We implemented a new initiative yesterday at /r/Anarchism, meant to promote solidarity between the various disconnected anarchism subreddits: The Confederation of Anarchist Reddits.
The idea is very simple: Using Reddit’s built-in functionality to combine multiple subreddits on the same page, we create an aggregated page including all the known Anarchist subreddits. This means that someone can simply visit that page and get an overview of news from all subreddits, even if not subscribed to each individual one. Then we put a nice link on the header of each reddit (although that’s optional) which is meant to grab people’s attention and get them to visit the aggregated page.
In the end, we’ve settled to the following look:
And clicking on the link, takes you to this page.
As you can see if you visit it, you see the latest posts coming up in all the subreddits as well as a list of the subreddits in the confederation on the sidebar. Now people can simply open new browser tabs for each article of interest and vote on everything discussed in all the anarchist reddits.
Now you might ask, what’s the point? Doesn’t every individual user have the capacity to fine tune their subscriptions to any subreddits they want? Well, yes they do, but the confederation is there to serve a slightly different purpose. The benefits I see coming from it are the following
- It allows new people to discover the anarchist community of reddit at one-stop and also provides them with a launching pad into reddit they can bookmark and visit. It also saves someone from subscribing to a dozen low-traffic reddits they’re only marginally interested in, and cluttering up their subscription list.
- Because of the above benefit, people who wouldn’t otherwise subscribe to a dozen different anarchist subreddits, can now still be exposed to them via the aggregated page and ideas/news which they might otherwise miss, might grab their attention. Hopefully, this will lead to a sort of “cross-pollination” of ideas between the various subreddits.
- Because of the common link and the implicit sending of traffic towards the smaller subreddits, I hope that solidarity will be improved in between the various fragmented communities. In the end, we’re all part of the same movement and significantly outnumbered so it pays to remind and reinforce our common ideological bonds.
- It allows each subreddit to tailor its moderation policies to suits its own style. You see we have various perspectives on how a reddit needs to deal with anything from Trolls to Fascist Agitators to MRAs. In fact, the difference of opinion on the moderation policies were the primary reason for /r/Anarchism’s Great ShitStorm of 2010. So /r/anarchism has now settled in a somewhat active moderation against oppressive speech. However, many other people don’t feel the same way and a few have gone ahead an opened reddits which follow their own perspective. From janitorial moderation of /r/anarchist, to no moderation of /r/blackflag.
Unfortunately, because /r/anarchism is the largest and most visible subreddit of them all1 many people argue for their own preferred style of (non-)moderation in /r/anarchism still and refuse to simply move to another anarchist reddit because /r/anarchism is the most big and active one. And that makes sense, as it’s almost as a voluntary ostracism to remove yourself like so.
The confederation aims to bring the best of both worlds. Now each subreddit can choose the moderation style they prefer best and at the same time get the benefit of the larger community which uses the confederation aggregation as their starting point in reddit’s anarchist community. This means that even if what someone thinks is a perfectly legitimate post about “National Anarchism” was removed from /r/anarchism outright, they can still visit /r/blackflag and post it there. They will probably still get downvoted into oblivion now that the larger anarchist community can see such the post of course, but at least they will have less a reason to troll and complain that those nasty “authoritarians” of /r/anarchism censor them.
- In the same vein, people who are not interested in reddits which do not moderate, retain the capacity to personally customize the aggregation so as to remove loosely moderated reddits altogether. So if /r/anarchist starts getting flooded by Men’s Rights, eventually many anarchists will simply remove the reddit from view and in a way, “organically” ostracize it from their collective attention.
- It will allow smaller subreddits to gain some instant traction since their new posts will appear automatically at the view people who are using the confederation. So if Bob creates a niche subreddit about guerrilla gardening for example, they can still take advantage of the larger anarchist community, even if their post introducing people to it is downvoted into oblivion. Even if they don’t advertise at all and merely start posting interesting articles.
- It naturally presents a core point in action, to outsiders to anarchism: that is the principle of federation between anarchist communities, thus showing how we value both communities of a common mind, and expression of individuality between communities.
These are just the initial benefits I can see coming from it. I’m excited to see how it will morph and develop in the future. I’ve already informed the community and most other subreddits I initially added and reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, even from critics of /r/anarchism’s moderation.
What do you think of it?
- To the point that we’re the 9th link in google for the search term “anarchism” [↩]