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Predditors
October 11, 2012 5:38 AM   Subscribe

A Reddit user began compiling information on members of the subreddit "creepshots", posting them on her tumblr. The tumblr is deleted, but Gawker's Adrian Chen allegedly threatens to publish information about violentacrez, moderator of r/creepshots and r/jailbait. Reddit's Politics subreddit disallows all Gawker links in response.
posted by Greg Nog (1668 comments total) 83 users marked this as a favorite

 
SOPA starting to seem like not so terrible of an idea.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:40 AM on October 11, 2012


I am not having significant trouble taking sides in this argument.
posted by dudekiller at 5:41 AM on October 11, 2012 [32 favorites]


I hope they keep exposing those guys, but really, people need to go after advertisers. That's the only way it'll make any difference.
posted by empath at 5:41 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hoo boy.
posted by elizardbits at 5:41 AM on October 11, 2012


Also, someone needs to go after imgur for hosting it.
posted by empath at 5:42 AM on October 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


"predditors"

Protecting the men but not the women, killing the messenger. Reddit is looking sicker by the day.

On preview: people need to go after advertisers

Ugh, please don't do this. The last thing we need more of is corporations taking political sides.
posted by DU at 5:42 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, if you are an advertiser, and your stuff is showing up in r/creepshots, you might have an interest in putting pressure on Reddit to cut that shit out. No one wants their fabric softener or whatever being associated even subliminally with that.

Agree that Imgur needs to be gone after as well.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:46 AM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


I had similar feelings when they lynched Gaddafi last year.
posted by shothotbot at 5:48 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ugh, please don't do this. The last thing we need more of is corporations taking political sides.

I didn't realize that financially supporting sexual assault was a political position.
posted by empath at 5:48 AM on October 11, 2012 [94 favorites]


Violentacrez is the man who admitted to having sex with his 19-year-old stepdaughter at one point.

He's also the one behind several more subreddits that centered on sexualizing young teenagers other than just the aforementioned /r/jailbait.

This will go down in history as the only worthwhile thing Gawker ever did.
posted by Gev at 5:49 AM on October 11, 2012 [49 favorites]


CreepShots is a gateway drug to more dangerous hobbies.

She found just about the quickest way to make me not take her seriously.
posted by Egg Shen at 5:52 AM on October 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


I didn't realize that financially supporting sexual assault was a political position.

Have you heard of the Koch brothers?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:57 AM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


right, but vigilantes ... Report to the authorities and move on...

Redditors response .. banning something on the internet? Really? Will 4chan now have to only post links to Gawker?
posted by fistynuts at 5:58 AM on October 11, 2012


She found just about the quickest way to make me not take her seriously.

I dunno... hasn't it been established that pedophiles are more likely to act when exposed to a group of people who encourage their desires?
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:58 AM on October 11, 2012 [17 favorites]


She found just about the quickest way to make me not take her seriously.

Actually, I think it's pretty cogent to say that taking photos of someone without their consent because you think they're sexy, is treating women as sexual objects whose objections can be ignored. And if you're okay treating a human being as an object whose consent is optional, that can lead to some very nasty stuff.

Not saying that CreepShots ===> rape, but CreepShots definitely = rape culture
posted by litleozy at 5:58 AM on October 11, 2012 [173 favorites]


This is great. While being a creep might arguably be legal, there's no reason that people should get to be anonymous creeps.

Real First Amendment warriors have the conviction to stand behind what they say.
posted by paperzach at 5:58 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


aaannnnnd cut one head off, another springs up in its place.

groce.
posted by exlotuseater at 6:00 AM on October 11, 2012


This really detracts from all of the good things Reddit has done. They should really disaffiliate themselves with such seaminess.
posted by Renoroc at 6:00 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I didn't realize that financially supporting sexual assault was a political position.

As the article says this is technically legal... I would ask you your position about filming cops on the job, Empath. After all the defense they commonly use is that they have an expectation of privacy in spite of the fact that they are public servants or are in the public sphere.

Or this guy, does he have a right to privacy as well?

It's a confusing situation, as the sheriff said in this first article the law has to catch up.... somehow.
posted by Max Power at 6:01 AM on October 11, 2012


I didn't realize that financially supporting sexual assault was a political position.

Advertising corporations policing what websites say can't possibly have any downsides, I say go for it.
posted by DU at 6:03 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


violentacrez is an incredibly prolific poster, who's responsible for some of the creepiest content on that full-of-creepy-content site, and who has been close friends with the site administrators from the very beginning. They were downright apologetic to him when they closed the pedo subreddits (including a bunch he created) in response to media exposure.

I can't countenance "doxxing" or exposing someone's personal information as an act of revenge or harassment, but I can't weep too many tears for this shithead.
posted by edheil at 6:06 AM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


"This really detracts from all of the good things Reddit has done. They should really disaffiliate themselves with such seaminess."

You realize that last year one of the top hits if you googled Reddit was their "jailbait" subreddit? That they've had subreddits like /r/beatingwomen and /r/abuseporn and the admins have been petitioned repeatedly to take them down and refused? That have only taken down child porn subreddits when forced to by media exposure and when they did so they said in so many words that they weren't doing so because of the content but because the practical consequences to the site were threatening?

The Reddit admins do not care and never have cared what horrible things are on their site as long as they can keep sucking down the ad revenue. "Freedom of speech" -- where "freedom of speech" means not the first amendment, but the freedom of the proprietors of a private venue from any responsibility for the behavior of the people they allow in that private venue, no matter what the consequences of their behavior -- is *the* paramount virtue to these people.

"Good things" have never been their priority, or at least they've never been allowed to threaten the "seaminess" unless there is the threat of financial loss through bad publicity.
posted by edheil at 6:11 AM on October 11, 2012 [40 favorites]


Is it legal to take pictures of women in public? Sure. Is it legal to then gather publicly available information about people posting them? Yes, yes it is.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:12 AM on October 11, 2012 [112 favorites]


The quote about fetishizing non-consent is an extremely good point. What is now "only" a creepy guy — that women unknowingly enter the sphere of every day – will definitely feel enabled by the attention and confirmation this sad, literal circle jerk provides.

That might lead to dark places in the future, as most enabling behaviour can.

This kind of predatory behaviour should never be normalised or tacitly condoned.
posted by flippant at 6:19 AM on October 11, 2012 [24 favorites]


She found just about the quickest way to make me not take her seriously.

Normally, that would be true for me as well, but the very next sentence does an excellent job of helping me put my finger on just why this phenomenon has always been so disturbing to me (Beyond the instinctive Ewnogrosswrong) : "fetishizing non-consent." I honestly think that what this is.

That's what these kinds of websites do. If you're into that sort of thing, I'm sure there are porn websites out there (like there are for basically everything imaginable) that cater to these fantasies, featuring consenting women or men playing that type of role.

I will leave it to an actual psychologist to decide whether this is really any healthier, but to me, it certainly seems safer to fetishize a committed pornographic actor or actress, who performs and enjoys their job rather than some random, likely underage girl or boy that a stranger photographs, and then shares with the internet for the express purpose of titillation. It begs the question, (and I guess this is really what this is all about): "If you weren't anonymous, would you do ANY of these things?"

(On preview: I think litelozy has it with "if you're okay treating a human being as an object whose consent is optional, that can lead to some very nasty stuff.")
posted by Krazor at 6:20 AM on October 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


I can't countenance "doxxing" or exposing someone's personal information as an act of revenge or harassment, but I can't weep too many tears for this shithead.

I'm not on board with harassment (though I am on board with the level ten irony going on here), but I am totally ok with pseudo-anonymous people being outed as part of solid investigative journalism. Nothing cleans like sunlight, and I am 100 percent for continued articles about Reddit's creepy issues (this, the pedo stuff, etc).
posted by Forktine at 6:21 AM on October 11, 2012 [26 favorites]


Advertising corporations policing what websites say can't possibly have any downsides, I say go for it.

Ad companies aren't required to pay for that site in any way, either. If "the market" speaks and says "Hey, I don't want to buy your stuff while you're supporting XYZ," then the ad company can do a cost-benefit analysis of what will cost them more: spending money on ads on sitewhatever or not spending those ad dollars there. They do that all the time anyway.
posted by rtha at 6:23 AM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


I wouldn't be mad if more internet creepsters thought "oh shit, it is very possible I get exposed for this one day" before deciding to start a forum where creeps can anonymously post creepy shit.
posted by windbox at 6:27 AM on October 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


Also re: advertising - online advertising isn't like television or radio advertising. As long as that site gets hundreds of millions/billions of impressions per month, there are going to be advertisers no matter what and the site will continue to make revenue.

Reddit's ads are mostly self-served bidding-style (like Facebook or Google) so there will always be someone willing to pay the market price as long as the impressions are there, "offensive content" be damned. Sorry all.
posted by windbox at 6:30 AM on October 11, 2012


If anyone deserves to get doxxed, it's violentacrez. There's a lot of good stuff on reddit, and he keeps tainting it with his bullshit.
posted by Jpfed at 6:34 AM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Reddit prides itself on having a subreddit for everything, and no matter how much anyone may disapprove of what another user subscribes to, that is never a reason to threaten them.

Yeah that sort of logic goes out the window when the subreddit/redditor is devoted to serving up rape culture and non-consensual exploitation on a silver platter.
posted by griphus at 6:36 AM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


If you build it, they will come. Reddit is nothing more than an easily accessible aggregate of Internet forums, and it's not very moderated in that regard. Instead of trying to find or start a forum where people can talk about customized nail polish designs, you can just set up camp on Reddit if there already isn't one, but the same goes for things like white supremacy and voyeurism. It was mentioned that a new version of the creepy shots subreddit has already been established.

Reddit isn't some great bastion of the Internet by a long shot. Like the Occupy cities, it's a good idea that can be easily corrupted by dirtbags who take advantage of the liberty when left unchecked. I don't know what the solution or perfect design would be, but I think it's absolutely proper to address the cancer as it is detected.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 6:38 AM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


I pointed out to them what should have been obvious about the invasive nature of creepshots. There were a couple of responses that were rather ironic in their lack of self awareness.

Look, Reddit - it's even called /r/creepshots. There's a reason for that.
posted by Xoebe at 6:38 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It begs the question, (and I guess this is really what this is all about): "If you weren't anonymous, would you do ANY of these things?"

You are, of course, espousing that point of view anonymously.

Everyone is in favor of anonymous Internet speech until someone uses it in a way they don't like.

I consider the freedom to practice anonymous Internet speech more important than attacking this one, relatively insignificant aspect of the larger rape culture - let alone anyone's personal desire not to be squicked out.

YMMV.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:39 AM on October 11, 2012 [15 favorites]


Is it legal to take pictures of women in public? Sure. Is it legal to then gather publicly available information about people posting them? Yes, yes it is.

And you're going where exactly with this?

I'm not sure anyone's disputing that taking pictures of women in public is legal. I think what's at stake here is whether or not taking pictures of women and / or underage girls without their consent, and organising those pictures for people to jack off to, is a justifiable subject for investigative journalism.
posted by ominous_paws at 6:42 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


"This really detracts from all of the good things Reddit has done. They should really disaffiliate themselves with such seaminess."

You realize that last year one of the top hits if you googled Reddit was their "jailbait" subreddit?


I'm pretty sure that comment was sarcastic.

About the increasing ubiquity of people taking pictures of nonconsenting third parties and posting them on the web: more and more I think about buying a headscarf and a giant pair of Joan Collins sunglasses to wear in public.
posted by winna at 6:42 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wonder what, exactly, is the line (if there is on) that has to be crossed for Reddit's corporate ownership to force the top-level mods to divest the site of the nasty shit. Or even better, for the mods who appease the creeps the most to be asked to leave. They can form their own site if they want, just keep it away from the many parts of Reddit that are worthwhile or even admirable.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:43 AM on October 11, 2012


Krazor: It begs the question, (and I guess this is really what this is all about): "If you weren't anonymous, would you do ANY of these things?"

Egg Shen: You are, of course, espousing that point of view anonymously.

Erm, Krazor has put plenty of his personal information on his MeFi profile, so he can't really be accused of inconsistency.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:43 AM on October 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


There's a lot of good stuff on reddit, and he keeps tainting it with his bullshit.

He's really really really not alone.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:45 AM on October 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


Krazor has put plenty of his personal information on his MeFi profile

Ah, indeed, there is his name.

Then I retract the first sentence of my previous comment. The rest remains.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:46 AM on October 11, 2012


Nothing cleans like sunlight, and I am 100 percent for continued articles about Reddit's creepy issues (this, the pedo stuff, etc).

I've been sort of poking along following this since the /r/jailbait stuff and spent a lot of time looking at Predditors last night curious about whether these men (if there were women, i didn't see any) would have been so bold about their creepy behavior--not just against women but just out and out racist nonsense--if they had known it would be linked to their reallife identity? My prediction is that this is just going to drive the creeps more underground on Reddit (before they leave it altogether) and then Reddit Inc. is going to have to make an even more difficult choice about whether to reveal information they have about users that isn't available to the general public. I find the doxxing stuff unseemly, but I find the creepshots stuff really icky as well, "fetishizing non-consent" exactly. So once you have people who are even more careful about outing their personal information on Reddit so they are more doxxing-proof, is Reddit going to step up the next time someone's uploading photos of a high school girls' ass and offer up IP information and/or whatever else they have? Doubt it. But I bet they are thinking about it and at what point this becomes a PR disaster for them.

I consider the freedom to practice anonymous Internet speech more important than attacking this one, relatively insignificant aspect of the larger rape culture

I don't find this aspect insignificant at all, actually. This is something about which I'm sure reasonable people may have differing opinions but to me this is actually a sort of big part of rape culture, that there are huge supporting affirming communities on large websites with decent reputations where people can egg each other on into objectifying and depersonalizing and sexualizing young and unsuspecting women. Not freaking out, just saying I feel like it's a problem.
posted by jessamyn at 6:47 AM on October 11, 2012 [89 favorites]


I consider the freedom to practice anonymous Internet speech more important than attacking this one, relatively insignificant aspect of the larger rape culture - let alone anyone's personal desire not to be squicked out.

There are lots of web sites out there that go much further in pursuit of not just displaying women's pictures but humiliating and slut-shaming them as well, and Gawker has highlighted those as well (pinkmeth and Is Anyone Up come to mind as particularly ugly examples). This is not meant to cheerlead this reddit subculture as "hurray, they're not as bad as they could be," but to suggest that there are much, much lower-hanging fruit that need whacking.

there are huge supporting affirming communities on large websites with decent reputations where people can egg each other on into objectifying and depersonalizing and sexualizing young and unsuspecting women

Take out "on large websites" and you're describing high school.
posted by delfin at 6:51 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


It would be kind of hilarious if these people, instead of revealing personal information, had sought out the members of the subreddit, took surreptitious photos, and posted them to the same subreddit.
posted by troika at 6:53 AM on October 11, 2012 [52 favorites]


I wonder what, exactly, is the line (if there is on) that has to be crossed for Reddit's corporate ownership to force the top-level mods to divest the site of the nasty shit.

Two things.

1) Appreciable loss of revenue. Since reddit isn't paywalled (as far as I know), it's hard to say what can cause this.

2) Lawsuits.
posted by delfin at 6:55 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah, the internets...it's like watching a new civilization being born. Get the popcorn and watch political philiosophy in action - Episode 1 - "Reddit's State of Nature or
Bellum omnium contra omnes"
posted by incandissonance at 6:55 AM on October 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


"I disapprove of what you say, but I would die to defend your right to secretly take pictures of children's crotches and upload them to the internet for other people to jack off to and to talk to other people about jacking off to those pictures of children's crotches and to encourage more people to take more secret pictures of children's crotches to upload to the internet for everyone to jack off to and to encourage a general perception of people and in particular women as objects with no humanity that are provided to us so we can take secret picture of their underage crotches and upload them to the internet and jack off to them."

- Voltaire
posted by ominous_paws at 6:57 AM on October 11, 2012 [71 favorites]


i think maybe that is a pretend quote you guys
posted by elizardbits at 6:58 AM on October 11, 2012 [66 favorites]


I find the doxxing stuff unseemly

Yes, it really is a terribly stupid word.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:58 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Nu-uh.
posted by ominous_paws at 6:59 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, Voltaire was always a polemicist.
posted by flippant at 6:59 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Gawker ban from r/politics cannot be understated. This is some fucked up shit. It's beyond offensive that a mod from an unrelated subreddit decided to take personal action to ban Gawker. It's childish and that kind of bullshit revenge action isn't appropriate for a top-tier subreddit. r/politics is one of the default subreddits for users not logged in. Fuck that noise.

Reddit has been getting more and more racist/sexist/homophobic in the past year, if it gets worse, I wouldn't be surprised if more people got involved with bringing Reddit's toxic culture down via unorthodox means. I only see this getting worse.

Reddit's mods have been complicit with r/jailbait and other pedo subreddits. It's been a large driver of traffic to their site, if not one of the largest, and any fallout is well deserved as they are more than complicit. Reddit is not just a website, it's a community, and when you have a massive population of scumbags (who arrived via google searching and arrived at r/jailbait), that then have their toys removed, the community doesn't instantly right itself. This community scumbaggery may very well be a permanent part of the Reddit community and the Reddit admins have reaped what they sowed.
posted by amuseDetachment at 7:01 AM on October 11, 2012 [20 favorites]


This will go down in history as the only worthwhile thing Gawker ever did.

That's what we said last time. Greedy, vulgar, superficial, and generally amoral as Gawker is, they do have their moments. Anyway, in this instance, I'm okay with whatever Gawker or Jezebel did to Mr. acrez. And I'm pretty okay with any non-violent effort to reveal his identity in the future. Hoist by his own creepshot, I says.

I consider the freedom to practice anonymous Internet speech more important than attacking this one, relatively insignificant aspect of the larger rape culture

The question here is, to what extent does someone have the right to use their pseudo- or anonymity to do anything they choose? I don't have anything like a clear answer to that myself, but in this case, while it isn't absurd to say that someone has the right, broadly speaking, to take photos of people in public and do what they will with them, it is absurd to say that anyone is guaranteed the right to do this without inquiry.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:01 AM on October 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


Part of the problem is, of course, the way that many people spam the Internet with personal information.

Like, for instance, there's a site I know of where people post hordes of their pictures regularly -- clothed enough to avoid indecency complaints, but often suggestive or scantily-clad -- and put them out there for the world to admire. Candid party photos, beach pictures, drunken action shots, all kinds of stuff that can haunt people later on at job interviews, and often with personal info of the participants attached, with or without the knowledge of the photographed.

But enough about Facebook.
posted by delfin at 7:05 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Has /r/mensrights weighed in on this important issue yet?

I have a very, very strong aversion to "doxxing" (both the practice and the word), but I also really hate creepy voyeur photos. Do you have an expectation of true privacy in public? Of course not. But should you also expect that creeps aren't snapping photos of your ass to beat off to, and to encourage others to beat off to? Yes, absolutely.

I don't know what the right way to address this is--reddit is really a cesspool with a few, possibly important, exceptions--but the /r/politics banning is astonishing. Banning a domain from a front-page subreddit because they actually did some journalism and called out a few repulsive creeps? Jesus.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:05 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Delfin, I genuinely don't see how that's relevant to this at all.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:07 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


delfin: r/creepshots aren't about posting people's facebook pics. This is about a subreddit which is about taking cellphone pics of random women they see on the street. It is about sexualizing women when they're going about their day-to-day activities. There is a weird sexual ownership fantasy going on here that feels very rapey.

A teacher posted pics of his students when they were at school. That is the kind of shit we're dealing with here.
posted by amuseDetachment at 7:08 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


The question here is, to what extent does someone have the right to use their pseudo- or anonymity to do anything they choose?

If their behavior is legal - as seems to have been generally conceded - an unlimited extent.

If Reddit doesn't want to provide a stage for this, they can shut them down. If people don't want to patronize Reddit or its advertisers for failing to shut them down, that's their privilege.

If people want to attack anonymity because they don't like a legal use being made of it, I'd say they're the larger problem.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:09 AM on October 11, 2012


I don't think doxing is ever appropriate except when a crime has been committed. If a crime has been committed, turn the person's information over to a criminal prosecutor.

we are better than proscribing morality.

we are better than lynch mobs.
posted by rebent at 7:10 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hang on, let me get get this straight: Reddit defends allowing its users to post creep shots etc. because they believe in free speech and don't want to be in the business of censoring content...so then they go and ban certain links?
posted by naoko at 7:11 AM on October 11, 2012 [35 favorites]


> A teacher posted pics of his students when they were at school.

From the first link in this post, he did more than that, as "multiple texts and nude photos that he sent to girls as young as 16" were found on his phone.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:12 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


As the father to a beautiful 16 year old daughter, this makes me way too angry to contribute in any meaningful way to this thread right now. (Trying to curb my reflexive hostility...)
posted by roboton666 at 7:13 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


we are better than lynch mobs.

Which is why no one has been strung up by their necks. This is simply bringing a knife to a knife fight.
posted by griphus at 7:14 AM on October 11, 2012 [45 favorites]


man, there is literally no part of this that isn't shitty. it is like a fractal of shittiness.

fuck the world
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:14 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


As much as I dislike the vigilante frontier nature of the internet sometimes, these r/creepshots guys cannot be too surprised. I remember the last thread we had about them was prefaced by a breathless, hissy defence from a redditor, who talked about his seeing an iron-clad legal defense of creepshots - not the objectification, not the addition to rape culture, not the questionable ethics. So it's not entirely surprising that people sick of their shit decided to go about things the goose-via-gander way, and honestly, that might very well be just the start - boycotts aimed at advertisers might very well follow. Either way, Reddit's banning of links to Gawker is the sad symptom of many of your run-of-the-mill "I have the freedom to be an asshole" types - actual criticism and calling them out on it sends them rushing to shut it down.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:14 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Delfin: intent, man, intent. It counts for a lot.
posted by roboton666 at 7:16 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Reddit defends allowing its users to post creep shots etc. because they believe in free speech and don't want to be in the business of censoring content...so then they go and ban certain links?


It's almost like the whole "Free Speech" thing is schtick used to defend the sloth and negligence of the Reddit admins as they continue to do nothing to address the many and myriad problems of the site. Free speech isn't their ethos, it's their business model.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:16 AM on October 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


Reddit defends allowing its users to post creep shots etc. because they believe in free speech and don't want to be in the business of censoring content...so then they go and ban certain links?

Reddit the organization is dedicated, to some extent, to free speech which is their justification for allowing subreddits like /r/creepshots. This is a value they hold as a site. Subreddits are run by their moderators and they can make content decisions within those subreddits that are more restrictive than those of the site at large.

The complication comes when people say things like "Reddit did this" they could mean a subreddit, some members of a subreddit, Reddit Inc. and their parent corporation Conde Naste or something else entirely. It's a community with its own structure and understanding how that structure works--subreddits, voting, moderating, top-down policing and the sheer scale of the place--is a large part of understanding why situations like these go the way they do. I personally feel that it's a little reductive to say "Hey man, their community their rules" but at the same time every large site on the internet has its own processes for getting stuff done and the values that site holds at a core level are often the bottom line as far as what happens and how fast but definitely not the entire story.

Has /r/mensrights weighed in on this important issue yet?

Yes, of course they have.
posted by jessamyn at 7:16 AM on October 11, 2012 [25 favorites]


So Violentacrez is gone (sort of) and Gawker / Adrien Chen loses a little bit of ad revenue. Looks like a win-win to me.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:17 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


naoko: Yes, that's exactly why the r/politics banning is bullshit. Reddit can claim that subreddits are independently administered, however, r/politics is a top-tier subreddit that is automatically subscribed for anyone who is not logged in, and is default subscribed for new users. Therefore, actions under those subreddits have moral complicity for Reddit's admins -- an appeal towards free speech falls flat on its face (you can't claim free speech with pedos and then go and ban Gawker).

Because of Reddit's complicity for actual child porn rings (by the way, there are private subreddits that trade actual child porn which Reddit's admins didn't care about until CNN reported on them), many saw doxing as the only way to go to pressure Reddit's culture into being less likely to be a venue for sharing child porn or creepy pictures of underage teenagers. Reminder: r/creepshots were posting cellphone pictures of underage people without their permission (so creepers can later masturbate to), focusing on one single doxing is rather silly considering that pedo shit has been going down on Reddit for so long.
posted by amuseDetachment at 7:18 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


To catch a predator, anyone?
posted by roboton666 at 7:21 AM on October 11, 2012


I consider the freedom to practice anonymous Internet speech more important than attacking this one, relatively insignificant aspect of the larger rape culture - let alone anyone's personal desire not to be squicked out.

Why is the burden of protecting free speech disproportionately placed on women, people of color, and GLTQ people? Why should they face a more hostile world so that a protected, monetized place to celebrate racism, misogyny, and homophobia can exist without interference?

If their behavior is legal - as seems to have been generally conceded - an unlimited extent.

Their behavior is legal but also public. One might say that there is no legal guarantee of privacy or anonymity in a public space--whether that's walking down the street or posting photographs online.
posted by gladly at 7:22 AM on October 11, 2012 [46 favorites]


The relevance is that I find it hard to believe that a lot of the /creepshots pics aren't found online and reposted there, not personally taken by the submitter.
posted by delfin at 7:22 AM on October 11, 2012


Still not seeing it chief, think I need you to keep going.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:26 AM on October 11, 2012


If anyone deserves to get doxxed, it's violentacrez. There's a lot of good stuff on reddit, and he keeps tainting it with his bullshit.

And the sheer volume of stuff and the horrible little sub-reddits he spawns is not fully understood. Too much of this stuff is seen as "what reddit does" and, yes, normalised because the site makes it appear that thousands of users are doing it/agreeing with it. When it fact it's a small and unchecked clique of creeps.

(That reddit circles the wagons to defend those creeps based on that assumption is another problem with the cesspit).
posted by fightorflight at 7:27 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a red herring to talk about what is legal or not. Creepshots are legal, and so is doxing.

The more relevant question is twofold:
1. Whether actions taken were ethical -- whether it be reddit's complicity or the doxxing in retaliation.
2. The implications to the larger reddit community's culture. This has the potential to be a "Digg moment" for Reddit if they don't get their house in order.



delfin: Did you see the article I posted about the teacher getting arrested? That shit is actually going down. You're not looking at the problem from a creeper's perspective, which is to your credit. Think of r/creepshots from the perspective of a creepy pedo. The submitter could be reposting facebook pictures, but for them, that's not that fun nor pleasurable. The submitter gets their jollies off posting pictures that they personally took without permission and without the subject knowing. There is a weird voyueristic pleasure that they get from the actual act of submission to reddit. They get a sick pleasure from going "fuck you lady, you think you're so hot, I'm going to post a picture of you ON THE INTERNET" that is incredibly rapey.
posted by amuseDetachment at 7:28 AM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


Why is the burden of protecting free speech disproportionately placed on women, people of color, and GLTQ people? Why should they face a more hostile world so that a protected, monetized place to celebrate racism, misogyny, and homophobia can exist without interference?

When free speech is curtailed, disempowered minorities are the first to be victimized thereby.

The proposed cure here is worse than the illness.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:29 AM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


If people want to attack anonymity because they don't like a legal use being made of it, I'd say they're the larger problem.

You believe that the subject has no right to contest its own objectification? That's interesting. I'm reminded here of Oliver Wendell Holmes who said, "Your right to anonymity ends where my crotch begins."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:29 AM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


The relevance is that I find it hard to believe that a lot of the /creepshots pics aren't found online and reposted there, not personally taken by the submitter.

Okay, so someone goes onto Facebook, sees pictures of a young woman, thinks "hey, me and my friends who hang out in the subreddit where people post the photos they take of unsuspecting women would love to masturbate to/talk about masturbating to these photos" and then post them because, hey, close enough even if they didn't take them. That is ... not a whole hell of a lot better.
posted by griphus at 7:29 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


When free speech is curtailed, disempowered minorities are the first to be victimized thereby.

The proposed cure here is worse than the illness.


What exactly is the proposed cure that you are addressing? Be specific.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:31 AM on October 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


No, you see, it's totally okay, because she was asking for it anyway, by virtue of existing.
posted by elizardbits at 7:33 AM on October 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


That is ... not a whole hell of a lot better.

Reposting Facebook photos is also not what the vast majority of r/creepshots is, and even if it were, would be entirely beside the point.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:33 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure many are arguing for making something like r/creepshots illegal, as in you can go to jail or be sued from that, I can agree that the social implications are too great to maintaining a website like r/creepshots a jailable offense. At least for myself, I'm not arguing that the admins of Reddit should go to jail. I'm making the argument that Reddit should be ethically taking that shit down, and if they do not, then I don't really have a problem with people taking it to their own hands to dox people (which is also legal) or to create social pressure for Reddit to take it down (whether it be via PR attacks or going after their advertisers, etc).
posted by amuseDetachment at 7:34 AM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


That is ... not a whole hell of a lot better.

Not saying that it's a wonderful tradition to be cherished.

Where I was going with this is that there are an awful lot of people -- young people especially -- who have grown up around constant Internet and treat it like their own personal JenniCam 2.0. If they go to the grocery store, they're blogging their shopping list. If they leave the house, lots of pics. If they take a dump, they're tweeting a 140-char description of it.

This is not to suggest that they DESERVE to have pictures of their pantied asses posted to stroke forums. That's a separate ethical issue entirely. But this troubles me for two reasons:

Those people are not so much having their privacy invaded as suffering the consequences of not really caring about privacy in the first place. (Not talking about "well, she's on the bus so her ass is fair game *SNAP*" photography or stuff like /photobucketplunder, which are a whole different level of invasiveness, but about the people who are putting stuff out in public and are then surprised when it shows up somewhere.)

And people who treat full exposure as the norm help perpetuate the notion that it IS the norm, and that other people who prefer staying in the shade shouldn't expect a base level of privacy and respect.
posted by delfin at 7:38 AM on October 11, 2012


When free speech is curtailed, disempowered minorities are the first to be victimized thereby.

The proposed cure here is worse than the illness.


Lemme lay this out for you, step by step.

Reddit has a long and storied history of encouraging, protecting, and providing an explicit refuge from persecution for people who derive sexual pleasure from people without their consent. Gawker has repeatedly written stories about that fact.

And this time, Reddit responded by banning links to Gawker even if they dealt with other, unrelated news of interest to the general population.

Reddit, by your measure, is already curtailing free speech on its site.
posted by verb at 7:39 AM on October 11, 2012 [42 favorites]


Delfin, it's almost like... like there are some victims, here... and you're finding some way to... to blame them?

JenniCam 2.0

Victims who naturally, I see, are female.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:40 AM on October 11, 2012 [32 favorites]


/r/mensrights

I initially read this as /r/meningitis
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:40 AM on October 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


the people who are putting stuff out in public and are then surprised when it shows up somewhere.

This is not what /r/creepshots is. You are having a conversation about something that is not the topic of this thread.
posted by jessamyn at 7:40 AM on October 11, 2012 [45 favorites]


but about the people who are putting stuff out in public and are then surprised when it shows up somewhere

I think maybe you are missing the point here: it's not that people are surprised when the publicly posted images they themselves posted turn up elsewhere. It's that stupid nasty shit like r/creepshots promotes and normalizes rape culture and that is fucking wrong the end goodbye.
posted by elizardbits at 7:40 AM on October 11, 2012 [20 favorites]


Reddit, by your measure, is already curtailing free speech on its site.

Agreed. And I don't support that either.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:40 AM on October 11, 2012


The entire reasoning for setting up and the continued existence of the creep subreddit is IMHO disgusting, BUT if 'doxing' the members succeeds in pushing that kind of material/community further underground then isn't that a bad thing?

At least now the poison is easy to see, and also easy to track. You take away people's ability to congregate on the wider web then won't they move to more secluded/gated communities where things can fester and get worse much quicker?
posted by Faintdreams at 7:41 AM on October 11, 2012


@Faintdreams I'm not a huge fan of that argument. You're essentially saying "At least now the poison is easy to see, and also easy to track...so we shouldn't track it, because then they'll move to a place we won't be able to track."
posted by toxtethogrady at 7:45 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


delfin: Again, you're arging a strawman, we're not talking about going after people's facebook pictures. We're talking about actual cases of taking pictures of people without their permission, and sexualizing it on the internet without their knowledge. Posting that on the internet is a little different than someone posting pictures of their lunch on twitter. There is an understanding of "FUCK YOU LADY" that is incredibly rapey. The fact that it's called "creepshots" implies that everyone knows that this is not acceptable behavior, even amongst the hyperconnected.

Faintdreams: Actually if you push it underground, they're less likely to be easily accessible. This is impossible to stop, but if you make it less discoverable, it'll be less of a problem. Further, sites like r/creepshots make rape more socially acceptable. When you have a subreddit whose culture is about objectifying women without their permission, this is tantamount to being a forum that makes something like rape more acceptable. If it's acceptable to take sexualized pictures without permission, it's a hop skip away from actual rape. This type of community wouldn't be discoverable from the larger public, but when r/creepshots pictures shot up in r/all where people who browse Reddit may discover the subreddit and participate, we're talking about creating an actual rape culture.
posted by amuseDetachment at 7:45 AM on October 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


The photographs are not just of strangers. These guys post pictures of their girlfriends and wives as well, without their consent or knowledge. It's a repulsive expression of ownership all the way down the line, from random women in public to the mothers of their children. I will cry a single miniature tear for their unmasking and the personal consequences thereof.
posted by jokeefe at 7:46 AM on October 11, 2012 [23 favorites]


BUT if 'doxing' the members succeeds in pushing that kind of material/community further underground then isn't that a bad thing?

Not necessarily. Pushing something underground makes it less accessible, inherently. People who really, really want it will find it regardless of whether you can just Google for it, or if you have to get out the metaphorical bloodhounds. People who just casually come across it, on the other hand, probably won't be trying all that hard and may just throw up their hands from frustration and stop searching entirely. The less easy exposure people have, the less this sort of stuff is touted as just, you know, normal internet stuff rather than gross misogyny, the better. And the less exposure, the less demand, and the less peer pressure to take these photos (or, more peer pressure to recognize how disgusting it is to do so.)
posted by griphus at 7:46 AM on October 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


At least now the poison is easy to see, and also easy to track

Well, yes, but it's easy to see, and it's easy to see that it is considered okay (because it's there! out in the open! we ban things that are not okay!).
posted by jeather at 7:47 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


When free speech is curtailed, disempowered minorities are the first to be victimized thereby.

That's empirically false, is it not? Germany, for example, has had anti-Holocaust denial laws for decades.

That's not the point, though, as amuseDetachment points out. We're not talking about the government passing a law to prevent this. We're talking about social & economic pressure against people who are using their anonymity to directly publicize images of others (and the whole point of those images is that we don't think the people depicted in them want the image to be public).

I understand your broader perspective, Egg, but I think this situation is a little more complicated-- and points to an exception to the general importance of "the freedom to practice anonymous Internet speech".
posted by ibmcginty at 7:50 AM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


"And this time, Reddit responded by banning links to Gawker..."
Reddit hasn't done anything.

The admins of the /r/politics subreddit have banned Gawker links on the /r/politics subreddit. That's just 17 users (out of 1.9 million subscribed to /r/politics), none of whom represent Reddit as a whole, and none of whom have power over Reddit as a whole.
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:52 AM on October 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


I dislike dox'ing in general, but here, really, if you live by the sword of "this invasion of privacy is technically legal," well, then, you can damned well die by that sword.
posted by tyllwin at 7:52 AM on October 11, 2012 [83 favorites]




And this time, Reddit responded by banning links to Gawker even if they dealt with other, unrelated news of interest to the general population.

Reddit, by your measure, is already curtailing free speech on its site.
posted by verb at 7:39 AM on October 11 [+] [!]


Reddit comment threads seem to be a haven for weird, creepy misogyny; they obviously have moderation, but the casual misogyny is sacrosanct. Could be that it's a problem with allowing the mob to vote comments to higher or lower profile, certain kinds of offensiveness become reinforced while others vanish quickly. Either way, it's really distasteful.

The idea of Gawker and Reddit going to war is kind of hilarious though; two well financed tabloid web sites getting right into the mud slinging, it's really hard to believe that it's about privacy and not just scandal and gossip.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:53 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's doxxing?
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:54 AM on October 11, 2012


Pyrrhic victories for EVERYBODY!
posted by griphus at 7:54 AM on October 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


What's doxxing?

Tracking down publicly (and sometimes privately) available contact info and incriminating information and reposting it to a central location.
posted by griphus at 7:56 AM on October 11, 2012


What's doxxing

Tracking down the reddit users posting this shit and making their real names and IRL contact info public.
posted by tyllwin at 7:56 AM on October 11, 2012


CrayDrygu, That would be a great argument if r/politics wasn't one of the default subreddits. Reddit can claim they do not want to get involved in individual subreddits, but they have an ethical responsibility by including r/politics as part of their default list.

Even if you disagree (which I can understand your position), r/politics mods being able to do this within their community without much disagreement from users shows how incredibly toxic the Reddit community has been. Their rage against r/shitredditsays and perpetuating a belief that r/creepshots is acceptable is incredibly damning towards the larger reddit community. The comments are largely in favor of r/politics' banning of Gawker.

As a result, Reddit as a community is going to be more and more toxic and alienating.
posted by amuseDetachment at 7:56 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'd love to meet the Reddit that I keep hearing about in passing. The one that isn't a cesspool, that isn't full of MRAs, rape apologists, angry thwarted pedophiles, and people like this "violentacrez". I have heard there are great discussions on topics of interest to me, but outside of a rare linked discussion thread (which turns out to be incomprehensible due to my inability to understand how they thread their comments), the entire site seems to be worthless.

Sell me on Reddit, somebody. Make me a believer.
posted by Sternmeyer at 7:57 AM on October 11, 2012 [11 favorites]



Tracking down publicly (and sometimes privately) available incriminating information on someone and reposting it to a central location.
posted by griphus at 7:56 AM on October 11 [+] [!]


Thanks, didn't want to assume.
I'm clearly getting too old for this shit, and my hacker dictionary is out of date and no longer relevant.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:57 AM on October 11, 2012


To begin with, I think it's awesome that someone managed to investigate who these men are and what they do and get them shut down, or at least make life a little tougher for them. Maybe that's where this comment should start and end, because it's the most important part.

But I can't agree with comments like "Real First Amendment warriors have the conviction to stand behind what they say" and "If you weren't anonymous, would you do ANY of these things?" In fact, real First Amendment warriors recognize that anonymity is fundamental to free speech -- everything from forums where gay teens can talk about sexuality that would be illegal or socially devastating where they live, to blogs where anonymous women like Samantha (* not her real name) can expose men who do really creepy things on Reddit.

And the threat to remove anonymity is a particularly troubling tool. I don't ask for sympathy for these men in particular, but imagine receiving a blackmail letter like this about something legal you do. The threat to expose a gay relationship, or an interracial relationship, or an extra-marital relationship, in circumstances where you would lose your job or your family -- the power that would give someone over you. Acting out the list of demands of someone who hates you. Aren't the means troubling, even if they are used for good instead of evil?

I'm conflicted about holding Reddit personally responsible for the content of subreddits, or encouraging an internet with less anonymous speech. The last article says "The ability of any redditor to create any subreddit they want, without the site's administration getting involved, is fiercely protected by the community." That's hard to understand in this case, but translate it to "The ability of any citizen to create any website they want, without the government getting involved," and you get something I'm ready to fiercely protect.

Obviously those are different -- but how different are they? If Reddit were the only website on the internet, there would be no difference at all -- regulation by Reddit would be functionally the same as regulation by an unelected government, and it would be important that subreddits be subject only to the regulation that websites are now. Reddit isn't the only site, but the internet is just a bunch of private companies like Reddit. So if I treat Reddit regulation differently from government regulation, then I'm drawing a line somewhere between "encouraging all private websites to police the lawful content their users create" (which is OK) and "encouraging a single entity to police the lawful content all internet users create" (which isn't).

Maybe the difference is a matter of scale? If there's a healthy market for free speech in general, then it works for us as individuals to say, "hey, don't hang out at this one forum or give those guys money -- their speech is awful and they need to clean up their act." But if that's the only forum for speech, then First-Amendment-like principles need to apply, the forum itself should be neutral, and our response should be directed more specifically. In this case, since the internet in general is a perfectly robust market for free speech, maybe it's fine to pressure Reddit as a whole to police itself.
posted by jhc at 8:00 AM on October 11, 2012 [29 favorites]


"Reddit user "I_RAPE_PEOPLE_II" takes a bold stance in support of the moderator of its 'creepy pics of women' subforum"
posted by octobersurprise at 8:00 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


someone just brought this up to me but wasn't/isn't doxxing kind of like the prelude to someone's house getting burnt down
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:00 AM on October 11, 2012


You know, this is one of those times where the "But Think of The Children!" is a completely appropriate response.

I can't believe that anybody is rushing to defend these heterosexual Jerry Sanduskies.
posted by schmod at 8:01 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


>About the increasing ubiquity of people taking pictures of nonconsenting third parties and posting them on the web: more and more I think about buying a headscarf and a giant pair of Joan Collins sunglasses to wear in public.

I see more and more (younger) people surreptitiously taking smartphone pictures of others who happen to be attractive. Men and women do it, and who's to say any of it ended up online anywhere, but there is definitely something going on with the upcoming generations' concepts of individual privacy. This comment (and gladly's, on preview) really makes me wonder about the gradation that goes from admiring someone from afar to taking personal secret pictures to taking deliberately sexual secret pictures and posting them anonymously on the Internet. It's like the "cameras are metaphorical guns" argument. What makes this so difficult is that two people can take the same picture: one is simply admiring beauty, while the other is going to go home and masturbate to how tight that shirt was and then post it on the Internet. The picture was taken without consent in both cases, so where does that leave the object of affection's rights?

>Reddit has been getting more and more racist/sexist/homophobic in the past year, if it gets worse, I wouldn't be surprised if more people got involved with bringing Reddit's toxic culture down via unorthodox means.
See this comment. The internet is a melting pot of culture (among other things). If you have a relatively smart mix originally, then adding to it is probably going to dilute the solution rather than enhance it. They said the same thing about Digg before it imploded. To a lesser degree, I wouldn't be surprised if more senior MeFites believed that MetaFilter's culture has been downgraded due to population increase. The difference here is that Reddit's subjective morality is really what's in jeopardy, but you yourself mentioned that things have been dirty for a while. Based on Reddit's (the business side and the user side) reactions then and now, it doesn't seem like they're as concerned about detox as they are about cleaning up the image.

>Sell me on Reddit, somebody. Make me a believer.
The whole appeal of the site is that you can find a safe-haven (read: subreddit) to talk to people with esoteric and like-minded obsessions ...which is kind of the problem here.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 8:01 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sell me on Reddit, somebody. Make me a believer.

Whatever you have an interest in is likely to have a subreddit. Depending on the make-up of the general population that shares that interest and the specificity of that interest, there's a very good chance that you'll run into it hardly at all, if ever.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:01 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


When free speech is curtailed, disempowered minorities are the first to be victimized thereby.

So.. we are actually protecting women by extending the right to unmolested enjoyment to people who set up communities for sharing pictures of them taken without their consent? While denying them, e.g. unmolested enjoyment of going out in public (or indeed attending school)?

Let me just get my skull fragments together and I'll take another pass at that.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:02 AM on October 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


This is awesome! This is exactly the kind of personal vigilantism I was hoping to see come out of the original creepshots thread. I'm not being sarcastic at all; I adore people who take the initiative to make society better, even if it means a fight. (In fact, I think I just got my first admiration-crush.)

While I (reluctantly) support the civil liberties of creepers to take whatever photographs they want, it's important to recognize that there are consequences, and I think it's awesome that "Samantha" found a way to bring those consequences home to the creepers - and even did it in an ironic way, by invoking her own right to publish public information. A+, pure unadulterated awesome.

Is there a way we can get involved? For example, based on what the stories are telling us, it sounds like there may be a possibility Samantha may need legal council soon. Does anybody know of a way that the ACLU could be pressured into stepping up? Or maybe just a link where we can donate to help ensure that her efforts continue?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:03 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


"CrayDrygu, That would be a great argument if r/politics wasn't one of the default subreddits."
My "argument" is not about a theoretical level of moral responsibility, it is a statement of fact.

Gawker has not been censored from Reddit. Reddit did not censor Gawker in /r/politics.
posted by CrayDrygu at 8:05 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I so dislike the conflation of the free speech guaranteed by the first amendment (as in, no one goes to a prison camp for rapping about the president) with the idea that "I will say whatever shit I want to without consequences forever because free speech."

They are not the same thing. I think maybe we should have different terms for them.
posted by purpleclover at 8:05 AM on October 11, 2012 [35 favorites]


Reddit has a lot of innocuous and even useful content, enough so that I browse /all every day. But. It's always with a bit of self-loathing knowing that there is plenty of content there that I find personally abhorrent. Yes, there's an unsubscribe mechanism, but it's not particularly user friendly and there's a large number of subreddits that everyone is automatically subscribed to. Subscribed or not, I'm beginning to feel complicit in things like creepshots just by having an account there.

Ultimately, there's no way you're going to successfully pressure Reddit itself to self-police, given that it doesn't care or have any financial incentive to do so. Pressuring Conde Nast, on the other hand, just might work. It's time to bite the hand that feeds the predditors.
posted by tommasz at 8:06 AM on October 11, 2012



"Reddit user "I_RAPE_PEOPLE_II" takes a bold stance in support of the moderator of its 'creepy pics of women' subforum"

Man, the article writes itself. Headlines get better and better.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:06 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Johann Georg Faust: I was implying that Reddit may be facing a mass exodus of users if they don't get this right. Look, I know all about internet culture, if I had to describe Reddit, it's a modern-day Usenet.

The fundamental risk that Reddit faces today is if a large portion of their userbase leaves because they handle this incorrectly, a la Digg. They're one quick website away from someone on r/shitredditsays creating an alternative to Reddit and then the moment they have better content, Reddit begins to see a mass exodus of users (that create quality content). You can say that's not likely, but I'd postulate that a huge portion of the people here would love to leave for an alternate Reddit that isn't filled with racists and pedophiles. This isn't merely a function of moderation, this is a function of their userbase, which came about due to the prevalence of r/jailbait. The community is left with a bunch of scumbags as a result.

My underlying point is that it's not just the individual moderation of r/creepshots, it's the fact that they have a ton of creepers by definition after r/jailbait and it's possible no amount of moderation can change that now.



CrayDrygu: I know, my point is that Reddit has ethical responsibilities with regards to r/politics that extend beyond your random subreddits. They are implicity approving the actions taken by r/politics when it's one of their approved subreddits for their homepage. Further, the large amount of positive comments by creepers in that thread shows how fucked up Reddit has become. Their responsibility extends beyond rules for their moderators, I'm talking about ethically implicit approval that doesn't involve their site policies.
posted by amuseDetachment at 8:10 AM on October 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


God. I just looked at the /MensRights thread on this and...there are no words. I seriously have no words. And I usually have them.

I mostly just hope that these guys get the help they need. I checked out the predditors site and it looked like a lot of the guys on it were confused, angry, younger male nerds without much knowledge of (and, as such, more likely to dehumanize) women. I was once a confused, angry, young male nerd as well, I guess - hideously sexist without even realizing it.
posted by downing street memo at 8:10 AM on October 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


There was a post here recently linking to photos taken surreptitiously of couples that were out in public dressed alike. That creeped me out -- not nearly as much as this, admittedly, but still. I don't see it as all that much more savory to take what amounts to non-sexual creepshots for the sake of laughing at people and ridiculing them as to masturbate to them. I just think it's interesting that one kind of violation is A-OK and harmless fun while the other warrants public shaming and red-faced outrage.

None of which is to defend creepshots, but rather to support the concept of leaving people the fuck alone.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 8:11 AM on October 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


"Sell me on Reddit, somebody. Make me a believer."
I'm always reluctant with these kind of statements - they read like "I've already made up my mind, but you can try if you want." That said: Give those a try.posted by CrayDrygu at 8:13 AM on October 11, 2012 [68 favorites]


The entire reasoning for setting up and the continued existence of the creep subreddit is IMHO disgusting, BUT if 'doxing' the members succeeds in pushing that kind of material/community further underground then isn't that a bad thing?

At least now the poison is easy to see, and also easy to track. You take away people's ability to congregate on the wider web then won't they move to more secluded/gated communities where things can fester and get worse much quicker?


If there's one thing that the Internet has taught us, it's that there will always and have always been those sort of secluded/gated communities for any habit, interest, perversion, or inclination. The other thing that the Internet has taught us is that it's remarkably easy to norm something. That's one of the things that people are concerned about with /creepshots and other subreddits of its kind: rather than making it "easier to keep track" of people who are creepy, they are normalizing the fetishization of non-consent for a larger slice of the population.

And that's what "rape culture" is all about, in a big way. The normalization of ideas and behaviors that treat other peoples' sexual consent as irrelevant.
posted by verb at 8:14 AM on October 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


El Sabor Asiatico: While websites like "People of Walmart" which takes surreptitious pictures of fat/ugly people at Walmart is offensive, we're talking about a whole different beast here. "People of Walmart" isn't perpetuating rape culture. It may be perpetuating socioeconomic divides which has negative implications, but the problem with r/creepshots is that there is potential for actual rape taken against the individual. There is an individual sexual ownership going on here.

  • People that contribute to "People of Walmart" don't give a crap about the subject and would rather not talk to them.

  • People that submit to r/creepshots wish they could have sex with the subject.

  • That's the fundamental difference we're talking about here.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 8:16 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    You take away people's ability to congregate on the wider web then won't they move to more secluded/gated communities where things can fester and get worse much quicker?

    Griphus made an excellent reply to this question, I think.

    Remember, in a lot of ways the goal is not to specifically identify creeps and take them down - the long-term goal is to eliminate rape culture, and one step on the way is to make this sort of thing unacceptable in the wider culture. Over time, hopefully, the "Overton window" moves away from objectifying women, because fewer people are exposed to the idea in the first place, especially in their formative years.

    Also, on preview, what verb says above.
    posted by soundguy99 at 8:16 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Sell me on Reddit, somebody. Make me a believer.

    If you don't like threaded comments, it's better not to try to read the comments. They're only half the value of the site, anyway. The other half comes in from the links. That, you can get over RSS without having to view the actual site (after some initial setup).

    Find some subreddits you like (check out my profile for a brief guide; CrayDrygu above has some great suggestions). Each subreddit has an associated RSS feed formed by taking the url for that subreddit and appending .rss (for example, the feed for the subreddit /r/programming is http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/.rss ).
    posted by Jpfed at 8:19 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    People that submit to r/creepshots wish they could have sex with the subject.

    And they have made it very clear that in at least one aspect of their interactions with women, they place little to no value on consent.
    posted by elizardbits at 8:19 AM on October 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


    amuseDetachment, we're in agreement; this was just such a fast-moving thread. Reddit is practically doomed to repeat Digg's history, which might not be so ironic since they took the brunt of users from Digg's exodus. Unlike Digg, they may be able to keep on chugging or possibly even embrace their darker, private sides if it turns out to be good for business.
    posted by Johann Georg Faust at 8:21 AM on October 11, 2012


    zombieflanders: "Whatever you have an interest in is likely to have a subreddit. Depending on the make-up of the general population that shares that interest and the specificity of that interest, there's a very good chance that you'll run into it hardly at all, if ever."

    I hear this a lot, and I've given Reddit a bunch of good-faith attempts over the course of several years, and I just really haven't found the ones that manages to sidestep the overall tone that most Redditors assume: i.e. casual racism and misogyny and ableism and what-have-you. Reddit may not be a monolith, but there are demographic trends to the site and an unspoken culture of what is acceptable that feed into all interactions on the site. If you have any suggestions for subreddits that are geeky and funny and interesting but do not have microaggressions steeped in every other comment, I would love to hear of them. Seriously. I will give you favourites.

    I know much of what I describe is unconscious and Redditors don't necessarily mean ill individually and I'm sure many Redditors are lovely if you get to know them, but it's just so exhausting to constantly look past the ubiquitous disdain for [insert subgroup here]. Maybe I'm a delicate flower, and lord knows all websites have their own problems (Gawker media empire, I'm looking directly at you), but I can get interesting content and discussion elsewhere that doesn't come packaged with the kind of pervasive sexism that permeates the offline world.
    posted by Phire at 8:22 AM on October 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


    I'd love to meet the Reddit that I keep hearing about in passing. The one that isn't a cesspool, that isn't full of MRAs, rape apologists, angry thwarted pedophiles, and people like this "violentacrez". I have heard there are great discussions on topics of interest to me, but outside of a rare linked discussion thread (which turns out to be incomprehensible due to my inability to understand how they thread their comments), the entire site seems to be worthless.

    I poke my head into /r/drupal on occasion when there are conversations about issues that I can weigh in on intelligently. /r/awww a reliable source of cute otter jpgs. The problem is that the largest subreddits -- the default ones and the ones that have attracted huge amounts of traffic -- tend to encourage the kind of antisocial behavior just by virtue of the voting mechanism and the griefer's imperative.

    There are occasionally cool moments, like when Reddit discovers there's a disabled kid being mocked by classmates, and ten thousand users come together to buy them a custom van or something. The Reddit secret santa program is a cool community tradition, and so on. The "a million sub-reddits for a million subcultures" approach they have taken is a blessing and a curse in many ways. It means that people who don't want to see that shit can tailor their reddit experience and only see what they like. However, it also means that users can sometimes feel a deep affinity and sense of belonging with the combination of subcultures they have built for themselves out of the subreddits they like and approve of -- and then, when another subreddit comes under attack, they defend it because it's "one of ours."
    posted by verb at 8:22 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    amuseDetachment:
    "They're one quick website away from someone on r/shitredditsays creating an alternative to Reddit and then the moment they have better content, Reddit begins to see a mass exodus of users"
    And if Reddit does something proactive the same thing will happen the other way around. I imagine we may eventually see a situation like the fracturing of the Chanisphere when 4chan began banning subjects in addition to CP. The main difference is that the *chans were powered by freely available software so clones catering to certain subjects were easy to create. I'm not sure of the status of Reddit's code, but since there aren't already well known clones I'll have to guess that it isn't easily copied.
    posted by charred husk at 8:24 AM on October 11, 2012


    Not that it's a bad thing, but I've found out about questionable subreddits more from Metafilter posts, than from general/casual use of Reddit itself. I guess my search tastes are more "vanilla" than I realized.
    posted by stifford at 8:26 AM on October 11, 2012


    jhc: But I can't agree with comments like "Real First Amendment warriors have the conviction to stand behind what they say" and "If you weren't anonymous, would you do ANY of these things?" In fact, real First Amendment warriors recognize that anonymity is fundamental to free speech -- everything from forums where gay teens can talk about sexuality that would be illegal or socially devastating where they live, to blogs where anonymous women like Samantha (* not her real name) can expose men who do really creepy things on Reddit.

    I am by no means suggesting that anonymity is a bad thing by essence. I, too, believe that is can be useful, even necessary in certain areas. (Crime tips, corporate whistle blowers, and the like.)

    My issue is that the actions of these people are disturbing to me, and I'm left to wonder if they would still do such things if people knew who they were. Surely on some level they realize that this is socially unacceptable. As someone who takes pictures for that site, would you go up to someone and ask "Can I take your picture", and then explain to them exactly why, and what you planned on doing with it?

    It's not anonymity itself that I have a problem with. It's the non-consensual exploitation of people (some minors) that is perpetuated because the users of that forum feel safe behind the shield of an internet handle.
    posted by Krazor at 8:26 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    charred husk: Reddit's code is actually open source.
    posted by ReadEvalPost at 8:29 AM on October 11, 2012


    quote from creepy creepster (as quoted on Jezebel, because I'm not going near creepshots) - "I'm willing to wager that at least 40% of the all-time top posts contain women who aren't 18 years old.. "

    You know what they call women who aren't 18 years old? GIRLS, as in CHILDREN. You are a CREEP.
    posted by jb at 8:30 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    charred husk: And reddit was a clone of Digg. You could probably independently code reddit in a weekend anyway (scaling it on the other hand, may take two months if you know EXACTLY what you're doing). Alternative-chans are largely a way for people to post loli, they pose no threat to 4chan's main userbase. An alternate reddit that came about would be more like Digg->reddit, a massive shift of users because that's where the quality content was. r/all/top is largely garbage now (after you get past the first page), and if I found an alternative with a better signal-noise ratio I'd jump in a heartbeat. The owners of reddit apparently do not yet realize this threat (or they are not doing anything about it).
    posted by amuseDetachment at 8:31 AM on October 11, 2012


    Krazor, that puts very eloquently something I'd not been able quite get into words.

