The arc of r/conspiracy

Before 2020, r/conspiracy was a fun sort of place. A large chunk of the discussion was of the Graham Hancock flavor of conspiracy. While most of this stuff was pretty outlandish, mainstream academia routinely makes findings that were previously considered impossible. Thought provoking but mostly harmless entertainment.

Then 2020 rolled around, and r/conspiracy was flooded with normal people looking for a place to discuss COVID. It was easy enough to ignore the minority of whackos talking about 5G and Bill Gates. People championed the lab leak hypothesis (remember, you could be banned from Facebook for mentioning it), pointed out that previous flu-like epidemic protocols specifically advised against lockdowns. It was a refreshing break from the monotonous groupthink going on pretty much everywhere else.

At some point this all changed. Questioning the overreaction to COVID became acceptable in mainstream conversations, so the normies left. What remained was a toxic mess of the Mossad killing babies with Covid vaccines, run of the mill MAGA, and unhinged nihilism, which curiously never really painted Russia or China in a bad light, even the lab leak and lockdown frenzy were Fauci’s evil plot with increasingly less mention of China.

Lately, there’s been an absolute stupor over the British royal family. Which, fair enough, it is odd for all of the senior royals to vanish from public view with little in the way of explanation. But come on, they’re not that interesting or powerful.

Lo and behold, the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together as the Telegraph reports China and Russia spreading slurs against Princess of Wales’:

China, Russia and Iran are fuelling disinformation about the Princess of Wales to destabilise the nation, Whitehall sources believe.

Senior Government figures fear that hostile states are behind the spread of wild conspiracy theories and online rumours surrounding the Princess’s health.

A government source told The Telegraph: Part of the modus operandi of hostile states is to destabilise things — whether that is undermining the legitimacy of our elections or other institutions.”

Something has certainly changed about the quirky corners of the internet. The general vibe used to be fun, a bit goofy, not too serious, and interested in a wide range of topics. Now there’s a dour, malicious mood about these places and only a narrow breadth of topics and opinions to discuss.