For people who don’t know about reddit, its a website consisting of communities(a.k.a sub-reddits) related to varied interests(like cooking, travelling, painting and millions of other). In each sub-reddit users can post links, or text posts and other users up-vote, down-vote them, and comment on them. Every sub-reddit has moderators(power users) to maintain civility of discussions.
I stumbled across r/india a sub-reddit related to India. It has close to 80k subscribers and many more daily visitors. Much wow.
I found the posted content excellent and the discussion was amazing too. The Hindu and Livemint being the most linked websites. Everyday lot of links and interesting discussions were being posted and I got addicted to it. Popular celebrities like Shashi Tharoor, Arnab Goswami, Kalki Koechlin were doing AMAs(ask me anything) sessions on it. Discussions mostly related to over-population of India, to poor quality of education, to jobless growth, to P.M Modi’s failed promises were trending everyday on the front page of this sub-reddit. I felt happy that at least some socially aware people do exist in India.
After sometime I could feel an uncanny pattern among the content that was being posted. It was mostly “left” leaning , if you will. Everyday anti-government articles , bashing people who object to eating beef, anti RSS , pro-Muslim articles were prominently visible on this sub-reddit.
I admit I also have a very critical view of the government and fundamentalists. It’s a fact that India is facing a plethora of problems which should be discussed openly. This was the main reason I got attracted to this sub-reddit in the first place. But with most posts on this sub-reddit following an underlying theme I felt that they were taking it too far. I wondered if so many people who hate India exist. But then I found something which opened my eyes.
I posted a text post[see below] on this sub-reddit and guess what it was removed without giving any reason by the moderators.
Very similar post as above post exists on Quora[see below] has 12 answers. No removal, nothing.
Then to talk about this removal of my earlier post I posted another post. You guessed it right, it was removed too.
Few days ago I had stumbled across a similar claim[see below]. Didn’t pay much attention to it, then. But now it makes total sense.
I googled a bit and found I am not the alone who thinks this way, r/india moderators have strong pro muslim bias, Unethical ban by r/india mods, banned by r/india were few of many such links I came across.
So this apparently open online community r/india is being made into a totally one-sided forum by a group of biased moderators. I don’t have any knowledge why moderators are so biased , or if they have any hidden agenda. But they definitely are censoring content on the Internet akin to many media companies.
With the illusion among the users that natural down-vote, up-vote mechanism working will automatically bring the top posts at top and worst at bottom, this hidden moderation is perilous. High ratio of one-sided articles builds a skewed perspective in reader’s mind. Users are not aware of how big brothers(the moderators) are silently moderating every content posted on this forum. This is really a dangerous practice.
Every story has two sides to it. Painting one side of story as illiterate, fundamentalist, motivated or sold-out doesn’t set the ground for a fair discussion. We can disagree with other people but we don’t have any right to ban them. In fact on the contrary we should step up and indulge in a level headed discussion with them on internet(which is much safer than offline). Only then we can empathize, improve our understanding of the issues, and mend differences.
Separating people into us-vs-them category creates boundaries and breeds hatred. This sub-reddit r/india is exactly doing that and it needs to stop.
Randians(as they are popularly called), wake up right now.