    I'd also go one further - the photo exercise would to some extent be pointless if permission was asked, as the essence of the thrill here seems to be the non-consensual nature of the image.
    posted by ominous_paws at 8:32 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    amuseDetachment:
    "And reddit was a clone of Digg. You could probably independently code reddit in a weekend anyway (scaling it on the other hand, may take two months if you know EXACTLY what you're doing). Alternative-chans are largely just a way for people to share loli, they post no threat to 4chan. An alternate reddit that came about would be more like Digg->reddit, a massive shift of users because that's where the quality content was."
    Then I don't think any break-off related the issues discussed in this thread will kill Reddit. As you said, it would have to be an "overall quality" improvement, not a subject based one. And if the Reddit code is open source then I really don't see a hell of a lot of problem with it closing down stuff like /r/creepshots and letting someone else open jailbaititt.com. Let them deal with getting shut down routinely because of child porn issues. It would be better for everyone involved.
    posted by charred husk at 8:35 AM on October 11, 2012


    the essence of the thrill here seems to be the non-consensual nature of the image.

    Yeah, I remember some disgusting screed quoted in the last thread about these sad assholes where it was clearly stated that the lack of consent was intrinsic to their enjoyment.
    posted by elizardbits at 8:35 AM on October 11, 2012


    Is it a coincidence that the reddit mascot looks like Kuybey from magica madoka?
    posted by hellojed at 8:36 AM on October 11, 2012


    charred husk: I think we're in agreement here with shutting down r/creepshots. My point of people breaking off is about people getting disaffected with Reddit's racism/mysoginy/pedophilia/rapey-ness.

    It's about how it's possible that the positive content creators may be more inclined to leave due to Reddit's toxic nature by harboring a community of pedos.

    I don't really care if the pedos want to start their own reddit, they can try to create their own community and then have it shut down. Having r/creepshots infect r/all was disgusting.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 8:39 AM on October 11, 2012


    hellojed:
    "Is it a coincidence that the reddit mascot looks like Kuybey from magica madoka?"
    So, hey, if you ever feel like helping to prevent the heat-death of the universe just sacrifice your soul and get a Reddit account.
    posted by charred husk at 8:39 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Perhaps I misunderstood/missed something in this long thread, but aren't these guys being "doxxed" by information that they have publicly posted? (i.e, the reddit user simply put 2 + 2 together)

    If that's the case, haven't they already forfeited any expectation that they can maintain anonymity on the internet?
    posted by she's not there at 8:40 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    imagine receiving a blackmail letter like this about something legal you do.

    Is that a letter from Adrian Chen? Verified? Because I am totally anti-Reddit on this topic, but with my caring-about-journalism hat on that letter also makes me squick.

    Unveiling the people behind this creeping is good, defensible journalism in my view.

    Letting them slink away quietly if they hand over the keys to their sex dungeon is something entirely different. Vigilantism, perhaps. Worthwhile, maybe. Journalism? No.
    posted by fightorflight at 8:41 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I consider the freedom to practice anonymous Internet speech more important [...]
    The freedom to practice anonymous internet speech means that men with badges and guns can't order bandwidth, hosting, remailer, etc. providers to tell them who you are based on legal things you said. It doesn't mean that you can dribble your own identifying information all over the public internet but rely on nobody else piecing the clues together.

    On the other hand, this adds a grey area to the employers want to see my facebooks!?! panic, doesn't it? I'm still not on board with HR coercing people into violating user agreements so that their snoops can violate federal law, and I still don't see how it's possible for them to do any amateur internet sleuthing at all without risking EEOC violations, but I have to admit that one would probably want to find any google hits for 'his_name "hot senior girl in one of my classes"' before hiring a prospective high school teacher.

    Assuming they actually investigate properly, that is. It occurs to me that at this very moment I'm adding a 'his_nym "hot senior girl in one of my classes"' hit for myself...
    posted by roystgnr at 8:45 AM on October 11, 2012


    So, hey, if you ever feel like helping to prevent the heat-death of the universe just sacrifice your soul and get a Reddit account.
    posted by charred husk at 10:39 AM on October 11 [+] [!]


    Eponysterical!
    posted by jquinby at 8:45 AM on October 11, 2012


    amuseDetachment:
    "My point of people breaking off is about people getting disaffected with Reddit's racism/mysoginy/pedophilia/rapey-ness."
    I guess I don't see people breaking off for this reason as having a major effect. The problem is that many middle ground Redditors probably don't even know a whole lot about the ugly underbelly and either don't read the comments or just see the nasty stuff as 'typical internet noise'. Honestly, if it weren't for MetaFilter I would probably be one of those people - I don't stray much from my subjects and only read the comments in places where it isn't much of an issue. I totally miss out on most of Reddit's drama as I imagine a good number of other people do.

    So if a portion that notices takes off, sadly I don't think that would be much different than the creeps taking off, either.
    posted by charred husk at 8:46 AM on October 11, 2012


    http://betabeat.com/2012/10/reddit-readies-for-brewing-inter-website-war-bans-links-to-gawker-media/

    I knew the block wars were coming. I didn't realise they would be on forums. Who is citi-def in this instance?
    posted by fightorflight at 8:52 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Is anonymity an essential component of the freedom of speech?
    posted by koeselitz at 8:57 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    This was it for me. I knew Reddit was a misogynistic crapfest, but it was a mindless scroll and I visited multiple times a day. I thought sticking to my specific subreddits would shelter me from the creepy stuff. Until this morning when half the subreddits to which I subscribe (including one that doesn't even allow external links) had mod posts banning Gawker. I was done. The creepers may be a minority, but the majority keeps supporting them. That place doesn't deserve my eyeballs anymore. I deleted all my past comments/posts and my account.

    I'm just so thankful for Metafilter.
    posted by MaritaCov at 8:58 AM on October 11, 2012 [46 favorites]


    > imagine receiving a blackmail letter like this about something legal you do.

    >> Is that a letter from Adrian Chen? Verified? Because I am totally anti-Reddit on this topic, but with my caring-about-journalism hat on that letter also makes me squick.

    It was sent to the one of the Creepshot mods by a random user who created the account specifically to do so (the account was literally named "hellojk" with "jk" being the IRL initials of the mod). So at this point it could have been anyone who visited the Predditor tumblr (or one of the many clones/copies/caches of it).

    That being said, there's an easy way to avoid being blackmailed, which is to not do super creepy and rapey shit. This isn't "I'll expose you as gay" this is "I'll expose you as running a forum for a non-consensual (technically legal) spank bank." There's a pretty fundamental difference.
    posted by Panjandrum at 9:00 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I think that Reddit is going to regret this. They already got in a bit of trouble over the jailbait posts. There is a big risk of various prosecutors charging in and bringing the hammer down.
    posted by humanfont at 9:00 AM on October 11, 2012


    ominous_paws:
    And you're going where exactly with this?
    Just pointing out that if someone publicly engages in legal but rude/sleazy behaviors, it's pretty hypocritical for them to complain about someone engaging in a legal but rude and potentially sketchy response based on your own public information.
    I think what's at stake here is whether or not taking pictures of women and / or underage girls without their consent, and organising those pictures for people to jack off to, is a justifiable subject for investigative journalism.
    First off, I'm not sure I'd call a tubmlr "investigative journalism". But assuming it is journalism, I wouldn't see why this topic wouldn't be. From the "journalism as a public service" side, I think the question of "what is this and who does it" is valid, and from a "journalism is a business" standpoint, it's certainly the sort of thing that sells soap.
    posted by rmd1023 at 9:00 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Doxxing creepers wrt their publically-available details is, imo, pretty much the Best Idea Ever.

    For starters, the only way creeps learn to not creep is by social pressure.

    Second, and deliciously, turn about is damn fair play.

    I promise that if any creepers are doxxed as living in my town, I will go seek them out at their place of employment. I want creeps to know that they're being watched in real life, and that they'd best be careful about their proto-rapey behaviour.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:01 AM on October 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


    I came here to post the Betabeat link, fightorflight. Underneath the "internet war" irreverence there's some interesting reporting:
    It’s worth noting that–despite what was incorrectly reported in Politico–this is not a statement from Reddit administrators or officials, but instead from a Reddit moderator. Reddit moderators are volunteers and do not formally represent or speak for the website.

    “Moderators are free to moderate their subreddits as they see fit,” Reddit’s general manager Erik Martin told Betabeat by email. “They can ban all usernames that start with the letter g if they want.”

    “The statement is from moderators, who are volunteers,” he added, while declining to elaborate on Reddit’s official stance on the move.
    [...]
    Recently, r/creepshots has been at the nexus of much contention between the two websites. Just yesterday, Jezebel ran a feature about the Tumblr “Predditors,” run by a 25-year-old female Redditor, which publishes the personal information of those who post to the controversial subreddit.

    “I think it’s cute how Reddit’s CreepShots apologists/Men’s Right’s activists/etc. think we care if they stop linking to us. And also indicative of their hypocritical obsession with privacy and control,” Katie J.M. Baker, the Jezebel author behind the r/creepshots post, told Betabeat by Gchat. “It’s okay for anonymous Redditors to post upskirt photo after upskirt photo, but a huge violation of privacy for a journalist to report on the men who post them? How does that make any sense? Plus, the information on Predditors (which is temporarily down) wasn’t illegal–or difficult–for my source to track down.”

    Tumblr has since shut down Predditors. (We’ve reached out to Tumblr asking why Predditors has been shut down and will update when we know more.) A new thread on Reddit alleges that someone whose information was published on Predditors was violently attacked last night, but there is so far no substantial proof corroborating that claim.
    posted by Kattullus at 9:03 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Correction (see me not using the edit!): I wrote that while briefly forgetting the "gawker publishing wossname's personal info" angle. That's definitely journalism.
    posted by rmd1023 at 9:03 AM on October 11, 2012


    The creepy subreddits are gross, but I don't really understand the blanket statements about Reddit's culture. I don't think "Reddit" has a culture (beyond everyone knowing a few shared memes), in the sense that a place like Metafilter does. The Reddit front page might have a culture, and any given subreddit does, but not the site as a whole.
    Setting up a seubreddit is so easy and so anonymous that I really just see Reddit as a mirror held up to "people who use the internet." Maybe I'd extend that to include "people who use the internet proficiently."

    IMO Johann Georg Faust's comment was spot on.

    I think a more useful discussion would be one focused on studying and explaining the culture of the network of admins and moderators on Reddit, and to what extent they allow/normalize problematic behaviors by subgroups of the userbase.
    posted by Wretch729 at 9:03 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Is anonymity an essential component of the freedom of speech?
    Yes. People should be able to speak their mind against the government without fear or reprisal. Judging whether something is speech against the government/majority is near-impossible, so anonymous speech for any speech is largely justified to defend.

    However, in this case, this guy is a scumbag that violated others' privacy. On ethical grounds, if doxing will stop activity that reddit refuses to stop, then by all means stop it. Doxing is legal, but a total jerk move in most cases, but less harm is being done. An understanding of a defense of anonymity is a defense of a functioning civil society to protest the majority/government, this issue is problematic because it may perpetuate an understanding that doxing can get you your way and create an environment where it is acceptable for a government to dox people (hello Valerie Plame). On the other hand, this has nothing to do with the government, this is about a pedo that encourages creepy underage pics. It's a difficult issue...
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:04 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]



    Is anonymity an essential component of the freedom of speech?
    posted by koeselitz at 8:57 AM on October 11 [+] [!]


    I think that the vigilante, lynch mob behavior is incredibly troubling. Personal i information is out there for those that want to gather, but what's being done with it is troubling. It's one thing to research people through publicly available information, it's another entirely to create a public profile for the purposes of shaming and exposing them.

    This is the kind of lynch mob, vigilante justice that our legal system is in place to discourage. It's really easy to casually destroy lives, but extremely difficult to build them back. Guilt is being presumed based on the work of amateur internet detectives, and these are the kind of accusations that split families and destroy careers. Mistakes can, and have, been made as the result of this kind of action.

    This is no defense at all of the kind of posts that were going on over in the reddit community, it's obviously not a very good idea to build a community around the non-consensual exploitation of women (and sometimes minors, at that.) This is not the way to fix the problem; Reddit could eliminate these posts if they were committed to doing so, and if these people are in fact breaking laws, there's a justice system. Structurally eliminate the platform for creating these, build communities that do not tolerate that kind of behavior, and allow the legal system to handle the legalities. Don't run around ruining lives on the presumption of guilt, the stakes are too damn high.
    posted by Stagger Lee at 9:04 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    RMD: Shit, apologies, I totally misread your second sentence as saying something to the effect of "Is it then legal to gather these pictures of women on the internet"?

    On actual re-reading I totally agree with what you were getting at. Whoops.
    posted by ominous_paws at 9:05 AM on October 11, 2012


    Jezebel had a good story on this a few months ago that made my point - the site is a tool, and can be used for good or ill.
    posted by Wretch729 at 9:05 AM on October 11, 2012


    ominous_paws: I think what's at stake here is whether or not taking pictures of women and / or underage girls without their consent, and organising those pictures for people to jack off to, is a justifiable subject for investigative journalism.

    In heaven's name, why wouldn't it be???
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:06 AM on October 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


    So those subreddits are gone from reddit, that blog is gone from tumblr, and the Gawker employee in question is someone who has (multiple times) in the past pranked reddit with lies to garner clicks to Gawker stories that are still up...and somehow reddit is evil?

    I feel like folks are painting with some very wide brushes here.
    posted by trackofalljades at 9:06 AM on October 11, 2012


    A new thread on Reddit alleges that someone whose information was published on Predditors was violently attacked last night, but there is so far no substantial proof corroborating that claim.

    yeah, idk, i think maybe falling out of your desk chair while masturbating furiously to upskirts doesn't count as a violent attack against you.
    posted by elizardbits at 9:07 AM on October 11, 2012 [20 favorites]


    EC, see above. I totally misread RMD, and yes, I think it is absolutely a justifiable subject and moreover one that should actively be pursued. Am cringing massively at this error right now.
    posted by ominous_paws at 9:08 AM on October 11, 2012


    trackofalljades: The subreddits/accounts was shut down by the moderator who was doxxed. He was pressured into shutting it down because he was afraid of real-life fallout from running a pedo related subreddits.

    You only see the banned message after the moderator shut it down himself. Reddit didn't institute the ban before it was shut down. One gets the impression that they're more concerned with the drama/fallout than the fact that they're harboring a massive community of pedos.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:09 AM on October 11, 2012


    jhc: “... imagine receiving a blackmail letter like this about something legal you do...”

    fightorflight: “Is that a letter from Adrian Chen? Verified? Because I am totally anti-Reddit on this topic, but with my caring-about-journalism hat on that letter also makes me squick.”

    Panjandrum: “It was sent to the one of the Creepshot mods...”

    Look, since nobody's seen fit to point this out, it needs to be said, and said emphatically – that message was sent to one of the Creepshot mods according to that mod himself. We have absolutely no real verification from any trustworthy source that it was sent at all. Trust that nameless Creepshot mod if you will.
    posted by koeselitz at 9:09 AM on October 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


    ominous_paws: OH GOOD. This whole conversation makes more sense now. :)

    I really REALLY don't like internet attack mobs. I don't want this to become one. But I think there's a middle ground between "go ahead and engage in this antisocial behavior without any consequences" and "HA HA HA WE WILL HOUND YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE AND YOU WILL NEVER BE SAFE FROM OUR AVENGING MOB".
    posted by rmd1023 at 9:10 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    trackofalljades: "So reddit has shut down those subreddits, tumblr has shut down that blog, and the Gawker employee in question is someone who has (multiple times) in the past pranked reddit with lies to garner clicks to Gawker...and somehow reddit is evil?"

    A Tumblr reposting voluntarily available information of internet users gets shut down within a day in response to handwringing from said internet users, but a Subreddit dedicated to taking photos of young women (including underage girls) in public AND private without their consent and reposting them for masturbatory purposes enjoys widespread popularity for years until the moderator gets cold feet.

    I do think there's a bit of a difference there, yes.
    posted by Phire at 9:11 AM on October 11, 2012 [35 favorites]


    I feel like folks are painting with some very wide brushes here.

    /r/creepshots has been closed for less than a day if I'm reading this stuff right and it wasn't closed by Reddit, Inc. There are still a bunch of creeper subreddits up and running. Reddit has made no policy statements concerning the creeper subreddits that I know of. Don't know the situation concerning the Tumblr shut down.

    I'm not a particular fan of Gawker either and I certainly don't see this as a good "which group of nerds has to moral high ground" situation, I'm just curious to watch how different sites respond to threats, attacks and bad PR surrounding them. At some level I consider us just a little bit lucky that we haven't had to deal with something like this at MetaFilter. And at some other level I feel like this is a fairly predictable scaling problem that many larger sites have and our decision to stay small (if you can call it a decision) has meant that we don't have to confront certain unpleasant realities like the ones all these larger sites are dealing with.
    posted by jessamyn at 9:15 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Reddit moderators are volunteers and do not formally represent or speak for the website.

    Sick of this lame cop-out from Reddit Inc. This is not Usenet they've set up where they are powerless in the face of their own technology. The moderators have power gifted to them by the company.

    If a volunteer for Amnesty International wanders around beating up prisoners with his "torture is fun" T-shirt on, does it get to say "oh well that volunteer doesn't formally represent or speak for us, case closed"? No.

    (Also thanks for the updates on the "blackmail" post. I did think that was fishy as hell.)
    posted by fightorflight at 9:15 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    trackofalljades: “So those subreddits are gone from reddit...”

    That's not true at all. r/creepshots2 is active. Brand-new and ready to roll.
    posted by koeselitz at 9:15 AM on October 11, 2012


    > The question here is, to what extent does someone have the right to use their pseudo- or anonymity to do anything they choose?

    If their behavior is legal - as seems to have been generally conceded - an unlimited extent.

    So, because Citizens United has made unlimited anonymous campaign / SuperPAC contributions legal, those donors have unlimited right to do anything they choose and anyone who would seek to reveal their names is themselves the larger problem?

    Reducing serious ethical and moral quandaries to "well, it's legal" really doesn't solve anything.
    posted by XMLicious at 9:16 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    MetaFilter doesn't have this problem because pretty much any website can see what would happen when one of the largest drivers for traffic is for something like r/jailbait and to refuse to shut something like that down.

    I do genuinely believe that this isn't some kind of accidental thing that happens when your community gets too large (at least with the scale that reddit is facing).

    The same people that were participating, running, and moderating r/jailbait were running r/creepshots after r/jailbait was (finally) banned. This isn't some kind of accidental invasion, reddit welcomed pedos into their community for a really long time and now they're here the stay.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:19 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    "The follow domains will no longer be allowed to post in /r/MensRights." They're banning all Gawker domains and note that r/politics, r/gaming and r/games are doing the same.

    More:

    "/r/Creepshots and /r/violentacrez taken over by SRS by blackmailing with doxxing info. Apparently r/MensRights is next."

    And from r/subedditdrama: "The real reason why Violentacrez deleted his account: Adrian Chen, Gawker Media, Creepshots, PM's and real-life doxxing."
    posted by zarq at 9:24 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    There's already a new creepshots sub (r/CreepSquad-- I can't bear to link to it and have that in my metafilter history, it just makes me feel dirty, but you can find it yourself). And, on preview, there's creepshots2 too.

    The SRSters are saying that this is the wrong route to go-- doxxing these jackasses-- because without official action from reddit (banning subreddits like creepshots), people will keep creating clones of the reddits that are deleted. I'm not sure they're right about this, and I feel like the reason they're doing it is from a place of fear-- the idea that they might be doxxed themselves if they take it to that level. And I guess that's a legitimate fear, given the vitriol women on the internet have had spewed at them in their personal lives before. And the doxxing thing is sort of a general etiquette thing online in general, but I think there's a definite difference between reporting creepshots members to their employers (for example) and internet lynch mobs.

    It appears that there's a pretty deep rabbit hole here of major redditors/redditors that are mods of major subs being shared accounts, but I honestly have no idea what to believe and the SRS threads on this are so convoluted and fast moving it's really hard to keep track of. Since I got a 2-day ban for "breaking the circlejerk" by asking for context (the SRS post was rage against a pro gamer for a comment he said and I couldn't find the original comment) on a recent post I'm sort of afraid to ask questions there.
    posted by NoraReed at 9:24 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Ha, this article from The Awl is fantastic: Handy Test For Reddit Users: Are You On The Internet Right Now?
    And then when people complain about those pictures, or take action around it, or decide that creepy dudes who take pictures of women in public and post them on the Internet to get all hubba-hubba should have a little limelight themselves, the only defense is… "but all the public information about me available on the Internet is actually private!" Or as one subredditor—their PARAKEET ENTHUSIAST BOARD person—put it: "Please don't take reddit outside of reddit." I mean hello, Al Gore invented the Internet, not Reddit, so they must be two separate places.

    First you should find out: WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW.

    1. Do you see the words "Microsoft Word" anywhere on the screen you're typing in? Then you are not on the Internet. (Microsoft Word is a program that old people use to type things that then don't end up on the Internet.)

    2. Is your computer turned off? Then you are not on the Internet.

    ...

    6. Are you texting? Not sure what that is.

    7. CAN IT BE UPVOTED? BEWARE, YOU ARE DEFINITELY ON "THE INTERNET."

    posted by Phire at 9:26 AM on October 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


    This is like EVE Online drama but with people's lives instead of virtual spaceships. Hopefully people (not here on MetaFilter, but the prime movers) stay focused on primary goals.
    posted by boo_radley at 9:27 AM on October 11, 2012


    Since I got a 2-day ban for "breaking the circlejerk" by asking for context (the SRS post was rage against a pro gamer for a comment he said and I couldn't find the original comment) on a recent post I'm sort of afraid to ask questions there.

    Yeah, SRS is run by douchebags. Try r/subredditdrama
    posted by nooneyouknow at 9:30 AM on October 11, 2012


    Slight derail...

    NoraReed: Here's the context, Stephano was talking to a friend, the friend was streaming video live. Stephano didn't realize the friend was streaming.

    People screencapped this image.

    The next day there was drama over whether he actually meant it by claiming he was French and there were some translation issues. Reddit goes crazy defending Stephano and claims he was "just joking" and makes pedo rape jokes all over r/starcraft.

    Stephano then accidentally screwed up again the next day clarifying to the world.

    r/shitredditsays goes crazy and wants him banned from his team like how Orb on the same team got banned for saying "nigger" on stream (which r/starcraft also defended vehemently as free speech).

    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:31 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    [...] and r/games are doing the same

    Isn't /r/games one of the not-so-terrible ones? Are they really going along with this?
    posted by uncleozzy at 9:31 AM on October 11, 2012


    They're banning all Gawker domains and note that r/politics, r/gaming and r/games are doing the same.

    Man, I really, really would not want to be the executive in charge of handling the Reddit Account over at Conde Nast right now.
    posted by griphus at 9:33 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    SubredditDrama is scumbag apologists (Linked post was made by a moderator).
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:33 AM on October 11, 2012


    Ha, ha. Choire is the best thing on the internet. (I assume he's on the internet.)
    posted by octobersurprise at 9:34 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    > Try r/subredditdrama

    ugh, no.
    posted by Panjandrum at 9:34 AM on October 11, 2012


    This crap makes me want to just stay in my house or make myself ugly as possible when I leave the house and I don't even live in a town where most people understand the internet. It is just another load to go on top of having to be a female.

    OTOH when I start to get annoyed at Metafilter for seeming sexist or for not handling other issues well this thread serves to remind me that it is the most accepting non-issue focused general board around.
    posted by kanata at 9:35 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    zarq: "Apparently r/MensRights is next."

    Not to get all prejudicial, but I have a sneaking suspicion there's something of an overlap between people who subscribe to r/creepshots and r/mensrights.
    posted by Kattullus at 9:38 AM on October 11, 2012 [28 favorites]


    The funny thing is with that StarCraft one that all the topvoted posts in it were in support of calling this Stephano dude out. That's why I was so puzzled. But I appreciate the context.

    If subredditdrama is horrible and the mods of srs are dicks (and that community does seem to be getting so insulated and injokey that it's really hard to figure out what the hell is going on there if you aren't there all the fucking time), are there any bastions of sanity criticizing this sort of thing? Or is reddit just the new 4chan and srs is it's r9k?
    posted by NoraReed at 9:39 AM on October 11, 2012


    nooneyouknow: “Yeah, SRS is run by douchebags. Try r/subredditdrama”

    amuseDetachment: “SubredditDrama is scumbag apologists...”

    Yes, it is difficult to find a subreddit where one can sanely discuss all the crazy bullshit that happens on Reddit, but after looking for a long time I finally found one. It's called metafilter.com.
    posted by koeselitz at 9:39 AM on October 11, 2012 [24 favorites]


    Sternmeyer: "Sell me on Reddit, somebody."

    Wait, there's actual slave trade on Reddit now too?
    posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:40 AM on October 11, 2012 [17 favorites]


    It's clearly not anyone's job here to educate me, but if someone has the idle time, I'd appreciate it.

    I totally get why violentacrez and the creepshots/jailbait posters are scum, but I don't understand the hate for Reddit as a whole. It seems to me like Reddit is just in the business of "we make it easy for you to set up any sort of discussion board you like, and we don't edit the content any more than we are required to by law." Under that structure, all of metafilter (or all of Jezebel) would just be one subreddit. I don't see why that in itself is bad, and in particular, I don't see why Reddit catches more hell for it than any random hosting company or ISP. Why does Reddit rather any other link in the chain get singled out as bearing the responsibility? If violentacrez just put up some scummy jailbait board on dreamhost, would the same wrath fall on them for hosting him, or is it something unique about reddit which increases their culpability?
    posted by tyllwin at 9:40 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    "Sell me on Reddit, somebody."

    It's a decent place to discuss niche topics and see cool/cute pictures. As long as you avoid any subreddits with topics more controversial than baseball, adorable cats, or pictures of dilapidated buildings, it's worthwhile.
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:42 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    In fact, real First Amendment warriors recognize that anonymity is fundamental to free speech

    Fundamental is a tricky word to use. Yes, anonymity is fundamental to free speech. But rampant anonymity is not. The freedom to speak anonymously wherever and whenever, for any purpose or for none, is not fundamental to free speech. It never has been.

    You quoted the EFF. I'm sure you know the EFF lands rather far on one side of this issue, and yet look at the examples they choose. Political speech. Whistleblowing. And interestingly, for our discussion...? Victims of domestic violence.

    It's common to find people who believe that anonymous speech should be protected as a blanket concept, always and everywhere because if not, then society will collapse and we'll all become Communists. It is common and it is wrong, no differently than people who believe that "freedom of speech" means the ability to say whatever you want all the time. Such people are positively shocked to learn they can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, or that MetaFilter can delete whatever it likes from its website. The trouble with freedom of speech is that it's a really, really important concept that many people wrongly believe they understand.

    It is not vital to our society to protect "anonymous speech" in whatever forms it comes, always and ever. That is not fundamental to our concept of freedom of speech. It is also not good for society.
    posted by cribcage at 9:42 AM on October 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


    If violentacrez just put up some scummy jailbait board on dreamhost, would the same wrath fall on them for hosting him, or is it something unique about reddit which increases their culpability?

    Reddit gets a huge, gigantic number of views, not even counting actual signed-in members. The internet is full of one-shot sites that six people look at. Reddit is not that.
    posted by rtha at 9:43 AM on October 11, 2012


    Also, Reddit is absolute not an ISP, nor is it on the same level. Reddit is an interconnected community. Redditors treat it as such, and take a lot of pride in recognizing other Redditors in the street, etc. The fact is that this whole 'Reddit is not responsible, it's just a platform' line of argument only gets trotted out when a subreddit does a terrible thing; right up until that argument is made, Reddit sees itself as a more or less cohesive community.
    posted by koeselitz at 9:45 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Well, I look forward to y'all supporting this kind of action against visitors to abortion clinics. Or is this kind of thing reserved only for things we disagree with?
    posted by Bovine Love at 9:45 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Yes, it is difficult to find a subreddit where one can sanely discuss all the crazy bullshit that happens on Reddit, but after looking for a long time I finally found one. It's called metafilter.com.

    We have a mole. Not a very good one, though.
    posted by zombieflanders at 9:45 AM on October 11, 2012


    Isn't /r/games one of the not-so-terrible ones? Are they really going along with this?

    They are one of the good ones. I was about to update my profile to recommend them. Does anyone have any links to back up the assertion that /r/games is going ahead with a Gawker ban? When I searched for "gawker" within /r/games, all I got was this, which is not posted by a moderator, is being downvoted, and is not being taken seriously in the comments.
    posted by Jpfed at 9:46 AM on October 11, 2012


    Well, I look forward to y'all supporting this kind of action against visitors to abortion clinics.

    Are you comparing women who get abortions to people who take and post photos of non-consenting women and children? Because that is not a good analogy.
    posted by jetlagaddict at 9:47 AM on October 11, 2012 [30 favorites]


    Here's a nice thought: violentacres is an FBI plant, making excellent contact with pedos, who will inevitably be caught up in the yearly pedo busts.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 AM on October 11, 2012


    Actually, I remember reading about some folks at an abortion clinic who - in response to people calling and mailing them, started (politely) calling them back. Same basic idea. Also not an aggressive mob action.
    posted by rmd1023 at 9:49 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]




    Well, I look forward to y'all supporting this kind of action against visitors to abortion clinics.

    Are you comparing women who get abortions to people who take and post photos of non-consenting women and children? Because that is not a good analogy.
    posted by jetlagaddict at 9:47 AM on October 11 [+] [!]


    No, (s)he is suggesting that mob justice isn't a very good idea.
    posted by Stagger Lee at 9:49 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Ah! Maybe that makes sense, koeselitz. So, the thinking goes that redditors cheerlead for their community in a way that "customers of random hosting company" do not, and that they're culpable because they aren't equally vocal about condemning their bad elements? But isn't a great deal of the furor and condemnation actually started by a group of reddit users on the SRS subreddit?
    posted by tyllwin at 9:51 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    five fresh fish: violentacrez would have to be a very very very undercover agent if that were so, as he has admitted to having sex with his 19-year-old step daughter.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:51 AM on October 11, 2012


    OK, so I googled doxed to see why it's called "doxed" and I got a picture of someone sucking a guy's anus and / or scrotum.

    (It means docs, as in "your docs have been released". You're welcome.)
    posted by dirigibleman at 9:52 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Are you comparing women who get abortions to people who take and post photos of non-consenting women and children? Because that is not a good analogy.

    That's obviously not the comparison at all; the comparison is between doxxing the two groups. I have no doubt that if and when someone starts doxxing women who talk about their abortions on the internet or closeted gays in non-gay friendly communities, the tone of the conversation will not be that what they're doing is legal and should be protected.

    The salient variable seems to be "do we approve of the people being doxxed"
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:52 AM on October 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


    Many of us here are Americans so on a deeper level we are all responsible for /r/creepshots. We all identify as Americans right? We sometimes take pride in recognizing other Americans when we are outside America. Why haven't we taken action?

    I am on Reddit even more than I am on Metafilter and I never hear about stuff like /r/creepshots2 except here on Metafilter. Does metafilter bear some repsonsiblity in spreading this vile stuff?

    Here's a nice thought: violentacres is an FBI plant, making excellent contact with pedos, who will inevitably be caught up in the yearly pedo busts.

    I've thought that for a while. I even mentioned it three reddit posts ago. 4chan works with the FBI frequently, it would make sense for Reddit to do so as well. He is too just too high profile and almost seems to be sanctioned by the admins.Some people say he is just buddies with the Admins, but if it were me I wouldn't let my buddies try to destry my business without a damn good reason.
    posted by Ad hominem at 9:53 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    The salient variable seems to be "do we approve of the people being doxxed"

    Or "are they actively invading other people's privacy in such as way as to make the exposure of their own private information poetic justice." Doesn't fit on a bumper sticker, though.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:55 AM on October 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


    I think a salient point that is missed by comparing it to, say, outing people who go to an abortion clinic, is that one activity involves non-consenting parties, and one does not. If your entire focus is "i am taking pictures of people without their permission", that's involving other people in a way that, for instance, "I am talking to a medical professional about a procedure" does not.
    posted by rmd1023 at 9:57 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Jpfed: " They are one of the good ones. I was about to update my profile to recommend them. Does anyone have any links to back up the assertion that /r/games is going ahead with a Gawker ban? When I searched for "gawker" within /r/games, all I got was this, which is not posted by a moderator, is being downvoted, and is not being taken seriously in the comments."

    Interesting. I didn't see one. Looks like r/mensrights got it wrong. Thanks for noting that.

    r/wow banned kotaku links, and r/bad_cop_no_donut are now banning all Gawker properties.
    posted by zarq at 9:57 AM on October 11, 2012


    The abortion analogy is complicated as to why it doesn't work.

    People taking action against abortion clinics believe what they do is morally right, they think they are trying to save a life. If you asked me if doxing someone (and possibly taking action) was ethically right if it would save a life I would absolutely say yes. Of course, they're wrong because it's not a life (cf. identical twin zygotes before they split cannot have the same soul under their logical framework).

    HOWEVER, it would be ridiculous to take the position that people that were posting creepshots believed they were doing the ethically right thing. This makes all the difference, as the abortion muddies things up a lot. It would be more accurate to compare it to doxing a bank robber who robbed banks in a legal way but is still ethically wrong.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:58 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    The analogy is to publishing data on patients, not protestors.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:59 AM on October 11, 2012


    > I totally get why violentacrez and the creepshots/jailbait posters are scum, but I don't understand the hate for Reddit as a whole.

    Probably because a great deal of the Reddit user base loved VA and regularly lept to defend his creepy actions. It may not be entirely fair to tar the entire site with his actions, but I can only see so many heavily upvoted vociferous defenses of "Reddit's Creepy Uncle" before I start to get the feeling that Reddit may not be the enlightened and welcoming place it portrays itself to be.

    Also, VA wasn't just any random Redditor, he was a long time user who moderated something like 100 different subreddits (mostly porn, but a few of the major ones as well), was chummy with the Admins, and was basically a reddit-celebrity; he even had his own subreddit. So it's not like r/jailbait, r/creepshots, or any of his other technically legal but absolutely wrong subreddits were going under the radar. The admins letting those subs continue would be like Jessamyn giving Zarq or some other longtime MeFite a pass on using "I'd hit it."
    posted by Panjandrum at 10:01 AM on October 11, 2012


    Doxxing women going into health clinics is harassment. Doxxing men posting upskirt photos is hilarious. See?
    posted by shakespeherian at 10:01 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Or "are they actively invading other people's privacy in such as way as to make the exposure of their own private information poetic justice."

    Poetic justice here just seems like an excuse for hypocrisy. Either you approve of people's privacy being invaded or you don't. Both sides are being hypocritical here, since they're reaching different conclusions on that question depending on whose doing the invading.

    For my part, I think both activities are distasteful, should be condemned, but aren't and shouldn't be illegal. If I ran reddit, I'd shut down /r/creepshots and if I ran Gawker I wouldn't publish anyone's personal information.
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:02 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    nooneyouknow: “Yeah, SRS is run by douchebags. Try r/subredditdrama

    I've heard this a lot, particularly from redditors I know in real life, but none of them have been able to show me examples that didn't make me like SRS more. With how popular the sentiment is on metafilter there has got to be something to it right? Could you post links and/or explanations of an example?
    posted by Blasdelb at 10:02 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    tyllwin: “Ah! Maybe that makes sense, koeselitz. So, the thinking goes that redditors cheerlead for their community in a way that ‘customers of random hosting company’ do not, and that they're culpable because they aren't equally vocal about condemning their bad elements? But isn't a great deal of the furor and condemnation actually started by a group of reddit users on the SRS subreddit?”

    I don't think there's any call for talking too much about "culpability" as it applies to communities of millions of people. Nor do I want to focus on the "furor and condemnation," since that's not what I'm concerned about.

    My point is that Reddit absolutely is a community with shared values. It may pride itself on diversity, it may pride itself on acceptance of alternate viewpoints, but those are shared values nonetheless. Most importantly, I think Reddit is clearly a community in that they have one, and apparently only one, extralegal rule: no 'doxxing,' no posting of private information, no violation of the anonymity of Redditors. This rule is associated with Reddit's value for a kind of freedom of speech and for autonomy on the internet; subreddits run themselves, and are free to do so however they choose, as long as they abide by this rule. This is the one rule that has accounted for regular admin investigation and routine sitewide bannings, as far as I can tell.

    So the question is sort of what I mentioned over on Hacker News earlier today: is that really the one true community value? Is there nothing else Reddit as a whole values as a community? Sure, posting personal information is a bad thing. We delete that if we see it here on Metafilter, too. But we have much broader community norms; we also wouldn't allow anything even remotely like r/creepshots.

    All I'm saying is that maybe it's time for Reddit to reconsider its community norms.
    posted by koeselitz at 10:04 AM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


    SubredditDrama is scumbag apologists

    You can hate it all you want, the point was that SRD won't ban you for asking questions/for context.
    posted by nooneyouknow at 10:04 AM on October 11, 2012


    r/SRSDiscussion is the place to ask questions and for context, not r/ShitRedditSays.
    posted by capnsue at 10:06 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Can anyone tell me at what point photographs started to be classified as "speech"?
    posted by Hogshead at 10:06 AM on October 11, 2012


    Interesting.
    posted by zarq at 10:07 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Blasdelb: Redditors dislike SRS because they do not treat reddit in good faith. A large portion of SRS was originally founded to troll reddit by SomethingAwful goons. They take an antagonistic approach to reddit. They often do downvote brigates that will mass downvote comments which they dislike (they claim they don't do this, but they really do). People on metafilter maybe more inclined to view SRS better because they are not a part of the community. It's a subculture within reddit that actively trolls and makes fun of the larger culture.

    nooneyouknow: SRD doesn't get trolls from r/mensrights every day. Of course, they had that coming from being so antagonistic to their own larger community, but that's the reason for their paranoid ban-happy attitude.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 10:07 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    @Hogshead

    around here

    NSFW
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:09 AM on October 11, 2012


    I've heard this a lot, particularly from redditors I know in real life, but none of them have been able to show me examples that didn't make me like SRS more. With how popular the sentiment is on metafilter there has got to be something to it right? Could you post links and/or explanations of an example?

    It's not like there's a platonic douchebag. Maybe you just don't feel the same way about the things SRS does.
    posted by adamdschneider at 10:10 AM on October 11, 2012


    I don't see this particular instance of doxxing as being unequivocal mob justice so much as "you don't like it when I invade your privacy in a technically legal way, and that's exactly what you're doing to others, so knock it off". An eye for an eye isn't my idea of justice, but I also understand the frustration of seeing despicable behaviour implicitly condoned by those in power and wanting to seek some way of pressing the issue as someone with much less standing in the community.

    The abortion analogy wouldn't be doxxing a woman for getting an abortion, it would be trying to kill (abort) the woman who had an abortion. As in the case of Creepshots (involuntary sexual objectification) vs. Internet information (voluntarily disclosed information under the misapprehension of privacy-by-obscurity), killing a grown adult is pretty different from removing a zygote, at least under my personal moral framework. YMMV.

    The closest modern equivalent I can think of is outing a homophobic politician as being in the closet. I know some people have issues with that, too, but if you're condemning a certain behaviour, I'm not gonna lose much sleep that others are proving you to be engaging in that very behaviour.
    posted by Phire at 10:11 AM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


    The tumblr is deleted

    Was it predditors.tumblr.com?

    Cuz that's live.
    posted by mrgrimm at 10:15 AM on October 11, 2012


    With how popular the sentiment is on metafilter there has got to be something to it right? Could you post links and/or explanations of an example?

    It is pretty self-evident at this point. Even mefites agree /r/lgbt is a troll subreddit. It is modded by RobotAna, who is acknowledged here on metafilter to be a troll.RobotAna mods another subreddit /r/killwhitey with another user ICumWhenIKillMen. RobotAna and ICumWhenIKillMen are a driving force behind SRS.

    All of that was posted by other mefites in the last reddit drama thread. I actually got sucked in by /r/lgbt.

    In addition. I got into this in meta a while back, I asserted that SRS was an SA front for trolling reddit. A mefite went over there and they confrimed they were in fact goons. Then banned him. I can link to the screenshot.

    This is all trolling and countertrolling. It s really fucking annoying.
    posted by Ad hominem at 10:15 AM on October 11, 2012


    "Sell me on Reddit, somebody. Make me a believer."

    Easy. Just ignore all the parts of the site that actively promote misogyny, homophobia, racism, and plain old hate. Other than that it's pretty cool. Check it out!
    posted by P.o.B. at 10:17 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    mrgrimm: "The tumblr is deleted

    Was it predditors.tumblr.com?

    Cuz that's live.
    "

    Huh, weird. It was definitely deleted as of about an hour ago.
    posted by Phire at 10:17 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Poetic justice here just seems like an excuse for hypocrisy. Either you approve of people's privacy being invaded or you don't.

    "Maybe anonymity is important to free speech. But we don't want it to shield Awful Masturbating Creeps."

    "Maybe mob justice is dangerous. But Awful Masturbating Creeps deserve it."

    If one's principles won't stand up under the discomfort of being applied to Awful Masturbating Creeps - or whatever other group you dislike - they don't count for much.
    posted by Egg Shen at 10:17 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Do I think people who protest at abortion clinics are wrong? Yes. Do I approve of doxxing them? No. Do I approve of doxxing people who dox employees or patients or volunteers at abortion clinics? Yes. I think there's a fairly clear difference between the two groups.
    posted by jeather at 10:18 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Can anyone tell me at what point photographs started to be classified as "speech"?

    Sometime around when photography started to matter, would be my guess.
    posted by daniel_charms at 10:19 AM on October 11, 2012


    It is modded by RobotAna, who is acknowleged here on metafilter to be a troll.

    Dude, please, don't drag MetaFilter into your drama. "Somebody said on MetaFilter" is not the same as "is acknowledged here on MetaFilter". MetaFilter, as an entity, does not have an opinion.

    Doxxing women going into health clinics is harassment. Doxxing men posting upskirt photos is hilarious. See?

    Well, going into health clinics is also legal. Taking upskirt photos is often not.

    "You can take photos of anything in public" is a commonly-repeated statement in these discussion, but is not wholly accurate, at least in the US.

    The standard language of most Titles on invasion of privacy make exceptions for public spaces where there is an expectation of privacy - for example, fitting rooms - and parts of the body which the subject could expect to be treated as private - such as upskirt shots. There's the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2004 on a federal level:
    Amends the Federal criminal code to prohibit knowingly videotaping, photographing, filming, recording by any means, or broadcasting an image of a private area of an individual, without that individual's consent, under circumstances in which that individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy. (Defines a "private area" as the naked or undergarment clad genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast of an individual.) Makes such prohibition inapplicable to lawful law enforcement, correctional, or intelligence activity
    However, many states have introduced language into their own codes clarifying "reasonable expectation of privacy" to include public places - one may not have an expectation of not being photographed, but one can have a reasonable expectation that one's private parts will remain private, even if unintentionally visible.

    What that means in terms of morality rather than legality is probably a matter for the individual conscience, but it is another difference.
    posted by running order squabble fest at 10:20 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I don't see this particular instance of doxxing as being unequivocal mob justice so much as "you don't like it when I invade your privacy in a technically legal way, and that's exactly what you're doing to others, so knock it off".

    The "I'm doing exactly the same to you" argument would only work if it was exactly the same, but I don't think it is. /r/creepshots was pictures of anonymous people. I'm guessing for a lot of those pictures you could identify the person if you knew them, but a lot of the time not. That's creepy and disgusting, but it's different than publishing names and other personal information. By my lights it's worse (other disagree, I'm sure, for legitimate reasons), because it's an invitation to cause the people being outed on Predditors actual real world harm. I don't believe it's happened, but it easily could. It's not "doxxing the doxxers" because that's not what /r/creepshots was doing.

    I'll qualify this by saying I don't know /r/creepshots except by reputation, but I don't think they published personal information other than pictures.
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:21 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    "Maybe anonymity is important to free speech. But we don't want it to shield Awful Masturbating Creeps."

    I think I finally figured that the game you're playing here is a sort of ethical libertarianism.
    posted by shakespeherian at 10:21 AM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


    The closest modern equivalent I can think of is outing a homophobic politician as being in the closet.

    For some reason it reminds me of William "Ralph" Devereaux.

    But actually I think a much more applicable case is Sandra Dietrich, the assaulted women who posted info to Twitter about her attackers.
    posted by mrgrimm at 10:23 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Egg Shen: The reason it's very sensitive to make that argument in this situation is because that exact argument is being made all over reddit. It's being made as a justification for why banning Gawker is acceptable.

    They conveniently ignore the fact that people on r/creepshots were posting pics of people without permission and they were not taken down by reddit. It was just a big joke to them, and they choose to defend r/creepshot pedos' right to invade girls' privacy (which I would argue is just as bad as doxing if not worse). An eye for an eye is not a good situation to be in, but redditors have no grounds for any defense in this doxing situation due to their complicity in invasion of privacy.

    It's beyond hypocritical for redditors to make that argument and to hear it repeated by someone on here (even though you're making an argument in good faith, it brings back emotions for those of us who have read those bullshit comments on reddit's website).
    posted by amuseDetachment at 10:24 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Dude, please, don't drag MetaFilter into your drama. "Somebody said on MetaFilter" is not the same as "is acknowledged here on MetaFilter". MetaFilter, as an entity, does not have an opinion.

    My drama? Like it or not Metafilter, with the constant posts about reddit dragged itself into it.

    I wasn't even the one who said it. I am pointing out it was said here and favorited here.
    posted by Ad hominem at 10:24 AM on October 11, 2012


    Interesting.

    Is that how the small subreddits work, i.e. one person posts a link and then makes all the comments too?
    posted by mrgrimm at 10:24 AM on October 11, 2012


    The funny thing is with that StarCraft one that all the topvoted posts in it were in support of calling this Stephano dude out. That's why I was so puzzled. But I appreciate the context.

    I'm repeating reddit gossip here, because I don't follow SRS (not because I have anything against them trolling reddit, but they do it in a way that annoys the fuck out me) but SRS has been accused of ignoring and downvoting comments that are objecting to whatever sexist/racist/prejudiced stuff they are raging about (and upvoting prejudiced comments to make the comment look more popular than it is). It is said they do this to make it look like they are the only ones on reddit who are against prejudice, which is not true.
    posted by nooneyouknow at 10:24 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    > A large portion of SRS was originally founded to troll reddit by SomethingAwful goons.

    That's not really entirely true, SRS started out as one user's subreddit to compare quotes from Reddit to quotes from Stormfront. The founder eventually abandonded reddit and the sub sat derelict until, yes, some SA users re-invigorated the sub for the first Pedogeddon that got rid of r/jailbait. But it's never been about "trolling" Reddit, unless "pointing out offensive things on Reddit" is trolling, and at this point the 20K+ posters are people who have never been to (or heard of) SA.

    > They often do downvote brigates

    Even if this were undeniably true, it wouldn't make SRS any different from the dozens of other metasubreddits that gather their content from reddit itself, including subredditdrama.
    posted by Panjandrum at 10:24 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    ethical libertarianism.

    but he isn't even a Koch brother like Noam Chomsky was
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:24 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    the game you're playing here is a sort of ethical libertarianism

    I gather that "libertarian" must be some kind of insult, but otherwise I have no idea what you're saying.
    posted by Egg Shen at 10:24 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    The "I'm doing exactly the same to you" argument would only work if it was exactly the same, but I don't think it is

    No. It's similar, but not exactly the same. But the r/creepshots people are saying "well, what we are doing is technically legal even if it's invading people's privacy so nyah" and the response of "well, what WE are doing is also technically legal even if it's invading your privacy" is similar.
    posted by jeather at 10:27 AM on October 11, 2012


    ...it's another thing entirely to create a public profile for the purposes of shaming and exposing them

    If I use publicly available information to connect a real person to violentacrez, who has already connected himself to the objectionable content on reddit, I am not entirely responsible for the shaming.
    posted by she's not there at 10:27 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    If one's principles won't stand up under the discomfort of being applied to Awful Masturbating Creeps - or whatever other group you dislike - they don't count for much.

    It takes an awful lot of willful ignorance to refuse to see the difference between people who post things that are an accumulation of publicly available and user-posted information bits and bobs (aka information that is not private), and people who post sexually charged intimate photos taken of women and teens without their consent (aka an actual violation of actual legitimate privacy).
    posted by elizardbits at 10:27 AM on October 11, 2012 [26 favorites]


    If one's principles won't stand up under the discomfort of being applied to Awful Masturbating Creeps - or whatever other group you dislike - they don't count for much.

    It's very facile to say that if a principle breaks when you stretch it and bend it to extremes, then that principle wasn't worth much to begin with. Just because a rubber band won't constrain a tiger doesn't mean rubber bands aren't awesome and valuable things.

    To put it a different way, the phrase "slippery slope" can get people into some ironic places, because sometimes when they understand the concept then they begin to see every single thing as a "slippery slope" potentially leading into ruin.
    posted by cribcage at 10:27 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    If violentacrez just put up some scummy jailbait board on dreamhost, would the same wrath fall on them for hosting him, or is it something unique about reddit which increases their culpability?

    I wouldn't say "culpability," but it is problematic. The reason people set up subreddits instead of firing up a dreamhost site or an FTP site is simple: being attached to a major site that uses the 'Crowdsourced News Churn' model is a way of getting lots of traffic you normally wouldn't, and outsourcing the problem of scaling and supporting the infrastructure to a service provider.

    Reddit, Inc. has a symbiotic relationship with people that do that. They provide infrastructure, they provide software, they provide easy access to a large audience (via cross-posting, cross-reddit searching, and so on), and they provide an environment in which Reddit users are encouraged to treat each other as part of a community.

    In exchange for that support, subreddits outsource the work of cultivating niche audiences and bringing them into the larger Reddit fold. It's one of the more effective ways of scaling large social services -- the "warrens" model rather than the "plaza" model that Metafilter provides.
    posted by verb at 10:29 AM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


    Poetic justice here just seems like an excuse for hypocrisy. Either you approve of people's privacy being invaded or you don't. Both sides are being hypocritical here, since they're reaching different conclusions on that question depending on whose doing the invading.

    This analysis completely fails to draw a distinction between a negative behavior that is done without provocation, and a retaliatory negative behavior that is done with lots of provocation. For example, I disapprove of violence, but if a stranger were to come up to me and suddenly punch me in the face, I would still break their arm. That doesn't make me a hypocrite or mean that I love violence. Your belief is simplistic because it fails to take into account any direct cause-effect principle or causal relationship towards one negative behavior and the retaliation that follows.

    An eye for an eye isn't my idea of justice

    Well, that's great for you, but I'd respectfully ask you not to impose your beliefs on other people. To me, retaliation makes perfect sense because it teaches people that hurting you has consequences, and once word spreads of this, you tend to have fewer problems caused by douchbaggery. In fact, from a purely logical perspective, I recommend "two eyes for an eye" because that way your enemy can't see you or attempt poking you in the other eye. As Mohammed Gandhi said "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
    posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:29 AM on October 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


    > SRS has been accused of ignoring and downvoting comments that are objecting to whatever sexist/racist/prejudiced stuff they are raging about...

    If there is a single unifying aspect of Reddit culture to be found, making up conspiracy theories about SRS is a good candidate. SRS has a whole subreddit devoted to it.
    posted by Panjandrum at 10:31 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Wolfsdreams01, I'd respectfully ask you to read my comment again. I was speaking in favour of what Samatha and the Predditors Tumblr are doing, while noting that I personally might not have taken that approach. Hardly an imposition of my beliefs.
    posted by Phire at 10:31 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Ad hominem: " My drama? Like it or not Metafilter, with the constant posts about reddit dragged itself into it.

    I wasn't even the one who said it. I am pointing out it was said here and favorited here.
    "

    You initially said: Ad hominem: "Even mefites agree /r/lgbt is a troll subreddit. It is modded by RobotAna, who is acknowledged here on metafilter to be a troll."

    "Even Mefites agree" and "Acknowledged here on Metafilter"?

    To second what rosf said, just because someone said something here doesn't mean they speak for the whole site. I've never even heard of those people, and don't know much about the subreddit. I don't know enough to agree or disagree, etc.
    posted by zarq at 10:32 AM on October 11, 2012





    An eye for an eye isn't my idea of justice

    Well, that's great for you, but I'd respectfully ask you not to impose your beliefs on other people. To me, retaliation makes perfect sense because it teaches people that hurting you has consequences, and once word spreads of this, you tend to have fewer problems caused by douchbaggery.


    So how do you feel about the inevitable mistakes, when the mob targets their justice at the wrong person?
    posted by Stagger Lee at 10:33 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Like the Occupy cities, it's a good idea that can be easily corrupted by dirtbags who take advantage of the liberty when left unchecked.

    I spent some time around Occupy Vancouver and I don't seem to recall seeing a child pornography tent or a photo-stalker teach-in.
    posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:33 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Wolfsdreams01, I'd respectfully ask you to read my comment again. I was speaking in favour of what Samatha and the Predditors are doing, while noting that I personally might not have taken that exact approach. Hardly an imposition of my beliefs.

    Sorry, my mistake. I accidentally conflated your opinion with somebody else's. That doesn't change the validity of my point, but I apologize for specifically calling you out on that.
    posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:34 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Poetic justice here just seems like an excuse for hypocrisy. Either you approve of people's privacy being invaded or you don't.

    I would contend that taking unauthorized pictures of people's sexual parts, whether in public or no, and then posting them online is much, much more of an invasion of privacy than compiling and re-posting a bunch of information that is already posted publicly and willingly.
    posted by mrgrimm at 10:36 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    This analysis completely fails to draw a distinction between a negative behavior that is done without provocation, and a retaliatory negative behavior that is done with lots of provocation. For example, I disapprove of violence, but if a stranger were to come up to me and suddenly punch me in the face, I would still break their arm. That doesn't make me a hypocrite or mean that I love violence. Your belief is simplistic because it fails to take into account any direct cause-effect principle or causal relationship towards one negative behavior and the retaliation that follows.

    Western society has spent centuries trying to discourage retaliation and mob justice. I don't think upskirt pics on the internet is the place to turn our backs on that.
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:37 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    So how do you feel about the inevitable mistakes, when the mob targets their justice at the wrong person?

    If somebody publically publishes false information about you, it's called libel and you have plenty of avenues for legal recourse. In fact, if you were hurt as a direct result of libel, there would be plenty of lawyers willing to take your case and file a lawsuit that would utterly destroy the libellous party's life.
    posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:38 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Journalism isn't mob justice. When Chen did isn't vigilantism. The only mobs here are the clans of mods hastening to block Gawker.

    You may not like Gawker, but what it is doing is closer to the NYTimes outing a shadowy gangland figure than it is to a misguided twitterstorm
    posted by fightorflight at 10:39 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]



    If somebody publically publishes false information about you, it's called libel and you have plenty of avenues for legal recourse. In fact, if you were hurt as a direct result of libel, there would be plenty of lawyers willing to take your case and file a lawsuit that would utterly destroy the libelious party's life.
    posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:38 AM on October 11 [+] [!]



    So... victims of vigilante justice can turn to the law for their defense, as is their right.
    posted by Stagger Lee at 10:40 AM on October 11, 2012


    So how do you feel about the inevitable mistakes, when the mob targets their justice at the wrong person?

    That's a very important question and should be addressed. What about, say, poor Ted Parkes, whose hypothetical roommate logged into his reddit account and posted the pic. Or, if that picture isn't actually Ted Parkes, but somebody else, and that poor guy suffers the blowback for Ted's actions....

    It seems like victims of those mistakes have various forms of action they can take. Those use cases are built into the legal system. Or what wolfdreams01 said.
    posted by mrgrimm at 10:40 AM on October 11, 2012


    Well, I'm uncomfortable with the doxing of violentacrez, but I think it's hilarious. I'd much rather they not have done it, but the fact that r/creepshots got shut down makes me happy -- because that's the larger issue.

    Underaged teenagers getting their pictures taken in a sexualized manner without consent are those that need to be defended. The lack of consent for personal information of the one violating other's privacy? Whatever, tiny sin in comparison. I don't understand why you're freaking out about the doxing as much as knowing that r/creepshots exists -- because that's where the true privacy violation is.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 10:41 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    DvC: Doxxer vs. Creep
    Whoever wins, we all lose.
    posted by localroger at 10:43 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Well, I'm uncomfortable with the doxing, but I think it's hilarious.

    Not that uncomfortable, clearly.
    posted by adamdschneider at 10:43 AM on October 11, 2012


    Journalism isn't mob justice. When Chen did isn't vigilantism. The only mobs here are the clans of mods hastening to block Gawker.

    So saying "this guy is creepy and probably a pedophile, here is his name and the town he lives in" is journalism, but not linking to another website is mob action?

