President Barack Obama did a Reddit "AMA" (Ask Me Anything) this week, answering ten questions over about 30 minutes and causing the site to crash repeatedly. But it wouldn't be a real Reddit experience without mob paranoia — and, right on cue, a bunch of libertarian Reddit detectives have assembled a case that the White House "planted" one of the few questions the president answered. An unconvincing case, to say the least.
Here's the original question, where suspicious replies have already been voted above Obama's response:
The accusations began fairly quickly after the (admittedly softball) question was asked, based largely on the fact that the account was only a few hours old. But they didn't gain steam until a Redditor posted a link to the question in r/libertarian, Reddit's largest, and most vocal, partisan political community: "Obama answers a planted question in his AMA by a user account 4 hours old. Nobody notices/cares."
In the comments of that post, a user named "londubhawc" assembled the evidence; soon, his post was the subject of its own thread, which quickly shot to the front page:
So is there anything to this? As with so many things on Reddit: no. As Redditors themselves point out on all of these threads, the AMA had been announced half an hour before the president started answering questions. It's not really that unusual for someone to compose their question offline before signing up for an account and asking it. (Also? "Posted a blog entry supporting Obama"? C'mon, guys.)
Not to mention the fact that someone actually asked the user herself:
And anyway, why would the Obama administration plant questions when Redditors themselves were asking questions like: