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Censorship on News subreddits

It is important to first define censorship.

Removing posts for violating guidelines, or even on certain overall subjects is fine. For example, /r/Harvard put a temporary moratorium on current Israel/Palestine posts in the middle east, given comments' tendency to spiral out of control.

And before we get to an actual censorship example, I'd like to request that people to not brigade, complain about moderators, or otherwise engage in uncivil discourse. These are reddit's rules, and /r/WatchRedditDie was shut down for these reasons. Whether I agree with them or not.

The point of this post is to let people know that their feed is a highly specific point of view, and the typical reddit rules and expectations do not apply when vast swathes of posts get removed. With 27 million subscribers, the lines between "news" and "selective news" become very important.

Censorship on Reddit means curating articles, news, and viewpoints on subreddits to conform with a specific, narrow, view. Anything that falls outside the accepted narrative is removed for challenging that view.

Some may point to China's policy of banning google, facebook, and so on as examples. But on reddit, it typically manifests as removing articles that meet submission guidelines, may have civil discourse, but are removed because the mods don't like it.

And we have a nice example from yesterday as a perfect case example:

Penn president resigns amid backlash to her testimony on antisemitism - 11k+ upvotes, ~3000 comments.

Antisemitism at its core only becomes "politics" if it is viewed as a partisan problem. This is real news, and yet... it's gone. Just search the title on the subreddit, nothing will come up - for reasons we can only speculate.

Here's another example, as an article from CNN. When asking the mods why it was removed, anecdotally, I was given a complete ban from messaging the mods.

But these two aren't the only cases. Just from the last few weeks, the graveyard of removed - highly upvoted - posts well outweigh those that still remain up. Unfortunately, this is on main subreddits with 27M people subscribed - a literal circlejerk of articles that appeal to rage and specific viewpoints, all others removed.

Plenty of articles have been removed in regards to the conflict - one, two, three. But the question begging to be answered is why a domestic article about a fairly big congressional hearing, and a resignation from college president, has been removed after thousands of upvotes?

I'll leave that to you.

19:20 UTC


Has anyone worked on how to approximate bananas in the recap to time on site, and post and comment view count?

1 Comment
18:11 UTC


"Because you've shown interest in a similar community"

WTF is this idiotic algorithm about? I'm interested in my hometown, so maybe I should be interested in any random town on the same continent? Really getting tired of this shit Reddit.

02:48 UTC


Is there a subdomain for the current (older, not old) mobile web design?

Basically the title. I know the new-new design lives under the "sh" domain, the old-new design is under "new" and old reddit lives on under "old".

The current mobile web design though doesn't seem to have a dedicated subdomain which means when Reddit decides to kick you over to the new-new design, there's no way to access the old-new mobile design.

Is there a dedicated sub-domain for the current (I don't know how better to describe it) mobile web design?

Disclaimer: I built an iOS extension to de-crappify Reddit web. Unfortunately, a large number of my users have been force updated to the new-new design with no way to opt out.

1 Comment
05:00 UTC


The three deadly sins of poor Reddit discussion

My day job entails writing or reading a lot of written reports that contain logical reasoning to make a decision. I know this is the internet, where logical reasoning isn't necessarily expected. But on Reddit it is frustrating to see or experience poor quality discussion where the intention is to be logical and rational, but the logic is flawed. I've been on this site for ten years now, so I have seen a lot of this. It goes without saying that over the past ten years I have seen the quality of discussion decline.

Here are the three deadly sins of poor Reddit discussion I have observed:

1) Using anecdotes to disprove averages and using averages to disprove anecdotes.

Thankfully most Redditors are smart enough to realize you can't disprove averages with anecdotes. For example, Person A writes "Smoking causes cancer" then Person B replies "Well actually Uncle Bob smoked 50 a day and didn't cough once in his life". This tends to be a fallacy only older generations fall for so you see less of it on Reddit.

Redditors fall for opposite: trying to disprove anecdotes with averages. For example, Person A writes "House prices in my area have fallen this year" then Person B replies "Well actually this source tells us the average US house price rose by 4% YoY". As this sub is probably aware of, averages summarize an average trend to which there are outliers and deviations. At a local level a house price can fall, but the national price can still rise. I have seen situations where people get downvoted and mocked because apparently their observation has been disproven with an average. Both the anecdote and average can be right.

