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Reddit has quarantined /r/The_Donald (reddit.com)
216 points by danskeren 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 374 comments



I was actually very disappointed when Reddit banned r/WatchPeopleDie. Sure, there were some idiots there - there always are, insensitive comments sometimes, and a lot of gallows humour - sometimes literally. But there were thoughtful comments as well, and the content itself could be... well, educational, in a brutal kind of way. I visited occasionally as a kind of memento mori, and I feel like gained a lot of appreciation for the fragility of life from that sub - as well as a very healthy respect for safety around industrial machinery, and a resolve to never again ride a motor scooter in South East Asia.

Sweeping it away - sure, they likely made their lives easier. But what's the real outcome? The real freaks who get off on that stuff will go off to some horrible other site to ferment and radicalize away from the normalising influence of the more well-adjusted participants there, and regular people, who just might have been curious, have been deprived of whatever insights they might have found. I think it's a real shame.

And for what it's worth, I don't think The_Donald should be banned either. People have a right to speak, and we can ignore them if we want - or we can at least try to engage. I don't buy the "private company, they can do what they want!" argument. The age of the internet has introduced powerful network effects into where we can conduct our public discourse with any efficacy - Reddit is huge and there's no real competitor. It's basically a monopoly, in its niche. "Deplatforming" whole groups because of their political views, however nutty, is a very slippery slope. Unless you also support speech you don't like - you don't really support free speech!


> Reddit is huge and there's no real competitor. It's basically a monopoly, in its niche. "Deplatforming" whole groups because of their political views, however nutty, is a very slippery slope. Unless you also support speech you don't like - you don't really support free speech!

Unlike Facebook and Google, which exert truly horrendous amounts of power over very significant aspects of people's lives, Reddit is, fundamentally, just another forum. It even has its older versions open-sourced.

In fact, There are reddit clones where these things are perfectly allowed.

And those clones are cesspits of schizophrenics, fascists, and deeply disturbed people.


To be honest, you could say HN is just another forum (although it's more like a news & comment site with less self-posts by character) but Reddit's place in the social media landscape gives it a lot more power in addition to the loss of a community when it is banned from there.


This is one of the most moderated sites on the web


Don't throw those of us with health problems under the bus. We are not nazis.


Fair enough; I shouldn't be broadly generalizing and indeed most people with schizophrenia are far from this. I don't really know of a term to describe the deranged violent lunacy that manifests in those sites though.


90% of it is just shitposting

the rest is filled with people accelerating the mentally unstable

try treating internet users like human beings first, maybe?


Please do not visit voat.co

It started as a free speech reddit but it has just turned into a mob mentality with horrendous language and the like.

It makes me wonder if social media is a form of a sort of micro mob mentality. A lot of it really brings out the worst in people.


I'm happy to say my exposure to literal insanity has been somewhat tapered over the years, so visiting Voat a while back was eye opening to say the least. There are clearly some very mentally ill people using that site. The issue is, they're getting fulfilment and a sense of acceptance via up-votes from 'edge-lords' who enjoy egging people like this on for their own entertainment. I wouldn't be surprised if the feedback-loop that people get from this website has had some influence on the recent shootings over the past few years.


To anyone wondering exactly what it looks like when all the people who can't keep from getting banned on Reddit go to the same place, go to voat.com It's tough to take a look and wish everyone was mixed together instead of these people just communicating with each other.


That is why you should not segregate society in "better" and "worse" tiers.

We all understand that there are people that have a negative influence on every network they participate in. The problem is that banning them is not a long term solution and in many cases it only make things worse. It is the easy one, but it makes impossible to build some difficult conversations.

There are also many different kind of communities and forums, HN is very special in this (no subcommunities, strong moderation clearly stated upfront) many are more like tumblr (as the FAQ put it: "Go nuts, show nuts, whatever").

Reddit is effectively used as a second life, with countless smaller groups, weird circles, and unusual communities. In this regard it is the social network most similar to real live.


First, banning people absolutely does work.

Second, these are internet forums, not segregating society.

Third, if being around other people like yourself makes things worse, that isn't a problem that other people can solve for you.

Finally, check out voat, incel groups, the_donald, etc. and see if you think it is just a matter of 'difficult conversation'. There is no rationality to conversations in extremist toxic internet forums. People have an emotional investment and frustration that looks far more like mental illness than actual discord.


> First, banning people absolutely does work.

Agree, but not always in the direction we want or expect

> Second, these are internet forums, not segregating society.

This is an increasingly irrelevant distinction as we move more and more of our political debates over the internet (How often do people talk IRL with people of opposing view?)

> Third, if being around other people like yourself makes things worse, that isn't a problem that other people can solve for you.

Do you believe the same for addiction? Sorry for the strawman, but it is a silly statement.

>Finally, check out voat, incel groups, the_donald, etc. [...] there is no rationality to conversations in extremist toxic internet forums.

That is entirely the point, if you segregate the extremist and the moderate that is exactly what you get.

Yes, banning more people is the solution to the problem caused by banning too many people (the 'too' is important).

Without getting explicitly political it is important to point out that platforms ban people based on the consequences of not banning them. When you have strong external influences (like journalists asking loaded and threatening questions to create their own stories) platforms become a tool of political activists.

Democracy and eager banning people from political discourse (Reddit less, but don't tell me that twitter is not fundamental in that) do not work well together.


Having a place where people tolerate your toxicity is not a legal right, human right or even on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. If people are addicted to being toxic, they will have to accept the consequences of others' reactions.


> Having a place where people tolerate your toxicity is not a legal right

That is true, and also it is not what I argue for.

> If people are addicted to being toxic, they will have to accept the consequences of others' reactions.

Obviously, my problem is that I do not trust this use of toxic. What I see is contempt for Trump supporters and in general for less mainstream opinion. What I see are journalist that blur the line between what their job should be and explicit political activism with call to actions.

You know what it is that I consider toxic? Actually claiming that a whole section of a demographic is toxic, or too stupid, or just wants to see the world burn.

I have my experience with this, as an Italian I still cannot understand why people voted Berlusconi, yet even worse than another Berlosconi would be being trendy to think "we know better than them, their opinion is second class".


The disconnect here is that you are either ignoring what goes on in these forums or actually don't know.

They are a constant barrage of proganda with a steady stream of new people to hate and immediate bans for anyone who questions if something isn't right or if people are going too far. There is a reason that there is now far more right wing terrorism in the west than from any other group. If you think this is just about 'political opinions' then you are misinformed or severely downplaying the reality of what is going on.

And once again, this is just a forum that isn't going to be linked to internally as much. It wasn't even banned. Why would Reddit activly promote a forum like this? They should have done it a long time ago.


> The disconnect here is that you are either ignoring what goes on in these forums or actually don't know.

My claim is exactly that the situation is as bad as it is exactly for this reason! You can argue this way with everything, if you let a problem fester enough it become easier and easier to claim there is no solution.

> There is a reason that there is now far more right wing terrorism in the west than from any other group.

On the other hand Antifa, who routinely attack minorities and passerby, is often heralded as the defender of justice.

The difference in banning policies for the left and the right is obvious and with non trivial effects.

Honestly I am more worried about how mainstream media is fueling this point of view and turning a blind eye to people calling for political violence.

I do not think I will be able to better communicate my point. There are many factor at play and I must admit that I am not good enough to adequately order them into a coherent argument with enough evidences.

On this topic I rather trust Tim Pool, he is a journalist that often cover this kind of topics.

Here is a random video from some months ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4_6qSv0NRU

If you care to send me a link to kind of resources that can help me see your point I promise to take a look :)


> cesspits of schizophrenics...

As someone who has dealt with close family members struggling with this horrible affliction, my first thought was to contact Dang and demand your lynching.

Instead I’ll take a breath, live and let live.


> we can at least try to engage

How? I've been banned from their subreddit by trying to engage with them (ironic isn't it?).

If anything, this is great, now they have a huge warning on their subreddit that tell pretty clearly that violence is unacceptable. If this is the only way to engage with them, then so be it.

They aren't being deplatformed, the subreddit is still there, they still can post on it (while I still can't ;) ). There's plenty of conservative subreddit not quarantine too if that's really something they consider an issue.

I'm pretty sure too that if they can show that violent speech is now under control, that they'll remove the quarantine.


  The real freaks who get off 
  on that stuff will go off to 
  some horrible other site to 
  ferment and radicalize away 
  from the normalising 
  influence of the more 
  well-adjusted participants there.
You don't actually believe the internet works that way, do you?

If the internet truly shaped thought in the way that remark suggests, or nevermind the internet... If it were possible for people to influence one another in that way, by expressing opinions, all opinions would eventually homogenize into a placid average.

