In response to another user who asked, “What the hell happened?” a subscriber responded, “The sub has gone through stages: actual T_D knockoff, Trump memes, and now Donald Glover memes. Just accept it. Luckily, the moderation here is basically nonexistent, so we can do what we want!”
T_D is shorthand for The_Donald, the much larger, and far more influential Donald Trump–boosting subreddit that has been called “Trump’s most rabid online following.” The page was founded in 2015 and, since the announcement of Trump's presidential run, has served as a news hub for supporters.
Though the subreddit’s 600,000 total subscribers pales in comparison to Reddit’s 330 million monthly active users, the community managed to successfully game the platform’s algorithm and wielded such an outsize influence on the larger platform that in late November 2016 Reddit CEO Steve Huffman took action against it.
“Although many of you have asked us to ban the The_Donald outright, it is with this spirit of healing that I have resisted doing so,” Huffman wrote in a public statement at the time. “However, when we separate the behavior of some of The_Donald users from their politics, it is their behavior we cannot tolerate.”
Certain users were punished with bans or suspensions, and the subreddit was stripped of some privileges that it had previously exploited. Subscribers had previously referred to Huffman and his team of site administrators as Nazis for enacting restrictions against them: In June 2016, the community upvoted a post filled with swastikas in an attempt to protest the platform. For a short time it was the second-most popular post on the entire site.
The_Donald has used its influence not just to push out Trump news but to spread conspiracy theories and false news reports. Because of its success, the subreddit has spawned a sea of copycats and backup accounts. These fan clubs, including thedonald, don’t have the same clout or broader impact, but act as hubs for Trump fans to connect with each other and share memes.
But the moderator for thedonald appears to have deserted his community long before the Glover takeover. “The single mod has basically abandoned this sub, I doubt he’ll ever be back to do any actual moderating. I’m just hoping he’s inactive for another 40 days (he’s been inactive for 20 so far) so we can request a subreddit takeover, but that will likely not happen,” a subscriber wrote. Conveniently, Donald Glover also has his own dedicated and very active subreddit, donaldglover. It has over 79,000 subscribers.