Pop-up political advocacy communities on reddit.com - SandersForPresident and The Donald
AI & Society
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Mills, R. (2017). Pop-up political advocacy communities on reddit.com - SandersForPresident and The Donald. AI & Society https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-017-0712-9
This paper explores two reddit communities that supported Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, respectively, in the run up to the 2016 US Presidential election campaign. Much of the paper is dedicated to explaining how reddit functions, describing the behaviour of the subreddit communities in question and then asking whether these demonstrated collective intelligence. Subreddit communities submit and vote on content, through their votes they make collective decisions about which content will be broadcast to their community. Large subreddit communities that formed rapidly to support a candidate in an election have not previously been observed on reddit—these offered an interesting context for the consideration of whether subreddit communities demonstrate collective intelligence. Voting is a key determinant of what happens on each subreddit and it is conducted anonymously, it is, therefore, not possible to understand the role(s) that every individual plays in the functioning of the subreddit. The behaviour of these subreddit communities can only be understood as a collective of submitting, commenting, voting and moderating participants. Whether these collectives behave intelligently is a matter of how one defines intelligence—but it is clear that they can be effective in pursuing certain ends. These collectives encounter and sometimes oppose each other on reddit. The community of Trump supporters in particular were in conflict with a number of other high-profile communities on the site, and also the platform’s administrators.
collective intelligence, common good, social news, reddit.com, distributed moderation, public sphere, Presidential election
This work is supported by the WikiRate FP7 project, partially funded by the EC under Contract No. 609897.
EC FP7 CP (609897)
Embargo Lift Date
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-017-0712-9
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/264490
Attribution 4.0 International, Attribution 4.0 International, Attribution 4.0 International, Attribution 4.0 International