In the past days, after the news of Thiel’s donation to the Trump campaign, many related stories – the original announcement, the response from Pao’s company, marco’s shame post – have been submitted (as well as an annoying number of duplicates). Many made it to the front page quickly, then got flagged down, then got resubmitted, then flagged down, etc. A couple of times, the mod intervened to remove the flag filter, but because of algorithmic weights given to flags, the stories were removed from the front page quickly anyway.
The main reason suggested for flagging was the off-topic HN guidelines (though HN obviously does not require anybody to justify their flagging, so this is pure speculation) while many people would argue that given the relevance of these stories to YC and HN, these are very valid (and important) topics to debate here.
In a more worrisome twist, my previous Ask HN asking questions about why that was happening (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12716662) also quickly got promoted to the front page but got flagged down as well.
When a topic that a majority wants to debate but a vocal minority – whose motivation is unclear, are they Trump supporters? are they rule zealots? are they tired of political subjects? – manages to shut down (as well as shut down any discussion about that flagging down) one may wonder if it doesn’t amount to some form of censorship. What do you think?
And please, don’t flag this one down, this isn’t about politics, it’s about HN!