An Addition To The AVC Comment Policy

Yesterday I went to see what the community was talking about and found this at the top of the comment threads:

I thought to myself “oh shit, the token scammers have arrived” and immediately deleted those comments and left a reply saying that I am going to update the comment policy.

So I did that this morning.

There will be no token promotions in the AVC comments, period.

I am fine with discussing the merits of various blockchain/crypto technologies and tokens, but outright promotion is not cool and I won’t allow it.

I hope this is clear and everyone understands why it is necessary.


Comments (Archived):

    1. fredwilson

      What is the “Streisand effect”?

      1. LE…It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose 2003 attempt to suppress photographs of her residence in Malibu, California, inadvertently drew further public attention to it.

      2. LE

        In other words you are right to post the screenshot but leaving in the web address more or less defeats the purpose and actually will cause more people to visit the site which is what you are trying to avoid in part.

      3. kevando

        I also suggest learning “Trevor’s Axiom”

    2. JamesHRH

      You are one of my favourite online people LE.Great catch.

  1. pointsnfigures

    agree and I agree with Google and Facebook’s move to ban ads for token auctions.

    1. LE

      I don’t agree with what they are doing. It’s lazy. It’s what public schools and many traditional institutions do when they don’t want to have any risk and don’t want to put resources into stopping a problem. So everyone suffers. Like a classroom where the teachers says “ok if nobody admits who did it you are all punished”.These are huge companies with a great deal of resources at their disposal. They could leave the ads and simply display a message (cigarette warning) saying something that indicates there is often deception with these types of ads.What’s next? Dropping companies from the web index in an overly broad manner? Seems like ‘advertising profiling’ to me. Note this is not the same as banning other types of advertising (or search) that is clearly illegal either. That’s different.And I don’t think it’s any coincidence either that the FB board contains people involved in this industry. Clearly they have potential motives that would make them lean in the direction of not having scammers because it puts a taint on other things they are involved in. [1]…[1] I am not saying I wouldn’t act like this either, I would which is why I recognize it.

      1. pointsnfigures

        I get where you are coming from. But, they answer to their shareholders. They feel like they got Trump elected (even though they probably had very little to do with it). So, err on the side of caution. What happens if a true scam artist fashions an ICO advertises on FB and milks a bunch of money from people? Class action lawsuit along with the bad publicity that comes with it. I am in LA, went to an ICO pitch yesterday. Interesting. But, clearly, not traditional finance.

        1. LE

          Ok. But I also say this opens them potentially to what I will call going forward “the Matt Blumberg ‘I woke up in a bad mood’ effect (sorry Matt)”.In other words Matt goes out and blocks ‘this’ but he doesn’t block ‘that’. Then people say “well you could of blocked it or you should of after all you blocked ‘this'”.I remember when I was in a new building parking lot a number of years ago. There was were several security cameras but they all had signs. The signs said ‘security cameras not always monitored’. (Or something like that). Reverse engineering those signs I figured there must have been legal cases whereby someone was able to sue (win or lose) over the idea that if you have security cameras there is some leg to stand which says that it is implied that you are monitoring the cameras. Thank the lawyers for that one. Literally no other explanation.The sign over the ad can even indicate it’s a temporary sign as they review issues surrounding this topic.From what I read they won’t even take advertising from coinbase.Funny, this one just slipped through. Good work google!… https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          1. JamesHRH

            CDN PM Trudeau does not have a rule book for Liberal MPs who are found to have behaved around women in a inappropriate (or even worse) manner.https://www.theglobeandmail…He’s the poster boy, all time, for #SituationalEthics.

        2. JamesHRH

          I don’t know where FB is, but Google, given the Damore deal, is whack job all in on meeting the culture norms of overt liberalism.

        3. ZekeV

          Maybe we could quibble about untruthful political ads. To me the issue is that the financial scam ads are promoting a crime. Any *centralized* host / platform has to deal with criminal users / uses cases. To take an extreme example, it’s pretty safe to argue that FB should not host child exploitation images or ads for drug dealers. How they go about policing this is a harder question, but the goal is relatively uncontroversial.Compare this to a decentralized platform like IPFS or SSB, or privacy tech like Tor, I think it gets harder. If you run a node for IPFS or SSB or Tor, etc etc, then in all likelihood you are a conduit for all sorts of activity both good and bad. But if there’s no way for you to distinguish the traffic, how do you feel about lending your resources to the network?Personally I believe it is ethically permissible to support privacy tech as a platform, even though you are helping both good and bad actors. It’s hard for me to articulate why this is OK, whereas I expect twitter to police its users. I do feel there’s a difference but have not thought it through fully for myself.

      2. Brian Schuster

        But the ads are predatory to an insane degree, and people don’t know how to distinguish between a legitimate organization and a scam. If you go to CoinMarketCap, the very top advertisement is a competitor to Bitconnect. I don’t think this is a good answer long-term, but in the short-term, this seems reasonable to stop ads until the average users gets a bit more educated in the space.

