Dr. Noah J. Springer recently published his Ph.D. dissertation about reddit, in which he analyzed the cultural practices, technological affordances, hybrid economics, and politics of reddit’s public sphere. During the course of Springer’s research, GamerGate erupted, bringing into existence the subreddits of Kotaku In Action and GamerGhazi, affording Springer the opportunity to witness the emergence and evolution of these publics and counterpublics.
In this episode of Polygamer, I speak with Dr. Springer about his original hope and belief that online communities such as reddit could spur positive political movements, as in the 2012 takedown of SOPA and PIPA; how he was able to hold a neutral, academic view of GamerGate, despite his personal reactions; what behaviors or practices distinguish the KIA and GamerGhazi subreddits, and how each may’ve exacerbated the other; how GamerGate was a bellwether for Brexit and Donald Trump; the roles of empathy and neoliberalism; why Springer left reddit; and where we can look for online communities today.
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Dr. Noah J. Springer of MIT Press on Twitter
- “Publics and counterpublics on the front page of the internet: The cultural practices, technological affordances, hybrid economics and politics of reddit’s public sphere“
- “I am Noah J. Springer, PhD and I recently published my dissertation on Reddit. AMA!“
- “Why I’m Leaving Reddit“
- Reddit’s Alexa score
- The Information Diet by Clay Johnson
- “Boston bomb: Reddit apologises for identifying wrong suspects“
- Dunbar’s number
- Charging Bull & Fearless Girl: Capitalism, women & public art
- Digg v4 implodes, drives users to reddit