Think about that for a second. Is there any such thing as a ‘civil place’ that people can debate these days? Sounds like a tall order to me.
Newspaper publisher Gannett announced that its USA Today was joining the Post social platform. If you’ve never heard of Post, don’t feel bad about it. It’s a new platform that’s being touted as another alternative to Twitter. What makes Post different, perhaps, is that it’s also being billed as a social media platform for news.
“As the platform’s first major publishing partner, USA TODAY’s content will further the platform’s mission by providing Post users with real-time, approachable news that helps empower and educate all audiences about the world around them and promote civil conversation,” the message states.
It then invites users to join Post.
I’ve already tried two so-called Twitter alternatives: Mastodon and Hive. I honestly can’t say I’m all that impressed with either one so far, although I’d definitely give Hive an advantage over Mastodon. (Mastodon moves like a glacier when there’s a problem requiring you to reach out for help.)
Is Post a Twitter alternative that might actually have a chance of being an alternative? Well, I clicked a link to sign up. What actually happened is that I ended up on a waiting list. The good news is that I’m number 30 on that list. The bad news is there’s no telling how long it will take to process the 29 ahead of me.
The Wrap recently reported a waitlist of 125,000.
But in less than 24 hours, I had an invitation to actually join it, so you can find me on Post here. (I intentionally used the same username from Twitter: @patricksplace.)
It sounds like a nice place to visit
Post’s founder, Noam Bardin, explains what he hopes to create with the platform in this post on the site.
“We believe in freedom of speech and will oppose any government’s attempt to censor speech on our platform,” he says. “However, we have rules, which we plan to rigorously enforce via content moderation, with the help of our community.”
Yes, I do believe that valuing freedom of speech is possible even when there are rules and content moderation. There’s a big difference between suppressing a point of view and setting rules on how a point of view is expressed.
Bardin then says something very interesting:
Post is designed to give the voice back to the sidelined majority; there are enough platforms for extremists, and we cannot relinquish the town square to them.
We know that this is a lofty goal, that the world is endlessly complex, that there is no “right” answer to many of these questions. We acknowledge that we will make many mistakes, but we promise to listen and be responsive to our community.
The platform will allow posts of any length. Users can comment, like, share and repost the content with their own opinions.
Users will also be able to “buy individual articles from different premium news providers.” Translation: traditional news outlets — like USA Today — will be able to monetize their content.
it also promises that you can have “meaningful discussions with friends, strangers, experts and leaders,” and that you can tip creators of “engaging content.”
Can they really run trolls away?
It’s definitely appealing to think of a place where you can explore content, comment on it, and not be, as Bardin puts it, “threatened or insulted.” They do specify post content rules on their site. The rules specify that users may not attack people or groups.
“We prohibit bullying or harassment of any kind and will not tolerate any expressions of abuse, such as threats or degrading statements intended to humiliate, intimidate, or hurt others,” the rules state. Likewise, users can’t encourage violence or dangerous activity or share content that could violate someone else’s privacy.
Terrorists and hate groups are prohibited from joining and you can’t use the service to promote hate speech.
Users cannot promote misinformation. This includes posting “fake news,” false or misleading information including “unsubstantiated medical claims or manipulating content for false or misleading purposes.”
You can’t impersonate someone else, and if you create a “parody” account, it must be labeled as such in the profile and with each post.
My favorite rule involves trolling:
You may not post or comment for the sole purpose of offending, annoying or “owning” other people. Comments or posts that have no value other than insulting people will be deleted and multiple offenses will lead to account suspension.
It sounds perfectly reasonable, if sad that in any service would have to tell adults how they should behave.
But if you’ve read any comments on Facebook posts from virtually any outlet, your mind boggles at the thought of having to moderate all of the negativity. Many social media users act as if they’d rather just lash out than have anything resembling an actual conversation.
It’s sad, but that seems to be the reality these days.
So I’m going to give Post a try and see what happens.
I don’t know that I believe the Post social platform will reach Twitter’s numbers. But at the same time, if it can actually accomplish what it sets out to accomplish — actual conversation without all of the pointless bickering and trolling — it’s certainly worth spending time there.
I do have connections on Twitter that I’d hate to lose, so I don’t have plans to leave that service.
At the same time, if those connections see the success on Post that I hope to see, maybe they’ll head over there as well!