What really happens is people stick to their guns and never back down, but sometimes they lose, go quiet, and bottle up their controversy and stew in it until better opportunities come along.

The difference the internet makes is that a wider diversity of opportunities are made available to jump into. The people don't change. They find comfortable places where no one tells them to stop or shut up, even if there's no "censoring" (banning, moderating, deleting or otherwise silencing) of the riff raff.

Here and there, the subsequent outcome to that, is that as birds of a feather flock together, some flocks reach a critical mass. Their noise and biomass becomes big enough that it ruffles the feathers of rivals, and you get collisions. The gang violence then spills out into the open, and the revolting conflict of contrasted polar extremes disgusts all of the outsiders.

But really, these different sorts of people were always running around, it's just that they never joined forces. They never wrote letters, had phone calls, visited, ate lunch together. They were all two towns apart, and total strangers, unknown to their subculture and often unaware of a potential for subculture.


People in America seem to think free speech is an absolute right, but in a democracy no right is absolute. It must be weighed against all the other rights. If I wrongfully accuse "John" of sexual assault, while I know that John is innocent, my freedom of speech should absolutely be restricted. That is just one example.


Another problem with banning WPD is that that stuff now shows up in previously harmless SFW subs like catastrophicfailure.

Edit: another commenter mentions HoldMyFeedingTube, which is basically all WPD material and regularly makes the front page


>I was actually very disappointed when Reddit banned r/WatchPeopleDie.

Perhaps I can get a serious answer here since I have yet had anyone explain to me the difference when I ask elsewhere (and rarely is it relevant to bring up here).

Why do we treat videos of murders different than videos of more prurient crimes? Why is it acceptable to host/download/share/watch a video of a murder as long as no sex crime takes place during it? Even videos devoid of any crime except being videotaped can be far more illegal and socially unacceptable than a video of a murder made by the murderer.

And I don't mean those watching it for political/reporting/policing/etc. reasons, but the ones who do so for entertainment.


I've never been to r/WatchPeopleDie (nor would I want to, as I'm fairly squeamish), but I was under the impression it was videos of people being killed in situ (think Darwin awards), not people actually being murdered.


My understanding, as the other comment said, is that both were included.

Even still, I think the question can be applied to either type, though I think the applicability to purposefully recorded videos of murder is stronger.


It was both


Of course people have a right to speak about what they want, but reddit is not a country. It's a company that can decide whether they tolerate certain ideologies and behaviours on their platform.


I always maintained that r/MorbidReality served a much better purpose than r/WatchPeopleDie and it still exists today.

What I can't understand is how the r/HoldMyFeedingTube shows up frequently for me on the front page. At least with the other two I had to specifically go there to see that kind of content.

It is rather messed up to just be looking at the front page not knowing what that subreddit is and clicking on a silly video only to find out you're watching someone sustain serious bodily injury.

I agree with others that this ban on r/T_D only has to do with the recent media attention.


> And for what it's worth, I don't think The_Donald should be banned either. People have a right to speak, and we can ignore them if we want - or we can at least try to engage.

The thing is, with The_Donald, I don't think anyone could reasonably actually try to engage. Their subreddit has and had some of the most heavy-handed moderation. Read their rules on "concern trolling" [1] to get a hint of what kind of things they regularly removed. If you read their full rules, you quickly realize that not being a Trump supporter is a top level rule as well. They were a self proclaimed endless rally, and anything that doesn't fit their narrative was removed.

In my opinion, how notoriously heavy handed their moderation was probably amplified how upset the admins were that they had to regularly step in and clean up content. Anti-trump comments are almost always removed within minutes, and so the idea that they were incapable of moderating away things which violated the site guidelines is easily busted.

> "Deplatforming" whole groups because of their political views

But it's not because of their political views, it was because of how they ran their community. There's a huge difference here. There are plenty of conservative communities that remain on Reddit today. The difference is that those communities have chosen to cultivate and moderate a different environment. T_D cultivated a community that produced problematic content on the regular. They amplified the visibility of that problematic content by hiding downvote buttons and making it more difficult to report. They prevented any sort of self-policing in the community with heavy handed moderation that removed any dissenting opinions on almost any topic. For all the cries about censorship, censorship was at the heart of how T_D was run. Any hopes that you had of interaction with better adjusted individuals providing a counterbalance to the predominant content were removed.

In short, T_D is quarantined because they have intentionally developed a toxic echochamber that amplified content that the reddit administrators view as objectively bad enough to ban site-wide. It's not a matter of political views, it's a matter of views on how to run a healthy community, and a true community T_D is not.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/5asj7o/announce...


Right, and r/politics, which is the left leaning version of T_D, doesn’t have any reprimands despite having frequent calls of violence against cops. It’s a double standard.



You probably wouldn't have seen those comments, with mostly single digit points, on TD either. They'd be buried deep, well beyond the point most people read the comments.

TD has the population of a midsize city. Of course there are a few violent comments if you look hard enough.

This is like quarantining Hollywood because a few celebrities made death threats in 2017.


Still, /r/the_politics has the population of a large city, so by that logic, if they have these frequent calls of violence against the cops then it should be easy to point those out, right?

Also, if it's now the case that these cop-violence-inciting comments are hidden everywhere, then why does it matter if /r/politics has them too in the first place?


I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time on it, but I found a couple fairly easily:

> Just do a 180 turn on gun reforms. They’ll take an armed population more seriously.

https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/c5og99/there_are_...

> It's because protests don't achieve anything. ... Riots on the other hand...

https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/c5og99/there_are_...


None of those are the same thing as what was described. One is describing riots, not calling for them..


By that logic, "get a rope" isn't a death threat. Maybe they just want to build a bridge.

I think you're doing some motivated reasoning.


"Get a Rope" is not the same as saying pick up a rifle against cops.

Again, that's not the same as just talking about the effects of riots, and at this point I think you have cognitive bias by thinking these things are the same.


If someone says "hitting the TV won't accomplish anything, pressing this button on the other hand..." they're suggesting you press that button.

And similarly that comment about riots was a suggestion to riot.


This isn't a refutation of a single thing that I said. "There's calls for violence elsewhere" doesn't negate any point I made. Do these communities have similar heavy-handed moderation practices? Do they also break tooling that communities use to self-police like the downvote button or report button? Do they also have rules that openly and proudly ban any posts or content that doesn't fit with their narrative?

This ban wasn't about an isolated instance of calls for violence slipping through. It is the culmination of years of cultivating a community and moderation practices that have made the admins have to interfere a disproportionate amount relative to the rest of reddit. You can find examples of bad behavior from individuals on any subreddit, but can you find a pattern of behavior that breeds and incites it driven by the moderators of a community itself?


Absurd. I am a frequent reader of /r/politics. The two communities are absolutely nothing alike.


it didnt used to be. but the whole Trump event horizon has had the effect of twisting that sub's idea of what is appropriate.

It no longer understands what the center is.


It’s now becoming obvious the 20-something heroes who’ve taken power from the techies who built these platforms are ensuring the US doesn’t make the same mistake it did in 2016.

Considering Trump won close to 50% of the vote - regardless of that silly electoral college - I don’t see this ending like they think it will.


Engaging them isn't possible as they ban anyone who doesn't agree with the current Trump position on something. It is a real world example of 1984 the way they change "acceptable" thinking on a near day to day basis.


You can say whatever you like, provided you don't infringe on others' rights. No one has to give you a megaphone, or a stage, or a TV show.


I suspect this isn't going to accomplish much of anything and may even backfire. According to published statistics by Reddit as of this writing, this subreddit has 755k subscribers and over 45,000 members online right now. For comparison, the official politics subreddit has 5.2 million subscribers but fewer online members (42,000). r/the_donald has an extraordinarily high level of activity and engagement. So long as r/the_donald exists and is maintained, it can act as a sort of black hole so that official subreddits can be heavily moderated to support certain platforms, politicians, and advertisers. If it were actually shut down, though, the users there are so numerous and active that it probably wouldn't be possible to maintain r/politics or other official subreddits in their current moderated state.

Perhaps worse, this quarantined state -- which really doesn't accomplish or do anything of substance -- just creates a sense of martyrdom in the already extremely active userbase there. I suspect this will energize them 10-fold.


I thought that would have happened too when other subreddits were quarantined or banned (and it briefly did when fatpeoplehate was banned) but honestly the banned discourse does not show up on the front page or /r/all, as they intended.

However, because of this, Reddit is becoming increasingly sterile, single-minded, and most importantly ad-friendly to the point where its fairly difficult to have an honest discussion about anything remotely controversial.

