Hacker News is trying to ban all political posts on its forum. Through a series of posts, Daniel Gangle, one of the leaders of the community for over two years now, said that the site is going to ban all politics-based posts for a week and then monitor the situation to see what follows.
The post by Gangle announcing a political detox week on Hacker News has drawn mixed reactions. On the one hand, some users have supported the view, agreeing with the leadership of the community that political news usually undermines the very foundations of Hacker News. Initially, the reason for suggesting this move of doing away with political posts on the platform is based on the need to keep conversations intellectual and pure. Gangle argues that political posts make people inflamed and lose their reason. The result is that more often than not, an online warfare emerges among users based on political ideologies or beliefs.
Interestingly, Hacker News relies on the goodwill of users to ensure that the political detox week succeeds. The leadership has asked users to flag any post that they deem is political. In this case, users can flag any post that is based on race, leadership, belief in any political party or even any post that discusses religious differences.
Similarly, users are supposed to point out any threads that are political in nature. It is common for some sock puppets to sneak political comments in discussions that are not based on political issues at all. The idea of such a move, which is common in nearly all social media platforms, is to draw users into online political battles.
Hacker News intends to ultimately kill all political news on its forum throughout this week. The administrators of the site also plan to kill any politics-based thread that users may attempt to sneak into erstwhile non-political discussions.
But what many observers and users alike are concerned with is the effect of the experiment. On the one hand, some users are in support of the experiment. However, on the other, other users have been quite critical of the move. For example, some users have said that banning some types of posts amounts to censorship.
However, in a quick rejoinder, Hacker News has denied that its suggestion amounts to censorship. The CEO of Y Combinator, the company that runs Hacker News, Sam Altman, has emphasised that this is an experiment and that the company is yet to make a formal decision. He has also defended the move, arguing that many social media sites across the world are grappling with trolls who can easily water down the discussions that take place on social media sites.
It remains to be seen what Hacker News will look like at the end of the week and the next steps that the company will take.