Hey Reddit, Mothership Has Every Right to Rip You Off
Top image credit: Mothership.sg / Jerry Teo / Rex Regrets

About 2 days ago, this article about how much Singaporean dishes cost overseas made it to Reddit Singapore (r/singapore). Across 60 comments, both Mothership and the writer were childishly skewered for literally copying and pasting to make this article happen.

To these Redditors, Mothership had flouted all the rules of good journalism. Once again, Mothershit had “taken from them without asking.”

For a while now, Reddit Singapore’s attitude towards Mothership has carried an undertone of resentful condescension. Much like strangers who once shared a bad hookup experience and hence wished the worst on each other, r/singapore continues to baulk and squirm every time a post on Reddit becomes viral content on Mothership.

If you do a quick search for ‘reddit’ on Mothership, you’ll stumble on 6 pages worth of articles. That’s about 80 pieces of content derived solely from something that was posted to Reddit. In other words, not much was required of the Mothership team to chase down these leads.

So is the irritation of Redditors perhaps justified? Is this about integrity, or are Singaporean Redditors just sore about “their” content being circulated to the masses?

To us at least, r/singapore’s response whenever Mothership does this is no different from bloggers who get their panties in a twist whenever personal blog entries become public knowledge. Does one not realise that this stuff is on the internet? A public platform?

Personal stories and images don’t really belong to us once they’re posted online. They’re free to be shared and reported on.

Yet this loathing of Mothership isn’t unique to the regulars of r/singapore. It’s an attitude shared by many, from random internet people to self-declared content snobs.

The convenient explanation is that the unthinking masses want only clickbait. As such, both Redditors and our “intellectual elite” want nothing to do with Mothership, and get some kind of self-congratulatory pleasure out of constantly dissing the site for putting out “shallow” articles.

The better and more objective explanation is that Mothership is, like it says, a content aggregator and community news service. This means that it combs forums like Reddit and HardwareZone and Facebook pages for content. And it repackages news stories in ways that are easy for people to swallow.

This is Mothership’s function, and why it’s relevant. Because if you’re not on Reddit, you wouldn’t even know about this stuff that’s out there.

So Mothership is great for people who might live under a rock and only want to visit one or two sites for general information on what’s happening in Singapore. Every digital media ecosystem has someone doing something like this.

Today, anything can be content. From The New Yorker, to UNILAD, there’s a time and place for everything. Even though Mothership doesn’t quite employ the content farm approach, their ability to produce good content is still tied to whether or not anything interesting happens in the first place.

And if there’s nothing exciting to repackage, then it’s time to break out yet another otter story.

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