The Gangs of Reddit

Robot lyfe.

When it comes to focusing the internet’s attention on a single page, used to be king. But it’s been about a year since Digg was upset by its smaller, more indie competitor: the highly-active forums of Conde Nast-owned Reddit, a generally happy place of kitten GIFs and funny memes and self-confessions and so on. But in the more divisive sub-forums, writes The Daily Dot, evil lurks. “Like any community, Reddit has its dark sides. It has neighborhoods rife with porn, racism, misogyny, and violence. And it’s also got gangs,” The Daily Dot wrote ominously yesterday.

Gangs?! On Reddit?!

“Often referred to as downvote squads, these groups of users usually build up around shared ideologies. They launch attacks from their home subreddits—the topically themed sections of the social news site where they meet likeminded types and organize. Then they jump around the site and downvote en masse posts or comments with which they disagree.”

The Daily Dot is referring specifically to threads like r/mensrights, r/feminisms, r/libertarian, and r/hockey. A post in r/mensrights last month received 10,023 up votes and 8,736 down votes. Evidence of a divisive issue? Or a gang conspiracy like the squads that once trolled Digg?

We haven’t seen too many accusations of group downvoting on Reddit itself lately, so we were a bit surprised to see the Daily Dot raise the alarm. We did find one post that was a fake call-to-arms:

“Apparently our fellow redditors aren’t that fond of us,” writes user soupyhands in the Canucks hockey subreddit, in response to an accusation that the Canadians were forming downvote squads. “I guess Haters gonna Hate. I guess its too much for them that we have a team in the final and we are the largest hockey subreddit.” Fighting words! The Gangs of Reddit