The Management Of Misinformation On Reddit

The management of misinformation On Reddit

With 5.6 million members, the Reddit r/politics is a massive online forum. NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with the moderator of “Qu1nlan” to manage discussions in an age of disinformation.


The discussion and news-aggregation site Reddit sees some of the most web traffic in the United States, ranking higher than both Netflix and Instagram. In the Reddit forums, called subreddits, users can find, cooking, advice, book recommendations, blooming TV-discussions, all sorts of topics – even in politics.

Our next guest is the presenter of the main political subreddit r/politics. We are not called him by his name, because the threats to the physical damage and doxxing so often on Reddit. He goes by the user name Qu1nlan, and he told us that he sees, they usually talk about impeachment these days. And although it has a slight lean to the left politically, there is a user on Reddit from all over the political spectrum.

QU1NLAN: We see a lot of really high level, the good intention of the discussion with the people, to quote the citing links, sources, talk about why you think the way you think. But we also see some people who just say, Trump 2020 or accuse him and lock him up. But we see people change their opinion about the lower-level, less divisive things, such as, for example, support the gender-inclusive restrooms, or do you support the Keystone XL pipeline? – Things like that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We here at NPR for covering the, quote, unquote, “fake news” in its original sense – you know, disinformation, misleading information, the masked journalism or facts – for years. How do you and your team of moderators deal with it?

QU1NLAN: in short, we do not know. We are a team of over 50 moderators on a subreddit of 5.6 million people. We don’t have the resources that could have a team like Facebook or Twitter, with tons and tons of paid fact-checkers. So in General, if we see fake news, which we know is not factually correct, we will tell you to go ahead and encourage our users to-go Basis and the fact is-look at it yourself and comment, well, here’s the reason why this news is a fake, and here are the sources to back it up. And here is why you should not believe everything you see on the Internet.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It sounds like a pretty unregulated community. It is what you like about it?

QU1NLAN: Well, I don’t think that unregulated is the word I would necessarily use for it. But I think that…

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Self-regulated, I think, would be a better word.

QU1NLAN: I think that itself is regulated is a Super word for it. And people with the courtesy and discussing things in a manner not necessarily use on other forums on the Internet with more anonymity, such as places like 4chan or other places, creating online forums, with the request for a user name instead of your real name.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But I must ask you – you are unpaid, right? They are not paid to do this. You volunteer your time. But the reason why we is not in reference to you by name because of concerns about the doxxing and the users are actually a threat to them. That doesn’t sound very civilized.

QU1NLAN: fortunately, it is rare that people come and threaten us with things like doxxing, things such as personal damage. But if that happens, it is very serious, and we will try to get protection from us. Personally, I’ve been doxxed in the past. So I don’t have my name in the Reddit-wide filter, which means that my full real name actually be set, on Reddit, that it is automatically removed by the robot. So I’m very grateful that the Reddit admins also seriously.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: you’ve been doing this for four or five years. What change is seen?

QU1NLAN: I’ve seen a lot of change. Back in the Obama administration, we had a lot of quiet times. And that was really nice, to be honest, as a moderator. We had people just in the General discussion of the problems. But we have to shoot the progress by the 2016 election, and the actual trump presidency, which I have personally seen, rudeness. I’ve seen things, such as hate shooting talk. I’ve seen a lot of people to accept a bit more fear, sources, and, in General, a lot more discord.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think my last question is, do the moderators always beats?

QU1NLAN: So I’m very grateful that the policy is my only subreddit. I’m a big geek personally, and I moderate the “Star Wars” subreddit. So then, if politics is a bit too much for me – I have too many insults for a day or I have too many sources, I read in a day – I’m going to go ahead, and I’m going to read about baby Yoda. And will make me feel better.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughing) Hear, hear – although I have to say to you “Star Wars” is also quite controversial.

QU1NLAN: Oh, I should tell you sometime about “the last of The Jedi” – movie Version. That was something.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: this is the Reddit moderator who goes by the user name Qu1nlan. Thank you so much.

QU1NLAN: Thank you, Lulu.

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Released on Sun, 08 Dec 2019 13:01:00 +0000

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