40 Comments

Thank you, Andrew. I know A LOT of thought went into this. I agree with you wholeheartedly and with Anne Helen Peterson. Substack should turn off Nazi monetization immediately. You can still write hates stuff if that’s reason for being, but you can’t bring in an income. Sorry.

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Here to support you, and I'll go with Wordloaf wherever you take it. I'm having a similar struggle with Kitchen Witch -- I like it here but am horrified by all the nazi *stuff.* I turned off paid subscriptions on my newsletter initially because I wasn't able to give what I promised while I was working on my most recent book, but have left them off because I don't want to fund a platform that funds hate. Sadly I don't think Substack is going to change, but we can hope I guess.

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Dec 27, 2023Liked by Andrew Janjigian

Thank you for sharing what is obviously a very hard decision. The Nazi issue is real, alarming, disturbing. There are many other social issues that are also real. If I had to separate myself from every entity that didn’t uphold all of my values, I’d have to put myself in a cocoon, something I’m not willing to do. I’d have to start with WaPo and NYT. And then where would I seek news? I understand your decision. Take care!

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I think this is unbelievably childish. Nazis will continue to exist with or without Substack. Is the obsession that Substack is “making money” from them? How do you know they’re making money from them? I just think there are so many other important things to focus on than how someone else is reacting to someone else.

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Please leave. I have refrained from canceling all my subscriptions so far because it’s the holidays and I want to give people a chance to figure out where to go, but I’m definitely not going to keep giving anyone money through this platform for long.

Bear in mind there’s no such thing as “staying and fighting” when the platform supports one side. Andrew and Anne Helen versus Nazis? Maybe! It worked for Indiana Jones. Andrew and Anne Helen versus Nazis, fighting on the ground that explicitly condones Nazis? What can you even do?

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Dec 27, 2023Liked by Andrew Janjigian

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Andrew. It seems like there's one of those decisions where there's no easy or obviously 'best' path forward. I'll happily to follow Wordloaf if you migrate platforms, but also will fully support you if you choose to stay put.

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Dec 27, 2023Liked by Andrew Janjigian

I’m glad you are sharing your whole thought process here; I had started a comment on your recent Notes post and deleted it. When Substack first started, people had mostly free newsletters that were extensions of their blogs that were ultimately not monetized. There are still some people out doing their own thing and able to monetize the community independently, but for a lot of writers, I felt like the platform was a great gateway for readers into the concept of monetizing long form content that was ad-free. Now, 3+ years into this movement (and also concurrent to the push to support creators directly due to pandemic related sponsorship and freelance opportunity losses), I have ended up supporting creators across this platform as well as independent endeavors, so I think it’s safe to say that I feel comfortable to follow you and others off to other or independent platforms, more so than I would have been willing to invest 4 years ago. I think that any public forum/social media platform will have this problem of the platform profiting from these dangerous voices...and the more people leave, the more it becomes unbalanced in the whole landscape... like people moving away from places based on politics. I’d like to think I’m a person of good moral character, but I admit that I still end up supporting a lot of morally ambiguous or outright nefarious companies and platforms just due to living in a first world capitalist society and being of a certain SES, so I have no claim to virtuosity. We all only have so much bandwidth to make the best choices we can. I think what I’m trying to say is I will support you no matter what you decide to do, including staying here, with all the aforementioned asterisks acknowledged. What you’re doing and standing up for is exceedingly brave and exhausting-- thank you.

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I'm staying, and will do my best to support those who work to let the light outshine the darkness. I'm glad to hear you're staying for now as well.

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Dec 27, 2023Liked by Andrew Janjigian

Another thing to think about - and I am sure that's just what you needed - is that much of your reason for not moving is that it would be difficult. Regardless of what Substack does, your own contacts with people, artistic and professional output, and probably some chunk of your income is tied up with this platform.

They don't care about Nazis, and they, really, don't care about you or almost any other individual author. So even if they aren't already indifferent about the type of society they support, they are also at a scale where if they change the services they offer and it crushes your livelihood - they won't notice.

I don't have a good alternative solution; I'm posting this from the frustration that it's easier to change book publishers than it is to change mailing list providers - even though that's all software.

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Thanks for sharing all of this. Every community, institution, school, congregation, or business will always contain a small element of evil. If you leave and join another platform, it will be there too, in some form or another. Stay and continue to add your strength to your fellow writers.

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Dec 27, 2023Liked by Andrew Janjigian

It took me a while to read because I read over in full the mentions & restacks that you have here. Very good of you to take the holiday time to write ‘Should I stay or should I go’ . I surely appreciate this. I don’t want to leave my baker & oldster friends either. I will stay as long as the “ Good Writers” are here. Maybe the big owners will get the message and sort out the nazi baloney (doubtful). I will keep supporting the worthwhiles! Thanks again.

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Hey Andrew -- So many of us are struggling with these same questions right now.

I'm at the point where I wanted to start a new-but-related project, and I have a portable number of subscribers. I may take my newsletter generation/moderation elsewhere, but still cross post here? The heartbreak for me is the community here (except for Elizabeth below. We don't need any more Elizabeth's). So I'm going to play around and see what I can cobble together. This is my transition year out of full-time work, so that was my goal for the year anyhow.

But generally, it just sucks.

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We have so much to talk about, Andrew. I want @Substack to (at the very least) donate every cent it earns from Nazi/Far- Right and transphobic content to charities and organisations that work to challenge the real-world effects of hatred and bigotry.

In the meantime I too am spending my (short) holiday researching alternatives to Substack. I have lost subscriptions but that is okay. I understand why although I wish they would bear with, until I have figured out what to do.

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Wordpress has a Substack importer that imports comments. https://wordpress.com/support/import-from-substack/ However, it does only import public information, not private/paid posts or comments.

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Dec 28, 2023·edited Dec 28, 2023Liked by Andrew Janjigian

Thanks Andrew for putting this together. I’ve always acted as if writing is a crime that doesn’t pay, and that’s one of the reasons I haven’t turned on paid subscriptions. That doesn’t exclude me from participating in the system, of course. I have no idea what I’ll do & I thank you for presenting your thought process!

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Hi Andrew,

Thanks for thinking this through so carefully. I'm with you if you decide to move, but also share the sentiments of Anne Helen Petersen. Your voice will be better heard if you stay, and perhaps you can become an agent for change rather than running from an invasion of fascists.

I haven't tried it, but have you seen this?

https://www.tella.tv/definition/subscriber-export

it seems to suggest that you can export your subscriber data, including comments (? this is not entirely clear)

There also seem to be some utilities for exporting comments: https://exportcomments.com/ (could be others)

I'm sure you're in touch with loads of others trying to migrate, but I'll keep investigating.

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