Non-evil platforms for Buddhist monks/nuns to post on, escaping GAFAM/FAANG/whatever

Agreed, and I respectfully suggested to him to post some links to back up his claims. I would appreciate this discussion not getting gravitated into Covid politics (as in, going OT). I was just pointing out that a senior Buddhist monk is venturing onto Odysee whatsoever.


Thanks, Bhante. I myself have been injecting bleach, since Donald Trump recommended this. But, that’s just me. :crazy_face:


And, also, so that if/when YouTube doesn’t want to share dhamma anymore, the dhamma isn’t all hostage on YouTube.

I personally think YouTube is currently amazing for my interests, including learning about history and Dhamma. But it was better for history content prior to 2016 when they took a swing with their unwieldy censorship tools, aiming at extremist and far-right content, missed it almost entirely, and began hitting people who make videos like, “Hitler: an in-depth history of how awful he was” or, “The Proliferation of Personal Firearms: its contribution to historical and ongoing conflict between ethnic groups in the middle east”. It was a relatively small thing: all anyone lost was money. But it was a shock to a lot of people’s system that reminded them how unreliable any one platform is.

It’s totally possible that social media platforms might take a clumsy swing at Sitagu Sayadaw and end up banning a large swath of monks. Or that the platform might shut down entirely. Or or or or.

There’s also the problem of not just the platform, but other agents on it. For example, for a long time now there’s been a problem where homophobic groups will buy ads on videos in the Queer community. Nothing as blatant as hate speech, but a 13 year old kid trying to figure themselves out watching a video titled, “Love Yourself” might get hit by an ad hinting at how “traditional lifestyles” are so wonderful.

Imagine if in five years there’s no way to opt out of your videos having ads, and Christians or some other group start using the same tactic. You sit down for a Dhamma talk and have to wait for the five minute lecture about your eternal soul to end first.

Right now, I really love YouTube for Dhamma talks. The same way the YouTube algorithm can send people down morally neutral rabbit holes (e.g. analysis of Chinese cultural influences on American children’s cartoons) or morally bad rabbit holes (e.g. conspiracy theories) it can and does send people down morally uplifting rabbit holes (e.g. Dhamma). But that may change.


These are good insights. I can’t be a hypocrite and argue for banning Facebook and YouTube, as I use these platforms to stay in touch with family ( as my extended family is on them routinely), and youtube has been a great archivist of Dhamma talks going back many years. Many a night I’ve been on youtube listening to a 10 year old BSWA/Sujato/Brahmali talk before sleeping. I suppose as a consumer, the old caveat emptor applies; I try to be mindful that these vehicles (just like other vehicles like my car or motorcycle) are useful, and at the same time, dangerous.


This brings up another issue with the following teachers get. Those with controversial views can’t share them. And then their followers won’t know about those views. I won’t stop watching Ajahn Punnadhammo’s talks after seeing the video in this thread. But if this is what he wants to say, I’d rather know about it. How else can we make informed decisions?


I’m curious to hear more from @Jhanarato and @Khemarato.bhikkhu , about what Open Source technologies they use to propagate Dahamma online.

I met Bhante Jhanarato briefly at Wat Buddha Dhamma (our overlapping time there was a short, but enjoyable week). Within the first half hour of meeting him, we figured out we both had Computer Science degrees, and strongly preferred Linux.

As to Bhante Khemarato, I’ve never met him in person, but so far it’s been great making his acquaintance here in this forum, and I know that we both run a Dhamma-focused website (his is here), using Jekyll as the underlying Content Management System. We both made that decision independently, before ever meeting each other! Neat coincidence. Or perhaps synchronicity. :slightly_smiling_face:


Yes, great points. Not only does Youtube hold all the cards, as it were, but they get to change the rules of the game as they see fit.

I feel that any relationship with social media platforms is sort of like a relationship with a narcissist: from an acquaintance-level distance, they appear very Charming, Charismatic, and they are highly Confident in the goodness of their offerings. It’s only when you get closer to them, however, to a more intimate level, that the subtle badnesses are seen, making one want to get way from them (but always being in a poor position to convince others to do the same).

So the apologists of the world will always rush to the defence of Narcissists (and similarly Social Media platforms), because from their un-nuanced, non-intimate, non-expert view, many good services are indeed offered, and a facade of overall goodness is always carefully preserved.


Or perhaps a spurious relationship: GitHub’s free hosting is the best out there!

This forum and the aforementioned website really are it. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m a big fan of incrementalism (minor improvements to what’s already working over starting something new) in most cases and especially so in software or social networking where “network effects” make something new particularly unlikely to succeed. “Revolution through evolution” is my motto, for whatever that’s worth!


Hey thanks, it’s a great topic to open up.

The most important thing is to realize that we do in fact make choices, and there are consequences to our choices. It doesn’t just happen that we use Windows OS: we choose it, and we choose not to spend a few hours installing and learning Linux. It doesn’t just happen that we are on FB: we choose to be there, and if we think that there’s no other choice, it’s because FB has conditioned us to think that way.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mentioned before: get an adblocker. Break the business model. It’s ludicrous and lazy that our supposed innovative tech companies rely on shoveling endless quantities of crap around the world to pay for things. It’s terrible for humanity and the environment.

If you can, pay for news and other services directly. Be generous and support the livelihood of journalists, programmers, and others whose work you use. :pray:


Excellent points! :pray:

Yes! In machine learning we have a saying: “garbage in, garbage out.” The same law of data governs your brain. Be mindful of what media you’re consuming and what effect it has on you.

Especially local news! It’s a great way to escape the doom and gloom of national politics and is a vital part of democracy: you can have a bigger impact on local issues than international ones.

AdBlockers are a good start, but the better way to “break the business model” imo is through public policy.