Unfortunately their selective banning of communities that I would associate with the "far-right" has seriously hurt any attempt to migrate away from Reddit (specifically Voat.co is unbearable for me trying to participate).

I don't know if there will ever be a straw to break the camels back, but I have been actively searching for reddit alternatives for years and have not found a truly viable replacement.


> its fairly difficult to have an honest discussion about anything remotely controversial.

Like most media companies, reddit wants to promote its political agenda. It's natural and common (and expected of the traditional media), but since reddit doesn't pay for their own content, can only be done with censorship.

So they're making it difficult to have an honest discussion about anything they have an opinion about.

That's particularly concerning because reddit seems to be a natural monopoly, having operated for years with no successful competition. Perhaps this censorship will be the impetus that finally allows some competition to break through.


Voat had so much potential... shame how it is today. I still post almost everyday like I did so many years ago to provide actual content rather than vitriol but it's like shouting into a storm.

Still some possibility there, the leadership is open to fairness and free speech. It's the user base that has rotted.


The best reddit alternatives are smaller subreddits. Ditch the defaults.


The FPH folks seem to have moved to /r/fatpeoplestories. A similar subreddit all things considered, just a lot less hateful (and not focused on the sort of doxxing that was ubiquitous on FPH), which is pretty much what we'd want I guess. Is a similar dynamic plausible for T_D? Not very clear.


In my experience when Reddit banned the more toxic subreddits many of the other subreddits I actually did frequent became better. I think the people who would be in those subreddits are already there and when there are bans in subreddits some of the people leave and the community is better for it.


Those subreddits tended to be very small and inactive in comparison. r/the_donald is one of the most active communities on the entire website.


The thing is that those people are also on other subreddits, people generally don't frequent just one. So those people always bring in Reddit to comment on the Donald is also leasing to more engagement on other subreddits. It's possible that the Donald would organize more and be more of an issue in other subreddits but that wasn't how it worked in the past.


The 45,000 members of T_D online now might have something to do with the quarantine. When it reached 750K it was just 5,715 "winners" online https://old.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/bzau5s/we_just_...


Great point. We'll have to see if it goes down over the next few weeks. My fear and prediction is this will cause it to go up by dramatically enhancing the censorship lore that r/the_donald has been increasingly invoking for a while now.


The_donald is notoriously bot driven, the online user count is garbage.

It’s not the only subreddit with large bot populations, I’m just saying it’s one of the more toxic influential ones.


Is there actual evidence of this? My experience is those in r/the_donald claim the numbers are artificially deflated by Reddit, and those on the other side claim r/the_donald is mostly bots. I suspect both views are wrong.


At one point reddit had an inconsistency between the normal interface and the one shown to advertisers. This revealed that the counts in the normal interface were being suppressed by a factor of 10, likely related to keeping the posts off of /r/all.

I guess an alternate explanation is a 10x inflation in the advertising interface, but that would be defrauding the advertisers.


Unlike most subreddits, their upvote count to comment ratio is really out of whack.

Usually a pretty reliable sign of botism. You see it on corporate driven posts on movie promotions a decent amount too. (Along with some pretty lame top voted comments)


The subreddit's culture for years has been based on aggressively upvoting everything posted there. This started back when it was small and the community tried to get pro-Trump posts on the front page of Reddit, which invariably caused a lot of drama. So I don't think this means anything.


The fact that the activity has been happening for years doesn't invalidate that it could be bot related. Also the fact that reddit admins had to change their site algorithms to remove it from aggregated results, because posts were being gamed to the front page, implies that the behavior was not normal human traffic.


> Also the fact that reddit admins had to change their site algorithms to remove it from aggregated results, because posts were being gamed to the front page, implies that the behavior was not normal human traffic.

It implies it's unusual traffic, but it does not imply it's inhuman traffic -- doubly so because the difference has already been explained in a way that doesn't require invoking bots.

Somewhat amusingly, after r/the_donald discovered it could push pro-Trump memes onto r/all by making every post on the subreddit about upvoting content, some other subreddits managed to pull off the same stunt in protest.


Yes, I agree, their culture is contrary to the basic functioning of an online forum.


Your position seems to have backtracked from concern over bots to... disliking lots of upvotes within a community. Forgive me if I think you're being disingenuous with this latest statement.


Reflexively upvoting everything that comes into a sub is a bad cultural value. It may even break reddits' usage policy.

I'm not backtracking, you're the one who brought up that reflexively upvoting might be indistinguishable from botlike behavior. It's a feature (cultural value), not a bug.


Would they be that obvious? There was an absence of actual discussion on the_donald threads I read. Just agreement or telling dissenters they were idiots. It was weird but could that be because of bots or just a lower level of discourse.


They’ve not paid much cost for their behavior in the past so why would they change?


Anyone who was not 100% supportive of everything Trump did/does was removed through banning.


And you think that doesn’t happen in liberal subreddits? I’ve been banned from /politics /News /worldnews all for disagreeing with people. All near instant bans. I’ve even been banned from non political forums because I shared unpopular view points, such as “femisnism has hurt dating dynamics”. Yes that got me banned. So you know full well wrongful and politically motivated bans happen all the time from both sides. So it’s a moot point.


/news and /worldnews are hardly liberal. /news leans pretty conservative on many days.


I swear there are bots on the news channels run by various interest groups. But never have been able to prove it.


A lot of those subscribers are sock puppet accounts though, and the quarantine function on reddit prevents accounts without email verification from posting or voting, so there's going to be a hit in activity. There are no quarantined subreddits that have come back from being quarantined, regardless of size, so I think that it's safe to lean towards this subreddit slowly withering away.


So we can push those users out of thier censorship-laden safe space, and into the rest of the 'public' so to speak, thus they can be engaged and in cases of rule-breaking, reported.


TD bans lots of people. When you are banned it doesn't unsubscribe you which is why their typical ratio of subs to active users was very low.


On the contrary. Deplatforming fascism works[1]. This removes a small number of tools that they use to recruit. It is step in the right direction.

1. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bjbp9d/do-social-media-ba...


Censorship is a step in the direction of fascism. You have become what you hate most.


How is a business censoring their own networks related to fascism? Is the downvote button fascist? This is the classic "paradox of tolerance."


Why is it more acceptable when a business does it than when a government does it?


The same reason if I go to a stranger's house and start debating with them about my own political opinions they are free to kick me out. Free enterprise and private property are generally considered fundaments of modern civil society. Im all ears if you have an argument to the contrary.


We're not talking about people's houses.

In the context of business, California has already made that argument for me, making it illegal to discriminate based on political views.


> We're not talking about people's houses.

I'm talking about private property and the right to do with it as one pleases so long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others. When a group of people create a business this doesn't magically go away.

> In the context of business, California has already made that argument for me, making it illegal to discriminate based on political views.

Certain protected classes are legally protected from discrimination, yes. To my knowledge "advocating violence" is not a political view; this is what the r/The_Donald is being quarantined for.


Here's the original story accusing TD of advocating violence:

https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2019/06/24/A-pro-Trump...

Featuring comments with as few as 1 point.

Those are just an excuse to further restrict a community they've restricted several times in the past, without admitting it's for political reasons.


Okay, you've signalled that they do do it, but now there are not enough points of data. How many points of data is your burden of proof, before you agree?


"They"?

Those are comments from a few fringe users, buried so deep that most people never saw them.

Is that a reason to punish a community of hundreds of thousands of people?

That's like quarantining an entire city because a few people there are violent. That's not a good solution in the real world or online.


So is the burden of proof that the people commenting about inciting violence have to be "main" users before it's a problem?

What's your criteria for that? You're being pretty slippery right now by dodging questions.


I'd say handle it like we handle crime in the real world. Punish the offender, not the community.

Now will you answer a similar question? I spent a couple minutes looking through a single post on r/politics and found a couple of violent comments:

> Just do a 180 turn on gun reforms. They’ll take an armed population more seriously.

https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/c5og99/there_are_...

> It's because protests don't achieve anything. ... Riots on the other hand...

https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/c5og99/there_are_...

Do you think r/politics should be quarantined because of those two posts?

Unless that was an extremely unusual post, there are undoubtedly many more. How many more would make you want a quarantine?


That isn't a burden of proof though, which is what the question asked for.

You're basically saying that Reddit should never ban subreddits, which means that you don't even have a burden of proof for banning a subreddit. This means no matter what you're always against banning a subreddit on a privately owned website, yet you fawn at other reasons to justify it (fringe users, not enough data points, etc.)

