‘PBS Idea Channel’ Explores Whether Upvotes Illuminate the Flaws of Democracy

PBS Idea Channel host Mike Rugnetta explores whether upvotes–like those used with Yik Yak or reddit–actually illuminate the flaws in democracy in the latest episode of the series.

Are upvotes democratic? Supposedly, YikYak is a democratic social network, following the lead of forums like reddit that use upvoting as “community sourced decisions.” The IDEA behind both is that compelling, unique posts will float to the top, and weak ones will sink to the bottom. Reddit is a democracy! Much like The United States. HOWEVER, in both cases, the notion of true democracy may well be an illusion! Does seeing upvotes promote more upvotes? Does provocative content beget more provocative content? Is all content created equal?