A newsletter I subscribed to which used to use MailChimp, but has been dormant for a few years, recently re-launched, and in the process moved over to Substack. I think that was a really terrible decision, and given what Substack has very clearly said they’re about, and what they support (both implicitly and, financially, explicitly), I’m not okay continuing with that. I wrote the guy behind it the letter below before unsubscribing.

Hi, Noah! I enjoy your work and was a subscriber to the old newsletter. I was excited to see it come back. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to stay subscribed.

Before we get into it, I moved the newsletter list over to Substack. […] It’s complicated. All of these platforms have pros and cons. I’ve weighed them all. I asked around. I listened to everything. I read the news. This place won.

When I think about the platforms people choose, I tend to be pretty accepting of the idea that most people don’t know much about the platforms they use. You’re right, it is complicated, and keeping up on them all can be work. There’s a limit to that – it’s a pretty far stretch for most Twitter users at this point – but I buy it for most folks on Substack, for example.

Also, moving has a cost! There are newsletters on substack I subscribe to that have been there for ~2 years. I’d rather see them elsewhere, but between the fist point and the fact that indie artists and writers are often just trying to get by, I have a lot of sympathy for these folks.

But when you start a new thing, or incur that cost of moving, and your opening message essentially outright says “I’ve looked at the issues, know all about them, and decided to land here"… that’s a very different story. Without inertia to keep folks on a platform, when someone asserts that they’ve "weighed them all”, either they are asserting they’re simply not interested and are looking to curtail the discussion (which isn’t great), or it’s fair to fully scrutinize that decision.

Substack is, at this point, well known for offering a platform to some very extremist views, and for helping to support them financially. Every participant on that platform, including myself as a reader, is supporting that. And, again, I know it’s complicated, but the fact remains: you’re making a choice to support that platform by placing your content there. By moving your content there. That’s beyond disappointing, and not something I feel like I can participate in.

A friend put this all a bit more succinctly:

“I’ve decided I’m fine with drinking at the nazi bar” is a helluva opener.

If you ever decide to re-evaluate this decision, I hope I hear about it and can follow your work elsewhere. In the meantime, good luck in your future endeavors.

Anthony Sorace