Monday, November 10, 2014

Shadow-Banned on Reddit!

Hey, I've been meaning to tell you about something I discovered a few weeks ago - I've been shadow-banned on Reddit!   And, I've got to say I'm pretty happy about it.

What's "shadow-banning," you may ask?  It's a nasty little way that Reddit deals with spammers and other people they don't like.  Your account seems intact.   But your Up and Down votes don't show up, and neither do any submissions of stories you seek to make.   In other words, rather than just ban you outright, you're deluded into thinking your account is fine, when, in fact, it's just a shadow of itself - or a shadow on the wall of Reddit.

Indeed, although I was shadow-banned four months ago, I first found out about it just a few weeks ago, when I Up-voted a story about Marshall McLuhan - not written by me - and found that my Up-vote had no impact on the number of Up-votes shown.  I looked more carefully, and found this in my waiting messages:

rom 1point618[M] via /r/printSF/ sent 4 months ago
You've been shadowbanned, probably for posting a bunch of spam from tumblr.
This is a reddit-wide thing, so I can't do anything about it. See /r/shadowbanned or /r/ShadowBan for more information.

Just for the record, although I've recently become active on Tumblr, I was barely on there at all four months ago, and don't recall ever submitting anything from Tumblr to Reddit.

So why was I shadow-banned?

My best guess someone was peeved by my public condemnation of Reddit and its poor performance in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, when it ID'd via crowdsourcing someone as the bomber who had nothing to do with it.   In fact, The Newsroom just dealt with that same lamentable behavior of Reddit in The Newsroom's third season debut last night, and I talked about it - incorrigible that I am - in my review.

But, who knows?  Maybe it was for some other reason that I know nothing about.  I do know that I'm actually happy about being shadow-banned.  It's great example of what I call the "Dark Side of New New Media" in my New New Media book - in this case, the petty and arbitrary dictatorial conduct of moderators on all too-many an online system.   I'll certainly use this as an example in the next edition of my book.

But I'll also confess to enjoying the outlaw-ish quality of being shadow-banned.  It's fun, especially for a professor and often serious author like me, to be an outlaw.   So much so, that I thought I'd put up a song that I recorded with my group, The New Outlook, way back in 1965.   A guy by the name of Mark Goodman wrote it, Stu Nitekman (aka Jonathan Hatch) sang the lead, and I'm doing high falsetto harmony.  I'm "The Outcast" - or least, I'm that on Reddit, and I'm proud of it.

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