Your proposed solution instead is that admins should police every user, when mods fail to, which just isn't scalable. Especially when the barrier to just creating a new account to bypass the ban is so low.


Privately owned doesn't mean they can do anything they want.

We've allowed privately owned companies to control the means of communication, without regulation.

It's time to bring back the laws that limited the phone companies and big three TV networks interference in politics, updated for the Internet.


That's not entirely correct. California makes it illegal for an _employer_ to discriminate against an _employee_ based on their political views. It does not make it illegal for businesses to discriminate against _customers_ based on their political views.


Companies are not free to choose with whom they do business. There are many constraints, not the least of which is it being illegal to refuse to do business with someone because of their race, sex, sexual orientation, and, in California, political opinions. Free enterprise and private property might have been fundamentals of civil society in the past, but that ship has long sailed since then.


> Companies are not free to choose with whom they do business.

For the most part, yes they are. For instance, every online business has a Terms of Service detailing many situations in which they will or will not do business with you. Race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, etc. are specific situations in which governments/society have decided that its worth restricting this freedom for the greater good. The existence of these relatively few exceptions does not negate their overall freedom to do business with whomever they please.


The quarantine isn't based off of political orientation though, otherwise r/republican and r/conservative would also be quarantined.


Allegedly it's based off a few fringe comments that Media Matters found, with mostly single digit points:

https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/c5sbpm/reddit_q...

Those aren't representative of the sub. What's the real reason?


I don't think anyone has a scientific answer on what is "representative" of the sub besides it's clear support for the president, but honestly it doesn't seem out of line with my experiences of the_donald.


Thank goodness we don't run the country based on possibly biased anecdotes


Fortunately, reddit has not yet achieved statehood.


That's not entirely correct. California makes it illegal for an _employer_ to discriminate against an _employee_ based on their political views. It does not make it illegal for businesses to discriminate against _customers_ based on their political views.


Wouldn’t it be invasive to demand that anyone handle anyone else’s business? There’s two freedoms being negotiated there, and the law origins basically boil down to — by emphasizing the business owners freedom the market should be able to support a solution for the other (or you go build that business, if it is needed). Total freedom in that system is higher than in the one that demands anyone do business with anyone.

R_TheDonald is a forum on someone’s product, there’s a low barrier erected here, they could go buy a url and some servers and continue their speech.


> Wouldn’t it be invasive to demand that anyone handle anyone else’s business?

Maybe, but it's a very common demand.


Because the business is choosing who they use their resources to rebroadcast under their name and the government has a monopoly on violence.

The government is not guaranteeing that they will rebroadcast whatever you want to say, they are just not giving you consequences for saying it.

Businesses aren't imposing consequences of violence on speech, they just are choosing not to be a part of it.

Someone not listening to you is not censorship.


It's a step in the direction to fascism, that doesn't mean it is fascist. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The downvote button is part of a ranking algorithm from the userbase, deboosting is part of the ranking algorithm from the host. Would you like it if a "platform" tied an anchor on your success/views because they didn't agree with your opinions? Since you believe in the paradox of tolerance do you agree that the US shouldn't let Islamic migrants come due to their belief in vile things such as throwing gays off roofs?


> It's a step in the direction to fascism, that doesn't mean it is fascist.

Insisting a private business promote any and all content from anyone whatsoever, no matter how abhorrent or anti-social, in a specific way, seems like a bigger step in the wrong direction. Content is removed from Reddit every day for violating various subreddit policies; the only thing changing here is the way /r/The_Donald is presented with the rest of the site.

> Since you believe in the paradox of tolerance do you agree that the US shouldn't let Islamic migrants come due to their belief in vile things such as throwing gays off roofs?

This has nothing to do with the topic at hand.


The USSR heavily censored content, were they stepping closer to fascism? I don't think you're using facism in the right context here, maybe you meant something else?


When you start from democracy, censorship becoming prevalent is a step towards fascism, authoritarianism, socialism, communism, technocracy, etc.


As someone else pointed out, Reddit's not a democracy so they're not starting as one either. Unless you count their private corporation as a democracy of sorts, but then they're most likely acting in their shareholders' interests. Maybe you meant the word authoritarian instead of fascist?


The US is a democratic republic and they are a US based company, so they should lean towards the laws under which they exist. I'm not playing this semantics game with you.


If you're not playing a semantics game then when why are you calling Reddit the United States?


Has Reddit as a company inacted violence or imprisonment against anyone on /r/the_donald ? That's what government censorship consists of.


I disagree completely. This is the same thing as the paradox of tolerance. If you want a tolerant society, you have to be intolerant against intolerance. If you want a non-fascist society you need to be fascist against fascism. Otherwise the intolerant/fascist side gains a platform and turns the community intolerant or fascist overall.


"If you want a non-fascist society you need to be fascist against fascism." This statement says it all, the ends justify the means. Sounds like every terrible dictator or authoritarian society that has existed on the Earth so far.


Not necessarily. The Soviet government was engaged in significant censorship and was not fascist. Same with the CCP currently.

Fascism implies censorship, but censorship does not imply fascism.


You are correct that fascists aren't the only ones who censor. But that doesn't make it something that should be a normal part of a free, democratic society. (Your Soviet and CCP examples highlight that, which may have been your point.)


I said a step in the direction to fascism. I never asserted that censorship itself requires fascism. They usually come hand in hand though.


Deplatforming is to toxic mindsets as an immune system is to disease.


That's a good parallel actually. There are immune system diseases where the system kills the good cells too because it can't discriminate correctly. You're right!


You do realize that /r/the_donald immediately bans anyone that isn't 100% on board with the agressive propoganda right?


Well yeah: It's a sub-reddit for supporters only. Not an uncommon thing on Reddit. Everyone can lurk, but only supporters can post/comment.


It's the same as r/politics, just for right-wingers.


You could also say that “not listening to speech you despise is a step in the direction of fascism,” and it’s an equally empty statement. I mean, I guess it’s technically true. But it also means that literally everybody is a virulent and unrepentant fascist in their social lives.


Remaining unbiased in the secular/science domain is critical to the future of humanity. If you are going to be biased, please at least do your research. Don't just browse twitter and think you are informed.


[flagged]


Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient".[2][3][4] Censorship can be conducted by a government[5], private institutions, and corporations.

That's the first definition I found when I googled the word. Reddit, a private institution, considered the content harmful. Seems to fit the definition.


Based on that definition it cannot be assumed that censorship is always wrong. For example, removing a post that was doxxing an individual would be considered censorship but could also be the moral thing to do.

I would also point out that the_donald has a very aggressive moderation policy where most comments critical of the president are removed, so I don't think there is much room for them to complain about censorship.


Deplatforming, shadow banning, deboosting, demonetization are all modern forms of censorship. It might not be exactly like the Chinese or other types of censorships we have seen in the past but it is a valid form of censorship. Definitions aren't everything, context matters. If you want to see a rising power filled with authoritarianism, look towards Google.


China kills people who speak out against the government killing people. Reddit is literally still broadcasting everything /r/the_donald wants, they just aren't linking to it as much. I don't think that's the same as murdering individuals for political speech.


[flagged]


When an account has more than a little history here, we tell people that we've banned them, and why:

https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20we%27ve%20banned&sor...

https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:sctb%20we%27ve%20banned&sor...

Brand new accounts posting trollish or flamebaity stuff get treated differently. Software filters some of those, and we shadowban some of them, especially if there's evidence that this is someone we've banned many times before. The converse is also true: if software has filtered out a new account that's not posting trollishly or flamebaitily, we restore their posts and mark the account legit so it won't happen again.

I think this is a reasonable balance between transparency and defending the site against abuse. If we tried to give every banned account the same high-effort attention that we give established users, we'd do nothing else all day and still not get through them all. That would just be a new vector for people to DoS the moderators. A small number of abusive users can create a large number of disruptions.


I'm not positive on that statement. But I have seen political bias and ranking bias quite often on HN.


These kinds of comments make me so disappointed. You are out of touch. Labeling people that you don’t understand as “fascist” is going to lead you to a shithole.

Get out of your bubble, arm yourself with some compassion, and go try and understand what motivates people to disrupt the status quo. Most trump supporters hate fascism. You are deluding yourself by tossing a mr. yuck sticker on people you don’t understand.


On HN, please make your substantive points without personal swipes.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


[flagged]

xyzzyz 3 months ago [flagged]

So the guy tried to swim across Rio Grande, killed himself and his child in the process of doing so, and this somehow means that Trump government is fascist? Well, I guess that would make sense if he tried to swim to escape from the US, but seems like he actually was trying to get inside the "fascist" state. The kids in cages are also there because the parents tried very hard to get them inside the "fascist" state. Seems pretty irresponsible on their side, to put their children in the "fascists" hands, doesn't it?


