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The subreddit for the socialist, leftist podcast Chapo Trap House has been placed under quarantine by Reddit “due to significant issues with reporting and addressing violations of the Reddit Content Policy.” The violations are “especially in the form of encouragement of violence,” according to Reddit administrators.
Quarantining a subreddit implies that it is under increased scrutiny by Reddit admins and more likely to be outright banned in the future.
Chapo Trap House is a podcast that began in early 2016 in the lead up to that year’s presidential election. The podcast has been one of the driving forces for a movement affectionately referred to as the “Dirtbag Left.” The phrase was coined by podcast co-host Amber A’Lee Frost to describe a contingency of leftists not content with the current state of the Democratic party, the importance they place on civility, or any aspect of the contemporary American government really. Through vulgar Marxism and razor-sharp wit, Chapo Trap House managed to rise from shabbily recorded online voice chats to the number one earner on Patreon, where it rakes in just over $130,000 each month.
The quarantine of the Chapo Trap House subreddit is not without precedent. Recently, Reddit has exhibited a trend of quarantining and removing online communities that deal in fringe politics. Previously, Reddit quarantined the subreddit The_Donald in late June after an increase in posts directly calling for violence against government officials. In addition to this, Reddit has also been periodically removing subreddits such as r/Frenworld and r/Honkler that are more explicit in white nationalist rhetoric.
In the past, the Chapo subreddit often reveled in the banning of hate subreddits. Now, posts on conservative subreddits are celebrating Chapo’s quarantine in the same manner (akin to media publications equating Antifa with fascists). However, subscribers on the Chapo Trap House subreddit seem mostly unbothered by the developments.
Most subreddit posts concerning the quarantine actively belittle the disciplinary action. “Is this praxis?” one user quipped. Subreddits under quarantine “generate no revenue, do not appear in non-subscription-based feeds (eg Popular) and are not included in search or recommendations.”
With regards to how the hosts of the podcast are taking Chapo Trap House’s subreddit quarantine, only Will Menaker has publicly acknowledged the situation.
🙏🙏Blessed🙏🙏 https://t.co/myOPKUc8Bp— Will🧙♂️Menaker (@willmenaker) August 6, 2019
Menaker’s jovial reaction mirrors the relationship between the podcast and the community on the subreddit, which has always been somewhat strained. With its over 137,000 subscribers, the popularity of the Chapo subreddit has made it not just a place for discussion of the podcast but also a hub for a discourse on leftism and politics in general. Infighting has constantly plagued the community.
But, if anything, the quarantine has seemed to rally the subreddit into unifying against Reddit admins, who they are calling “disingenuous lib nerds.” One of the only posts on the subreddit taking the quarantine seriously called out Reddit admin sodypop for not replying to the subreddit’s moderators after they sent a message–in good faith–concerning the subreddit’s possible content violations.
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Ignacio Martinez is a reporter specializing in online gaming and political communities. His work has previously appeared in the Texas Observer and on the airwaves at KVRX 91.7 FM. He is based in Austin, Texas, and you can follow him on Twitter at @NacioMartinez.