channels that enforce a straitjacket of acceptable discourse.

In the Bitcoin world, we say “not your keys, not your coins”—only if you retain personal custody of the secret keys for your coins are you their true owner, able to dispose of them as you wish. In speech, it’s “Not your host, not your post”. Only if you own and control the venue in which your writing is hosted and distributed are you the sole author and responsible for what you say.

The technology to replace these legacy data silos has existed for almost a quarter of a century and the inexorable fall in the cost of Internet access and data transfer has rendered their initial economic advantage obsolete.

Mr Musk, tear down this wall. (Allow 𝕏 to automatically aggregate the blog posts from RSS feeds of Premium subscribers onto the main feed, knowing that eventually 𝕏’s messaging function will wither away, compensated many times over by its expansion into a means of payment, hiring, and allowing people to find interesting feeds to follow.)

10 Likes

I think there’s a case to be made for creating a more powerful layer than a typical RSS reader:

There are solid RSS readers, my favorite is NewsBlur, but the format of lists is tricky.

X is rapidly innovating, and I think your suggestion of RSS exportability is a good one - what X did here reminds me of the blowback NYTimes got when it tried to monetize the opinion pieces of all things.

5 Likes

This might be a “use case” for large language models. An LLM is able to read more text in a short period of time than a human can in a lifetime. Imagine an LLM that reads everything posted on the Internet every day and compiles a summary, like the U.S. President’s Daily Brief, of items of interest to each individual reader, with a summary of the piece and a link to “read the whole thing”. Each item would have buttons the subscriber could click to say “I’d like to see more/less like this” so that, over time, the agent could adapt to the preferences and interests of the reader. Readers would be able to select “curators” and have items they’re seeing included in their own daily summaries.

If this works, the result would be much like an 𝕏 feed which has been carefully tuned to an individual’s interest, achieving whatever degree of epistemic closure or rowdy diversity they prefer.

Since the LLM would read the entire item and prepare the summary, it would need only the simplest RSS feed to identify items: just the link, without the iffy metadata some RSS feeds try to produce.

6 Likes

This idea and RSS (which I little understand and have never used) seem to me another layer of internet use which I must explore. I suppose I face a common problem: to have a running sense of world events by finding signal in the deafening and overwhelming static. I surely need help with that and it sounds like - in my ignorance - it either already exists and/or is rapidly evolving in its usefulness. Thank you @eggspurt snd @johnwalker .

5 Likes

What you are seeing is a consequence of Musk’s “free speech absolutism” that isn’t at all that absolute, combined with the resulting network effects of both gab and X turning gab into a ghetto.

I rarely post on gab for a reasons I stated in this post:

4 Likes

On the state of the internet:

5 Likes

I have not logged into gab since my computer crashed a few months ago

1 Like