No, the authoritarian (anti-media, judge filling, etc) and nationalistic (trade wars, rejecting international treaties, etc) policies do. The human stories are just the result of those policies.

xyzzyz 3 months ago [flagged]

Can you explain how the authoritarian and nationalistic policies make humans so eager to get here that try to swim across Rio Grande with their child tucked under the shirt?


It's not the policies, it's the long period of the USA being a high income and (relatively) low crime country in comparison to neighboring countries. Which I don't attribute to any individual president.


[flagged]


Please don't take HN threads further into partisan flamewar.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I'm not GP, but your straw man is just as disappointing.

- Nobody here is saying trump supporters are fascists.

- Nobody here is even saying that the_donald subreddit represents all of Trump supporters.

So why are you playing that card?

GP is talking about the effectiveness of the deplatforming of hate speech in context to a subreddit that has been reported as inciting violence. The same subreddit that supported the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally that resulted in a Neo-Nazi murdering Heather Heyer.

Whether or not you think that extends to all Trump supporters, and are disappointed by that, is your own inference. Don't attack GP because of it though.


>>Nobody here is even saying that the_donald subreddit represents all of Trump supporters. So why are you playing that card?

Because of the following comments: >>“On the contrary. Deplatforming fascism works[1]. This removes a small number of tools that they use to recruit. It is step in the right direction.”

I regret engaging in this discussion. I guess it’s time to give up on trying to understand each other’s point of view, because disagreement is currently seen as a personal attack on HN.


Literally the next comment (at the time I read this, by asdfgasd) literally begins with "Trump supporters are fascists". It's flagged and dead, but it's there (if you have showdead turned on).


asdfgasd is not the GP, who the commenter before me is propping up a straw man against and attacking. They commenter before me is the one talking about all of trump supporters being facist before asdfgasd even commented, so how is what you are saying relevant?


You said "Nobody here is saying trump supporters are fascists." I supplied a counterexample. That's how it's relevant.


Nobody was saying it until the person I responded to did. What you provided isn't a counterexample.


It has extraordinarily high levels of bots, too. Unverified accounts can't get through the quarantine, so it'll be fun to watch that traffic tank.


TD cant be directly tother subs due to the volume of fake/bot accounts


https://thenextweb.com/opinion/2019/06/25/you-cant-offer-to-...

This article is probably what triggered it.


Interestingly that article continuously refers to the sub as ‘r/TheDonald’ (which is about Donald Glover) instead of ‘r/The_Donald’ (which is the sub that’s been quarantined).


Looks like it's been corrected


Hmmm mostly yeah. The title + 4th from last paragraph still have it wrong though.


Probably auto-formatting that removes underscores.


It also refers to two posts on a thread which are impossible to find, because it doesn't reference user names, and the posts are apparently deleted now, and were not captured in the google cache of the page, or common reddit archiving sites(ceddit/removeddit).

What if those two posts referenced in the article were written by the same person, and generally downvoted?


Yup, thanks for linking this. These allegations seem quite serious, and contra claims by TD users on that subreddit, they actually go far beyond what we've seen on leftist, socialist etc. subs wrt. hostility towards police. (I've also seen some allegations that The_Donald's custom CSS was being used to hide/disguise the "report" links that are normally used to flag rules-violating comments - if so, this is clearly backfiring for them right now!) It's easy to say "T_D is toxic, blah blah" but this sort of extreme rhetoric is on a wholly different level that really wasn't there before.


Dont you think "hostility towards police" and "violence against police officers" as phrases themselves are purposely under contextualizing whats going on, in a biased sort of way?

'A worldwide community supporting the violent threats of local militia backing their civilly disobedient politicians efforts to evade the government use of police force to mandate participation and speech' is a super interesting power dynamics story. Whos the oppressor in this story, government use of police force, militia chaos, insubordinate politicians holding process hostage? Is the use of police FORCE to strong arm their votes itself violence? Shouldnt people be banned for supporting police force?

To Godwin's law this topic, would reddit choose to ban advocating prisoner violence towards auschwitz guards, in their efforts to escape? Would the rebels be banned for advocating destruction of the empire and violence towards storm troopers? It doesnt seem like there is a line drawn anywhere, it does appear arbitrary, or biased against violence they disagree with. The actual policy seems more like "ban what gets us bad press." If the rules were enforced consistently, rap music would be banned. I'm not pretending there are easy answers, even the supreme court has been looking at whether rap music is artistic or a credible threat, maybe they arent mutually exclusive. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/06/us/politics/supreme-court...


Comparing the commentators calling for violence on the_donald to holocaust victims is both a stretch and a minimization of what the holocaust victims actually went through. Having a subreddit be quarantined is not the same as being under threat of genocide.

You are complaining about phrases that are purposely under contextualizing what's going on, but then go on to commit the same thing in your third paragraph by contextualizing it to the holocaust.


I didnt make that comparison. I dont know how you took from my comment what you did. The Commentators and victims are not analogous at all, they arent even the same part of the anlogy.

I brought up two similar but different types of speech, observers advocating violence towards oppressive authority. If this were an elementary school analogy, prisoners would be the militia not the reddit commentators. The guards and police are both blindly following government orders, whether those orders are right or wrong. Is advocating violence wrong regardless of if the target of said violence is behaving morally or immorally? The topic at hand is where reddit does (or doesnt) draw the line of acceptable speech regarding advocating violence.


tbh i'd be okay with quarantining chapo trap house too


At least it's not as insufferable as /r/s4p (and really all of /r/politics) during the '16 primaries.


In the thread that allegedly lead to the ban (you can see an archived version here - http://archive.is/vpvb4), The_Donald users post comments like:

- 'get a rope' - 'So, firing squad time right?' - 'If he is not fired for this then wtf do we do next? Take matters into our own hands?'

What was Reddit supposed to do? Tolerate death threats on its platform? Then get sued if the person gets murdered?

And this isnt an isolated example.


>what was reddit supposed to do?

Probably treat the situation the same way they do in other subreddits. The whole “taking matters into our own hands” and calls for violence against politicians happen in other subreddits, and yet they don’t get quarantined (looking at you, r/politics). Either quarantine them all or none of them.


r/politics perma-bans those commenters with a quickness, unless I'm out of date.

Meanwhile, r/LateStageCapitalism, a sub whose premise is to induce lust for the guillotine, has been quarantined before because one user was running around yelling about Guillotines in the comments. This would happen periodically.

So the admins changed up the mod team. They kept the Anarchist/Communist asthetic, but Social Democrats run the sub now. And they keep the space guillotine-free.


If you give me access to their elastic search dB, indexed from the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.


Quarantining the community does nothing to mitigate those risks.


Hmmm... I think that the_donald is on its way to get banned. I wish I knew how much was real and what wasn't on that subreddit. I worry that the sentiment on that subreddit is genuine and by banning it we draw lines as to what is acceptable discourse that excludes a large segment of the population.

Of course I am not referring to the worst stuff on that subreddit, there is shit there, and much more than average, but if a sizeable part of the population has views like this is banning it really fair? I worry that banning public speech by a large segment of the population fractures the population that makes things even worse. And once fully separate it leads to even more echo chambering and divergent realities and more problems, not less.

But again that is assuming it is genuine and not trolls or foreign interference and it is truly sizable and not fringe.


> by banning it we draw lines as to what is acceptable discourse that excludes a large segment of the population.

I don't think reddit is the measure of acceptable discourse. If the_donald was banned it would just mean that its users would have to find another subreddit or site to use, it says nothing about what type of discourse is generally acceptable. Further, I think it's pretty obvious by now that reddit's problem with the_donald is not related to their political ideas since there other subreddits supportive of the president that have had no conflicts with the site admins (e.g. /r/conservative, /r/republican).


> Of course I am not referring to the worst stuff on that subreddit, there is shit there, and much more than average, but if a sizeable part of the population has views like this is banning it really fair?

That's the problem though. The mods were repeatedly hostile to any attempts by the admins to handle the more egregious rule violations. The admins have treated them with kid gloves for years now. They were historically one of the worst sources of brigading of other (much smaller) subs. For instance, /r/legaladvice had huge problems with them in the past.

Even the chapo mods complied with the admins when they were asked to crack down on calls for violence... Even though those calls for violence were about _dead_ slave owners... Hard to kill someone already dead.


Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain /r/The_Donald already didn't have ads on it as the article implied it did. Reddit only allows ads in white-listed subs and T_D was never white listed AFAIK.

