Thursday, December 19, 2013

Reddit has banned climate change deniers, and ripped its own reputation to shreds

Reddit, the massively popular links-sharing website where users post stories, pictures or info that they find interesting, prides itself on being open and liberal. It describes itself as “passionately dedicated to free speech”. In which case, why has it banned from its forums anyone who raises awkward or annoying questions about the science of climate change?

In a move that has been described by one British academic as “positive censorship”, a Reddit moderator has announced that Reddit is becoming “increasingly stringent with deniers”. The Reddit moderator says climate “contrarians” were too often expressing “uninformed and outspoken opinions”, and so the site decided to adopt a much more “proactive moderation”. Now, whenever a user makes a “potentially controversial submission” on climate change, the moderators issue that user with a “warning”. If the user persists in posting “potentially controversial submissions”, he’s “banned from the forum”.

Reddit’s moderators are really happy with the results of their war against the expressers of “outspoken opinions” on climate change. They found that by “negating the ability of this misguided group to post to the forum” (a long-winded way of saying “banning them”), there has been a “change in the culture within the comments”. “Where once there were personal insults and bitter accusations, there is now discussion of the relevant aspects of [scientific] research”, we are told. In short, having expelled outspoken, controversial “deniers” from its forums, Reddit now finds that its discussions of climate change are more measured – that is, on-message, conformist, uncontroversial.

This is pretty shocking stuff. Of course, all online forums – including Telegraph Blogs – moderate their discussion threads, removing libellous, racist, homophobic, and gratuitously offensive material. That is absolutely fine. Such moderation often helps to keep debates on track.

But Reddit is talking about something quite different. It’s talking about removing specific political opinions; it’s talking about targeting the expression of a particular idea – that the case for climate change is overblown – and squashing it. This is political censorship, designed to silence the expression of dissent



Anonymous said...

Unsaid by Reddit is that the "personal insults and bitter accusations" were being made for the most part by the people who they did not ban.

Anonymous said...

Why are you so shocked, Jon? You regularly censor and delete posts here on this blog. Hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Censorship: the reaction of the ignorant to freedom.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the "slippery slope".

Anonymous said...

Without censorship, the Left would have no rational arguments to make. It is only through censorship that they can make themselves heard.

D said...

Oh fiddle. Now I'm going to have to go check Reddit out and see what the moderators consider " . . . discussion of the relevant aspects of [scientific] research”

I went, looked and found nothing but pro-warming articles and comments as well as the announcement Reddit posted banning non-believers:

"NewsReddit’s science forum banned climate deniers. Why don’t all newspapers do the same? As moderators responsible for what millions of people see, we felt that to allow a handful of commenters to so purposefully mislead our audience was simply immoral."

They went on to say in another post that if a reputable scientist submitted a peer reviewed article doubting global warming it would be published.

I have to wonder if they would consider anyone doubting global warming as reputable.

Dean said...

That above is my post. #@&% shaky hands hit the enter key before I got my name typed.

Anonymous said...

It's understandable that the religious zealots of global warming at Reddit ban heretics from commenting. They may cause people to open their eyes to the truth about the worlds biggest scam.

Anonymous said...

If the Left was/is so dedicated to this cause, why did they find it necessary to change the name from (global warming) to (climate change)?

Anonymous said...

"If the Left was/is so dedicated to this cause, why did they find it necessary to change the name from (global warming) to (climate change)?"

Maybe because it was more accurate? You sir, are a numbskull.