Why not a Vox for the Grey tribe?

Scott Alexander, in one of the best essays I have ever read, differentiates the red and blue tribes, before acknowledging the rise of a Grey tribe.

There is a partly-formed attempt to spin off a Grey Tribe typified by libertarian political beliefs, Dawkins-style atheism, vague annoyance that the question of gay rights even comes up, eating paleo, drinking Soylent, calling in rides on Uber, reading lots of blogs, calling American football “sportsball”, getting conspicuously upset about the War on Drugs and the NSA, and listening to filk – but for our current purposes this is a distraction and they can safely be considered part of the Blue Tribe most of the time

Pax Dickinson further defines the Grey tribe.

Greys are a libertarian-minded tribe of live-and-let-livers. They tend to dwell online, often adopting shifting pseudonyms and communicating with each other on forums and anonymous imageboards. Amongst the Grey Tribe one would expect to see higher levels of internet savvy, fondness for tech gadgetry, and disillusionment with traditional politics. They support privacy and anonymity, and oppose the NSA surveillance regime. Edward Snowden is a Grey Tribe hero. They revere open source, strongly support an open internet, and it is by no means exaggeration to describe them as free speech fundamentalists.

Many of the Grey Tribe self-identify as Blue, agreeing with Blues on many social issues while feeling disagreement with the Blues in areas economic and opposing Blue efforts to enforce political correctness. A few self-identify as Red, strongly agreeing with small government and 2nd amendment rights, but usually feeling strong antipathy or at best ambivalence toward Red social issues like opposition to gay marriage and abortion. Other Greys adopt the libertarian mantle, and many Greys disavow politics entirely. Despite their own failure so far to self label as such, the Grey Tribe does exists as its own independent culture, overlapping in areas but remaining distinct from the Red and Blue cultures.

So, my question, why isn’t there a news source catering to the Grey tribe? The Red tribe has Fox, the Blue tribe has MSNBC.

Vox offers a useful model of how to build a modern, semi-reputable news source catering to a tribe. However, the Grey Vox would cover different topics than traditional news sources. Economic analysis would be non-ideological, data driven and trustworthy, think Scott Alexander. Grey Vox would be strongly critical of government surveillance, thinking of Snowden as a hero. Silicon Valley and the tech industry would be heavily covered. Social issues would be approached through a live and let live philosophy, a distrust of the Red tribe for wanting to ban gay marriage and the Blue tribe for wanting to punish the Red tribe for wanting to ban gay marriage. Foreign policy would be covered less than most other sources, but would be geared toward non-interventionist realism, think Chris Preble.

Other aspects of the Grey Vox would be self-awareness, interactivity and rationalism. Grey Vox would acknowledge their biases, and try to correct them. Grey Vox would cultivate quality comments and be open to revising articles if the comments show a factual error or misleading narrative. Grey Vox would identify not with the positions it took, but by the process used to reach them

If you think this is a good idea, comment or tweet at me (@marklutter) so I can gauge the reaction to see if creating a Grey Vox is something I want to dedicate time to.



  1. Vox is the Vox of the Grey Tribe, they are a subset of the Blue Tribe. Nobody wants to create a media apparatus pandering to them because they haven’t seized enough political power to require a separate propaganda wing in the media establishment. They also aren’t really a tribe per say, because a central feature of the Grey Tribe is that they don’t breed.

    Economic analysis is always ideological and data-driven. As with anything it’s only as trustworthy as the experts.

    The people who work in government surveillence are also heroes for the Grey Tribe, Peter Thiel is more important than Snowden ever will be.

    Grey Tribe is resolutely Blue on all major social issues. Red Tribe are considered odd trogledytes, and their views on sexual-social issues would be banned under an ever increasing definition of “abuse”.

    Grey Tribers are never self-aware, prefering to instead self-identify as invalids possesing any number of psychological illnesses. Their love of therapy culture conveniently never threatens this identification.

    Gray Vox appears to talk about itself like Vox does.


    1. 4chan is a perfect example of a red-grey tribe. I think you’re just too exposed to the Reddit blue-grey flavor.

      Vox is solidly blue; there’s nothing grey about them. Thinking that Elon Musk is cool doesn’t qualify them


      1. 4chan is non-tribal, that’s the whole point of an anonymous message board. Reddit, at least, has the ability to have red-grey subsections, but inevitably becomes blue-grey for all the obvious reasons. Vox was initially pitched as a pure Grey website competing with 538 (which is probably more what Lutter is looking for) and look what it turned into. And signalling that Elon Musk is cool is all that qualifies them, really. Unless Grey Tribe suddenly set up strict membership requirements.


  2. Pretty much everyone who uses the internet thinks Elon Musk is cool. That doesn’t mean much tribe-wise.

    saying 4chan is non-tribal because it’s anonymous is nonsense or at least useless. Same with reddit, because we’re talking averages.

    4chan is solidly red-grey because the average user is characterized by approximating these likes/dislikes

    free speech, Donald Trump, Ron Paul, Linux, virtual reality, gun rights, niche video games, being weird

    neocons, Hillary Clinton, multiculturalism, reddit-style atheism, Apple, closed standards, censorship, LGBT stuff, mass surveillance, intellectual property, reddit


  3. Multiple other boards have stickies telling posters to keep /pol/ on /pol/, and /pol/ posters are almost hated as much as Reddit posters throughout the site. But we will amiably disagree on this, I assume.


    1. That means keep overtly racist comics off the board. You’re confusing the crudeness/pecular far rightness of /pol/ with the general sentiment of the website. I described the general sentiment of the website. If I described /pol/, it would look something like this:

      White people, Donald Trump, fascism, Putin, the excitement of catastrophic events, Ron Paul, strongman leaders in general

      black people, immigrants, jews, “the jewish conspiracy,” israel, neocons, democrats, mass surveillance

      That has a small bit of overlap with the general red-grey likes/dislikes I made before, but not much


    1. I initially wondered the same thing as Simon. But maybe Reason’s a tired brand with a print albatross and Koch baggage?… Agree there’s room for a voice like the one Mark envisions. I say: Make it happen.


  4. Grey needs a news station about as much as they need a print newspaper. Archaic, Cathedral-subsidized media’s failure and obvious bias is a good thing. We don’t want people drawn back into the Electric Jew, we want them to break their sets and use their brains – or shut up like the ignorant rabble they are.


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