    There's a long history of people being physically hurt by mobs for sexual crimes against women and children; outing internet creeps seems to partake more of that than investigative journalism.
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:43 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Is there a list of subreddits available online that were created and/or modded by violentacrez? I seem to remember that he had also created one where folks were invited to submit images of women that had been beaten.
    posted by zarq at 10:45 AM on October 11, 2012


    I have a sub question that relates to this issue specifically, and feminism generally, that I really hope some here can help me to understand.

    On twitter yesterday, someone I follow wrote basically something to the effect of "people posting creepshots get doxxed, boo fucking Hoo" to which I responded "seriously, I'm over the whole 'don't descend to their level argument' as it doesn't seem to be working!" There was no response, nor did I expect one.

    Then today, this person retweeted something that said basically 'dear men, stop validating women's opinions to show your support. We don't care."

    Now, I don't think that the two are necessarily related. But I really don't know how to deal with the idea expressed in the second one....for any issue that I agree with, but is being stated by a woman, is it anti-feminist of me to express my agreement with that sentiment? Does that automatically make me just another man 'validating' a woman's viewpoint? How can I engage in discussions with men and women about various issues without...well....being that person? In some threads on Rebecca Watson's blog and stuff there are trolls that say nasty things to women, and whenever I post something there the same trolls inevitably accuses me of being a creeper ally. That doesn't bother me, because I know I am not being an ally to get laid (I don't even want to fuck me) but it dovetails into the ally / validation tweet that has been bugging me.

    I didn't respond to the person that tweeted that because the last thing that seemed appropriate was responding to a tweet asking male allies to shut up would be a male ally expressing an opinion, but its not the first time I have come across this idea. How can I agree with, support, and discuss feminist issues as a cis-male without my participation being considered condescending validation by default?
    posted by lazaruslong at 10:45 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Was it predditors.tumblr.com?

    so many of these shitbags apparently have daughters. i feel sick to my stomach.
    posted by raztaj at 10:46 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    "Even Mefites agree" and "Acknowledged here on Metafilter"?

    To second what rosf said, just because someone said something here doesn't mean they speak for the whole site. I've never even heard of those people, and don't know much about the subreddit. I don't know enough to agree or disagree, etc.

    I was addressing this:

    With how popular the sentiment is on metafilter there has got to be something to it right? Could you post links and/or explanations of an example?

    So "Metafilter" was already already established as a credible source.

    It is Duely noted that you and rosf may or may not agree. I wasn't trying to say there was a consensus. I was pointing out what had been said about it here. The sentiment on metafilter.

    It is kind of a dumb debate and Reddit isn't paying me to defend them so I'll go back to Kerbal Space Program.
    posted by Ad hominem at 10:46 AM on October 11, 2012


    adamdschneider: Not that uncomfortable because it worked for society this time. If a serial rapist got caught because he called for help when being raped by a horse, I would find that hilarious because it looks like karmic retribution.

    I understand where doxing can do VERY BAD THINGS, but it's a minor issue compared to the situation at hand. This isn't a Valerie Plame going on here. Nobody will get killed as a result. He might lose his job, but that's tantamount to an advertising boycott against a company that does shitty things.

    The fact that there is so much needed defense against doxing without a word empathizing those who were violated by r/creepshots on reddit is incredibly offense.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 10:47 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Or as a third option, so as not to present a false choice, should I just shut the fuck up about feminist issues? Is it best to be a silent ally?
    posted by lazaruslong at 10:48 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Not that uncomfortable, clearly.

    I'm just going to say that I don't think it's really that shameful to glean some small joy out of seeing those who engage in the sexual objectification of girls and women having their fully publicly available information made more publicly available. In fact, I wonder why there's so much rending and gnashing over what is happened to these dudes when weighed against what they do.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:48 AM on October 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


    I really don't know how to deal with the idea expressed in the second one....for any issue that I agree with, but is being stated by a woman, is it anti-feminist of me to express my agreement with that sentiment? Does that automatically make me just another man 'validating' a woman's viewpoint?

    In this instance, I don't see anything to indicate that you were in the wrong. I'd just chalk it up to someone having a bad day, and feel free to keep on rockin' it however you do.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:48 AM on October 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


    Thank you, I'm seriously terrified that I have been fucking up all along.
    posted by lazaruslong at 10:50 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    If violentacrez just put up some scummy jailbait board on dreamhost, would the same wrath fall on them for hosting him, or is it something unique about reddit which increases their culpability?

    I don't know exactly what Dreamhost's policies are, but I bet that if violentacrez had set up some scummy jailbait board there, Dreamhost would shut his account down within the hour of being notified about it.
    posted by ymgve at 10:50 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    > Is there a list of subreddits available online that were created and/or modded by violentacrez?

    Here you go, Zarq. The specific subreddit you're thinking of is r/beatingwomen, which as far a I know, still exists.
    posted by Panjandrum at 10:52 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Note: You can add someone as a moderator on a subreddit without their permission. Some of those on the list cannot be conclusively proven that violentacrez actually participated in the subreddit without checking whether he posted there.

    The ones where he is in the creator column, is of course, all him.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 10:55 AM on October 11, 2012


    Ad hominem: " It is Duely noted that you and rosf may or may not agree. I wasn't trying to say there was a consensus. I was pointing out what had been said about it here. The sentiment on metafilter."

    Ah! Okay. I misinterpreted. Apologies.
    posted by zarq at 10:56 AM on October 11, 2012


    I don't understand why redditors feel like they can state what the community norms on reddit are without the rest of us who are, you know, actual redditors, are supposed to have no input. I'd like reddit to be a kind, inclusive place not full of sleazebags and assholes.

    I think a lot of other people would to. I see nothing wrong with engaging in activities that will push reddit towards being a better place.
    posted by empath at 10:56 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Let's try to avoid the W, "If you're not with us you're against us" line of thought.

    I don't condone r/creepshots or any of its ilk, but I remember how my skin crawled the first time we had one of those posts about the "human flesh search engines" in China, and I don't feel any differently about it now that it's been aimed at someone whose behavior I personally find distasteful. I guarantee you we will never see any collateral damage that comes from this. It's been stated above that a lot of these people have families. These people will no doubt suffer from this as well, although who knows, maybe if some of these daughters are being abused they will use this to come forward. That's just wild speculation, though. I am always uncomfortable by this sort of power flux because there doesn't seem to be any way to check it.
    posted by adamdschneider at 10:56 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]



    I'm just going to say that I don't think it's really that shameful to glean some small joy out of seeing those who engage in the sexual objectification of girls and women having their fully publicly available information made more publicly available. In fact, I wonder why there's so much rending and gnashing over what is happened to these dudes when weighed against what they do.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:48 AM on October 11 [+] [!]


    Well, I can only speak for myself.

    I think that reddit has huge structural/institutional problems that encourage really disgusting behavior towards women, and through their inaction has led to people taking action on their own against some users they identified as offenders. This is precisely why we developed courts, to deal with public grievances before the public dealt with it themselves.

    We have a system for proving guilt and measuring punishment, because it really does reduce the number of innocents caught in the cross fire. I'm not a staunch defender of our courts or justice system, but they exist for a reason, and the alternative is very ugly.

    The best way to protect people is to turn Reddit into a place that does not facilitate, encourage, or tolerate negative behavior; stomp the exploitation and misogyny out at an institutional level. If there are suspected child pornographers there, send their information to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, and ensure that they don't find a welcoming community or platform in the meantime. You can't create a safe harbour for this shit and then go on annual purges with torches and pitch forks, too many innocents could get burned in the ensuing chaos.
    posted by Stagger Lee at 10:58 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Panjandrum: " Here you go, Zarq."

    Wow. He's been busy. Thanks.

    The specific subreddit you're thinking of is r/beatingwomen, which as far a I know, still exists.

    Ugh. I thought so. What kind of person thinks up something like that?
    posted by zarq at 10:59 AM on October 11, 2012


    adamdschneider: Sorry, this topic gets me too worked up, I don't mean to be stifling/hostile in that way.

    Stagger Lee: Yes, I do completely agree that the reason we see doxing come about is failure from reddit's admins. I'd go a half-step further and say the outright blame for this doxing should be laid on reddit's admins first and foremost. Without functioning and just rules in place, reddit's community has turned to the chaotic side of a Hobbesian state of nature.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 11:03 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    It's easy if you're just trying to be offensive.
    posted by empath at 11:03 AM on October 11, 2012


    adamdschneider: "I remember how my skin crawled the first time we had one of those posts about the "human flesh search engines" in China, "

    Posted here, in case anyone else is curious.
    posted by zarq at 11:03 AM on October 11, 2012


    Oh, wow. I didn't really want to search that and assumed it was about alleged organ harvesting from political prisoners.
    posted by elizardbits at 11:06 AM on October 11, 2012


    There's a long history of people being physically hurt by mobs for sexual crimes against women and children; outing internet creeps seems to partake more of that than investigative journalism.

    Sure. The NoTW's "name and shame" was itself pretty controversial, for instance. But even then there's a difference between inciting a mob and actually being a mob. Even more pertinently, how such information is presented matters a great deal. Gawker haven't actually published anything yet, so we don't know if their story is "scalp this guy! here is his address" or something else.

    I see nothing wrong with engaging in activities that will push reddit towards being a better place.

    Probably better being over there engaging the thousands of upvoting idiots rising to the defence of creeps than telling us about it, then. Apologies if you're doing both.
    posted by fightorflight at 11:06 AM on October 11, 2012


    It's easy if you're just trying to be offensive.

    And it's all fun and games until someone starts taking that shit literally. Which, given the nature of the Internet, is 100% certain to happen.
    posted by daniel_charms at 11:07 AM on October 11, 2012


    Free speech enthusiasts (myself included) often say that solution to bad speech is more speech.

    So, we don't believe that a nazi should be silenced, because the way to help reduce racial hatred is discussion/discourse/education/etc.

    Similarly no one in this thread is advocating making the creepy redit picture board illegal. The doxxing was engaging in free speech response.

    I think it's worth pointing out that (this level) of doxxing isn't vigilantism (including social security numbers or other information to facilitate fraud would be), it's just 'outing'.

    Personally, I'm against contacting these people's employers; as it's probably worse for society to have creepy people taking pictures *full time* instead of just in their off hours. Exception: if people take these 'creepshots' at their workplace, then yes, by all means, contact the employers, and get them fired (note to creeps: your employment place is not a 'public place', you do not have a right to take creepy pictures on private property while being paid by your employer).

    Also, do not mistake this for a call to violence: this is what that looks like.

    Also, it's a stretch to call it 'doxxing' when the users (an incredible number of them) are using their real name to post these shots. This isn't entirely the case, but there are a shocking number of folks that don't even hide behind an alias when being entirely creepy.
    posted by el io at 11:12 AM on October 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


    /r/beatingwomen

    The shitty part of all of this is /user/violentacres is behind the lion's share of these subreddits. He should have been banned years ago. It should have never come to this.

    I realize the reddit admins need a bright line , they are permitting everything legal right now. I would support a ban on all sexual material if it could put an end to violentacres and his fucked of reign of terror.

    Reddit has millions of users I can't imagine many of them support this except perhaps on some sort of abstract "freedom of expression" grounds.

    The admins need to take a good hard look in the mirror, they are not the government, they are allowed to "censor".

    Maybe they can give themselves some sort of cover and implement a voting system to shut down subreddits except we can't have nice things on the internets due to troll groups and bots.
    posted by Ad hominem at 11:12 AM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    The schadenfreude is high in this one! I love everything about this.

    eDrama days like this for people like me are analogous to a double-trainbow.
    posted by wcfields at 11:14 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    In fact, I wonder why there's so much rending and gnashing over what is happened to these dudes when weighed against what they do.

    To the extent to which I, personally, am concerned about doxxing sleazy assholes (barely enough to comment about it on an unrelated forum, certainly not enough to be moved to significant action), it's about the normalization of this sort of tactic in the course of Internet disputes. Letting this sort of stuff go without comment only legtimizes it and makes it more likely that it is done by someone whose ends are less noble than the protection of unsuspecting women and girls.

    Of course that concern is relatively minor compared to the damage caused by these subreddits, whose continued existence is a disgrace. That said, a relatively minor concern is still a concern, and the argument about that is a much more interesting one than the one about whether these guys are immoral creeps.
    posted by Copronymus at 11:14 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I don't think it's really that shameful to glean some small joy out of seeing those who engage in the sexual objectification of girls and women having their fully publicly available information made more publicly available.

    Joy or schadenfreude might be beside the point. I think the more key question is whether it's a net social good. The previous MetaFilter thread on "creepshots" did a good job of addressing the rape-culture aspects, how the phenomenon makes society worse or more difficult for women, and this thread has addressed how non-consent is implicated on different levels by "creepshots" and its practitioners.

    I don't find it all that interesting to think about whether or not I feel "joy" that a creepshot-poster has been outed. What I find more interesting is thinking about whether, as Jessamyn speculated above, this might drive the phenomenon farther underground, versus whether an individual who has been outed is now more likely to stop his behavior instead of escalating.
    posted by cribcage at 11:16 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Largely unrelated. I have some dating advice to one of the people who was outed on predditors.

    His question:
    "Some of the girls I like are seriously nice and sweet, but I'm afraid I'll be put in the friendzone. What can I (we) do as men to avoid this? How can we subtlety but not creepy let you know were interested"

    My Answer: Don't be a creepy creep that posts to creepshots. (shorter answer: quit being a creep).
    posted by el io at 11:17 AM on October 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


    I read the violentacrez ask me anything where he talked about sex with his stepdaughter, attending reddit meetups in his hometown (Dallas IIRC), and a hundred other topics. I cannot find a link to it right now if it is even still accessible but I got the impression from reading it that if he got doxx'd on the front page of gawker he would consider it an accomplishment. He has a job but his career is plateau'd out and he implied his bosses don't give a shit about him being an asshole. He's like that guy you know who claims everybody is a selfish-asshole deep down inside but almost everybody is too chicken to show it and most are too chicken to even admit to themselves.

    It would not surprise me if violentacrez got his account deleted for him, or his so-called friends on the reddit management team suggested a new day for him would be the best idea for all of them. It would surprise me if the man known on reddit up to a couple days ago as violentacrez is gone for good.
    posted by bukvich at 11:34 AM on October 11, 2012


    In fact, I wonder why there's so much rending and gnashing over what is happened to these dudes when weighed against what they do.

    One thing I noticed was that several of the guys included in the tumblr blog (seemed to have) only posted one pic to /creepshots. Maybe that's a wrong assumption, but I would distinguish between someone making an error once (seeing an attractive woman and taking a picture then posting it online) and someone who actively stalks and publishes hundreds of photos of women without their knowledge.

    The blog paints all offenders with the same brush, despite having (likely) different levels of offense. I.e. "what they do" is probably pretty different among them, with some being much worse than others. Is that a major concern? Not for me, but I can see the argument.
    posted by mrgrimm at 11:35 AM on October 11, 2012


    Porn and activism. Any time you have an (almost completely) uncensored community, these things will be major topics. We don't have these things on MeFi because the site is heavily censored, but this will always be an issue on Reddit as long as they remain free. They'll mop up this latest round because they do still have *some* censorship, but stay tuned for the next episode kids.
    posted by mullingitover at 11:36 AM on October 11, 2012


    el io: "His question: Some of the girls I like are seriously nice and sweet, but I'm afraid I'll be put in the friendzone. What can I (we) do as men to avoid this? How can we subtlety but not creepy let you know were interested"

    I hear some variant of this question a LOT, often combined with gems such as "girls only like assholes" and "being a nice guy doesn't work". When I push back, someone will inevitably, albeit snarkily, ask me what I would do in that situation.

    I always answer with "Hey, you seem really cool, can I buy you a drink / take you out for coffee?" In 90% of the conversations I've had on this subject, this is met with guffaws and declarations of incredulity. "That would never work!" "You're delusional!" and the always popular "Have you ever tried that on a girl?" (The answer to that last one is "No, but I've asked more guys out than most of you have ever tried to directly approach a girl.")

    I can't help but feel like that sentiment of "women don't like nice guys like me" stems from that sense of entitlement about relationships we talk about a lot here, as though being nice is not just a necessary condition to getting dates, but also a sufficient one. Whether or not someone accept your requests for a date isn't really up to you, and if they're uninterested in dating you, it's not because "hey, wanna go on a date" is a bad strategy or trick, it's because they don't want to date you. And so a lot of the scheming about playing the dating game and figuring out strategies seems to come down to feeling like you can trick people into dates, rather than accepting that you're simply not going to go out with everyone you want to go out with.

    This ties into the question at the top about the friendzone about subtly (instead of directly) indicating interest. If someone put you in the friendzone--i.e. indicated that they aren't interested in you romantically--then all the subtle and non-creepy tricks in the world won't help you. It's just so frustrating to continually see this sentiment expressed by guys that I'm sure have the best of intentions, but that just don't seem to want to accept that sometimes you don't get what you want, and that that is not the fault of either party. As someone on Twitter put much better than me: "Girls are not machines that you put Kindness Coins into until sex falls out."

    [/derail]
    posted by Phire at 11:36 AM on October 11, 2012 [35 favorites]


    Three separate incidents to consider here:

    1. Adrian Chen writing a story on notorious and relatively powerful Reddit moderator violentacrez. In the course of the story the person's real name would come out, which prompted violentacrez to delete his Reddit presence. I think this is journalism.

    2. An anonymous Reddit user supposedly contacted one of the moderators of Creepshots, which has been in the news and all over the net as of late, threatening to reveal their real identity if they didn't shut everything down.

    3. "Samantha" sets up Predditors exposing the identities of men who post nonconsensual sexualized pictures on Creepshots. "Samantha" figures out their identities by linking things they posted on the internet since many of them use their real names on Reddit or the same usernames across multiple sites.

    Reddit is largely reacting to Gawker and Adrian Chen, and conflating all of this together. But I don't see what he did that is even ethically questionable and I for one hope he still writes that story.

    What I find more interesting is thinking about whether, as Jessamyn speculated above, this might drive the phenomenon farther underground, versus whether an individual who has been outed is now more likely to stop his behavior instead of escalating.

    Interesting questions. I think one of the main problems with Creepshots was the large, supportive community allowed to flourish in the light of day. I can't prove it but I suspect many of the submissions were made by guys who might not ordinarily have done so but got a thrill out of being a part of the community and submitting pics for karma. Maybe the specific guys targeted on Samantha's tumblr won't stop, and maybe they'll escalate due to ostracization and isolation. So perhaps as a specific deterrent exposure won't work, but the more casual creepers who are doing it largely for the approval of other men might well be dissuaded if they know it's not necessarily anonymous.
    posted by Danila at 11:38 AM on October 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


    I read the violentacrez ask me anything where he talked about sex with his stepdaughter, attending reddit meetups in his hometown (Dallas IIRC), and a hundred other topics. I cannot find a link to it right now if it is even still accessible but I got the impression from reading it that if he got doxx'd on the front page of gawker he would consider it an accomplishment.

    I think this is it. I would have gotten that impression too, but now I'm not sure. It's also possible that a Reddit admin or two leaned on him to "brand new day" because there was a real danger of him becoming the face of Reddit.
    posted by Danila at 11:41 AM on October 11, 2012


    I looked through r/creepshots and was hard pressed to find anything that I'd call "sexualised". Just pictures of fairly normal women's bums, for the most part, and because they are just walking down the street, pretty unsexy even if the person had a nice bum. I guess maybe I missed some of the more egregious stuff?

    I am not surprised, but disappointed, to see that the folk here have taken on the "rape culture" thing as a given. If I look at someone's nice bum while on the streets, is that "rape culture"? What if I nudge my buddy and say "Hey, look, that woman has a nice bum?"

    Seems like pretty natural and innocuous behavior to me - despite decades of looking at women's bums I have still managed not to rape anyone.
    posted by Meatbomb at 11:49 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I am not surprised, but disappointed, to see that the folk here have taken on the "rape culture" thing as a given. If I look at someone's nice bum while on the streets, is that "rape culture"? What if I nudge my buddy and say "Hey, look, that woman has a nice bum?"

    What if she's student in your class and your "buddy" is the Interwebs?
    posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:52 AM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


    I can't help but feel like that sentiment of "women don't like nice guys like me" stems from that sense of entitlement about relationships we talk about a lot here, as though being nice is not just a necessary condition to getting dates, but also a sufficient one.

    I dunno. Speaking as someone who once had pretty serious difficulties relating to the opposite sex (although, it should be said, not as many difficulties as these men seem to have) the basic dynamic for me was that relating to women didn't come naturally to me. Why? Mostly anxiety, depression, and self-loathing. Add in teenage/early 20's hormones and you get a situation where you want something so, so badly but for legitimate psychological reasons you can't seem to put two and two together to make it happen.

    And so naturally you gravitate towards mechanistic explanations of the "process" for getting the thing you want, explanations that don't require you to do the real work of fixing the anxiety, depression, and self-loathing that really hold you back. And you see this kind of thing everywhere. For instance people often don't want to do the hard work of dieting and exercise so they seize on eating systems, exercise fads, and junk medicine as the magical key that will unlock the fitter person inside them. The only difference is, of course, that the only person you're harming in that situation is yourself.

    Treating women like objects to be "gamed" is abhorrent, you will get no argument from me. But the genesis a lot of times isn't misogyny - at least not conscious misogyny - but being trapped in a cage of your own emotions. (this, of course, does not apply to "violentacrez" and anyone who glorifies rape, abuse, etc.)
    posted by downing street memo at 11:53 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Meatbomb, this previous post on Creepshots hashes all that out, and it's still open.
    posted by Danila at 11:53 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    I'm afraid I'll be put in the friendzone. What can I (we) do as men to avoid this? How can we subtlety but not creepy let you know were interested" ...

    I hear some variant of this question a LOT


    God, how I hate that fucking term "friendzone." It's so stupid. This tumblr post says it well:

    "Girls aren’t your property. No matter how kindly you treat them, they’re [sic] bodies do not become ATM machines that dispense sexual favors as a form of repayment for the money you money [sic] spent on them."

    Meatbomb, this previous post on Creepshots hashes all that out, and it's still open.

    Seriously. It's been done elsewhere. Many times.
    posted by mrgrimm at 11:54 AM on October 11, 2012


    mrgrimm: " "Girls aren’t your property. No matter how kindly you treat them, they’re [sic] bodies do not become ATM machines that dispense sexual favors as a form of repayment for the money you money [sic] spent on them.""

    The inimitable Foz Meadows has my absolute favourite dressing down of that entire concept.
    posted by Phire at 12:04 PM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]



    I am not surprised, but disappointed, to see that the folk here have taken on the "rape culture" thing as a given.


    It's one way of explaining disproportionate rates of sexual violence against women, in the context of broader cultural trends. As a theory, it really takes the emphasis off of individual actors, and tries to focus on cultural artifacts that might be contributing to a really ugly pattern of events.

    The term, on the surface, might seem kind of alarmist and confrontational, but it actually makes a lot of sense when you consider the context of assault rates. It's not to suggest that you are a budding rapist just because you checked out some girl, it's suggesting that culture contributes to behaviour, and that we've created a culture with a very negative impact upon women.
    posted by Stagger Lee at 12:07 PM on October 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


    @bukvich: "I read the violentacrez ask me anything where he talked about sex with his stepdaughter, attending reddit meetups in his hometown (Dallas IIRC), and a hundred other topics. I cannot find a link to it right now "

    It's right here. There are several deleted users posting in it besides VA so it's hard to tell which are VA and which are someone else's at times.
    posted by Gev at 12:08 PM on October 11, 2012


    I'd like to hear a proposal from anti-doxxers that addresses the issue of socializing the miscreants. Offer us a viable alternative!
    posted by five fresh fish at 12:09 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Some creep took picture of my wife at Walmart. I was in another aisle. Another customer saw the creep doing, and approached my wife "do you know that guy? he's been taking a lot of pictures of you." My wife told me about it, and pointed the guy out to me. The guy was showing his friend some pictures on his phone when I approached them. We argued, the two claimed they were looking at pictures of his cat. The fight never went anywhere, because I didn't really know what to do. Ask Walmart security to take his phone? I don't know. My son was there, my wife was really scared. I never figured out the right thing to do.
    posted by BurnChao at 12:10 PM on October 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


    a Hobbesian state of nature.

    hobbes was a royalist :(
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 12:11 PM on October 11, 2012


    What if I nudge my buddy and say "Hey, look, that woman has a nice bum?"

    Really. Really? You honestly see no demonstrable difference between two guys on the street talking to one another and a forum full of men objectifying women and teens via photos taken creepily and without the knowledge of the subjects, to whom the lack of consent from the women is an intrinsic part of their sexual enjoyment? Really?
    posted by elizardbits at 12:12 PM on October 11, 2012 [28 favorites]


    BurnChao: photograph them for ID, and follow them to their car to get their license number.
    posted by five fresh fish at 12:13 PM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    I never figured out the right thing to do.

    Probably unhelpful in the long run but I would've taken a photo of the creepers with my own phone and been like WHAT NOW MOTHERFUCKERS.
    posted by elizardbits at 12:15 PM on October 11, 2012 [19 favorites]


    downing street memo: "But the genesis a lot of times isn't misogyny - at least not conscious misogyny - but being trapped in a cage of your own emotions."

    I can definitely sympathize with that, and I also think the majority of "clueless guys" intend zero harm. I do think, however, that the solution is to listen when people around them (gently) point out how these sorts of attitudes are implicitly misogynist even if they don't mean to be, and then to talk about what alternatives there are for approaching members of your desired sex that would be better. It's totally okay that it doesn't come easily to some people and they might stumble a bunch before figuring stuff out, whether "stuff" is defined as social mores or talking to their crushes or their own depression/anxiety. It's less okay when someone tries to be like "hey, that approach isn't great and kind of sends not good messages and maybe try this other thing" and is rebuffed with "well GIRLS just don't GET ME and SUCK". I lose my sympathy pretty rapidly at that juncture.
    posted by Phire at 12:17 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    hobbes was a royalist :(
    Hobbes argued that the existence of a government is necessary or else people will be worse off and less free (because they will take things into their own hands and unjustly kill each other). Reddit's lack of rules creates a State of Nature that doesn't help anyone, with doxing both SRS admins and pedos alike. The particular rules & rulers he was incorrect, of course.

    I know you're making a joke, but to be a little pedantic, websites can be ruled with an iron fist because it's an optional environment, it's not necessary to life and can be ignored at will (very few websites are true democracies). Just because a sizable portion (majority?) of reddit wants creepy pedos in their midst doesn't mean reddit's admins should listen to them.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 12:18 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I'd like to hear a proposal from anti-doxxers that addresses the issue of socializing the miscreants. Offer us a viable alternative!

    As Bob Barker often reminded you, have your miscreants spayed or neutered.
    posted by delfin at 12:21 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I'd like to hear a proposal from anti-doxxers that addresses the issue of socializing the miscreants. Offer us a viable alternative!

    1) Put pressure on Reddit to kick them out
    2) Make clear in other web fora that their behavior is creepy and unacceptable
    3) Accept that there will always be miscreants and that the socialization of miscreantry is a process far more complicated than simply shaming people who have socializing unacceptable sexual appetites.

    Honestly, from where I sit the socialization of this is good pretty well. /r/jailbait was taken down without any need for doxxing. Reddit has a reputation as a creepy place that, given time, will likely lead to either shutting down the creepy parts or people leaving Reddit. It's a slow process, but so is everything; doxxing won't actually change the culture that says this is acceptable any faster.
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:21 PM on October 11, 2012


    Reddit's lack of rules creates a State of Nature that doesn't help anyone.

    isn't the concept of the "state of nature" flawed
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 12:23 PM on October 11, 2012


    Jessamyn: there are huge supporting affirming communities on large websites with decent reputations where people can egg each other on into objectifying and depersonalizing and sexualizing young and unsuspecting women

    Delfin: Take out "on large websites" and you're describing high school.

    Do you not get that there's a connection there?
    posted by kagredon at 12:23 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    If you're saying that the one causes the other, that's way off, because that existed long before the Internet did.

    If you're saying that both are symptoms of a male-dominated and sexually bullying culture that has long been the norm in the United States, two reading comprehension points to you and control of the board.
    posted by delfin at 12:28 PM on October 11, 2012


    But the genesis a lot of times isn't misogyny - at least not conscious misogyny - but being trapped in a cage of your own emotions.

    I was one of those guys for many years, and lemme tell you -- other guys talking about The Bitches and sharing tips about gaming the ladiez didn't help me. Listening to them point out how terribly hypocritical women were for dating 'jackasses' didn't do anything to resolve that isolation and emotional disconnection. Listening to them and associating with them made me a worse person, and exacerbated the isolation that you describe.

    Ignoring them and trying -- sometimes failing -- to have normal healthy casual relationships, and generally giving a rip about women because they're human beings rather than potential sexboxes? That's what made a difference with that isolation.

    Condemning the kind of passive-agressive women-as-a-game-mechanic bullshit they peddle is something I do because it is my responsibility as a guy. It is my act of kindness to other people who are in the same place I was, because listening to that shit won't help. It will make it worse, and will teach isolated people that they should respond by treating women as badly as they feel about themselves.
    posted by verb at 12:28 PM on October 11, 2012 [38 favorites]


    ...doxxing won't actually change the culture that says this is acceptable any faster.

    The threat of doxxing is pretty fucking scary, and I don't think many would disagree. The particularly tech-savvy redditors will know how to be utterly anonymous, cover their tracks and strip EXIF data and so on. However, if your average redditor knows that the subreddit to which they contribute is under vigilant watch by people who can practically ruin their lives if they make a single misstep in hiding their identity, they'll be a lot less likely to post these pictures. And, again, as supply goes down in this sort of thing, so does demand. Without masses clamoring for new content (and being obliged,) you've got a much better context in which to explain to confused young men why what they are doing is hurtful and wrong.
    posted by griphus at 12:28 PM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


    isn't the concept of the "state of nature" flawed
    Somewhat, but, I was more making an analogy that without proper admins redditors will be too busy fighting with each other in really dirty ways and being all around destructive. My point was that Reddit is more like a State of Nature than any notion of a democratic civil society (there are no judges and you can't vote on whether to ban subreddits). Having a ruler with an iron fist would be a far greater improvement over what they have now.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 12:29 PM on October 11, 2012


    You honestly see no demonstrable difference between two guys on the street talking to one another and a forum full of men objectifying women and teens via photos taken creepily and without the knowledge of the subjects, to whom the lack of consent from the women is an intrinsic part of their sexual enjoyment?

    Behold, Meatbomb is a god. A fine discrimination about simple human affairs is lost at his Dr. Manhattan-level of perspective. He just wants to get high and look at bums.
    posted by octobersurprise at 12:30 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I never figured out the right thing to do.

    That's a hard question. It's easy to think about ways to retaliate (photograph them right back, grab their phone, etc.) but with your son present and your wife already scared, there's a very real and arguably more "civilized" or "mature" argument that the best thing to do is tamp-down the situation by walking away.

    It's easy to imagine the worst-case consequences of either choice. You walk away, and your wife and/or son always remember the story and resent that you didn't take action. Or you escalate the confrontation, and instead of your wife and son remembering "that weird, unpleasant thing that happened," they remember "the time Dad got into a screaming fight with strangers and the police showed up."

    I think what you did probably reflects maturity and the kind of temperament we'd all like to see from a good parent. On the other hand, I don't think I'd criticize you if you had grabbed the phone and smashed it. Sometimes it's not clear that there is a "right" thing to do, but if there's any answer here, I would probably suggest it's that escalating a situation like that has a greater potential to go farther wrong than does walking away.
    posted by cribcage at 12:31 PM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Well, I look forward to y'all supporting this kind of action against visitors to abortion clinics. Or is this kind of thing reserved only for things we disagree with?

    The world is a pretty complicated place, some behaviors can be seen as good or bad depending on the context. Depending on what the reasoning behind the differing views on the subject, it doesn't make people hypocrites, it makes them able to adapt to different situations.

    Heck, we even have a saying for it, "It's the exception that proves the rule." I don't think it's hypocritical to say "it's ethical to hurt somebody if it's in self defense." Even though implicate in the statement is that it's not o.k. hurt people for other reasons. So, I don't think that it's hypocritical to say "It's o.k. to out somebodies public identity if their anonymous behavior harms others." We can disagree with the idea that what we're discussing is an appropriate use of that rule, or even if it's a rule that makes sense. But it's a bit much to blankly imply that having a different reaction to the same (general) behavior in two different scenarios is hypocritical.

    The behavior that this guy was encouraging is vile enough that, yes I do think that outing he and others that engage in it is warranted. No, I don't think that the fact that I don't think that's true in every case isn't hypocrisy.
    posted by Gygesringtone at 12:32 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Meatbomb: " I am not surprised, but disappointed, to see that the folk here have taken on the "rape culture" thing as a given. If I look at someone's nice bum while on the streets, is that "rape culture"? What if I nudge my buddy and say "Hey, look, that woman has a nice bum?"

    Seems like pretty natural and innocuous behavior to me - despite decades of looking at women's bums I have still managed not to rape anyone.
    "

    This is a different situation than two random guys talking about a woman's ass that they happen to see. This is someone taking a picture of someone's ass without their knowledge or consent, then uploading it to the internet into a forum where dozens, hundreds or thousands of people can get off on it. It sexually objectifies the woman whose picture has been taken by focusing solely on (and usually only showing) her genitals, and dehumanizes her by not showing her as as an actual person.

    Forums devoted to pictures like this are specifically designed to create communities where both viewing and taking such pictures without a woman's consent is acceptable. The person taking the photo is saying to the group, 'We don't need a woman's permission to publicly reduce her to nothing more than a sexual object."
    posted by zarq at 12:32 PM on October 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


    I wonder why there's so much rending and gnashing over what is happened to these dudes when weighed against what they do.

    Do you mean on Reddit or on Metafilter? If you meant Reddit, then I'm sure there are conversations on /r/mensrights where the wailing and gnashing is about defending the right to objectify women.

    The optimistic interpretation on Metafilter is just that it's the most interesting part to talk about. If the point of the post had been "creepshots sure is awful," then there wouldn't have been much to say other than "yep, that sucks" (I mean, it would take 500 comments to say it, but we've done that already). The new part of this post is, "creepshots was taken down by this particular ironic method," which brings most of us to: (1) good riddance; (2) now how do I feel about that method of taking down legal content on the internet? And we have a pretty good range from "I am unconcerned/enthusiastic about this tactic being used against deplorable speech" to "I'm worried about how this tactic could affect anonymous-but-controversial speech I do like." Which is exactly the kind of cool conversation I come here to find.

    Personally I'm enthusiastic that it happened and it worries me. I guess I'm heterodox?
    posted by jhc at 12:34 PM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Thanks cribcage.
    posted by BurnChao at 12:37 PM on October 11, 2012


    If you're saying that both are symptoms of a male-dominated and sexually bullying culture that has long been the norm in the United States, two reading comprehension points to you and control of the board.

    That is precisely what I meant, and given that you appear to agree (it's hard to tell around all the condescension), I'm wondering why you replied to jessamyn's perfectly cromulent point with what sounded like some sort of boys-will-be-boys nonsense.
    posted by kagredon at 12:39 PM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    I'm fine with doxxing every creepshotter, etc. Free speech has consequences. Make it ugly, take it ugly.
    posted by ambient2 at 12:39 PM on October 11, 2012 [12 favorites]


    I gave reddit such a try. such a try. For a long while I tried to make it my go-to when I a) had run out of metafilter, but b) wasn't quite ready to stop wasting time on the internet. For a good chunk of that long while I was convinced that my problem was that I hadn't found the right subreddits. Like, whoops, all the reddits I've found are full of assholes, but there's got to be decent ones out there, right?

    What convinced me that, nope, it's not me, it's not my inability to find the right corners of the site, but instead that the problem is the entire damn culture of the entire damn place was when I subscribed to a bunch of local subreddits (for super-progressive, sane, smart, tolerant left-coast cities) and found even those ones filled with extremely boring 22 year old straight white men with tech industry jobs who despise everyone who doesn't fit that demographic. And, look, I'm straight, I'm male, I'm white, I'm young(ish), I work in a field connected to the tech industry... and so if someone from my subject position can pick up on how douchey they are, then, well, they're probably douches.

    I hung out with the SRSters for a while, and they're smart fun people, and they're absolutely doing god's work in exposing the rapists and molesters who serve as such a handy synecdoche for the less focused and overt nastiness one encounters on reddit as a whole, but being around redditry (even just to fight it) is demoralizing, demoralizing, demoralizing. Even SRS will tell you, if you want to have a smart conversation that won't bring you down, the place you want to be is metafilter.
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:40 PM on October 11, 2012 [15 favorites]


    This is someone taking a picture of someone's ass without their knowledge or consent, then uploading it to the internet into a forum where dozens, hundreds or thousands of people can get off on it.

    This is why I'm having difficulty accepting creepshotting as an "extreme" menace that justifies mob justice.

    If a victim isn't even aware it has taken place, how badly victimized can they be?
    posted by Egg Shen at 12:41 PM on October 11, 2012


    However, if your average redditor knows that the subreddit to which they contribute is under vigilant watch by people who can practically ruin their lives if they make a single misstep in hiding their identity, they'll be a lot less likely to post these pictures. And, again, as supply goes down in this sort of thing, so does demand. Without masses clamoring for new content, you've got a much better context in which to explain to confused young men why what they are doing is hurtful and wrong.

    That only addresses contributors, who are way more likely to be tech savvy than readers. I don't seem them having trouble arranging their content is an untraceable way. There's also so much of this stuff out there that you could continue to provide people with this content without every generating new content practically forever. Given that there's always new people joining the consumer group (males reaching adolescence), and the only limitation to people continuing to consume old content is tastes in women changing, which doesn't seem to discourage the popularity of 80s camcorder home porn.

    I find a lot of the arguments here confusing because they are arguing for 1) shaming as a tool of socialization, which most MeFites acknowledge to be counterproductive in almost every other context and 2)the kind of stopping the supply with stop demand logic that's behind the Drug War. It's not like this context suddenly makes those solutions work.
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:42 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    If a victim isn't even aware it has taken place, how badly victimized can they be?

    *blink*. Are you serious?
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:42 PM on October 11, 2012 [21 favorites]


    1. Women are already pretty paranoid in public, if you knew that people were participating in r/creepshots, one would be liable to be even more paranoid/scared and watch your back even more.

    2. This creates a culture where this kind of shit is acceptable. Posting sexualized pics of women without permission creates an environment where doing other sexual activities without permission becomes acceptable in their mind. Reminder: they are getting off of the actual act of posting voyeuristic pictures without permission.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 12:44 PM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    If a victim isn't even aware it has taken place, how badly victimized can they be?

    Two things:

    1. You seriously do not need to look far to see examples of why we still consider it unethical or illegal to do bad things to a person, even if they aren't aware it's happening, and

    2. Avoiding arguing the example, this echo-chamber of rapey objectification hurts all women. It does not happen in a vacuum and its effects are not solidly contained within the bounds of the sub.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:44 PM on October 11, 2012 [25 favorites]


    how badly victimized can they be?

    frysquint.gif
    posted by elizardbits at 12:48 PM on October 11, 2012 [24 favorites]


    we still consider it unethical or illegal to do bad things to a person, even if they aren't aware it's happening

    Yes, you are guilty of theft if you steal something from my house even if I don't notice it's missing.

    My point was that, under those circumstances, it would be strange to have people working themselves up about how badly victimized I was. Or cheering on mob justice to protect me from the possibility you might steal something else I wouldn't know about.
    posted by Egg Shen at 12:57 PM on October 11, 2012


    I just looked at the Predditor tumblr and found myself memorizing faces and info in the unlikely event one of these assholes ends up somewhere in my vicinity. Separate from any public shaming I think it's providing a useful service to any women who may come into daily contact with these creeps and provides them with useful information so they can choose to be to be more vigilant when around predators. If these creeps were my students/coworkers/etc. I'd certainly want to know this about them so I'd be in a position to protect myself from possibly having my body parts used as karmic capital for reddit.

    Also, someone above (and probably in the other thread) argued that retaliating against creepers is a slippery slope that'll lead to us not being able to film the police. Not sure where you live and what your experiences with the police have been, but most of the time when cops are around me they've got at least 2 of their video cameras trained on me regardless of whether or not I'm also taking photos of them. There's already reciprocal surveillance going on. I think what's good for the goose is good for the gander as far as expectations of privacy in public re: reddit goes, and the creepers can't really expect the that exploiting the assumed privacy of others isn't going to result in them not getting a taste of their own medicine.
    posted by stagewhisper at 1:00 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Egg: I'm glad you're not my neighbour. If my house is robbed while I'm out of town, I'd like the cops to be called, even though I'm not yet aware of the robbery.
    posted by five fresh fish at 1:01 PM on October 11, 2012


    My point was that, under those circumstances, it would be strange to have people working themselves up about how badly victimized I was.

    By this logic, if doxxed redditors remained ignorant of the doxxing and never suffered any harm from it, then what's the problem with doxxing them?
    posted by griphus at 1:02 PM on October 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


    The blog paints all offenders with the same brush

    yeah this was my largest problem with the Predditor thing. We all do dumb things on the internet once or twice. At the point at which we are doing them a hundred times, there's a different likelihood that it's a thing that is important to us and not just us trying something.

    If a victim isn't even aware it has taken place, how badly victimized can they be?


    If people who showed up on creepshots were never made aware of the fact that they showed up on creepshots [or otherwise felt violated and/or afraid because of skeevy dudes taking photos of their ass while they were in public] we would be having a slightly different conversation than the one we are having. I understand the "victimless crime" angle in a general sense, but we've heard from people here and on the internet at large that creepers taking photos of women and girls is a problem for the women and girls and not just on Reddit.

    Reddit is reflecting that culture (and, one could argue, supporting it) not necessarily creating it. That culture, regardless of what you call it, is one in which is it problematic to be female and in public. That is a social problem for everyone.
    posted by jessamyn at 1:02 PM on October 11, 2012 [21 favorites]


    It sexually objectifies the woman whose picture has been taken by focusing solely on (and usually only showing) her genitals, and dehumanizes her by not showing her as as an actual person.

    To play devil's advocate, would it be better if it showed her face and therefore made her nonconsensual photo more personally identifiable?

    Reddit has its share of subreddits in which amateur nudes and intimate photos are posted, including selfshots. (Read as: Enjoy browsing here until the day when Chris Hansen offers you a lovely beverage.) As Danila said upthread of creepshots, "I can't prove it but I suspect many of the submissions were made by [guys and girls] who might not ordinarily have done so but got a thrill out of being a part of the community and submitting pics for karma." In many cases, that is likely true there as well, but many others are assuredly either taken without the subject's knowledge, posted without the subject's knowledge, 'found'/fusked/stolen, or the subject is pressured to give consent.

    Given the inability to demonstrate consent even if many of the subjects wanted to -- which many would not -- is this not far more troubling and worthy of a crackdown than non-personally-identifiable photos of clothed body parts?

    The whole /r/photobucketplunder scandal of a month or so ago involved exactly that, PLUS a breadcrumb trail leading back to the account from which the nude photos had been copied. That's taking Is Anyone Up? and airbrushing it at BEST. If that publicity didn't shut down reddit's red light district, anger over pictures of butts in yoga pants sure as hell won't do it.

    That is precisely what I meant, and given that you appear to agree (it's hard to tell around all the condescension), I'm wondering why you replied to jessamyn's perfectly cromulent point with what sounded like some sort of boys-will-be-boys nonsense.

    Because they will. They shouldn't, and efforts to educate them otherwise are laudable and should continue, but I'm cynical enough to know that they will. Breaking down ingrained cultural views about gender roles and sexual privileges is like emptying the ocean one bucket at a time.
    posted by delfin at 1:03 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    If a victim isn't even aware it has taken place, how badly victimized can they be?

    Say you're away on a three-week vacation. On the second day of your vacation, someone breaks into your house and steals all your furniture. Are you a crime victim?

    If so -- when did you become a victim? When they broke in, or when you got home?
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:04 PM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


    I'd like to hear a proposal from anti-doxxers that addresses the issue of socializing the miscreants. Offer us a viable alternative!

    Is the purpose of doxxing to socialize the creepers? If so, by what mechanism? What it seems to have done is enable Reddit to go on the offensive and portray these guys as the victims.

    I think advertising pressure is more the way to go, along with journalism including the Gawker kind. Project Panda is working! Lots of news entities are writing about Reddit as the Creepshots website. Would a President or any other world leader do another AMA on a site known for that? What could be the impact of taking screenshots of advertisements next to creepshot pics and their equally creepy captions, and sending those to the advertisers in question? I'd like to know. That's more the kind of tactic I support.

    I've been anti-Reddit nearly as long as I was a member of Reddit. I read SRS every day and go around saying "Reddit Delenda Est" to myself. It makes me giddy. But I've seen wonderful members of SRS run off due to being "doxxed", like littletiger. It's a tactic frequently used against women who get out of line or even just draw attention to themselves. Of course, Reddit at large doesn't care when it's aimed at women. Members of SRS have been doxxed plenty and the whole site didn't rise as one to defend them.

    I first really became acquainted with doxxing when the crazy Stop The Goodreads Bullies site was posted to Metafilter. That's when a cabal of authors posted the identifying information of reviewers who were too mean. I didn't like it then and I still don't like it. It also didn't work. Those reviewers are still going strong (as well they should be, they weren't really bullies imo but the point is the tactic didn't work).
    posted by Danila at 1:07 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Egg Shen:

    People actually do find out that they were subjects of creepshots. They were materially impacted. The students from the creepy teacher sure as hell found out and realized they were non-consensually sexualized for all the internet to see.

    Further, this has nothing to do with theft. The harm isn't because by taking the picture the subject of the creepshot has lost something. The harm is towards greater society. They are violating the commons, particularly the benefits of a social expectation of privacy when walking down the street. They are also perpetuating rape culture. These have material impact, and it's absolutely poetic justice to violate the privacy of someone whose goal is to violate others privacy for their own jollies.

    It's telling that violentacrez deleted his account after receiving his "threat" instead of saying "you're going to out me? go ahead."
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:08 PM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Moral issues of doxing aside and moral issues of voyeuristic photos aside, if you like to take voyeuristic photos of women around you without consent then you need to accept that your friends, family and associates will have opinions on your behaviors. That your behaviors might be alienating to people you care about. Not that this is or isn't a reason to stop, but in considering the totality of ones actions it should be considered necessary.

    Certainly there are some deviant behaviors which should be more accepted (though I am sure this isn't one).

    Even if this were, however, a deviancy worth normalizing (it's not) if the end result of being outted is unacceptable, regardless of what you do or no matter how right you think you are, you're a moron if you don't take steps to avoid and online identity apocalypse.

    Violentacrez is a moron. If he couldn't see the target on his head growing every day since the /r/jailbait shutdown, he is totally and utterly impaired.

    Right wrong or indifferent, violentacrez should stand up and proudly announce his name -- if he believes what he has done is right and proper -- and he should embrace what he could putatively claim as martyrdom instead of running scared like a mentally weak coward.

    But violentacrez, despite any pomp and nonsense to the contrary, knows what he does is wrong and knows that he facilitates criminality.

    "I am not surprised, but disappointed, to see that the folk here have taken on the "rape culture" thing as a given. If I look at someone's nice bum while on the streets, is that "rape culture"? What if I nudge my buddy and say "Hey, look, that woman has a nice bum?""

    Fairly different from building or participating in a massive club to distribute the effort of peaking up skirts, I'd say. Now get a club together to sight and discuss asses, it gets pretty analogous. And, if you're anything like most of my male associates who do this on a casual basis, your friends and associates may already think you're a walking talking piece of shit for how constantly you ogle and remark upon women's bodies.
    posted by Matt Oneiros at 1:08 PM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


    it would be strange to have people working themselves up about how badly victimized I was.

    The characterization "worked up" seems derogative. But removing that, it wouldn't seem at all strange to me that people would object to someone stealing from your home irrespective of whether you missed what was stolen. Honestly, I find it strange that you would find that strange.
    posted by cribcage at 1:08 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    A group of people--who believe it is morally and legally fine to make public information (that is to say, a photo of somebody in a public space) vastly more available to people who may or may not abuse that information--are currently screaming bloody murder when somebody...well...makes information that's publicly available even more available to people who may or may not abuse that information.

    Without it being a statement on our personal beliefs on privacy, why can we enjoy this unashamedly naked display of hypocrisy on their part?
    posted by whittaker at 1:09 PM on October 11, 2012


    My point was that, under those circumstances, it would be strange to have people working themselves up about how badly victimized I was. Or cheering on mob justice to protect me from the possibility you might steal something else I wouldn't know about.

    Again, you are arguing the example. Your point was that since they don't know, how badly victimized could they be; ergo, if you don't know it happened to you, then it can't be that bad. There are many examples of why this is wrong, aside from the whole deliberately ignoring the second, more important point thing.

    efforts to educate them otherwise are laudable and should continue, but I'm cynical enough to know that they will. Breaking down ingrained cultural views about gender roles and sexual privileges is like emptying the ocean one bucket at a time.

    The human brain is a remarkably flexible and mutable thing, especially within social contexts. Our ability to change ourselves and others is what got us out of the caves. So I don't buy the Sisyphean portrayal of educating men on sex issues. I think the past hundred years of male behavior towards women might tell a different story than buckets and oceans, considering not just the civil rights gains but attitude differences in the work place now.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:09 PM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Breaking down ingrained cultural views about gender roles and sexual privileges is like emptying the ocean one bucket at a time.

    And yet there are clearly changes occurring for the better. Creepers and bigots are much less tolerated than they were forty years ago. Far better to take action, even though it's just a bucketful, than to continue to let creepers and bigots go unchallenged.
    posted by five fresh fish at 1:10 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Yes, you are guilty of theft if you steal something from my house even if I don't notice it's missing.

    OH LET'S SEE, MAYBE BECAUSE: there is no extant "robbery culture" in society where by virtue of owning things you are treated as though you deserve to have them stolen from you; people are not hounded in the streets by others who harass and threaten them constantly solely because they own possessions; there is not a normalized attitude in society that if you own things and they are robbed, you were asking for it by being an owner of things? MAYBE.

    why the fuck do i even bother ugh
    posted by elizardbits at 1:10 PM on October 11, 2012 [47 favorites]


    whittaker: "A group of people--who believe it is morally and legally fine to make public information (that is to say, a photo of somebody in a public space) vastly more available to people who may or may not abuse that information--are currently screaming bloody murder when somebody...well...makes information that's publicly available even more available to people who may or may not abuse that information."

    Nowhere near analogous. The guys on /r/creepshots are not generally reposting content the women posted on the internet themselves. The predditors researchers are reposting content these men posted.

    EDIT: err, misread there I think.
    posted by Matt Oneiros at 1:11 PM on October 11, 2012


    I can't help but derail, and say this type of thing makes me happy to me a mefite. I was a daily redditor for a while (mostly on the /r/programming board), but it just became too much internet asshole for me to handle at a certain point. There may be millions on there, and and some of them may be totally fine, but there is a thin fog of troll in even the most innocuous sections.

    Jessmyn probably doesn't know it, but the comments that she has posted here and on other places on the internet have shaken me out of shitty behavior and privileged thinking on many occasions. I am happy that her and the rest of the mods keep metafilter a great place. Would pay 5 dollars again to have a place where kindness and fairness are heavily enforced. It is worth far more than that.

    The fact that VA performed the same function on some of the largest subs goes to show what they value there.

    In other news, I really need to do something about this neckbeard.
    posted by jonbro at 1:12 PM on October 11, 2012 [29 favorites]


    Imagine once we get brain implants far enough along so that all your masturbation fantasies appear directly on facebook complete with any accompanying mental images and auto tagging friends. Would you consider that creepy? Yes obviously, but..

    We probably cannot consider this hypothetical masturbation fantasy sharing app sooo creepy because masturbating is simply something that people do and sharing it more publicly should improve our society.

    How should we feel about a hypothetical /r/creeptales where guys describe girls they've seen around town in a sexualized manor? There is a self selecting creep factor in posting to this /r/creeptales board of course, but I'm certainly less squicked out by guys talking about masturbating while thinking about random strangers so long as no images were posted.

    I'm therefore concluding that what bothers me about /r/creepshots is the association of an uninvolved person's image with subject matter they'll probably find objectionable, well basically it's harassing if image recognition software tags the person.

    We should never enjoy any expectation of privacy while in public, obviously that way lies madness. I'd also agree that nobody has been victimized if the photo's subject cannot be identified, but..

    Yet, I'm fine with people "harassing back" the guys most involved in promoting this obnoxious social trend because you simply cannot know that the image cannot identify the photo's subject. We've facial recognition technology today, why not mole recognition technology tomorrow.

    I must therefore applaud gawker's efforts to correct this obnoxious cultural trend by doxxing it's most prominent figures.
    posted by jeffburdges at 1:14 PM on October 11, 2012


    I'm sure the people who don't think the creepshots are a big deal also don't mind the concept of CCTV surveillance throughout public areas. I mean, you're just doing what you're doing, what's the difference if someone just sees you and comments on it versus recording it for their own purposes?
    posted by olinerd at 1:16 PM on October 11, 2012


    If a victim isn't even aware it has taken place, how badly victimized can they be?


    Ctrl-F "burnchao" in this very thread. "Nobody ever notices" is another clearly untrue and easily falsified statement, along with "it's legal to take any photograph in a public place", deployed by people who for whatever reason wish to minimize the impact of these actions.

    In fact, the Indiana state law on "upskirt" photography was in part created because a 10-year old girl in Fort Wayne noticed a store clerk attempting to take an upskirt photograph and told her father, who called the police but found that the status of the store as public space was problematic when it came to the phrasing of federal law regarding reasonable expectations of privacy.

    So, you know, one can fantasize about these creepshot ninjas, as silent as the breeze, who take their photographs and then disappear into the shadows, leaving nobody any the wiser. Indeed, we already had this conversation in the previous thread, where some people were insistent that nobody ever noticed that they were being photographed, even in the face of photos on r/creepshots of women noticing that they were being photographed.

    Likewise, the statement that the subjects never know that their picture has been uploaded is true right up until it isn't - for example, in the case of the high school girls whose pictures were uploaded to r/creepshots by their supply teacher.

    One might more correctly say that this occurs without the subject's knowledge or consent in the best possible circumstance. One would have to be very determined to believe things that were manifestly untrue in support of what one wishes to believe to argue that this was always the case, however. And it still doesn't really feel like a great thing.
    posted by running order squabble fest at 1:17 PM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    How should we feel about a hypothetical /r/creeptales where guys describe girls they've seen around town in a sexualized manor?

    I would feel weird about that, because what happens in Sex Mansion is supposed to stay in Sex Mansion.

    Plus, I don't even know if I want to know what goes on in there... They say that Sex Mansion.... might be haunted.
    posted by Greg Nog at 1:18 PM on October 11, 2012 [28 favorites]


    Yes, you are guilty of theft if you steal something from my house even if I don't notice it's missing.

    That didn't answer my question. My question wasn't "is the criminal guilty of theft." I asked "are you a VICTIM of theft, and if so, when did you BECOME a victim". Please answer the question I actually asked.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:18 PM on October 11, 2012


    Seriously the way I feel about being a mefite instead of a redditor must in some small way resemble the feelings Canadians get when they think about the U.S. Like, it's bigger over there, and there's a bunch of famous people and exciting things happen like all the time, but at least over here we don't have to put up with all the miserable shit.

    I guess in this analogy, cstross is... margaret atwood? that kinda bakes my noodle, there...
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:19 PM on October 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


    [Folks, please be cool, please be decent to each other and please do not use the edit window to make content changes. Thanks.]
    posted by jessamyn at 1:20 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    delfin: " To play devil's advocate, would it be better if it showed her face and therefore made her nonconsensual photo more personally identifiable?

    This isn't a black and white situation, and I don't think you can measure the situation linearly. Nor do I think it particularly productive to try and compare one or many reddit forums where pictures may or may not be consensual to one where they are definitely being taken without the subjects knowledge or consent.

    The factors you're speaking of change the dynamic, and not necessarily for the better. A photo that shows their face / entire body might possibly treat the woman in question as a whole person, not just their genitals. But of course, she's still being posted to an internet forum to be objectified as masturbation fodder by a group of strangers. And yes, it's still a problem because it's being done without their knowledge or consent, and perhaps worse now that she's identifiable.
    posted by zarq at 1:21 PM on October 11, 2012


    You Can't Tip a Buick: "Seriously the way I feel about being a mefite instead of a redditor must in some small way resemble the feelings Canadians get when they think about the U.S. Like, it's bigger over there, and there's a bunch of famous people and exciting things happen like all the time, but at least over here we don't have to put up with all the miserable shit."

