Since announcing his campaign as a UKIP (UK Independence Party) MEP (Member of European Parliament), political candidate Carl Benjamin, also known as Sargon of Akkad, has been the subject of a number of media hit pieces. And now Reddit, the self-described front page of the internet, has placed his r/SargonofAkkad subreddit in quarantine.
The quarantine means that anyone who tries to access the r/SargonofAkkad subreddit will be presented with the following warning message and will have to opt-in before they can view the posts:
The warning message reads:
“Are you sure you want to view this community?
This community is quarantined.
It is dedicated to shocking or highly offensive content.
Are you certain you want to continue?”
Selecting “NO THANK YOU” directs people to the Reddit homepage and selecting “CONTINUE” directs people to the homepage of the r/SargonofAkkad subreddit.
When people enter the community, they’re also presented with a further warning in the sidebar:
This warning message says:
“This community is quarantined: It is dedicated to shocking or highly offensive content.”
Below the message is a link encouraging people to “Leave this community.”
The quarantine also limits the distribution of r/SargonofAkkad on Reddit. The subreddit and its posts will no longer appear in non-subscription-based feeds such as the Reddit Popular feed and it will not be included in Reddit’s search or recommendations.
The r/SargonofAkkad subreddit has been active for over three years and Reddit hasn’t said why it decided to quarantine it now. However, the most likely explanation is that Reddit is responding to the media smear pieces that have been published since Benjamin announced his political campaign.
One of the most notorious of these smear pieces is an article from BuzzFeed News which misrepresented the Discord chat server Benjamin is using to organize his local political activities. This server is heavily moderated but BuzzFeed News highlighted comments that had been made by a small number of bad actors before the moderators had a chance to remove them in an attempt to present Benjamin’s community in a bad light.
The moderators of r/SargonofAkkad can appeal this quarantine and potentially have it lifted. However, they didn’t indicate any intention to do so in their response where they said they were surprised by the quarantine but encouraged users to continue posting as normal.
Here’s their full response to the quarantine:
It's been a very long time since you've heard from a moderator here, mostly because we don't do any moderating. No, really, take a look at our moderator log for the past few months. The truth is this subreddit never needed moderation because like I said in a comment, the users here aren't children who need to be told what to do.
Anyway, this quarantine came as quite a shock, mostly because this subreddit has always been tame. Even r/drama was surprised despite their differences with Sargon. Quite a coincidence of this quarantine coming right after he announced his candidacy for UKIP.
What's the future of this subreddit like going forward?
Business as usual. Go about posting as if nothing's changed because really, nothing has. We never made it to r/all as far as I'm aware.”