Lemmy.ml tankie censorship problem

I feel like we need to talk about Lemmy's massive tankie censorship problem. A lot of popular lemmy communities are hosted on lemmy.ml. It's been well known for a while that the admins/mods of that instance have, let's say, rather extremist and onesided political views. In short, they're what's colloquially referred to as tankies. This wouldn't be much of an issue if they didn't regularly abuse their admin/mod status to censor and silence people who dissent with their political beliefs and for example, post things critical of China, Russia, the USSR, socialism, ...

As an example, there was a thread today about the anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre. When I was reading it, there were mostly posts critical of China in the thread and some whataboutist/denialist replies critical of the USA and the west. In terms of votes, the posts critical of China were definitely getting the most support.

I posted a comment in this thread linking to "https://archive.ph/2020.07.12-074312/https://imgur.com/a/AIIbbPs" (WARNING: graphical content), which describes aspects of the atrocities that aren't widely known even in the West, and supporting evidence. My comment was promptly removed for violating the "Be nice and civil" rule. When I looked back at the thread, I noticed that all posts critical of China had been removed while the whataboutist and denialist comments were left in place.

This is what the modlog of the instance looks like:


Definitely a trend there wouldn't you say?

When I called them out on their one sided censorship, with a screenshot of the modlog above, I promptly received a community ban on all communities on lemmy.ml that I had ever participated in.



So many of you will now probably think something like: "So what, it's the fediverse, you can use another instance."

The problem with this reasoning is that many of the popular communities are actually on lemmy.ml, and they're not so easy to replace. I mean, in terms of content and engagement lemmy is already a pretty small place as it is. So it's rather pointless sitting for example in /c/[email protected] where there's nobody to discuss anything with.

I'm not sure if there's a solution here, but I'd like to urge people to avoid lemmy.ml hosted communities in favor of communities on more reasonable instances.

StaySquared ,


There's censorship just for having a different opinion. When you challenge someone's belief in any subject... or just simply have a disagreement, you're getting banned. Lemmy is following in the foot steps of Reddit in the sense that it appears that the left/progressives want to be segregated and keep the division. No dialogue, no meeting in the middle.. just ban anyone who threatens their bubble.

Alphane_Moon ,
@Alphane_Moon@lemmy.world avatar

I would suggest trying to get out of the english-language (American-centric) internet bubble with respect to dialogue, "challenging beliefs" and the broader nature of what you consider to be censorship.

Focus on real-world (internet can be a red hearing) examples of cases (particularly in Asia, Africa but Europe and LATAM too) that contradict your statements around "just ban anyone who threatens their bubble".

Then consider the what are the real world consequences of tankie propaganda, again better to avoid US narratives/examples. Just try a good faith approach to this question.

StaySquared , (edited )

I have no idea what you're suggesting.. but just about the entire non-western world laughs at Reddit-type leftists because they can't come to terms with reality. So much so they (Reddit-type leftists) refuse vehemently to acknowledge that it is their feelings that they're putting before facts of life. Refuse facts, refuse reality.

Alphane_Moon ,
@Alphane_Moon@lemmy.world avatar

Perhaps I misunderstood your post, were you referring to the actions of lemmy.ml mods or the proposal to avoid lemmy.ml communities?

33550336 ,
@33550336@lemmy.world avatar

Tankies warming up to call you and Lemmy.World fascists in 3, 2, 1...


Lianodel ,

Tankies: The word 'tankie' is meaningless because it gets overused by disingenuous people on the right.

Also tankies: Everyone who criticizes my position is right-wing.

SkyezOpen ,
Kecessa ,

You just made me realize that I have been banned from some of the communities over there while never having posted on them, mods are reading conversations in other communities and preemptively banning people...

Weslee ,

Ah reminds me of good ol' reddit

StaySquared ,


I honestly thought it was more along the lines of they read a comment/post from another community that they didn't like, more than likely checked their history and then decided to ban them.

figaro ,

I'm all for defederating from tankie instances. They suck.

whoreticulture ,

lmao get back to me when the mods on lemmy.world stop deleting every comment that is critical of Biden. STFU. There is no recourse for mods on Lemmy and they can use their powers to delete any comments they want. The only recourse you have is to find a fediverse that caters to your weakass centrist views.

