Saturday, May 16, 2020

/r/WorldPolitics fallout

Here's something no one will care about:  Reddit moderator /u/cojoco is out of /r/WorldPolitics.  I don't think it was his decision.  I asked him why he wasn't a moderator for the subreddit anymore, and he replied, "Good question."  I also asked the top moderator of /r/WorldPolitics, /u/IAmAnAnonymousCoward, what happened,  and he replied: "I'm sure [cojoco] can give you his version. As you can imagine it got a bit hectic while we tried to keep both the subreddit and its freedoms alive."

Distractify wrote about the situation in /r/WorldPolitics, and I feel they botched the narrative a little bit.  The Distractify post quoted heavily from a thread in /r/OutOfTheLoop, and the commenters in that thread kept repeating the assertion that the moderators of /r/WorldPolitics had failed to remove rule-breaking posts.  The implication was that users were now revolting against the moderators over their failure to enforce the rules:
"These posts, aside from not being world politics, angered the users as they break reddit rule number four, which states that 'asking for votes or engaging in vote manipulation' is strictly prohibited," the commenter explained.  
"Despite demands from users to mods to remove these rule-breaking posts, the moderators refused. In retaliation, the users determined that if the mods aren’t going to do their job completely, they may as well not do it at all."
The Reddit content policy does have a section regarding vote manipulation, which states:
Vote manipulation is against the Reddit rules, whether it is manual, programmatic, or otherwise. Some common forms of vote cheating are: 
  • Using multiple accounts, voting services, or any other software to increase or decrease vote scores. 
  • Asking people to vote up or down certain posts, either on Reddit itself or through social networks, messaging, etc. for personal gain. 
  • Forming or joining a group that votes together, either on a specific post, a user's posts, posts from a domain, etc.
To be clear, that's a site-wide rule, and it's not something the moderators of /r/WorldPolitics ever put forth themselves.  But here's the thing:  I don't think the rule applies to posts with titles such as: "Epstein!  Upvote this post so it's the first result in Google Images'"  I think those posts are okay as long as there isn't any vote manipulation taking place, or as long as people aren't soliciting upvotes from other sections of Reddit.  I don't know of any instance when that type of post was found to be in violation of Reddit's site-wide rules.  (A while ago, I wrote about a post in /r/PrequelMemes which followed the same format.)  I'm sure there are moderator teams that would remove such a post, but the moderators of /r/WorldPolitics don't really care.  They allow just about whatever.  They were probably amused by it.  They are essentially running an experiment that goes: 'What happens if we don't remove anything that we don't have to?'     

Well, you get waves of porn.  That's what happens.  For now.  The porn wave is actually drying up, and the current top posts are Warhammer memes.

Tim Pool also covered the situation at /r/WorldPolitics, and, in typical Tim Pool fashion, he simplified things in a manner that didn't make sense.


I listened to the first 5 minutes of Tim's video.  (Any longer would risk rotting my brain.)  There are a couple things wrong with his analysis.  First of all, the /r/WorldPolitics subreddit has not collapsed.  It still has 1.2 million subscribers.  It's just a shitshow right now, and that shitshow will soon dissipate.

Second, the subreddit itself was not biased.  Tim doesn't know how to differentiate between Reddit as a whole and individual moderator teams.  The top moderators of /r/WorldPolitics/u/IAmAnAnonymousCoward and /u/FreeSpeechWarriorstrike me as more Libertarian than anything else, although I don't know their politics for cerain.  Also, the alleged "rule-breaking posts" didn't break any of the rules of /r/WorldPolitics.

There is an argument to be made that the top decision-makers at Reddit have a liberal biasI'm thinking of the the admins and of certain powermoderators.  But the top moderators of /r/WorldPolitics aren't part of what I'd consider the "powermod" group.  Actually, let me put it even plainer terms:  The moderators of /r/WorldPolitics are anti-censorship.  Tim Pool himself is anti-censorship.  So, yes, Tim Pool is an idiot, and he doesn't recognize that he would actually agree with the modearting principles of the people he's criticizing

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