Edit: Found where I read this: https://www.reddit.com/r/stopadvertising/comments/85vdwo/gro...

Edit 2: my comment was moved from a different thread that was on a TechCrunch article on this. TechCrunch claimed that this quarantine would mean that ads would no longer run on T_D.


As far as I know ads are served on all subreddits until they are quarantined. According to https://reddit.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/205701245-Quara... they totally demonatize, meaning even reddit gold doesn't generate profit for reddit.


Found my source: https://www.reddit.com/r/stopadvertising/comments/85vdwo/gro...

This source also shows T_D wasn't on the whitelist, since it was on of the subs being protested by /r/stopadvertising.


How is that possible, if you buy reddit gold before you use it?


Quarantine also prevents their posts from showing up on the front page or in the /r/all feed and (I think) you can’t access the sub if you aren’t already a member and are on the mobile app.


They already removed it from the front page a while back. It would only appear for subscribers.


Also, subscribed members can't access unless they are email verified, which means the vast majority of their upvoter sockpuppeteers can't get in.


The subreddit moderators provided the admin logs, showing that on average, 1 post per day was actioned on by reddit admins. "Biggest headache" yeah, right.


The members of the the_donald had a history of breaking rules and crying foul any time any sort of administrative action was taken against them for it. Whether it was for brigading and harassment, or flooding modmail in other subreddits, or other actions.

The result was that after the banning of the just as toxic "fatpeoplehate", admins were loathe to interfere with t_d. Any administrative response was met with charges of politicization, "liberal bias", and more rule-breaking.

I'm surprised it's taken this long, but it appears that Reddit's staff waited until they had an obviously non-partisan reason for doing it. In this case, threatening police officers. I think they wanted to wait until they had a reason that would be difficult for people to turn into a partisan brawl that would give Reddit bad publicity.

Imagine if you will the difficulty conservative sites may have in threading the needle that t_d is simultaneously being persecuted here for their conservative, pro-Trump political views, and that the particular views they were banned for were making violent threats to law enforcement.


I don't think there are many subreddits that praise and love law enforcement more than the_donald. They used a Media Matters hit piece to censor and contain one of the most popular subs, for purely partisan reasons.


Did you read the Media Matters piece? Here it is in case you hadn't:

https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2019/06/24/A-pro-Trump...

Scroll down and read the screenshots. It doesn't quite matter what the subreddit praised before when they still broke the rules.


If I make a sockpuppet and post the same comments in r/politics, does that mean it should get quarantined?

A lot of those screenshots are "1 point, 11 minutes ago" or "2 points, 17 minutes ago". If that's being expanded to cover an entire subreddit, then no sub would be safe when applied consistently.


If you look at these accounts, many are 1+ years old. Calling them sock puppets is confirmation bias to avoid reading the article.


Age is not a good determination of sockpuppetness, at least with competent opponents. Past activity might be, since that at least costs something, while age just costs prep time.


Okay, did you look at the age and the comment activity of these accounts? Because they're not sockpuppets accounts.

You're making a textbook No True Scotsman.


I don't doubt that many of the accounts screenshotted in the article linked are actual, active accounts on /r/The_Donald. I doubt that you can usefully distinguish real accounts from fake ones for the purposes of identifying false flag attacks in other subreddits.


A lot of those screenshots are theses too:

- 49 votes, 9 hours ago

- 27 votes, 7 hours ago

- 53 points, 1 day ago

- 66 points, 1 day ago

Go do a sockpuppet and do the same! That won't last long and you'll get down-voted heavily.


My impression reading the article was the more blatant the call to violence, the lower the score. I haven't exactly done a proper study of that, of course.


You may need to works on your impression then. All the ones I quoted were blatant call to violence. All with good amount of upvote and pretty old.

"None of this gets fixed without people picking up rifles." - 49 votes, 9 hours ago

"The only way to get it back is to burn Portland and Eugene to the ground." - 27 votes, 7 hours ago

"No problems shooting a cop trying to strip rights from Citizens." - 53 points, 1 day ago

"Where is the militia to help protect this man?" - 66 points, 1 day ago


>that the particular views they were banned for were making violent threats to law enforcement

They were quarantined, not banned. I honestly doubt they'll get banned at this rate, it was headlines like [0] that got it quarantined.

[0]: https://thenextweb.com/opinion/2019/06/25/you-cant-offer-to-...


Good correction, I'm outside the edit window on my comment to fix it.

I think if other subreddits behaved similarly to t_d, they would have been banned, and much more swiftly.


Reddit is composed of tens of thousands of subreddits, and relies on volunteer moderators to police them. For a single subreddit to demand at least one admin intervention a day is absurd.


One of reddit's most active subs would naturally demand more than most of those ten thousand mostly niche subs.


Do you have a data source showing this? Can we compare the amount of admin intervention across subreddits?


Comparing the amount of intervention the admins would not be a useful indicator of anything except their bias.

As evidence of that bias, consider their curation of r/popular, where they choose what to show.

They actively promote posts from the left and actively hide posts from the right. For example, this 18 hour old Democrat talking point [1] with 10k net upvotes is displayed before numerous posts that received 3x to 8x as many net upvotes in less time.

And extreme left wing subs continue to be featured on r/popular (many brigading and harassing right wing subs) while reddit restricts right wing subs.

1: https://www.reddit.com/r/bestof/comments/c5kuhx/ukrauthammer...


> Comparing the amount of intervention the admins would not be a useful indicator of anything except their bias

So first you claim that any other popular subreddit would have as much admin intervention, but then you say that we shouldn't actually investigate this claim because even if we found that you were wrong, you're still right?

Also the "net upvotes" that Reddit displays are not literal net upvotes. Those numbers are fudged in order to prevent conveying too much information. Reddit skews liberal, this is no surprise. The height of a post depends on what subs you are subscribed to, and on r/all it depends on the preference of everybody else. Which skews liberal.


No point in talking with you if you're going to put words in my mouth. I didn't claim that "any other popular subreddit would have as much admin intervention".

It's clear that TD suffers much more scrutiny and restriction from the admins.

I was simply refuting your "tens of thousands of subreddits" comment.


For the record, you said:

> One of reddit's most active subs would naturally demand more than most of those ten thousand mostly niche subs.

This clearly implies that the amount of admin intervention in r/The_Donald is highly correlated with its popularity rather the relative toxicity of the subreddit, no?


Compared to the "tens of thousands of subreddits" you mentioned in the comment I replied to, yes. A sub with 750k users will generally have more intervention than a sub with 750.

Now you're changing the subject to "any other popular subreddit" which was not in the comment I replied to and thus was obviously not what I was talking about.

To make that clear, I'm saying there's a correlation between popularity and number of interventions, but that's not the only factor. Admin bias is another factor, and I'm sure there are others I can't think of at the moment.

As for "relative toxicity", TD isn't any more toxic than other political subs on reddit. The whole place is a cesspool. Unless you fit in perfectly with the group on any political sub you'll be treated badly. But right wing subs suffer additional toxicity from the admins.


I mean, the fact that you can get banned on TD immediately for commenting anything even remotely critical of the president suggests that it is very unlikely that TD "isn't any more toxic than other political subs on reddit." There were entire threads in TD calling for violent intervention in Oregon; similar posts are not found in any of the other political subs. Even in response to the quarantine, there are plenty of comments suggesting violent revolution.

This claim that "other subs are just as toxic" seems to be a common refrain among TD supporters (as well as white nationalist hate subs). Do you have any evidence to support this?


Where are these "entire threads in TD calling for violent intervention in Oregon"? All I've seen cited here are isolated comments with a handful of points.

So I spent a few minutes yesterday reading part way down the comments on a single post in r/politics and found similar comments advocating violent resistance to the government.

> Just do a 180 turn on gun reforms. They’ll take an armed population more seriously.

https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/c5og99/there_are_...

> It's because protests don't achieve anything. ... Riots on the other hand...

https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/c5og99/there_are_...

If someone were as motivated as Media Matters I'm sure they could find much, much more. If you doubt that I encourage you to investigate a bit yourself.


Doesn't the fact that such a heavily modded subreddit required administrators to intervene on a daily basis show it is a problem? Reddit admins shouldn't have to do almost anything to any highly trafficked and moderated subreddits. A different subreddit might be able to claim "Well there wasn't enough mods to catch a few comments falling through the cracks", but on the most heavily moderated subreddit on the entire site? I find it hard to believe that no mods saw the comments with calls to violence. Especially since T_D had been warned multiple times previously about poor moderation. Their response to such warnings in the past has always been some form of "Yeah well what are you going to do about?! We have lots of viewers!"


