Any conversation about the alt-right and the internet always seems to spiral back to Reddit and /r/the_donald, a the unofficial water cooler for Trump supporters during the election and after it.
Users and mods of /r/the_donald have tread a fine line between enthusiastic support for a political candidate and online abuse, which has caused all sorts of problems within Reddit. Following some serious internal drama that you probably don’t care about, Reddit is now “taking a more proactive approach to policing behavior that is detrimental to Reddit:” removing /r/the_donald posts from Reddit’s main page.
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In a blog post, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced two major actions. Posts from The Donald will no longer appear in /r/all, a page that shows users the top posts from across Reddit, rather than just subs they’re subscribed to. It would be like Google de-listing a page from search results: it’s not explicitly censoring content, as you can still find it if you know where to look. But for casual users of Reddit, removing a subreddit from /r/all dramatically decreases that sub’s general reach.
In addition, Huffman also said that Reddit will take action against hundreds of its “most toxic users,” with actions ranging from warnings to permanent bans.
The decision, as with anything Reddit admins do, is going to polarize people on every side. Some users and mods have been calling for /r/the_donald to be outright banned; others will say that since /r/the_donald is not overtly tolerant of Reddit rule-breaking and instead just offends people by providing contrary opinion, Reddit shouldn’t do anything to censor the sub.
Either way, it’s a complicated issue, and these two actions are highly unlikely to actually solve anything. For a more complete background of the issues, you’ll need to sift through the mountain of Reddit politics and in-fighting to actually work out what’s going on on the “front page of the internet.”
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