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Redditors on r/Anarchism Are Angry That They Have to Follow the Rules

The r/Anarchism mod team disputes Reddit’s content policy after mods get removed for approving banned content.

by Sarah Ernst
09 May 2017, 3:03pm

Modern anarchism has found a place beyond the huddled coffee shops of the Spanish Civil War: The r/Anarchism subreddit. With over 72,000 readers and cousin pages like GreenAnarchism, it has become a meeting place for contemporary anarchists to exchange thoughts, rally together from all parts of the world and frolic into sunflower fields with wild abandon. However, on Reddit, anarchists have to follow the rules just like everyone else.

The inherent contradiction between Reddit's opaque policing methods and the core values of anarchism became obvious last week. when a group of mods were suspended for approving content noted for inciting violence, according to admins. One mod was removed for approving a pdf file with a recipe for molotov cocktail tucked inside a 600 page book. Another mod was suspended after approving comments with the common anarchist phrase, "bash the fash." Comments that encourage or incite violence fall under the 'unwelcomed content' category outlined in the Reddit content policy. However, there are several ways to interpret the policy. Mods may consider "bash the fash" fair game, while admins may find it way out of line.

Instead of fighting the system, a mod named Faolinbean directly addressed the domino chain of mod suspensions and proposed some clarity on the community rules. A manifesto, borrowed from /r/militant, took steps to clear nebulous language and make the case for what is acceptable content. In an odd twist, identified anarchists themselves become small-scale legislators that their beliefs inherently reject.

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