A moderator of /r/Europe, Reddit’s largest forum for Europeans, is horrified that its users are discussing the issue of the moment — refugees and immigration.
Reddit works on the basis of popularity. Users submit links or topics for discussion in topic-specific “subreddits”, and posts rise or fall on the subreddit’s front page based on how many votes they receive from other users.
Users of the Europe subreddit, to the horror of their moderators, are now voting for more discussion of immigration. At the time of writing, 9 of the top 10 most popular posts on /r/Europe are about the refugee crisis.
In a post on the left-leaning “circlebroke” subreddit, a moderator called NorrisOBE asked for help containing what he called “immispam” on the subreddit. In other words, redditors daring to discuss immigration and expressing opinions that the site’s left-leaning authoritarian moderators would rather stay quiet on.
NorrisOBE wrote of his despair at his moderation team’s inability to control the interests of their users. “This is getting problematic,” said the mod. “I really don’t want to give up on /r/europe.”
So much problematic discussion! It’s only a matter of time before the moderators resort to smelling salts and therapy.
In his hand-wringing post, NorrisOBE expresses particular concern that “xenophobes” and (the horror!) “right-wingers” may be gaining popularity on the Europe subreddit.
Perhaps what he meant to say is that sceptics of mass immigration are gaining popularity. In a post about Hungary’s erection of a barbed-wire fence along its borders, most of the popular comments from /r/Europe were approving. The top comment reads: “Damn, these Hungarians are fast.”
Another says: “Hungary teaching us how to protect borders, applause.” Another popular post on the subreddit is a link to statistics claiming that only 1 in 5 migrants entering Europe are from Syria.
All of this has horrified the lone moderator, who has now begged left-leaning members of Reddit to advise him on how to censor and control discussion. “We’ve done everything from Mass Auto Tagging /r/european users to banning day-old accounts,” he complained. “Still does not solve the problem.”
Commenters suggested a number of solutions, including granting control of the subreddit to “SRS”, a notorious community of radical social justice warriors on Reddit. Others suggested banning any account less than a month old.
One wily commenter did not miss the comic irony of NorrisOBE’s panicked attempt to control the influx of new users to his subreddit. “This is what happens with unchecked and unlimited immigration,” he said.