We need stricter regulations (and better enforcement of existing regulations!) on internet advertising, media companies, data brokers, etc, etc… we also need governments to support the arts, local libraries, journalism, etc. Imagine how many good, open source alternatives would exist if we had government grants for open-source software or even a UBI? We could even nationalize Facebook or run it like a public utility, barred from profiteering. There are many alternatives to unfettered capitalism: we just need a little more imagination and will.


My website started off very slowly: for about 5 years, it was just one page, with basic info like you’d see on a business card. About 3 years ago, I started using Jekyll. It was just text-based postings at first - I was eager to share my favourite Suttas. Then I realized that videos are the new big thing, but I didn’t want to use Youtube, as it just didn’t agree with my values.

Once Covid caused a lockdown where I was, I had the time to devote about 4 hours a day to learning how to make my own Dhamma Talk videos. I settled on video recording and editing tools like Open Broadcast System, and Shotcut. I learned how live video streaming works, and how to show the videos on my own website using the “clappr” webpage-embedded video player. And finally, to add live chat (similar to how Youtube has), I added a Mattermost Team server.

So the silver lining on the dark cloud of the Covid lockdowns, is that I had the time to develop an elaborate video workflow, which I’m happy with now.

Will my website ever be as popular as Youtube? Of course not. But I’m not out for popularity. I recently read a good sutta, AN 4.259 “Thoroughbred”. It talks about a Bhikkhu having the “right proportions”, which is defined as:

“Here, a bhikkhu is one who gains robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicines and provisions for the sick.”

Do I gain those 4 requisites? Yes. So I’m content enough that I have these “right proportions”. I don’t need to have a big following on any Social Media Platforms, because I get those 4 requisites all the same either way. Youtube already has a huge number of Dhamma Talks from my same lineage. My videos in there won’t really add much that isn’t already there.

It means a lot to me to preserve my independence on the web. I feel this is in line with the Buddha’s teachings, as he was never beholden to any rather shady middlemen to get his message across to his audience. If people can’t understand the artistic statement I’m making, well, my art isn’t for them.


Initially I don’t understand why we blame YouTube for censorship and do we need to bring google too here ?

But I now understand that YouTube don’t need to treat its users like a child like they don’t know what kind of content is hate speech or vulgars, etc

I think we need to attack the government as government is the main reason YouTube censors far right contents

Government treats its own citizens as a child who doesn’t know what’s good and bad for themselves I am really frustrated with government

So you are attacking the wrong elephant

As long as government exists the internet won’t be open

I’m wondering if we can start to look at the potential benefits (and drawbacks) to our communal behaviour of removing these sort of things from DD @sujato? There was a suggestion to remove ‘likes’ some time ago, but it didn’t gain traction.

1 Like

Because that’s a bad suggestion we instead need dislike buttons so we could downvote bad content, ars Technica, daily mail and reddit are good example

But I believe we need a star voting system so we can give 1 star to really bad content and 5 star to really good content then each comment would get average score value sorted by accumulation points so 100 person * 4 ratings = 400 points with 4 average rating

1 Like

Likes and so on can actually be really useful if used in good faith. For example, on technical Q&A forums they are extremely helpful for promoting the solutions people find most useful, and questions that people really want answered. On social forums it’s helpful to know, for example, that the members of my family have seen my posts. On many forums (including this one) users get extra privileges and powers based on contributions and likes.

It would be a pity to reject aids to the community shaping a forum just because some people on some platforms abuse them.


I just asked to look at the potential benefits (and drawbacks). If you have some evidence that it is a bad suggestion I would love to hear what those drawbacks are so we can make an informed decision as a community and as individuals. If you can refer me to the academic studies that you know of, that would be great.

1 Like

Yes. Maybe there is not enough granularity? People use the ‘like’ button for so many different things ( “I’ve seen it”, “that is an EBT perspective”, “that fits with my interpretation”, “I sympathize with you”, “I found that beneficial”, etc.). I don’t think it’s very meaningful on this forum at the moment and it may well be driving greed and hatred like it seems to do on other social ‘platforms’.


I think you don’t get it, like button is bad and should be replaced with a full blow star rating system people should be able to rate content like how they currently rate their apps or their shopping cart , it’s obvious that a 5 star content would be better than a 1 star content it’s not even debatable , it’s obvious, isn’t it ?

The question is when will we implement this system

Research shows that star rating is the best system to filter out bad politician from getting elected we just need to expand this to contents too

What kind of content rating system do you want ?
  • Star rating
  • Rank choice voting
  • Like dislike combo
  • The current system is good

0 voters

Quite probably. I’m not known for my searing intellect.

Possibly. But is it better than not having content rating at all?

I can’t help thinking that we might not have MN1 with a star rating or down-voting system. After all, the mendicants gave the Buddha just 1 star for that discourse. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

172-194.30That is what the Buddha said.
172-194.31But the mendicants were not happy with what the Buddha said.

Research seems to show that people don’t use rating buttons just for a dispassionate assessment of content. Here’s some content from one of the outlets that you use.

A team of researchers, for example, found that users in the United States often chose to like something for bonding purposes rather than simply liking the content.

Another study of Facebook users found that the ‘like’ button is used to maintain relationships with existing friends or to develop new relationships.

People may use the ‘like’ button as a way to publicly show closeness to another person, or even as an effort toward dating someone.

The point being that the ‘like’ button does far more than just express how much a person likes a particular picture or post.

Research has also shown that the ‘like’ button is not entirely harmless.

While social networking sites are powerful tools for building relationships, research has shown that certain social media features can adversely affect users.

For instance, a study found that impersonal gestures such as the one-click ‘like’ communication may not promote user well-being.