The site that bills itself as “the front page of the Internet” has a forum that bans some submissions and comments of those skeptical of man-made global climate change.
Forums on Reddit frequently include rules for comments and posting established by moderators. While the /r/science forum — referred to as a “subreddit” — does not appear to specifically ban climate skepticism as a whole, it does say comments must be “on-topic and relevant.” Submissions to the forum, which are approved by moderators, must be peer-reviewed research or based on recent scientific research, and “not editorialized, sensationalized or biased,” among other requirements.
Nathan Allen, a chemist and a moderator on Reddit’s science sub-forum, wrote in a post on Grist this week that /r/science has for the last year been “increasingly stringent with deniers.”
“When a potentially controversial submission was posted, a warning would be issued stating the rules for comments (most importantly that your comment isn’t a conspiracy theory) and advising that further violations of the rules could result in the commenter being banned from the forum,” Allen wrote.
Allen said “professional climate change deniers have an outsized influence in the media and the public” and therefore the /r/science moderators “felt that to allow a handful of commenters to so purposefully mislead our audience was simply immoral.”
When the moderators began restricting the content that questioned some climate science without scientific basis, Allen wrote, they received some pushback from users citing free speech issues.
“But the widespread outrage we feared never materialized, and the atmosphere greatly improved,” he continued.
All this was to get to Allen’s original point: he wondered why, if Reddit has restricted the voice of climate denier content, have newspapers not followed suit?
“[I]f a half-dozen volunteers can keep a page with more than 4 million users from being a microphone for the antiscientific, is it too much to ask for newspapers to police their own editorial pages as proficiently?” Allen asked.
Former Vice President Al Gore, a champion of environmental issues, hailed the forum’s stance.
A Reddit moderator in a thread on the topic explained how the rule about climate denialist content is enforced.
“It’s not like we’re making some special case for banning all climate science deniers despite whatever they may post … we’re just treating climate change denial in the same way we treat evolution denial or the anti-vaccination submissions,” the moderator going by Inri137 explained.
“I’m sure that there can be articles skeptical of climate change published in reputable peer-reviewed papers and those would still be welcome submissions but this is almost never the case,” Inri137 continued. “It’s not that we have it out for climate science deniers as much as it is our subreddit reflects the current scientific consensus in the form of only allowing peer-reviewed material from reputable journals, which almost completely excludes climate science denial given the overwhelming agreement in the scientific community on this subject.”
Reddit general manager Erik Martin told TheBlaze moderators can essentially make up their own rules, so long as they fit with Reddit’s overarching use guidelines.
As for /r/science, Martin said “they have always been pretty strict” with what they’ll allow to be posted.
“Some of the subreddits like science have some sort of screening process” for moderators, wanting to find people with expertise in the field, Martin said.
Martin also pointed out that there are subreddits devoted completely to the topic of climate skepticism.
(H/T: Daily Caller)