Reddit's /r/technology demoted over scandal of secret censorship that blocked Internet freedom stories

It’s trolling to discuss the NSA’s activities from a technical perspective?

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Please, censorship? This is clearly just “unpublishing”.

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Sounds like a stupid idea

Demoting a subreddit for censorship until it gets its shit together?

Sounds like a pretty smart idea to me. One less shitty subreddit to pollute and disparage the high-traffic reddit front page and it will hopefully send a message to other subs as well.

Also, it should be noted that it wasn’t really about censorship. The moderators there are out of control for a number of reasons. Censorship was just symptom of other issues.

Many others and myself have been warning the mods for a very long time that the chickens were coming home to roost for them. You can whine along with them if you’d like, but they’re merely sleeping in the beds they’ve made for themselves.

Edit: Upon reading your post again, I now wonder if you meant that blocking keywords was the stupid idea? If that’s the case, I agree with you.

I wish more places would ban endless discussion of hotbutton/troll topics.

So does the NSA. I’m sure they hate any “hotbutton/troll” topic (as you call it) that makes them uncomfortable.

Frankly, I think it’s a victory for humanity that it’s a contentious topic and I can only pray that it remains an “endless discussion” until government overreach, etc. is quelled.

The nice thing about these so-called “hotbutton/troll” topics is you are free to ignore them just as you are free to ignore it here within boingboing.net. The door is wide open for you to walk out at any time.

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Yes, people purposelessly start flame wars to throw a general topic into a flame war. It’s practically the definition of trolling.

Yawn, NSA lets argue about it for 5000 posts…

Drop the self importance and hyperbole. There are million places online where you can continue you bold fight for the freedom of humanity.

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Isn’t also kind of trolling to ignore someone’s question?

@jerwin specifically asked you if it was “… trolling to discuss the NSA’s activities from a technical perspective”. No mention of starting “flame wars” to throw off a general topic, etc.

Also, how can one throw off a topic into a flame war if they aren’t allowed to create a topic on the topic in the first place? That’s what was happening at r/technology.

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i take it you come down firmly on the side of the NSA? Are Human rights merely a nostalgia for a more primitive age, before we reengineered our society to be more efficient?

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[quote=“rider, post:26, topic:29142”]Yawn, NSA lets argue about it for 5000 posts… … Drop the self importance and hyperbole.
[/quote]

Seems to me you’re applying your own self-importance upon others. If you don’t like topics on the NSA, then you’re free to move along and let others discuss it in peace.

And, I merely mentioned the NSA because it was a censored keyword. It’s you that applied hyperbole with your “5000 posts” drivel.

Try working on your own self-awareness, perhaps?

There are million places online where you can continue you bold fight for the freedom of humanity.

And, there are millions of places online where you can continue your tepid fight for mediocrity.

That’s my point. If you don’t like NSA debates, you can ignore them. Calling for their censorship because the debate harms your own fragile sensibilities is pretty lame.

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If it hurts, you’re doing it wrong, or you just shouldn’t be doing it.

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Yea, that’s what I meant!

I spent many years on an interest-based web forum (I was even the sys admin). But hot-button, off-topic posts (mostly of a “conspiracy theory” type eventually drove me away. A word ban-list would have been a bad idea, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted…

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My reddit activity’s shrunk from heavy user to <5 min/day thanks to the celebrity mod system - It makes no sense to have the same (inactive) mods in charge of all of the front page reddits. Even if they had time to take care of them all, it seems to run counter to the idea that each reddit is more or less an independent community.

They’ve done a disservice by getting rid of /r/reddit (even if it was a spam haven) and sending the new users to the other large reddits instead.

Disclosure: I mod a smaller (~35k) reddit, we let the users’ votes decide everything but spam and things against Reddit rules, and my mod duties can be done pretty damn quickly.

Of course the correct thing to do here would be to have a public policy that repeated stories along these lines are forbidden. Then everyone could discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of this policy on their meta.

Public leadership and public decision making is good. Secret decisions made and enforced by cabal… not so much.