    So wait, who is Stephen Harper in that context? 'Cause I've got some flaming to do...
    posted by Phire at 1:21 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    But what if a CIA agent disguised as a mime offered the flower on his rainbow suspenders to sniff, and out sprayed some sleeping gas, and then you passed out and a helicopter swooped down and took you back to Langley, where while you slept the CIA implanted a microchip in the auditory center of your brain, and then dumped you off at some random street corner, and when you woke up and from that day forward you heard the Steve Miller Band playing continuously at a very low but certainly audible volume, and you just thought that no matter where you went, someone, somewhere was playing Steve Miller? Would you be a victim then???
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:22 PM on October 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


    EmpressCallipygos:
    I asked "are you a VICTIM of theft, and if so, when did you BECOME a victim". Please answer the question I actually asked.
    Errr.. the instant they have their property stolen from them?

    I think you're trying to ascribe a subset definition of this term to encompass all definitions of the term. This is probably not the windmill you want to tilt towards... May I suggest rephrasing your original usage of the term 'victim' to be more specific to your intention?
    posted by whittaker at 1:22 PM on October 11, 2012


    [Also, stop the interrogating and wacky hypotheticals. It's not a great tactic to begin with, but even less so in touchy threads. If you need one person's opinion, email them.]
    posted by jessamyn at 1:23 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    whittaker, EC is addressing Egg Shen's comment about how these women aren't really being victimized because they're not always aware of their photos ending up on Creepshots.
    posted by Phire at 1:24 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Ah, I imagine this is the same analogy as posting naked photos of a pre-fixed-memory toddler to a dodgy underground forum?

    Phire: I know. I just don't think the answer to that question is nearly as counter-intuitive or murky as the question's poser fancies it is...
    posted by whittaker at 1:28 PM on October 11, 2012


    The creepshots are indeed creepy as fuck, but also count me on the side that says 'doxing' is also an extremely odious practice, and I think if it were being applied to remove the anonymity of an internet poster in most other circumstances, people would be pretty outraged about it.

    On a legal basis, the concept of a 'reasonable expectation of privacy' probably dooms most civil claims for such photography in most jurisdictions since the images are taken in public.

    I would think the best approach would actually be to modify criminal voyeurism laws so that charges could be laid for voyeurism in public places. I've no idea if such laws exist in the US, but in Canada for instance, the voyeurism elements of the criminal code do not actually require that there be nudity, only that the the photography be done for a sexual purpose. They do however require that the subject had a reasonable expectation of privacy (see s. 162) and this might require statutory change before these laws could be relied on to prevent 'creeper' photography.
    posted by modernnomad at 1:32 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Just out of curiosity, have any of these guys ever claimed they approached the girl or woman in question and asked, "Hey, do you mind if I take your photo"? Or does that defeat the whole purpose of taking a "creepshot"?
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:39 PM on October 11, 2012


    Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: Apparently the sidebar rules on r/Creepshots specifically stated that no photo could be 'posed'.
    posted by whittaker at 1:41 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I certainly wouldn't argue that there's no violation if the person whose picture is taken doesn't know about it, but I would think most people would view it as worse if 1) they knew about it and especially 2) their friends and family knew about it. And maybe I'm thinking about this wrongly, but doesn't that make a problem for people who advocate "doxxing"? I mean, take the substitute teacher who is being investigated by police for the photos on his cell phone as a result of the investigation of his posts to creepshots. Now that his name is in the news, it seems like the students at his school are vastly more likely to look at the pictures, and possibly be able to identify specific students. I guess what I'm asking is, maybe doxxing acts as a deterrent, but doesn't it run the real risk of making things worse for people who were already victimized once? Or is there some reason that wouldn't be likely to happen that I'm not thinking of?
    posted by dsfan at 1:42 PM on October 11, 2012


    'doxing' is also an extremely odious practice, I think if it were being applied to remove the anonymity of an internet poster in most other circumstances, people would be pretty outraged about it.

    This is true. If someone who had not already outrageously violated the privacy of another were being treated in such a way, I would be outraged.
    posted by octobersurprise at 1:43 PM on October 11, 2012


    It would not be a creepshot if the subject consented to have her photo taken: that's vanity.
    What constitutes a "Creepshot".

    Creepshots are CANDID. If a person is posing for and/or aware that a picture is being taken, then it ceases to be candid and thus is no longer a creepshot. A creepshot captures the natural, raw sexiness of the subject without their vain attempts at putting on a show for the camera. That is the essence of the creepshot, that is what makes a true creepshot worth the effort and that is why this subreddit exists.
    posted by gladly at 1:43 PM on October 11, 2012


    Egg Shen's comment about how these women aren't really being victimized because they're not always aware of their photos ending up on Creepshots

    Of course, "victim" was the exact word I used.

    The question - then and now - is what degree of victimization is involved when someone does not become aware of their being creepshotted (a majority of cases, I imagine) and whether that degree justifies retaliatory practices that - as modernnomad correctly observes - we consider odious in other contexts.

    If you want to argue that degree is severe and the justification thereby total, go ahead. I remain unconvinced.
    posted by Egg Shen at 1:43 PM on October 11, 2012


    modernnomad: I'm uncomfortable with extending voyeurism laws, it will give an avenue to attack people taking embarrassing pictures of people in power doing bad things. Reasonable expectations of privacy based on fame would be far too tricky/subjective. The problem here lies with reddit. Scumbags will be scumbags, reddit should know better and ban that kind of behavior.


    dsfan: it would not be better if the teacher did not get caught and possibly getting a little bit more brazen and attempting to have sex with his students. The moment the teacher gets caught, the students will know because rumors spread, but the risk is far too great for the teacher to be egged on to go even further.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:44 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    A creepshot captures the natural, raw sexiness of the subject without their vain attempts at putting on a show for the camera.

    Wow, they can't even post a rules list without being offhandedly misogynistic.
    posted by griphus at 1:44 PM on October 11, 2012 [20 favorites]


    "If a victim isn't even aware it has taken place, how badly victimized can they be?"

    Ah yes, the ol' "She was unconscious so it wasn't rape" argument.
    posted by klangklangston at 1:44 PM on October 11, 2012 [25 favorites]


    Candid != without consent; I'm free to consent to having my photo taken unawares. I'm sure there's a percentage of the /r/creepshots community that would not be into those photos, but some probably would be.
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:45 PM on October 11, 2012


    If you want to argue that degree is severe and the justification thereby total, go ahead. I remain unconvinced.

    So just so I understand you correctly, are you asserting that:

    1. doxxing these guys is worse than what they're doing, and

    2. what they're doing has no effect whatsoever on anyone, at all?
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:46 PM on October 11, 2012


    I'm curious to see if there's any more info about the alleged violent attack on someone whose information was up on the tumblr. Nothing so far.
    posted by rmd1023 at 1:48 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Good lord. I had never read the creepshots description before - seriously, they are saying "we are interested in vaginas and not women, and when women pose for pictures they woman up the vagina and make it gross with all their narcissistic woman-ing."

    Whatever corner of the tech industry spawns these boys needs a serious intervention. Burning down reddit is just the start.. That description reminds me of Nice Pete from Achewood...
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:49 PM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    amuseDetachment, I'd certainly want the school's administrators to know, but I would the most effective way for them to know is to give the principal of the school the evidence. If the person took the pictures, then I would imagine they would be terminated (I'm assuming in general there is no criminal offense), and sure there would be rumors, there always are with teenagers, but I think you'd be less likely to have specific students identified. Publicly naming someone on reddit is a pretty indirect way as a first step to make sure someone is investigated by their superiors.
    posted by dsfan at 1:51 PM on October 11, 2012


    I guess what I'm asking is, maybe doxxing acts as a deterrent, but doesn't it run the real risk of making things worse for people who were already victimized once?

    But as far as the victims are concerned, exposing the identities of the creepers makes it more about the creeper, doesn't it? It's more about his shaming and humiliation.

    whether that degree justifies retaliatory practices that - as modernnomad correctly observes - we consider odious in other contexts

    Well I said earlier that I'm against doxxing and am not convinced of its effectiveness in this case, but I don't think it's as bad as all that. I mean, they did it first which may be a childish justification but it does mitigate the severity.

    I kind of agree with Amanda Marcotte's article today when she says "If women have to be in your porn whether they like it or not, it seems only fair that your name should be out in public, whether you like it or not".

    These guys associated their own names/usernames with these creepy pictures. They were proud to get the karma/upvotes for doing so. Well they don't get the good consequences without the bad.
    posted by Danila at 1:52 PM on October 11, 2012 [12 favorites]


    dsfan: The moment the school finds out, any responsible principal would let the parents know. To do anything else would be a coverup. At that point it's game over with rumors.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:55 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    1. doxxing these guys is worse than what they're doing, and

    2. what they're doing has no effect whatsoever on anyone, at all?



    1. That's correct. Personally identifying someone for mob justice is worse than putting up an anonymous picture for Awful Creepy Masturbators.

    2. That's not correct. What they're doing reinforces the rape culture - as has been noted. So do a lot of other things for which we do not endorse mob justice.
    posted by Egg Shen at 1:56 PM on October 11, 2012


    "Whatever corner of the tech industry spawns these boys needs a serious intervention."

    The solution lies in tech, the tech to build gigantic rooms of vagina simulacra which operate something like pitcher plants with fast digestion.
    posted by Matt Oneiros at 1:58 PM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


    modernnomad: I would think the best approach would actually be to modify criminal voyeurism laws so that charges could be laid for voyeurism in public places. I've no idea if such laws exist in the US

    Indiana Senate Bill 19 is a pretty good example, again:
    Invasion of privacy by photography. Establishes the crime of invasion of privacy by photography, a Class A misdemeanor. Provides that the crime is committed if a person, with the intent to: (1) gratify the person's sexual desires; (2) humiliate or embarrass the victim; or (3) publish, transmit, or disseminate the photograph; surreptitiously photographs the private area of an individual under circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that the individual's private area would not be visible to the public. Increases the penalty to a Class D felony if the person knowingly or intentionally publishes, transmits, or otherwise disseminates the photograph.
    That's specifically about photographing quote-unquote private areas (defined elsewhere in the code, but you can probably guess) in circumstances where a reasonable person would believe they were not visible. So, it's upskirts and downshirts, basically. It would be probably legally impossible, and also undersirable, to attempt to find conditions which criminalized taking a photograph of a non-private area of the body in a non-private space. You could possibly try to criminalize uploading it to the Internet without consent for purposes of sexual arousal or humiliation, but at that point you're getting towards model releases for all photography, which would be pretty impractical. However, clearly attempting to photograph someone without their knowledge or consent could shade into harassing behavior.

    The "platonic" creepshot remains legally protected - if we define that as one which is taken without harassing behavior, without capturing an exposed private area, taken in a public place with no reasonable expectation of privacy, without any identifying characteristics of the subject and not involving a minor. This set did not, however, entirely contain the set of photographs being uploaded, and we can probably thus surmise also not the set of photographs being taken, or the set of circumstances in which an attempt was made to take a photograph.
    posted by running order squabble fest at 2:00 PM on October 11, 2012


    modernnomad: I'm uncomfortable with extending voyeurism laws, it will give an avenue to attack people taking embarrassing pictures of people in power doing bad things.

    But only if those 'bad things' were of a sexual nature. It's hard to think of a case where such photography has been used in the public good, and even if it were, a statute could be drafted to consider 'public interest' in the material as justification for what would otherwise be considered voyeurism (ie a photo of a senator seeking to criminalize homosexuality fucking his male colleague). There's no need for expanded voyeurism laws to capture such behaviour.
    posted by modernnomad at 2:02 PM on October 11, 2012


    I first really became acquainted with doxxing when the crazy Stop The Goodreads Bullies site was posted to Metafilter. That's when a cabal of authors posted the identifying information of reviewers who were too mean. I didn't like it then and I still don't like it. It also didn't work. Those reviewers are still going strong (as well they should be, they weren't really bullies imo but the point is the tactic didn't work).

    The difference there would be that the reviewers didn't think they were doing anything wrong, nor did lots of readers. Probably not the case here.

    "Doxxing" someone who isn't hiding what they are doing (or hiding something) doesn't make any sense.

    Awful Creepy Masturbators

    These people are not perceived as awful nor creepy because they masturbate, and you know that.
    posted by mrgrimm at 2:03 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    "I'm sure there's a percentage of the /r/creepshots community that would not be into those photos, but some probably would be."

    Actually, consent was explicitly deprecated in the /creepshots description; i.e. if the women were told or consented, the picture was "posed" and wasn't suitable.
    posted by klangklangston at 2:03 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    That's correct. Personally identifying someone for mob justice is worse than putting up an anonymous picture for Awful Creepy Masturbators.

    And yet in the same breath you talk about rape culture, so clearly, you're aware it exists and that their behavior contributes to it. Why is someone shining a light on their publicly available information worse than their contributing to rape culture? The phrase "mob justice" is also sort of a facile rhetorical trick that evokes pitchforks, torches, and persecution. That is not what is going on here. This is the work of a journalist; not a horde of buckled-hat fanatics.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:04 PM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


    Running them out of town as a mob isn't an option as that really isn't how civilized people do things. Leaving them alone isn't an option as what they're doing isn't tolerable in the slightest.

    So... summon the inquisition?
    posted by Slackermagee at 2:05 PM on October 11, 2012


    "1. That's correct. Personally identifying someone for mob justice is worse than putting up an anonymous picture for Awful Creepy Masturbators."

    You're inferring a mob justice that is not supported by the evidence and imputing an aim to doxxers that you haven't supported. Your definition is bad, and it's leading you to unsupportable conclusions.
    posted by klangklangston at 2:06 PM on October 11, 2012 [17 favorites]


    running order squabble fest: with regards to the subset of Creepshots that fulfill the requirements above (no harassment, no private areas, public place, no IDing characteristics, no minors), this is an area that is not easy to legislate with clear cut distinctions between a creepshot and normal street photography--which is why I recommended in the prior Metafilter thread that we employ negative cultural and social feedback as the solution instead.
    posted by whittaker at 2:06 PM on October 11, 2012


    But as far as the victims are concerned, exposing the identities of the creepers makes it more about the creeper, doesn't it? It's more about his shaming and humiliation.

    Sure, and if the victims themselves want to do this (say if they see photos forwarded by a friend, or it comes up in an investigation, or whatever), I personally have no moral objection at all to it. But that's a choice I would prefer them make themselves.

    The moment the school finds out, any responsible principal would let the parents know. To do anything else would be a coverup.

    I'm just not sure this is true. Terminating an employee and referring the matter to the police isn't a coverup. Even if they did let parents know, I'm not sure they would identify the site (and there are others besides reddit, of course), and I'm pretty uncertain they should.
    posted by dsfan at 2:09 PM on October 11, 2012


    Whittaker, it's an interesting idea but the idea of replacing 'laws' with 'negative cultural and social feedback' may be a risky one -- who is tasked with delivering that feedback? who guarantees the right people are getting that feedback? who is responsible for containing it or accepting responsibility if it is uncontained?

    I'm not at all defending the creepers here, but I do remain concerned that the only apparent response is to turn to a non-legal, shame-based campaign without obvious limits. I would rather see suitable punishments handed down through the laws, and if the laws are inadequate to respond to the problems of sexualized creeper photography, then those laws ought to be changed.
    posted by modernnomad at 2:13 PM on October 11, 2012


    Sure, and if the victims themselves want to do this (say if they see photos forwarded by a friend, or it comes up in an investigation, or whatever), I personally have no moral objection at all to it. But that's a choice I would prefer them make themselves.

    I'm not entirely sure "now they know, and now they'll feel like victims" is a great reason to avoid outing these guys. I mean, if this metric were applied to just about any other wrongdoing it would make little sense. Of course you're going to feel bad to learn that you were wronged; and subsequently, might feel relief that there might now be one less person doing this to others.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:14 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Well. Time to actually take off my normal devil's-advocate persona and just say what I really think for once.

    As the man says in "Hunt for Red October": This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we will be lucky to live through it.

    This is exactly what happened to LiveJournal years ago -- some dedicated folks who believed they were doing good kept ratcheting up more and more media attention on subcommunities they hated, portraying them as representative of the whole (or as just being the whole of LJ) and finally secured the action they'd been hoping and begging and pleading for. And... wow did that not work out how they thought it would.

    Like I've said publicly several times, this is a process that inevitably -- I abso-fucking-lutely guarantee it with no doubts -- ends in something like banning an abuse-survivor support group. That's where LiveJournal went, and it's where reddit will go if this keeps up. When it does, by the way, I'll make my one and only post in SRS and get BENNED LOL for it, and it will just say "I told you so".

    As long as there are internet communities of a certain size, this stuff will exist. Banning it does not work; the creeps either start a new subreddit, or move to another site. And the slash-and-burn approach to rooting them out will follow, and... well, this is why we can't have nice things, because all that's left is a bunch of burned-out husks where there used to be communities that had decent things going for them.

    I also have deep, deep misgivings about the approach of "harassing and threatening people is OK so long as it targets people I disapprove of or find creepy/scary/disgusting". Holy fucking shit that's a frightening attitude to see from people who really ought to know better.

    So. Yes, it's awful and disgusting and however many other horrible words you want to throw at it. Now what? That's not a rhetorical question, it's not a challenge to shut people up, it's an honest question. I've been doing online communities for fifteen years, and I don't know what the right thing is to do; all I know is how many wrong things have been tried and have failed (and what's being done to reddit right now? One of those wrong things that doesn't work). There aren't magical quick fixes for this. There's no tech that can provide an off-switch for creeps that we can just flip and go back to laughing at pictures of cats.

    So... now what? Shut down reddit (either by forcing it out of business, or driving a mass exodus of users)? OK, get ready to do this to another site in six months or a year, because the problem isn't solved and the creeps will go somewhere else. Change the laws? OK, get ready to do that again in six months or a year, because the problem isn't solved and the creeps will work around it.

    Now what?
    posted by ubernostrum at 2:16 PM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


    dsfan: The parents would absolutely want to know, they'll find out through the police, think about angry Mother and Father asking what was going on, imagining their daughter had upskirt pictures with her face visible or even worse. They'll want to know the website and links and copies of screenshots of the comments section, any responsible parent would want that.

    Anyway, this is a minor point, there are many other situations where people would find out and absolutely feel victimized. That victimization is a far greater threat than a couple of doxes. The deterrent from doxing in this situation is far more beneficial than the social impact of vigilantism. Personal information privacy is already dead, and doxing will never be illegal. It's an asshole move to dox someone, but nothing compared to the pedos on r/creepshots.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:18 PM on October 11, 2012


    Exactly what 'mob justice' is being practiced, here
    posted by shakespeherian at 2:18 PM on October 11, 2012


    Exactly what 'mob justice' is being practiced, here

    Well, isn't obvious? Your name is private information. Unlike my vagina, which is apparently public property.
    posted by KathrynT at 2:20 PM on October 11, 2012 [66 favorites]


    ubernostrum: Disagree completely. Livejournal had a very lax attitude, similar to reddit. They built a culture where this kind of stuff is acceptable. The creator browsed through people's private entries in a really creepy way, it's not exactly a poster child for acting in good faith...

    The problem with LJ was that the admins didn't do anything with hateful communities, so the users decided to self-police, which is where we are with reddit today. If LJ banned bad behavior they wouldn't be facing similar problems. Even less moderation would make things worse.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:22 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]



    As the man says in "Hunt for Red October": This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we will be lucky to live through it.

    This is exactly what happened to LiveJournal years ago -- some dedicated folks who believed they were doing good kept ratcheting up more and more media attention on subcommunities they hated, portraying them as representative of the whole (or as just being the whole of LJ) and finally secured the action they'd been hoping and begging and pleading for. And... wow did that not work out how they thought it would.

    Like I've said publicly several times, this is a process that inevitably -- I abso-fucking-lutely guarantee it with no doubts -- ends in something like banning an abuse-survivor support group. That's where LiveJournal went, and it's where reddit will go if this keeps up. When it does, by the way, I'll make my one and only post in SRS and get BENNED LOL for it, and it will just say "I told you so".

    As long as there are internet communities of a certain size, this stuff will exist. Banning it does not work; the creeps either start a new subreddit, or move to another site. And the slash-and-burn approach to rooting them out will follow, and... well, this is why we can't have nice things, because all that's left is a bunch of burned-out husks where there used to be communities that had decent things going for them.



    I am interested in this story as regards LJ; is there a good narrative of it somewhere?
    posted by grobstein at 2:22 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    As long as there are internet communities of a certain size, this stuff will exist.

    I get where you're coming from (even if I am wary of the slippery-slope LJ analogy), but I think the word "community" is the tell here. Yes, they are communities, and communities have rules. Will there always be people doing bad things in communities? Certainly, no matter what laws you pass, no matter how you change enforcement and exhort others in the community to report wrongdoing, it will always continue.

    However, as I mentioned upthread, male attitudes towards women have changed in many significant ways over the past 100 years, so we know that improvement is possible. But it comes from a combination of factors that originate from the top and the bottom.

    In an internet context, this means not only legislation but site guidelines, better moderation, easier reporting and - most important of all - more dialogue and education. You can't legislate people into changing their mentalities to any significant degree, but honest conversation can, and does.

    Of course badness is going to be there on the internet. The ultimate removal of all bad things always is likely not going to happen until we are all floating orbs of pure energy. But the process of improving ourselves and each other, one step at a time, is what's worth doing, because to not do so is to just quit evolving.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:26 PM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    That subreddit is basically like getting in my car with a few friends, driving over to any place where unsuspecting women might be walking by (in the case of "creepshots," probably outside the local high school) and then talking inside the car about all the lascivious acts we'd like to do to the people walking by.

    If you think that's OK, go for it. But I kind of think you're out of step with a fair portion of what's good and decent in society. And not in a fun-transgressive way.
    posted by mikeh at 2:27 PM on October 11, 2012


    What I've picked up from all of this is that the reason why the reddit admins are defending people committing/documenting/planning sex crimes on their site isn't because of their barely plausible free speech justification, but instead because they are friends with the lead offenders.

    Given that, I'm totally okay with reddit as a whole becoming the same kind of smoking hole in the ground that (english-language) livejournal is. Yes, some other site will pop up... but I really don't care if taking down the Avon Barksdale of reddit just means that a nasty little Marlo Stanfield will pop up somewhere else.

    Basically what I'm saying is I've gone full McNulty on that reprehensible little site.

    That said: I agree that publicly shaming the low-level perpetrators is probably the least effective aspect of the attack on reddit. Is that the element that people are unhappy about? Because the rest of it -- figuring out who the perpetrators are, reporting them to the police, drawing media attention to the site of the crime, informing the site's advertisers about what they're paying for — seems completely, utterly, perfectly squeaky clean to me. Are people objecting to that, too?
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:27 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    ubernostrum, are you talking about the Great Strikethrough of 2007? Because IMO that was a very different situation from what's going on here with Reddit, with an outsider group putting financial and political pressure on the administrators of the site and the administrators having fucked up majorly by simply slashing and burning based on keywords and not on content. SixApart totally screwed the pooch there, and it had nothing to do with "mob justice" of the victimized.

    If we're not talking about the Strikethrough, I'd also be curious for more elaboration of what you're talking about.
    posted by Phire at 2:27 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Modernnomad: I see where you're coming from and I sympathize, but I also believe that society is already made up of highly complex social cues and these cues are already essential to the smooth functioning of society.

    If, as a thought experiment, we envisioned a society where--unless it was explicitly prohibited by law--everybody did demonstrably harmful things en masse, civilisation would grind to a halt. Luckily we do not, and we do not do these things en masse because social mores inform us not to. This is why I get so irritated when people like the r/Creepshots mods hold up a legislative handbook and say "what we do is okay because it is not specifically illegal".

    In my opinion, the entire rationale behind having a bill of rights to protect citizenry from undue infringement on their rights is that those who enshrined these fundamental rights had absolute confidence that societal mores and social cues would keep things from collapsing into id-driven anarchy.

    This is why I want articles to call these people on their bullshit. This is why I want people like us on the internet engaged in discussions about calling them on their bullshit. I want advertisers to be disincentivized from advertising on reddit because of it. I want reddit as a private entity to be disinclined to tolerate hosting these boards. I don't feel great about having the government step in to do the same thing. To some people it seems like a fine line but I think the difference between a private company saying "you can't say those things on our privately owned web platform" and the government saying "you can't say those things in this country" is a vast and uncrossable gulf.

    Note that I am certainly not a free speech fundamentalist: I just believe in cases where it's difficult to legally distinguish between a Creepshotter and a regular street photographer, we have to rely on public pressure and education rather than public legislation.
    posted by whittaker at 2:28 PM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


    grobstein: At least for citing my comments above, here's the creator of LJ defending accessing his ex's private LJ entries. His defense was "I had the database open at the time and there wasn't anything too juicy in there":
    http://brad.livejournal.com/2344472.html

    LiveJournal is not a good example, it is a poster child for why you should moderate your communities better instead of letting your users go nuts and attack each other.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:29 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I think Adrian Chen is a douchenozzle, but I think Reddit did the right thing in taking down creepshots.

    That said, how many people here actually saw the content of creepshots? From what I had seen, the description of the content in media articles has been sensationalized, both in terms of the explicitness of the shots and the ages of the people who had their picture taken. Many of the picture galleries of Olympic athletes (i.e., beach volleyball) published by mainstream media outlets this past summer would have fit in just fine alongside the actual content of creepshots.

    I can support the outcome of this crusade against creepshots, but the methods and hyperbole are a little distasteful IMO.
    posted by giantfist at 2:33 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Phire, that's exactly what I'm talking about, because it is exactly what is happening here.

    Pressure was placed, by activists and media outlets, on LJ to "stop supporting" disgusting stuff. The heat got bad enough, and was shown to work enough, that LJ finally just went on a rampage and started banning left and right, with a lot of collateral damage.

    Pressure is being placed, by activists and media outlets, on reddit to "stop supporting" disgusting stuff. The heat is getting bad enough, and has been shown to work (see /r/jailbait), that reddit may finally be about to go on a rampage, with ensuing collateral damage.

    grobstein, you now have a keyword to Google for. It ain't pretty.

    All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.
    posted by ubernostrum at 2:34 PM on October 11, 2012


    giantfist: It's funny you mention the beach volleyball shots because I was really happy that the tendency to take and publish 'neck down' shots of those athletes was publicly called out and discussed this summer.
    posted by whittaker at 2:34 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    The content of creepshots is much less troubling than the idea of a community based on taking something from women without their consent. It's not hyperbole to talk about rape culture in this context.
    posted by ambrosia at 2:36 PM on October 11, 2012 [17 favorites]


    The content of creepshots is much less troubling than the idea of a community based on taking something from women without their consent. It's not hyperbole to talk about rape culture in this context.

    Exactly. The issue is the intent and the effect of the worldview perpetuated by r/creepshots, not what the pictures themselves look like. It's the normalization of them.
    posted by shakespeherian at 2:37 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    ubernostrum: I think you are placing responsibility at the wrong point in this chain: If the principal calls a parent and says his child is acting out in class and the response of that parents is to viciously beat his or her child, is this an object lesson that "parents should not be informed about their child's behavior in school"?
    posted by whittaker at 2:37 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences.
    posted by Argyle at 2:38 PM on October 11, 2012


    These people are not perceived as awful nor creepy because they masturbate, and you know that.

    "organising those pictures for people to jack off to"

    "upload to the internet for everyone to jack off to"

    "talk about masturbating to these photos"

    "posted to stroke forums"

    "masturbate to them"

    "while masturbating furiously"

    "dozens, hundreds or thousands of people can get off on it"

    The masturbating going on does seem to be an issue for people.
    posted by Egg Shen at 2:40 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    The issue is they're sexualizing without consent. Nobody cares if you wack off to consensual porn.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:42 PM on October 11, 2012 [18 favorites]


    Time to actually take off my normal devil's-advocate persona and just say what I really think for once.

    IMO conversations are much better without bedeviling them.
    posted by five fresh fish at 2:43 PM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    whittaker, see my actual question: now what? Site admins -- who are being called upon to act, or at least to "stop supporting", have basically one tool in their toolbox, and that's the banhammer. So... there are some absolutely completely horrifically awful people on reddit. Noted, stipulated, agreed, entered into the record and all that.

    Now what?
    posted by ubernostrum at 2:43 PM on October 11, 2012


    I definitely disagree that this is what's happening here, ubernostrum. This is Redditors also being disgusted with the existence of Creepshots - i.e. from the inside. It's Creepshots actively victimizing women whose privacies were invaded.

    IIRC, in 2007 LJ simply went through their database and deleted all communities that were tagged with "porn", "lolita", "furries", "sexual abuse", etc. because the Christian activist group "Warriors for Innocence" threatened their continued funding. (There was no proof that they had any clout; SA simply panicked.) So yes, abuse support groups got caught in the backlash. Lolita book groups got caught in the backlash. Harmless erotica fiction sharing communities got caught in the backlash. But that's because SixApart was stupid, not because there's a slippery slope of "if you delete a child porn LJ you'll inevitably come after the Lolita book clubs".

    That level of administrative panic and lack of forethought in the LJ debacle is very different from this situation, which is a lot of people, many of them Redditors, saying "we have seen the content here, and we think it's damaging to a lot of people in vert tangible ways as it involves the intentional sexual objectification of women and minors often against their will, and it should not be simply ignored by the powers that be". If you don't see the difference between what SixApart did and what Predditors is doing, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
    posted by Phire at 2:44 PM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


    Site admins -- who are being called upon to act, or at least to "stop supporting", have basically one tool in their toolbox, and that's the banhammer.

    Not true - they can engage with the community. Admins, mods, other staff can do the same. New users can come in and try to get the dialogue going that changes attitudes. Not every website is doomed to fall under the Curse Of LJ 2007.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:46 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    ubernostrum: Horrific people will be horrific, but you won't have a fucking civil war on your hands. It'll just be a single individual being harassed by some anonymous individual. People on tumblr deal with that all the time.

    What LJ faced and reddit is facing today is a civil war within their community. The correct course of action isn't to let it play out. It's to eject the scumbags. It's one thing to say a small group of whiners are blowing things out of proportion, but we're dealing with aggressive pedophiles here. Get rid of the pedos, no more civil war, problem solved. It'd be rather hard to slippery slope this one, these are pedos and creepers posting non-consensual pictures.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:48 PM on October 11, 2012


    The masturbating going on does seem to be an issue for people.

    At some level you may have to be okay with the fact that your comfort level with this situation may not jibe with the comfort level of others in this thread. No one cares if people are masturbating. Full stop.

    The fact that there is a shared online location on Reddit where people are sharing pictures that they have surreptitiously taken and then comment collectively and publicly in this same space about the subjects of these photos in a sexualized way is problematic for people.
    posted by jessamyn at 2:49 PM on October 11, 2012 [21 favorites]


    The masturbating going on does seem to be an issue for people.

    You have failed to adequately comprehend pretty much every single comment you've quoted so far in this thread. It is starting to look like trolling.
    posted by elizardbits at 2:53 PM on October 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


    I'm also getting an impression of civil war as opposed to a small break away group agitating and making trouble.

    There are outbreaks of drama and vitriol on subreddits rather unrelated (r/torchlight) to the original mess. The spokespeople for the Gawker banning are putting a terrible, terrible spin on things and a good part of the reddit community just isn't taking that dose of bullshit well. Any time it comes up on a particular subreddit, things quickly turn right onto Molotov Street.

    So perhaps, instead of a civil war, they have a bit of an uprising on their hands.
    posted by Slackermagee at 2:54 PM on October 11, 2012


    "Banning it does not work; the creeps either start a new subreddit, or move to another site."

    Uh, them moving to another site is pretty much exactly what working means here. The other site would not have the tremendous range and popularity of Reddit proper.

    "Nobody cares if you wack off to consensual porn."

    Yeah, no one here is saying to close reddit/r/gonewild.
    posted by klangklangston at 2:54 PM on October 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


    The other site would not have the tremendous range and popularity of Reddit proper.

    It doesn't today. But kill off reddit and wait a year, then talk to me about whether thing-that-came-after-reddit can be fixed by driving people to thing-that-came-after-the-thing-that-came-after-reddit.
    posted by ubernostrum at 2:57 PM on October 11, 2012


    Who's talking about killing Reddit?
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:58 PM on October 11, 2012


    also, and this is IRC people chatter so w/e but: aren't these goons the same ones who were circulating sex pix of the "amazing atheist" violating himself with a banana

    i mean, you know, uh
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:00 PM on October 11, 2012


    Marisa: I am... but I've admitted that this business has driven me full McNulty. I'll stay over here holding down the fringes while the people who can deal with this rationally deal with them rationally.
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:00 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    ubernostrum: That's a bit of a false dichotomy, most people only want reddit to get rid of their pedo and non-consensual subreddits/posts. r/shitredditsays will still be around throwing mud at subreddits, but they wouldn't be organizing contacting CNN and other media to create drama.

    Nobody wants to kill reddit. However, I am absolutely insistent if reddit continues down its path, it's going to be pulling a Digg.

    It's only a matter of time for Adrian Chen to realize that he has a massive moneymaker on his hands if he can get SRS on his side by creating a reddit clone. Then I can have the joy of figuring out which I hate less ...
    posted by amuseDetachment at 3:01 PM on October 11, 2012


    The problem here lies with reddit. Scumbags will be scumbags, reddit should know better and ban that kind of behavior.

    The correct course of action isn't to let it play out. It's to eject the scumbags.

    Seriously. Get rid of the scumbags.
    posted by cashman at 3:01 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Egg Shen: ""dozens, hundreds or thousands of people can get off on it"

    The masturbating going on does seem to be an issue for people.
    "

    Egg Shen, since you quoted me out of context I feel I should respond to you. I agree with this:

    amuseDetachment: "The issue is they're sexualizing without consent. Nobody cares if you wack off to consensual porn."

    Egg Shen, the women whose photos are being taken have no way of saying, "no." They have no way of controlling how they are presented to strangers online. They have had their photo taken surreptitiously, most likely because the people taking the picture know that their subjects would not allow the shots to be taken if asked.
    posted by zarq at 3:02 PM on October 11, 2012


    zarq: That's why there was a period between the two sentences. We're in agreement here, I think I should've had full line breaks between them to make it more clear though.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 3:04 PM on October 11, 2012


    I agree that the scumbags ought to be ejected from reddit, but that would simply shift the problem elsewhere -- it's trivial for any one of these assholes to set up a website that allows for the posting and sharing of these kinds of images. So what do you do then?

    And if these guys had half a brain they'd use completely separate user logins from anything else they use (and I'm sure some of them have already cottoned on to this) so as to eliminate the possibility of 'doxing'. So what do you do then?
    posted by modernnomad at 3:04 PM on October 11, 2012


    amuseDetatchment, I just used the edit window to make my meaning clearer, and then noticed your comment.

    The whole comment was directed at Egg Shen. I know that the way I quoted you it looked like I was responding to you, but I was actually trying to make a point to ES. Sorry about that!
    posted by zarq at 3:07 PM on October 11, 2012


    as long as i'm chatposting, also: "what about Tubecrush" asketh the internets
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:08 PM on October 11, 2012


    I also gotta agree with klang on the definition of "working". When it comes to a small but deeply entrenched subcommunity on a large website, it actually works quite well to ban them all and institute new guidelines. They end up moving to increasingly smaller websites as people at an even smaller community have less tolerance for their shit - on account of being more visible on a smaller site, and the admins taking their site more preciously - and so on and so forth until there's like 20 dudes somewhere on the Tor network. I've seen it work before and it continues to work today.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:08 PM on October 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


    also, and this is IRC people chatter so w/e but: aren't these goons the same ones who were circulating sex pix of the "amazing atheist" violating himself with a banana

    Were someone taking pictures without him being aware of it during one of his banana-sitting sessions? Because if not, the situations aren't really comparable.
    posted by ymgve at 3:09 PM on October 11, 2012


    I agree that the scumbags ought to be ejected from reddit, but that would simply shift the problem elsewhere

    I think a big part of the problem is that Reddit is such an enormous presence on the internet and that things from r/creepshots sometimes get upvoted to the front page of r/pics and etc. and that their tacit acceptability on Reddit has a normalizing effect on the general culture, cf. 'rape culture.' If these creepy upskirt & etc. pictures get shifted onto the misogynistic equivalent of Stormfront then the attitude they represent becomes more marginal, less accepted and acceptable, and there's less of an 'everyone is doing it' or 'it doesn't seem so bad' blase-ness in larger culture. I count that as a win.
    posted by shakespeherian at 3:11 PM on October 11, 2012 [12 favorites]


    modernnomad: they go and be creepy on Tor hidden sites like they always have. It's hard to find and less likely for uninvolved people to escalate their own behavior.

    The issue I personally had and am repeating myself to be as clear as possible, is that reddit's problems are that their userbase consists of a sizable portion that discovered reddit via r/jailbait. This sizable portion of their userbase believes that creepy behavior is acceptable and this userbase uses other subreddits, which brings creepiness to all of reddit -- even innocuous ones like politics or gaming (which have banned Gawker in solidarity with violentacrez). If reddit would grow a backbone and showed that this behavior is unacceptable, it significantly reduces amount of scumbaggery for people that didn't originally go to reddit for r/jailbait. It makes that behavior look a lot less acceptable for people who would be less inclined. I cannot emphasize that enough, you need to show this behavior as unacceptable for the general public. When scummy comments receives hundreds of upvotes to become the TOP comment because a massive amount of pedos like a creepy comment on r/gaming, it hurts everyone.

    Reddit needs to clean house by banning the creepers, they'll go on their hidden Tor sites and it'll be impossible to stop, but there will be fewer creepers posting rapey jokes on gaming subreddits (as the top rated comment) making fewer uninvolved people think that shit is acceptable.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 3:13 PM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


    Getting the distinct impression now that none of the moderators on subreddits like r/parakeets are bothering to poll their subscribers before banning Gawker links. It's really looking like a circling of the wagons now, though the side of the people they're circling around is certainly in question.
    posted by Slackermagee at 3:14 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Marisa Stole the Precious Thing pretty much nails it. It's not just about 100% ENDING CREEPSHOT BEHAVIOUR ONCE AND FOR ALL, it's about sending a social message that this is not normative behavior and shouldn't be tolerated. If everybody shrugs and goes "I don't like it, but OH WELL FREE SPEECH I GUESS" and leaves them at peace in their own public internet echo chamber then, well...mold in a dish of agar.
    posted by whittaker at 3:15 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    it's trivial for any one of these assholes to set up a website that allows for the posting and sharing of these kinds of images. So what do you do then?

    Leave a smoking crater there.

    And when they move to a new site, follow it up with a new crater.

    And at each step, less and less people will follow the migration. And less and less people will stumble upon it and see it as normalized behavior. And less and less people will think "Maybe I want to create a new site".

    It won't remove the issue entirely, but it will minimize it. And if internet communities don't want these people befouling their site and community, they won't let them in.

    I don't see Metafilter being taken over by ex-Creepshots members any time soon.
    posted by CrystalDave at 3:16 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    To those that argue that banning such groups from Reddit would only cause the creeps to move elsewhere.

    Yup. Great.

    That way, when I read Wired, Ars Technica, Vanity Fair, and the New Yorker I don't have to have this slimy feeling inside me that I'm supporting the same organization that profits from non-consensual 'creepshots'.

    I predict the only way this material will really ever go away from Conde Nast is when the publicity resulting from hosting such material outweighs the profit they are making from its existence. Incidents (and publicity) we are currently seeing (from journalists and activists) will only make this more likely.

    In the meantime, for those of us on the ground, we can try to always remind people that Conde Nast is behind these creepshots, and for all ethical and moral purposes the current CEO Charles Townsend is the one responsible for these pictures - he might as well be talking them himself.

    What's more creepy? Random creepy dudes on the internet taking random creepy pictures a large corporation knowingly allowing and profiting from those random creeps on the internet?

    In all fairness I should mention that Advance Publications owns Conde Nast. If I'm going to name drop Charles Townsend (CEO of Conde Nast), it's probably worth mentioning that the Chairman and CEO of Advance Publications is Samual Irving Newhose Jr, the 38th richest person in America. When you think of creepshots, picture his face (they just got creepier, don't you think?).
    posted by el io at 3:18 PM on October 11, 2012 [12 favorites]


    @ymgve

    i am not the expert here but from what i gather just via lurking: one of them got him to do it under shaky-if-not-false pretenses and then they spread it far and wide.

    personally, i really don't dig how adept at trolling and PR goons are, and i think that they are good at manipulating public opinion, and that makes it problematic to figure out exactly what the fuck is actually going on. what i've seen of trolls like that leads me to distrust any position they take. it is within living memory of the "biting beaver" raids, after all.

    it is hard for me because i didn't grow up in america and i don't really "get" american values.

    plus the way people talk about this, smoking craters and blood and thunder creeps me way the fuck out. it sets off alarm bells in my head because normally, talk like that isn't connected with anything good.
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:20 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    slackermagee: Is there an easy way to determine if a subreddit is participating, like is it possible to look up banned domains per subreddit?
    posted by Matt Oneiros at 3:21 PM on October 11, 2012


    it's trivial for any one of these assholes to set up a website that allows for the posting and sharing of these kinds of images. So what do you do then?

    Leave a smoking crater there.


    You can't "leave a smoking crater" on a website some dude has set up specifically for the purpose of sharing creepshot photos unless the taking and sharing of creepshot photos is criminalized. My argument is the only way to really combat this behaviour is to criminalize it. I'm not suggesting that they not be banned from reddit, only that that alone is not enough.
    posted by modernnomad at 3:22 PM on October 11, 2012


    CrystalDave: It's not even about the smoking crater. If Creepshots goes to an independent website of their own. They'd be very aware that the only reason they can create and keep their community running is because they had to pay a hosting company directly.

    That already sends a powerful message that this is not normative behavior which I think has indirect chilling effects on people's attitudes.


    Personally I think the argument is silly because you could extend that argument ad absurdum. Why make anything illegal at all if it forces criminals to be more circumspect about their actions?
    posted by whittaker at 3:23 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    At some level you may have to be okay with the fact that your comfort level with this situation may not jibe with the comfort level of others in this thread. No one cares if people are masturbating. Full stop.

    If you are speaking as a mod ending what they consider a derail, use of your mod font would clarify that.

    If you are speaking as a fellow commenter, you may have to be okay with the fact that I don't interpret those half-dozen comments about masturbation the same way you do.
    posted by Egg Shen at 3:24 PM on October 11, 2012


    I made a comment about masturbation.

    I don't care what kind of pictures anyone uses for masturbation, so long as the media was consensual. I don't understand how you can interpret the masturbation comments here any other way. The problem is people are getting their rocks off posting non-consensual pictures. Sure the viewers are kind of disgusting, but the masturbation that disgusts me here is the fact that the uploaders are probably masturbating while clicking the submit/upload button. That aspect of it is incredibly rapey.

    There's better pictures to masturbate to, the whole non-consensual aspect of it is why creepshots exists.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 3:28 PM on October 11, 2012


    "If you are speaking as a fellow commenter, you may have to be okay with the fact that I don't interpret those half-dozen comments about masturbation the same way you do."

    Sure, and you have to be OK with everyone else thinking that your interpretation is tendentious and wondering why you're fixated on preserving the endangered Internet Masturbator more than responding to other coherent arguments in the thread.
    posted by klangklangston at 3:31 PM on October 11, 2012 [26 favorites]


    There is quite a bit of confusion here over what the entity "Reddit" is. I see three distinct groups and you need to think of them separately:

    1. The Reddit Founders. Call them the RF's. They are responsible for the anything-goes site philosophy.

    2. The larger group of Redditors who moderate a lot of subreddits, forming a high-tier network where there is a lot of behind the scenes communication. Call these the Reddit Gods or RG's.

    3. The masses. Let's just call them Reddit.

    On #1:

    After the last thread I did quite a bit of reading and it is quite clear the RF's are free speech fundamentalists. It is anathema to them to micro-manage moderation; they have very specifically delegated moderation to subreddits, on the theory that if you don't like the moderation in a subreddit you can always find another one.

    I am 100% convinced that the RF's were not swayed by outside pressure to remove r/jailbait. They have been quite plain that the only reason they will remove a subreddit or an account from their level is an existential threat to Reddit as a whole. It is worth noting that they consider manipulation of the moderation system, which might upset the site's dynamic equilibrium, to be worth enforcing.

    At the point they removed r/jailbait the outside pressure was nowhere near the kind of danger level these guys would care about. I believe the most likely reason they moved when they did after waiting 2 years was that they sought legal advice over the matter of SomethingAwful's impending attack, and legal finally clued them in that they actually faced exposure despite the no nudity or hosting rules.

    The RF's would consider instituting site-wide censorship tantamount to existential destruction of their creation. They will not do it. If you manage to supply enough pressure Conde might force their hand, but I suspect they would all walk out, and Conde will be very reluctant to do that because they bought Reddit and its founders and their successfully applied philosophy as a package deal. It might have even been Conde behind the removal of r/jailbait.

    But if the lawyers tell them r/creepshots is legal, they will not take it down. They probably wouldn't take the doxxers down either, just as they host SRS. They really believe this shit.

    On #2:

    A lot of people are on Reddit because they are free speech fundamentalists too, and they are more outraged by the hint of censorship than they are by offensive content. These people would leave en masse if the RF's started enforcing sitewide censorship, which is another reason that won't happen. It is the sense of mutual support among the RG's that has so many subreddits banning Gawker right now.

    Some of these guys aren't so fundamental though, and might be swayed by pressure. Some of them won't be. The RF's don't care; they see this as part of the site dynamic. RG's will come and go; anybody can be an RG after all. The RF's did not take down r/creepshots like they took down r/jailbait; the r/creepshot creator, a RG, did. And the RF's are totally cool with that sort of thing.

    On #3:

    It is the vast userbase which attracts advertisers. We've already seen people being creeped out by the general culture even in non-sex related subreddits. I can't speak to this since I don't Reddit myself (I created an account since I get a lot of traffic from there and I like to read the comments, but I rarely use it) but the fact is this has been going on for awhile and they still have a vast userbase. If I had to seriously guess how many of these guys you could peel off with a shaming campaign, I'd have to be skeptical that it would be more than a few percent. People who aren't comfortable with the overall culture have probably left already, and people who are heavily invested in their Reddit mojo aren't going to give it up lightly if they don't feel directly connected to the offensive subreddits. After all, we're using the same internet kink.com does, does that make you a pervert?

    On Site Collapse:

    There are a lot of parallels between Reddit and pre-collapse LJ, and I think the RF's would take LJ as an object lesson not to enter the slippery slope of micro-moderation. There's a lot of parallels between Reddit and kuro5hin too, which had a similar hands off let the auto-moderation take care of things, but I think the difference between Reddit and K5 is like the difference between a continental ecosystem and an island; K5 was small enough that a wave of trolls was able to make the entire site directly miserable for the entire user base and drive out all of the quality content. Reddit is simply too big for that to happen, and it's too easy for the quality content to move to a new r/subreddit instead of leaving the site entirely, which preserves your reputation and identity. Indeed, I suspect the RF's would tell you that the sudden appearance of r/creepshots2 is a feature, not a bug.

    As for the advertisers, Reddit represents a lot of eyeballs in a highly desireable demographic. Given the large exposure and the limited amount of Reddit that is objectionable, good luck going after them. Again, you might peel off a few, but unless the RF's get perp walked under child porn laws -- which they are being very careful not to let happen, it being an existential threat -- I don't see a lot of advertisers giving up those eyeballs over sharing the screen with a few creeps.

    On how to get the RF's attention and make them take action:

    Cause an existential threat. The doxxing isn't doing that, it's just creating a pox on all your houses situation. Unfortunately, I really can't advise how to cause such a threat, having pretty much eliminated all of the possible avenues, but your first target is to make a handful of free-speech fundamentalist thirtyish geeks think the whole thing will blow up on them and that it won't end up like LJ if they act.
    posted by localroger at 3:41 PM on October 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


    Okay so I'm also a little confused and grossed out by people here who are making "a pox on both their houses" declarations with regard to reddit and SRS. Like, even more than I'm confused by people who make similar declarations with regard to the American political parties.

    SRS seems to be doing this up right — changing Internet culture for the better by exposing the nastiest corners of it to wider public view. SRS itself (because of the circlejerk rules, which I've never really understood) is kind of a boring place, but SRSDiscussion and pretty much the rest of the Fempire is filled with almost metafilterianly smart and interesting conversation. I'd be a regular reader of a standalone post-reddit SRS in a heartbeat, even if it was funded by Gawker. So, uh, what gives with the "oh SRSters are terrible people" rhetoric?
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:44 PM on October 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


    Oh. Okay I know how to bring Reddit down. It's easy. Filesharing.
    posted by Danila at 3:44 PM on October 11, 2012


    It IS about people masturbating. "People of Walmart" and similar collections of non-consensual photographs do not engender the same reaction. The problem is the sexualizing of the otherwise innocuous pics. Most of the objections here to the posting of non-consensual pics emphasize the purposes for which this is being done, as something to fantasize about and masturbate to. It's not the shots, it's that they are creep shots.

    As to the fetishizing of non-consent, that's what rape culture supposedly has already done. But our present rape culture is not quite ubiquitous, it is more like a push back against female empowerment. Otherwise I doubt women could have rape fantasies if rape were the norm.

    People get off on thoughts of the taboo. It is wrong to rape, molest, kill, etc. yes, but is it wrong to masturbate to thoughts and images of those things? If you masturbate to those ideas, does that mean you really want to do those things in real life? There's real crimes and then there are thought crimes...
    posted by bonefish at 3:48 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    So, uh, what gives with the "oh SRSters are terrible people" rhetoric?

    This is because a lot of people on Reddit see SRS as an attack on the site itself and the community, not as a way to try to better the community. And therefore, they are the enemy.
    posted by ymgve at 3:50 PM on October 11, 2012


    "a pox on both their houses" declarations with regard to reddit and SRS.

    If this is about my long comment, the houses are not any of the three values of Reddit or SRS, they are the creepsters and the doxxers. The Reddit Founders do not consider themselves in conflict with SRS, and they would probably argue that SRS is misunderstanding the very distinction I outlined because their complaint is with other Reddit Gods.
    posted by localroger at 3:50 PM on October 11, 2012


    Reddit is not run by its founders, nor managed as part of Conde Nast, incidentally.
    posted by running order squabble fest at 3:57 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Animators, announcements, anxiety, architecture, art, artcrit, ArtHistory, ArtImages, ArtSphere, AskSocialSciences, BetaArmy, blog, boringreddit, brightgreen, circlejerkseattle, CityPorn, conquerlife, ContemporaryArt, CuriosityRover, Cyberpunk, Dataisbeautiful, Design, Design_challenges, Design_critiques, DesignJobs, Dogfort, ExplainLikeIm5, forhire, ftlgame, futurism, gamedev, gametheory, glitch, graphic_design, hoarding, Illustration, IndieGaming, Isometric, jobs, learnart, lostgeneration, ludology, MapPorn, mashups, mcgargamel, mchardcore, mediahonesty, minecraft, minecraftfaq, museum, newreddits, Pixelart, Posters, printmakers, printmaking, prisonreform, productivity, propogandaposters, roguelikes, Screenprinting, SeaJobs, SeaList, Seattle, SeattleUrbEx, singularity, SmarterEveryDay, TimeManagement, Transhuman, TrueArt, TrueTrueReddit, typography, ukiyoe, urbanplanning, web_design, wewillchange, WhatShouldIKnow, wordbuilding, youngluck, youthshouldknow.

    on another account, and not including duplicates:

    aesthetics, artcritical, askmen, askreddit, Cascadia, Criticism, debateAnAtheist, debateit, DepthHub, DesignThought, fence, fifthworldproblems, foodforthought, futurebeats, gue, identifythisfont, indepthstories, introvert, lectures, liberalarts, needafriend, OneY, philosophy, philosophyofscience, poor, rant, scifi, selfdepthhub, sketches, socialjustice, space, spaceporn, theoryofreddit, tldr, TMBR, truereddit, wkipedia, writing.

    That's how I experience reddit. It may help explain why the broad brush is seen as too broad to paint with.
    posted by tychotesla at 3:57 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    localroger, as always, does a good job of summarizing the cranky-old-internet-fart POV (we've come a long way since the heyday of k5).

    SRS is... well. I have major issues with the "LOL look at our stereotype of feminism" approach. They've become the self-appointed pointers-out of how awful everything is, which has its own problems; it's very easy to give the impression, repeated over and over by people here, that some huge majority of reddit's userbase is active on creepshots, or came to the site because of jailbait, or whatever. Which is reckless and irresponsible to do. Plus the fact that "I made this sexist/racist comment or account to make fun of racism/sexism" is OK when it starts in SRS, but not OK when it starts anywhere else.

    (and just the fact that SA's culture is mind-bogglingly stupid, and the worst parts of it came over into SRS)

    But mostly I am really unnerved by the "we would never condone this, wink wink" approach they seem to be taking in the current drama. Doxxing is the Global Thermonuclear War of the internet, and SRS doesn't seem to get that the only way to win is not to play.
    posted by ubernostrum at 4:00 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    When it does, by the way, I'll make my one and only post in SRS and get BENNED LOL for it, and it will just say "I told you so".

    You worried losing all those Internet Points?

    I'm so excited by this disaster, yeah the mods are get tons of upvotes for taking a BRAVE stand against Gawker [/hamburger], in truth its encouraging to see users also standing up to sub mods and calling them out for being an apologist to shitty, indefensible behavior.

    No tears for VA, he's surrounded himself with creepy assholeS who egg each other on to doing really shit things to women. Now he's been called out on it IRL and might realize real world consequences to rapey behavior. You say bullying a bully does harm to us all, but I see it as enforcing a social contract that we as a society have set to what is and isn't acceptable behavior regardless of the law. Maybe the shitlords will gain a sense of empathy for the women they objectify when the understand what its like to look over your shoulder every day.

    I'm also in love with /r/SRS. I hate bullies and I rejoice in people calling them out, regardless of their murky origin. No less than 2 months ago it would be common to see a homemade costume modeled in /r/startrek or /r/firefly or some other fan sub.

    Result
    Guy posting: "NICE JANE HAT DUDE! [200+]" "CAN THIS BROWNCOAT BUY ONE?! [20+]"

    Girl posting: "SHE'S AN ATTENTION WHORE! [85+]" "I'LL BE IN MY BUNK [11+]"

    Now, I think SRS is making an impact because that shit ain't flying any more, it gets deleted and buried.
    posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:04 PM on October 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


    Reddit is not run by its founders, nor managed as part of Conde Nast, incidentally.

    I got the strong impression from my reading binge -- much of which covered the r/jailbait debacle -- that site policy is set by the founders, who technically aren't managed by but are formally advised by Conde. There is probably a tier of people who work under the founders as actual employees to "run the site" but leaning on them will have no effect as they don't make policy.
    posted by localroger at 4:06 PM on October 11, 2012


    Plus the fact that "I made this sexist/racist comment or account to make fun of racism/sexism" is OK when it starts in SRS, but not OK when it starts anywhere else.

    They actually cleaned up a lot of that stuff in the last month. Killing some of the meaner image macros, and putting a kibosh on using 'neckbeard' to describe the jerks, and made "No slurs" Rule III.
    posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:08 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    So... now what? Shut down reddit (either by forcing it out of business, or driving a mass exodus of users)? OK, get ready to do this to another site in six months or a year, because the problem isn't solved and the creeps will go somewhere else. Change the laws? OK, get ready to do that again in six months or a year, because the problem isn't solved and the creeps will work around it.

    Maybe. But I bet it'll get a little better each time with fewer creeps, fewer creeps... more and more marginalized...

    Sadly, you can't quash sexism in one fell swoop; you have to keep chipping away at it.
    posted by LordSludge at 4:26 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    People get off on thoughts of the taboo. It is wrong to rape, molest, kill, etc. yes, but is it wrong to masturbate to thoughts and images of those things? If you masturbate to those ideas, does that mean you really want to do those things in real life? There's real crimes and then there are thought crimes...

    A little more discrimination is in order here. There's a difference between horror cinema and actual snuff films. There's a difference between reading Nabokov and wanking to photographs that directly require actual ongoing abuse and exploitation of children to create.

    You can't just ignore the fact that creating this particular sort of masturbation material involves someone sneaking up on people and photographing them against their will or without their consent and that fora like creepshots effectively crowdsources the creation of it, propagating the acts involved even more than just a commercial demand for it would.
    posted by XMLicious at 4:34 PM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    I got the strong impression from my reading binge -- much of which covered the r/jailbait debacle -- that site policy is set by the founders, who technically aren't managed by but are formally advised by Conde.