        1. JamesHRH

          Except, unlike door to doo scammers, there is no ability to persist, coerce or intimidate.

        2. LE

          But the ads are predatory to an insane degreeTo which I say ‘shocked that there is gambling going on here’. [1]There are tons of ads and practices each and every day that are predatory on FB and any similar platforms. (What time isn’t valuable only money is? And what about how you feel about yourself and self esteem?) Snapchat and FB are predatory in the way (like a casino) they suck you in to using their product to your long term detriment. Ask any kid who is tired the next day in school because they stayed up to late using those (or similar) products.And advertising exists to get you to spend money (and so does store design and a host of other business disciplines) that you probably don’t need to be spending. They are not worried about you at all. They just want to keep it under the radar in a way that doesn’t draw to much attention.[1]

          1. Brian Schuster

            If you can identify an indicator that helps eliminate advertisements that have a higher chance of being scams/toxic, then there is no problem in using that indicator to allow/disallow ads. In this case, being an advertisement for cryptocurrency is a very high indicator that you’re selling a scam (not in every case, but on average, probably higher than other industries/sectors).Just because other types of ads have scams as well does not mean that Facebook should have no policies on what should and should not be advertised. Just because Facebook can’t solve the problem in one fell swoop does not mean that should take no action to improve their advertising platform.

        3. Adam Sher

          It’s as much a scam as pump ‘n dump pink sheet (an over-the-coutner exchange) penny stocks. You should know what you’re getting into. Real companies, and similarly, real ICOs, exist on over-the-counter exchanges and they are also subject to price manipulation scams.The average user is not going to become more educated. If they did, etrade wouldn’t spend any money on commercials. There is a myth that you can replicate someone’s speculative success to riches.

      3. JamesHRH

        Not quite buying the last thread, but the laziness point is bang on.

        1. LE

          Well let’s say you own some bars and you tend to have a nice crowd that comes to those bars. Now all the sudden there is another type of bar that opens and that one (or several) stays open until 2am (as allowed). Your bar and your crowd really only operates until 12am. And there are no complaints. So you are worried that the other bars activities (draw a later and less sophisticated crowd) could result in greater restrictions on your ‘legit’ business. So you are fully supportive of restrictions because in the end you don’t want things that end up causing you problems if it can be avoided.Similar to policing your industry before the government comes in and kills the party. (Examples: Physicians, Lawyers, Realtors..)

          1. JamesHRH

            Sold, but I think that’s 2 steps moreSophisticated than 80% of folks thinking.

      4. DJL

        We already know that twitter and FB censor news and feeds to support their political opinions. Why not do the same with competing platforms?And they apparently are unable to filter out bots used to “influence” the US election. If they are the smartest tech people in the world, what the hell are they doing?

      5. Francois Royer Mireault

        I don’t agree. But also… I’ll take anything that throws James Altucher out of my screen.

    2. ZekeV

      I wish twitter would do this as well. I report every token ad that appears in my timeline, but they keep showing up. It shouldn’t be that hard to programmatically review the interstitial scam ads, I would think.Fake accounts / sock puppets perhaps a harder problem but doesn’t bother me as much on twitter since I only have to read from people I follow.

    3. jason wright

      thin end of the wedge, and when did they suddenly become guardians of virtue?

    4. JamesHRH

      I still think @fredwilson:disqus should have let the community police these dotards.But, he’s been a low static, high thoughtfulness, high calmness blogger of late 😉

  2. jason wright

    sign of the times when racism, sexism, hate speech, and token promotion get bundled.

  3. William Mougayar

    Good move.

  4. JimHirshfield

    I wanna tokenize my comments. The more I say, the less valuable my currency.

    1. JamesHRH

      PunCoin ?

      1. JimHirshfield

        Penny for your thoughts

      2. kidmercury

        i would definitely buy a puncoin, just to support jim. everytime jim posts a comment, an existing puncoin holder validates if it is a pun or not, and the record gets added to the puncoin blockchain. validator gets rewarded with a puncoin for every X comments reviewed. to give puncoin value, we have to convince jim to take his comedy act on the road, but only accept payment in puncoin……

        1. Lawrence Brass

          How would the holder validate pun?ha is not the same as haha or hahaha. We need proof of laugh here. 🙂

          1. kidmercury

            i favor a manual approach, though that obviously introduces the subjectivity you noted. for the puncoin ICO and whitepaper we could create a model to predict whether jim’s comment is a pun or not. then puncoin miners get rewarded for sharing computing resources to run the algorithm.

          2. jason wright

            but how do we know Jim’s not one of those next generation AI ML algo bots? I want proof.

