Talking is a discussion and aggregation service
reflecting a broadly conservative and libertarian point of view. We
offer more freedom than Facebook,
YouTube, and Twitter when discussing topics such
freedom, patriotism, and
our right to self-defense.
To contact us, email firstname.lastname@example.org. This is an
email address read by an actual human.
Who We Are
Raconteur and Morale Officer
Raised: Deep South
Location: Moved to California in 1982, moved out in 2019
Undergraduate: Political Science
Graduate: Juris Doctorate
Self-taught: Political Philosophy
Motto: The First Amendment codifies our commitment to reason. The Second Amendment codifies our commitment to defend reason. This is the essence of Liberty.
Combat Software Engineer
Worked: CBS, CNET, Wired, Time Inc.
Location: Moved to California in 2005
Motto: Talking is better than fighting
Axiom: Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good
Unfortunately many large Internet companies, which
claimed to support free expression, no
longer do. Conservatives and libertarians have learned this
firsthand through shadowbanning, deplatforming, deverifying,
deranking, and demonetization. This often happens secretly, without
public disclosure or explanation.
- Algorithm transparency: The algorithm used to rank our
public. Here's the
link. Among the signals used by the algorithm are the number of
upvotes, the number of comments, and how recently the story was
- Algorithm fairness: User voting and story
ranking on this site uses a universal algorithm and does not penalize
or prioritize specific users, topics, or domains. Tags have "hotness"
modifiers, so, all else being equal, stories
tagged satire won't rank as highly
as non-satire. The list of hotness modifiers is
public (JSON). Changes to the
- Comment voting: On other discussion sites, a user
might have his or her comment downvoted by other users without
explanation, meaning they'd have to ask why they were downvoted. On
this site, users must choose a reason before downvoting comments;
those votes are tallied and shown to the original commenter. Users may
downvote comments after their account has a score of
- Story flagging: Stories are handled the same
way. For submitted stories, downvoting is done through flagging, which
also requires a valid reason. Those flag summaries are shown to all
users. Users may downvote stories after their account has a score of
- Moderator identities: Some large Internet
companies pay undisclosed amounts to undisclosed contractors to take
undisclosed actions against what you post. Here,
all moderator actions on this site are
visible to everyone, and the identities of moderators
are public. While the individual actions
of a moderator may cause debate, there should be no question about if
an action happened or who's responsible for it.
- Banning: 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
banning or other secret moderation actions. (If you dislike these
There are lots of ways to read and use Talking. Here are a few:
Web bookmarking: You can add Talking to your mobile
device's home screen. Here's how
to do it on Android devices. You can do that on iOS devices using Safari: Here's how
iPad and an
iPhone. (Because of an iOS limitation, you can't use Chrome to add Talking to your home screen on Apple devices.)
RSS feeds: If you'd like an RSS feed of all the
stories posted to Talking, here it is. We also
have topic-focused RSS feeds. Just go to our list of
topic tags, select the one you want, and append ".rss" to the
URL. So, for instance, if you'd like our privacyhere. You can also select multiple
topic tags that will appear in a single RSS feed with commas. If you'd
like an RSS feed that combines all stories tagged with
or litigation, here
JSON endpoints: If you're looking for our JSON
endpoints, here are a few: hottest, newest,
all tags, individual tags (for
instance, privacy). Individual
discussions also are available: For instance, the endpoint for
conversation is here.
Embedding headlines: If you'd like to embed
Talking headlines into your own website, it's easy. Pick
whichever RSS feed you'd like to embed (this is the
generators. Here's one
that generates a nice looking box you can embed.
Hiding unwanted topics: You can hide topics you find
uninteresting. If, for instance, you're not interested in stories
tagged california, it's easy
to hide them. To do that, go to our filters
page. That will show you all the topic tags and how many stories are
associated with each tag.
You can read Talking without a user account, or without being logged
in, but you'll miss out on most of its features. For now, at least,
ask us for an invitation. Requiring that small amount of human
intervention also helps limit spam, trolls, Russian bots, and
automated posts promising us "one weird trick."
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 Talking 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.
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.
When you submit a story as a registered, logged-in user, you'll need
to choose one or more tags from a list of
That allows some handy features to exist:
Unlike sites like Reddit, where discussions are often
confined to individual subreddit silos, the entire Talking
community is able to participate. This keeps discussions more
central, and avoids having a dozen different topic areas with a
dozen 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.
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.
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]
Thanks to the Lobsters computing-focused community, especially
founder Joshua Stein and administrator Peter Bhat Harkins ("pushcx")
for creating the
that Talking is based on. They are not responsible for anything
Domains used for tracking are banned and
tracking parameters are removed from links. Certain other large
Internet companies keep track of every link to a news article that you
click. We do not.
If you prefer to read Talking on a dark background instead of a light one, you might want to install the
Dark Reader extension.
Talking is hosted in Dallas in the great state of Texas. The Talking website and other services are owned and operated by Talking LLC.