For admins thats a high amount, They require moderators moderate for the reddit rules as well as the subreddit rules to ensure they don't have to step in.


To be fair, in the same logs it shows they removed mod permissions from one of the mods. The picture it paints is that the Admins were making it harder for them to moderate the subreddit.


The mod was removed because they violated Reddit rules of not using mod positions to promote financial gain. The mod was promoting his gofundme campaign and broke the rules. This same mode also delisted three other mods, which was making it harder to moderate the subreddit.

Interpreting these actions as site admins intentionally making it more difficult for moderators of that subreddit is cognitive dissonance.


Remember when u/Seattle4Truth, radicalizes on Reddit, shot his parents for being "liberal cucks"?

He posted about it in advance on r/The_Donald. People cheered him on.


I doubt their headaches were limited to only a single post on average per day.


So many of the users defending The_Donald here (as if it was a serious political platform) are users that seem to comment mostly on political threads or submit only political articles. At least the form they've used so far is a bit more acceptable than average T_D post.


I kind of dislike when Reddit bleeds onto HN. Any comment not fanatically supporting extreme right wing narratives gets downvoted to oblivion. We're generally not a toxic community and the mods and community here does a pretty good job at keeping a it's on things. It's why I prefer this as pretty much my primary social network. I learn useful things here, have meaningful disagreements that don't end in name calling, and learn tons.


A little observation: this subreddits posting and commenting habits were not like other subreddits. The users used the system more like chat than a forum with no long threaded discussions, very short one line replies and new posts being created instead of comments in an established one, for example.

There are a few other subreddits like this and they all appear to work in a similarly ephemeral way. It's odd to me how they use the system. It's similar to 4chan in the ephemerality but it's more like IRC.


I feel like reddit ends up playing whack-a-mole with toxic subreddits because it's not like the problem users disappear - they just move onto another subreddit and slowly turn it into some flavor of the place that got banned/quarantined. This might be an unsolvable problem long-term without something like real IDs tied to user accounts, which brings its own slew of problems.


> I feel like reddit ends up playing whack-a-mole with toxic subreddits because it's not like the problem users disappear - they just move onto another subreddit and slowly turn it into some flavor of the place that got banned/quarantined.

On the contrary, at least one study found that what you describe does not happen. Rather, a quantitative reduction in hate speech was observed when Reddit banned a number of toxic subreddits in 2015.

Inhabitants either moved off the platform entirely (accounts that frequented those subs ceased to be active) or those that stayed appeared to modulate their behaviour to conform to the norms of less-toxic subs.

http://comp.social.gatech.edu/papers/cscw18-chand-hate.pdf


>On the contrary, at least one study found

Among social sciences a single study has very little weight. Given how often it is quoted despite this signals a flaw in popular cultures relationship with the field.


> Among social sciences a single study has very little weight.

Sure. "I feel like ..." has absolutely no evidentiary weight, though, so in this case, a little weight is strictly preferable to nothing.

> Given how often it is quoted despite this signals a flaw in popular cultures relationship with the field.

I'd say rather it signals a blind spot in the social sciences, where researchers are failing to investigate emerging online phenomenon wrt communities and moderation in significant numbers.

More studies confirming or disproving the results of this one would, of course, be preferable. But we should hardly apologize for turning to what little study and evidence there is rather than pulling "this will cause X to happen" assertions directly from our asses.


>I'd say rather it signals a blind spot in the social sciences,

Apologies, it appears I wasn't clear. I meant the extent that psychology and sociology studies in any part of their fields are quoted when there is only a single study, not just in relationship to internet/social media.

>But we should hardly apologize for turning to what little study and evidence there is rather than pulling "this will cause X to happen" assertions directly from our asses.

The difference is in the latter case we are well aware of the origin, while in the former case many can mistaken think there is the full weight of science behind the findings comparable to the theory of gravity or evolution. They shouldn't make the mistake, but I've seen it made enough times.


You can only draw conclusions from available data, whether that's one or a dozen data points. Being a single data point doesn't invalidate the study though.


The dynamics may be different with 750,000 subs (on T_D) compared to ~20,000 in the ones mentioned in the study. Political-related speech won't disappear from Reddit, especially with an election year coming up.


> The dynamics may be different with 750,000 subs (on T_D) compared to ~20,000 in the ones mentioned in the study.

They may be, they may not be. So far we have evidence that, in general, banning a sub doesn't result in it simply diasporaing into other subs. "Something different will happen this time because I feel like it will" isn't a terribly compelling counter-argument in and of itself. Absent new evidence, and given the evidence already in hand, this seems like a reasonable move to me.

> Political-related speech won't disappear from Reddit, especially with an election year coming up.

I don't think Reddit is attempting to "eliminate political-related speech" in general so much as the "I'm ready and willing to put a bullet in an Oregon cop's skull" speech that was being given free-reign in this subreddit?


I just think people may be less likely to give up on sharing political speech than, say, "Fat people hate" or some other dumb offensive topic.


> I just think people may be less likely to give up on sharing political speech

But again, that's probably not what they're trying to do so much as get people to give up on talking about organizing ad-hoc assassination squads of law enforcement officers


Interesting. Thanks for the link on that.


One of the hardest things to do, I think, for a platform like reddit is to get users to curate and specialize the content and create real communities that people can be involved in.

For reddit, that's their specialty. That's a solved problem. In their specific case their subreddit user groups don't act as filter bubbles. By some miracle they largely act as intended... As communities for like minded individuals to share their interests and largely in a positive context.

The money and advertising and focus is always on the "front page" and the jockeying for position to make headlines and drive traffic to affiliates but this is a huge distraction.

Reddit should focus on investing in the positive and great communities that are built on the site. Build tools to help these communities do what they do even better and use more front page real estate to drive people to these positive experiences since they already exist today. That's the real value of reddit.

Some censorship is inevitable, some bad actors need to be expelled from the site, but ultimately you need to lift up the good examples, not just play "bop a troll"


I have the feeling that organizational energy isn’t cheap, and that repeated banning or asymmetrical resource burning will eventually cause organizations to decay.


When did reddit change their frontpage behavior? Previously you'd only see posts from the default subreddits on reddit.com, now you have a chance of seeing something gamed from an alt right subreddit? Why did they ever ditch the whitelist model?


"It’s very easy to remove spam, bots, racial slurs, low-effort trolls, and abuse... But once you remove all those things, you’re left with people honestly and civilly arguing for their opinions. And that’s the scariest thing of all."

https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/02/22/rip-culture-war-thread...


That's a quick turn from their stance on the same issue just 22 days ago.

/u/spez:

> While they can be offensive and antagonistic to the rest of Reddit, we have not found them to be in consistent violation of our content policies.[0]

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/bwpqqi/we_are_us_...


Here's an article with a collection of threats of violence that may have precipitated this: https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2019/06/24/A-pro-Trump...

Representative quote: A user wrote, “Rifles are the only way we're going to get any peace in our lives ever again,” adding, “It's either war and we get rid of these guys or a lifetime of listening to this shit over and over again start getting yourself ready.”


Thank god, that subreddit was insufferable


Sure, but you didn't have to visit it. The worst part of the increasing corporatization of the public-facing internet is that we no longer seem to be content leaving well enough alone.


The problem with that subreddit was more that it made headlines. If it wasn't named in dozens of articles, all over the news, and an overall very public embarrassment for reddit for three years now, everything would be all fine and dandy for the donald.


Hmmm... I think that the_donald is on its way to get banned. I wish I knew how much was real and what wasn't on that subreddit. I worry that the sentiment on that subreddit is genuine and by banning it we draw lines as to what is acceptable discourse that excludes a large segment of the population.

Of course I am not referring to the worst stuff on that subreddit, there is shit there but if a sizeable part of the population has views like this is banning it really fair? I worry that banning public speech by a large segment of the population fractures the population that makes things even worse. And once fully separate it leads to even more echo chambering and divergent realities and more problems, not less.

But again that is assuming it is genuine and not trolls or foreign interference and it is truly sizable and not fringe.


Have you tried searching reddit for threads about a current event, only to find pages of results of vitriolic/psychotic ("trolling!") /r/The_Donald posts? I'm pretty tired of it and I hope they ban that sub and similar ones. I couldn't care less about the political aspect, it's the 4chan lulz crap that has to go. From reddit's point of view these users are parasites, who basically deface the website in an attempt to control it. That's their M.O., good riddance.


"these users are parasites, who basically deface the website in an attempt to control it."

That's a great and concise way to describe what those people have done, or are trying to do. I've seen it on several old forums or games, like the Something Awful Goons invading Eve Online with the stated aim of ruining the game for everyone else.

