Sports

Virtuous Trolls Turn A Racist Forum Into A Home For Racing Fans

by Robert Silverman

September 11, 2017
Image by morzaszum/Pixabay.

The internet is filled with pockets of loveliness and brief totems to the wondrous bounty of the human spirit, plus a few good dogs — largely corgis. There are also dark corners of nastiness such as the thread on Reddit called “r/race_realism,” a place where racists once could sling debunked Charles Murray junk science, post thudding and unfunny racist memes, and unironically declare fealty to white nationalism without fear of condemnation from any human with a lick of decency.

Thankfully, per a report from Gizmodo, the subreddit has been destroyed from within, transformed from a teeming hive of anonymous, vile bigots into a forum for talking about — wait for it — racing.

Hop over to r/race_realism now, and you’ll spy a nice photo of Jesse Owens in full sprint during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin alongside discussions of NASCAR and pro cycling. You’ll also note that many of the threads include a cheeky reference to the subreddit’s former knuckle-dragging content, such as “Some races are indeed dumber than others,” which now links to a YouTube video of dudes bounding down a hillside, riding, falling off, and ultimately wrecking toy Jeeps — a “sport” that appears to be a whole heap of fun, if very dumb.

Redditors also instituted new rules such as “No bigotry or hate speech directed towards other races. All types of raceing are celebrated here, be it Formula One or the Tour De France or what have you. Most importantly, all races are equal.”

This scrubbing of one particularly grimy corner of the internet was accomplished by the same band of merry trolls that transformed r/WhitePower and r/stormfront. Those subreddits were previously the domains of various phylum of white supremacists and neo-Nazis but now are a forum for talking about the literal color white and the actual weather, respectively.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, the group says their greatest accomplishment to date is seizing control of the subreddit r/faggots — which ex-Breitbart tech editor and alt-lite provocateur Milo Yiannopolous had his eyes on during his “Dangerous Faggot” speaking tour — into a home for fans of bundled sticks.

Here’s how they pulled off their latest feat via Gizmodo:

“What we do is keep an eye out for hatereddits without active moderation. When mods of hate subs fall off the radar or get banned, their subreddit may become eligible to be taken over via /r/redditrequest,” forum moderator awkwardtheturtle told Gizmodo.

Subreddits with inactive moderators can be posted to r/redditrequest so that Reddit can give control of them to new owners. “All the mods of this sub were either banned by the admins or very inactive,” awkwardtheturtle explained to Gizmodo.

GodOfAtheism, also a member of this trolling collective, said that the process of seizing power didn’t require that much effort, given that — you know — actual racists tend to cross all sorts of lines, like calling for the systematic murder of non-white people. What’s more, Reddit has been attempting to rein in some of the awfulness that has proliferated and festered on the site, specifically targeting neo-Nazis.

Redditor groups have also subverted openly sexist subreddits with pages of adorable felines, turning yet another nasty corner of the internet into a bastion of kitties. So cute!

Share image by morzaszum/Pixabay.

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