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Speaking as a moderator for one of the default subreddits, I see where rules like this come from. The defaults get tons of posts and comments every day, far too many for any individual to handle on their own. A few tools (specifically automoderator) have been made to programmatically handle posts that don’t need human eyes to look at them. For example, in AskScience, we have a rule in Automoderator that flags posts without a question mark because one of our subreddit rules is that the question itself should be the title of the post. If your post doesn’t have a question mark, you probably didn’t put your question in the title line. Human moderators have the power to override these rules on a case-by-case basis, but if the rules are well thought out, this is fairly rare.

Also, keep in mind that subreddits exist on the continuum between openness and curation, and what may seem like censorship might just be an attempt to manage the conversation. Blocking internet freedom stories in technology makes a lot of sense, because there was a long period of time where almost every single topic on /r/technology was about Snowden, the NSA, net neutrality, etc. Discussion of new technologies, new products, and industry happenings sort of disappeared. Moreover, the new articles were often blogspam (or the syndicated equivalent thereof), and the comment sections were rarely enlightening, with people making the same points over and over again. I’ve never moderated for /technology, but even as a reader who fully endorses internet freedom as an important cause, the subreddit became monstrously tedious.

For what it’s worth, AskScience also “censors” in the sense that we don’t tolerate people coming in to push their pseudoscientific theories. If your question is “Why don’t doctors realize that homeopathy really works?” or “Why don’t modern physicists understand plasma cosmology?” then you’re gonna get shot down. Of course, if someone wants an actual explanation for why those theories are wrong, that’s another story entirely.

We also censor in the sense that we kick out a lot of questions that are just poorly thought out, too easily answered with google, asked too often, or otherwise bad.

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Yeah encouraging people to discuss political topics in the appropriate sub reddit means I’m all for supporting NSA spying.

Stop being such an extremest it turns people against you.

Stop being such an extremest it turns people against you.

Not in my experience.

I wish more of Reddit – actually all of Reddit – did this.

/askscience is one of the most frequently cited good examples of what Reddit can be, but it takes strong, arguably even severe moderation to get there. Reddit has a problem in that the founders kind of framed it as this libertarian “anything goes, no stupid rules” wonderland, but the actual best reddits are always framed by really strict moderation.

And strict moderation is something we knew a thing or two about at Stack Exchange…

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And how do you feel about /r/AdviceAnimals?

Why does reddit have an up and down vote on topics, then? If the users don’t like a topic, they can vote it down and it weens them out. If the users like a topic, they can vote it up and it’ll get popular or whatever. If a topic has mild interest, it’ll hover around for a bit.

The main problem I’ve seen at reddit is that sockpuppets and up/down vote brigades like these guys shown below are absolutely out of control. That should be the focus for moderators and the devs at reddit.

This same shit is happening at reddit:

Sounds to me you’d be happier just writing your own blog instead of being a part of something that’s supposed to be participatory like reddit.

Maybe you mods should worry less about offering your own editorial opinions through censorship and focus more on making reddit a great participatory place that’s not crushed by abuses of the system?

Blocking internet freedom stories in technology makes a lot of sense, because there was a long period of time where almost every single topic on /r/technology was about Snowden, the NSA, net neutrality, etc.

Once again, why bother with offering voting at all, then? If you want reddit to be more of a dictatorship because popular stories hurt your own fragile sensibilities, why not just remove voting then and stop the charade?

You can start your own blog and be the editor, etc. - Sounds like a better fit for you.

Discussion of new technologies, new products, and industry happenings sort of disappeared.

But, they didn’t disappear. They were just less popular topics. Maybe instead of being a control freak, the moderators can just let subreddits go into the direction the users want?

Perhaps as time goes on and things like NSA overreach are finally addressed, your favorite topics will come back to being popular again?

Well, fortunately, your kind of thinking was rejected and r/technology has been demoted because of control freaks.

For what it’s worth, AskScience also “censors”

That’s worth very little to me, thanks.

what may seem like censorship might just be an attempt to manage the conversation

That’s an interesting way of putting it.

I’m sure I’ll be punished over at reddit for this, but so be it - I’ve learned to relish downvotes from reddit like a badge of honor.

Perhaps the voting algorithms could be tweaked to promote more diversity.

If the same minority consistently up-vote the same stories over and over, perhaps their voting block can be weighted less in future votes.