Sunday, December 23, 2018

Left / right culture war roils r/Libertarian

How Fascist Sympathizers Hijacked Reddit’s Libertarian Hangout – Mother Jones - Ali Breiland:

December 20,2018 - "For years, Reddit’s most popular libertarian board, r/Libertarian, eschewed formal moderation.... But over the course of the last several weeks, [a] new cadre of moderators have swiftly instituted strict rules they say are necessary to keep out trolls, undertaking mass bans of dissenting users.

"While the new moderators have written that they’re banning liberals and leftists whose positions are counter to the group’s, [some] longtime libertarian users of the group say ... the moves are part of a far-right digital coup targeting r/Libertarian [that] would give far-right users control of the largest libertarian subreddit, whose 261,000 subscribers make it one of the internet’s most popular libertarian communities.

"The moderators’ changes came two weeks ago, after a group of leftists users from the r/ChapoTrapHouse podcast subreddit had allegedly 'brigaded' r/Libertarian. ('Brigading' is a Reddit term for when outside users come into a group to troll it by downvoting posts.) One of r/Libertarian’s moderators, Reddit user rightc0ast, and new moderators that rightc0ast brought on between December 6 and 7, argued that they needed to tighten the group’s laissez-faire rules to protect it from outside trolling.

"'Hello, /r/Libertarian,' new moderator JobDestroyer wrote on December 8 in a now-removed post announcing the new rules.... JobDestroyer detailed a list of new restrictions barring trolling and 'off-topic' conversations, and threatened to ban anyone believed to be posing as a libertarian, but were secretly on the left.

"Most of the five new moderators have a posting history showing them taking part in r/The_Donald, an infamous pro-Trump subreddit, and r/Physical_Removal, a subreddit dedicated to the idea of eventually forcibly removing liberals and leftists from society that was banned in 2017 for 'posting content that incites violence'....

"Rightc0ast, who played a key role in taking over the group by inviting new allied moderators, ... promoted the then-upcoming Unite The Right white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. [He] has also backed the idea of an ethnostate and supported the Fash The Nation podcast, which was created by a neo-Nazi blog. On Reddit, he was a moderator of r/The_Donald and a moderator of r/Physical_Removal.

"Although before the changes the subreddit had been, for all intents and purposes, unmoderated, there were still several users on file as moderators.... Rightc0ast has been one of these moderators since 2010. Last year, some members of the group lobbied for the account to be removed... After some debate, rightc0ast ultimately remained as a moderator, but kept a low profile until after the alleged Chapo brigading. (Members of the Chapo subreddit have disputed whether such an attack was actually launched from their board.)...

"Reddit ... announced in October 2017 that it would take stricter actions against content that incites violence, leading to the closure of several far-right groups.... Users and moderators who used such groups have flocked to other subreddits like r/The_Donald.... Reddit says it’s working against users who violate its policies, but that it had no specific policy banning moderators of banned subreddits from continuing to moderate elsewhere."

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