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Vote Brigading is the practice of mobilizing a campaign within an online community to promote or undermine a targeted page, user or belief en masse through the user-voting system. On Reddit, brigading is often employed as a silencing tactic by those who wish to undermine the presence of competing political agendas or opinions.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word "brigade" was originally a French word for "body of soldiers." According to Wiktionary, the English variation of the word refers to "a group of people organized for a common purpose." Following the rise in popularity of Reddit, various factions on the website began encouraging each other to vote on content as a group. According to Reddit's "Rules of Reddit" page, practices that can be considered a type of "vote manipulation" are prohibited on the site, including "sharing links with your friends or coworkers and asking them to vote" (shown below).
The earliest known use of the term "brigade" in the context of website voting was in a post by blogger Konstantine Thoukydides about the Toy Town Germany web forum, which referred to a massively downvoted thread as the result of a "downvote brigade."
On November 11th, 2011, The Daily Dot published an article about controversies on Reddit regarding the /r/ShitRedditSays community, which began with the question "Is Reddit being gamed by a 4,500-strong downvote brigade?" On February 7th, 2014, Redditor WingedPastry submitted a post about vote brigading to the /r/TheoryOfReddit subreddit, arguing in favor of the practice and claiming it should not constitute "vote manipulation." On April 30th, Redditor Wimali_Stebox submitted a post asking what vote brigading was and why it was not allowed on Reddit to the /r/OutOfTheLoop subreddit. In the post, Redditor drafterman cited the /r/SubredditDrama and /r/ShitRedditSays subreddits as groups that are often accused of vote brigading. On April 20th, 2015, YouTuber Richard Lewis uploaded a video in which he discusses a vote brigading controversy (shown below). On June 13th, Urban Dictionary user nullive submitted an entry for "brigading," defining it as "a concentrated effort by one online group to manipulate another."
Yelp Bombing is when users choose a business or entity on Yelp and leave false or exaggerated reviews. Often, this action is performed as a response to a political statement or opinion held by the business or its employees, and it’s usually spontaneous, as opposed to being organized by a political leader or group.
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