Moderators in/ r/politics have stepped up the war on bias in their subreddit:
“As many of you surely know, we recently started cracking down on misleading and editorialized headlines in this subreddit. This was done in an attempt to make /r/politics into an unbiased source of information, not outrage and opinion.
However, that effort is basically futile if nothing is done about self-posts. The problem with these is that they are essentially opinions, and there is no article to “fact check”. Their headlines cannot be considered editorialized if there is no factual background to compare the title to. The way the rule is currently structured, an outrage-inducing, misleading headline could be removed if it links to an outside news source, but left alone if it is a self post, which gives even less information but still conveys the same false ideas. This has greatly contributed to the decline or the subreddit’s content quality, as it has begun to revolve more around opinion than fact.
Furthermore, the atmosphere of the post is suggestive of one “correct” answer, and disagreeing opinions are often downvoted out of sight. That type of leading answer is not conducive to the type of debate that we’d like to encourage in /r/politics.”
In what seems to be an attempt to squash opinions that are not ‘factual,’ Reddit Moderators have disabled all self-written editorials. By posting a link to this article, I am defying this rule. However, I write for a ‘news’ outlet, so apparently my opinion is more valid than yours. I ask you this, fellow Redditors, what happens to the discussion in /r/politics when we try to surgically remove bias like this? You think it will really help?
The fact of the matter is that context is far more important than the presence of verifiable ‘facts.‘ For instance, some describe healthcare benefits for teachers as an entitlement. Healthcare is an entitlement, and that is a ‘fact,’ but the use of ‘entitlement’ to reference the concept of healthcare frames it in a way that introduces bias. Now if I was to say “taking away health care from teachers is equivalent to a tax increase,” that is also a ‘fact.’ Yet those who describe healthcare as an entitlement would hear this ‘fact’ and complain about bias.
Tl;dr, bias is not in any way related to a lack of “facts,” but an inescapable product of the way we choose to describe concepts.
Now say we step into the larger realm of that which is unverifiable. I’m talking about Evolution and God. We can talk about overwhelming and rigorous evidence for Evolution, but the concept of Evolution is not a verifiable fact. It can’t really be proved or disproved. Similarly, there is no way to prove or disprove God. I know this may upset a lot of Redditors, but there is overwhelming and rigorous evidence for God, if you ask those who have dedicated their lives to studying the topic. At a fundamental level, there is no such thing as a fact. If you’re raging out at your computer monitor right now, look up Heisenberg and his Uncertainty Principle. The inescapable conclusion that there is no way to verify absolute truth is actually an excellent thing, because the moment we attempt to solidify our ideas into facts, they no longer have room to grow. If Newton’s Theory of Gravity was considered pure fact, Einstein’s theory of relativity would have never been accepted.
Tl;dr, overwhelming and rigorous evidence is never equivalent to absolute truth, and this is actually an excellent thing.
Finally, I’ve reached the heart of the matter, opinions. Presenting concepts without bias is impossible, and attempting to reach an ultimate truth is also impossible. What are we left with? We’ve got an endless string of ever-improving theories and concepts that seem to be growing at an exponential rate. In the world of politics, we call these day-to-day theories editorials and opinions. If we want to really embrace growth, we need to fan the flame wars and feed the trolls. We need to know what ideas resonate, and provide an echo chamber optimized for that purpose. By putting Redditor’s personal opinions apart from /r/politics in a vain attempt to weed out bias, the moderators will put the dampers on great ideas like mine. Here’s my opinion: We know the consensus of Reddit is not equivalent to fact, and we’re not all a bunch of morons and idiots who need your protection. If I can post other people’s opinions and political cartoons, why can’t I post my own?
Tl;dr, the moderators of r/politics are misguided and drunk with power. They’re possibly even trying to enforce their own biases. Also, I admit it, I’m trolling, spamming, and breaking the rules and I couldn’t care less.