It's this weird immature streak of "everyone pay attention to me" that these hateful vandals thrive upon. They have to be the only ones making noise, and everyone must listen to that noise. If things don't happen exactly like they want, they throw fits, threaten, and whine as a group so much that people give in just to shut them up. And since it's just attention that is being sought, any actions are valid, good or bad. Appeals to admins/moderators, spamming, arguing in bad faith, harassing others, defacing the site or simply breaking as much as they can. How that attention seeking validates these people, I have no idea.


I can't say I've ever experienced this. In fact, I would occasionally browse r/T_D just to temper the overtly left-leaning bias of /r/news and /r/politics.


/r/news is not left-leaning by any reasonable metric (there is frequently blatant racism heavily upvoted).

/r/politics is only left-leaning because of how heavily skewed right american politics is. Most of their opinions are centrist at best. Their obsession with trump is a bit annoying, but it's only annoying, not actively harmful.


reddit censored the_donald long before this. It was completely filtered off r/all. This effectively changes not that much.


About time. I am looking forward to the drama.


Perhaps we can anticipate an angry tweet from the White House about this.


From what I gather, the reason was that there were calls to violence that weren't deleted sufficiently fast by the mods. Someone correct me if this is wrong.

This seems like it would be easy to replicate this on any subreddit, doesn't it?

Get a group of people and deliberately target subreddits in various hours of the day with calls for violence, and then report them to the admins of reddit.

Wouldn't this, in theory at least, quarantine any subreddit?

Something doesn't add up here.


Media Matters a Political action group with the mission of "comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media." posted this[0] article just 2 days ago. I'm pretty sure this same source has been banned from the politics subreddit for self-promotion and astroturfing comments but I can't find the source. Amusingly, all of the wayback archives for the r/politics blacklist have been purged from existence.

[0]https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2019/06/24/A-pro-Trump...


The Against Hate Subreddit orchestrated similar false-flag attacks last year and successfully shut down many other subreddits.

During 2016 on Facebook, similar spamming tactics were used to shut down many pages promoting Bernie Sanders.

If it really were something orchestrated by users of T_D, then why would they report it to reddit? It's more likely that outside forces had a hand in this.


Maybe it's unclear from my post, but I don't think T_D users did this, or even deserve this.

I was merely commenting how easy is to do this to other subreddits, so any subreddit can get banned etc.

So maybe Reddit should reconsider their position on banning solely because of this, if this is in fact the only reason they quarantined T_D.


So I think we're on the same page. Not sure why you got downvoted, but that wasn't me. I was only trying to list a couple of examples that might add to your theory.


Judging by the fact that there are multiple watchdog-style subreddits dedicated to policing Reddit content (Against Hate Subreddits, Top Minds, SRS, plus others) I wouldn't be surprised at all.


[flagged]


Interesting :)

What part of my post do you find it to be 'conspiracy' ?

That's the reason they stated for the quarantine - that's official and confirmed. I quote: “encouragement of violence towards police officers and public officials in Oregon” [0]

Since they remove all such posts from there (also can be proved by searching through the subreddit), that must mean that the speed of removal was the ultimate reason, right?

The mods said something similar I believe: “It would seem they’ve set up an impossible standard as a reason to kill us before the 2020 election.” [0]

I think "impossible standard" means that nobody can delete the posts faster than that.

If you accept all of this on face value (guy posts on subreddit, mods don't react "quick enough", subreddit gets quarantined - end of story), then good for you!

I've got a bridge to sell you :)

[0] - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/26/reddit-the-d...


I didn't vote for Trump, don't support him, and think he is a worthless human being. That being said, its become crystal clear that a large part of our "cultural elite" at the pinnacle of most big tech companies, media outlets and universities in this country have taken it upon themselves to decide what social and political opinions are acceptable, and are working hard to erase and/or silence anyone who doesn't adhere to their cultural/political ideology. Given the largely centralized nature of modern society and modern communication, this gives tremendous power to those at the top to decide what views are acceptable to disseminate (or hold at all). This is extremely troubling to those of us who believe in the concept of free speech and free expression as being the bedrock of a free society (which is distinct from the legal mechanism of the 1st Amendment). The results of this lockdown on free speech are not necessarily the results being sought or desired by our tech/corporate censors. Ideas and philosophies that are deemed taboo and banned don't simply disappear, they go underground and find alternative communication networks, often becoming even more radical in the process. Those who prefer to keep their heads buried in the sand and suggest that monopolistic behemoths like Google are simply exercising their right as a private company to decide who to silence and who to promote are simply ignoring reality.


So whats keeping r/The_Donald from just endorsing a new subreddit to replace the old one?


Interesting, I've saved multiple comments on r/politics that explicitly call for violence against trump supporters that I've reported and they still aren't deleted. It is also unfortunate that reddit doesn't think it needs to provide any evidence for this action, considering that it is the beginning of Trump's 2020 campaign and on the eve of the Dem primary debates.


It's easier to police threads than comments... there's hundreds of thousands if not millions of comments on thousands of different threads, the T_D is known to allow full threads devoted to violence, and they just leave them up. They are known to let slide MANY innuendos of violence, I'm sure if you did a statistical analysis of violent enacting comments across r/politics and r/The_Donald that you'd find way more on the donald than politics. Would you find 0 on poltics? probably not, some probably get overlooked and go unreported or overlooked, doesn't mean they shouldn't be moderated, just means there's not enough resources all the time to get the job done.

TD has always been toxic, racist, and bigoted, it was just a matter of time before this happened. I think it happening near an election cycle is just coincidence, I think more the civil-war inciting of the current events in Oregon is at play here.


> the T_D is known to allow full threads devoted to violence, and they just leave them up

that is not true


FWIW, his 2020 campaign started in January 2017, just after getting into office. His first rally was a month later.


His campaign officially just kicked off, about one week ago. But yeah, he himself is in a sort of perpetual campaign mode.


No he filed his new campaign the day s/after/of taking office.

> Trump began his reelection campaign unusually early for an incumbent President. He began spending for his reelection effort within weeks of his election, and officially filed his campaign with the Federal Election Commission on the day of his inauguration.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump_2020_presidential...


The operative word is 'officially', whatever that means. From your link we see both:

> He began spending for his reelection effort within weeks of his election, and officially filed his campaign with the Federal Election Commission on the day of his inauguration.

and

> On June 18, 2019, Trump held an official campaign launch event at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida


> they still aren't deleted

links?


One thing we can all agree on: Donald Trump attracts attention like no other.

Years from now, controversy will still roil. Historians will have a colorful character to teach about.


I'm just going to tell you all: I'm a life-long libertarian. You're not going to sway my opinions because I get censored online and my posts deleted. I am limited to 2 posts like every 4 hours lest I poison your minds with theories about free markets and personal freedom. I guess I'm lucky I can post at all, probably someone will come along to fix that glitch or delete my posts or whatever. What are you afraid of? Is freedom really so dangerous? Why have so many tech companies closed ranks around such anti-freedom concepts? What changed since the late '90s and early '00s when tech was so anti-authority and wanted to disrupt bureaucracy and give a voice to other ideas? Freedom is not racist, sexist, or anything else. It is definitely terrifying to someone, though.

Is the Millenial generation just so indoctrinated that they can't see how destructive what they are doing is? When you side with the left, you are making a very clear statement about the value of individual human lives (zero). Try having a little self-worth.

An estimated 262 million people were murdered by their own governments between 1900 and 1999. That toll is a silent testimonial about misplaced trust and idealism. It is real, it is reality--bodies stacked like cordwood, piled by the thousands, mass graves, misery beyond comprehension. Are we doomed to repeat that? If so, in the next conflagration it will be billions.


Is freedom really so dangerous?

Selfishness is the root of it. Can you imagine giving up your place of superiority so that someone else gets a chance? They can't.


[flagged]


Nobody's coming for the Trump Supporters. They did not play by the rules that all voluntary users of a private website agree to abide by. They are still free to support Trump on other sub reddits, are if banned from reddit they still have the rest of the internet to play in.


Nearly the entire subreddit is playing by the rules. If the actions of a minuscule percentage of anonymous social media accounts can result in the destruction of entire political forums, then this establishes a dangerous precedent. You can silence opposition groups by planting false flags and spreading infighting, hatred, and violence in their communities. It seems like the sub /r/ChapoTrapHouse seems to claiming they did just this.

We don't want a world where opposition groups are regularly trying to astroturf calls for violence in the other group. This guarantees escalation; some of these calls will be carried through.


The rules state no calls for violence. that subreddit called for violence regularly.


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