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Mob rule overruns Reddit

By Paul McNamara on Thu, 03/08/07 - 6:24am.

The problem with "meritocracy" social-bookmarking sites such as Reddit is that sometimes the wisdom of crowds turns into an unruly mob.

As of 5 a.m. this morning, 14 of the top 15 items on Reddit - as voted by the Reddit community - involved the various calls to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Granted, a few are complaining about the overkill, but those voices of reason have failed to stem the tide. (Three things about such an impeachment, by the way: It simply isn't going to happen, it would be richly deserved, now let's move on.)

They've got themselves a problem at Reddit. The vast majority of readers come there not to be part of a political movement (however important or just) but to find interesting stuff to read about. Reddit needs to tame this mob - and quickly.

(Update: Would seem as though a significant number of Reddit readers agree with this sentiment, since this post has risen to No. 3 on that site at the moment. Interesting discussion going on there, too.)

(Update, 9:10 a.m.: More votes counted; the post is now No. 2.)

(Update, 12:40 p.m.: No. 1 ... I'm touched.)

(Update, 4:15 p.m.: All of the pro-impeachment stories have been voted off the island that is the Reddit front page. My guess is that this is no indication of the Reddit community's support for President Bush, but rather a cry for their site to return to normalcy. This post remains No. 1. A number of comment posters have suggested that the "correction" shows that there's nothing wrong with Reddit. That strikes me as overly optimistic. ... Although, I suppose it depends on how often this type of thing is going to happen.)

Here were those Top 15 headlines on the site this morning:

1. Can you guys hurry up and impeach Bush already so we can get back to pretty photos, arguments over LISP and talking about how much we hate digg? (flickr.com)

546 points posted 7 hours ago by lbft 51 comments.

2. Are we just going to read about it or are we going to become a part of HISTORY - REDDIT USERS GOT BUSH IMPEACHED - Get Your State to Vote on Articles of Impeachment for Bush and Cheney - Contact Your Senator 579 points posted 13 hours ago by samfind 72 comments.

3. So FIVE of the top 7 spots on the Reddit front page right now are Impeach Bush themed articles. Why aren't the Democrats and groups like Move On pushing nonstop for it right now? (reddit.com)

549 points posted 13 hours ago by renegade 204 comments.

4. Vermont Votes to Impeach Bush & Cheney (news.yahoo.com)

1221 points posted 20 hours ago by digital 121 comments.

5. US towns seek Bush's impeachment (BBC) (news.bbc.co.uk)

270 points posted 9 hours ago by redddit 2 comments.

6. Write your Congressperson to support impeachment in your state! (house.gov) 315 points posted 11 hours ago by rraaarr 15 comments.

7. Do I smell Impeachment? (thinkprogress.org)

689 points posted 17 hours ago by Thistleknot 35 comments.

8. Vermont: 36 towns call for impeachment probe of president (vermontguardian.com) 602 points posted 17 hours ago by hammudi 8 comments.

9. Grassroots effort under way to force impeachment of Bush and Cheney (timesrecord.com) 707 points posted 18 hours ago by tofocsend 34 comments.

10. A Win for America is the impeachment of Bush and Cheney!!!! (reddit.com) 260 points posted 12 hours ago by berlinbrown 33 comments.

11. Complete Information on the Movement to Impeach George W Bush (en.wikipedia.org) 452 points posted 17 hours ago by web20sucks 6 comments.

12. A Couple of Kids use a False Name to Sign-up for a "Yearly Free Ice Cream" list... A few years later, they receive a "(Military) Selective Service Registration Notice" for their Non-existent Friend. (verified by Snopes) (snopes.com) 247 points posted 12 hours ago by sid13 39 comments.

13. Vermont towns seek to impeach Bush (abcnews.go.com)

609 points posted 19 hours ago by dulles 7 comments.

14. Mayor of Salt Lake City calls for impeachment (sltrib.com)

583 points posted 19 hours ago by abudabu 21 comments.

15. If a President can be impeached for lying about a (sexual act) then by God a Vice President should be impeached for setting in motion the forces that destroyed an intelligence network during a time of war. (tpmcafe.com) 81 points posted 5 hours ago by renegade 7 comments.

No. 12 must be some story.

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