    The timeline basically goes that reddit was spun off from Conde Nast in September 2011 into an independent operating unit. Reddit Inc, the new company, was run day-to-day by a general manager, who reported to a Board made up of one of the founders, along with senior Conde Nast and Advance Publications staff, while a CEO search was begun. r/jailbait was shut down in October 2011, and the broader ban was put in in February 2012. A few months after that, a CEO was appointed, with responsibility for implementing strategy.
    posted by running order squabble fest at 4:36 PM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    If a victim isn't even aware it has taken place, how badly victimized can they be?

    it wouldn't seem at all strange to me that people would object to someone stealing from your home irrespective of whether you missed what was stolen.


    Yes, absolutely! That's why unauthorized "sharing" of media is a problem, even if you can't prove it affects sales, because...

    Oh, wait, what?

    Oh, never mind, then.
    posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 4:45 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    putting a kibosh on using 'neckbeard' to describe the jerks

    not-neckbeardist but lol

    I'm also in love with /r/SRS. I hate bullies

    but man what about everything SA has ever done in the history of ever though

    this whole situation is just fucking gross. i am not going to go so far as to say that there are people who coopt "feminism" to raid and troll, because that's a hell of an indictment to level against someone, but the strain of liberalism i am most familiar with is intertwined fundamentally with "free speech extremism"/free expression radicalism.

    lol and bonghits.fileextension, but what if the term "libertarian" was ruined precisely to render that kind of radicalism impossible
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:48 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Thanks for the details rosf. Depending on the autonomy of the CEO from the board that appointed him there could be a pressure point there I didn't see.
    posted by localroger at 4:53 PM on October 11, 2012


    This, of course, alludes to you: as long as i'm chatposting, also: "what about Tubecrush" asketh the internets

    I just checked out Tubecrush. For those who don't know, it's a site that publishes candid photos of attractive dudes on the London Underground. I find them kinda problematic, actually. I'd be pretty pissed if someone took my picture while I was out and about and posted it on some site. Not supremely pissed, but a little bit. I know that there's no societal guarantee that you won't have your photo taken by others while you're out in public, but it's common courtesy not to. Much like there's no guarantee that people don't slam a door in your face, it's still annoying when it happens.

    However, there is a crucial difference between Tubecrush and Creepshot in that men don't really have to worry about getting sexually harassed. It happens, but its rare and therefore far from most men's minds. Women, on the other hand, are often in situations where they do have to worry about it.

    One analogous way for men to think about it is having to walk through a dangerous part of town at night. If you do, you get stressed. You have a heightened sense of awareness. Every little noise or movement can seem scary. Intellectually you may know that there isn't a high percentage chance that you'll get in trouble, but the awareness of the possible danger is oppressive in and of itself. For women, there are a lot of situations that trigger that same feeling of danger.

    Now imagine if you found a website that had pictures of you walking through the dangerous part of town (and that analogy doesn't even get into the extra creepy issue of upskirt shots etc).

    There's a threat inherent in creepshots that just isn't there with Tubecrush.
    posted by Kattullus at 4:57 PM on October 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


    localroger, just to make a small point, you said of the founders: They probably wouldn't take the doxxers down either, just as they host SRS.

    No doxxing is rule #3, and traditionally has been enforced, perhaps even overenforced (admins have been known to ban for referring to a semi-public figure's Twitter posts, for example).

    Will the current doxxers get the banhammer? Dunno. But consistency with previous policy would suggest they will if they can be identified.
    posted by ubernostrum at 5:02 PM on October 11, 2012


    That's how I experience reddit. It may help explain why the broad brush is seen as too broad to paint with.

    A couple of years ago I was fairly active on Reddit so I am not above reproach, but I think the "broad brush" argument worked then but not now. I'm not saying that you, tychotesla, are personally responsible for Reddit Rape Culture, but clearly you're aware of some of the crap that goes on there if nothing else by dint of posting in this topic.

    I realize that there are a myriad of smaller subreddits but at some point Reddit users need to realize that their use of the site contributes to the bullshit that goes on there. You are supporting it with content when you post, and page hits when you read, and with dollars when you see an ad.

    It's not really a pleasant thing to face, I know, but at some point everyone who participates in Reddit is indeed tacitly supporting shitty, creepy behaviour (and racism, and homophobia, and..)
    posted by jess at 5:12 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    So not actually _quite_ so much free speech fundamentalists as they claim, eh? Not that I don't think they have the perfect right to make their own rules, but "we will vocally support people posting misogyny, racism, shots of unaware underaged students, but people posting *about* said people is totally uncool man!" says a lot about them.
    posted by tavella at 5:16 PM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Ah ubernostrum, that makes sense on the doxxing as the Global Thermonuclear War of the Internets theory, and their fervent defense of anonymity in a lot of those interviews and statements.
    posted by localroger at 5:17 PM on October 11, 2012


    You can't just ignore the fact that creating this particular sort of masturbation material involves someone sneaking up on people and photographing them against their will or without their consent and that fora like creepshots effectively crowdsources the creation of it, propagating the acts involved even more than just a commercial demand for it would.

    My point is that the desire behind the demand for such material is not the same as creating the material. You can criminalize the latter, but can you criminalize having bad thoughts? The wankers are being considered just as evil as those providing the wank fodder, for the fact of the wanking and nothing else. Their wanking is the demand, driving this whole thing, right? The fact they get off on "upskirt", an ancient fetish totally based on non-consensuality, is all the proof many need to assume every such wanker is a potential rapist and molester. Were it not for the masturbation, how are these fora different than other non-consensual photo sites?
    posted by bonefish at 5:18 PM on October 11, 2012


    jess, that's not a productive argument to make if you're looking for allies, and doesn't lead to productive results.

    (unless you're planning to emigrate to Sweden sometime soon, in which case I can give you a pass on indirectly supporting rape culture merely by your existence)
    posted by ubernostrum at 5:19 PM on October 11, 2012


    You can criminalize the latter, but can you criminalize having bad thoughts?

    I think there's a short answer and a long answer to this. The short answer is "no". The long answer is "no, obviously not".
    posted by running order squabble fest at 5:24 PM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    "upskirt", an ancient fetish totally based on non-consensuality,

    Upskirt, or whatever it was called 200 years ago, has always been generally considered to be rude, intrusive, and not acceptable behavior. That creepy guys have been doing it since forever does not make it less gross.
    posted by ambrosia at 5:29 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Their wanking is the demand, driving this whole thing, right?

    No, it is what they are wanking for, the psychological itch that needs scratching, i.e. what about this that gets them off and the effects the process that goes on in the sub has in its contributions to rape culture. The physical act of masturbation itself is beside that point, one of many results but not the motivation.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:30 PM on October 11, 2012


    in that men don't really have to worry about getting sexually harassed
    yeah, which is kind of like, what kind of freedom is having to worry about pics of you being posted online all the fucking time? it is just such a painful, small, guarded existence.

    true freedom, to me, would be not having to worry about having pictures of you online at all because it doesn't matter, because you are safe no matter what, you won't lose your job or be assaulted. i don't know if simply patching over that not being the case is good, not a lie, or even healthy.

    i have no fucking idea how we get there from here. SA seems to be more about making SA look good by bravely punishing pervs no one sane would defend, though, and because this is legitimately serious shit, that makes me fucking mad.

    saying that it's okay to use addressing a Thing (correctly/beneficially or otherwise) to promote yourself is some fun realpolitik but it's also opportunistic and fucking corrupt, especially when you are literally making money in the form of new user accounts from it. i would say that it's actually more corrupt than Adrien Chen's behavior, but they're the same kind of creepy thing.

    this whole situation is disgusting.
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:31 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    also the underlying heterosexist assumption that only men look at blah blah blah gender etc. etc.
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:36 PM on October 11, 2012


    I cannot stop giggling about r/Parakeets. Perhaps my sense of humor is broken. I've subscribed to their newsletter, upvoted to my limit, and generally rolled around on the floor laughing...

    They revolted against the ban. The ban post is gone and in its place...
    posted by Slackermagee at 5:39 PM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Ubernostrum, that analogy doesn't really gibe for me. Not only is "opting out of rape culture" nigh impossible in a way that "don't visit an occasionally skeevy site" isn't, but the argument that jess (IMO) is making isn't even that Redditors should be ashamed to be Redditors, but rather that the proper response to something like this should be to work to make the site better from inside rather than dismissing it with "well I'm not like THOSE Redditors".

    Re: thoughtcrime vs. deed - insofar as active consumption of snuff films (creepshots) create a demand for and an implicit approval of those snuff films (creepshots), yes, I personally think said consumption is wrong, because it encourages the criminal to continue engaging in that action. If you fantasize about killing peoe but don't watch exploitative films in which actual people are actually being killed - go to town. c.f. discussions about creating spaces where people with pedophilic tendencies can get help and support in NOT acting on those tendencies. The fetish isn't the crime, here. It's prioritizing your fetish over the agency and security (emotional, physical) of another human being without their consent.

    And I should think that the distinction of a woman choosing to engage in a rape fantasy because she's into a specific kink where she can stop at any time and it has no harmful consequences on her life, and a man violating her consent in objectifying her body to strangers on the Internet via surreptitious photography, should be pretty self evident.

    holy run-on sentences batman
    posted by Phire at 5:40 PM on October 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


    Upskirt, or whatever it was called 200 years ago, has always been generally considered to be rude, intrusive, and not acceptable behavior. That creepy guys have been doing it since forever does not make it less gross.

    My point was about the surreptitious non-consensuality being the apparent main appeal of the fetish, not on its relative grossness. Here's gross: they used to sell "shoe mirrors" in the back of comic books when I was a kid...
    posted by bonefish at 5:44 PM on October 11, 2012


    My point is that the desire behind the demand for such material is not the same as creating the material. You can criminalize the latter, but can you criminalize having bad thoughts? The wankers are being considered just as evil as those providing the wank fodder, for the fact of the wanking and nothing else. Their wanking is the demand, driving this whole thing, right? The fact they get off on "upskirt", an ancient fetish totally based on non-consensuality, is all the proof many need to assume every such wanker is a potential rapist and molester.

    Not even actually taking or promoting and orchestrating the taking of these photos is being criminalized, much less is thinking about it being criminalized.

    If a community was just drawing pictures of non-consensual titillating photos being taken and or had a fixation on writing fictional accounts of non-consensual photos being taken, that would be less objectionable but it still seems pretty damn reasonable to me to say that the people participating in such a community, whether as creators or as avid consumers, are more likely than the general population to eventually engage in non-consensual acts involving their sexuality.

    Say if the fetishized behavior was eating meat... in a general population of vegetarians, the people who are trading and salivating over and posting photographs and descriptions of meat dishes and avidly poring through all of that are more probably going to be the ones to eventually end up trying meat. It just makes sense when a group of people are behaving this way.
    posted by XMLicious at 5:45 PM on October 11, 2012


    I don't know about that, XMLicious. Plenty of people are into BDSM and rape play, but I'm sure few if any of them actually want to be raped. But maybe this is a derail.
    posted by Phire at 5:47 PM on October 11, 2012


    true freedom, to me, would be not having to worry about having pictures of you online at all because it doesn't matter, because you are safe no matter what, you won't lose your job or be assaulted.

    True freedom would be so groovy it would blow our minds, let me tell you it would be so groovy. But until then, there's better and there's best.
    posted by octobersurprise at 5:50 PM on October 11, 2012


    I don't know about that, XMLicious. Plenty of women are into BDSM and rape play, but I'm sure few if any of them actually want to be raped.

    Okay, but that's kind of turning it around - it seems much more analogous to consider the group of people who fantasize about committing rape and indulge that fantasy by seeking out genuine depictions of rape, and ask whether they would be more likely to commit rape than the general population.
    posted by XMLicious at 6:02 PM on October 11, 2012


    I guess I'm always uncomfortable drawing connections between sexual kinks and criminality, regardless of what direction the relationship is in. I do see your point, though I'd be curious to see actual stats on this.
    posted by Phire at 6:05 PM on October 11, 2012


    Egg Shen: “What they're doing reinforces the rape culture - as has been noted. So do a lot of other things for which we do not endorse mob justice.”

    Here's another thing that's been on my mind: "mob justice," as you call it.

    If in the course of writing an article I do some research with publicly-available documents which anyone and everyone on the internet can access, and through that research I discover the identity of a very prominent and infamous member of a very large internet community, is it "doxxing" or "mob justice" for me to proceed to publish that publicly-available information in an article?

    Because that's generally what we're talking about here. And I begin to wonder whether "mob justice" really describes this situation. As far as I can tell, the only "mob justice" involved here was an inflammatory from an entirely non-credible source that someone had sent an anonymous blackmail letter. And violentacrez doesn't even claim to have had that happen to him at all, either, it should be noted.
    posted by koeselitz at 6:13 PM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    @octobersuprise

    that sounds kind of like hippie punching
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:13 PM on October 11, 2012


    Suggesting I can't dig true freedom sounds like me-punching.
    posted by octobersurprise at 6:18 PM on October 11, 2012


    it is what they are wanking for, the psychological itch that needs scratching, i.e. what about this that gets them off and the effects the process that goes on in the sub has in its contributions to rape culture. The physical act of masturbation itself is beside that point

    Maybe the physical act is beside the point and it is the subconscious that is the real culprit in contributing to rape culture, but we can only deal with the actions of people, not their thoughts.

    people who are trading and salivating over and posting photographs and descriptions of meat dishes and avidly poring through all of that are more probably going to be the ones to eventually end up trying meat. It just makes sense when a group of people are behaving this way.

    And people avidly pouring over hip hop lyrics about crime will commit crimes and kids playing violent video games will be violent and people who get off on non-consensual porn will go out and rape. It just makes sense!

    For the record, I think mainstream culture is rapey enough and needs to be confronted directly. Policing people's thoughts can't be done.
    posted by bonefish at 6:23 PM on October 11, 2012


    ubernostrum: “... it's very easy to give the impression, repeated over and over by people here, that some huge majority of reddit's userbase is active on creepshots, or came to the site because of jailbait, or whatever. Which is reckless and irresponsible to do.”

    As someone who's been checking out Reddit a bit for the past six months, I have heard this argument against SRS over and over and over again, and the more I hear it the more it rings hollow in my ears. I mean – there are all kinds of arguments one could have against SRS, like the "they came from SA and they're trolls" argument, et cetera, but this seems to be the most common line people take against SRS: that they are ruining Reddit's image in the general population by making Reddit seem like a bunch of creepsters and jerks.

    To which I say: I don't think this follows logically. First of all, in your formulation, how is SRS making it seem like "some huge majority" of Reddit is creepy? It sounds like you're wishing they devoted equal time to awesome Reddit stuff that makes the site look wonderful and lovely; but that is not the point of that subreddit, and it would make just as much sense to demand that r/starcraft give equal time to dressage horses, since Reddit isn't only about starcraft, and r/starcraft might give people the unfair impression that it is.

    And second of all, the stuff SRS points up does make Reddit look bad – but as annoying as the SRS people might be, how is it their fault that the creepsters are crawling all over Reddit and doing their creepy shit?

    The thing that unsettles me about this reasoning is that it places blame not on the creepsters but on the people giving negative attention to the creepsters. And while I don't think you mean it this way at all, the implication (and the practical effect) of this argument is that creepsters are annoying and obnoxious but ultimately harmless as long as we leave them alone and don't publicize what they're doing; and that the real danger is that Reddit will get downvoted in larger society as a haven for creepsters and that being a Redditor will become a mark of infamy. In short, the implication here is that the danger is not in creepy behavior; it's in people getting the wrong idea about Reddit and thinking ill of us as Redditors.

    Well, guess what – that's already happening. People are starting to think Reddit is creepy. To a huge chunk of the population, Reddit is that one place where they let sexualized pictures of kids go unchecked for years, that place where rape jokes are laughed at and upvoted, that place where creepsters post their nonconsensual subway snapshots. And you know what the worst part is? Reddit is all of those things.

    The fact is that, if this side of Reddit bothers you, you cannot blame people for mentioning it. You cannot blame people for speaking the truth about this gross crap. It is easy to complain that Reddit isn't those things, but that is not true; parts of Reddit really are awesome and wonderful, parts of Reddit really are interesting and thought-provoking and exciting, but parts of Reddit are shit.

    The debate we're having here now (I think) – and the debate Reddit should be having with itself – is how Reddit can go about taking responsibility for the shit and begin to try to clean it up. Because 'we're not all like that!' only goes so far, and at some point creepsters need to be dealt with.
    posted by koeselitz at 6:32 PM on October 11, 2012 [17 favorites]


    It doesn't today. But kill off reddit and wait a year, then talk to me about whether thing-that-came-after-reddit can be fixed by driving people to thing-that-came-after-the-thing-that-came-after-reddit.

    If nothing else, the reddit lineage will evolve toward not being plagued by creepers.
    posted by five fresh fish at 6:56 PM on October 11, 2012


    > "they came from SA and they're trolls"

    That's always been an incredibly specious argument to me too, particularly since I had basically forgotten SA existed when I started hanging out in SRS. At this point it (and r/AskHistorians) are basically the only reason I stick around Reddit.

    When I get fed up with the puerile, privileged, or outright racist and misogynistic nonsense that goes on in the rest of the site I can blow off some steam in the main SRS sub. Or I can just spend time in the myriad other subs in the "Fempire" where, *gasp* posters are actually polite and respectful of each other. Its always really strange to me when I see Reddit users going on about how "mean" and "nasty" (stronger words are typically used) SRSters are, because I've consistently found it to be one of the most positive and welcoming place on the site.
    posted by Panjandrum at 7:14 PM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Bonefish, you realise the action they are taking is (deliberately, with intent) taking non-consensual photos of women who are otherwise occupied (and would otherwise have no reason to believe that their arse is being ogled, judged and masturbated to all over the world), then uploading it? That is a very concrete action being taken, far beyond an internal fantasy, far beyond reading lyrics. Creepers are creeping, not reading, not talking, but actively creeping and trying to skew it like it's fantasy.

    Not to mention that in the other creepshot thread there is a whole lot of discussion about how men who are voyeurs are also statistically more likely to engage in sexually violent behaviour, and vice versa. That's not even touching on the creepers self-validation and escalation.

    Creepers have deliberately created a community that exacerbates their creepiness. Doxxing them, and their creepiness, is not analogous to mining someone's medical records, or wiretapping. I am sick to death of the false equivalencies and slippery slope cynicism that decries any judgement - I judge these men, I judge them harshly and most of society does as well. Sure, there might be a few non-arsehole creepers there but they are deliberately engaging with that group. They are encouraging each other to worse and worse excesses then catering to that as well with more subreddits. This is not actually something with a pat little analogy in the real world. It's pretty uniquely online-based and as such I find the 'mob justice' and 'lynch mob' bullshit patronising and utterly useless.
    posted by geek anachronism at 7:21 PM on October 11, 2012 [12 favorites]


    koeselitz, let me be absolutely clear: doxxing has one purpose, and that is to harass and threaten a person who the doxxer doesn't like or doesn't agree with. It ain't ever cool, and it ain't ever OK. The SRS reaction has been, basically, "yeah, that's bad, teehee, so broken up about it, teehee, don't take us seriously when we announce who we think the next target should be, LOL". And that ain't cool. It's also causing a lot of drama from people who are arguing (somewhat cogently) about "wait, people who've been much less directly involved in doxxing in the past got the banhammer, so why hasn't it happened to SRS?"

    Now.

    Creepshots? Disgusting. I am glad it is gone and yet I despise the way in which it has happened. If your rhetoric requires you to tag me as a creepshot aficionado or some other horrible thing for believing both of those things at the same time, or for wanting to talk about those things, then I don't know how to have a discussion with you.
    posted by ubernostrum at 7:26 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    @Jess, I am aware of these issues mostly through metafilter. And conversely to your position I think the broad brush fails now (as it didn't then) because a lot of people including myself don't participate in a site-wide community on reddit. Instead they treat subs like individual websites, with "reddit" being a way of organizing content on those sites.

    I'm not sure how my use of r/foo contributes to r/terrible, except by raising the name of the reddit platform as a whole. But that only happens when people use a broad brush. "The internet bullies schoolkids" "books are just stories written by racist white people" "Redditors are creeps". You see the problem? You're tacitly supporting bullying because you're using the internet.... because that's how broad that brush goes? Etc. Using reddit is only tacit approval when it's thought of as something that's intended to be a single entity, but it really isn't that. It's a system that people use to create communities oriented around organizing and consuming content.

    Now, I also think that r/terrible_places are terrible places. And I would very much like for those places to disappear, and I do think hounding them is legit, and that there's room for a radical restructuring to keep them hounded. But I'm very skeptical of people who don't understand what or how reddit is proposing solutions. Especially ones that involve thinking about reddit as a single community.
    posted by tychotesla at 7:28 PM on October 11, 2012


    And this is why I like reddit. The good, the bad and the ugly just battle it out. No holds barred - or at least far fewer than in most places on the internet these days. It reminds me of the good old days.
    posted by Decani at 7:29 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


    ubernostrum: “koeselitz, let me be absolutely clear: doxxing has one purpose, and that is to harass and threaten a person who the doxxer doesn't like or doesn't agree with. It ain't ever cool, and it ain't ever OK.”

    For what it's worth, I will repeat that violentacrez did not get doxxed. It's not doxxing when it's public documents we're talking about.

    “The SRS reaction has been, basically, 'yeah, that's bad, teehee, so broken up about it, teehee, don't take us seriously when we announce who we think the next target should be, LOL'.”

    I don't really believe this – what I've seen on SRS today hasn't been like this. It doesn't help that SRS is the single most misrepresented subreddit in existence. I'd love to be proven wrong, though. Citation?

    “Creepshots? Disgusting. I am glad it is gone and yet I despise the way in which it has happened. If your rhetoric requires you to tag me as a creepshot aficionado or some other horrible thing for believing both of those things at the same time, or for wanting to talk about those things, then I don't know how to have a discussion with you.”

    I want to make this point clear I absolutely do not think you are a creeper. I don't think you love r/creepshots, and I don't doubt that you are glad they're gone. What's more, I don't think you intend in any way to minimize the shittiness of those kinds of subreddits.

    I appreciate that this is a subtle thing, so I'll try to state it carefully; I was trying to suggest that, by wasting your anger on SRS, you're inadvertently letting all the creepers get away with destroying Reddit and everything it's supposed to stand for.

    Reddit really needs to get angry. It needs to get angry at the people that are destroying it by violating privacy daily. The trouble is that it wastes time being angry at SRS for pointing out the people that are destroying it.

    I really just think you should save your anger for the creepers. And that they need to be banned. Until they are, Reddit has not shown that it gives a shit about privacy, and things like this will keep on happening because it's the environment that naturally results when people don't give a shit about privacy.
    posted by koeselitz at 7:50 PM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Getting the distinct impression now that none of the moderators on subreddits like r/parakeets are bothering to poll their subscribers before banning Gawker links. It's really looking like a circling of the wagons now, though the side of the people they're circling around is certainly in question.

    I've been on the fence about reddit for some time. Mostly because some subreddits are genuinely very good, /r/askscience and /r/askhistory genuinely have a lot of great contributors (even if most of the questions people ask there are sort of dumb). The problem is that you can't really argue that reddit isn't a single community but a set of communities hosted on the same platform when the mods of /r/parakeets and /r/politics ban all Gawker media links for an article about a resident pedo creeper running totally unrelated subreddits.
    posted by atrazine at 7:52 PM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    "My point is that the desire behind the demand for such material is not the same as creating the material. You can criminalize the latter, but can you criminalize having bad thoughts?"

    Literally no one is talking about criminalizing anything, dude. At worst, it seems doxxing. So, yeah, point taken but no one is going to make this illegal or shove steal your wig hair or make you french kiss your Madball comics on pain of jail.

    So, bad thoughts bad thoughts bad thoughts, nobody's making it illegal to be an asshole but everyone should agree that while you may be an asshole, you shouldn't be, and nobody's gonna feel bad if an asshole gets wiped, even if injudicious application of toilet paper can chafe the taint.
    posted by klangklangston at 7:57 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    And people avidly pouring over hip hop lyrics about crime will commit crimes

    ...or be more likely to write hip hop lyrics

    and kids playing violent video games will be violent

    ...or be more likely to write video games

    and people who get off on non-consensual porn will go out and rape. It just makes sense!

    Yeah, it does make sense that it's more likely (a little detail you not-so-subtly left out there) that the people writing hip-hop lyrics, writing video games, or engaging in non-consensual sex acts will come from these respective groups that fixate upon and salivate over those things. As I said, especially when these people are congregating around actually, really engaging in non-consensual acts of sexual harassment and posting the documentation online instead of creating some fiction or art that peripherally involves these acts.

    For the record, I think mainstream culture is rapey enough and needs to be confronted directly. Policing people's thoughts can't be done.

    Good thing no one's trying to police anyone's thoughts, then. But sorry, part of living in a free society where peoples' thoughts aren't policed also means that shitty things like sexism and racism and child porn that everyone recognizes as shitty get ostracized and openly called out as shitty.
    posted by XMLicious at 8:05 PM on October 11, 2012


    @geek anachronism, I am aware what the creepers are doing, I was referring to those who get off on what the creepers are doing, those who do nothing creepier than masturbate to what the creepers post. But if indeed men who are voyeurs are also statistically more likely to engage in sexually violent behaviour, and vice versa. (no, I shan't ask for a citation), then I guess having thoughts of voyeurism is enough to be considered a sexually violent threat. Bad thoughts make bad men!

    My issue is thought crime, not the protection of creeps. Why do the Reddit owners allow the creepy shit? Because it makes them money. Why does the Reddit community of users tolerate the creepiness? Because it doesn't bother them, because it's part of the overall rape culture, because they value their own abstract notions of free speech over the rights of others not to be used non-consensually, because maybe the Reddit community are all creeps themselves? I don't know and don't really care, because cleaning up a website is easy enough to do. Outing, shaming and busting creeps isn't hard to do either. What's difficult is human desire...the bad thoughts...
    posted by bonefish at 8:06 PM on October 11, 2012


    That's always been an incredibly specious argument to me

    the point is that you can't trust people like that, in this incarnation or in any other, to be upfront about what they are, what they're doing, why they're doing it, etc. etc.

    they are creepy in their origins and in their tactics, and when they appear to side with you, you need to worry about what's going on. the "amazing atheist" bit is only a small fraction of the grossness/cynicism/whatever you want to call it. when you see people like that trying to share your politics, you should be wary.
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:19 PM on October 11, 2012


    What's difficult is human desire...the bad thoughts...

    Yeah, you keep saying that and dribbling ellipses as though that makes your statement more meaningful, but even explicitly and actually criminalizing the trafficking in and criminalizing the mere possession of child pornography has not resulted in some sort of Nineteen Eighty-Four-type thought police state where no one can think about having sex with children. As I pointed out above, anyone can go borrow Lolita from their library and wank away to their heart's or other organ's content and anyone can get a membership to NAMBLA.

    Ostracizing the trafficking in creepshots and the wanking to creepshots and egging on of the creeps is not some huge civil liberties issue.
    posted by XMLicious at 8:20 PM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    You realise none of us are just arguing about the people wanking - it's a subculture of PARTICIPATION. We are arguing the active actual participation in taking photos, uploading, commenting, requesting more, requesting different shots is actively participating in rape culture. That active participation is not 'thought crime' - it is making a market for this kind of thing, reinforcing those trangressive/nonconsensual activities and exacerbating the actions taken by others.

    And apart from my lived and hard-won experience suggesting creepers are creepers and as such much more likely to trangress my boundaries offline and online, this is the comment linking to a study and an article about the likelihood of paraphilias and sexual violence. And another study.

    I am sick to death of this sort of shit being called a kink. It is not. You wanna be kinky? Get a consenting partner and act this shit out. Otherwise it's a paraphilia, it's nonconsensual and does NOT deserve the panicked pleas about free speech from the rest of the kinksters.
    posted by geek anachronism at 8:38 PM on October 11, 2012 [20 favorites]


    Violentacrez gave a "statement" to /r/mensrights that reads, in part:
    [Adrian] Chen did not in any way blackmail me into deleting my account. In fact, he specifically said deleting my account would have no effect on his decision to publish.
    Full statement here.
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:45 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    And actually, come to think of it, you can create a media franchise based on a 104-year-old having nearly-lethal sex with a teenager and have it become an international blockbuster marketed to children. We are soooo far away from the thought police intervening in people's minds to prevent them thinking about things that are criminalized.
    posted by XMLicious at 8:51 PM on October 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


    So when exactly is Chen's expose going to be published? I imagine that'll be the next round in this fiasco.
    posted by koeselitz at 9:53 PM on October 11, 2012


    I love the headline at the Atlantic Wire: "Redditors Stand Up to Gawker to Protect Child Pornography."

    Ouch!
    posted by Forktine at 10:07 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I guess I was just making the slippery slope point, and not about civil liberties or concerns over Nineteen Eighty-Four-type thought police state but about generalized sexual hysteria. We don't want to burn Nabokov with the rest of the witches, as safe as we may seem from that, and I don't think consensual kinksters mean our children any harm, even if they act out some ugly stuff between themselves (the bad thoughts of which I spoke). That said, fuck Reddit and out all the creeps, yes, and string up all the pedophiles, yes, and down with rape culture, of which "a media franchise based on...nearly-lethal sex with a teenager" is a prime example. When so much creepy stuff is normalized in mass culture, it's hard not to see predditors as the direct result.
    posted by bonefish at 10:40 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Looks like there is a serious crackdown Coming. /r/CreepSquad has been banned now.
    posted by Ad hominem at 1:27 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    /u/POTATO_IN_MY_ANUS, who up until now has been ubiquitous all over reddit, has been shadowbanned. I guess in connection with /r/CreepSquad.

    This is like the 5th time reddit was all over the news, linked with pedophiles. It is time for the admins to decide if they want jobs or principles.
    posted by Ad hominem at 1:37 AM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    I am a fan of reddit.

    There, I said it. It's not a popular position around here, but I don't give a damn. I support their core values of freedom of speech, support of digital civil liberties, and the awesome community of communities that's been built around it. Their unified protest of SOPA, support of EFF, Child's Play and other charities is inspiring.

    Yes, there are problematic subreddits like /r/mensrights, /r/creepshots and others. But reddit is HUGE, like 6.5 million page views a day, 600,000 unique visitors and thousands of subreddits for whatever you're interested in.

    And here's a little secret, many of you love reddit too. Just take a look at the recent history of posts about reddit. And of course /r/dogfort, damn that meme made me smile.

    Reddit is more libertarian than Metafilter, that's true. But be careful of which side you align yourself with, because once censorship gets a hold, it's hard to get rid of. /r/creepshots and it's users are creepy as fuck, but this is the future we live in. Our world is full of cameras now, and to maintain a power balance, we need the ability to photograph people of power in public. Issues like /r/creepshots could very easily be spun into excuses to remove photographers rights. And keeping these communities public lets us identify them, and offer services and support or notify authorities when needed. Just like Craigslist and prostitution, shoving it further underground does more harm than good.

    And it's a little ironic that the Internet vigilantism many on here give 4chan shit for gets a pass because it's against the reddit community and an obviously easy target of sexist assholes.

    Another community I highly value, Burning Man, has had to deal with a similar problem with photography during the event. Obviously, participating is more valued than spectating, but there are some amazing moments you encounter that should be recorded. (The Earth Harp performances at last years Temple were amazing). But the freedom, self-expression and openness of it occasionally attracts creepers who just want to photograph "nekid chicks". Burning Man's solution was instituting an "Ask First" policy. Ask your subject before you photograph. Somewhat anti-ethical to the libertarian values of the community, but a good compromise for a "semi-public" event. I still don't know if I fully agree with it, but it is respectful and ethical.

    But I digress. We're quickly entering a new age where photography of the public by authorities will be ever-present. We need to make sure our right to photograph authorities is preserved. I think David Brin's "Transparent Society" and ideas of Sousveillance are the only solution. Events like this will be used as excuses to reduce our rights. To end with a classic, "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it." And photography in public is currently a right we all have.
    posted by formless at 1:39 AM on October 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


    I guess /r/creepshots3 is banned now but /r/creepshots2 is still up. I guess they are going to play whack-a-mole. Probably all over but the crying.
    posted by Ad hominem at 1:46 AM on October 12, 2012


    "The internet bullies schoolkids" "books are just stories written by racist white people" "Redditors are creeps". You see the problem? You're tacitly supporting bullying because you're using the internet.... because that's how broad that brush goes? Etc. Using reddit is only tacit approval when it's thought of as something that's intended to be a single entity, but it really isn't that. It's a system that people use to create communities oriented around organizing and consuming content.

    While you may think of reddit in terms of platforms and communities, the fact remains that it's a commercial company, a subsidiary of a multinational. They don't separate advertising revenue by which community brings it in, do they? It is a single entity when it comes to finances, and the final accountability for what goes on there doesn't stop at the desk of individual moderators, it goes all the way up through the chain of ownership.

    If page views from the worthwhile sections are bolstering the position of the creepy parts by making the whole company more secure, or advertising revenue from the creepy parts is subsidising the worthwhile bits, then I think using reddit while ignoring the creepier end of the whole thing is indeed tacit support.
    posted by Azara at 2:10 AM on October 12, 2012


    To end with a classic, "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it." And photography in public is currently a right we all have.

    God, I hate that fucking saying.

    I will not actually defend to the death the right to tell another creeper to take more photos of the passed out sister-in-law, or congratulating a teacher for taking upskirt shots of his students. Fuck that for a game of tin soldiers. I am not going to fight for that because it isn't about speech. This is about their actions. This is about them circlejerking themselves into a place where sexual assault is okay. It's about making creepers like this utterly unwelcome in society.

    And it's about the revenue. I will absolutely hound any corporation making money off creepers creeping. They make money off this and I'm supposed to defend them because "free speech!"? I'm supposed to say "sure, keep doing what you're doing, stick it to the man! Or rather, that 18 year old girl having coffee." because if I don't the cops will take my right to public photography away?

    No. What they are doing is not actually welcome and if any action taken is going to impinge on free speech, what exactly is the point? If social pressure is doxxing is abuse is lynching is mob justice, and economic pressure is censorship is authoritarianism is facism is selling out free speech, exactly what is left for a community (being everyone not a creeper/creeper supporter) to say, no, stop, get the fuck out?
    posted by geek anachronism at 3:05 AM on October 12, 2012 [38 favorites]


    "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it." And photography in public is currently a right we all have.

    This screed would be great if anyone here was talking about making creepshots illegal.

    But if you're actually going to make this is a civil rights issue; if you're actually, hilariously going to contend that creepshots have anything to do with freedom of speech, then you have to apply that metric all the way around. That means not just the creepy neckbeards, but also those who find their publicly available information and shine a light on it, those who want to put pressure on the site's advertisers to divest, those who want to take their complaints to the people who run the site itself.

    And the fact that you evoked the ability to photograph cops as being in peril if we act too harshly against these guys? Please, spare us this breathless hyperbole. The ability to call out people abusing their power and expose them is being fully utilized by Gawker et al.

    There's a whole lot of slippery sloping here, and it doesn't help us get to a solution about anything, but just appears to be mental gymnastics being performed to justify abhorrent behavior while painting those speaking up against it as being the real threat.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:01 AM on October 12, 2012 [29 favorites]


    I'd agree with formless that reddit sounds like wonderful place overall, largely thanks to this freedom of expression there, witness the gay mom thread.
    posted by jeffburdges at 4:40 AM on October 12, 2012


    And the fact that you evoked the ability to photograph cops as being in peril if we act too harshly against these guys? Please, spare us this breathless hyperbole. The ability to call out people abusing their power and expose them is being fully utilized by Gawker et al.

    No, actually, that's totally true with regards to the law, and quite a few people are talking about expanding voyeurism laws to cover this. If it's illegal to photograph people without their consent, then it's illegal to photograph people without their consent, and good luck getting an "except for police" exemption. Of course, this is irrelevant to questions of social pressure and Reddit's actions, but as plenty of people really are talking about legal recourse, it's worth mentioning.
    posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 4:57 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    The legal aspect is indeed a slippery one, which is probably why this clash of the titans is - for the time being, anyway - staying within the confines of social pressure, as opposed to legislative efforts. I think even the folks at Gawker are aware of the floodgates that would be opened through criminalizing candid photography. Fortunately, it's also legal to pressure advertisers to consider where they spend.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:41 AM on October 12, 2012


    Now that I think about it I wonder if a "for prurient purposes" clause would dry that slope up. Any attorneys or speech activists have thoughts there?
    posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:09 AM on October 12, 2012


    I'm confident the police would abuse any legal restrictions you create to protect bad cops. You must remember they need not win their cases, but merely drag photographers through the legal system, intimidating other photographers.
    posted by jeffburdges at 6:16 AM on October 12, 2012


    formless:
    To end with a classic, "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it."
    jeffburdges:
    ... this freedom of expression there ...

    HELL. NO. It's such a flawed argument, after all these comments I can tell if you're being disingenuous. First, very few people are talking about making creepshots illegal. That isn't the point here. Doxing is legal and creepshots are legal as well, reddit has nothing to do with what is legal, and most people here aren't interested in making taking creepy pictures illegal.

    Reddit as a community is censoring Gawker from their supposed "freedom of speech". If they actually believed in unfiltered freedom of speech on their website, they wouldn't as a community be banning Gawker from all their subreddits. You can claim the admins were not the ones banning Gawker, and that it is just the subreddits doing so, but you are missing the picture here.

    Reddit is not code. Reddit is a community. What r/politics moderators do (which I again note, is one of the default subreddits, which has tacit approval by reddit's admins), has just a great impact as what reddit admins do. When a local magistrate rules in particular ways about freedom of speech in larger society, abrogation of free speech matters, just because the Supreme Court is higher and doesn't want to hear the case doesn't mean it's not an issue. Gawker is being censored here, de facto. You can talk about de jure rules in place, but the fact of the matter is reddit as a community has largely censored Gawker from the website from conducting LEGAL activities, namely doxing. They are defending another LEGAL activity, posting creepshot pictures, via censorship. To claim this as a freedom of speech issue when de-facto equivalents to local magistrates are censoring people is offensive. You can claim reddit's rules prevent admins from abrogating the local magistrate's free speech issues and Gawker sympathizers should just create a new politics subreddit, but that is so beyond simplistic. One cannot simply create an offshoot of r/poltiics which shows up as a default subreddit. To claim otherwise is offensive. Reddit admins are complicit in r/politics and r/gaming banning Gawker unless they turn off default subreddits. Ultimately, the actions of r/politics moderators (as well as tens to hundreds of others MAJOR subreddits banning Gawker) can de facto be understood as a banning of Gawker -- as we are talking about the social community of reddit here. REMINDER: we're not talking about legal rights. Reddit as a community has decided it is more acceptable to censor Gawker for doxing, while accepting pedophiles and sexual creeps. Ask yourself, who has the greater need for defending their speech: Gawker, or pedophiles?

    This isn't a free speech issue. Any private entity can censor whoever they fucking please. Social pressure on reddit to exercise that right is a necessary function of civil society. If you cannot call out shitty behavior, then the Marketplace of Ideas is fucking broken. Reddit isn't a Common Carrier and never will be. Nobody's asking for your ISP to censor, reddit can do whatever they fucking please and should censor, leave the creepers to create their Tor hidden nodes. If reddit's admins consider themselves some kind of common carrier, they're not only arrogant and self-important in the social necessity of their website, they're outright delusional.

    Reddit as a culture has become incredibly toxic. Its culture is dysfunctional, pedophiles mass-upvote each others creepy comments to the top. I have a suspicion that reddit's admins aren't actually interested in real freedom of speech, but are more interseted that r/jailbait brought a massive amount of traffic to their website. Today, they're left with a bunch of shitlord creepers infecting all subreddits. As a culture they are getting worse and worse, the position that I have been taking is that reddit needs to clean house to preserve its userbase. If they do not do so, their comments section will become such a festering shitpile in even the most niche subreddits that they will fail as a community. It's ridiculous that they have not taken the lesson of Usenet to heart and moderated their community. They have the power to in this instance (unlike Usenet), and having a collective which is supporting antisocial behavior (via pedos upvoting each other and creating pedo communities that infect other subreddits no worse than spamming, with complicit support in major subreddits like r/politics and r/gaming).

    Claiming this as a freedom of speech issue offends me and does a great disservice for people that actually fight for freedom of speech. Freedom of speech implies a social responsibility shutting down antisocial speech in venues that are not common carriers, not perpetuating antisocial activities, or worse (as reddit is doing) actively promoting it. They are well within their legal right to promote antisocial behavior, but it is ethically right to call them out on being shitty admins/moderators.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 6:20 AM on October 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


    Now that I think about it I wonder if a "for prurient purposes" clause would dry that slope up. Any attorneys or speech activists have thoughts there?
    posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:09 AM on October 12


    Uh...who decides what prurient purposes are? Would a litmus test as foolproof as the one for obscenity be designed?

    (To be clear, very happy creepshots is shut down, very happy violentacrez getting doxed, find legislation banning photography for "prurient purposes" problematic on its face)
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 6:27 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    One of reddit's "power users" has claimed that one of the guys listed on Predditors was violently assaulted earlier this week. Did he deserve it?
    posted by waraw at 6:38 AM on October 12, 2012


    Did it happen?
    posted by griphus at 6:38 AM on October 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


    waraw: They refuse to show proof. I can say that they actually were injured because the predditor was in the process of raping a 13 year old and got beat up as a result, but unless proof is provided that's a fucking load of bullshit.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 6:39 AM on October 12, 2012


    Also, if they want to cry about how doxing is creating actual damage, then they need to address how r/creepshots enabled an actual teacher to post pics of their students. Unlike the doxing example, this actually happened. Actual harm resulted from r/creepshots.

    Making an argument to curtail doxing in the interest of "safety" (to abrogate "freedom of speech" due to some unproven acusations) is bullshit when they're defending creepy pedophiles actually harming society.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 6:47 AM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    So if someone gets the shit beaten out of them for taking pictures in public (not upskirts or downshirts, just what one can see on the street) they deserve it because pedophiles?
    posted by waraw at 7:06 AM on October 12, 2012


    So if someone gets the shit beaten out of them for molesting children they deserve it because pedophiles?

    It's a bit petty, but the statement above has just as much validity as to what exactly happened. There is zero proof someone got beaten up from taking creepshots and posting it on r/creepshots. Additionally, getting beaten up in public for taking creepshots has no bearing on reddit at all.

    What we DO KNOW for a fact is underage teenagers had their trust in their teacher shattered because he posted pictures that were uploaded with sexual intent to the internet. I do not see why the creepers need defending but the students do not. There is no reason to ban Gawker in the interest of public safety, if they do not have the same concern for those students.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 7:11 AM on October 12, 2012


    Not answering my question, got it.
    posted by waraw at 7:12 AM on October 12, 2012


    Waraw: you haven't answered their question either.

    Citation needed. Really. Prove anyone was beaten up specifically as a consequence of being doxed as a member of creepshots.

    You can't.

    Ergo, I would like you to accept at face value my contention that I was murdered six days ago by the members of the creepshot community, subsequent to a criminal conspiracy hatched by them on Reddit, with the connivance of the Conde Naste owners.
    posted by aramaic at 7:13 AM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    My belief is that no, creepers taking pictures in public should not have the shit beaten out of them in many situations. You cannot accurately decide what cases are valid or not from a judicial perspective.

    I don't understand how that question is relevant in face of the fact that people were actually harmed with proof by r/creepshots. Making an appeal to public safety is bullshit as a justification for censoring Gawker.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 7:13 AM on October 12, 2012


    Alright, I'll bite -

    Waraw, IF someone is assaulted, no, they did not deserve it, even if they were a member of this site.

    HOWEVER - IF someone on Reddit is really claiming they were beaten up, we would need to see some proof of this, as the members of creepshot already seem to be operating in a mindset that seems to use deceptiveness a lot. So, IF this person got beat up, we will need to see proof of that having happened before counseling them.

    Just as I am going to require YOU to cite evidence that someone on Reddit really IS claiming to have been beaten up, as opposed to you personally coming up with a story just to turn around on us all in a "gotcha". At least when I make analogies, I'm clear they're just hypotheticals.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:17 AM on October 12, 2012


    formless: “Reddit is more libertarian than Metafilter, that's true.”

    It's still humorous to me that everyone seems to think that the banning of Gawker links across dozens (maybe hundreds) of subreddits in an attempt to quash and utterly obliterate the evil doxxers who are violating our sacred rules by exercising their "freedom of speech" is a noble and idealistic exercise of libertarian freedom.

    Let's be realistic. Reddit is not "more libertarian" than Metafilter. Reddit does not have "fewer rules." Reddit bans more people in a day than Metafilter does in a month, and deletes more comments in an hour than we do in a week.
    posted by koeselitz at 7:21 AM on October 12, 2012 [18 favorites]


    So popping back in — and, yep, still full McNulty over here, still think that reddit needs to burn1 — to say that possibly this discussion would be clearer / less contentious if people would drop the interwebz/4chan jargon when talking about "doxxing."

    Because, like, I think I know what the word means, but I'm not quite sure how everyone is using it. I guess my main confusion is whether it means uncovering someone's identity in order to publicly shame them, or if it just means any act of private investigation of internet people. If it's the latter, it's legitimately insane to define that as the online equivalent of a nuclear bomb.

    Can we just stop using the ridiculous term? it seems to cast much more shadow than light...

    1: (or, in localroger's terms, face an existential threat.)
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:22 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Nothing like a bit of surreal thinking at the end of a long thread to mix things up.

    It's pretty obvious you haven't given much thought to the situation... But I gotta wonder — had you read even one word of this thread before pitching that turd at us, waraw?
    posted by five fresh fish at 7:24 AM on October 12, 2012


    I can easily imagine a scenario where someone is closely following and taking photos of an underaged girl, and being threatening and creepy enough to get an ass kicking. But I also see people every day, men and women, taking photos of their friends and of storefronts and so on, and while I presume some of them are surreptitiously photographing asses in yoga pants, I've never yet even seen someone get challenged, much less get beaten up.

    So I call derailish strawman on this one. If it becomes a phenomenon, it would be interesting to talk about it, but if it's just a gotcha hypothetical I'm not so interested.
    posted by Forktine at 7:25 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    You can't tip a buck: Well, doxxing has a very particular meaning in this history of hacker/cracker culture. It's been around for a really really really long time. It means dropping someone's personal information (usually in a text file) without permission, and that isn't just name and address. It can be phone number, pictures, list of friends, aliases, comments, etc.

    Doxing is explicitly defined as an outing of an anonymous username/handle. If the person being doxed wasn't anonymous in the first place, it wouldn't be doxing someone. It's seen as a nuclear bomb because that person will probably have to create a new handle and identity, it's intended to kill the identity and force the person to make a new one if they wish to stay anonymous.

    There is a difference between outing someone (e.g. Valerie Plame), and doxing, which is more like virtual manila folder of personal information for a known handle. There's no real other easy name for it, and doxing is going to stick because it's a term that's been around and is a concise way to describe that list.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 7:27 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    waraw: “So if someone gets the shit beaten out of them for taking pictures in public (not upskirts or downshirts, just what one can see on the street) they deserve it because pedophiles?”

    This didn't happen. And nobody said it would be good if it did. In fact, few here have even argued in favor of "doxxing" in this thread.

    You may wish to see violent and malicious ghosts on Metafilter who despise Reddit and want to see its users meet with terrible and unjustified harm, but they don't exist.
    posted by koeselitz at 7:27 AM on October 12, 2012


    One of reddit's "power users" has claimed that one of the guys listed on Predditors was violently assaulted earlier this week. Did he deserve it?

    If this is true was it because of the outing or because he got caught taking pictures of the wrong woman?

    But, I wonder, if this is not some sort of sexual assault, why couldn't the posters simply ask permission to take the photos and post them? Would one reasonably assume that the subjects would say no?
    posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:29 AM on October 12, 2012


    Since I had no idea what this "Digg implosion" is that everyone refers to, Here are two links to previous Metafilter threads on the subject.

    To me, the "predditors" website and demands like this are merely righteous strikes for justice in a sexist world that routinely harms and kills women and costs society. [Apologies for USA-centric stats]

    In that social context, the "free speech" issue is that *Samantha be free to shame self-avowed "creeps."
    posted by eustatic at 7:30 AM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    As a reaction to this thread, a bunch of people from /r/thisdidn'tactuallyhappen beat up a MeFite. I'm not going to say which one, or what they did to get beaten up, or if it actually happened or not, but it happened. Is that right? Is that fair?
    posted by griphus at 7:30 AM on October 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


    Breaking news: We have confirmation of the beating. I'm not going to say where it is, but here is an old pirate treasure map with an X where you might find the evidence.

    You might also find a treasure chest full of Chuck E. Cheese tokens.
    posted by griphus at 7:33 AM on October 12, 2012


    More breaking news: A 13 year old girl told me she was being violently raped by a predditor and in self defense attacked him. Right before he tried to rape her, he mumbled, "bacon narwhal midnight." She escaped safely but she cannot provide evidence that this actually happened because we need to protect her identity in the interest of her safety and the fact that she's underage. A r/creepshots predditor really did try to rape a 13 year old.

    See how easy this is?
    posted by amuseDetachment at 7:33 AM on October 12, 2012


    So if someone gets the shit beaten out of them for taking pictures in public (not upskirts or downshirts, just what one can see on the street) they deserve it because pedophiles?

    Nah, but you're framing this as an either-or thing when it really isn't. The takeaway from both situations is that personal information shouldn't be published!

    What's really weird is some of the prioritizing going on though - where "gotchas" like that get much less scrutiny than say, the discussion of the teacher posting the students' pictures.
    posted by GenericUser at 7:34 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Yeah the term doxxing sounds sort of fancy but I'm fairly certain it mostly means something a bit more badass and scary than what actually happened here, like taking someone who has been trying to maintain an anonymous profile and then outing them including info like their SSN, home address, that sort of thing. This was more like doxxing lite, adding up the pieces of information that people made available about themselves and collating them in one place with the strong implication "Hey these people are creeps". Not saying "So hey, it's cool" because I still think it isn't, just saying that most of the time when people talk about doxxing it's a lot more of a scorched earth sort of thing. This sort of dossier-compiling may be seen as creepy but it's not the nuclear option that doxxing (usually) is.

    And yeah, beating people for whatever reason is against the law even if they are jerks. And the only verification of this beating is the word of a known Reddit troll. I don't think anyone here is saying that it's okay to beat people for being creepers. "They deserved it because REASONS" is generally the sort of victim-blamey stuff that doesn't fly over here. You can find the Predditor response interesting to view and talk about in a turn-the-tables without thinking it was okay for someone to do that or that you would personally find it okay to do that. There are an awful lot of connect the dots things that people could even do over here with the personal information that people have shared, but we've created a culture where that's mostly seen as interesting-but-creepy and we have a low tolerance for creepy here.
    posted by jessamyn at 7:35 AM on October 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


    Enough with the fucking rape hypotheticals, please and thank you.
    posted by lazaruslong at 7:35 AM on October 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


    From an interview with Reddit's new CEO Yishan Wong:
    Not long ago some steps had to be taken to limit the nature of certain posts that reddit deemed inappropriate. Some of the subjects that were banned were quite disturbing. How was this decision made (I realize it was before you became CEO) and will drawing that balance between user freedom and appropriate content be a difficult task?

    Yeah, it was before my time. reddit strives to be a neutral communications platform like email or twitter, so we don’t make decisions like that from an editorial mindset, but rather based on whether they interfere with our operational ability to run the site. For instance, even the SOPA blackout was actually based on that – many people have the impression that it was a “protest” move, but it was also strongly motivated by the very practical concern that SOPA really did threaten the ability of reddit to operate.
    So even though the Founders aren't running the place any more it does appear that they found a guy who is on their page -- an engineer who's been an active Redditor himself since 2005, and survived what was probably a pretty deep philosophical vetting before they hired him.
    posted by localroger at 7:39 AM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    If you encourage the sort of open and expressive culture that creates stuff like Jeremy Marks bail (previously) then you'll inherently open yourself up to asshats like these creeper types. If you moderate yourself into a niche, then you'll serve exactly that niche.

    I'm certainly not against moderated forums, well I visit wikipedia and metafilter but not reddit myself. Yet, I'm happy they're trying such an open laissez-faire approach because that's the only way you find new social norms. Also, I'd expect the creeper types will mostly be driven off reddit rather soonish, such house cleaning is what happens as local social norms grow to accommodate the main stream over time.

    So what if reddit removes some gawker links for a while? I'm sure reddit can find their election stories elsewhere, maybe less sensationalized. And gawker loves the publicity their fights generate, ala iphone theft, tv-b-gone, etc. Isn't this all beneficial for both reddit and gawker?
    posted by jeffburdges at 7:41 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    So what if reddit removes some gawker links for a while?
    That's the actual problem here!

    Reddit claims to be a bastion of free speech, but is moralizing Gawker's activities? WTF.

    Gawker is press. Hiding pedophiles behind "free speech" and taking a "open laissez-faire approach" is a fucking lie when as a community they have given Gawker the banhammer but r/politics comes to the defense of jailbait and creepshots.

    So reddit's community defends pedophiles but bans Gawker, that is fucked up.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 7:45 AM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    I believe the /r/politics mods were pretty clear that they objected only to gawker's methods. I defended gawker's methods upthread but certainly the issue isn't so cut-and-dry. I'd expect this gawker ban blows over eventually though, yeah? So what?

    Also, I haven't seen the /r/politics mods bring up /r/jailbait like you seemingly claim but I didn't read far. Can you cite any reddit mods making the /r/jailbait connection?
    posted by jeffburdges at 7:59 AM on October 12, 2012


    Article in which POTATO_IN_MY_ANUS identifies as a woman. Defends creepshots because she beleives it trivializes sex crimes.

    Who the hell knows what is going on anymore.
    posted by Ad hominem at 8:01 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    You can find the Predditor response interesting to view and talk about in a turn-the-tables without thinking it was okay for someone to do that or that you would personally find it okay to do that.

    Like standing in a crowded elevator or trying not to overhear a nearby phone call, I think we tend to presume, as a courtesy, that everyone's online behavior is more anonymous than it is. The Predditor response is a violation of this courtesy, obviously. But this must be a reciprocal courtesy; and—at the very least—it isn't courteous to take surreptitious sex pics of strangers to share and oogle online. Given that those reddit users obviously have no use for any kind of courtesy at all, there aren't many grounds for them to demand it from others.
    posted by octobersurprise at 8:02 AM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    jeffburdges: I'm saying that they do not care that r/jailbait is HARMING minors but suddenly care when Gawker outs those people that harm minors. r/creepshots and r/jailbait are laregly the same people.

    Do they not object to r/jailbait's and r/creepshot's methods? Because the fundamental problem isn't r/politics individually, it's reddit as a community. r/politics' actions against Gawker were deemed acceptable and reddit rallied around it by banning Gawker from a whole swath of subreddits. Kotaku was banned from r/gaming because it's owned by Gawker.

    They come to the defense of r/creepshots circling the wagon and banning Gawker.

    If they have a problem with Gawker's free speech, why don't they have a problem with r/creepshot's speech? Why is Gawker's objectionable methods worthy of banning when no advocacy is made against r/creepshots?

    r/politics defense of r/creepshots is visible in their actual actions. Reminder: Gawker is the press.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 8:04 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Defends creepshots because she beleives it trivializes sex crimes.

    So that's what an aneurysm feels like.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:12 AM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Ad hominem: "Article in which POTATO_IN_MY_ANUS identifies as a woman. Defends creepshots because she beleives it trivializes sex crimes."

    That's not entirely true. She says that she thinks that creepshots are bad, but that equating creepshot participants with sex offenders trivializes real sex crime. Like forcible rape. Not fake sex crime, like this whole "non-consensually objectified as a masturbation aid" thing.

    Ugh.
    posted by Phire at 8:14 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    jeffburdges: “I believe the /r/politics mods were pretty clear that they objected only to gawker's methods. I defended gawker's methods upthread but certainly the issue isn't so cut-and-dry. I'd expect this gawker ban blows over eventually though, yeah? So what?”

    It's no skin off my nose; I dislike Gawker on principle, and I don't have any stake in seeing their links spread across any subreddits.

    The "what" here is that the Gawker ban makes it clear and obvious to everyone involved that Reddit absolutely does not have a "laissez-faire" attitude, as you said earlier. They are not more "libertarian." They are not more willing to let things fly in the name of free speech. They've instituted a ban that even Metafilter has never instituted, all in the name of driving some ideological change in larger society. That's pretty much the opposite of "laissez-faire."
    posted by koeselitz at 8:15 AM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Once upon a time, a member of the SCOTUS said this:


    .....the right to be let alone—the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. "


    Louis Brandeis
    posted by brujita at 8:18 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    So in short, it'd be pretty darn cool if we lived in a world where you can have free speech and privacy together on a site without violations of either; this is pretty much a case study in why the latter should be favored, though
    posted by GenericUser at 8:26 AM on October 12, 2012


    I'm dubious that this ban carries all that much weight though, either they'll make a pro-ban argument that convinces other moderators, or the link ban will fail after a while. There was talk about banning gizmode from various conferences after the tv-b-gone prank, but nothing happened. I've heard people discuss banning gawker links other places for various slights as well, never heard about it actually happening though.
    posted by jeffburdges at 8:28 AM on October 12, 2012


    Not sure what that means, jeffburdges.
    posted by koeselitz at 8:31 AM on October 12, 2012


    Belitting the Gawker ban is ridiculous. Gawker is banned from many of the *major* subreddits, many of the ones that are default for new users and ones not logged in.

