To the Editor:

Re “Making Twitter Worse Makes No Business Sense” (Opinion guest essay, April 28):

Elizabeth Spiers’s valid anxiety over what a Wild West version of Twitter might look like reminds parents of their days of “honey, if Sally and Donny bully you at your play dates, maybe you should make some new friends.” Fortunately, her lament also contains the seeds of a response for grown-ups.

As with every forum, Twitter users proceed at their own risk. Those risks may well change in the Musk era. But Ms. Spiers’s comments suggest that in the marketplace of ideas, an unconstrained Twitter may prove to be such an utter hot mess that intelligent, decent folks of all stripes will avoid it by simply opting out. Perhaps they’ll even launch a competitive forum — Twitter’s castoff rules of engagement will be free for the taking — and find a market for dialogue among those who listen respectfully and respond civilly.

In short, if you don’t like that boy Elon, maybe you should make some new friends.

G. Andrew Lundberg
Pacific Palisades, Calif.

To the Editor:

Elizabeth Spiers writes insightfully about Elon Musk and his acquisition of Twitter, but I’d like to challenge Mr. Musk’s basic assumption that, as she quotes him: “Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”

The fact that the Twitter “town square” will be owned by one person makes it absurd to think that it can function with any integrity, neutrality or beneficial purpose, other than to advertisers. Please, let us admit that while Twitter may be a forum for those who participate on it, it is no more a “town square” than Red Square, Tiananmen Square or any other meeting place that is controlled by governmental mandates or personal biases.

Twitter is a for-profit business, a sham “town square.” It will continue to be a source of falsehoods and misinformation parading as “free speech” no matter how Mr. Musk describes it.

Victoria Dailey
Los Angeles

To the Editor:

Twitter is currently in a state of intellectual disrepair. Its endeavor to civilize discourse on the platform has turned into a free-for-all of censorship, where guidelines for acceptable tweets have been twisted by moderators who suspend anyone offending their personal sense of propriety.

I’ve been banned from Twitter for a post that was not hateful, threatening or beyond what might arise in an ordinary conversation about politicians. I called Senator Tom Cotton “trash.” My account was quickly shut down by a moderator. When I asked what rule I had broken, I was told that it was “hate speech.” Beyond inane!

What Mr. Musk should do to fix this platform is hire free speech consultants to establish reasonable, transparent guidelines for its users, weed out moderators incapable of impartiality, and establish a simple, fair suspension appeal mechanism.

Mr. Musk is a free speech advocate. He needs to apply that philosophy to Twitter if it is to remain the pre-eminent public square.

Martin W. Schwartz
Henderson, Nev.

To the Editor:

Re “Twitter Under Elon Musk Will Be a Scary Place,” by Greg Bensinger (Opinion, April 26):

What is “scary” is how Elon Musk’s critics haphazardly conflate his defense of free speech with accusations that he or his company has defied securities laws, engaged in racial discrimination and sexual harassment, or violated other laws or regulations, all of which should be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest. But if demands that Mr. Musk be more “responsible” or that we need to impose checks on his power are in fact invitations to Congress or state legislatures to pass laws regulating Twitter and other social media platforms, then we’ll really be entering a scary place.

Partisan political majorities are already imposing censorship schemes on messages and ideas they don’t like such as critical race theory by banning books and passing laws like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. Censorship can be habit-forming.

Instead, criticize Mr. Musk all you want. Post messages calling him out. Write op-eds and letters to the editor. Boycott Twitter. Exercise your First Amendment rights without fostering a climate of censorship.

Stephen F. Rohde
Los Angeles

To the Editor:

Re “The Subway Is the Best Place to Cry in Public,” by Qian Julie Wang (Opinion guest essay, April 29):

Unexpected bursts of humanity are my favorite part of New York’s soul and the subway.

One time, at the end of a particularly rough day, I was sitting alone in a mostly empty subway car in Brooklyn, and I started crying. A woman sitting across from me noticed and began singing a lullaby, beautifully, sweetly and directly at me.

I thanked her, and she simply said she knew what it was like to cry on the subway alone. It was a gesture that I will never forget.

Some time later, I noticed a woman crying by herself across from me on the train. It was in a crowded car, and I didn’t want to draw attention to her. I wrote a little note that said something like this: “I don’t know what is causing you pain, but I know how it feels to cry on the subway. I hope whatever is troubling you passes soon and the light comes back in.”

I handed it to her just before I exited the train.

Sharda Sekaran

To the Editor:

Qian Julie Wang’s essay reminded me of the time I’d been sitting on the 6 train, lost in my own thoughts, when I looked up to find that the young artist sitting across from me was sketching me on his art pad.

I tried to be a decent subject until I reached my stop, where I stole a peek at his drawing. It wasn’t half bad.

Lisa Greenbaum
New York

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