RememberTheApollo_ ,

If anyone cares to check my comment history they'll find a crapton of rebuttals to anti-biden comments that were NOT deleted by anyone.

whoreticulture ,

So the pro-Biden comments are staying up? Exactly like I said ? lmao

Emperor ,
@Emperor@feddit.uk avatar

The thing is, the Fediverse, link the original concept of the Internet is flexible and can survive losing nodes - it just routes around and issue. If there are problems it can mutate and survive.

I’m not sure if there’s a solution here, but I’d like to urge people to avoid lemmy.ml hosted communities in favor of communities on more reasonable instances.

This is the best solution - the answers are in our hands. Communities only thrive because the users are.posting and interacting on it. If the Mod goes inactive or an instances goes down, we can switch to a new community. That then gains the momentum and goes on to thrive. It's survival of the fittest and why having more than one community on a topic (especially big topics) is a feature not a bug because it gives the network flexibility and resilience.

So if there's an issue with lemmy.ml, boycott it - unsubscribe, give the other communities on more agreeable instances your time and they will grow and prosper. If there isn't a relevant alternative start one.

Lemmy prevails.

Katana314 ,

I am one of the removed comments and just found out about it here. Does the Lemmy standard really not send direct messages to users when one of their messages was removed? If it was an actual Rule 1 violation (which of course, it wasn't) I'd like to know.

BarbecueCowboy ,

Saying anything negative about China is a violation of rule 1 on lemmy.ml from the admins perspective. They classify anything critical that gains any attention as Sinophobia and file it under bigotry.

Lianodel ,

It honestly reminds me of fascists saying that harsh criticism of Israel is inherently antisemitic. It's a dishonest rhetorical game.

ZombiFrancis ,

Over the past year on Lemmy I have witnessed a constant fight between people on hexbear, lemmygrad, and ml and people on communuties like tankiejerk, meanwhileongrad, and the like.

Both appear to constantly brigade and overmoderate their respective areas of control. Since my instance: sh.itjustworks, is some combination of defederated to hexbear and lemmygrad, I mostly just see threads like these complaining about tankies. I only assume the effort is being matched by those instances I don't see to warrant this problem being so persistent.

So to me there's so much active bad faith behavior between the camps I assume they all just have a paranoid view of the fediverse and are mostly just perpetuating a cycle of bad faith. Maybe that relationship is terminal if just people can't handle each other.

Gullible ,

One side argues “maybe we should be authoritarian buttholes and quietly silence dissent on our website of 10,000” and the other side replies “don’t be an authoritarian butthole or we’ll make fun of you in our community of 200.” I’m not impartial in this, but historical revisionism and whataboutism serving the cause of spreading propaganda is generally not the right direction. Looking at the result of both actions is a decent method for determining what you’d like to support or stifle.

Will the actions of the .ml admins, course unaltered, produce an environment that you're willing to post and interact with? For me, the answer is a big no.

ZombiFrancis ,

The fundamental source of conflict is that developers of Lemmy, who are also admins of .ml, describe themselves as marxist-leninist. Their very allowed existence is a conundrum for some, regardless of what they do.

So there is absolutely interest in the elimination of instances like .ml from the Fediverse, especially as things like Meta's Threads moves in to centralize communities and standardize discussioms so everything can start aligning with thr valuation of their investment.

Gullible ,

You’ve misread the situation entirely. The most active community admin on our instance has described themselves as being staunchly pro-communism and it hasn’t evolved into a slap fight because they’ve been gently pursuing the goal of proliferating their views. Kind person, no clue how they tolerate the internet.

On the other hand, I’ve been hearing the same complaints about the Lemmy devs for like 4 years, long before META came around and before I had even tried lemmy. In this case, I firmly believe people simply dislike clandestine political chicanery and its intended goal.

ZombiFrancis ,

So you say uou've heard complaints about Lemmy devs, who run the instance in question here, for four years.

That is a direct illustration of what I mean: from the start of Lemmy there's been complaints of the devs.

As the Fediverse becomes bigger, this type of stuff isn't going to be wanted by any entity especially not ones owned by Meta.

Gullible ,

If you have any evidence of meta going after lemmy, I’d be keen on seeing it. Conspiracies really don’t appeal to me but I chug sauce like an Italian sex worker.

Lucidlethargy ,
@Lucidlethargy@sh.itjust.works avatar

I think all instances need to defederate. This is totally inexcusable. We shouldn't be attached and well connected to a CCP-controlled (influenced or directly) community. This is propaganda, pure and simple.

It's not a problem to have dissenting opinions to widely held beliefs, but it is a problem to have those injected constantly into our streams while all opposition is silently erased and curated to artifically support state-sponsored CCP propaganda.