    I also think there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of free speech here and on reddit. The very criteria of free speech is protection of unpopular speech.

    r/jailbait and r/creepshots were laregely tolerated by the community. I'd argue that they weren't necessarily popular, but they were accepted as being the creepy uncle (SRS nonwithstanding).

    Attacking reddit, on the other hand, is the true unpopular speech. No community likes to be attacked, and the true to test of whether an organization believes in free speech is protecting speech when they themselves are being attacked. A government that protects free speech is BY DEFINITION a government that protect speech against the government.

    Gawker has attacked reddit in a very public way and reddit has retaliated by squashing their speech. This is the very model of when you should protect speech if you actually believe in free speech. They are undermining the social justification of free speech and sowing confusion as to why it is necessary in the larger civil society.

    By protecting pedophiles and not protecting speech when attacked, they are showing they have absolutely no care for the social justification for free speech. They are using a shit argument for "free speech" to hide behind their apparent love for creepy fucking pedophiles and need to be called out for that. Protecting unpopular criticism comes before protecting pedophiles. When faced with accusations, instead of responding in a responsible manner, their community has banned the criticism in very visible forums and rallied behind despicable people. One begins to question their motivation for doing so.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 8:32 AM on October 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


    To me, an "absolute free speech community" is a contradiction of terms. Communities are about a generally agreed upon set of principles both in terms of social norms, codified private ordinances, and actual mechanical rules.

    For example of mechanical. As one of the 'rules' of the Metafilter community (and, I'm sure Reddit as well) I cannot inject malicious JavaScript iframes into my comments--this is something addressed by the basic code of the site, I cannot arbitrarily define the amount of 'favorites' my comments get, I cannot change the datestamp on my comments. These are basic restrictions on freedom of speech.

    For an example of codified private ordinances, I'm sure there are things that are mechanically allowed by the site code on Reddit but socially restricted by common agreement. I, for example, cannot post thousands of rickroll links in threads, I cannot continually post how much I want to "kill the Jews". I cannot use obscene or offensive language.

    Communities of almost any stature online, in fact, formally codify this set of restrictions on my freedom of expression.

    Here is Reddit's. Here is Metafilter's.

    These documents outline the cost of being a part of each respective community in return for the benefits I perceive to get from that community. In fact, I would say that an agreed upon set of social and mechanical constructions define communities in their entirety. A community without any such restrictions, either explicit or implicit, is entirely in the realm of a thought experiment--a formless void.

    The idea that, upon these private group rules rules, hangs the balance of our legislated public society is ludicrous to me and indicates a complete lack of understanding in how private, noncompulsory communities work as well as a complete misreading of what 'Freedom of Speech' actually means in Western society.

    I mean, the aforelinked Reddit TOS Bans the use of obscene language. Where are the sounds of gnashed teeth and wrungéd hands over a far more clear cut abrogation of somebody's freedom of expression? The answer, of course, is because a rational thinking person would know that the rules of a private group may be pervasive and large in scale, but its ramifications for your restriction of rights in public society is tenuous at best.
    posted by whittaker at 8:50 AM on October 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


    > By protecting pedophiles and not protecting speech when attacked, they are showing they have absolutely no care for the social justification for free speech.

    Reddit's CEO Yishan Wong made it clear that the business of Reddit comes first, with any high-minded principles later. Or as he put it when discussing closing r/jailbait:
    We make the decision not on the basis of savory-ness or moral judgement. We make the decision on the basis of our pragmatic ability to run the site efficiently, with a bias towards freedom of expression.

    ...

    removing /r/jailbait was not done due to a moral judgment, but because the consequences of allowing it to continue prompted other events external to reddit that threatened the existence of the site.
    That what makes the Gawker ban so interesting. With r/jailbait, the Admins felt there was a genuine threat to their "neutral communications platform" from the danger of having child porn traded and posted, so they acted properly contrite. With r/creepshots, the Admins have done the requisite banning, but the fact that the photos were technically legal means there's really no existential threat, just bad press. So why not let the users take a few swipes at Gawker and paint them as the bad guys?
    posted by Panjandrum at 8:56 AM on October 12, 2012


    It's easy to talk about boycotts, link bans, etc. but actually maintaining one is another matter. We've defacto banned many stupid sites like stormfront, ebaums world, etc. here, but basically that works because those sites suck and our moderators maintain some continuity.

    I'm unfamiliar with reddit's moderation system specifically but usually community run sites like reddit choose their moderators themselves, unlike say metafilter where an authority selects moderators. It's rare that such community moderators hold any ultimate authority outside their ability to construct a coherent argument. If so, then either the banning moderators must make an argument the community adheres to, or their ban won't survive once this all blows over.

    I believe your argument that the gawker ban represents reddit moderators "circling the wagons" to protect themselves from doxxing, but that suggests that they'll relent once it settles in that only the creapy ones got targeted.
    posted by jeffburdges at 8:58 AM on October 12, 2012


    > I mean, the aforelinked Reddit TOS Bans the use of obscene language.

    And that TOS is followed just as assiduously as Reddiquette, I assure you.
    posted by Panjandrum at 9:01 AM on October 12, 2012


    jeffburdges: Redditors don't get to choose its moderators. One cannot throw out the moderators of r/politics if they're assholes. There is zero voting process, they're dictators for life. Further many of the moderators for top tier subreddits (such as r/politics) are in constant contact with admins and each other. Redditors claim the only alternative on their "free speech" site is to create an alternate, like r/politics2. Unfortunately, creating an alternate subreddit with your own moderators means your subreddit doesn't show up, it doesn't EXIST, for people that don't explicitly add it -- that includes people not logged in.

    This tacit approval of certain subreddits is problematic. Further, my beef isn't merely with the admins, it's with reddit as a community. It's largely supportive of banning Gawker while hiding their support of r/creepshots behind free speech. They are doing actual damage to the spirit of free speech when doing so, and absolutely need to be called out on it.

    Shutting down the archetypal example of free speech while hiding despicable actions behind the banner of "free speech" has no basis for any sort of defense beyond sympathizing with creepy pedophiles, the free speech argument falls flat on its face.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:05 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    when people keep repeating "pedophiles" over and over i start to feel like i'm being manipulated
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:07 AM on October 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


    Panjandrum: I'm sure that's true. But it is still a formal rule that exists as a fundamental part of that community--seemingly contradicting this assertion that it is "all about free speech."

    And yes, community rules both implicit and explicit are exercised on reddit or nobody would get banned and no comment would be deleted.
    posted by whittaker at 9:09 AM on October 12, 2012


    This, of course, alludes to you: r/jailbait and r/creepshots shared many of the same moderators. jailbait posted clearly underage girls. There were hidden subreddits which shared actual child porn before CNN's attention shut them down.

    While I sympathize with suspicions towards "think of the children" as an authoritarian justification myself, I don't understand why Gawker got banned, an actual member of the Press. Suspecting redditors as a community being more interested in protecting pedophiles than protecting free speech isn't that unreasonable, nor is it manipulative.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:12 AM on October 12, 2012


    But it is still a formal rule that exists as a fundamental part of that community

    It's not fundamental to reddit. The TOS that matters is this one: rules of reddit. I bet most redditors have never even seen the "official" TOS. The rules are linked at the bottom of every webpage on reddit. I have no idea where the user agreement is even located. Also, it has never been enforced. (Well maybe it was back in the very early days, but it hasn't been used in years) And if the Admins did start enforcing it, reddit members would riot in the streets.
    posted by nooneyouknow at 9:27 AM on October 12, 2012


    nooneyouknow: Which set of rules is enforced or not doesn't really change the overall bearing of my argument. Reddit has rules that are a much more restricted subset of public rights and can and has ejected people and deleted posts for doing so.

    Whether they get a comment deleted for personal information or because they used 'obscene language' is nitpicking over details.
    posted by whittaker at 9:36 AM on October 12, 2012


    i don't go to reddit so i don't know who mods what. encyclopedia dramatica doesn't seem to be a thing anymore, or i'd check there. all i'm saying is, to an outsider, the confluence of "think of the children" with some dudes who historically have not been up to any good and fucking gawker is sketchy as fuck.

    i mistrust anything that couches itself in the language of moral outrage and wisdom of disgust.
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:39 AM on October 12, 2012


    I'd just much rather they consider banning creepy pedo subreddits before banning Gawker from a website if they had to choose one. Pedos don't need protection from a privately owned website, they can do what they've always done, create their crappy tor hidden nodes. On the other hand, Gawker needs our protection, because even though they're a bunch of fucking assholes, they actually do news reporting. Throwing actual (albeit asshole) journalists under the bus to protect pedophiles is bizarre.

    By tacitly accepting r/jailbait, reddit has created a toxic community and they need to be called out on it. Their only defense for harboring r/jailbait was freedom of speech, which is obvious bullshit now. If they never banned r/jailbait, stuck to their guns, kept r/creepshots, and the community didn't rally around to ban Gawker, we'd be having a completely different decision. I may even be on the side of reddit's position, at least it would make sense. But that's not the case. They're being scumbags and don't deserve any sympathy. Doing their damnedest to avoid shutting skeevy subreddits down due to media pressure and then censoring media for criticizing r/creepshots is manipulative as all fuck.

    How is it possible that it's people critical of reddit possibly being manipulative with your emotions, when reddit is the one censoring and hiding behind "free speech" when they obviously don't believe in it at all?
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:51 AM on October 12, 2012


    ThatFuzzyBastard: Now that I think about it I wonder if a "for prurient purposes" clause would dry that slope up.

    Probably not. Please see all of the "use US Postal Form 1500 to stop getting unwanted ads" advice on the Internet (Form 1500 specifically references "erotically arousing or sexually provocative" mailings, yet is touted as the panacea for everything from credit card come-ons to pizza ads).
    posted by hanov3r at 9:51 AM on October 12, 2012


    You see the problem? You're tacitly supporting bullying because you're using the internet.... because that's how broad that brush goes? Etc. Using reddit is only tacit approval when it's thought of as something that's intended to be a single entity, but it really isn't that.

    Reddit is absolutely a single entity. It is all owned by one company, there are admins to see over the whole thing. The Reddit logo is at the top of every subreddit. On a more social level, I've seen plenty of people call themselves "Redditors" in online profiles, and I've been to Reddit meetups. There are Reddit "superstars", like our old friend Violentacrez. There's even a secret, oft-mocked phrase to identify other Redditors in public ("The bacon narwhals at midnight." Tell no one!).

    I'm not saying that all Redditors are evil or even that people need to quit Reddit. But I do think that people who use the site and know about this stuff need to acknowledge that Reddit as a whole is quite broken and really really gross in some places. Acknowledge that first, and then decide to either actively combat it (even if that's just making sure you tell idiots to shut up) or simply to give up and remove your contribution. I chose the latter, but that's me.
    posted by jess at 9:59 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Gawker needs our protection, because even though they're a bunch of fucking assholes, they actually do news reporting.

    "Needs out protection" may be a little OTT because no one's putting Gawker out of business, Reddit's just shooting itself in the foot. But "reporting," crystallizes something I've only felt vaguely until now: In a lot of ways I prefer the candid assholery at Gawker to the more well-mannered variety at the Huff Po. Maybe that's because the Gawkers can at least entertain the idea of being old fashioned yellow journalists while the Po always looks like a big blinking news aggregator with comments.

    Fortunately, this is the internet and I needn't choose only one kind of assholery.
    posted by octobersurprise at 11:23 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    It is all owned by one company, there are admins to see over the whole thing.

    There are no sitewide content moderation admins. There are no people employed by Reddit whose job is to monitor and police content. This is fundamental to how Reddit defines itself. It doesn't matter how much you shout that they could take responsibility if they wanted to, because if they had to they would consider that tacit self-destruction of the core of what Reddit is.

    To the Reddit site-as-a-whole guardians, Reddit is like a body. A body is made up of cells but it is not the cells it is made of. A person or animal seems like a single thing that you'd expect to have control and awareness of itself. But that's not how it works, and for the most part that is a good thing; the cells I am made of mostly go about their business with no awareness of me as a whole and with no awareness of my part of what they're doing.

    That's what Reddit wants to be, an ecosystem where the component parts synergize into a glorious larger whole. It is in some ways not unlike a religious conviction which is why you are not going to get Reddit-as-a-whole to ever do anything about errant subreddits unless you can trigger their fight-or-flight response. They have been absolutely consistent about this.

    In addition to the deeply rooted philosophy there is a practical reason for Reddit to die on this hill; it would require a large and unwieldy army of paid moderators to police a population the size of Reddit's. AOL never did keep up all that well when it tried it, and trying to automate it killed LJ.
    posted by localroger at 11:24 AM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Yeah, I think the fact that they are cheapskates is the main reason they don't want to moderate the site. All the free speech crap is just an excuse.
    posted by empath at 11:37 AM on October 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Reddit seems strikingly like usenet in many ways.
    posted by Bovine Love at 11:51 AM on October 12, 2012


    Superficially it does but I think that's a mirage. Usenet was the result of the NNTP protocol in practice. It really was a loose collection of unaffiliated discussion newsgroups with nothing in common but the technology. Rec.arts.sf.written truly had no affiliation whatsoever with alt.binaries.pictures.erotica or comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic or alt.kibo or anything else. Even the relationship with rec.arts.sf.fandom or rec.arts.sf.composition was mostly one of subscriber overlap rather than any kind of actual organization. This was by design.

    Reddit on the other hand is trying to have it both ways; a monolithic umbrella company which rakes in the advertising revenue while trying to claim it is, like usenet, a loose collection of unaffiliated discussion forums. But that's a non-starter. You make money on the creepshots and underage booty, you own the creepshots and underage booty. You are a purveyor of creepshots and underage booty.

    Usenet was the product of idealism and principle. Reddit is the product of money grubbing.
    posted by Justinian at 11:58 AM on October 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


    There are several interesting accounts of reddit's moderation problems in this daily dot article /r/anarchism's problems. In particular, it observes that /r/marijuana got replaced by /r/trees, but usually such replacements fail.

    I'd personally suggest that reddit should institute different governance systems for sub-reddits, nothing site wide, but sub-reddits could move towards more democratic limits on moderator power if they so choose. I suppose libertarians always make this mistake of ignoring how decisions get made or how leaders get selected, naively imagining that starting anew solves all problems.
    posted by jeffburdges at 1:01 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Jess: When I use my phone I can see what network is carrying me, but within certain bounds I don't expect them to be responsible for censoring what I say. There are plenty of precedents here.

    As for the community, I'm telling you from my personal experience that you can easily be on reddit and have no connection to a site-wide community. I personally don't care about violentAcrez, and never knew there was a "password", and didn't know any of this was happening, including bans on gawker which I don't believe have happened anywhere I frequent, until I came here.

    You might think it's a shame that there's no site-wide consciousness when that prevents people from caring about issues such as this, but from the perspective of r/roguelikes or r/design_critique that's a necessity and a positive. Anything other than their stated purpose is spam. Places deal with issues only as they come into their own community because they are fundamentally about their chosen topic, not about a wider community. This is pretty fundamental to what makes subreddits relevant and important.
    posted by tychotesla at 1:41 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Jusinian: does it matter if many of the users feel that it's more like usenet than, say, metafilter? Because that's certainly my issue here. I also don't see what it is about reddit's revenue that people think is significant. Wasn't usenet bought by google? Did that immediately and fundamentally change it because of where revenue and reputation went? Because I doubt it. If anything changed it I, a complete outsider, would guess it would be design or a changing context.
    posted by tychotesla at 1:49 PM on October 12, 2012


    localroger: “There are no sitewide content moderation admins. There are no people employed by Reddit whose job is to monitor and police content. This is fundamental to how Reddit defines itself. It doesn't matter how much you shout that they could take responsibility if they wanted to, because if they had to they would consider that tacit self-destruction of the core of what Reddit is.”

    I feel like that's what Reddit wants to be, but it's not how it is. The admins have had a hand in dozens of subreddits, watching content and making sure things are the way they want them to be, for years now. Hell, since hueypriest started four years ago this has absolutely been true. And the sitewide admins ban subreddits and shadowban individuals regularly, too. And they spend a lot of time talking with various prominent Redditors about how to manage the site, i.e. how to find excuses to ban or at least contain SRS, etc.

    I feel like a lot of Redditors have a really great experience on Reddit and want to think that's how Reddit as a whole functions. But it's not. The fact that the admins have never seen fit to make public statements or take sweeping actions in r/tiddlywinks does not mean that they never see fit to do those things in any subreddit.
    posted by koeselitz at 2:06 PM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Gawker has published their story on Violentacerz.
    posted by dortmunder at 2:28 PM on October 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


    In real life, Brutsch is a military father and cat-lover.

    Oh, so he's not really a disgusting vile creepy asshole? He just plays one on teevee?

    lol
    posted by elizardbits at 2:37 PM on October 12, 2012


    Gawker has published their story on Violentacerz.

    It's an interesting piece. I liked this:

    Under Reddit logic, outing Violentacrez is worse than anonymously posting creepshots of innocent women, because doing so would undermine Reddit's role as a safe place for people to anonymously post creepshots of innocent women.

    I am OK with that.

    posted by Forktine at 2:51 PM on October 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


    I think Brutsch begging not to have his name associated with his work is my favorite part of that piece.
    posted by octobersurprise at 2:54 PM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Because that's certainly my issue here. I also don't see what it is about reddit's revenue that people think is significant. Wasn't usenet bought by google?

    Google bought a usenet archive. One can no more buy usenet than one could buy email.
    posted by empath at 2:59 PM on October 12, 2012


    Crêpey Shots
    posted by homunculus at 3:10 PM on October 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Crêpey Shots

    "Pancakes and Blintzes are allowed... Waffles will be dealt with on a case by case basis depending on the attractiveness of the waffle in question."

    Okay, this kind of candid action, I can totally get behind.
    posted by jetlagaddict at 3:19 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    tychotesla:

    According to Chen's article, the administrators of Reddit, the people responsible for running the site (not moderating, but running), gave Violentacrez a "pimp hat badge" for his contributions to the site as a whole. You may feel that you have no connection to that, but the fact is that your ad views helped pay for these people to have admin positions. (Edited to add: Again, I was a frequent contributor to Reddit a couple of years ago, so my ad views helped with that too. Not saying you're a "bad person" at all, but these are just the facts.)

    I won't berate the point again after this because I suspect we'll just have to agree to disagree, but sticking your fingers in your ears and pretending that your subreddit is an island is not helping your community, it's hurting it. A number of my less internet savvy friends, for instance, have started thinking of Reddit as "the perv place" due to the increasing media coverage of that point. (Anderson Cooper talked about it last year on CNN.. this is not just a niche internet media story.)

    The fact is that you will be tarred with the Reddit.com brush by being associated with Reddit.com. Again, what you choose to do with that is up to you.
    posted by jess at 3:23 PM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Apparently ning.com is the place paedos go (previous mefi post info). I joined ning.com back when it wasn't a place that hosted your personal private social-web group for money but free and public/open and you just joined groups you saw, and there were ones like librarians and people in a particular school and stuff... there were about 60 groups, none about sex... Paedo/all crime probably is like water, it seems to find out any nook and cranny you never even imagined existed. That's what i used to think about reddit until i read some of the posts above. In an unmissable, unmistakeable act of defiance, i shall now unfollow reddit on twitter... #clicktivism
    posted by maiamaia at 3:30 PM on October 12, 2012


    [Reminder: Please don't do the "edited to add" thing - the edit function is just for typos. Thanks! ]
    posted by restless_nomad at 3:33 PM on October 12, 2012


    Chen's article was remarkably fair.
    posted by klangklangston at 3:35 PM on October 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


    koeselitz: The admins have had a hand in dozens of subreddits, watching content and making sure things are the way they want them to be, for years now.

    Well, dozens certainly isn't a very significant fraction of the existing subreddits. I would be rather surprised if someone who had put in the effort to create a playground like Reddit never actually played in it. If there are subreddits moderated by the admins then like any other moderator they would naturally exercise editorial control over those subreddits. Even with those subreddits being driven by their own net.fame, that would be a tiny fraction of reddit's overall activity.

    Making sure SRS does not become capable of mounting an existential threat is in line with their stated goals. I can believe they would encourage someone like whatsisacrez more than a lot of people here would like because he brings the site traffic, which they see as an absolute positive. I'm sure they would consider it hypocritical of themselves to bestow attaboys on r/knitting should it get real popular and not treat traffic-driving admins of r/kinkysex as well.

    Other than the jailbait roundup I haven't really seen any claim that they've ever done anything inconsistent with their charter, and I very strongly suspect the consistency there was down to their lawyer informing them that they misunderstood child porn laws as they're currently being prosecuted.
    posted by localroger at 3:38 PM on October 12, 2012


    localroger: “Making sure SRS does not become capable of mounting an existential threat is in line with their stated goals.”

    Er – that was kind of my point. The admins don't do sitewide policing of content – except concerning certain "stated goals." That is different from saying that they don't do any policing of content at all.
    posted by koeselitz at 3:43 PM on October 12, 2012


    (But I totally agree that this stuff has exactly zero impact on 99% of subreddits.)
    posted by koeselitz at 3:47 PM on October 12, 2012


    Gawker has published their story on Violentacerz.

    This is good but I hope nobody hurts his cats or his disabled wife.
    posted by infinitywaltz at 3:48 PM on October 12, 2012


    Wasn't usenet bought by google?

    What? No! Usenet isn't a company which can be bought or sold in this way. Which is part of my point. It's like asking if "the web" was bought by google.

    Dejanews was bought by google which is what you're probably thinking of. Dejanews was a thing that archived old usenet posts. But buying Dejanews was no more buying usenet (which is impossible) than buying a directory of stores at a mall is buying the mall.

    does it matter if many of the users feel that it's more like usenet than, say, metafilter?

    Metafilter isn't much like usenet at all save in some cultural ways so this isn't saying a lot. But Reddit's similarity to google is completely superficial. It has the veneer of google with none of the substance.
    posted by Justinian at 3:52 PM on October 12, 2012


    Ooops! "veneer of usenet", not "veneer of google".
    posted by Justinian at 3:52 PM on October 12, 2012


    Metafilter isn't much like usenet at all save in some cultural ways so this isn't saying a lot.

    What I was trying to say is that reddit is a system that supports communities, not a community. I get the impression that metafilter has roughly three closely linked cultures, corresponding to the blue, the green and the grey. Reddit on the other hand has cultures which don't necessarily interact with the rest of Reddit in any way. I think I may have mentioned this above, but as an example r/minecraft became the go-to-place for minecraft stuff, and contains plenty of people who don't give a shit about anything else on reddit. In that sense it is apparently like usenet.

    There are also plenty of password protected reddits that carry on their own private communities of high-school students or interest groups, etc.
    posted by tychotesla at 4:04 PM on October 12, 2012


    This is good but I hope nobody hurts his cats or his disabled wife.

    That article wasn't exactly a call to arms.
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:07 PM on October 12, 2012


    The admins don't do sitewide policing of content – except concerning certain "stated goals."

    Well, they're very open about what those goals are. Protecting Reddit's ability to operate is pretty much the entire list. It's not like they even go lurking in subreddits looking for dangerous content; SRS isn't exactly shy about its motivations.
    posted by localroger at 4:11 PM on October 12, 2012


    Gawker has published their story on Violentacerz.
    This is good but I hope nobody hurts his cats or his disabled wife.


    Are you kidding? Think about Internet Culture and most of the people who DO get harassed. He has thousands of Reddit Bros watching his family's back. I might be more worried about the Gawker writer's family, or anyone else in New York with the same surname. If Michael Brutsch (yes, I'm using his real name) loses his job over Adrien Chen's (using HIS real name too) writing about him, you can be assured that some savvy (meaning: amoral) Web entity will hire him just for his hybrid troll/moderator skills. He'd be perfect at FoxNation.

    On balance, this incident actually raises my opinion of Gawker (which is not that low, since it is the publisher of the pretty-good sites Lifehacker and i09 and I can safely ignore the other stuff 95% of the time).

    I am so glad that MetaFilter's admins/paid-moderators DO do sitewide policing of content... even when I disagree with their judgments (which would include deleting this for using REAL NAMES). If I'm going to contribute to somebody else's website, I want to deal with one with a Conscience, NOT a Consensus. And this "anonymity" issue is why I STOPPED being Wendell and became Craig L Wittler again (the name on my public user bio). I've come to believe strongly that nicknames are cool, aliases are not. (And don't worry too much about telling me your real name, I have a ROTTEN memory for names)

    BTW, I once had to curb my Freedom of Speech for the sake of my job when the owner the company I worked for ran for Mayor of Los Angeles (I no longer work there... it was Richard Riordan). When you have a single employer providing all of your income, the Bill of Rights NEVER applies to your job.
    posted by oneswellfoop at 4:22 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I imagine the FBI is very interested in Brutsch and the content of his hard drives.
    posted by five fresh fish at 5:06 PM on October 12, 2012


    Adrien Chen actually does a pretty good job of making neither himself nor VA look like an archetypal monster. In a business that thrives on sensation it can be hard to admit that life is all messy shades of gray and that someone can be both repugnant and admirable, if in different ways, at the same time. He has done us a real service by revealing in much more detail than we had before the important role VA played in Reddit's early evolution.

    It sounds like VA knew he was dancing on a knife edge; he had been terribly indiscreet IRL and it is that, not hardcore investigation, that came around to bite him on the ass. I feel more sorry for his wife and son who might have to explain why they tolerated him than I do for him since, well, he seems fairly comfortable in his offensive and infamous skin.

    If VA was that important to the moderation culture of Reddit, then this could actually be a bigger deal than I previously guessed. Reddit will probably need at least a few new volunteers to even imperfectly fill VA's shoes. They may have to face things directly that they were able to avert their gaze from because VA was handling it. They might simply have a problem finding volunteers who can be trusted to really keep things legal.

    On preview: fff, yes, I imagine someone at the FBI is thinking about VA's hard drives. Considering his reputation on Reddit for keeping things squeakily within the rails of the permissible I would imagine they would be looking for a hidden encrypted partition though. The guy may have been a creep but he obviously isn't stupid.
    posted by localroger at 5:14 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Gawker has published their story on Violentacerz.

    Man that is really something.

    First, I have to give props to Chen for an even-handed job here. When Brutsch started getting panicky about being outed, Chen made me feel the briefest flicker of pity for the guy who has made it his personal mission over the years to upset people just for the sake of upsetting them, or, as he put it, "I do my job, go home watch TV, and go on the internet. I just like riling people up in my spare time." Which is a bit of an understatement, to say the least.

    And it's not like he was especially careful about concealing his identity - he went to meet-ups, he did podcasts, he even told people his full name. This is probably why Chen is incredulous when Brutsch begs not to be outed.

    The real story in this, though, is his being allowed to continue to upload thousands of photos of underaged girls to be objectified and sexualized because he was serving as a janitor to police real over-the-line illegal content that other Reddit admins and mods didn't want to touch with a ten-foot-pole. I mean ... wow.

    Overall a great piece. Wish more people did articles like this.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:18 PM on October 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


    I'm sure they would consider it hypocritical of themselves to bestow attaboys on r/knitting should it get real popular and not treat traffic driving admins of r/kinkysex as well.

    I can get behind a lot of the pro-Reddit arguments here in principle, from avoiding retribution as justice to the value of taking the higher road to perhaps the social messaging of doxxing, but I do want to make absolutely clear here that what I personally am protesting against isn't the sexual nature of the content, it's the nonconsensuality. There are tons of kinks that squick me out, but I still think people should be able to talk about them and share about it to their hearts' content...as long as everyone is ready and willing.

    This is hardly the Internet getting up in arms about r/erotica or whatever.
    posted by Phire at 5:27 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    He was stupid enough to reveal his identity in numerous ways. He is almost certain to have been stupid enough to save/sell/trade the illegal porn. He's not really in the kind of place to say no to cash. He's got a disabled wife, alimony, a teen son.

    Chen did Brutsch no end of a favour by giving him time to physically destroy what evidence he could, rather than ratting him out immediately.

    Bruscht's inability to keep his aberrant compulsion to violate norms to satisfy his kinks is pitiful.

    That his particular thrill for the kink of violating privacy and consent led to consequences that violate his privacy and consent is just delightful, poetic schadenfreud.

    On preview: I missed reading anything about him working with a police porn squad. I'll go check, but I'm skeptical.
    posted by five fresh fish at 5:27 PM on October 12, 2012


    "Wasn't usenet bought by google?"

    This lie will bring me so much mirth to tell people. "Oh yeah, that was before the dotcom boom when google bought usenet."
    posted by klangklangston at 5:29 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    What this reminds me of, actually, is the interview between Blumkvist and Gunnar Bjork in "The Girl Who Played With Fire," right down to the pleading.
    posted by klangklangston at 5:31 PM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    but I do want to make absolutely clear here that what I personally am protesting against isn't the sexual nature of the content, it's the nonconsensuality.

    Point taken, but irrelevant; Reddit's stated policy, which they have followd with laser-like precision, is that they do not care about the nature of the content at all unless it is likely to bring the attention of powerful outside forces that could destroy Reddit. They do not care about sexuality, they do not care about consent, they do not care about anything except what is strictly likely to bring either legal trouble or a DoS attack of such magnitude that they'd have to take notice.

    That said, it appears VA was insulating them from some of the nastier corners where this philosophy drips and it will be interesting to see what happens next if he really, as seems likely from the Gawker article, retires.
    posted by localroger at 5:45 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I've been thinking about this a lot, both in the context of sexual mores and social web business. My feelings on it can be summarized pretty simply: Freedom of speech is a right that cannot be taken from you by law. Being protected by other people from the social consequences of your deliberate provocation, however, is not a guaranteed right.

    Violentacrez, by his own claim, has deliberately provoked and angered large numbers of people in order to convince people to rise up and defend free speech. To his credit, he didn't try to argue that it would be wrong of Gawker to publish his name -- he simply asked them not to, and offered to use his powers as an influential Reddit moderator to win them favorable coverage. (Itself a violation of Reddit's community guidelines, unless I misunderstand).

    Our country has carefully carved out certain exceptions to this, when certain speech serves a profound public good. Whistleblower laws, for example, are intended to protect employees from retaliation if they speak out to help the public. If Reddit users want to argue that managing a large, thriving archive of upskirt pics is a public good so critical that it deserves legal protection from social and employment consequences, they can make that argument.

    But until someone tries to legally bar him from starting subreddits, it's just karma coming back to bite him.
    posted by verb at 5:47 PM on October 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


    Jess, yeah, I think the hat is wildly irresponsible on their part.

    Despite what it may seem, I'm not really trying to say that people shouldn't give a damn. For example, I am not fundamentally opposed to pressuring admins to try to hound r/creepy_places. I certainly think r/creepy_place doesn't need to exist, especially not for "freedom of speech". I just think doing so requires a lot of careful thought and skepticism that you can't manage if you think reddit is a straw man and don't understand how it's used, how it works, and how its strengths and weaknesses are connected. Because the users apparently aren't all who people here think they are. The mods don't do what people apparently think they do. And the admins have both reasons and designs that people here are apparently only now just learning.

    but sticking your fingers in your ears and pretending that your subreddit is an island is not helping your community, it's hurting it.

    And yet treating a subreddit as an island is usually an essential factor in them being worthwhile. That's why many people who agree r/terrible_place should be shut down are never-the-less very cautious about simplistic solutions that add poorly defined agency to a system that in the past has been valuable precisely because it lacks that significant agency. So there's real tension there. Real tension that people sense they can righteously ignore if they cast reddit as a single entity of complicit mods and admins and a site-wide community. But the truth is much closer to what localroger has been describing.
    posted by tychotesla at 5:54 PM on October 12, 2012


    and offered to use his powers as an influential Reddit moderator to win them favorable coverage. (Itself a violation of Reddit's community guidelines, unless I misunderstand)

    Yeah I believe he blew what was left of his eroding cred with the Reddit site gods right there. They will defend to the death the limits of current law your right to post pics of strangers, but I don't think they will forgive cravenly trading on your standing in their community.
    posted by localroger at 5:55 PM on October 12, 2012


    Chen has posted that attempts to link to the article on reddit are failing.

    Fucking embarrassing.
    posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:03 PM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    are we at "existential threat" yet?
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:08 PM on October 12, 2012


    are we at "existential threat" yet?

    You know, it's a funny thing but I suddenly don't know. I've known a lot of guys like the founders and their current CEO and I thought that I had them pretty well angled, but I had not figured on the way VA insulated them from the NFSW side of their own creation.

    I will hereby formally take back my previous admonitions that applying social pressure to the site owners is a waste of time. At this point it might not be. I do think there is a real risk, which the CEO is aware of and against which this pressure is pushing, that caving on free speech fundamentalism will lose them a lot of important volunteers. On the other hand those guys have nowhere else similar to go, open source software notwithstanding. I find the situation that I had thought figured decidedly unfigured.
    posted by localroger at 6:20 PM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    localroger: “Reddit's stated policy, which they have followd with laser-like precision, is that they do not care about the nature of the content at all unless it is likely to bring the attention of powerful outside forces that could destroy Reddit.”

    Er – so "no doxxing" is just kind of a suggestion that a handful of subreddits enforce? My understanding was that people had been shadowbanned by admins for even mild doxing – i.e. linking Redditors to known Twitter accounts with data that's known publicly. In what was is doxxing "likely to bring the attention of powerful outside forces that could destroy Reddit"? Or was I mistaken about the rule against doxxing?
    posted by koeselitz at 6:23 PM on October 12, 2012


    Gawker has published their story on Violentacerz.

    Man that is really something.


    That is journalism. Great, solid reporting.
    posted by cashman at 6:23 PM on October 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


    The domain ban was apparently just a stopgap. Here's the notice I got a moment ago when trying to post the article:

    gawker.com is not allowed on reddit: this article is banned for revealing personal information about redditors


    A subsequent attempt to post a link directly to gawker.com was successful.
    posted by tychotesla at 6:26 PM on October 12, 2012


    koeselitz, as someone else linked above no doxxing is in fact one of the overall site rules. This is in keeping with their philosophy that anonymity is necessary for free speech, and threats to the anonymity of users are by definition structural threats to the nature of Reddit.

    Not suggesting that I agree with this, I see holes in it you could drive a truck through, but it's their philosophy and they're sticking to it.
    posted by localroger at 6:29 PM on October 12, 2012


    Why would anyone engaged in doxxing give a shit if their reddit account was banned as a result? BFD. If that particular account name is important, one would create a new account for the dox release.

    I just don't see that "rule" as enforcable.
    posted by five fresh fish at 6:30 PM on October 12, 2012


    This is in keeping with their philosophy that anonymity is necessary for free speech

    I think it is fantastic that ability of those young women to engage in free speech by having their crotches photographed is being protected so vigorously.
    posted by Forktine at 6:31 PM on October 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


    fff, that's one of those holes you could drive a truck through. Although given the site moderation scheme, there is advantage to releasing the dox from a prominent account rather than a n00b.
    posted by localroger at 6:32 PM on October 12, 2012


    And I do so wish people would stop saying that reddit is anonymous. Unless one is savvy enough to use an untraceable IP route, it isn't private.

    Further, a lot of the "doxxd" creepers weren't remotely anonymous. They used their real names, talked about their real lives, were just not anon.
    posted by five fresh fish at 6:34 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    localroger: “koeselitz, as someone else linked above no doxxing is in fact one of the overall site rules. This is in keeping with their philosophy that anonymity is necessary for free speech, and threats to the anonymity of users are by definition structural threats to the nature of Reddit. Not suggesting that I agree with this, I see holes in it you could drive a truck through, but it's their philosophy and they're sticking to it.”

    Right. So, like I've been saying all along – the admins do police the site for content.
    posted by koeselitz at 6:34 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    So, like I've been saying all along – the admins do police the site for content.

    The word police suggests a level of interaction which I don't think is happening. I think that when things are brought to their attention, perhaps often by members of the #2 tier of connected ubermoderators, they will act. But the site gods themselves don't go looking for content violations. There's just too much content and too few employees to think that's realistic.
    posted by localroger at 6:38 PM on October 12, 2012


    Had the Reddit admins never moderated a site before? The Chen article does a good job of establishing VA as a troll from day 1. He's been stirring up outrage on the site for as long as he's been that and was allowed to get away with it so long as he kept his sleazy quadrant of Reddit in order. But you can't just let someone like that roam around with free reign, he's just going to escalate (like he did).
    posted by Panjandrum at 6:41 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I think someone mentioned, they are after money. Just like with the jailbait fiasco, I really thank the mods here for being great. They don't let people trying to tie the site up with silly hypotheticals ruin the site. They are also really tolerant of a lot of people, and just have a great demeanor. They haven't given in to many things that could be done to make the site boatloads of money that would ruin the community. I hope when we see things like this we never stop appreciating how hard our mods work to make this a great place to be.
    posted by cashman at 6:47 PM on October 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


    Panjandrum, this is part of what redeems Chen's article. It was apparently a really interesting balancing act in the early days as the site gods danced with VA and came to understand that he could be a force to be deployed to their advantage. I had always assumed the Founders were virulent Free Speech advocates of the sort who came to Larry Flynt's defense back in the day, and who could stomach the stuff they were defending. Apparently, while they believe intellectually in that, they left the implementation of that end of their site to VA. That now creates an interesting vacuum.
    posted by localroger at 6:48 PM on October 12, 2012


    An additional thought: VA spent thousands of hours of unpaid time possibly making it possible for Reddit to be what it is today. Instead of percentages and stock options he gets this article about his noxiousness on the interweb. That's a pretty raw deal. The Founders, Conde, the new CEO et al are making out like bandits thanks to his screen play and he just got cut from the team without even a payday.
    posted by localroger at 6:55 PM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Shucks. I guess there might be consequences to being a practicing creeper. Who could ever have imagined!
    posted by five fresh fish at 7:02 PM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I think I read a science fiction story about that when I was a kid. Something about how you don't invite the assassin you hired to the table when the job is done.
    posted by localroger at 7:06 PM on October 12, 2012


    Yeah, localrodger, I get the whole appeal of having what was basically a highly motivated unpaid intern that earned Reddit loads of cash. What I don't get is why they though ceding a large chunk of authority to someone who, as the article puts it, likes "riling people up in [his] spare time." It's just really strange to me that the admins of the site saw VA creating subs like "chokeabitch" and "rapebait" and didn't think of the long term consequences of his actions on their site. It's not so much "free speech" as a deliberate blindness.

    And as for VA's raw deal: he reaped what he sowed.
    posted by Panjandrum at 7:07 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Panjandrum, I think they were being results-based, and bringing VA into the inner circle is the kind of thing that's easy to do when you don't believe it's the Devil who is offering the contract you're signing.

    And as for his raw deal, I wasn't saying that is a bad thing. For his wife and kid maybe. But yeah, I have wished this fate upon others like him many times and at certain levels I am reluctant to visit too often, the shadenfreude is delicious.
    posted by localroger at 7:13 PM on October 12, 2012


    I guess what I'm saying is that it seems incredibly boneheaded of people who embrace unrestricted free speech as a business model and personal ethos to embrace someone who abuses that privilege by regularly shouting rhetorical "fire" in rhetorical theaters. That no one on the paid Reddit staff realized how VA's actions might undermine and poison their whole ethos is a glaring blindspot in their thinking.
    posted by Panjandrum at 7:13 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Panjandrum, the whole "fire in a crowded theater" thing was overturned in US law in 1969. It was always a fig leaf for those wanting to ignore the First Amendment and silence war protesters. Not pertinent here.
    posted by localroger at 7:21 PM on October 12, 2012


    And yet it persists as a metaphor for people who would take a fundamental right and abuse it to the detriments of others.
    posted by Panjandrum at 7:23 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    "That is journalism. Great, solid reporting."

    I wouldn't go that far. It's a good, fair article that needs a run through an editor to clean it up and turn it into something publishable.
    posted by klangklangston at 7:28 PM on October 12, 2012


    It's a good, fair article that needs a run through an editor to clean it up and turn it into something publishable.

    OH FUCK I agree with klangklangston about something. NEXT ON FOX: cats and dogs sleeping together.
    posted by localroger at 7:38 PM on October 12, 2012


    I guess I just liked the tone and the depth of it. There was a good amount of research behind it, and I thought it did a good job of presenting the story as "here it is" and letting the facts themselves hit you. A lot of articles that get on the longer side like to just wander on with the author's personal desire to prance through their own mind, but here it seemed to stay focused throughout.
    posted by cashman at 7:39 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    To be honest, I've been thinking about the question I asked earlier – is anonymity an essential component of the freedom of speech? – and now I'm not sure it is.

    I mean – clearly it hasn't been historically, right? It wasn't even really feasible, at least not to all and not on a real level. A hundred years ago, two hundred years ago, if you were in the right place at the right time maybe you could publish something under an assumed name; but that didn't guarantee that you'd be heard, and moreover that didn't guarantee that somebody wouldn't figure out it was you anyway.

    Now, this thing is sorta-kinda within our grasp – it is suddenly imaginable that you could be on the internet and have a social life for years and say and do things on the internet with freedom knowing that nobody will ever know it was you saying and doing those things. And it's immediate and intuitive to us, the value that has. All of us know what it means to be shamed for certain ideas, and since our society has always valued the freedom to speak one's mind without being punished for it, this seems like an idealistic thing to hold up.

    But – I'm not sure sure it's a necessary part of the freedom of speech. It's certainly of value in a world where people experience horrible retaliation for exercising their freedoms; however, what we're doing here is assuming that we live in such a world.

    More to the point, I guess, what we have to keep in mind is that the idea that anonymity is essential to the freedom of speech creates rights that run up against and violate the freedom of speech – and we have to consider whether that's a good idea.

    I mean – in this case, Reddit wants to say that anonymity is an essential part of the freedom of speech. That means that they're forced to infringe on the freedom of speech of lots of Redditors (not legally, but within the Reddit universe) who choose to publish any private info on other Redditors whatsoever. Whereas, in the real world, in the United States at least, connecting the dots and revealing someone's identity is absolutely not illegal in itself. If it were, whole chunks of what we call "journalism" right now would suddenly be criminal – and not just yellow journalism or tabloid journalism, but any journalism that demands that people dig into people's ostensibly private lives and figure out things that really need to be public, like cronyism by politicians.

    In short – making anonymity an essential part of the freedom of speech seems on the face of it to be a way of protecting one of the things we cherish most about what the internet can do for us; but in fact, I believe doing that means we ultimately end up having to censor a lot of speech that should be free.

    I'm not saying that Reddit has to let go of the anti-doxxing rule to be truly free. Reddit is not society. Reddit is an online community. I really feel the opposite; I think Reddit needs to come to terms with the fact that is a community with rules that may seem like arbitrary values that some people won't agree with, but they're the rules. It's okay to say "we don't want you to be malicious and shove people's personal info out there with the dark implication that you want them to get hurt."

    And ultimately it's still generally illegal to take revenge on people because they expressed views that you don't like.
    posted by koeselitz at 7:47 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Reddit, those bastions of free speech, are removing all links to the gawker article site wide.

    I just closed my reddit account.
    posted by empath at 7:53 PM on October 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


    Koeselitz: It's okay to say "we don't want you to be malicious and shove people's personal info out there with the dark implication that you want them to get hurt."

    I am really trying to understand what you are getting at here with the rest of the stuff I didn't quote and I think I probably am suffering from a THC deficiency or something.
    posted by localroger at 7:54 PM on October 12, 2012


    VA spent thousands of hours of unpaid time possibly making it possible for Reddit to be what it is today. Instead of percentages and stock options he gets this article about his noxiousness on the interweb. That's a pretty raw deal. The Founders, Conde, the new CEO et al are making out like bandits thanks to his screen play and he just got cut from the team without even a payday.

    He's lucky he's not in jail. I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't soon, anyway. There is no way that gawker article isn't going to draw law enforcement attention, or at least social services.
    posted by empath at 7:58 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Ha, shitredditsays posted the article, but with all the info blacked out, because that's the only way reddit's mods would let them post it.

    This is reddit's waterloo....reddiloo....looloo....doodoo
    posted by hellojed at 8:00 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Reddit, those bastions of free speech, are removing all links to the gawker article site wide.

    I just closed my reddit account


    May have to do likewise. I mean, on the one hand there are some subreddits I really like, on the other hand there's this creepy role as support network for paedos they seem to play. That was easier to ignore or explain away when it could be thought of as an unintended outcome of size or structure, but now it seems that it's intentional and far more important to them than the above mentioned link sharing.

    In short: Ewwwwwwww.
    posted by Artw at 8:01 PM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    If I were a shit stirring republican, I'd take note of the fact that the White House has admitted that there are several staffers who are avid redditors and subpoena records to see if any of them visited the site on government time and/or visited the sites in question.
    posted by empath at 8:04 PM on October 12, 2012


    localroger: “I am really trying to understand what you are getting at here with the rest of the stuff I didn't quote and I think I probably am suffering from a THC deficiency or something.”

    Yeah, I didn't really connect the dots. I'll try to do that briefly:

    If anonymity were an essential part of the freedom of speech, then our only hope for true freedom of speech is sites like Reddit. But sites like Reddit necessarily still end up deleting certain stuff, both because it's just a part of running an internet site and because defending anonymity sometimes means curtailing the freedom to say certain stuff on the site.

    So – it's okay. It's okay to have a bunch of rules on an online forum and delete comments that don't follow those rules. Freedom of speech is about what is and isn't against the law, and what stuff we get punished or retaliated against personally for saying; it's not about whether we get to post whatever we want on an online forum. Even if we don't have absolute anonymity, we can still have freedom of speech. So I believe Reddit should give up on the impossible pipe dream of fighting for anonymity at all costs and abandoning all other goals. There are other things worth fighting for, and other rules worth making for online communities.
    posted by koeselitz at 8:05 PM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    leaked transcript of Mod discussion with admins.
    posted by empath at 8:42 PM on October 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


    That's fascinating. There's some poor clueless guy in there worrying about how this is going to impact his career prospects with the government and a security clearance -- that's the kind of practical calculation that people are having to do now, when all of a sudden things that seemed consequence-free are turning out to not be quite so trivial.
    posted by Forktine at 8:50 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    "The Right to remain Anonymous" is ok when "Those Historically Disenfranchised" fight against the shitty historical social ills of "THE MAN", which takes many forms, from animal abusers, child pornographers, human traffickers, creepshots protectors, large bankers, war profiteers, drone makers, racists, bigots, fundamentalists, misogynists and the like (there are thousands of examples to choose from).

    In my opinion, what I call the logical fallacy of the "in the reverse it is still true argument" makes it NOT OK for animal abusers, child pornographers, human traffickers, creepshots protectors, large bankers, war profiteers, drone makers, racists, bigots, fundamentalists, misogynists and the like (there are thousands of examples to choose from) to enjoy "The Right to remain Anonymous" while being called out on their shitty behaviors.

    Anonymity is not an equal right. Not at fucking all.
    posted by roboton666 at 8:53 PM on October 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


    I haven't taken a lot of steps to hide my identity online, but I'm fairly okay with anything I've talked about in the past. I've talked about stuff that would make it difficult for me to get certain jobs, and I'm okay with that. I think if someone compiled a dossier on me, it would be annoying, but not the end of the world. I ruled out a career in politics a long, long time ago.

    One should never put anything online that you wouldn't want on the front page of the New York Times. That has always been the rule I operate under. Nothing you do is secret online. If you make enemies, and VA intentionally made enemies, you will be exposed.

    This was the Internet equivalent of suicide-by-cop. His whole online persona was a cry for help.
    posted by empath at 9:14 PM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Oh, lordy, if that's the reddit administration talking, they are taking maybe the worst possible approach to this — "fixing" things by squelching SRS. Congrats, guys, you're now the new proud owners of 2012's Digg. Or maybe Digg: Special Victims Unit...
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:18 PM on October 12, 2012


    There's nothing about this story that doesn't fill me with joy. I contemplated feeling bad for a sec thinking about how Gawker is just ruining this guy's life for the ad revenue... But actually, good! Awesome that calling out repugnant trolling, from /r/creepshots to Tosh.o to rampant gamer misogyny, has become as good for pageviews as wallowing in it.
    Not feeding the trolls didn't work; maybe mounting some heads on spikes will.
    posted by Freyja at 9:22 PM on October 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Are you kidding? Think about Internet Culture and most of the people who DO get harassed. He has thousands of Reddit Bros watching his family's back. I might be more worried about the Gawker writer's family, or anyone else in New York with the same surname.

    No, not kidding. I don't want anyone's cats or family to get hurt.
    posted by infinitywaltz at 9:23 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    If reddit actually cared about privacy, they'd have banned creepshots a long time ago. Instead they ban Gawker. They aren't merely misunderstanding privacy and free speech, they aren't merely pedo apologists, they're actively taking a position which protects and defends pedophiles while attacking actual members of the free press.

    From the gawker article:
    "Jailbait" was for a time the second biggest search term bringing traffic to Reddit, after "Reddit."

    Read that again, their second biggest driver of traffic was from pedos. Localroger is right, they are looking at things purely from a personal interest perspective (profit motive). This is fucked up.

    If you think this doesn't affect you because you browse r/knitting or r/gaming, you're fucking wrong. Your favorite niche subreddit is festering with creepy fucking pedos upvoting each others' creepy comments. If the second largest driver of your site was historically creepy pedos, what the hell do you think happens to the more niche subreddits? Do you think some portion of pedos don't also like knitting?

    Reddit has a higher percentage of pedos than the general public or the internet at large. This significantly skewed higher proportion of pedos means that disgusting behavior tends to be viewed as acceptable and it fucking snowballs. Scumbag behavior is normalized as a result.

    Reddit's active position to protect and favor pedos while attacking the free press with their action today of banning Gawker's article is beyond reprehensible. A member of the free press has legal rights to out people. This is no different than the legal right to investigate who is running a Super PAC. If a Super PAC can broadcast reprehensible comments, they should have no legal right to anonymity when their identity is discovered, even if the Super PAC will face social pressure/violence as a result.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:25 PM on October 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


    Thank you for the leak link, empath. Very enlightening.

    I recognize that it may be immature of me to say this, but regardless of how you feel about Reddit's stand on this issue, isn't the grammar and spelling reason enough to hate them? I mean, it's like they're committing a genocide of the English language in there!
    posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:25 PM on October 12, 2012


    leaked transcript of Mod discussion with admins.

    <@spladug > deleting things that link to bad links is not sustainable. what if it were in a wikipedia article, should we ban that whole domain?


    Wow, those poor admins. Having a bunch of people really pressuring you on IRC to do various numbers of things, that is a super unenviable position. And it's really interesting how many of them seem to be saying "Shut down srs" or "Don't allow links to sites that LINK to doxxing sites" What a mess it must be in Mod Town over there.
    posted by jessamyn at 9:27 PM on October 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


    CondeNast wipes their hands of it.

    I think people are going to lose their jobs over this.
    posted by empath at 9:29 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I'm drunk on schadenfreude.

    And just plain drunk.
    posted by hellojed at 9:35 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    It's like half the mods in that leaked IRC chat don't realize the reddit admins have no authority over the rest of the internet - the admins have to keep on saying, "we have no authority over tumblr", and that sort of thing. Makes one think that for some people, reddit really is the whole internet, a self-contained ecosystem which they generalize to the rest of the world.
    posted by Rumple at 9:44 PM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


    That IRC convo is certainly interesting to read...

    "[@chromakode] we work really hard at all hours of the night to protect peoples' personal information on reddit
    [solidwhetstone] right
    [@chromakode] but how can we better protect people from themselves or the rest of the internet?"

    I look forward to reading the answer to that one (hint to self: it won't be in that discussion).
    posted by el io at 9:45 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Conde Nast is telling a half-truth. The owners of Conde Nast also owns reddit. They are peers in the org chart, the headline is deceptive. It would be perfectly valid to go after Conde Nast's advertisers to put pressure.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:47 PM on October 12, 2012


    But until someone tries to legally bar him from starting subreddits, it's just karma coming back to bite him.

    I think that's certainly true. As Chen points out:
    Even before I published this article, Reddit had already exploded in outrage. (Gawker sites are now banned from over 60 subreddits, and some pissed off user has signed me up for approximately two dozen mailing lists.) The irony of being upset that a noted custodian of "creepshots" is getting some unwanted attention himself is obvious. Jailbait defenders would often argue that if 14-year-olds didn't want their bikini pictures to be posted to Reddit, they should not have taken them and uploaded them to their Facebook accounts in the first place. If Brutsch did not want his employers to know that he had become a minor internet celebrity through spending hours every day posting photos of 14-year-olds in bikinis to thousands of people on the internet, he should have stuck to posting cat videos.
    And he was allowed to keep doing it, because Reddit higher-ups found him convenient to have around for his voluntary modding. The whole thing stinks. And like jessamyn, I do not envy the mods who now have to deal with the blowback. But hey, maybe this'll be another sea change for them.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:48 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    hellojed: "Ha, shitredditsays posted the article, but with all the info blacked out, because that's the only way reddit's mods would let them post it. "

    To be fair, one of the few rules on reddit is no personal information.
    posted by polyhedron at 9:54 PM on October 12, 2012


    They'll probably have to spin off the adult subreddits entirely. They could sell them for a small fortune, I think.
    posted by empath at 9:55 PM on October 12, 2012


    If you let people continuously shit in your bed, eventually you are going to find your self lying in a bed full of shit.
    posted by lrobertjones at 9:59 PM on October 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


    I do feel sympathetic for the mods for being caught between a boulder and an angry internet, but man, I cannot muster even an ounce of goodwill for most of the participants in that IRC chat. There's such a blatant disregard for any harms they (as Reddit) might have caused - just that the media is stirring shit about jailbait and creepshots and calling them out. "This is worse than jailbait because there's doxxing*", they cry, never mind, you know, child pornography.

    Like...what? I don't even.

    It's also interesting to note that many of the users and the admin also speak of Reddit as a whole. Not that Creepshots was the outlier, not that Reddit as a whole is better than that, but of the need for Reddit and its admins and mods to defend Reddit from interlopers in SRS and those mean jerks from jezebelle [sic] and Tumblr.

    *If this is how they react to people reposting information their users have posted offsite on another offsite location, I'd hate to see how they'd react to actual doxxing.
    posted by Phire at 10:05 PM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I just closed my reddit account.

    Huh, I just registered because I think I might want to participate in SRS at some point. I'd never been all that interested, before.

    posted by jokeefe at 10:07 PM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    "Those Historically Disenfranchised" fight against the shitty historical social ills of "THE MAN"
    a nuanced and thoughtful view
    drone makers
    whoa there, which drone makers, like pashtun garage engineers or what
    One should never put anything online that you wouldn't want on the front page of the New York Times.
    that is not an existence i'd wish on anyone

    if the Good Guys won here, why does it feel so gross no matter how hard i try to deny it to myself
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:09 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Phire: This is how reddit reacts to doxing.

    536 net upvotes. The comment was only deleted much later after it was brought to the attention of SRS about the rank hypocrisy of banning Gawker and giving this a free pass.

    646 fucking upvotes and only 110 downvotes, this is the reddit community. This is what happens when "r/jailbait" is your primary traffic driver for many many months.

    I also note that this comment is actual doxing. Gawker releasing a single name with anonymized details as to his employer to protect the individual doesn't count as doxing.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 10:11 PM on October 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


    Still wading through that IRC log...

    There is a voice of reason there (that isn't obsessing about doxxing):

    [Raerth] hueypriest, was there any sort of plan or clear process in place for how to deal with people who create subreddits around legal yet morally questionable material?
    ...
    [Raerth] as this is something that's sure to happen with reddit's current structure, and something that's sure to cause outrage on the "front page of the internet"
    ...
    [Raerth] with the current structure, you're guaranteed to have people pushing the limits
    ...
    [Raerth] something that we can point the press to when they start to complain
    ..
    [Raerth] I have no problem with being 4chan 2.0, but if we want to be that, we should not be surprised when we get stuff like this happen
    ...
    [Raerth] we just need to be clear on how we deal with extremes
    ...
    [Raerth] the current drama, it's not the end of the world and it will blow over. but unless we know how to deal with future occurrences this will keep happening.
    ..

