r/UpliftingNews is one of the most popular subreddits around: it’s got over 14 million subscribers at the time of this writing (March 2019), and it has a simple premise.

A place to read and share positive and uplifting, feel good news stories.


A pretty justifiable purpose.

But I’ve noticed lately that a lot of the popular posts on this sub betray our dystopia. Some of these posts are just sad, no other way around it: thousands of people cheering the slightest improvement in a terrible environment as uplifting and great news. I guess I can’t blame them.

Anyway, things got to the point where it felt like I was seeing these posts all the time. So I decided to start taking screenshots of the r/UpliftingNews page regularly (usually sorted by “hot” unless I note otherwise).

I started this at the very end of January, was consistent for about the first week of February, and then totally forgot about it. Now it’s March and I’m trying to get a few more screen grabs of the sub before making this post. Sorry for the unscientific process and the inconsistencies. I think these will prove the point nonetheless.

This is actually a 2-for-1 deal. Sorted by “Hot” on January 31st, 2019. First one: homeless people left to die of cold, extreme cold due to climate change. Second: bankrupt energy companies paying off creditors and leaving a mess on the environment in the first place.
“Top” for the last week on January 31st, 2019. The first one is fine, believe it or not. The second one though–that’s uplifting? Look at the dystopian picture behind that piece of good news.
This was top of all time January 31st, 2019. Obviously this guys’ achievements are fantastic and uplifting. What a nightmare scenario to begin with, though.
February 2nd, 2019. “Residents at the care home couldn’t afford simple luxuries, like visits from their dogs.” Lovely.
February 9th, 2019. That’s a lot of land.
Sorted by “Hot” on March 5th, 2019. One of the world’s biggest banks decided to stop financing private prisons! Yay progress!

Luckily I’ve found some validation. I was briefly worried I was just uniquely cynical, and that r/UpliftingNews really is just uplifting. The good folks at r/ABoringDystopia have something to say.

And again.
And they’ve also caught r/MadeMeSmile getting up to some optimistic bullshit that shouldn’t be there.

If it wasn’t already clear, there’s nothing wrong with having subreddits dedicated to good news. I think most of us could use it. But we can’t let our search for optimism blind us to what is actually proof of dystopia.

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