Reddit has banned climate change deniers, and ripped its own reputation to shreds
By Brendan O’Neill
December 18th, 2013
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.