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The meaning of Reddit 'brigading' explored as r/antiwork goes private

Amber Peake January 27, 2022
The meaning of Reddit 'brigading' explored as r/antiwork goes private
Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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What is “brigading” on Reddit? The term and its meaning are in the news this week after the Reddit community r/antiwork went private following online attacks.

On Wednesday (26 January), Doreen Ford, a moderator for r/antiwork, joined Fox News host Jesse Watters to discuss the online antiwork movement. Following Ford’s comments in the interview, the subreddit was reportedly made private after it suffered “brigading” attacks.

As per a notice on the subreddit page, it is still temporarily closed as moderators “deal with the cleanup from ongoing brigading.”

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‘Brigading’ meaning on Reddit explained

“Brigading”, also knowns as “vote brigading” on Reddit, is a practice when users from a particular community or subreddit “invade” or “attack” another forum groups page. 

The act can either be calculated or at random and sees users from one community downvote comments or posts belonging to another subreddit group. 

While it has become associated with Reddit, the user behaviour can also be directed at communities or individuals on other platforms including Twitter as well as Twitch.  

Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
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The term’s Reddit origins explored

“Brigading” is nothing new on Reddit as it seems to have also been discussed in the forums’ early days on the internet. 

Reddit was created in 2005, with the site later taking off around 2010. As more users joined the site, “Brigading” was seen to have been adopted by some users, with one of the first user behaviour references in a 2011 article by the Daily Dot.

“Brigading” has in the past led to subreddits being banned. In September last year, Forbes reported Reddit had banned the subreddit r/NoNewNormal after it reportedly violated the forum site’s policy against “brigading”. 

Reddit is seen to reference “brigading” community behaviour in the platform’s content policy as it warns: “no community should be used as a weapon.”

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Amber is an entertainment journalist with a love for anything showbiz, celeb or reality TV. After graduating with a degree in Journalism at Brunel University she became a Showbiz Reporter at Express.co.uk. Having written for both HITC and The Focus, Amber is now a staff writer for The Focus covering the latest celeb and entertainment trends.