Alright guys, first I'm going to lay out my thoughts, feelings, and aim for the direction of this subreddit. I've heard this echoed several times but I'll be blunt: the quality of discussion here has slipped over time, especially concerning anything that's remotely political. My goal is to maintain a higher standard of investment discussion than your average financial subreddit (looking at you /r/personalfinance). Obviously this is a general investing forum so we're open to all but I rarely see white papers posted anymore and I see a lot more stuff that isn't really that relevant to investing. I personally have taken to removing these threads automatically – something like "elon musk tweets that he wants to build an elevator to the moon by q12020 just isn't really investing news. Sure it's interesting and funny, perhaps even newsworthy, but it's not something that really deserves to be on the front page of the subreddit.
So guidelines on corporate posts, /u/crasymike has guidelines here: https://www.reddit.com/r/investing/comments/b3ss3q/topics_being_removed_corporate_news_vs_investor/
I feel like these are very thorough and complete. Feel free to weigh in here but I'm largely just reiterating what he said. I think those are super good guidelines and I'm happy with the clarity it provides us in describing why we're removing threads that we don't think are investment related. If anyone wants a real world example a lil bit back I removed a thread that was about BOA raising their minimum wage to $15/hr. That's great news, it's definitely newsworthy somewhere, it's not relevant to investing. Now if someone broke down staff costs for BOA and which percentage of those were low earning employees then in turn described how this would impact BOA's cashflow then perhaps it would have stayed. But that wasn't the case. Hopefully that provides some good clarity on what we're looking for here.
So on to the big question mark. We've been cracking down on this for months but I'd like to lay out some firm guidelines for political posts and comments. Basically I'm going to mimic Mike's post above but also I want to discuss how we feel about aggressive enforcement. First let me start by laying out my reasoning:
Anyone that's been slumming around this sub long enough remembers that it used to be a lot different when we were south of 400k subscribers. Things change, that's fine. But back then we had a higher percentage of industry professionals and more seasoned investors. When politics came up most people weren't interested in the low effort mudslinging. Most people here just stuck to discussing the investment aspect of something naturally, here's a great example of a thread on Bernie's transaction tax in 2016. Now lets be honest, if that thread was posted today within 30 minutes the entire thread would be people arguing about socialism, student debt, boomers, Trump's haircut or skintone, really just about anything but the actual impact of transaction tax on markets. And the rest would be "why does bernie hate retirement funds" or some other similarly low effort bullshit that displays absolutely no analysis. That's bad.
Now, to be clear I believe we need harsher enforcement of comments in political threads than regular threads. Lets be honest with ourselves, people personally identify with politicians and take personal offense to political attacks. That's just the way it is. Everyone is just so damn worked up and angry about politics. If I say I think Jack Welch was a shitty CEO or that the management team over at Exxon is full of idiots I may have people disagree with me but it's not going to create a situation where some mob of Welch supporters starts calling me a fucking moron. If I say Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders is an idiot then people are going to lose their shit. So here's the thing: top and high level comments are key. As much as I hate it people upvote these inflammatory comments, then people respond aggressively because they've been personally offended, then all of the sudden I can't actually discern /r/investing from the comments section of your local news station on facebook. Seriously, if you ever want to feel like a genius go to the facebook comments on a local news article, any news article, really. it's filled with complete idiocy. That's what we're fighting, because if this is left unchecked all of the sudden this place looks like /r/politics or /r/the_donald and nobody wants that. If you want those sort of posts then you can go there.
So here's what I'm proposing, you're free to express your opinion so long as it's tied to investing, you put effort in to it, and it's civil.
Tied to investing: This should be obvious but damn I can't tell you how many top level comments I remove concerning immigration, social rights, literally just people's disdain for [politician], how hard it is out there for millennials, etc. you have to understand what your comment does, it attracts other comments that are discussing this subject and all of the sudden we've got a thread about manufacturing filled with comments discussing how it's hard to make a down payment on a house. Look home ownership is nice but that's not topical and not related to investing.
Effort: This is admittedly subjective but lets give some examples:
Bad: This is fucking stupid, why does bernie hate savers, MAGA!, Trade wars are easy to win right?, Orange man bad, lots of TDS here, Pocahontas just wants to tax your money away, Tulsi Gabbard's workout video on instagram is hot, [republicans/democrats/specific politican] hate america, etc.
Do these add to any sort of conversation in any manner? No.
Good: "Wow, I think Trump's recent move is pretty bad, China can do XYZ which will cause imports to go up/down and this is bad because ABC." or "Trump is in the right here, with the current IP theft we need to take strong action, this will set us up for XYZ"
these are both differing positions that people may agree/disagree with but you're making a good faith effort to have a discussion. This is good.
Civility: I'm having a lot of people that don't post here a lot telling me that the current political climate warrants outrage and they need to be able to express that. No you don't. There's literally hundreds of politically oriented subreddits for you to go rant about how outraged you are. You'll get plenty of upvotes and no crabby mods are going to ban you for shitting on their lawn. True story. I'm going to be completely honest: if people are not capable of discussing a topic that impacts investing without losing their shit and lobbing insults then they are not the sort of person we're catering to. So lets quantify that too:
Bad: this fucking idiot is going to ruin the country. Bernie is a socialist and will ruin everything. Trump is literally incompetent. He's a criminal. Republicans are literally just in it for their own self interest. Democrats hate America.
Good: I definitely disagree with this approach, so far I'm not happy with this presidency because of [investment related XYZ]. I don't like [candidate] because of [investment related XYZ].
I don't think it's too much to ask for everyone to not use this sub for their partisan word vomit.
Now on to enforcement
Here's my proposal, I haven't run this by anyone yet so I'm sure other mods will chime in and we'll all arrive at something together. When I remove comments that don't fit in the conversation I check a lot of post histories. 95% of the time the people that come here to throw political haymakers never post here otherwise. They often frequent political subs(yeah, news and worldnews count) and they are often the worst offenders with derailing conversation. I kinda get it, maybe they subbed here but don't know anything about investing. Investing can have a steep learning curve but everyone knows which politician they hate. So, with the context that I intend to write up a long post of finalized posting/comment guidelines and combine that with the current corporate news vs investment news sticky, then have automod post a sticky to political threads imploring people read said guidelines BEFORE posting and that violating said guidelines results in an immediate ban I propose this:
If someone diverts conversation purposefully to political topics that aren't related, they post some low effort meme [MAGA, Orange man, TDS, any given trump insult, stable genius, trade wars are easy to win, Pocahontas, I'm sure I'm missing tons], or they just insult a politician overtly (think "fucking idiot" vs this isn't smart) then they're getting a 30 day ban.
If they attack a person directly for their position, their post is a prolonged rant/personal attack against a politician/party, or they're being extreme about violating the above guidelines then they get a 60 day or possibly permanent ban depending on severity. To be clear there have been some subjects that automatically get people permabans already. Racism, homophobia, religious attacks(dude I swear someone asked about Sharia compliant investments and got insulted three times before someone answered), death threats, etc have warranted permabans already.
My reasoning is simple: in my observation most of the toxic behavior comes from people who aren't contributing otherwise. I don't really want them as subscribers. I personally am fine with hurting our subscriber numbers if it means better more focused discussion.
So thoughts? have at it.
Other things I wanted to float that are tangentially related: Possibly instituting character minimums for posts? Either self posts or comments as well. We might grant exceptions to regular contributors? I really have absolutely no idea how or even if I could pull that off. And I certainly don't know if it's a good idea.
Any other ideas? Suggestions? Have at it.
Submitted August 24, 2019 at 09:21AM by MasterCookSwag