As someone who genuinely believes in freedom of speech, I will happily sit here and argue with anybody, including those mentally deficient enough to identify with far right hate politics. But what is freedom of speech? Is it sitting alone in a room talking to a wall? When we discuss freedom of speech, I argue that what we actually mean is the freedom for our opinion to reach others. It is extremely difficult for any opinion on Voat to reach others unless it is sanctioned by the far right, and this is because they are using systematic vote manipulation to attack non-conformist posters with massive numbers of downvotes. As users are aware, any comment with a lower rating than minus four is hidden by default, and any thread in the minus figures is unlikely to be seen by anybody not specifically looking for it.
And so we have a curious situation where Voat is designed as a platform for free speech, yet the only political speech we see comes from neo-Nazis and other far right goose-steppers. Hence, I argue that there is a large conflict of interests between @atko and the handful of users who are dominating Voat. The simple, irrefutable fact is that, were the far right prepared to accept a free speech environment, we would be seeing speech coming from places other than the far right. We are not seeing this, and hence I argue the presence of the far right is proving to be in conflict with Voat's own anti-censorship philosophy.
Of course, a bigger problem even than the vote attacks and/or flooding of comment chains, are the fake news stories being strategically pushed to the top of the page. I mean, we are just seeing ludicrously stupid narratives being spammed at people through sites which have been thoroughly exposed as completely bunk. A fine example is the latest effort to convince Voat users/visitors that the CIA are enemies of America for publishing a report that Russian hackers tried to influence the election in favour of Donald Trump. We have seen a massive number of threads vote-manipulated to the top of the page which seem to imply that the Russians are American patriots and the CIA are American traitors. Just simply ridiculous angles which are specifically being spammed at people.
I understand that there is an argument to be had in saying people are free to believe what they want. They don't have to be taken in by this wave of bullshit being served up by the "alt" (i.e. far) right. But I also believe this is too simplistic. It doesn't account for the fact that the wingnuts are similarly free to lie their sweet faces off. We can't really blame people for being lied to, but at the same time they may take egregious courses of action while under the influence of those lies. Hence, I believe we all have a collective responsibility to fight this war on truth begun by the right wing.
I have been your resident liberal shitposter. Thanks for listening.