    So in conclusion, if I were on Reddit's board, I would hire Raerth fulltime, and put her/him into a management position and give her/him some authority. (unfortunately, the discussion didn't seriously address Raerth's points very much, and stuck on it's attempt to remove information from the internet, or deal with 'doxxing').
    posted by el io at 10:18 PM on October 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


    amuseDetachment, I don't know if I agree that that's doxxing, since IMO that falls under the "voluntary information you posted about yourself" criteria that the Predditors Tumblr uses (and which I also don't think it's doxxing). I obviously can't tell for sure, but contextually those seem to come from her Tumblr/YouTube/other social media.

    I find the attitude exhibited in that comment to be sickening, don't get me wrong. I just don't think it qualifies as doxxing qua "nuclear option" of internet bullying.

    Gross objectification, though, absolutely.
    posted by Phire at 10:20 PM on October 12, 2012


    The teeming internet hordes need to be treated as children. Children love rules. Clear rules are beacons for assessing one's behaviour. Rules make it possible to push the boundaries safely. Clear rules take a huge load off one's mind.
    posted by five fresh fish at 10:22 PM on October 12, 2012


    if the Good Guys won here, why does it feel so gross no matter how hard i try to deny it to myself
    If a Super PAC violentacrez was on TV Reddit broadcasting racist hate speech uploading creepy pedo pictures without permission, why is it not acceptable to find the individual funding the Super PAC find the real name behind violentacrez?

    The right to anonymity doesn't extend both ways. Should reddit ban any investigation into the true ownership of Super PACS even though they wish to be anonymous? Should we protect Karl Rove because he might fear for his own safety?

    The principle of anonymity within the context of free speech is within the spirit of protection of those that are powerless. The powerless in this instance are those underaged that have their pictures splattered all over r/creepshots and full photos that were available on r/jailbait (which may have been EASILY personally identified using google image search). They are the ones that deserve anonymity. Violentacrez, like Super PACs can go fuck themselves, they have no right to anonymity.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 10:23 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I am bemused by the IRC log. These moderators and whatnot believed they had anonymity? Seriously? While blogging and facespacing and redditing and regaling? C'mon. How naïve!
    posted by five fresh fish at 10:26 PM on October 12, 2012


    You Can't Tip a Buick: “Oh, lordy, if that's the reddit administration talking, they are taking maybe the worst possible approach to this — "fixing" things by squelching SRS. Congrats, guys, you're now the new proud owners of 2012's Digg. Or maybe Digg: Special Victims Unit...”

    Yeah, that's not what's happening in that conversation at all – quite the opposite. It is kinda hard to read IRC chatlogs, but what's going on is the admins are steadfastly refusing to even discuss SRS and what will be done with it - keep in mind that chromakode is the admin in this exchange, which is typical of the tone throughout:
    [solidwhetstone] @admins- is banning srs an option? you seem to not be addressing that option
    [ManWithoutModem] @admins- is banning srs an option? you seem to not be addressing that option
    [MobileFalc0n] Solidwhetstone: even if it is, I feel like it's not something they're going to discuss in an irc channel
    [solidwhetstone] @mobilefalc0n i don't care if they give me some bullshit political answer- even a nice 'we're considering all options' would be nice
    [ZeroShift] ^
    [@chromakode] of course we're considering all options, silly :P
    [ManWithoutModem] So admins, would you say that SRS has not attacked the structural integrity of the greater reddit community?
    [@chromakode] the reason we're not discussing SRS is because you are completely derailing this discussion with it.
    [@chromakode] we are trying to address your very real concerns about being doxed and your PI on reddit
    [@chromakode] they are separate issues
    As jessamyn says, they're kind of fighting this wall of people demanding that SRS be banned.

    At first I thought this was wise of them – that they must realize that killing SRS would be the most hypocritical move possible at this point. But when I think about it, it seems more likely that they just realize that discussing the possibility of banning a subreddit in a conversation that will likely be leaked is a guaranteed shitstorm. Who knows – maybe they're planning to ban SRS tomorrow.
    posted by koeselitz at 10:28 PM on October 12, 2012


    I think they realize the moment they ban SRS is the moment people in SRS create a viable alternative to reddit.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 10:30 PM on October 12, 2012


    amuseDetachment: “I think they realize the moment they ban SRS is the moment people in SRS create a viable alternative to reddit.”

    Well, I don't actually believe that will happen. I kind of go back and forth on SRS – but in general I'm not sure they alone are capable of that creative force. And really there are more immediate issues.

    Issues such as: banning SRS wouldn't do shit. This is already an offsite problem. They can't actually take down Tumblr sites or Jezebel stories. Kill SRS and they will create their own offsite SRS which will continue to be just as bad. Much worse, in fact, at least in their eyes. The consensus among mods (not admins, but mods) in this conversation is that SRS exists largely to doxx Redditors. If SRS becomes an entirely offsite thing, then they can doxx people all day long to their heart's content. Keeping SRS under the umbrella of Reddit proper at least means (in their eyes) that they can enfoce The One Rule and keep them in line.
    posted by koeselitz at 10:37 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    THANK YOU AmuseDetachment

    A white, male, twice-married, programmer who had his dick sucked by his 19 year old stepdaughter deserves no anonymity when said person is protecting people who upload non-consenual photos taken of minors with the intent of sexual self-gratification.
    posted by roboton666 at 10:39 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I think it's more that if they ban srs, they are in for a hellacious time in the media spotlight.

    "Reddit bans feminists while supporting pedophiles"
    posted by empath at 10:39 PM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Well, that too. Probably it isn't exclusively one thing. But then who knows. I certainly never expected r/jailbait to go down.
    posted by koeselitz at 10:40 PM on October 12, 2012


    (Also, that's pretty much what the headlines say already.)
    posted by koeselitz at 10:41 PM on October 12, 2012


    Yeah, at least we can all agree that banning SRS is against reddit's self-interest.

    I personally suspect they're smart enough to know this fact, which is the actual driver for them keeping SRS, instead of any semblance of "protecting free speech."
    posted by amuseDetachment at 10:42 PM on October 12, 2012


    @amuseDetachment

    yeah but then you have the kind of morally righteous noises that i as a person involved with (not internet-brand) queer stuff have an instinctive bone-deep dread of, "smoking crater" and "The teeming internet hordes need to be treated as children" and "pedos pedos pedos" and i'm looking at the people i'm supposed to support and there are no pupils in their eyes, it's just a solid expanse of white
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:55 PM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    So, wait, just to be clear, is all of reddit now banning all gawker sites, like io9, jezebel, kotaku, lifehacker, etc, over this?
    posted by homunculus at 11:00 PM on October 12, 2012


    This, of course, alludes to you: “yeah but then you have the kind of morally righteous noises that i as a person involved with (not internet-brand) queer stuff have an instinctive bone-deep dread of, "smoking crater" and "The teeming internet hordes need to be treated as children" and "pedos pedos pedos" and i'm looking at the people i'm supposed to support and there are no pupils in their eyes, it's just a solid expanse of white”

    Yeah, I get the same way when people talk about how, in the name of "freedom of speech," they need to harrass and dox and ultimately ban and silence anyone who even remotely disagrees with them.
    posted by koeselitz at 11:01 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    homunculus: “So, wait, just to be clear, is all of reddit now banning all gawker sites, like io9, jezebel, kotaku, lifehacker, etc, over this?”

    No. From what we can tell, just the Adrian Chen article in question. Lots of subreddits are instituting their own bans, but from what I can tell (from my own tinkering and from that convo posted earlier) is that Reddit proper has only banned three URLs: the Predditors tumblr, the Jezebel article, and now the Gawker article.
    posted by koeselitz at 11:02 PM on October 12, 2012


    ("Banning" here meaning that, if you attempt to post a link to one of those three things, the site itself won't let you, and you get an error message about how that link is responsible for revealing private info of Redditors.)
    posted by koeselitz at 11:04 PM on October 12, 2012


    @koeselitz

    so we kind of agree then

    also lol @ the day metafilter defended the honor of gawker
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:05 PM on October 12, 2012


    Man. So many different philosophical, ethical, and practical issues are intersecting for the people who want to keep the Reddit project running. They've brought it on themselves to a large extent, but I don't envy them. It brings up a lot of memories from when I built and helped run a small online community almost two decades ago -- a community that imploded over the disclosure of a pseudonymous user's identity.

    My perspective on it is a bit different than some of the folks in that Reddit transcript, because I was the one who purposefully disclosed the user's identity.

    It was a MUD variant, heavy on roleplay rather than hack n' slash gaming, and quite a few of the players spent hours a day there, building elaborate plots together, constructing virtual worlds, and so on. I helped write the codebase, build its world room by room, helped write its backstory, built its web site, helped orchestrate its ongoing plots, and resolve the conflicts between normal players. Many just enjoyed the improvisational storytelling. Some of them ended up getting into IRL relationships with each other. Some got married, some had their hearts broken.

    One guy in particular (call him Ted) had started hanging around one of the female players (call her Betty). We didn't think much of it; various plots and side stories happened a lot as people improvised and ad-libbed their way through the game's fantasy world. But after a couple of weeks Ted casually mentioned (out of character) that he really did care a lot for Betty. That he had feelings for her, and that, well... he thought she had feelings for him, too.

    What we the admins knew, but Ted didn't know, was that Betty was a secondary account maintained by someone he already knew and considered a friend -- Bill. We saw Bill log in every day from one IP address, wait a few minutes, and log in again as Betty. Sometimes he switched it up, sometimes he only logged in as one or the other. Other times he asked if anyone had seen the "other" persona he was maintaining, or asked folks to pass along messages.

    One of the founding principles of the game, set down by the original administrator, had been that the admins would protect player privacy. A number of us personally contacted Bill, and asked him what was up. Was he trolling Ted? Was he gay or bi and unwilling to come out, or admit his own feelings to a friend? Had it started as a mild joke and gotten too deep for him to back out? Was he simply not aware that Ted had developed real feelings for the player he imagined was on the other side of the telnet connection? Bill told us to butt out. That we the admins had to stay silent, because those were the rules. He said he had a girlfriend IRL and that it was none of our business what kind of character he wanted to play in the game.

    A few days following, I privately contacted Ted and let him know that Betty and Bill were the same person. He was angry, and embarrassed. Not because of the gender issue -- the game was relatively full of experimentally-minded people who were less bothered by that idea than they were by the idea of a bad in-game plot twist. He was angry because he felt he'd been tricked and lied to and made a fool of, and that the admins had watched it unfold for that long. He took an extended break from the game. Bill deleted Betty's account and fired off angry emails to the rest of the admins. I stepped down voluntarily and my account was deleted for violating one of the server's sacred rules.

    I don't regret it.

    A few months later when things had cooled down, Ted dropped me a line and thanked me. Bill admitted, sheepishly, that he'd "been an ass," but didn't want to talk about it any further. I moved on to other areas and kept in touch with the other admins I was still close to. I don't know whether there was an 'ethically correct' course of action, but I believe I did the right thing.

    The lesson, for me, was that great care must be taken when building the foundational rules of a social environment. It's very easy to define rules with the intent of creating a safe place, only to see those rules gamed and carefully exploited by people who care more about their own amusement than the health of other people, the social environment they are in, and so on. Clay Shirky talks a bit about this phenomenon in his essay, A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy. -- many of the early experiments in open internet access lacked effective mechanisms to prevent their ideals from being turned against them, and suffered for it.

    In many ways, Reddit seems to be in a similar position. For better or worse, one of the ideals they have enshrined is that admins, moderators, and general members of the site should be able to say whatever they would like without fearing their statements will be attributed to their IRL identity. As discussed in the transcript above, it's a principle meant to protect those who share such information and prevent the sort of Internet flashmob that we've seen spring up around various outrage issues over the past few years. There are many good things that come from that -- a confessional culture in many of the support-oriented communities and subreddits, for example, where people can feel relatively safe coming out of the closet or admitting they are not the religious believers their parents believe they are.

    Unfortunately, the problems with "What happens on Reddit stays on Reddit" are apparent to anyone who's ever tried to run an online community. Some people exploit the nature of the principle, demanding that administrators become complicit in objectionable activities. Others engage in behaviors more risky than they otherwise would, believing that the site's principles will protect them even if they aren't careful to maintain their own anonymity. And some users internalize the idea that the founding principle is an end in and of itself, rather than a tool meant to foster and protect a certain kind of community.

    It's a clusterfuck over there. Making communities is hard. And the bigger they get, the more difficult it is to make corrections to principles that you realize have flaws. The founders, administrators, and moderators of Reddit have brought this situation on themselves, and it looks like a lot of them are struggling to come to grips with that fact.
    posted by verb at 11:07 PM on October 12, 2012 [66 favorites]


    Ah, I see. Thanks, koeselitz.
    posted by homunculus at 11:08 PM on October 12, 2012


    This, of course, alludes to you: “also lol @ the day metafilter defended the honor of gawker”

    Yes, if that ever happens it will be hilarious indeed.
    posted by koeselitz at 11:15 PM on October 12, 2012


    This, of course, alludes to you: Hrm, yeah, that fear is totally valid, and didn't think of it explicitly in that way.

    The only thing I could possibly say why "this time it's different", is that pedophilia should not be protected as a priori. There is non-consensual activity occurring. LGBTQ activities are consensual, and should be afforded the best protections of free speech and is exactly the type of minority speech/activities/etc. that needs to be protected. Non-consensual activities should not be protected, which I note, that r/jailbait and r/creepshots are not merely advocates of non-consensual activity promoting particular values, they are actually conducting non-consensual activity on that board.

    r/creepshots is not a subreddit dedicated to tips and techniques on being a creeper, it's actual non-consent occurring.

    Free speech advocates promote protecting certain pedophiles in their speech as collateral damage for protecting all speech. When reddit bans Gawker, it shows they have no care for free speech at all. Reddit has banned speech it deems unpopular for itself, and promotes non-consent, I think this situation is vastly different than gay/queer rights advocacy. I definitely can understand the apprehension in this situation, though.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 11:18 PM on October 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


    I was explaining this whole thing to my husband, and I started off by saying "Are you familiar with reddit?" and he said "Kind of. It's like metafilter if metafilter was more like the rest of the internet, right?"
    posted by KathrynT at 11:27 PM on October 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


    "I mean – clearly it hasn't been historically, right? It wasn't even really feasible, at least not to all and not on a real level. A hundred years ago, two hundred years ago, if you were in the right place at the right time maybe you could publish something under an assumed name; but that didn't guarantee that you'd be heard, and moreover that didn't guarantee that somebody wouldn't figure out it was you anyway."

    No, actually, anonymous speech was one of the things that helped foment the American Revolution. The character of it now may be different, but it is a pretty long-held idea.

    It isn't symmetrical, and general journalistic ethics are a pretty good illustration of that: It's entirely desirable both for journalists to protect their sources with anonymity and expose subjects of articles.
    posted by klangklangston at 11:31 PM on October 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


    /r/creepsots != journalism
    posted by roboton666 at 11:34 PM on October 12, 2012


    The main thing I am getting from the transcript is that these guys are totally blind to anything except their own set of concerns. There's no way they can even conceive there's a problem here outside of their creeps getting exposed.
    posted by Artw at 11:38 PM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


    @amuseDetachment

    yeah, reddit's hypocritical and it's a grievous error to use a centralized operation as a free speech platform, let alone a corporately owned one. the moral majority know(s) what we/it know(s) and debate on this is probably impossible at this time.

    and the apprehension is due not only to the creepy way the "good people" are acting, but also due to their vocal allegiance to a site with a remarkably shitty past that to their credit they've made great strides in whitewashing

    not to piss on anyone's parade by implying this isn't a 100% moral victory ticker-tape parade, but the smug glib memespeak creepiness and the creepy shadows of authoritarian ideation have the alarm bells just jangling
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:39 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    There's been an ongoing assumption in the thread (an assumption that I have made too) that the reddit/creepshots photos are legal.

    IANAL, but here's the Texas Penal Code on the subject (Texas being ViolentAcrez/Brutsch's home state):
    CHAPTER 21. SEXUAL OFFENSES  [...]
      Sec. 21.15.  IMPROPER PHOTOGRAPHY OR VISUAL RECORDING. [...]
          (b)  A person commits an offense if the person:
              (1)  photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records,
                   broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of another at a location
                   that is not a bathroom or private dressing room:
                  (A)  without the other person's consent; and
                  (B)  with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person;
             [... part 2 is basically the same for in bathrooms/dressing rooms ...]
             (3)  knowing the character and content of the photograph, recording, 
                  broadcast, or transmission, promotes a photograph, recording, 
                  broadcast, or transmission described by Subdivision (1) or (2).
          (c)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
    Not that I want to defend Texas obscenity law or support anything that increases the ability of the cops to harass legit street photographers, but that sounds like a textbook description of reddit/creepshots to me.
    posted by Homeboy Trouble at 3:55 AM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    It's not much, but I deleted my reddit account.

    I really hope they make real, serious changes, rather than "nod nod, wink wink, warn the mods to change reddit names ahead of time" bullshit like they did with the Jailbait fiasco.

    I'm thinking I will write up the advertisers later.
    posted by mccarty.tim at 4:13 AM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I'm mostly feeling sorry for ViolentAcrez stepdaughter at the moment. She makes the mistake of giving him one blow job ten years ago, and this asshole can't stop himself from boasting about it all over the internet.

    Even though I completely support Chen's decision to write and publish the article, by this time tomorrow, everyone that she knows is going to know she sucked off her creepy stepfather, and that just seems really, really, sad.
    posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:35 AM on October 13, 2012 [17 favorites]


    Yeah, Homeboy Trouble, I was looking up state laws the other day because I was curious about how uniform the "legality" of things like creepshots actually is, and saw a lot of different language in different state legislation that suggests it's often much more complicated than "if you are in public I can take photographs of you and use them as I wish whether you agree or not." I was thinking about how each new technology introduces challenges that must be wrestled with to maintain a balance between civil society and freedom of speech (and similar rights), so I expect we will be seeing a lot more shaping of such laws – much of it absolutely wrongheaded and potentially chilling for freedom of expression, no doubt, and hopefully more of it sensitive and technologically sophisticated and informed.

    I was wondering how long it took after the invention of the telephone (and the general accessibility of that technology) before the first obscene phone call to a stranger was made? I suppose that was also a challenge presented by technology that had to be wrangled while keeping in balance the idea of freedom of speech versus the freedom of the individual not to be harassed/exploited/assaulted while going about their ordinary lives.
    posted by taz at 4:38 AM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    What is the specific reason for metafilter's general dislike of Gawker? I'm referring to comments like:
    This will go down in history as the only worthwhile thing Gawker ever did.

    Greedy, vulgar, superficial, and generally amoral as Gawker is, they do have their moments.

    lord knows all websites have their own problems (Gawker media empire, I'm looking directly at you),
    I have no feelings either way about them, but it seems like every time we have a Gawker-focused thread, these kinds of comments pop up.
    posted by desjardins at 5:28 AM on October 13, 2012


    "I was wondering how long it took after the invention of the telephone (and the general accessibility of that technology) before the first obscene phone call to a stranger was made?"

    Party lines, or at least those where you knew who you were sharing the line with, made privacy in a phone call a very different place way back when it was a New Thing. So I'd guess it was sometime after that (and when a lot more people actually owned phones), when there came the idea that the person at the other end might not figure out who you were. Back then there was also the idea that, rather than private communication, the phone would be part of a communication network for groups - listening to concerts together, that sort of thing. Later that was radio, but the idea of the phone system doing this was kicked around a bit and experimented with.

    New sources of communication tech are tricky in that a lot of people are unsure where they'll go and how they'll work until long after they're in use. People have lots of ideas of how things will work, but it doesn't always end up that's what happens.

    /former mass comm student moment of "hey I once studied this!" nostalgia
    posted by batgrlHG at 5:41 AM on October 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


    Reddit, those bastions of free speech, are removing all links to the gawker article site wide.

    What is the evidence for this?
    posted by Jpfed at 5:44 AM on October 13, 2012


    Not that I want to defend Texas obscenity law or support anything that increases the ability of the cops to harass legit street photographers,

    But you ahhhhhh, darling, you ahhhhh in that chair.
    posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:52 AM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I was thinking about how each new technology introduces challenges that must be wrestled with to maintain a balance between civil society and freedom of speech (and similar rights), so I expect we will be seeing a lot more shaping of such laws – much of it absolutely wrongheaded and potentially chilling for freedom of expression, no doubt, and hopefully more of it sensitive and technologically sophisticated and informed.

    A while back there was a great article in the New Yorker about invasive species in Florida, things like snakes that people had dumped as unwanted pets and are now big enough to eat deer and children. (It might have become an FPP, I can't remember; if it didn't, it should have.) Anyway, one of the biologists quoted in the article talked about how he wished that one of the snakes would attack a county commissioner's dog, because then someone with serious local power would finally be excited about the issue and dedicate resources to it.

    My bet is that at some point some state politician's underaged daughter is going to get creepshot in a particularly distasteful way, and that's going to drive laws on this. Whether or not those laws are good or have a lot of collateral damage will depend on whose aides write them and how much frenzy there is over it, but it's bound to happen.
    posted by Forktine at 5:56 AM on October 13, 2012


    Wow, looks like I shut down the computer and went off to sleep *just* before the most interesting event yet in this sorry drama, the leak of the IRC log. Thanks, empath.

    I said upthread that your target, if you want Reddit to change, is to create an existential threat, but I didn't know how to do that what with Reddit being so huge. Looks like Adrian Chen found the soft underbelly though -- make shit real for the voluntary mods.

    Also seconding el io's suggestion that Reddit should get this Raerth fellow on the payroll toot sweet. I had been under the impression that Reddit was operating under a simple, perhaps bad, but consistent policy; it seems though that at the voluntary mod level it's more like there is no policy, which is even worse than bad policy.
    posted by localroger at 6:06 AM on October 13, 2012


    What is the specific reason for metafilter's general dislike of Gawker?

    Well, they can be a bit trashy. And you do see the odd piece that was clearly written to fill a gap in quota. But I suspect MeFi being MeFi 90% of it is that time they pissed off Apple by buying apre-release iPhone 4 that someone had dropped in a bar.
    posted by Artw at 6:40 AM on October 13, 2012


    I wonder how many mefites know that Gawker was basically created at a metafilter meet up?
    posted by empath at 7:00 AM on October 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


    The IRC thread read to me like a bunch of children enthralled by their own inflated sense of power and importance. And unpaid, eh? Suckers. Working for free for a corporation. Risking their real life reputations under the looney idea that they are anonymous. Naïve suckers.

    I get a cynical laugh: this "anonymity" freed people to share deep and wide. To reveal their secrets. To... fully expose themselves to the NSA and FBI.

    I'd love to know how many pervs were busted.
    posted by five fresh fish at 7:02 AM on October 13, 2012


    Speaking for myself, it's more that they want to be the darlings of new media journalism, but often are the worst examples of it. I'm quite okay with a lot of the actual reporting I see on Gawker and its affiliates (let's say, like, 60% of the articles I read?) and there are lots of individual writers I respect, but they also have a propensity for click-baity, snark-at-any-cost sort of hit pieces, where it's just a line-by-line teardown of some poor schmuck who fell into disfavour with little substance beyond "look at how smart I am for not being as dumb as this dude". It just leaves me with a really bad taste in my mouth.

    Plus, Nick Denton sounds like a real piece of work (not the good kind) and many in his inner circle seem really contemptuous of their userbase, which is frustrating. They make decisions with little regard to community consensus and input and the result is stuff like that incomprehensible new commenting system.

    I do think there's a real need and niche for an entirely web-based family of websites that does what Gawker does. I just wish they were better about it.
    posted by Phire at 7:03 AM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Hmm. Posted a io9 link to r/scifi without problem - possibly it is only a per Subreddit thing at this time.
    posted by Artw at 7:06 AM on October 13, 2012


    /r/circlejerk is hilarious right now.
    posted by empath at 7:09 AM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I can remember a couple of things that gawker properties have done that pissed off metafilter. Specifically, Jezebel published a deleted askme, in spite of requests by the OP and (I think?) the mods not to do so.

    On top of that, in spite of this relatively thoughtful article, Adrian Chen has been a bit of a troll, and they regularly engage in the ethically questionable practice of checkbook journalism.

    That and the "pageviews über alles" philosophy of their sites lead to. A lot of questionable crap. All that said, I think that they have been relatively transparent about their practices, and operate with a kind of "this is how we do it - take it or leave it." I have no problem with their properties except for the inconsistent quality of their articles.
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:56 AM on October 13, 2012


    The gawker properties ban is subreddit specific, but the entire website has banned links to Chen's article, because they consider it doxing. If you try posting it on reddit, there's and error.
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:58 AM on October 13, 2012


    seems like every time we have a Gawker-focused thread, these kinds of comments pop up.

    There are a lot of people who feel that they write stuff that is purposefully clickbaity. People who work there talk about how the bottom line for anything they write is how many eyeballs it gets. Not a huge deal as these things go, but I think for a lot of people it just puts them in bed with mainstream media, but pandering more in their direction.
    posted by jessamyn at 8:14 AM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    An interesting background here on Adrien Chen's history with Reddit.
    posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:51 AM on October 13, 2012


    FOLLOW-UP: Adrian Chen Isn't Lucidending After All.

    Which, given the outrage one rather bad taste joke tweet set in motion says rather a lot about the internets proclivity for bandwagon jumping. I'd say that's a Reddit thing, but it's not like you don't see similar here from time to time.
    posted by Artw at 9:07 AM on October 13, 2012


    You really need to post the follow-up to that story as well, you fuzzy bastard, where it turns out the story was completely wrong.
    posted by Panjandrum at 9:09 AM on October 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


    The scenes set in the Gawker offices totally killed S5 of The Wire 2012.
    posted by Artw at 9:20 AM on October 13, 2012


    OK I read Chen's piece and tried to re-read violentacrez's Iama.

    Something does not add up to me. I got the impression reading the Iama that violentacrez/ MB was apathetic towards being outed. Way too much of the Iama has been deleted to document this but we know that he went to Dallas meetups and everybody at the meetup knew who he was, IRL and online. Surely he is not so naive as to think he was protected by unwritten confidentiality rules as we can infer from Chen's report "I thought I was safe".

    One of these seems to be logically necessary:

    1. He was naive and thought himself safe when he was not,

    2. Chen's report is erroneous,

    3. He's yanking Chen's chain all the way.

    I am certain there is one error in Chen's article: the direction of the reported stepdad-stepdaughter oral sex. His claim she was the recipient, not he. So that part of the story is quite possibly total bullshit to begin with and then misreported on top of it.

    This is soft-core on the doxing aspect. I thought to dox somebody meant to do something like: posting their social securtiy number to expose them to credit fraud; or posting their car make, model, license number, favorite parking place to expose them to car vandalism; or posting their picture, favorite bar and happy hour time to expose them to a beatdown. All we know is his employer is a bank and the casual internet user is unaware whether it's Morgan or B of A or whatever.

    In any event this story is a significant milestone in the ongoing pseudonym debate. Google plus doesn't have the solution but reddit sure as hell don't either. It would be nice for those of us who like pseudonymous online speech because we want to read anarchists and satanists and perverts and dope fiends in the raw didn't have individuals such as violentacrez / MB as one of our poster boys. Gack.
    posted by bukvich at 9:26 AM on October 13, 2012


    Yeah, I think to the extent that a fair number of mefites have poor opinions of Gawker proper and some of its other sites it's largely because of their general publishing aesthetics and ethos more than any specific event. They've sort of embraced, pretty consistently, this role as a gossip/tabloid outlet who's in it for the eyeballs and the money, and are willing to take the low road on a fairly regular basis in that pursuit. Which is a bummer because if you've got the infrastructure and the visibility, why not try to be an example of just how good the web can be instead of going for the trash and the cheap lulz? But it's not my bills that Gawker's paying, so, hey.

    I was wondering how long it took after the invention of the telephone (and the general accessibility of that technology) before the first obscene phone call to a stranger was made?

    "Watson, come here! I need you...to suck DEEEEZ NUTS!"
    posted by cortex at 9:31 AM on October 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


    But you ahhhhhh, darling, you ahhhhh in that chair.

    references to texas's executions/murder of the mentally retarded aside, i still can't get over how strange the bedfellows here are. goons, texas state law, gawker (which "click-baity, snark-at-any-cost sort of hit pieces, where it's just a line-by-line teardown of some poor schmuck who fell into disfavour with little substance beyond 'look at how smart I am for not being as dumb as this dude'", their general allegiance to that sort of creepy internet-troll vibe etc), hobbseanist thinking, conservative liberalism, etc. it's made me uncomfortable over something i didn't think i'd need to think about.

    It would be nice for those of us who like pseudonymous online speech because we want to read anarchists and satanists and perverts and dope fiends in the raw didn't have individuals such as violentacrez / MB as one of our poster boys.
    but, umm
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:37 AM on October 13, 2012


    Something does not add up to me. I got the impression reading the Iama that violentacrez/ MB was apathetic towards being outed. Way too much of the Iama has been deleted to document this but we know that he went to Dallas meetups and everybody at the meetup knew who he was, IRL and online. Surely he is not so naive as to think he was protected by unwritten confidentiality rules as we can infer from Chen's report "I thought I was safe".

    It's certainly possible that he's meta-meta-gaming Chen, and that it's all just part of a big 11-dimensional first ammendment Drama play.

    It's also possible that VA internalized the idea that Reddit was a club of like-minded people, or at least the ones who mattered were like-minded. You can see echoes of that in the leaked IRC transcript -- one of the early questions is the fear-soaked question, "Did the admins out VA to Chen?" The presupposition appears to be that identity can be safely shared and leaked within "the family." That's one of the reasons that doxxing is treated as an unpardonable sin: it is the betrayal of trust, not simply a violation of privacy.
    posted by verb at 9:46 AM on October 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


    But you ahhhhhh, darling

    BLANCHE. IT'S BLANCHE OKAY.

    posted by elizardbits at 9:52 AM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Surely he is not so naive as to think he was protected by unwritten confidentiality rules as we can infer from Chen's report "I thought I was safe".

    I dunno, there's a big difference between your internet buddies knowing your IRL identity and what Chen did. (I'm not claiming it's unjustified.) There's a line you don't expect to be crossed. I don't expect anyone here to call my mom, but someone who thinks I'm an immoral heathen for being an atheist or a BDSMer might go that far. violentacrez thought he was surrounded by people who were mostly cool with his activities, and he's obviously not ashamed of the stuff he posts.
    posted by desjardins at 10:08 AM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Or pretty much what verb said.
    posted by desjardins at 10:08 AM on October 13, 2012


    I guess "doxxing" is an entirely incorrect word for this situation, what with no actual private documents involved. If I had an edit pony, I'd revise my posts to use "IDing".

    So I'm very okay with creepers being identified by name, photo, and web sites. Not okay on releasing their SSN into the wild in hopes of enabling fraud. IDing, not doxxing.

    Bruscht has not been doxxed. He has been, thank goodness, IDed.
    posted by five fresh fish at 10:15 AM on October 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


    > violentacrez thought he was surrounded by people who were mostly cool with his activities

    Mostly cool + millions users?

    Naive is an understatement if that is the case. More like daredevil stupidity.
    posted by bukvich at 10:32 AM on October 13, 2012


    Yeah, there's definitely a bizarre sort of myopia that the Reddit modchat exhibited about the role of Reddit on the rest of the web, for people who are supposedly so net savvy. A lot of the moral arguments from the volunteer mods against SRS or Predditors seemed like they were trying apply Reddit rules to external websites. The admins had to keep saying "hey, we know it sucks, but we can't control what goes on Tumblr".

    Their slogan is that Reddit is "the front page of the Internet", and I have to wonder how much people--including the mods with future hopes of working in government and security--have bought into that.
    posted by Phire at 10:45 AM on October 13, 2012


    Oh, dear. It took me forever to read this whole thread. Then forever again to read the IRC chat. Now I see there's a current AMA (posted ~ 3 hours ago) with POTATO_IN_MY_ANUS. I don't even hang out at Reddit, and it's devouring my life.
    posted by taz at 11:08 AM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    taz: I don't even hang out at Reddit, and it's devouring my life.

    Me too! As much as I can get the painfeels when personally caught up in that sort of thing, watching other people's angry internet drama is delightful and fascinating. Three days now, my productivity has been eaten up by this thing. I hate you, Greg Nog! Thank you, Greg Nog! I hate you, Greg Nog! Thank you, Greg Nog!
    posted by Kattullus at 11:26 AM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Haha, taz I spent hours reading through all of the various articles and threads yesterday, then went to take the subway somewhere, picked up a free Metro newspaper and saw the creepshots article quoting Potato_In_My_Anus. I almost fell over. (My only reddit experience is various dog breed subreddits, which are delightful).
    posted by jamesonandwater at 11:32 AM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    dog subreddits, you say? hmmmmm.

    some dog around here is very not-happy because I'm reading reddit dramaz instead of taking her for walkies; investigating dog subreddits would surely just be adding flagrant insult to grievous injury
    posted by taz at 11:38 AM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    not to mention the added humiliation of having *another* place where you can post embarrassing dog pictures...
    posted by rmd1023 at 11:40 AM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Yeah, my finger is hovering a little over the QUIT button due to there being a set of specialized Subreddits that it is extremely useful for me to be subscribed to.

    On the other hand the management and general culture of Reddit at large can fuck off and go die in a fire as far as I am concerned, having thoroughly confirmed every bad thing you could say about them in the last 24 hours.

    Bit of a dilemma really. Well, only because I'm being selfish. Really I should just be hammering EJECT.
    posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on October 13, 2012


    (I suspect that the vast bulk of users either feel similarly or are completly unaware of the drama. Creep-defense-above-all-else being kind of inside baseball)
    posted by Artw at 12:00 PM on October 13, 2012


    The Gawker/Jezebal articles are blocked, but this Guardian article is up.
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:10 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    This is a great opportunity for savvy mods to start their own microbusiness running "curated" link list/discussion sites.
    posted by five fresh fish at 12:16 PM on October 13, 2012


    Bit of a dilemma really. Well, only because I'm being selfish. Really I should just be hammering EJECT.

    Reductio ad absurdum and all shouldn't you just quit the Internet entirely if subgroups within a larger group can taint other perfectly valid groups of discussion? Not that I agree with allowing content sexualizing minors staying up any longer than it has to but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Also for those who are driving by this clusterfuck and want a tad more info:
    Recap Part I from SRD
    Recap Part II from SRD
    posted by Talez at 12:17 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Reminder: SRD moderators also banned Gawker from their own subreddit.

    They are not neutral. Giving only a couple lines on many subreddits banning Gawker in their recap is somewhat deceptive.

    More damning, SRD's recap doesn't say that SRD has banned all Gawker links. That is lying by omission.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 12:25 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    This is a great opportunity for savvy mods to start their own microbusiness running "curated" link list/discussion sites.

    great idea. i will inform mr. murdoch. curation is looking to become a greater part of our business model.
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 12:26 PM on October 13, 2012


    The Guardian article (linked above) is an excellent summary! It's well-researched! Frankly, I'm quite stunned at its accuracy and coverage.

    Old Brutsch appears to have groomed a fanbase of youth "predominantly male, between 18 and24, with no children and still in education." King of the Hill.
    posted by five fresh fish at 12:30 PM on October 13, 2012


    More damning, SRD's recap doesn't say that SRD has banned all Gawker links. That is lying by omission.

    The banning of Gawker links is a witch hunt based on a red herring. Not that it's a bad idea since Gawker is like the the herpes of the Internet. The doxx blackmailing over creepshots apparently came from other Reddit users and the recaps are almost entirely meta.
    posted by Talez at 12:35 PM on October 13, 2012


    But banning Gawker is the actual problem here. Banning the press and protecting pedos, reddit shouldn't be doing both at once.

    Just because Gawker is "the herpes of the internet" doesn't revoke their status as a member of the press. Adrian Chen is conducting journalism, where he interviewed someone and reported on it -- no different than if a journalist discovered the identity behind a Super PAC and reported on it. reddit defending r/creepshots by censoring actual journalism isn't merely a "witch hunt based on a red herring".

    SRD is clearly biased, and SRD participating in that witch hunt is the actual problem with using them as an unbiased source for a recap.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 12:41 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Does anybody know if Chen & Gawker paid for their sources? My understanding is the National Enquirer and their ilk are not considered real journalists because they pay for source material.
    posted by bukvich at 12:45 PM on October 13, 2012


    But banning Gawker is the actual problem here. Banning the press and protecting pedos, reddit shouldn't be doing both at once.

    "Reddit" is not one coherent organism. If you don't understand this one fact you have no standing in this discussion.

    Adrian Chen is conducting journalism

    First of all that's the biggest fucking lie on the Internet.

    Let me make it clear for you: The controversy with VA and the controversy over /r/creepshots and CreeperComforts being blackmailed to take down /r/creepshots are two different events.

    The problem is with Jezebel getting in on the creepshots tumblr story which, like I said, is a massive red herring. Banning Gawker links because Jezebel decided to shine a bright fucking spot light on personal details (which is a massive heap of bad juju) has absolutely nothing to do with who blackmailed whom with what on reddit itself. If Gawker had any influence whatsoever in this affair beyond pouring fuel onto the fire then we'd have an actual story or conflict of interest.

    Chen has absolutely nothing to do with creepshots and is off busy doxxing people on his shitlist like the twit he is.
    posted by Talez at 12:57 PM on October 13, 2012


    Well, who is and isn't a journalist is a bit of a common Internet question at the moment - traditionally Reddit sits on the maximalist side of things.
    posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Talez: as I've explained many times above, I am damning reddit as a community. Its moderators are complicit. Think of it this way, if the moderators and users were gone, there would be no reddit. Reddit isn't just rules and 5 or so employees. The fact that top tier subreddits like r/gaming and r/politics can ban Gawker with mass support of its community is the problem here.

    I don't understand why the blackmail is relevant to my problem here, my problem is that Gawker is banned in retaliation.
    Chen has absolutely nothing to do with creepshots and is off busy doxxing people on his shitlist like the twit he is.
    You know, a Republican talking head would say the same thing about many of the Super PACs that are outed. Outing someone's name in an interview for conducting pedo behavior is not okay, but posting pics of underaged teenagers is acceptable (where the victims have found out that their asses were all over the internet and are too scarred go to school)?

    Why does reddit as a community think that creepy pedos deserve protection via censorship, but the underaged victims need to suck it up and deal with free speech?
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:04 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Does anybody know if Chen & Gawker paid for their sources?

    according to chen, he got this information during the r/jailbait fiasco. they could have paid for that info a year ago and then sat on it forever hoping that this jackass would start yet another subreddit to be a creepy fuck in, but it seems a bit of a long game for gawker.
    posted by nadawi at 1:08 PM on October 13, 2012


    Had Mother Jones paid $100,000 for the Romney 47% video (instead of it being released for free), it would still be relevant journalism.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:11 PM on October 13, 2012


    Also the idea that gawker would pay for anything when they can help it is kind of funny.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:11 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I am damning reddit as a community. Its moderators are complicit. Think of it this way, if the moderators and users were gone, there would be no reddit. Reddit isn't just rules and 5 or so employees. The fact that top tier subreddits like r/gaming and r/politics can ban Gawker with mass support of its community is the problem here. I don't understand why the blackmail is relevant to my problem here, which is that Gawker is banned in retaliation.

    Let's go down this misguided rabbit hole for a second.

    Gawker was blacklisted in retaliation for Jezebel shining a massive fucking spotlight on the verified and unverified personal details of people on the Internet.

    Why does reddit as a community think that creepy pedos deserve protection via censorship, but the victims need to suck it up and deal with free speech?

    Because people are stupid when they're in a mob? Because they shut off all critical thinking when told X person is a pedo or something else that's WSPTOTC? Because bad taste alone isn't a reason to take something down? If they're doing something illegal then the authorities have all the tools they need to easily take people down. If they're doing something not-illegal that should be illegal then the remedy here is legislative not vigilantism.

    A vigilante mob should not be the arbiter of bad taste. Inciting vigilantism to act as your personal army against bad taste is just disgusting.
    posted by Talez at 1:12 PM on October 13, 2012


    Serious question: What are some tactics you think would discourage this behavior by the creepshooters that do not fall into the category of vigilantism?
    posted by rmd1023 at 1:16 PM on October 13, 2012


    Serious question: What are some tactics you think would discourage this behavior by the creepshooters that do not fall under of vigilantism?

    Appropriate legislation, therapy and, as a last resort, jail time.
    posted by Talez at 1:18 PM on October 13, 2012


    So using social pressure to discourage something is vigilantism? Nice.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:19 PM on October 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


    Gawker was blacklisted in retaliation for Jezebel shining a massive fucking spotlight on the verified and unverified personal details of people on the Internet.
    Look, I don't want to be too confrontational, but either you're seriously misguided as to what happend or you're bullshitting everyone.

    A sitewide ban was applied to a SINGLE gawker article, namely the expose on violentacrez. The rest of Gawker was not banned. If there was a retaliation on Gawker due to a Jezebel article, then they would be banning all of Gawker. They censor the article that made reddit look bad. (Note: subreddit specific bans sitewide for Gawker occured on major subreddits like r/politics, r/gaming, and r/subredditdrama which didn't allow ANY Gawker articles, but didn't apply for all of reddit.) Sitewide banning a single article shows precisely who they're protecting.

    Reddit admins (as in employees), decided to ban where it made them look bad, but claim they protect free speech rights of pedos. Incidentally the article was about those very pedos. That is FUCKED UP.
    Because people are stupid when they're in a mob? Because they shut off all critical thinking when told X person is a pedo or something else that's WSPTOTC?
    Free speech isn't free from consequences. If you're a creepy pedo taking pictures, and people out you to their community for safety reasons they very well have a right to. Are you saying that underaged students don't have a right to know when their substitute pictures upload pictures of them in their own classrooms? Why do pedos deserve protection on their safety when those students are actively being harmed (instead of bullshit hypotheticals)? If a Super PAC was outed, should we prevent their names from being publicized because the funder's houses might be egged?
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:19 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Sincere question: how do you get appropriate legislation without shining a bright light on the bullshit and calling attention to the issue?
    posted by Phire at 1:21 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Appropriate legislation, therapy and, as a last resort, jail time.

    Do you think the only way to discourage this behavior is to make it illegal? I'm not sure people are going to seek therapy for a behavior that they don't think is a problem.
    posted by rmd1023 at 1:25 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    If they're doing something not-illegal that should be illegal then the remedy here is legislative not vigilantism.

    It may not be illegal for someone to ask me for a dollar. That does not mean its OK for everyone always to ask me for a dollar. Part of living in civil society means that, as a group, we can tell people "not cool, don't do that" without having to pass a law. And society can, as a group, use social pressure to discourage uncool behavior without being labeled "vigilantes."
    posted by ambrosia at 1:27 PM on October 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


    For a while, there was a domain-wide ban on Gawker on all of reddit. It wasn't just purely an admin deleting the post and saying "Don't do that." It was coded into the site.

    I think they loosened it up after a bit to allow all of gawker but the article. Of note is that Circlejerk found some permutation of the URL that still works with the gawker CMS so that they are now linking the article in most of their posts.

    The fact remains that in their panic, the reddit admins banned an article and temporarily a whole series of domains, violating their "free speech" principles to keep the mods on board. As you can tell from the chat logs, Reddit needs the mods. They are free labor that does the unpopular rulemaking and enforcing, and they can also serve as fall guys since they are responsible for deleting the vast majority of illegal content. The fact that they work for popularity and validation from the community is kind of proving to be a conflict of interest.
    posted by mccarty.tim at 1:28 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    It's basically the same cloud of open secrecy that surrounds abuse - nothing is really hidden, but every body just sort of agrees to look away or Pretend it isn't happening or whatever.

    Fuck that. Shine the light on the fuckers.
    posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on October 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


    Free speech isn't free from consequences. If you're a creepy pedo taking pictures, and people out you to their community for safety reasons they very well have a right to. Are you saying that underaged students don't have a right to know when their substitute pictures upload pictures of them in their own classrooms? Why do pedos deserve protection on their safety when those students are actively being harmed (instead of bullshit hypotheticals)? If a Super PAC was outed, should we prevent their names from being publicized because the funder's houses might be egged?

    I'm in favour of due process and equality under the law. If you decide to act outside the law and egg people's houses because you're pretty sure that they're a pedo then the whole system collapses. What's to stop me from putting up your details on a tumblr blog saying "amuseDetachment is reddit pedo [insert username of someone who's posted on a subreddit before] and here is their home address!"?

    Sincere question:how do you get appropriate legislation without shining a bright light on the bullshit and calling attention to the issue?

    WSPTOTC? The problem isn't that Jezebel did what they did. It's that they did it without regard to whether the information was correct, current or even real.

    So using social pressure to discourage something is vigilantism? Nice.

    There was social pressure that failed to discourage it. The only thing that discouraged it was blackmail. That's vigilantism.

    Do you think the only way to discourage this behavior is to make it illegal? I'm not sure people are going to seek therapy for a behavior that they don't think is a problem.

    I think therapy after bringing it to the attention of authorities is a good diversion before engaging in more punitive measures.

    And society can, as a group, use social pressure to discourage uncool behavior without being labeled "vigilantes."

    They can use social pressure. And they did. And it didn't work. But once you step into the realm of blackmail or recklessly throwing around personal details to force change you step over the line from activism into vigilantism.
    posted by Talez at 1:31 PM on October 13, 2012


    Fuck that. Shine the light on the fuckers.

    How do we know what information is legitimate and which is incorrect or false?

    I'm genuinely curious to know where your standard lies.
    posted by Talez at 1:33 PM on October 13, 2012


    mccarty.tim: AFAICT, Gawker was never banned sitewide -- and sure as hell Jezebel wasn't banned sitewide.


    Talez: The "boo hoo what would we do about vigilantism" is bullshit, though. We know who is violentacrez, and Gawker confirmed with him. Banning that Gawker article is such crap, Adrian Chen had confirmation over the phone. If Adrian Chen and confirmation of the top 10 donators to Crossroads GPS Super PAC, should he not release it because we need to protect against vigilantism?

    Yes, the tumblr outing people is problematic, but that's not the relevant issue here. The relevant issue is we have actual confirmation of a pedo creeper moderator on reddit, with reddit's approval. Actually, not only approval, his active protection via squelching actual journalism. The Gawker article shouldn't have been banned sitewide by actual reddit employees. It shows where their allegiance lie, pedos before actual free speech and journalism.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:37 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Not to mention where Gawker is involved we should be extra careful about incorrect information and inciting vigilantism.
    posted by Talez at 1:37 PM on October 13, 2012


    Do you believe that if Gawker had a donor list of the top 10 donors for Crossroads GPS super pac, they should keep that secret to protect against vigilantes? I'm genuinely curious where you're coming from, not concern trolling.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:38 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I'm pretty sure that is your own definition of vigilantism. I do not think that even publishing the names of people committing standard crimes, like drug dealers or johns patronizing prostitutes or officials taking bribes, is considered vigilantism - that's still applying social pressure. Vigilantism is where you go beat up the drug dealers or seize and destroy their merchandise yourself, something that would only be legal for law enforcement officers to do.
    posted by XMLicious at 1:40 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    According to his online resume, Michael Brutsch recently left his job doing IT at a payday loan company. So consequences of this article are starting to occur.

    Whether he left himself or was fired, I'm not sure. Edited to remove an unfair assumption.
    posted by mccarty.tim at 1:48 PM on October 13, 2012


    does this have anything to do with this
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:49 PM on October 13, 2012


    Talez: The "boo hoo what would we do about vigilantism" is bullshit, though. We know who is violentacrez, and Gawker confirmed with them. Banning that Gawker article is such crap, Adrian Chen had confirmation over the phone. If Adrian Chen and confirmation of the top 10 donators to Crossroads GPS Super PAC, should he not release it because we need to protect against vigilantism?

    I think if anyone was to do that they'd have fairly strong evidence beyond the supposed Facebook profiles the tumblr was collecting and that accusing someone of donating to their political party of choice doesn't put someone's life/reputation in danger like the pedo label. Like most things in life the issue is relative but if you want to put me on the spot with a black and white answer I'd say yes, release it.

    Yes, the tumblr outing people is problematic, but that's not the relevant issue here. The relevant issue is we have actual confirmation of a pedo creeper moderator on reddit, with reddit's approval. Actually, not only approval, his active protection via squelching actual journalism. The Gawker article shouldn't have been banned sitewide by actual reddit employees. It shows where their allegiance lie, pedos before actual free speech and journalism.

    It's the entire relevant issue within reddit itself. The doxxing and blackmailing was the whole reason creepshots was removed in the first place before it and its ilk were subsequently banned.

    The VA/Chen fiasco was a sideshow and people are trying to make it into the story. Gawker/Reddit have had a massive shitfight for over a year now and pointing out that both sides think the other is being unreasonable. Chen won't be happy until his personal view of morality is imposed on Reddit and the Reddit guys think he's a massive douche.

    I'm pretty sure that is your own definition of vigilantism.

    Blackmailing someone to take something down isn't vigilantism? The subsequent assault of one of the doxxed people isn't vigilantism? If it's not then my apologies and my mistake.
    posted by Talez at 1:50 PM on October 13, 2012


    Fuck that. Shine the light on the fuckers.

    How do we know what information is legitimate and which is incorrect or false?

    I'm genuinely curious to know where your standard lies.


    Phoning the fucker up for confirmation falls well with in it.
    posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on October 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


    also people are complaining to me that using the word "creepy" conflates gut-level appeal-to-revulsion shit with actual ethical ideas and undermines the basis of whatever it's being inserted into, so i am sorry for doing that
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:54 PM on October 13, 2012


    Phoning the fucker up for confirmation falls well with in it.

    What about the people being doxxed on the tumblr?
    posted by Talez at 1:55 PM on October 13, 2012


    The VA/Chen fiasco was a sideshow and people are trying to make it into the story.
    Why do you think it's a sideshow? That IS the story. The r/creepshots and tumblr would've been just internal internet drama.

    The moment reddit as a community and reddit as a company banned the Gawker article it showed they were more interested in protecting and promoting pedos than actual free speech. Because part of the process is actual journalism, to figure out what's going on with that subreddit.

    Look, I can agree with you that the tumblr is probably a bad idea, but I'd argue no worse than what r/creepshots does, which is post pictures of people without their permission, which has actual consequences for people that don't deserve it. Why do the creepers deserve our protection but the underaged girls do not? Doxing and creepshotting are both legal, if reddit actually was interested in free speech, they wouldn't have banned gawker. That is why banning Gawker is CENTRAL to this issue.

    If you ban Gawker, it instantly shows to the world bare where your allegiances lie. They are on the side of pedos, they are not a neutral party. That is why everyone is fucking offended.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:55 PM on October 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


    I'm not discounting your other points, Talez, but if your complaint is that Predditors posts unsubstantiated info, you can't seriously expect others to take "I was assaulted as a direct result of Predditors see what you've done" at face value, either.
    posted by Phire at 1:58 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    If you ban Gawker, it instantly shows to the world bare where your allegiances lie. They are on the side of pedos, they are not a neutral party. That is why everyone is fucking offended.

    I think you're getting thoroughly confused between the global ban during the /r/jailbreak fiasco a year ago when Chen was on his mindless trashing crusade and the current moderators banning Gawker links in individual subreddits.
    posted by Talez at 1:59 PM on October 13, 2012


    The doxxing and blackmailing was the whole reason creepshots was removed in the first place before it and its ilk were subsequently banned.

    Actually I think the situation is a little more complicated from this. I think we still don't have the whole truth, but the sense I get now having the IRC log and Gawker article is that the Reddit admins would probably have stood by VA, but VA removed creepshots and slunk off due to the doxxing. And it turns out VA was a very important cog on the wheel of Reddit; without him, they may be at a bit of a loss how to handle the NSFW content he was wrangling for them.

    As I said upthread, I originally thought we were dealing with committed free speech zealots of the sort who rushed to Larry Flynt's defense. Instead, it appears we were dealing with much softer free speech zealots who were content to let VA handle the NSFW side of things so they could concentrate on the daylight side. Without VA, they may not have much stomach for continuing the defense of the stuff he oversaw.

    Violation of privacy or not, the Gawker article is key to understanding what is going on in this regard; VA wasn't just some guy who they gave a badge for helping a lot. They didn't want to deal with the stuff he was dealing with and that's why they gave him such a big attaboy. Now that he's been driven off the site admins have to either start shoveling shit themselves or come up with an excuse to shut down the pigsty.
    posted by localroger at 2:00 PM on October 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


    What about the people being doxxed on the tumblr?
    What about the high school students that had pictures of their chest and asses all over the internet? What about the high school girl that now refuses to go to school because her trust in teachers is now shattered for life because a creepy substitute teacher took creepshoots on her fucking birthday?
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:00 PM on October 13, 2012 [15 favorites]


    Brutsch's Twitter bio: Not the brightest crayon in the shed, that's for sure

    Also, the first page of Google results for his name are nearly all related to the outing.
    posted by desjardins at 2:00 PM on October 13, 2012


    I think you're getting thoroughly confused between the global ban during the /r/jailbreak fiasco a year ago when Chen was on his mindless trashing crusade and the current moderators banning Gawker links in individual subreddits.
    Half the subjects on r/creepshots were underage, and there is GREAT overlap in mods with r/jailbait and r/creepshots. It's pretty much the same people.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:00 PM on October 13, 2012


    Looks like he's updated his resume:

    [workplace] - Arlington, Texas
    August 2004 - October 2012


    Either fired or quit, I suppose.
    posted by jokeefe at 2:05 PM on October 13, 2012


    Either fired or quit, I suppose.

    If I was the employer who woke up one day to see this story about an employee, I would probably have another trusted employee get busy looking through the logs for traffic to Reddit. I would think firing someone for being VA a very shitty thing to do, but I would think firing VA for being VA on company time entirely justified.

    Making yourself a prominent user on a big site like Reddit or even DailyKos is a full time job. Since he was working in IT it's kind of hard to believe he wasn't dong a lot of his Reddit shit on company time.
    posted by localroger at 2:10 PM on October 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Actually I think the situation is a little more complicated from this. I think we still don't have the whole truth, but the sense I get now having the IRC log and Gawker article is that the Reddit admins would probably have stood by VA, but VA removed creepshots and slunk off due to the doxxing. And it turns out VA was a very important cog on the wheel of Reddit; without him, they may be at a bit of a loss how to handle the NSFW content he was wrangling for them.

    My understanding of the situation that /r/creepshots was removed by CreeperComforts at the threatening of HelloJK. By I'm open to any new information.

    I don't think the loss of VA will hurt that much. If there's one thing the Internet isn't short of it's purveyors of NSFW content.

    Half the subjects on r/creepshots were underage, and there is GREAT overlap in mods with r/jailbait and r/creepshots. It's pretty much the same people.

    Just keep flailing about with that brush and I'm pretty sure you'll find reason to paint everyone with it eventually. You've already prejudged the entire use base. You've got your preconceived notions. I'm not going to be able to convince you otherwise. Unless you have any interest whatsoever in reasonably discussing the principles of bulk content aggregation vs curated moderation and the responsibilities of each of those roles in balancing tasteless content vs free speech (i.e. something other than REDDIT ADMINS SUPPORT/ARE EVIL PEDOS) we're done here.

    I've worked on the other side of the looking glass in situations like the reddit guys are facing. The issue of tasteless/borderline illegal content is many layers deeper than "just take pedo content down".
    posted by Talez at 2:11 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Yes, it's a complicated issue. If they actually cared about the complicated speech issue, they never would've banned the single Gawker article. If they took an actual "fuck you I'm protecting them no matter what", I may actually be on Reddit's side. If they never banned r/jailbait, if they never banned r/creepshots, and sure as fuck if they never banned Gawker. We'd be in a wholly different situation. We could see them say, "if we won't be sued or arrested, we're not taking it down, no matter what -- even if CNN is critical of us." That's not what happend with Reddit, they're purely interested in what profits them the most. Since r/jailbait was such a large traffic driver, reddit is filled with scumbags and they continue their scumbaggery with r/creepshots.

    If you ban actual speech by actual journalists, namely Gawker, while actively protecting pedos, only one conclusion can be reached. Reddit has ceded the "common carrier free speech" argument. They are in the "actively protect pedos while shutting down pedo-critical speech" camp.

    With actions like that, they're not the ACLU, they're NAMBLA.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:17 PM on October 13, 2012 [15 favorites]


    If there's one thing the Internet isn't short of it's purveyors of NSFW content.

    True, but it appears that VA wasn't just a smut peddler, he was a talented smut peddler. He wrote the FAQ on how to use the moderator interface, not just for NSFW but for everyone. When he wasn't being the worlds' biggest internet troll he was actually quite helpful. It appears that he was almost entirely responsible for removing illegal content from those subreddits that flirted with legal trouble. That's a responsibility someone else is going to need to take up RIGHT NOW, or Reddit is going to have one of those existential crises that they claim are the One True Call to Action.

