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Too Much Effort for Just Reddit?!?

Reddit is a site that most of us, as college students, have surfed with opinionated minds and the power to upvote or downvote a post. The decision of what to do comes quickly without much thought; a simple click of a mouse. But does with great power come great responsibility? As we learned in class, information cascading means that the opinion of as few as two people can influence all the rest; thus meaning that, should you be one of the first people to vote on a post, the future “rating” (net votes considering upvotes are +1 and downvotes are -1) has been sealed by your choice.

The article talks about how racist posts and other hate posts are “drowning” Reddit.  Within the article it mentions that there are two problems that allow this to continue: that once something is posted, there is no censorship by Reddit, and that Reddit is quite easy to manipulate. As mentioned in the previous paragraph we understand how the latter is true. People tend to follow the opinion of the majority instead of strike out on their own; it is far easier to accept the social norm and belong to the majority.

What seemed interesting however is how the organized groups posting hateful things made sure that it was a success. Collaboratively, they made sure that they all upvoted the article soon after it being posted in a move dubbed brigading. The question this brings up is, was this much effort required? And is this action so hard to counteract given that the group of people against these hate posts is at least as large as those behind them? Information cascading needs only a few votes in order for the pattern to be continued. Thus, is seems that not everyone would have to immediately upvote it. This leads us to then question whether information cascading also depends on topic. Since racism probably wouldn’t catch on as quickly as other things voted on, perhaps the reason for the immediate influx of upvotes is that the number required for the cascading to start is rather high to begin with. As for our second question about counteracting the upvotes, the people against such posts could also downvote as quickly as possible to make sure that the post did not gain that much popularity. Additionally, since the opinion of anti-racism is generally more popular in this day and age, it would also require far fewer initial votes for the downward cascade to begin given that they manage to start it before the “haters” upvoted it.  In the end, it could lead to a race for who gets to the post first.


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