Political Backlash on Reddit

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Unlike Digg, Reddit allows its users to submit pages from the Reddit.com URL. Often this leads to wildly popular headlines that are simply criticisms of Reddit and its voting system. While the efficacy of these critiques is debatable, it has certainly fostered a degree of openness that is very difficult to find on Digg. Today we take a look at one particular form of backlash brewing against the culture of Reddit.
Since sites like Digg and Reddit exploded in popularity, it was only a matter of time before people tried to take advantage of them for their own purposes. Famously, people have used the internet to an unprecedented extent as a means of promoting Ron Paul, potentially illicitly. But more generally, people have tried to use these sites to advocate their personal political views.
It’s undeniable that these sites skew to the left politically, and favor atheists like Christopher Hitchens and Dawkins, who are heralded as the harbingers of a new intellectual movement in the U.S. But when people take this too far, it can have unintended consequences.
Take this example, in which a spam site was submitted with the headline “VOTE UP if you want GEORGE BUSH in Prison!!!” This reflexively caused hundreds of Redditors to vote up the story, regardless of the fact that the content behind the link was completely useless. It spawned this popular Reddit story, which took the users to task for falling for such sensationalist tactics. Another similar incident occurred here.
The moral of this story is that using these sites to advocate your political views (or perhaps more accurately, to metaphorically shove your political views down others’ throats) is a really good way to not only alienate visitors, but create a backlash among the site’s users that may ultimately damage your cause. As we discussed a few months ago, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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