2) Double counting pros and cons

This is a frustrating fallacy to watch or experience. Someone could make a thoughtful post to the effect of "I have considered all of the pros and cons of option A and all of the pros and cons of option B. On balance I support option A over option B because..." Then someone will provide a lazy rebuttal like "Well option A has this disadvantage so it sucks". The original post has already factored in the disadvantaged cited by the replier and explained why despite this advantage it is the better option.

A practical example: "The advantage of taking the train to work is that it is faster but the drawback is it is more expensive. Taking the car to work is slower when I get stuck in traffic, but it does work out cheaper because I already own a car. On balance I think riding a train to work is the better option because it is way faster in rush hour traffic and only slightly more expensive." Then the rebuttal is 'Nah the train is expensive'.

Sometimes the fallacy is not as obvious as this, but it happens regularly with more subtlety

3) Inconsistent burden of proof

This fallacy comes from each subreddit having a 'hivemind' or a bias towards a particular view point. If a post is submitted to a subreddit that supports the mainstream narrative of that subreddit with weak evidence, the post / comment will receive upvotes. It is telling the community what it wants to hear. But if you submit a convincing, well researched, referenced post that disagrees with the mainstream narrative, the submission will likely be downvoted. Redditors in general are stubborn and will support lazy content, over quality content, if it reinforces their existing opinion. I have also seen and experienced situations that play out like this: Person A "I believe in X", Person B "That's not true at all", Person A "Yes it is, if you don't believe me check out this source". The source can be perfectly fine and remove any doubt that the statement is correct, and still Person B will reply to the effect of: "Nah the problem with that is you are talking about something slightly different from X, here is a low quality source that proves my point instead". Of course the hivemind doesn't care about quality of sources so will upvote Person B.

On a similar theme, it's also a cheap debating tactic on Reddit for two people to have a reasonable discussion without making the effort of citing sources. Then when one person starts to emerge as the debate winner, the loser will demand sources to discredit the argument. Sometimes it is necessary to cite sources to justify something extreme or unlikely. But often it is just used as a tool to impede a debate from progressing.

21:30 UTC


Is there a name for this debating tactic?

I see it all the time on the internet but particularly on Reddit. It basically consist of Person A advancing an argument and Person B "fact-checking" A's claim, finding a minor factual or logical error and acting as if this was sufficient reason to dismiss the whole thesis even though the central point wasn't really refuted.

To give a fictional example:

Person A: "Although Indonesia's population is still fairly young and growing, its fertility rate is decreasing fast and is now below replacement levels. This means that the country will eventually face the issue of an aging and shrinking workforce."

Person B: "Actually Indonesia's fertility rate stands at 2.2 as of the latest official statistics. Therefore you are wrong."

Now, Person B has pointed out a genuine factual error (the replacement rate is commonly defined as 2.1 and 2.2 is above that) but that doesn't really refute A's central point (a quick check of the data shows that the fertility rate has been decreasing fast for years in Indonesia and neighbouring countries and there's few reasons to think the trend will reverse itself). B is therefore wrong to dismiss the thesis entirely without further argumentation.

I intentionally picked a silly example but you see it a lot when people discuss more controversial subjects and are extremely eager to win the argument or close the discussion and save face when they feel they are "losing". It also happens with people who want to look smart and factual but don't want to expend the effort of engaging in genuine deep discussion.

08:14 UTC


Reddit is governed by Snoo's Razor

Occam's Razor- The simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

Hanlon's Razor- Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Snoo's Razor- The evilest explanation for an event is the most likely.

Puppy on the side of the road? Someone must have thrown it out like a piece of trash and abandoned it there. It's not possible that it's just a stray or that it got out of someone's backyard.

Boyfriend is insecure about a male friend? He must be cheating and projecting. It's not possible that he simply has trust issues or low self esteem.

03:17 UTC


New Method of Advertising?

TLDR: I think some posts and some comments are ads disguised as normal discussion or engineered to elicit real discussion that effectively serves as an ad.

