One of the most noticeable aspects of Reddit’s community is an obsession with child support and it’s misuse, any longtime user will notice the site is filled with anecdotes of Men being forced to fork over their hard earned cash to greedy mothers who only had children for the sweet money. Incidents of Men being forced to pay child support for children that aren’t their’s will gain scores of upvotes and attract an extraordinary amount of attention almost comically out of proportion to the occurrence of these incidents.
A recent Ask-Reddit post asking the question “How would you feel about a law requiring parents that receive child support to supply the court with proof of how the child support money is being spent?” gained more than 70,000 upvotes and is the third most upvoted thread on the subreddit Askreddit. Most of the comments thankfully pointed out the unfeasibility of the suggestion and the can of worms that suggestion would open, but the sheer amount of upvoted that comment received indicates that there are two possibilities to explain this phenomenon.
- The first that concerns about child support payments and their misuse are something close to the heart of most Redditors and the suggestion of a paper trail for child support was a unique innovative idea that they felt had to be upvoted to the top out of the blue
- Child support is an issue close to the hear of a dedicated, well-organized minority that was able to use a combination of bot-nets and organisation to get this answer to the top of a subreddit
If the first popularity is the case then I suspect that the main reason would be demographics as the Reddit user base skews towards American white male educated millennials who probably have the most to loose to child support and are reaching the age where unexpected children are hitting their peers and they view it as a huge risk to their livelihood. This, however, seems to be rather unlikely as Child Support isn’t much of a political issue in the united states of America with no mainstream candidate seeming to take any view on the issue rather than to leave it to the status quo. This leads me to conclude rather that the second scenario is the most likely explanation for this phenomena
The Reddit Karma system has a rather well-known flaw that has been exploited by numerous communities ranging from /r/Donald to /r/Neoliberal to gain massive karma despite the small real size of the community which is the fact that comments karma do not take into account proportion, only the net number of upvotes minus downvotes. This allows small well-organized and single minded communities to gain upvotes comparable to the biggest subreddit simply due to a better organisation.
To explain, let’s imagine that the question of bread with butter vs bread with cheese was a huge issue. There are 2 subreddits /r/bread_question and /r/bread_butter, The first has 50000 subscribers with split around 50-50 on the issue while /r/bread_butter has only 7500 subscribers. A pro-cheese post on /r/bread_question would only be able to get few hundred upvotes and vice-versa due to the split in the demographics and the fact that Reddit use is a sick joke more honoured in the breach rather than in the action. Meanwhile, pro-butter posts on /r/bread_butter could gain thousands of upvotes due to the lack of any dissenting voices. An outside observer might think that butter-bread was overwhelmingly more popular than cheeses-bread while in fact, they have similar popularity just one side is more organised than the other.
The phenomena become stronger when one considers that a large number of people might simply not have an opinion on the issue which allows for special interest redditors to make their view look like a massive majority via exploitation of the above phenomena, similar how to special interests group work in real life to impact public policy.
It is my belief, that there is a community of dedicates Redditor aided by misogynic communities such as /r/Kotakuinaction and /r/redpill who exploit the flaws of the Reddit algorithm that I have outlined above to move the overtone window more rightward via a propganda campagin that publicized incident of child support use as a mainstream shielf for other misognynitic viewpoints that would be downvotes if states outright
What do you think ? let me know in the comments below ?