        2. kidmercury

          future headline: “hedge funds rush into puncoin as store of value, plead with jim to tour nonstop to preserve its value and stabilize global economy”

    2. jason wright

      yes, less is more.make fewer go further, lower go higher, turn fear to fun, for a brighter sun, get ready to run, lend me just one pun, …and I’ll get the job done.

  5. Brian Schuster

    Oh look, it’s my favorite commentor: No Profile Pic, Non-Descript Name, Rich Person with Referral Links.

  6. Woody Lewis

    Totally agree. Someone posted similar spam to a Columbia B-School entrepreneurs list. Shameless.

  7. Rob Larson

    Thank you.

  8. awaldstein

    I agree with this.As I do with other channels where the goal is advertising not community building.

  9. Venkat Raman

    Excellent update to policy Fred. Love it.

  10. Lawrence Brass

    Once there was netiquette.Skies were bluer, grass was greener and Corona’s were colder.Getting old(er) sucks.

    1. Frank W. Miller

      The first time I was on the Internet was at the University of Iowa in 1988. There were only a few hundred hosts (mostly DEC Vax’s) at that time. No DNS. Berkeley pushed a hosts file to all the hosts at midnight every night. It was like a small town. Everybody knew everybody. Sort of the opposite Fred’s desire to encrypt everything for anonymity eh?

      1. Lawrence Brass

        You were among the pioneers.I could only read about the internet at the time. I was aware thanks to the magazines and specialized newspapers. My first connection was through a BBS system a couple of years later maybe. One of the first things I did was to download code from one of Michael Abrash ‘s articles in PC Tech Journal magazine. Files came in pieces as email attachments. It was pure fun.It is curious that today it is something that we take for granted and an intimate part of our everyday life and work.I think that today anonymity is just an illusion. Most of us traded our privacy for services and unwanted ads years ago.In spite of all the toxic human waste the net receives every day, it is still vibrant and fun.• magazines:…• BBSs:…• internet governance challenges:

        1. Frank W. Miller

          My point is, the netiquette you used to observe was because of the Internet’s small scale.When people live in small towns, everybody knows everybody. When everybody knows you, bad behaviour is harder. Anonymity breeds bad behaviour in people. We’re never going back to the small town Internet but is it really in everyone’s interest to be jumping on every little startup that comes down the road that has encryption and anonymity as a major feature? My opinion is no.What we should be doing is making everything as transparent as possible. If anonymity breeds bad behaviour, transparency (like small scale) can foster good behaviour. I look forward to the day when a crop of startups realizes that and tries to exploit it…

          1. Adam Sher

            One of the first computer classes I took (I think in summer school sometime around middle school – early to mid 90’s) had a big section on netiquette. One of the things we covered was flaming, which is now encompassed by trolling. I loved the class.

          2. Frank W. Miller

            We probably need to make that a class early in your high school years or even middle school nowadays…

          3. Adam Sher

            high school is too late. middle school

          4. Lawrence Brass

            It is an interesting point. It was a smaller scale but also it was an elite.I think that people have legitimate privacy needs that sometimes are abused by the foul players, but it is not the only use case. Consider ludic activities such as as gaming. For the extreme cases I think that there is more than enough surveillance in place, often violating the law.I’ve been working on software and things for ephemeral groups where sharing trust is possible without complete identification and it is challenging to get the right balance.

    2. Andrew MacLeod

      the clouds moved in, the beer warmed up, and so began the Eternal September.

  11. Susan Rubinsky

    I am really glad you did this. It immediately felt “spammy” to me when I saw it yesterday.

  12. Kevin Hill

    Welcome to the decentralized future, where everyone has to (gets to?) be their own FINRA.

  13. Chimpwithcans

    Makes a lot of sense…not in the spirit of the community to be so blatant with promotion.

  14. OurielOhayon

    Fred, a propos no tolerance: what do you make of facebook decision to ban all ads on crytpos, including the fair and regulated players?

  15. DJL

    What about my token sale to buy social cred to vote out other’s comments?(I actually think something like this was proposed or done. ;>)

  16. No other shills allowed!

    It is find and dandy when Fred shills for crypto but when others start shilling on his blog that is a big no-no. Got it.

  17. WA

    Ah. It smells like Irish Spring again here… LOL

  18. Ian Hirschfeld

    I have been a big fan of AVC for a while and I’m basically here to learn and enjoy the comments cos that’s where the action is *LOL* In my opinion no one at all should be allowed to post spammy messages or ads (it is a distraction that should be avoided) which is a major reason I’m always on here going through articles and comments cos they’re interesting. I actually decided to comment on here because the site in question (if it is still the same site I used) is not actually a scam. I am not encouraging anyone to try it out, I just feel a bit indebted to them and that’s why I decided to comment on here for the first time.Thanks.

  19. jason wright

    btw Fred, your screenshot is now showing the website address they were promoting.

  20. Adam Parish

    Thanks Fred! I have some great conversations on Disqus because it seems like a a real community of adults.