Psychologist and academic Dr. Jordan Peterson announced a new alternative to and called . Beta testing is currently in progress.

Unlike those platforms that now heavily censor content contrary to leftist political positions (e.g. pro-life, traditional marriage, etc.) -- ThinkSpot will allow free speech / free thought. Content moderation will be in the hands of each user, not decided for them against their wishes.

I hope all efforts like this succeed. Google, Facebook and Twitter (among others) are now aggressively suppressing speech contrary to their politics. We have finally reached 1984 but the "Ministry of Truth" is ran (for the most part) outside of government.

@George "Free speech/Free thought" is nice in theory but is abused. Which is natural due to Original Sin/concupiscence. MeWe is uncensored and prides itself on that and privacy; Minds is the same. So, we have to tolerate crap along with our freedom to speak as we will. No recourse to getting offensive anti-Catholic or anti-semitic pages or groups down because that's censorship. (For example, there was a page on FB a while about about how the BVM should've aborted Jesus. After several years of trying, FB finally agreed to remove it. MeWe and Minds will just ignore such requests, as will this ThinkSpot place.)

I am deeply offended by some "free speech". I also am opposed to hate speech, fake news, and even topics I am not interested in.

HOWEVER, I do not want someone else to decide what speech is offensive, hate, fake or interesting for me. That is what censorship does. It tailors what I receive in order to mold me to someone else's ideology.

This does not mean that I need to suffer if free speech is allowed. As in decades past, I can walk away or not associate with those people. Online, all I need are simple tools to mute, silence, filter or block. I will decide what to apply that to.

@George I agree. It's just that sometimes it appears that people champion so-called "free speech" sites without realizing what they will experience. I also do not care for other people determining what I see; I can pick for myself. But the same people who advocate these places also seem to go after "offensive" things themselves when they can (i.e. the BVM page I referred to); so, they hate censorship, but seem to want to inflict it themselves.


If anything is censored, the hole is already in the dyke. Then it is only a matter of inevitable broadening.

I have a proposal: publicly shared trust lists. Individuals and organizations could conceivably create lists of blocks and filters to be shared. Users could choose to enable from such pre-made sets as they wish.

For example, if Catholic Answers were to create and maintain one, I might apply it. In essence, I would be choosing Catholic Answers judgment and understand the topic area their list applies to. Users might choose several such focused lists.

Right now, there is only one list which we could call "not leftist compatible" and every user is subscribed to it whether they like it or not.

@George Not a bad idea, but the flaw is that we all (or at least those who apply these "trust lists") just end up joining "echo chambers" or "safe spaces." We only see and hear things we agree with and don't find offensive. (Or, if there are disagreements, it's with our our own "safe space." Unless there are microtrust lists within the various safe spaces....)

@George Or we can just revert to the internet usage of the 1990s; ignore social media, look up news on our preferred news sites and if we need to connect to others, it'll be on issue- or community-specific place like "discussion forums," popular in days of yore. (And still, to some extent. Some things never get old. ;-) . )

Yea, but an echo chamber is just fine -- if that is what I want.

The alternative is for someone else to decide what I must be exposed to.

Say, for example, I want to hear only pro-life voices on fighting abortion. I do not care to hear the other side's viewpoint on how to justify abortion.

Say I believe the Catholic Church is the true Church and her infallible teaching is true. I do not care to hear proof texts on why I should be something else.

OR maybe I do want to hear pro-abortion and anti-Catholic views for whatever reasons. My choice either way. The alternative is far, far worse.

@George I'm not really disagreeing with you; just pointing out things. Oh, BTW, what did you think of the Fr. Z blogpost I shared a few mins ago?

@sobercatholic @George yep, even the USCCB (and even Fr. Z) have agendas.

As the owner of several Catholic groups on MeWe (which also purports to not censor) I can tell you it's hard work. There are attacks daily, and people join and wait and then post a deluge of anti-catholic stuff. And the amount of hate you get from both sides when you remove somebody... free speech is not "free."

Sadly, none as far as I could find.

This could appeal to the masses who understand and are used to this model. Getting them to give-up Twitter/Facebook and jump to federation all at once might be too much for many non-techies.

Hopefully, federation could be added later (although it would be far easier if it were in the design).

@George Any service that uses a centralized server is going to be vulnerable to being taken down. All that is needed is to successfully brand it as a "hate site" and go after it's source of funding. We've seen this before.

The only way to avoid this is to have a decentralized service, same concept as Bittorrent et al. That, or a subscription service where the users are the customers rather than advertisers.

Also, with good client-side filtering tools no moderation should be needed /1

@George A robust early model of semi-decentralized service was UseNet. Multiple competing servers networked together in which users could migrate from one to the other via subscription provided incentive to not ban people except in extreme circumstances. Ideological banning was pointless and would cause loss of revenue.

@George I ran a Usenet server too. It had it's shortcomings, but they were technical and could be overcome with new code. It's the topology that's of interest.

I agree, but don't know how it is to be funded so have no opinion on that yet. Peterson has a sizable following so he may be able to crowd-fund it one way or another.

Gab is a good example of being labeled "hate site" (they are not). They have worked hard to defeat all the attempts to be shut down.

It would be more resilient and less easily censored were it federated. Hopefully it will embrace that at some point.

@George Yes, Gab is a good example of centralized vulnerability. From what I've heard Thinkspot allows "community moderation" similar to reddit. Not a good model, IMO, if free speech is the goal. Let individual users decide what they want to see, not "the community" whatever that is.

FWIW, Peterson has indicated a willingness to tweak things that don't work out.

The only thing I recall about community moderation was visibility of comments for those users who are mostly down-voted. I can see issues with that but also technical countermeasures.

@George Yes, community downvoting opens the door to brigading and other shenanigans. Client-side filtering (killfiing) is the way to go. Think alt.* hierarchy on Usenet.

Sign in to participate in the conversation — a friendly social networking space for those with an interest in Catholicism.