Alright, I’m not in a particularly good mood right now, and so we’re going to do this right and we’re going to put a bow on it and be done with it. I’m going to go over today’s events as clearly as I can and detail everything I can. Our moderation team will do everything we can to answer your questions and assuage any worries or fears.
First thing’s first, let’s go over the timeline of events.
This post was made, which has now been locked. In it, a user posted an excerpt from a wikipedia article about Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI.
The comment section quickly spiraled out of hand, and went off the rails. In our subreddit, we try our very best to keep politics away from our subreddit. Of course, this isn’t always easy as events in D.C. by politicians directly affect us, and so we allow political posts about these sorts of things. It’s a very grey area to be in, as more often then not a post will decline into personal insults and agendas — owed in no small part to the current cultural climate of the USA and reddit as a whole at this time.
Ultimately, our goal is to not get involved in the constant, over-bearing shitstorms of the Anti-Trump or Pro-Trump movements. It never involves legitimate discourse and always, always, always descends into a madness of stupidity, circlejerking, hate, lies, half-truths, deceptions, or delusions. But, most of our users and all of our moderators are military, so it’s admittedly damn near impossible to avoid retards and fuckups on a daily basis.
A former moderator, /u/lowspeedlowdrag, was first on the linked post, and began cleaning it up of any off-topic political discussion. Since the post was about Robert Mueller’s military history, the expected topic should have been that of Robert Mueller’s military history. Military culture has tons of stupid innocuous jokes that we all love to hate, so those would have been fine.
Here are a few examples of removed comments. I admit I will not detail every single comment, as it will simply take too long, but I have made an endeavour to focus on the ones that seemed to be at the center of this fervor.
Exhibit 1 This is the first comment listed in our logs as being removed. In this comment, a user posted a link about a Donald Trump quote, it was off-topic to the record of Robert Mueller, and political, and so was removed.
2 Here, Donald Trump and John McCain were both insulted, the latter being labelled a traitor and the user wished he was dead. I, myself, removed that comment as being off-topic, political, and inflammatory.
3 Here, comments insulting president Donald Trump were removed as being political and off-topic, one user admitted it and accepted the decision.
4 Here, former president Barack Obama was insulted, the comment was removed as it was off-topic and political.
5 Here, a user insults pro Trump users and claims they will apparently attack Mr. Mueller — an accusation that is unfair, off-topic, and seeking only to start a fight. It was removed. Another user claimed the right hated veterans and loved draft dodgers, strangely claiming that Clinton was loved by the right as a dodger. I don’t know what that is supposed to mean, but again it was a political comment and off-topic and so was removed.
Soon after this, the former moderator locked the thread, as it had spiraled completely out of control, and the discussion veered away from Robert Mueller and instead focused on a discussion of the sitting President. Was he completely and totally perfect in determining which comments to remove and which to pass over? I cannot say. But I can say that most comments were focused on Trump, which would give a casual observer the impression that was the reason for their removal. In fact, we cannot control what people say in their comments. If 50 comments attack Trump and 1 attacks Obama, it might “look bad” when only Trump comments are removed due to the fact that there is an imbalance of comments one can moderate over. But, this would not be a faithful representation of the truth.
Not very long after this, a post was made alleging that the named moderator should be removed. It has since been deleted by the user, as well as his account. Basically, the allegations were that the moderator was politically slanted and trying to censor anti-trump comments, specifically. I found an archived link to it, prior to it’s explosion.
This post went viral, and quickly garnered several thousand upvotes and hundreds of comments. I cannot determine if any specific subreddit is responsible for brigading the thread, and I will not throw any accusations without evidence, but suffice it to say that many commentators were demanding the moderator step down. Accusations were made about our team being Trump supporters, who would not allow anti-trump discourse to thrive in our subreddit.
I’ll say this as straightforward as I can. Our moderation team is not now, nor has ever been backed by, paid by, supported, in the pocket of, or operated by any political or politician-based subreddit, or website, group, billionaire, philantropist, PAC, SUPERPAC, corporation, company, or the rumored Bat vigilante.
Other subreddits, mostly ones obsessed with reality TV-style drama, linked to it, most likely drawing an even larger influx of users to the post.
It must be said, that the original poster has retracted his original accusation. No bias was intended or executed, however the mob got a hold of the initial spark and lit a fire under our feet until the moderator stepped down from pure pressure and his wish to not make the subreddit focus on him specifically.
Now, we mods have been discussing this all day. There is still some decisions to be made, but I elected to make this post for a small number of reasons. For one, I despise giving in to mob demands. The overwhelming majority of commentators do not follow our community and are not involved, but tried to inject themselves in a discussion that did not involve or affect them and force their opinions on how things should be ran. Two, this lead to users insulting the former moderator, myself, and our entire moderation team. Most of these involved accusing us of being in cahoots with other subreddits or trying to create a “false narrative”. I abhor this and will not ignore it.
So let me be abundantly, perfectly, entirely clear as I can. The comments that were removed were done so because of their political nature alone, not their stance within the political spectrum. Our moderation team is only human, so if you believe we are imperfect in our exercise you are free to offer criticism. But, this does not excuse libeling us simply because you have decided to fill in the gaps of what you know with what you believe.
I will finish with this. We are an independent moderation team. We receive no compensation for this in any way, not even a fruit basket in the mail. If you choose to disbelieve that, I will tell you that you are entirely incorrect. If you want to threaten us with ending your subscription to this subreddit, rest assured none of us, user and moderator, give a shit.
What happened to /u/lowspeedlowdrag and how he was treated was not right, it was not fair, and he was not given even an iota of a chance to explain his actions. Well, fuck that, I will. I’ve spoken with him on many an occasion and he has been the utmost professional and decent human being a guy could befriend or work with.
It was not fair what happened, and I do not stand for it. And personally I can’t believe something as petty as an internet forum could cause so many dickheads to lose their shit. I will answer any and all legitimate questions about this topic in this thread only. So far, our stance on political discussion has not changed.
Don’t try to bring your agenda here, regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on. We don’t care.
tl;dr read the whole thing or eat shit
from Robert Haycroft RSS Feed https://www.reddit.com/r/Military/comments/6k4qbi/what_the_fuck_just_happened_and_other_questions/