Scott ponders how online reporting of science can be improved.
Maybe a solution is to ‘crowdsource’ the peer review through social media such as Reddit, putting all these smart users to use to do the fact-checking the mainstream media is otherwise too lazy or incompetent to do – in fact, that already is happening. Pretty much every major study or press release has a Reddit discussion about it.
Of all social media, the Reddit community is perhaps the best ‘fact-checker’. Without fail, a ‘Redditor’ will find a flaw in the original article, or at least re-frame it differently than the headline, which is often intentionally misleading and sensationalist. These corrections are up-voted and algorithmatically promoted to the top of the comments, readily visible. Given Reddit’s huge traffic and high-IQ demographic, there will always be an expert or sleuth to pounce, even for the most esoteric of subjects. Karma and expert status, which confers with the trait valued most by millennials: high IQ, is a very effective motivator. Reddit provides near-expert peer review that would normally cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in man hours – for free.
Reddit is kinda like the world’s biggest Mensa meetup or gifted education class…The result: a digital army of empiricists and rationalists in refutation to the ‘manufactured consensus’ promulgated by the slowly dying liberal mainstream media. Whether it’s global warming pseudoscience, fake rape accusations, or race and gender blindness, they (the Reddit community) see through the lies and deceptions of the media as everyone else just nods their heads.
Of course, Reddit, like all large online communities, has its fair share of SJW lemmings, but they are not the majority, as I discuss in an earlier post SJW Narrative Collapse:
As I predicted in 2014, there is definitely evidence of SJW narrative collapse, especially on Reddit and elsewhere, with the rise of Red Pill, Dark Enlightenment, and other anti-SJW movements and ideologies. Online, whenever a story breaks out about the public school war on boys or about false rape accusations, the overwhelming majority of comments are against the SJWs, and we’re not talking about conservative websites, but sites like Reddit that have a broad appeal. For example, I was on Reddit in early August following the Ferguson melee, and I estimate at least 3/4 of the users were on the side of the police and against ‘black lives matter’. Anti-police comments were summarily down-voted.
Based on my observation of comment and voting patterns for popular subs (excluding subs that are obviously partisan), I estimate at least 75% of Reddit users are against SJWs, and I’m sure that percentage also includes some liberals, but being anti-SJW is good enough – at least for me.
On Youtube, a site with a very similar demographic as Reddit, videos by the right-leaning think tank AEI, which endorses free market capitalism, get many upvotes and comments in agreement. An example is an excellent video by AEI scholar Christina Hoff Sommers debunking inflated rape statistics. Her video is rated very favorably, with over three thousand upvotes and just 122 downvotes. Meanwhile, Anita Sarkeesian’s video received such a strong negative response that comments and ratings were disabled.
Same for 4chan, with their piss4equality prank.
A common criticism of Reddit is that it promotes groupthink, but based on my experience, the alleged ‘hive mind’ is not as big of a problem as often purported. Unless the sub is highly polarized or there is little room for ambiguity, insightful and well-researched comments supporting or opposing an argument are often both promoted, leaving the reader to choose. Discussions involving games or movies may be more prone to groupthink, but you don’t see as much cliquish behavior in the smarter subs; instead, research, accuracy, and impartiality is valued; ideologues, tin foil hat wearers, reduction/oversimplification of complicated matters, and unfunny trolls tend to be down-voted. Pandering is also frowned upon; better to be honest, even if it means being a Conservative on a liberal-leaning sub, than inauthentic or preaching to the choir.
False victimization, too, is also punished, which is probably why – as part of the post-2013 SJW backlash – virtually all Reddit users agreed with the WSJ article about college cry bullies and how students are being coddled – even liberals professors agree ‘social justice’ has gone too far. Whether it’s false rape accusations (Amherst rape hoax), professors being forced to apologize or resign for merely observing and reporting biological reality, ‘mansplaining’ and ‘manspreading’, or ‘safe spaces’ – if it weren’t for social media and fact-checking on sites like 4chan and Reddit, these SJW zealots would have no one to challenge them.
In 1987, the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine allowed right-wing talk radio to flourish, which was the first major blow against decades of unchallenged post-WW2 liberalism. Now it’s social media – sites like Reddit and Twitter – that is finishing where talk radio left off, exposing the insanity and mendacity of the left to a new generation.