A bot called “censorship notifier” was recently released on Reddit. It was built to scan for censored posts, but it has now been censored from discussion threads. A recent r/btc post by the bot creator explained its purpose, but also provided information that users from r/bitcoin wanted it silenced or removed. Apparently, they complained to r/bitcoin mods about the bot in the hopes of squelching it. This caused the bot to get disabled.
The bot’s creator post read, “New bot in testing. Notifies people in /r/bitcoin if their comments or posts get silently removed, or greylisted into the moderator-review queue.”
Bot is Meant to Collect Useful Statistics; Opt in Action
The post further mentioned that the goal of the bot is to collect data of censorship for the purpose of having useful statistics about moderation habits. However, almost anything a user posts on the bot will be monitored by moderators. The bot’s creator said they are open to feedback and suggestions. The bot elaborated:
“I am open to feedback and suggestions (though it will take some time to implement things). Be aware that anything you post here will almost certainly be read by the moderators of /r/bitcoin. In the next few weeks the plan is to have the bot automatically collect and periodically publish useful statistics on /r/btc and /r/bitcoin.”
Bot Utilizes Opt-in Mode; User Backlash
As a result of complaints about the bot, the bots basic functionality was disabled. However, the creator of the bot decided to enable it with an opt-in service. Now users can simply private message the bot and type “please message me about removed comments and posts,” and the bot will work. Users can private message “stop” to cease receiving messages.
Overall, the bot has received controversial reception from Reddit users. Some are miffed at the idea that a bot will record what posts get deleted or greylisted. One user was so upset he believed the bot was built to brainwash him. He took a screenshot of the bot and said, “I sent the mods a screenshot of this. You tried to brainwash the wrong guy. Fuck you.”
What do you think about Reddit censorship problems? Will bots help mitigate some of the problem? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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