About

Talki.ng is an advertising-free news aggregation and discussion site launched in June 2019 reflecting a broadly conservative and libertarian point of view. Unlike Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, we encourage discussions that differ from progressive orthodoxy, including on religious freedom, patriotism, and the right to self-defense.

Talki.ng is still in beta. To request an account during this beta period, send email to admin@talki.ng. This is an email address read by an actual human.

You can submit links to items of interest (including news articles, videos, court opinions, etc.), post comments, and vote up or down on other articles and comments. The more votes an article or comment receives, the more prominently it's displayed. Topics are pre-defined and include gun rights, Christianity, politics, education, abortion, immigration, technology, and mediajackals.

[TODO: INSERT LINK TO BIO PAGE FOR TALKI.NG EDITORS/CONTRIBUTORS]

Background

You can read Talki.ng without a user account, or without being logged in, but you'll miss out on most of its features. You'll need an account to submit links to things you find interesting (including news articles, videos, court opinions, etc.), post comments, and vote up or down on other articles and comments. The more votes an article or comment receives, the more prominently it's displayed. Tags are pre-defined and include the Second Amendment, Christianity, politics, education, abortion, immigration, technology, and mainstream media. You can choose to see only a subset of tags.

Requiring that small amount of human intervention also helps limit spam, trolls, Russian bots, and automated posts promising us "one weird trick."

For how to create an account, see above.

Thanks to the Lobsters computing-focused community, especially founder Joshua Stein and administrator Peter Bhat Harkins ("pushcx") for creating the Lobsters codebase (see it on Github) that Talki.ng is based on.

Tagging

When you submit a story as a registered, logged-in user, you'll need to choose one or more tags from a list of predefined tags.

That allows some handy features to exist:

  • Unlike sites like Reddit, where discussions are often confined to individual subreddit silos, the entire Talki.ng community is able to participate (and is probably more likely to do so). It keeps discussions more central, and avoids having 20 different topic areas with 20 different discussions about the same item.

  • You can view only the topics you're interested in. For instance, you can bookmark only the gunrights or christianity tags. You can also bookmark multiple tags at once using commas.

  • RSS feeds are easy to find by appending .rss to the topic. For instance, go to the privacy tag. Just add .rss to the end of the URL and you'll have an RSS feed you can bookmark for that tag. This works for multi-tag topics as well.

Invitation Tree

New users must be approved by emailing the site administrator (see above for instructions) or invited by a current user, though there is no formal vetting process. The goal of invitations is to allow Talki.ng to scale up slowly, technically and culturally, during its launch period. It is not to make the site an elite social club.

There is no real name requirement when registering as a user. You can use a pseudonym.

The full user tree is made public and each user's profile shows who invited them. This provides some degree of accountability and helps identify manual or automated voting rings.

There's no limit on how many invitations a user can send (though that might be prompted by scaling problems in the future). When accounts are banned for spam, sockpuppeting, or other abuse, moderators will look up the invitation tree to consider disabling their inviter's ability to send invitations or, rarely, also banning.

Downvote Explanations

On other discussion sites, a user might have his or her comment downvoted without explanation and then edit their comment to ask why they were downvoted. On this site, voters must choose a reason before downvoting comments and those votes are tallied and shown to the original commenter. Users may downvote stories and comments after their account has 50 karma.

For submitted stories, downvoting is done through flagging (also requiring a valid reason) and these flag summaries are shown to all users.

Transparency Policy

All moderator actions on this site are visible to everyone and the identities of those moderators are made public. While the individual actions of a moderator may cause debate, there should be no question about if an action happened or who is responsible for it.

User voting and story ranking on this site uses a universal algorithm and does not penalize or prioritize specific users, topics, or domains. Per-tag hotness modifiers do affect all stories with those tags, but these modifiers (and changes to them) are made public. Domains used for tracking are banned and tracking parameters are removed from links.

If users are disruptive enough to warrant banning, they will be banned absolutely, given notice of their banning, and their disabled user profile will indicate which moderator banned them and why. There will be no shadow banning or other secret moderation actions.

If you dislike these policies, there's always 4chan.

Other Technical Features

  • Mailing list mode can be enabled per-user to receive all new stories (including their plain-text content as fetched and extracted by Diffbot) and user comments as e-mails, mirroring discussion threads offline. This makes it easy and efficient to read new stories as well as keep track of new comments on old threads or stories, just like technical mailing lists or Usenet of yore. Each user is assigned a private mailing list address at this domain which allows them to reply to stories or comments directly in their e-mail client. These e-mails are then converted and submitted to the website as comments, just as if the comment was posted through a web browser. [TODO: EMAIL NOT IMPLEMENTED]

  • Private messaging enables users to communicate privately without having to publicly disclose an e-mail address, and users can receive e-mail and Pushover notifications of new private messages. [TODO: EMAIL NOT IMPLEMENTED]

  • Responsive design enhances functionality on smaller screens such as phones and tablets without having to use a separate URL, 3rd party (often read-only) websites, or proprietary mobile applications.

  • Integrated search engine covers all submitted stories and comments, including full-text caches of all submitted story contents. Searching for a keyword will often bring up relevant stories that don't even mention that keyword in the URL or title.

  • Story merging combats the problem of multiple stories at different URLs being submitted in a short timeframe about the same news subject. Rather than have multiple stories on the front page with fragmented discussions, all similar stories can be merged into one. An example of a story having been merged into a previous one, combining all comments on one page.

  • Fuzzy-matching of submitted story URLs to avoid duplicate submissions of similar URLs that differ only in http vs. https, trailing slashes, useless analytics parameters, etc. When using the story submission bookmarklet, story URLs are automatically converted to use the page's canonical URL (if available) to present the best URL to represent the story, as defined by the story's author or publisher.

  • User-suggested titles and tags can be automatically applied to a story when a quorum of users agrees on a new title (such as removing a site's name, or appending the story's year of publication) or set of tags, without any moderator action required. (Log)

  • Hats are a more formal process allowing users to post comments while "wearing such and such hat" to give their words more authority (such as an employee speaking for the company, a staffer speaking for a politician, a lawyer involved in a case speaking about what's happening, and so on).

  • Per-tag, multi-tag and site-wide RSS feeds are available to the public and logged-in users have private RSS feeds that filter out each user's filtered tags.

  • Official Twitter mirror posts all stories that have reached the front page to the / account on Twitter for easy following, retweeting/sharing, or archiving. [TODO: TWITTER NOT IMPLEMENTED]

Trivia

  • Talki.ng is hosted in Dallas, Texas.

  • If you prefer to read Talki.ng on a dark background instead of a light one, there are a few options. You could install the Dark Reader extension; or an extension to add your own CSS to sites like Stylus or UserCSS (never Stylish). Themes: 1 2 3 4.