TrickDacy ,

I am surprised that my comments on that post weren't removed.

It is pretty horrifying that there are people in positions of moderating what thoughts are allowed to propagate who deny or cover up the events that took place in Tienanmen Square.

pukeko ,

Whenever this topic comes up, I find myself wondering what these folks do all day. Not in a Boomer "don't these people have jobs?!?" way, but more ... what is it like to be them? Do they just sit in front of the computer looking for conversations to disrupt? What is their daily existence? Because I find their volume and dedication to what they do fascinating. Cancerous and absurd, but also fascinating.

MolochAlter ,

I fucking hate tankies, but.

The problem i have, every time this conversation happens, is that cutting them out doesn't solve anything, and that I don't want to be coddled.

The 2 main issues we have, as lemmy at large, is that there are some wildly uneven standards enforced across instances and that we have no say about that. There was that hugbox instance that would ban people for being rude and yeeted itself into the void, there was hexbear that got de-federated for its mods actively encouraging being subversive (despite its users receiving intolerable psychic damage after 5 minutes in any lib space where people are free to call them names, or was that lemmygrad?) and now we're talking about removing lemmy.ml for the fact that its mods are somehow sentient pieces of actual shit.

And while I agree to all of those reasons, I don't think defederating is the answer.

Every time we fragment the fediverse we make it overall worse.

Average users don't even understand what they're looking at when it comes to decentralized networks, let alone can they understand that there's politicking between instances and such. If I were told "you can make an account on instance x or y, but they don't talk to eachother so if you want to see stuff on instance y you can't make an account on instance x" as a rando, I would go back to reddit, the only reason I didn't is that i really hate the app and I am tech/net savvy enough to handle this.

I am a tad more radical when it comes to speech than most, and I accept that, but I do believe that these people have no power so long as they can't abuse moderation, so the answer to the question "how do we handle open propagandists", to me, is to create perhaps a "moderation neutrality charter" and making it very clear which instances subscribe to it, having each instance's moderation team maybe be required to weigh in on appeals to bans from other instances to ensure a certain amount of balance.

That would take care of that real quick. They can subscribe to the charter and start abiding by neutral moderation standards agreed to across the board by some democratic standard, or they can defederate themselves.

That's actually something twitter does right with the idea of community notes, that for the note to be published it needs to be agreed on by multiple parties that don't usually agree in those votes, to ensure there is a bipartisan agreement.

I know this is perhaps too lofty for a ragtag group of essentially microblogging self-hosters, but a man can dream.

retrospectology ,
@retrospectology@lemmy.world avatar

Tankie mods don't moderate in good faith though, to do so would entirely undermine their political objectives. That's kind of the point of the thread here -- to defederate so that the tankies aren't deciding what people can or cannot see and say.

I don't see how the charter idea would actually help with that but maybe I'm not understanding the mechanics of how other mods "weigh in" on ban appeals from other instances.

merthyr1831 ,

go back to reddit if you want to live in the bubble of "America does nothing wrong"

SpaceCadet OP ,
@SpaceCadet@feddit.nl avatar

Living in the bubble of "CCP did nothing wrong (and we will ban you from all your favorite communities if you dare to disagree)" isn't exactly a great alternative.

Darkpepito_tux ,
@Darkpepito_tux@lemmy.world avatar

As a marxist, I'm myself tired of how tankies deals with criticism. And I don't even understand how people can stay with "Stalin was not so bad", knowing that he never planned to apply the last state of the Communist theory, and even if it did, massacre are not acceptable (sounds obvious), same applying with China and their open market.
In my country (France), Stalinism isn't a thing, all communists are against what happend in USSR, and most are anti-china.

finder585 ,

I’m myself tired of how tankies deals with criticism.

It's because tankies are just contrarians that use communist ideology as a vehicle to be anti-west / anti-United States (anti-liberal democracy). Tankies will defend any cause or ideology that is against 'the west' even if that means happily ignoring the blatant homophobic, genocidal and repressive authoritarianism.

Hadriscus ,

That describes them well imo

Doom ,

wow this is literally them

Bernie_Sandals ,
@Bernie_Sandals@lemmy.world avatar

It's called second campism, and it's been happening for a long time, it just used to make more sense when it could actually seem like there was two hegemonic camps during the cold war (still an oversimplistic view).

Now they just support any regime that's anti-US/the original capitalist camp because they have no hegemonic camp of their own to support, just a broad smattering of authoritarian regimes with completely different ideologies.

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