Long version:

I’ve been on Reddit thru various accounts for almost 15 years. I’ve noticed a certain trend occurring in the last 5 or so years, but way more in the last 1-2. Here’s what I’m seeing:

I will come across a post. It doesn’t usually matter what kind of post it is, it can vary from text to link to meme, etc. The comment section will then contain a series of users that refer to brands, products, media, etc., that are appropriate in terms of being on topic with the original post, but feel kinda weird in terms of how intense the sentiment is or how vigorous the sub-discussion is. Additionally, sometimes when I look up what the comments are referring to, I find they are launching a new product or (re)releasing something.

Example: In one of the geographic subreddits they asked about brands emblematic of the culture of that area. There were lots of expected comments re brands originating popular in that area, but the discourse seemed very confined and repetitious.

Then I look up the “positive” comment brands and see they are expanding into markets in which the “negative” brands are highly regarded.

Idk it makes it seems it’s a guided discussion to change perceptions on two competing companies. I do concede that both companies are generally popular in the area.

Example 2: I’ve noticed on discussions on posts about media. That sometimes unusual answers get strong responses. Then I look up the media and there’s a sequel or rerelease coming out. This has happened in posts about movies, books, and other media.

Conclusion: idk, it could be that I’m just paranoid and that the community is changing organically and shares similar strong views on things or that maybe culture’s views on things are lining up so that Reddit is in tune with the zeitgeist.

I do think that with advance analytics and tools like ChatGPT, it would be easy to pay to seed conversions that serve as indirect, and I would argue more effective, ads.

(No I’m not crazy, but I did study the psychology of propaganda.)

23:00 UTC


What are your theories on why people in 2015-2019 abandoned their accounts?

I have since about 2019 seen dozens of these. In many cases they posted in niche subs, hobby subs, meme subs or the teenager subs for three-four years when they abruptly stop posting. It is not the case that they necessarily post in all types listed above.

In many cases they were not posting in support subs or the like. I do suspect perhaps they left reddit because of the disturbing content that swept the sub till the Great Purge of 2020 (Reddit's new implementation of site wide rule 1 & the ban waves) but I am open to the idea that they probably just got bored, did something different, or just left.

These accounts I have seen usually do not spend most of their time on meme, funny, or subs like selfawarewolves or politics. It's possible they probably just made a new account but I am thinking if you are going to ghost your account wouldn't you delete it?

19:15 UTC


When/why did this sub shift so much to the average reddit "center" ?

Apparently a lot of users here think reddit actually IS really smart and nutrituous for productive exchange. 80% of the people here seem to be pompous, with an emphasis on appearing as intellectual as possible, just like most redditors. If you say that reddit isn't better than other social media, you'll be in for a bunch of downvotes ... It used to be better, way better. All the good, controversial meta posts used to be from here.

10:07 UTC


So, where is this supposed "pro-Israel" bias that is supposed to exist in Reddit?

I've been closely following the current conflict in Israel and it seems that 99% of Reddit has gone deep into the Pallywood rabbit hole lately. I've been wading through this swamp lately, and all I'm seeing are basically pro-terrorist propaganda from the Arab side. I've found it nearly impossible to find any balanced viewpoint, and even rarer still is a voice from the Israeli side which exposes the truth of the Hamas brutality. Even the few that do exist are allowed only begrudgingly.

For one the "Palestinians" lead by Hamas are willing to deny us the opportunity to expose the connections between the absolute problems that they are causing for Israel and the civilized world, especially given that it itself are the cause of such actions. What Hamas supporters are incapable of seeing is that its efforts to punish victims while cheering on criminals are unpardonable. In view of that, it is not surprising that it talks a lot about things like "ceasefires" (again it was predictable that they used the ceasefire to regroup and fire more WMD's and missles at Israeli civilians). However, it’s never actually defined what it means. How can Hamas argue for something it’s never defined? You don’t have to answer that question. I merely request that you take note of the fact that Hamas has indicated that if we don’t let it impose a narrow theological agenda on secular society then it’ll be forced to kill more innocent people.

I've been sifting through countless threads, here on Reddit, trying to find a balanced perspective on the whole Middle East situation. Every single thing that is allowed is what I can only describe as pro-Terrorist, Arab propaganda. The anti-semites will tell you otherwise and say that "Hasbara operatives" are trying to influence reddit yet nothing could be further from the truth. The very thought that Jewish people are secretly moving en-masse to push an agenda in and of itself is anti-semitic, and "hasbara" is an antisemitic meme thrown around to discredit any narrative that doesn't align the terrorist viewpoint.

