Living In A Science Fiction World

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Honestly, the real world is so much more fascinating than fictional worlds, because we can’t see the complexity of what’s going to happen.  It’s no big secret that science fiction is not actually a prediction of the future, but a reflection of what’s happening now – The Forever War may be about a protracted war in outer space, but really it’s Vietnam.  And so forth.
But when you really look at the societal changes that the Internet has wrought, it’s more vital and raw than Asimov’s Foundations culture.  And today, I’m gonna say hey, let’s look at us.
This is an astoundingly well-written profile by Adrian Chen about the rise of Reddit’s #1 troll, Violentacrez.  It’s not just an article about a man, but about a series of cultural changes that allowed a mild-mannered, theoretically polite man to uncork his inner demons and become a vital enforcer in one of the most popular sites of the net.  If someone had written this in the 1950s – oh, hell, they couldn’t have.  But this is all what’s happening now, and we don’t think twice about it because, hell, it’s now.
Anyway, go read it.  The money quote, for me:

When it comes to mods, the political model of Reddit is not so much a vast digital democracy, as it’s often framed by fans and users, as online feudalism. Moderators like Violentacrez are given absolute control over their turf in exchange for keeping the kingdom of Reddit strong. Moderators become more or less powerful in direct relation to the number and popularity of the subreddits they moderate, so they try to take over other subreddits to boost their profile in the community. Inevitably, Reddit’s administrators develop relationships with the most influential moderators. Like feuding medieval lords vying for the king’s favor, moderators form alliances or wage epic flame wars over power struggles.
This is how Violentacrez, Reddit’s creepiest user, also became its most powerful.

Really just good stuff.

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