Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

Linguistic Analysis Of Billions Of Reddit Comments Shows Strength Of ‘Alt-Right’ Trolls

A linguist at the University of Amsterdam is studying the online community of the “alt-right” by trawling through billions of comments on Reddit — and found that the loosely-organized white nationalist movement is growing in strength.

“We’re witnessing the radicalization of young white men,” Tim Squirrell, a researcher at the Alt-Right Open Intelligence Initiative, wrote in a piece on Quartz.

The “alt-right” is far from a monolith and Squirrell has created what he calls a distinct “taxonomy of trolls” based on his work: including “4chan shitposters,” “anti-progressive gamers,” “men’s rights activists,” “anti-globalists” and “white supremacists.”

Explicitely racist language is often banned from Reddit chanels, so “alt-right” groups have come up with their own language, signaling to their beliefs about other groups.

Some of that coded language? “kek,” “Pepe, “deus vult,” “God Emperor Trump” “snowflake,” “cuck,” “Chad,” “alpha,” “beta,” “omega.” When some commenters show explicitly racist or anti-Semitic views, they often back down when confronted , claiming that they are only joking, the research shows.

The “alt-right” has show itself to be difficult to pin down but Squirell believes the group is finding coherence. “The alt-right isn’t yet united, but it soon will be,” he wrote.

Email Sam Kestenbaum at and follow him on Twitter @skestenbaum




Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.