I just want clarity, not to be caught in the crossfire of an online information war. If there's a genuine effort to maintain a pro-Israel image on Reddit, where is it? Show me the posts, the comments, the evidence that counters this overwhelming wave of what some might call biased storytelling. Until then, I'll be here, navigating the murky waters of online discourse, desperately searching for a semblance of balance in a sea of conflicting narratives.

05:13 UTC


Why is no one talking about home feed

There was a algorithm change during the api changes and it now shows posts based on how many people interacted with it (or how much time a user spends on a post). It makes sense for popular tab because every other social media is doing it.

But reddit also implemented the same algorithm for the home feed. So if you have subscribed to a subreddit and haven't interacted it with for a while, it no longer shows posts from that sub. That makes no sense to me. Its like you go to the youtube subscriptions page and you don't see videos from your subscribed channels. Which is why thousands of subreddits no longer get the reach they got before (including this subreddit)

20:52 UTC


Theory: a huge amount of Reddit is basically “superiority porn”

Here’s my theory:

A ton of content that gets upvoted on Reddit can be explained as what I would call “superiority porn”

The idea is that users can come on here and consume this content and get a nice “hit” or boost of superiority which makes you feel good/smarter/better in general.

Especially if your IRL life is not that great it can make you feel better.

It gives you that feeling of “well at least I’m not like that” , “I would never do that”, or “glad I’m on the right side”

Some examples

  • Most of the political content

  • All the cringe subreddits

  • IAmTheMainCharacter

  • IdiotsInCars

  • MildlyInfuriating

  • KidsAreFuckingStupid

  • Facepalm

  • The atheism subreddit

  • SelfAwarewolves

  • LeopardsAteMyFace

  • NoahGetTheBoat

18:40 UTC


Am I the only one that thinks r/AITAH 99% rage bait?

I somewhat feel insensitive but I just can’t bring myself to believe the majority of the stories, but then I look at the comments and everyone is fully into it giving genuine advice. Idk I just feel like an asshole cause i want to comment on most of the posts calling it fake

04:23 UTC


Does Reddit admin allow censorship in important subs? How far is too far?

Imagine a specific country's subreddit, where all kinds of people with all kinds of views could gather and debate about important subjects. The r/ is literally the name of said country.

Now, what's Reddit take on such sub having a like-minded heavily politically biased group of mods who ban those who personally disagree with them, solely for disagreeing with them, creating hostile grounds for those who think diversely?

I don't think there's a rule against that. But... Should there be? What would a solution to it look like?

This is happening right now to my country's sub.

15:01 UTC


How do some Reddit posts have hundreds or thousands of upvotes but all comments disagree with OP?

It's odd, innit?

13:44 UTC


Reddit detectives and limits to sleuthing

A juror and his wife were doxed on reddit and the comments are now part of a court document. The couple identified themselves on a private facebook group, and photos were posted on reddit to connect it to other social media accounts. The legal team acknowledged and encouraged the tips they got from users of the subreddit.

Most mods would be careful about any unredacted facebook screenshots. But from the legal filing, the comments only posted photos, not their full names. It's not the first time this happened where other subreddits skirt the rules of personal information.

So where does this fall under reddit's content policy? And where do we draw the line in public information and encouraging behavior that amounts to doxing private individuals?

05:23 UTC


At what time are there the most users active on Reddit?

1 Comment
05:03 UTC


Theory about some high-karma users

Very often when I run across a Redditor with huge karma e.g. high 6 digits or even more, I notice certain trends. One is that they post in gaming subs, and these posts tend to be screenshots of something they just did, and get 1000s of up votes. So it seems these gamers get huge amounts of karma over a relatively short period of time, and that they're all furiously up voting each other. Also if one of these people comments on something I've said, it's usually a belligerent comment. Like what a stranger might say to you if you happened to walk into a neighborhood where they don't like your sort.

Some people really deserve their karma, especially some brilliant artists, but I really think there are fewer of those.

02:12 UTC


Wait time between modmail messages

Is there any guideline on how long to wait between unanswered messages to mods via modmail?

