The r/Bitcoin subreddit has increasingly become a major source of news and information for anyone interested in Bitcoin. Established in 2010 and counting more than 170,000 subscribed accounts today, it is the oldest and biggest Bitcoin-related page on Reddit, and perhaps even the most influential Bitcoin corner on the Internet.
But since last summer, r/Bitcoin has been under increased scrutiny. In a controversial move, the subreddit’s moderators banned the promotion of software clients programmed to break with consensus. While many considered this a form of censorship, the moderators maintain that promotion of these clients is a risk to Bitcoin as they could split the network, and therefore it doesn’t belong on the subreddit.
Moreover, the subreddit moderators are convinced their policy is needed to limit manipulation of popular sentiment, which they suspect is an ongoing practice on the webpage.
The pseudonymous “BashCo” is one of r/Bitcoin’s moderators. To test this hypothesis, he did a multi-week data-analysis on the subreddit. Now, BashCo believes the results suggest what he had long suspected: the subreddit has fallen victim to extensive – and possibly automated – vote manipulation.
BashCo, who preferred to remain pseudonymous, shared his results with Bitcoin Magazine.
Collecting reliable data on