Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Reddit Censors People

Looking at my comments from my account, everything looks normal. Looking at my comments from any other account and they look deleted. Reddit not only censors people but it's gone to the trouble of building the capability to censor people without being detected. And then the assholes scream up and down about how they don't do that kind of stuff. Lying scum.

More details:

On the day I was censored, I noticed two funny things. First, my comments started life at 0 points instead of 1 point. Second, they didn't get downmodded by the army of cretins that considers themselves my enemies. The first is suspicious behaviour but could have been a glitch. The second, after a suitable period has passed, is solid evidence of censorship. I wrote my suspicions in a comment and another user told me how it looked to everyone else.

My comments were still present on my user page but they were deleted in the threads. EXCEPT for the user whom they were a direct response to. In other words, despite appearing as if they were public, my comments acted as private messages. And what's worse, everything was designed to LOOK normal to the user being censored. The conclusion is inescapable: the reddit team went out of its way to build a capability to censor people while hiding the censorship.

At some point, one of the cretins running reddit must have cottoned on to what an unmitigated public relations disaster they had on their hands and un-censored me. Today, there is no trace that I have ever been censored. Even my day-old comments have been duly downmodded. The only thing that remains is my enduring hatred and enmity of the reddit team. Not for having censored me but for hiding the censorship.

I can trust people who are evil-minded, if only that they will stay evil-minded. But I cannot trust people who lie.

11 comments:

Judge373 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
true dough said...

Huh. I've been interested in how reddit deals with commentators they don't agree with.

They need to publicize their comment policy, or whatever it is that helps them decide when to gag a user (unless I missed it). But no popular self-described democratic forum wants to be the first. The title “democratic” is too commercially valuable, so it’s better to hush individuals sub rosa.

Judge373 said...

I think the ban had a lot more to do with the repeated "you should kill yourself" and "you should commit suicide" posts that Richard had a habit of posting. These types of comments don't really engender a very welcoming discussion community.

true dough said...

Okay, you’re right. It’s just somewhat sad to see the door close. His contributions on reddit and elsewhere can be very thoughtful and interesting….when he’s pleasant.

djwhitt said...

Spez has said in the past this is one of the techniques they use to deal with spammers. They hide the affects from the spammers themselves to keep them thinking their attacks are working. They make judgments about who is a spammer and who is not based on "report" button clicks.

djwhitt said...

Hmm... well, looks like if it was an accident it's a long running one.

Richard Kulisz said...

I don't know. I DID get un-censored after about 36-48 hours. Honestly I really should stop using my new account and go back to my old one. I can no longer be certain my being censored was intentional. Of course, I never got contacted or told what had happened. It is their system, so I presume they know how to use the messaging feature. What's delaying the switchover is my enormous amusement at people who know me before and know me after and yet somehow can't recognize me. Even when my name is brought up. Comments like "you're worse than richardkulisz" said to me are just utterly bizarre. :D

Anonymous said...

your rant here seems to be paranoid and unsubstantiated

Anonymous said...

waaaa! waaaa! waaaaa!

sptrashcan said...

May I offer an alternate explanation?

1) You upset some people.
2) Those people, instead of downmodding you, clicked on the 'report' button to file claims that you were posting spam.
3) Some threshold number of reports were received by the reddit system. Your account was flagged as possibly a spambot. As part of the anti-spam measures, your comments were hidden from public view, as djwhitt suggests is done to spam accounts.
4) Some time later, a human being at reddit noticed your account was flagged as a spam bot. The flag was removed and your account reinstated.

I prefer this explanation for two reasons. First, I like to assume the best in people, and the reddit admins don't seem like the kind of people to implement arbitrary censorship of controversial postings. And second, while the censorship explanation requires a conspiracy of power-holding individuals to suppress your speech, my explanation only requires the existence of a moderately large number of ordinary reddit users who dislike you and wish to do you harm - which, for some reason, I find more likely.

As to whether this method of dealing with comment spam is the correct one to use, I can't say. Clearly it is open to some abuse, if what I surmise did in fact happen. However, any process with greater transparency for the falsely flagged would also result in greater possibility of circumvention for the spambot writer. It's a tough problem.

Anonymous said...

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