One of my comments was removed from my own post (a reply to someone else), and I wanted to know why. It's just that one comment, as all my other comments on that same post are still there. But there's nothing controversial or objectionable about the comment; not even a curse word.

I've had trouble getting caught up in spam filters in the past, but I didn't know if that could happen with just one comment.

I sent modmail once on a Friday night then again 24 hours later on Saturday night after not getting a response. It didn't yield an answer, but it earned me a 28-day modmail mute and an insult-laden reply, lambasting me for daring to "spam" them on a weekend.

Is there a "respectable" amount of time to wait?

23:12 UTC


AI content

I see more and more content that seems to be AI generated. This is both in queries and responses. Is this to generate hits on a post to bring up numbers, what is the purpose in using AI, your query is fake, your response is fake. Who does this and why?

16:26 UTC


Has dog-piling on reddit gotten worse?

By dog-piling I mean when someone gets excessively downvoted, think above 20 downvotes on one comment.

When I first got on reddit, I feel like it was relatively rare for someone to be downvoted that excessively and usually when they did it was an aggressive user or someone saying something very controversial. Nowadays I see people in -20 plus on pretty banal comments. Look at these examples:

example 1

example 2

This isn't about whether these comments deserved to be downvoted, its more the extent. I feel like a few years ago these kind of comments would have got 10 downvotes at most. Has anyone else noticed this or is it all in my head?

20:41 UTC


Did "Twitter refugees" make Reddit worse?

I've just noticed an uptick in aggressive people who seem to treat Reddit the same way I saw people use Twitter. Reddit has always had its own brand of toxicity, but this feels different. Just a lot of hyper-accusatory users, a lot of snark and hair-trigger aggression.

Similar to how tumblr imploding caused people to complain about "tumblr refugees" because of how insular the culture of the site was. Suddenly the userbase flooded into other spaces without really checking the ultra moralistic and "call out" obsessed attitudes and niche politics of the tumblr community.

Or has Reddit always been this way and I've only recently noticed it? This is just an impression and I may be wrong.

Edit: I realize that Reddit DID have a massive far right hate problem in the past, so to be perfectly clear, I'm talking about the relative short term. Reddit a year or two ago vs. now. I chose my original words carefully to avoid suggesting that Reddit has no toxicity of its own as well. Thanks!

13:04 UTC


How can bots like Saferbot ban users if they block these bots?

I wonder how that is possible. These bots scan other subreddits to check if users post or comment on subreddits that are used for karma farming. However, these bots are not a moderator on these karma-farming subreddits, meaning that if the posts that users submit there automatically gets removed, or if users block these bots, then these bots will be unable to ban the users who participate in karma-farming subreddits. I wonder how these bots still manage to ban users despite users blocking these bots.

19:12 UTC


Reddit is Overwhelmingly Left Leaning because of Working From Home

I know that title sounds incredibly odd, but I’ve always wondered why a majority of Redditors are left leaning when right leaning people make up a majority of people in real life. This might be completely off but, I believe the vast majority of people who use Reddit work from home, are students or are unemployed. I think this because I’ve had this week off work so I have been using Reddit more frequently than usual. Something I have noticed is that people are posting and regularly commenting at like 11am or 3pm (this isn’t due to time zones because I live in the UK and people still post on UK subs at these times) which would lead me to believe that these people either don’t work or work from home. Studies have shown that unemployed people, students and people who work from home generally lean more left politically than employed people. That’s my theory.

10:27 UTC


Are people supposed to keep a list of subreddits they've been banned from an older accounts? What happens if you post again under a new account? Is it ban evasion?

I had an account for years and years. I showed someone at work a reddit post and they gleaned my username. I decided to wipe the account (shout out to the Bulk Delete extension) and start over.

In a few years, I might forget the subreddits I've been banned from. If I end up trying to comment, will I get nailed for evasion?

[For the curious, one sub I was banned from for participating in another sub (which one was never specified) and the other one was me being a poindexter about a point which was interpreted as anti-whatever the subs ideology was (which I agreed with).]

22:35 UTC


Why is Reddit so left wing?

Saying anything about Trump or Republicans are good would get you downvoted to hell and banned form a subreddit you said that on, Saying you support Israel would get you compared to Hitler and called a Nazi. And don’t get me started on Reddit during Covid 19, free speech did not exist.

03:25 UTC

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