Pentagon Wants Its Own Reddit

Have you checked out the military's own versions of Facebook or YouTube or Wikipedia recently? No? That's probably because they're heavily censored and restricted, which is just what you want with social and crowdsourced media, and this is why the Pentagon now wants its own version of Reddit, called Eureka. Makes sense, right? …Right?

Eureka will be a government-controlled version of Reddit that encourages active-duty military and reservists to submit and vote on "ideas" that "improve training, or solve the problems that plague the military and hamper efficiency." If an idea is popular enough, it may end up in updated field manuals. Reddit is a fine model for the military to use, but the problem is that it's going to be heavily restricted and (more importantly) it's most likely not going to be anonymous. In other words, nobody will want to complain about anything or bring up stupid ideas.

It seems to me (as a Reddit user) that part of what makes Reddit so successful is that it opened itself up to letting its community do pretty much whatever. You want a subforum for British lady boners,* which is apparently what the ladies call hot British guys? Reddit is way ahead of you, and one already exists with 477 dedicated members (and it's even safe for work). But when you start telling people what they can and can't be interested in, and furthermore when you remove all anonymity (which will likely be the case), it severely limits what users are comfortable sharing, potentially destroying much of the usefulness that the military is hoping to achieve.

While it's obviously not ideal, in its own limited way Eureka does sound like it has the potential to be at least a little bit helpful, in that soldiers will be able to upvote popular ideas and have some confidence that someone with the power to do something about those ideas will actually be paying attention. In principle, though, there's no good reason why you need a paranoid and restricted system for this, when the Pentagon could just go and use the existing Reddit framework instead.

Via Danger Room

*This is what happened when I asked Reddit to take me to a random subforum. Go figure.

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