    I don't think it's clear that that screenshot of the threat is genuine; if it is, caving to it certainly indicates a less than we-re-with-larry-flynt level of commitment to the sacred principles of Free Speech and Anonymity.

    I think the next few days are going to be very interesting. The shaking out could just be beginning. It is very obvious now that I was wrong, particularly in the stand I took in the last thread and in a memail exchange, about some fundamental motivations. I would not be at all surprised to see some seismic shifts in how Reddit operates over the next week.
    posted by localroger at 2:21 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I think the next few days are going to be very interesting. The shaking out could just be beginning. It is very obvious now that I was wrong, particularly in the stand I took in the last thread and in a memail exchange, about some fundamental motivations. I would not be at all surprised to see some seismic shifts in how Reddit operates over the next week.

    They've already blanket banned anything to do with minors and the sexualizing thereof on top of their ban on posting sexually suggestive content of minors. Looks like they're currently playing whack-a-mole since they seem to go down as fast as they can bring them up.

    If they actually cared about the complicated speech issue, they never would've banned the single Gawker article.

    Reddit has a blanket ban on posting personal information. Full stop. This protects vulnerable people as well as being a shelter for scoundrels.
    posted by Talez at 2:24 PM on October 13, 2012


    The thing that gets me is they aren't having a discussion about it on any of the major subreddits. They're not just protecting VA. They're scared for the whole company. There's not even a AskReddit post discussing it up, sanitized of personal details, so people can discuss what happened.

    And people who have tried to post such posts, sanitized of personal details, have had their posts deleted.

    I think Reddit's gone past protection into denial.
    posted by mccarty.tim at 2:29 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    The PII ban gives the illusion of protection.
    posted by five fresh fish at 2:30 PM on October 13, 2012


    Reddit has a blanket ban on posting personal information. Full stop. This protects vulnerable people as well as a shelter for scoundrels.
    That's easy to say when SRS details redditors creepily finding people's information for months now. You can say "it's all public because reverse google image search", but the tumblr did no more research than that.

    It's also rather disingenuous as there were uploaded pictures of students inside a classroom to r/creepshots. They can claim all they want that a name wasn't attached, but the actual students were found out as a result.

    r/creepshots showed there was a culture of blatant disrespect for privacy on many parts of reddit, you can't have it both ways. Simple site policies that accept one privacy invasion but not the other doesn't hold water when we talk about real-life actual consequences.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:30 PM on October 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


    To be clear, even non-default, semi-major subreddits that have more of an interest in this debate than AskReddit (which is kind of a loosely moderated catchall), such as Two X Chromosomes, are facing similar mod censorship.
    posted by mccarty.tim at 2:31 PM on October 13, 2012


    I'm in favour of due process and equality under the law. If you decide to act outside the law and egg people's houses because you're pretty sure that they're a pedo then the whole system collapses.

    This is how free speech works, pal. Anonymous speech is important and should be protected by law, but it's up to the SPEAKER to cover their asses.

    Likewise, naming and shaming is protected speech and should remain so. So what if the behavior exhibited in /r/creepshots is legal? Posting personal info on the Internet is also legal. So is firing someone for the odious crap they post on the Internet.

    Now I know you're incensed by the predditors tumblr -- you're clutching your pearls and saying "oh god, what if an innocent gets caught up in their net?!?!" well, of all the behavior being whinged about here, that's the only one that's not legal. That's defamation. So if someone gets wrongly outed on that site, they can go ahead and seek legal relief. Everyone else should take responsibility for either engaging in ugly speech and/or not covering their online tracks. Feeling sorry for them totally misses the point.
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 2:32 PM on October 13, 2012 [15 favorites]


    Likewise, naming and shaming is protected speech and should remain so.

    Except when they get it wrong. You can get a remedy in the courts but it's hard to unsully a reputation from the pedo label.

    That's easy to say when SRS details redditors creepily finding people's information for months now. You can say "it's all public because reverse google image search", but the tumblr did no more research than that.

    I went back to that thread to find that post. But I couldn't because it was deleted. Until it gets reported and works its way though the list it stays up for a short period of time. It's completely unreasonable to be on top of every thread on every subreddit at all times.
    posted by Talez at 2:39 PM on October 13, 2012


    Talez: It was deleted after SRS brought it up, this was after the whole Gawker thing, but a lot of others were not deleted for a long time. This was just the most recent one. I'm not just criticizing enforcement, I'm criticizing the hypocritical nature of reddit as a culture. If it can get 600+ upvotes at only 100 downvotes, we're talking about the culture being infested with creepers, who are only concerned about privacy when it favors them.
    You can get a remedy in the courts but it's hard to unsully a reputation from the pedo label.
    That's not a valid justification for squelching speech. You can't shut down accusations because they "might be wrong".

    Also, what about the reputation of the high school girls? You think maybe they're afraid the'll be slut shamed? What about their privacy invasion? Either reddit cares about both privacy invasions, or they say "fuck you everything is free game." The fact that they favored one makes calling them pedo-apologists a valid accusation.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:44 PM on October 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


    SRS created a community for leaks from private subreddits.
    posted by NoraReed at 2:52 PM on October 13, 2012


    That's not a valid justification for squelching speech. You can't shut down accusations because they "might be wrong".

    I can't stop them but I can point out that it's a terrible thing to do.

    Also, what about the reputation of the high school girls? You think maybe they're afraid the'll be slut shamed? What about their privacy invasion?

    First of all, regarding the reputation. The harm has already been made on these girls. Trying to name and shame and getting it wrong then harms two innocent people. How many people are you going to harm if you get it wrong until you get the right person? Two wrongs most definitely don't make a right about it in this situation.

    Either reddit cares about both privacy invasions, or they say "fuck you everything is free game." The fact that they favored one makes calling them pedo-apologists a valid accusation.

    The problem is that Reddit, very wisely, doesn't want to be judge, jury and executioner on content. Which is pretty smart. They have not much to gain by appeasing haters who only see the place as a den of pedo-apologists and they have everything to lose.

    The moment you start trying to remove content for bad taste you have to start drawing lines in the sand for tastelessness, inappropraiteness and legality. And if there's one thing that this has taught us it's that someone is always going to have a problem with where you put the line. Then what if you miss a piece? What if some parent of a minor sues you over the content? The plantiff's lawyer is going to crucify you because you put the duty of care on yourself to police the site for inappropriateness! Better to ignore the whole hornet's nest entirely until the PR is too much to bear.

    Don't worry though. The mission has been accomplished. The creepers are being driven out. There'll be a change in policy within the next three days because of the public pressure, the rules will be updated, SRS will find another thing to crusade about and the haters can take a well earned vacation knowing they showed those pedo-apologists a thing or two.
    posted by Talez at 2:56 PM on October 13, 2012


    Two wrongs most definitely don't make a right about it in this situation.
    So let's never out the top 10 donators to Crossroad GPS Super PAC? Because they're already assholes, and we don't want to hurt them? Even though it creates incentive against shady donations?
    The problem is that Reddit, very wisely, doesn't want to be judge, jury and executioner on content.
    Still haven't heard any justification for banning that Gawker article. No possible chance of getting the wrong guy there, and actively banned sitewide by Reddit admins/employees. The common carrier argument doesn't work here.
    Better to ignore the whole hornet's nest entirely until the PR is too much to bear.
    And it's better for people to actually care enough to change the equation for reddit of what's worth it to protect -- for Reddit to change their policies to not favor pedos over journalism.
    There'll be a change in policy within the next three days because of the public pressure, the rules will be updated
    I doubt r/politics will unban Gawker. reddit as a culture is broken because r/jailbait was their second largest driver of Google traffic.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 3:03 PM on October 13, 2012


    The problem is that Reddit, very wisely, doesn't want to be judge, jury and executioner on content. Which is pretty smart. They have not much to gain by appeasing haters who only see the place as a den of pedo-apologists and they have everything to lose.

    The level of deliberate, carefully maintained unawareness present in that statement is kind of hilarious. But, you know, whatever works.
    posted by verb at 3:05 PM on October 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


    The moment you start trying to remove content for bad taste you have to start drawing lines in the sand for tastelessness, inappropraiteness and legality. And if there's one thing that this has taught us it's that someone is always going to have a problem with where you put the line.

    This is my tiny little violin. It is playing for Reddit's administrators.

    Running an online community is hard for the reason you outline. Reddit's answer -- to NOT draw any lines until they are legally forced to -- is not a solution. It's kicking the can down the road and hoping that someone else will deal with it.
    posted by verb at 3:12 PM on October 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


    It looks like the sitewide ban on the gawker article has been lifted, with Reddit's GM admitting the ban was a mistake.
    posted by hellojed at 3:18 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Artw: “It's basically the same cloud of open secrecy that surrounds abuse - nothing is really hidden, but every body just sort of agrees to look away or Pretend it isn't happening or whatever. Fuck that. Shine the light on the fuckers.”

    Talez: “How do we know what information is legitimate and which is incorrect or false? I'm genuinely curious to know where your standard lies.”

    Artw: “Phoning the fucker up for confirmation falls well with in it.”

    Talez: “What about the people being doxxed on the tumblr?”

    I've said some of this above, but here's where I fall on this:

    As far as I can tell, everyone who's been doxxed here, be in on the tumblr or the Jezebel or in Adrian Chen's article, has been "soft doxxed." That is – nobody has done anything but connect known information, on Twitter and Facebook and elsewhere, to put together names and faces of Redditors. It is legal to connect dots like this on the internet. It should be legal. Privacy is a limited guarantee of the US constitution, but anonymity certainly isn't, especially when you yourself have put enough info out there for people to figure out who you are.

    This whole thing is kind of interesting to me, because this is the first time I've noticed that there's a huge challenge to a taboo that only arose with internet communities and forums. There have been times in the past when revealing private information about someone – their sexual orientation, for instance – was an issue we had to face; but this is on an entirely different scale, I think, and has a different character. At this point, we have a knee-jerk hatred of "doxxing," because it's evolved as a sort of malicious internet thing that people sometimes do with the intention of seeing a person get hurt.

    But honestly – I don't see any true threats to internet anonymity here. You are still free to get yourself a VPN, not connect your accounts together, keep your Facebook (if you must have one) separate from your other online identities, etc. No technical means for subverting these routes to anonymity has emerged here.

    All that's happened is – a bunch of guys who wanted to believe that the community would respect their anonymity to the point of not even connecting usernames and URLs have come to know that that wasn't really something they could believe in. Nor should they ever have believed that. Frankly, it was dumb to believe that they could post this stuff without taking care of their anonymity.

    In short: people have a right to connect one identity with another on the internet. It's generally not good for people to do that in the hopes of getting someone hurt, and blackmail and slander are still illegal, but there's absolutely no way to deny people the freedom to simply link things together and not break the internet as we know it completely.
    posted by koeselitz at 3:19 PM on October 13, 2012 [18 favorites]


    That's easy to say when SRS details redditors creepily finding people's information for months now. You can say "it's all public because reverse google image search", but the tumblr did no more research than that.

    Holy fuck. So the PI thing is a paedos and mates only thing, and doesn't apply to actual victims? Fuuuuuuck.

    Sorry Talez, your favourite website is administered by a human centipede of paedo enablers and the whole fucking thing should be burned to the ground.
    posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on October 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


    All that's happened is – a bunch of guys who wanted to believe that the community would respect their anonymity to the point of not even connecting usernames and URLs have come to know that that wasn't really something they could believe in. Nor should they ever have believed that. Frankly, it was dumb to believe that they could post this stuff without taking care of their anonymity.

    That's assuming the other online identities they've connected with are correct and true.
    posted by Talez at 3:24 PM on October 13, 2012


    Thanks for the update, hellojed. Press worldwide have been hammering on Reddit because of the Gawker ban, you don't censor a fellow member of the press (albiet an asshole member) without everyone getting riled up. At least Reddit admins/employees realized how bad banning the Gawker article makes them look.

    From the buzzfeed article:
    "Mods are still free to do what they want in their subreddits."
    I'd be very surprised if r/politics unbans Gawker, and more importantly, r/gaming still has a full ban on Kotaku (which is owned by Gawker Media). Banning Kotaku (a gaming blog) is such petty bullshit as they haven't published articles on this topic, the community is still interested in getting revenge in the name of pedos.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 3:27 PM on October 13, 2012


    That's assuming the other online identities they've connected with are correct and true.

    This is such a ridiculous concern trolling bullshit straw man argument, and in conjunction with your comment upthread that oh well the damage is already done for the actual victims in this scenario tough titty lol reads as really offensive victim blaming.
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:29 PM on October 13, 2012 [16 favorites]



    To be clear, even non-default, semi-major subreddits that have more of an interest in this debate than AskReddit (which is kind of a loosely moderated catchall), such as Two X Chromosomes, are facing similar mod censorship.


    A friend is a mod on TwoXC, and according to her, the mods there chose not to get involved in boycotting Gawker media. They want women photographed on r/creepshots to feel comfortable calling people out over it, but at the same time they don't want to encourage mods being doxxed. Considering she's gotten redditors threatening to rape her over a banning, I get why she'd want to protect her own info. We discussed this a couple of days ago, the situation may have changed since.

    It's an odd thing, being a female redditor. I hate reddit as a whole, and nearly all of the supposed community values, but at the same time, there are some truly wonderful subreddits tucked away there and I hear more about reddit's misogynistic and pedophillic tendecies on mefi than I do on Reddit itself. I hope this fiasco leads to positive changes for the site as a whole, but I'm not optimistic.
    posted by peppermind at 3:29 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Talez: “That's assuming the other online identities they've connected with are correct and true.”

    In a free society, people have the right to make mistakes, too. Witch hunts are terrible things. If and when those witch hunts turn into illegal activities – conspiracy, harassment, etc – then they can be legally pursued and we can put a stop to them. Until then, yeah.

    This is where we are. People have freedom of speech, and this is one of the prices of freedom.

    Artw: “Holy fuck. So the PI thing is a paedos and mates only thing, and doesn't apply to actual victims? Fuuuuuuck.”

    Yeah, one of the things I've found disturbing in this thread (and on Reddit) is the throng of people willing to step up and hope fervently that violentacrez and his family are okay, whilst it seems that nobody is really very concerned about the woman who created the Predditors tumblr, who's also been doxxed. To be charitable, I guess a lot of people didn't realize that. Still, I am much more concerned about her, as I think it's much more likely that she'll get hurt, and I really hope that doesn't happen.
    posted by koeselitz at 3:31 PM on October 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


    she's gotten redditors threatening to rape her over a banning

    Ugh. I mean, unsurprising because "wilds of the open internet", but what a fucking downer. I've done a bunch of mailing list wrangling and online community cat-herding (happily without awesome rapetastic rage from assholes) and I can't imaging doing it in the face of that kind of crap.
    posted by rmd1023 at 3:33 PM on October 13, 2012


    I guess a lot of people didn't realize that.

    Fuck. I hadn't heard that. I really hope the bro-tastic rage machine doesn't go mob-attack on her, either.
    posted by rmd1023 at 3:34 PM on October 13, 2012


    (Okay, whoops, I totally was wrong in that last comment, and I've been reading that doxxing comment totally wrong. It wasn't the Predditors founder who got doxxed. Sorry for any confusion.)
    posted by koeselitz at 3:35 PM on October 13, 2012


    rmd1023: I was very wrong. See my last comment.
    posted by koeselitz at 3:35 PM on October 13, 2012


    Ah, okay. Nobody should get rage-swarmed by the hordes of internet hatemongering. I really prefer the middle path between "ignore it" and "burn it to the ground", even for (legal) things I vehemently disagree with.
    posted by rmd1023 at 3:37 PM on October 13, 2012


    koeselitz: I'm sure this won't make you feel any less disturbed, but one of the students of the teacher who was creepshotted posted an AMA and one of the answers was absolutely heartbreaking (as I alluded to in another comment).

    Of course we only have proof that he was a student of that school, but that's infinity times more proof than the guy that claimed to be beaten up.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 3:37 PM on October 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


    That's assuming the other online identities they've connected with are correct and true.

    Since all the information that was soft-doxxed is public (I think? Please correct me if I am wrong.) this is actually a very simple test. When I read through the stuff the first time around there wasn't a lot of "Well we found six guys with this same name but we picked this guy because he looks creepy" it was "This guy says this is his twitter and his twitter says his name is this. Here is his facebook that is linked to that twitter which has the same photo of the guy and shows where he works." or whatever.

    Again, would not have been my choice of how to handle this, but it's worth understanding the difference between what is actually happening and what sounds like it might have been happening based on a lot of second hand reporting.

    she's gotten redditors threatening to rape her over a banning

    Yeah it's weird watching the gendered backlash. (I hear what you said koeslitz, that this is a different woman being talked about) I mean it just takes one maladjusted jerk to start with the "we should rape you because you're threatening the community we love" comments and it can quickly make the entire community looks toxic. Very very worth differentiating the statements of the people who are actually in charge of things versus people who are just sideliners watching this unfold.
    posted by jessamyn at 3:39 PM on October 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


    [Folks, please do try to keep this from getting personal, if at all possible. Thanks. ]
    posted by restless_nomad at 3:46 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    From what I can tell, the leaker of the IRC chatlog was solidwhetstone (see his comment at middle of the image), who inadvertently leaked the log because he didn't realize that pastebin was public. Given how he referred to SRS as "the haven the doxxers go to" and that "it makes sense to ban it" I find it quite ironic that he was the one to leak the internal mod discussion.
    posted by Kattullus at 3:50 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Talez: “See how easy it is? But none of you salivating like a rabid dog will learn from this mistake. I'm out. Have fun with the rest of the thread.”

    I feel like this is asking for a response from me, so I'll give a brief one, I guess, and maybe you'll see it later.

    Like I said in my last comment to you, people make mistakes. It isn't against the law to make a mistake on the internet. Part of my confusion is with the fact that you seem to be saying 'this is wrong, and we need to put a stop to it!' but I'm not quite sure what you mean by it. I don't think you mean this should be against the law – so I guess you mean it needs to be against the rules of internet forums. But even there, I don't think it should be against the rules for people to make mistakes.

    You want it to be against the rules to reveal private information about people online. I can see why, and in many contexts I think that makes sense. But that can't be an absolute thing, I don't think – not only because there are situations where revealing identities of prominent internet personalities makes sense (for example, Adrian Chen's article, which I see no problem with) but because it's really just impossible. Unless you're suggesting some new, sweeping legislation to ban doxxing across the internet. Which seems insane to me.

    I hope it's clear that I'm not salivating here. As far as I can tell, nobody here is. We're just trying to reason this out, same as you.
    posted by koeselitz at 3:51 PM on October 13, 2012


    It's also interesting from the IRC chatlogs that you can tell that they have an actual real-life Internet Cabal going on where they make collective decisions to try to reach agreement/consensus as well as advocate to each other.

    It is hard proof that actions from top-tier subreddits, such as r/politics or r/gaming can be understood to be actions that represent reddit's moderator community as a whole.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 3:54 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Then what if you miss a piece? What if some parent of a minor sues you over the content? & other hyperbolic ravings.

    To which I think I can safely answer: MetaFilter.

    Generally not tolerant of creepers. Generally anonymous. Folk tend to be generally open, honest, and even vulnerable. Topics range all over the place, and include sensitive or disputed subjects. Just like reddit.

    I can point to dozens of other sites where links are the head of a thread and humanity plays out in the responses, equally successful and yet somehow not putting up with creepers.

    My guess is that there's a genetic code of behaviour that keeps all of us from flinging literal poop, and most of us from creeping strangers.

    So what if there ? I guess good things.
    posted by five fresh fish at 3:56 PM on October 13, 2012


    And of course if I'm wrong, the new, not-creeper Reddit dies like Digg and MySpace and so what? Hardly a loss to humanity. A new site will rise.
    posted by five fresh fish at 4:00 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    If I held the banhammer, I'd be frowning on the continued and disingenuous use of language like "mobs" and "vigilantism." It's a particularly dishonest framing of the situation, reminiscent of upholding anonymity and free speech only when it applies to creepsters and not for their critics.

    I have enjoyed dabbling around reading on Reddit for a long time, but have never posted there. There's a lot that I like about the place (including both SFW and NSFW content), and especially that there's a different energy there than there is here, but there's something off about it sometimes, too. I'd always just assumed it was that the users skewed way younger than me, but watching the incredibly tone-deaf defenses of creepsters and pedos makes me think that it's actually a deeper cultural issue.
    posted by Forktine at 4:17 PM on October 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


    I'd always just assumed it was that the users skewed way younger than me, but watching the incredibly tone-deaf defenses of creepsters and pedos makes me think that it's actually a deeper cultural issue.

    Yup. May have vaguely defended them along those lines in the past, fool that I am, and am now coming to very similar conclusions.
    posted by Artw at 4:34 PM on October 13, 2012


    So what if there ? I guess good things.

    Indeed. I saw a post by POTATOES_IN_MY_ANUS defending creepshots on the grounds that if it wasn't there "you'd only drive it underground". Which, er, is exactly what you want to do with this stuff. If you're keeping it above ground, it's so you can stop it, not celebrate it.

    Forcing it underground is how you say "we won't put up with this stuff", and it's what drives community norms, and how we end up with places like Metafilter.

    The opposite? Doing the opposite is the reason you can't have nice things.
    posted by fightorflight at 4:35 PM on October 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


    "The harm has already been made on these girls. Trying to name and shame and getting it wrong then harms two innocent people. "

    Dude, I can't believe you're even trotting this shit out. It's wrong to publicly sexualize girls — girls — like that but it's not cool to call people out because that'd be a bummer if you were wrong? You're putting forth a definition of justice that's so flaccid that any person violating any norm could just shrug and say, "Not it." No fucking concern at all for girls combined with special pleading for people who are free to say, "Hey, that's not me." On the back of some made-up assault that you keep trying to bolster in there?

    Seriously, listen to yourself.
    posted by klangklangston at 4:57 PM on October 13, 2012 [31 favorites]


    I really wish reddit had some sortof oversight that could just ban all the damn mods and craft some sort of policy. A steering committee if you will. The Admins were largely engineers that cobbled the place together and have not shown the best judgement. I kinda feel like reddit is the last gasp of the free and open Internet and all we have to look forward to is Facebook and to a lesser extent G+. I'm pretty convinced that not all that many people are even into CreepShots, even on reddit. I've never seen a creepshots on /r/all. Those idiots are holding the entire place hostage and they need to be banned along with any mod that supports them.

    I wonder if PG still has any standing over there and can talk some sense into these yahoos.
    posted by Ad hominem at 5:03 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I kinda feel like reddit is the last gasp of the free and open Internet

    The death of the Internet is regularly being prophesied, but people keep finding ways, from USENET on up to today. I think it'll survive this and people will come up some with unexpected solutions.
    posted by rmd1023 at 5:11 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Forcing it underground is how you say "we won't put up with this stuff"

    Further, the likes of the FBI, NSA, Interpol, and other nations' police/security forces manage to find and prosecute the very worst of the creepers without needing an "aboveground" outlet for their creepy, transgressive depravities.
    posted by five fresh fish at 5:19 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    think it'll survive this and people will come up some with unexpected solutions.

    I hope so. They also need to figure out a way to deal with creepshot/jailbait/what the fuck ever that idiots,creeps and trolls will pump into the system from the beginning. freenet and usenet were both full of CP. Reddit has all kinds of sick stuff on it. Reddit scaled by distributing moderation, but that turned out to be its Achilles heel and it seems like a large percentage of the mods of large subreddits are fuckwits. It needs some sort of panel to oversee the mods.

    There is an adantage to scale. It allows reddit to do big things, raise money, get AMAs. There needs to be a way for the "silent majority" of people to say fuck no to this cabal of power mods that seem determined to drive reddit over a cliff.

    Fuck it I guess. Something else will pop up maybe. I just hate the admins and most of the mods of the default subreddits right now for tarnishing the reputation of anyone who has ever said anything nice about reddit.
    posted by Ad hominem at 5:30 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Reddit moderators that banned Gawker don’t really want freedom of speech, but they do want the appearance of it. They are exactly what they hate: A bunch of authoritative sociopaths convinced that limiting a few awful voices is necessary for the greater good of the community.
    posted by Artw at 6:25 PM on October 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Interestingly reaction to the ban in /r/politics seems largely negative.
    posted by Artw at 6:28 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Yeah, one of the things I've found disturbing in this thread (and on Reddit) is the throng of people willing to step up and hope fervently that violentacrez and his family are okay, whilst it seems that nobody is really very concerned about the woman who created the Predditors tumblr, who's also been doxxed. To be charitable, I guess a lot of people didn't realize that. Still, I am much more concerned about her, as I think it's much more likely that she'll get hurt, and I really hope that doesn't happen.

    It's worth noting that the expectation of privacy and anonymity is something that is treated as a feature of having a Reddit account rather than something that people deserve because they're people.

    That's not an accusation, just an observation.
    posted by verb at 6:32 PM on October 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


    I kinda feel like reddit is the last gasp of the free and open Internet

    this is what people do with the free and open internet. this is what, in the end, it comes down to. if a network is free, it will be used to do what you or i consider evil, to do what anyone considers evil. any authority that can police for what you consider evil can be used to police for what you would consider good. there is literally no way to fix this- it's the way the thing works on an abstract level.

    the watchful, managed, scrutinizing nature of G+ or of Facebook or of Metafilter prospers because of this. everyone is authoritarian, provided the authority agrees with them.

    and then we get into Hobbseanism, with Deciders and shit.

    meanwhile, back on the farm, Gawker has won the hearts and minds of a bunch of people, offsetting both Chen's "horse ebooks" debacle and the "anon leak" trolling that probably resulted from it, SA has made a bunch in new site signups, no one has gone to jail (assuming you believe that's what needs to happen), the internet got to vent violent moral rage, and everyone is angry, sad, and/or exhausted except the opportunists, who are counting their money.
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:43 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    What's your point?
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:00 PM on October 13, 2012


    if a network is free, it will be used to do what you or i consider evil, to do what anyone considers evil.

    I pretty much agree with this. There are lots of places to have conversations about a variety of mundane, relatively non-controversial topics. (In the sense that, say, politics can be controversy, but there's not much about the act of talking about politics.) The more social pressure there is to not talk about something, the fewer places there will be where it's ok to talk about it. Which means that a place like reddit has a ton of competition as a place to discuss, say, knitting, and very little as a place to discuss non-consensual sexualized photography. So it seems pretty obvious to me that they'll attract a very devoted crowd on those topics, and eventually they will have to deal with the fact that their reputation is going to be made on where they differ from the bulk of other websites.
    posted by restless_nomad at 7:01 PM on October 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Is there anything to the suggestion upthread that reddit may have compromised its legal safe harbor protections by banning links to Gawker?
    posted by gerryblog at 7:17 PM on October 13, 2012


    @millipedes

    that ultimately and admittedly simplistically, you can either side with the anarchic web or the corporatist web and that all this other shit is window-dressing.
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:19 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Interestingly reaction to the ban in /r/politics seems largely negative.

    As does the reaction in r/bestof.
    posted by Oliva Porphyria at 7:40 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    gerryblog: “Is there anything to the suggestion upthread that reddit may have compromised its legal safe harbor protections by banning links to Gawker?”

    First of all, those "legal safe harbor protections" have never been tested – they're a legal theory, not a legal fact – and I have my doubts about them, particularly since r/jailbait was banned.

    More importantly, though, Reddit as a whole never banned links to Gawker. For a few hours they banned all links to a particular article on Gawker (along with a Jezebel article and the Predditors tumblr) but it appears they've lifted that ban and apologized, saying they made a mistake.

    Ad hominem: “I'm pretty convinced that not all that many people are even into CreepShots, even on reddit. I've never seen a creepshots on /r/all. Those idiots are holding the entire place hostage and they need to be banned along with any mod that supports them.”

    The Gawker pointed out something extremely interesting: jailbait was at one time the number 2 search term driving traffic to Reddit. I had thought r/creepshots and the rest were a tiny part of the site, too, but that is making me reconsider that hypothesis.
    posted by koeselitz at 8:06 PM on October 13, 2012


    that ultimately and admittedly simplistically, you can either side with the anarchic web or the corporatist web and that all this other shit is window-dressing.

    Seems to me that the anarchy of the web prevailed in this case, no? No real authority was appealed to, (ie: no one was arrested) and no websites have changed moderation as a result.

    Some people didn't like something other people were doing so they found them and shamed them into stopping. In my opinion, everything else is window dressing.
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:13 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    It seems really, really weird to me to believe that a massive for-profit enterprise owned by Condé Nast represents the "anarchic web" as opposed to "the corporatist web."
    posted by koeselitz at 8:19 PM on October 13, 2012 [12 favorites]


    koeselitz: "
    The Gawker pointed out something extremely interesting: jailbait was at one time the number 2 search term driving traffic to Reddit. I had thought r/creepshots and the rest were a tiny part of the site, too, but that is making me reconsider that hypothesis.
    "

    I just don't see it. I mean, sure it was big when the jailbait scandal went down. But, i mean, these numbers speak for themselves. I admit I am having a hard time interpreting what they exactly refer to - maybe someone can explain more?
    posted by rebent at 8:25 PM on October 13, 2012


    rebent: “I just don't see it. I mean, sure it was big when the jailbait scandal went down.”

    Note please that that post on reddit was from about a year (by my count) before the jailbait scandal went down.

    “I admit I am having a hard time interpreting what they exactly refer to - maybe someone can explain more?”

    I'm probably not the very best to explain it, but the general gist is – people search for something on google. Then, they click on whatever result they like and head to a website. These numbers represent whatever query people typed in to get there.

    r/jailbait's subscription numbers were never super high (although if I recall correctly they got up to 10,000 at one point – not massive for Reddit, still) but I don't think subscribers were the main ones hitting jailbait anyway. It does appear that jailbait was bringing a lot of people to Reddit who wouldn't otherwise be there. Does that have an impact on the community? Not directly, maybe, but I think it must have given the traffic.
    posted by koeselitz at 8:31 PM on October 13, 2012


    (When I say that subscribers weren't the main ones hitting jailbait anyway, what I mean is – I doubt most people who were aficionados of r/jailbait were registering themselves as such through the subscription process.)
    posted by koeselitz at 8:33 PM on October 13, 2012


    I am finally caught up on this monster and all its contentious links. Thanks to MetaFilter, MeFites for making this whole mess accessible and comprehensible.
    posted by iamkimiam at 8:33 PM on October 13, 2012


    When you view the r/politics thread, you're getting a skewed picture. The thread is 3 days old, so more recent comments will largely only be negative (as they were linked from people that are outraged at reddit), and the people upvoting them will also be unanimous.

    This is important because the way the comment ranking algorithm works is it measure the ratio of upvotes to downvotes. (If you're really curious, this is the right way to order rankings, TL;DR: You weight the ratio of positive to negative AND the total amount of ratings using the lower bound of a normal distribution). Because all the recent comments have 100% unanimous upvotes chastising reddit, they're ranked the highest.


    This is what the r/politics thread looks like when you sort by highest upvotes. This is what happens when r/jailbait was the second most popular traffic generator for a long time. This kind of bullshit has infected even the most niche subreddits.

    Check it out, read through that link, they're more interested in going after Gawker than the pedos.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:23 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    > Even though I completely support Chen's decision to write and publish the article, by this time tomorrow, everyone that she knows is going to know she sucked off her creepy stepfather, and that just seems really, really, sad.

    By this time tomorrow everyone she knows is going to know her creepy stepfather claims he had oral sex with her. Her local gossips and on-line harassers won't care about the difference but we should.
    posted by The corpse in the library at 9:43 PM on October 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Sigh.

    I took a break from this for a couple days, and I'm still at the point of "OK, people are angry about something that deserves anger, but now what?"

    In regards to doxxing, though, I still take a hard-line stance. I take that stance as someone who is not really anonymous in any way whatsoever on the internet, and as someone who has been harassed and threatened over things I've written (oddly, in the context of an argument about the merits of different pieces of software). I've made the conscious choice to put my real identity out there. Other people haven't, and my hard-line anti-doxxing stance is basically because of those people.

    It is not possible to separate the people who stay anonymous because they're creeps from the people who stay anonymous because -- though they are doing good -- they face harassment and violence for what they say or do. It simply is not possible. So any stance that says "doxxing people I agree with is wrong, but doxxing people I find creepy is OK" cannot work. You have to take a hard-line stance and you have to chisel it into stone and beat people over the head with it like Moses bearing the fucking tablets. If you're unable to see this, or unable to grok just how impossible it is to have a policy that protects the personal information of people you like while not protecting the personal information of people you dislike, you probably should not ever try to run a large online community.

    That's what reddit does. They don't care if you're doxxing the secret clone of Adolf Hitler, who rapes puppies in between planning sessions for the second Holocaust. They care that you're doxxing, because that is 100% not ever allowed.

    It is useful to review the line they've set, by the way, because they are pretty darned consistent on it; an anonymous photo of someone with no personally-identifying information attached is not doxxing, and is not -- on its face -- afoul of the rules. You may disagree with where they've put the line, but you can't disagree that that's where they've put it.

    Also, I would be amused to see a survey of SRS readers with regards to the comment linked above (identifying someone from a weight-loss photo), consisting of one question: when you saw that comment, did you click the "report" link that exists on every single comment ever posted on reddit? The link that exists to notify moderators of content that needs their attention? The link that can actually get that stuff removed, and quickly? Because if you didn't report it, if you left it there unreported because it would help promote the narrative you want, then you're officially not even trying to be part of the solution. And if you aren't part of the solution, well...
    posted by ubernostrum at 9:47 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I don't really give a shit what the sleazy admins of reddit say should and should not be allowed, or what they think is right and wrong. I find them contemptible people, tbh.

    And as far as srs and reporting goes, it's useless. the mods on the default reddits are mostly shitheads.
    posted by empath at 9:51 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


    That's what reddit does. They don't care if you're doxxing the secret clone of Adolf Hitler, who rapes puppies in between planning sessions for the second Holocaust. They care that you're doxxing, because that is 100% not ever allowed.

    I've thought a lot about this, and at the end of the day my answer is simple: this stance privileges abusers.
    posted by verb at 9:54 PM on October 13, 2012 [17 favorites]


    I can reasonably understand with the type of doxing like that preddit tumblr (while I may not agree, I would understand that decision). We wouldn't be having this fervent of discussion if reddit only banned the preddit tumblr.

    What Reddit did was ban an act of journalism. The Gawker article wasn't doxing. I don't know how anyone could possibly think it was. Adrian Chen interviewed Violentacrez, for chrissake.

    Banning Gawker shows that while they ostensibly care about doxing (but don't give a damn about those girls that were creepshotted), the ban on Gawker shows they're actually on the pedo's side. The were more interested in defending their pedo friends and the community tried to punish the outing the leader of their pedo friends with bullshit like r/gaming banning Kotaku.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 9:55 PM on October 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


    desjardins: "I dunno, there's a big difference between your internet buddies knowing your IRL identity and what Chen did. (I'm not claiming it's unjustified.) There's a line you don't expect to be crossed. I don't expect anyone here to call my mom, but someone who thinks I'm an immoral heathen for being an atheist or a BDSMer might go that far. violentacrez thought he was surrounded by people who were mostly cool with his activities, and he's obviously not ashamed of the stuff he posts."

    This is what I keep coming back to - and it's that if you are a troll, especially a troll of this kind, you are really an idiot to continually give out real life information to "internet buddies." You can not have that many "internet friends" you trust - the net doesn't work that way, especially if you're a troll - you can NOT vette that many people fully, and continue to trust them. (And I say this as someone who met her husband via blogging.)

    This isn't just a bunch of folk sharing porn - it's a dude that shepherds content that they're posting also to dig at anyone who might be offended. Sure, some of it is probably more for their own enjoyment, but they also seemed very upfront about part of the thrill was "you don't like this and we're posting it anyway." There seems to be a real vibe that if this wasn't offensive to anyone that it'd be a LOT less enjoyable for them. Or Violentacres anyway.

    So in this setup - you do NOT have buddies. Not ones you can trust in any situation to never ever give you away. If you're really going to set out to push the line and offend everyone - and NOT JUST the most easily offended - then eventually you may cross a line that even your buddies don't agree with. Plus who's to say that someone pretending to be a buddy isn't - because that should be Rule One in Trolling - don't get trolled yourself by someone in the guise of friend. (This is also hacker 101, right?)

    Aside from the Rule of Troll - this is just really really NOT how anyone keeps an alias secret in 2012. You really can't have a long list of online friends who knew your real info - if that list is longer than 3 (even that is large, thanks to social media and search engines) than you've just added multiple outlets for that info to seep.

    And this is just NOT doxxing, not as it's been definded as an evil before. This is how you doxx yourself. The fact that Reddit is now changing the definition of what doxxing is - well, they're just not moving as fast as the online world has. You just can't let your info out in this way. Maybe a decade ago, but now it doesn't work. There's now a lot more onus on the user to work very hard at keeping an alias secure, and part of that is not sharing the info, and not attending meetups under that alias. The problem here seems to be that he was proud of his status and wanted that recognition - otherwise it'd be easy enough to have a separate alias to attend meetups.
    posted by batgrlHG at 10:00 PM on October 13, 2012 [16 favorites]


    In regards to doxxing, though, I still take a hard-line stance.

    People keep using that word, but has it ever before referred to research done by journalists? Say what you will about Gawker, but this is surely journalism.
    posted by atrazine at 10:04 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


    @koeslitz

    that's because it doesn't, really. like i said, it is flawed from the get-go due to being corporately owned among other things.
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:07 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I really regret using "doxxing". It is the completely wrong term for what happened.
    posted by five fresh fish at 10:48 PM on October 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


    five fresh fish "I really regret using "doxxing". It is the completely wrong term for what happened."

    Definitely agree. It needs a new term.

    The main problem for me is that the guy was moderating stuff to cull things that are illegal - the underage girls photos (or at least it's being tossed about that this was the majority of it). If it was just that - a "I'm the guy that got stuck with going through this crap" situation - then that would be different, he'd been the guy doing cleanup. Problem is that he was extremely, recklessly vocal on the whole underage thing and his enjoyment, so we can't really see him as anything but someone who was shepherding content that he also enjoyed. And underage = legal issues, in this country anyway. So even more so - dude was incredibly, incredibly lax with his real life info.

    He might have been representative of reddit's problems in however you want to look at them - but aside from the content issues and how you may feel about that - he's apparently also representative of reddit's concept of what doxxing is, even if a user leaves such a trail that their info can be outed by anyone. And at this point I think they need to sit back and redefine their terms - because while its users/mods/admins have a loyalty to protect their groups' info - the rest of the net has no reason to.
    posted by batgrlHG at 11:35 PM on October 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


    I don't really give a shit what the sleazy admins of reddit say should and should not be allowed, or what they think is right and wrong.

    Say what you will about the tenets of Reddit administration, dude, at least it's an ethos.
    posted by cortex at 11:57 PM on October 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


    ubernostrum: “That's what reddit does. They don't care if you're doxxing the secret clone of Adolf Hitler, who rapes puppies in between planning sessions for the second Holocaust. They care that you're doxxing, because that is 100% not ever allowed.”

    That's kind of it, in a nutshell. They don't care about anything but anonymity of Redditors. And while anonymity of Redditors is a fine thing, there are other things that matter.

    Like the anonymity or privacy of non-Redditors, for example.

    Note that this doesn't justify doxxing anybody. We've had a good long discussion here, and I think it's been great that we've had that discussion, but the fact remains that none of this would ever have been an issue in the slightest if Reddit had just started out saying "yeah, we're not going to allow non-consensual or underage sexual images. Sorry."
    posted by koeselitz at 12:26 AM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I have a few of questions about all of this. If anybody has the means or time to help answer them, that'd be great. If not, I'll just put them out there (and get them out of my head).

    Do we actually know why violentacrez closed his account at Reddit?

    At what point in the timeline of events (is there a timeline of events somewhere??) did he close his account?

    These new attempts to revive creepshots in various forms, who are these mods? New members? Admins? Friends of violenta? Sockpuppets?

    Who mods /r/SRS?

    The chatlog...who's who? Which subreddits are these various mods in the conversation presiding over? What is the role of the admins? And why is Falc0n so incredibly worried about his privacy/anonymity?
    posted by iamkimiam at 12:51 AM on October 14, 2012


    Say what you will about the tenets of Reddit administration, dude, at least it's an ethos.

    I'm not seeing that, honestly. I'm seeing a lot of cluelessness, and a lot of flailing around trying to reframe things around "doxing" and "mobs" and "vigilantism," but not much ethos. Maybe it looks different from where you are sitting, but from here I'm not seeing it.
    posted by Forktine at 12:55 AM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I'm not sure that had any point beyond being a Lebowski reference, Forktine, but maybe I'm wrong.

    iamkimiam: “Do we actually know why violentacrez closed his account at Reddit? At what point in the timeline of events (is there a timeline of events somewhere??) did he close his account?”

    The best timeline of events is actually Adrian Chen's infamous Gawker article, I think:

    “Brutsch shut down the Violentacrez account abruptly this past Tuesday, six days after we spoke. When I Gchatted him that night, Brutsch told me, ‘I guess I just got tired of all the hassle.’ He said he was done with Reddit for good. ‘Reddit ceased being fun a while ago,’ he said.”

    Also, violentacrez's brief clarification that it wasn't blackmail is here.

    Somewhere else, I remember reading that the admins had been growing a little more wary of violentacrez over the past year or so ever since r/jailbait went down, and that they were in contact with him a lot less than before. My guess is that both they and he started to realize that that special window of time in which he could be a huge help to them as a ninja mod while still pretty much flying under the radar with his sleaziness had closed.

    The rest of your questions, I am really not enough of a Reddit insider to answer. And, er, this is my work computer, so I'm not really going to hop over to /r/creepshots2 to snoop around. Sorry.
    posted by koeselitz at 1:09 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Thanks, koeselitz! This is helpful. I'm not entirely convinced that he closed his account based on the Gawker piece at all. Perhaps it's more to do with his relationship with Reddit admins. Maybe for him it's more of a free speech/censorship issue (perhaps less to do with creepshots, more to do with banning of Gawker links and indicative of the hypocrisy and the parts of the site culture he doesn't agree with). We can only speculate really, but I haven't seen this discussed much yet and it interests me to try to get at his worldview (beyond his attitudes about porn and women and creepshots), especially since that worldview has such influence and capital in making Reddit what it is today.

    Oh the irony: usually when there's some big event, I go to Reddit for their excellent timelines...
    posted by iamkimiam at 1:22 AM on October 14, 2012


    At what point in the timeline of events (is there a timeline of events somewhere??) did he close his account?

    It was prior to the Chen/Gawker article coming out on the 12th - at least a day before I think - perhaps 10th. I noted this specifically because everyone all over the net was making a lot of assumptions about the article before it came out, and discussing.

    I haven't seen a timeline of this yet (not one marked out by dates/times in a list, anyway) and I've been following this in various media since it started. What will be hard to get a handle on is where the reddit outrage about jezebel's article (with the championing of outing the creeper postings) starts and where the reddit outrage over the Gawker's outing of VC's real name starts. They've both sort of combined in an odd way when they're sort of two separate issues in one way, but both connected and overlapping.

    For instance you have to take the jezebel Oct 10 article separately because they're also have a concrete example where one of the posters was a substitute teacher posting photos of his students. (Law enforcement involvement in issue with that teacher happened long before the 10th - Sept 28 article in local paper The Citizen) This is the primary example involving non-consent and underage subjects - and this is where a lot of the anger is, because it's often glossed over in arguments that "they were taking photos of people in public which is legal" - when in fact there's only the hopeful belief that all is legal, because we don't have more facts to go on, we just have the image. At the same time Violentacrez was the moderator of the forum where those photos were...so...overlap.

    Er, on preview, also see koeselitz, above.
    posted by batgrlHG at 1:26 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Predditors is back with a couple submissions up, don't know what happened there. Something must have freaked out "Samantha" and maybe she's still running it or turned it over to someone else.

    I depressed myself learning about one of those guys and I think I hit my limit on this controversy. I decided to google his nickname, easily found his youtube uploads (because he uses the same nickname at Reddit everywhere else, this is how hard it is to "dox" these people), and watched a video of him playing with his baby and that's it. He loves his son. They're so cute together. He puts naked pictures of his fiance on the internet without her knowledge. He's a photographer who takes some nice photos, some professionally. He takes creepy pictures of the patients in the hospital where he works and puts them on Creepshots. In his words, this "wasn't even inappropriate". I don't want to know more.

    I don't know how she could do it.
    posted by Danila at 1:31 AM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Oh and when I say "we only have the image" - I admit, I'm not looking at the images, I'm only going on what both the pro and con folk have been saying about them. And taking their word that everyone is of age and there's no nudity, etc. ...Though of course the redditfolk put the high school kids (photos taken by teacher) in that pile, because the students apparently looked of age? I don't know, there's some folk really doing some mental gymnastics here going on no more than "well the photos didn't look pervy to me." I think there's something societal going on in where the word "underage" doesn't mean "teenage" somehow - and teenage somehow isn't going to fall into the category of child porn. (Is there a sociologist in the house? There's a case study here in the making.)

    But then I suppose I thank those other folk for the looking/describing because I'm not going to - because I've already accidentally wandered into places on the net such that I now can't unsee those things, so no more of that for me. (I often think we should be so much more grateful for search engine advances simply because we all don't more often wander into those spots, unwarned.) But you don't actually need to look at the images themselves to discuss some of the logical issues we've been going over. And you'll note I have nothing to bad to say about porn or kink or anything - the issues for me are the legality, and the lack of consent in certain photographs - which is also a privacy issue, no less important than privacy of user aliases on the net.
    posted by batgrlHG at 1:51 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Amanda Marcotte, Raw Story: Why Shutting Down Non-Consensual Porn Matters
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:22 AM on October 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


    That's such a good article, the man of twists and turns. I couldn't give two fucks about protecting these guys right to anonymity. Out the predators. I'm over being told that creepy / predatory guys's feelings is more important to my right not to be harassed / abused / raped.

    Seriously. Fuck those guys. No sympathies.
    posted by jonathanstrange at 3:46 AM on October 14, 2012 [15 favorites]


    Well, yeah no sympathies here.
    And the current way reddit has handled it so reeks of overtness, they knew. they knew all along about these subreddits and are now trying to defend it in all the wrong manners instead of just sayin' "yeah we fucked up, we've listened to our userbase and to the public and realized that this is wrong, we apologize" or somesuch.
    But that went out with the water when they started shutting down SRS and other subreddits.

    I'm pissed off, very confused as to how an intelligent person could ever conceive of the shit that VA did as "ok".
    posted by xcasex at 5:17 AM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Three days into this and Brutsch's Violentacrez page, complete with "Johnny Bait" albums, is still up and running on imgur. When will imgur be taken to task for their role?
    posted by MaritaCov at 5:24 AM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    But that went out with the water when they started shutting down SRS and other subreddits.

    I'm a little confused as to what you mean by this. Could you clarify?
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:33 AM on October 14, 2012


    If you're a redditor and are interested in knowing which subs have banned Gawker links, the column on the right of this page has a list.
    posted by Jpfed at 5:39 AM on October 14, 2012


    the man of twists and turns They shut down subreddits (or were planning to, i'm far too hungover to form a coherent thought aside from the most simple ones) that were criticizing the /r/jailbait /r/creep* chutzpahs. This is the exact same behaviour that enables abuse.
    posted by xcasex at 5:39 AM on October 14, 2012


    This is the first I've head of subreddits being closed by admin action for criticism. Do you have any more information?
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:46 AM on October 14, 2012


    the man of twists and turns its all in this thread :)
    posted by xcasex at 5:53 AM on October 14, 2012


    xcasex: even hungover you probably have a better grasp on this than I do - could you do me a huge favor and provide links to closed subreddits, or links to comments outlining which subreddits were closed?
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:08 AM on October 14, 2012


    So being hungover, it helps when you do not conflate the irc log information with what has actually taken place. sorry "the man of twists and turns" I was wrong, it was a wish from moderators, blended with sloppy reading in the thread that led me to form that opinion, it was wrong. Carry on.
    posted by xcasex at 7:06 AM on October 14, 2012


    Yeah, there doesn't seem to be any admin action there, just a lot of mods clambering for SRS to be closed. I suspect that in this context "mod" is equivalent to "loudmouth MetaTalk regular" and their opinion carrys as much weight - that said the various actions the admins actually have taken are sufficiently awful not to have any faith in them whatsoever.
    posted by Artw at 7:30 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I liked this comment in the thread announcing the Gawker ban in r/politics:

    First: Gawker sucks, Adrien Chen is an absolute moron, and I'm fine with never seeing Gawker links again, but some of the comments in this thread and the reasoning around this is disturbing.

    I'm always amazed at the number of redditors rushing to defend things like jailbait and creepshots and VA. This isn't some tight-knit community, he wasn't "one of our own" and we certainly don't owe him anything. Many people, including myself, believe that VA has actually DAMAGED reddit and while I don't agree with Gawker's approach here, it's a little ironic that someone like VA is rushing to protect himself from being exposed after what he's done on reddit for so long. I don't know what he honestly expected to happen with all the media exposure. I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner. This wasn't our problem or /r/politics problem before this thread. Frankly, I consider the mod involvement in this on a default subreddit to be offensive.

    This site has millions of visitors and I'm sure many of them do NOT appreciate being tacitly aligned with someone like violentacrez and subreddits like /r/creepshots. We went through this same thing with /r/jailbait and it did NOTHING to help reddit. Your big moral stand is protecting subreddits like jailbait and creepshots and people like VA from criticism and exposure?

    To the mods who think they can use this subreddit as a soap box and try to speak for everyone else here (while simultaneously disallowing self posts after we VOTED to keep them): Fuck you. I don't care if VA is a "prominent" member of reddit. He may be your friend, you may choose to rally behind him and /r/creepshots as fellow "prominent" members/moderators, but you don't speak for all of us who read and post here. This thread was grossly inappropriate.

    posted by mediareport at 7:33 AM on October 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


    Yeah, there doesn't seem to be any admin action there, just a lot of mods clambering for SRS to be closed. I suspect that in this context "mod" is equivalent to "loudmouth MetaTalk regular" and their opinion carrys as much weight - that said the various actions the admins actually have taken are sufficiently awful not to have any faith in them whatsoever.

    This comes back to the challenge faced by the Reddit paid staff. Simply put, there aren't enough of them to run the site. Like a large nonprofit whose operating staff is 99% volunteer workers, paid staff can easily be put in a position where offending a vocal minority isn't just annoying, but actual catastrophic.

    ...And that's where the business side of things comes in. Back in the early 90s, AOL went through a similar transition. They had a rapidly growing online service, and the Web hadn't yet crushed it in terms of content breadth, social potential, etc. But the vast majority of its social spaces were managed day-to-day by volunteer moderators, chat hosts, Guides, forum managers, etc. To a large extent, this army of volunteers defined the tone and spirit of the entire service for users. In many cases these people were given comp'd hours for their work on AOL, but for the most part they were unpaid -- they were active users, and working in their own hang-outs was like volunteering to check tickets at the door of the local venue because you want to hear the show. Being a volunteer brought with it social prestige in that environment and a small degree of power, too.

    In a couple of instances, large-scale internal protest by the Guides, forum managers, chat hosts, and so on forced reconsideration of policy changes. In other cases, there was a lot of debate when it was discovered that some of those volunteers were also operating in grey areas regarding AOL's Terms of Use, or engaging in activities that would've gotten a normal member kicked out/etc.

    Around '93/'94 they started changing the mechanisms by which that stuff happened. AOL started making the online distinctions between paid and volunteer staff much more explicit to normal users -- there were different screen name prefixes for 'Real' staff vs. volunteers, the number of free hours volunteers got for their time was scaled down, more work was put into automated tools, etc. At the time there was debate among the volunteers about AOL 'devaluing' their work, but in retrospect I think the company simply saw the writing on the wall. Scaling a business on the back of that much volunteer labor is very, very difficult to sustain. It can also put you in a place where the volunteers actually have much, much more leverage over your business than you do.

    I think that may be the position that Reddit finds themselves in today, though I could obviously be wrong. I wonder what direction they will end up going in over the next year or two.
    posted by verb at 7:50 AM on October 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Reddit has a blanket ban on posting personal information. Full stop. This protects vulnerable people

    That's a joke, right? Other folks have noted that Reddit's so-called hard line against "doxxing" is actually blurry and very permeable when it comes to outing women. And while I know Talez has left the thread, it's worth pulling out once again his response to the argument that posting pics of high school girls counts as a privacy violation on a par with "doxxing":

    First of all, regarding the reputation. The harm has already been made on these girls.

    Notice there's no "second of all;" the only point is that two wrongs don't make a right. Talez completely avoids addressing the argument that those high school girls should not have been harmed to begin with through the public posting of pictures taken in class without their consent, and ignores the argument that Reddit should have "full stop" rules about that as well. It's like the argument isn't even there.

    ubernostrum does something similar:

    They care that you're doxxing, because that is 100% not ever allowed.

    It is useful to review the line they've set, by the way, because they are pretty darned consistent on it; an anonymous photo of someone with no personally-identifying information attached is not doxxing, and is not -- on its face -- afoul of the rules.


    I love that "with no personally-identifying information" bit. How is a photo of a high school girl, face included, not "personally-identifying" again? What a fudge. And that's leaving aside the "100% never allowed" nonsense.
    posted by mediareport at 7:54 AM on October 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


    "Reddit" is not one coherent organism. If you don't understand this one fact you have no standing in this discussion.

    Yeah right. It's a business. No one is calling it an "organism." But someone owns the company, the domain name, the reputation, and the liability. And if you don't understand that a business is responsible (organically or coherently or not) for everythng that happens on its property involving legally invited clients, guests, and readers, then YOU have no standing in this discussion. How arrogant can you be? You think "Reddit" is some sovereign nation where the laws don't apply?

    To repeat, Chen is as *legally* entitled to out Brutsch as Brutsch is to post anonymous creepshots, and arguably more so since there are many statutes under which the posting of creepshots is actually illegal (among them, theft of intellectual property). Free speech is free speech. If you're going to defend it for child molesters, then defend it for journalists who expose them.
    posted by spitbull at 8:18 AM on October 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


    This comes back to the challenge faced by the Reddit paid staff. Simply put, there aren't enough of them to run the site. ... I wonder what direction they will end up going in over the next year or two.

    Yeah, it's surprising to me that the admins weren't sort of already prepared for the looming likelihood/inevitability of something like this after jailbait, but perhaps they were just caught short before they could get their strategy fully together. They hired a new community manager just one day before the Jezebel article, three days before the Gawker article (poor guy). They must have already been aware at that point of Adrian Chen's upcoming article, if not the Jezebel piece, via a heads-up from violentacrez. I wonder if that hire was a step already in play to come to terms with these issues, or a last moment panic decision (despite the fact that he was supposed to come on earlier – perhaps they stepped it up), or just complete coincidence?

    At any rate, they've appeared to be wholly befuddled by this, and I would have expected them to be already sleeping with one eye open.
    posted by taz at 8:20 AM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


    To be precise, the "coherent organism" that is "Reddit" is the Condé Nast Corporation, a major international publisher. Coherent enough for you?
    posted by spitbull at 8:20 AM on October 14, 2012


    (And actually, if "corporations are people too," then we can consider Condé Nast an "organism." I find most organisms fairly coherent unless they are drunk. Cell membrane something something.)
    posted by spitbull at 8:22 AM on October 14, 2012


    Oh, one other thing before I go out to enjoy this shockingly sunny and beautiful October day: If I were a Mitt Romney advisor, I'd be thinking very seriously right now about the best way to make an offhand remark in Tuesday's debate about Obama doing interviews with web sites that defend posting sexualized pictures of underage girls without their consent.

    Luckily, Romney's an idiot, so he won't do it. But damn would I be thinking seriously about it.
    posted by mediareport at 8:22 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    *cringe* It was the first thing I thought of when I heard about the Obama AMA. I was so glad, but so surprised, that it didn't become campaign fodder.
    posted by taz at 8:25 AM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Romney is probably saving it for some fantasized haymaker knockdown punch in his mind. Romney is not an idiot but the odds are 7-3 he is going to lose.
    posted by bukvich at 8:28 AM on October 14, 2012


    And if you don't understand that a business is responsible (organically or coherently or not) for everythng that happens on its property involving legally invited clients, guests, and readers, then YOU have no standing in this discussion.

    But that's not really true. The DMCA carved out a number of ways in which website owners are absolved of responsibility for postings by users (copyright infringement and threats against the president come to mind). You may think Reddit has a moral obligation to expose these authors or take down these posts, but it is legally much murkier. I'm not defending them morally, but the legal line has not been crossed.
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:31 AM on October 14, 2012


    But that's not really true. The DMCA carved out a number of ways in which website owners are absolved of responsibility for postings by users (copyright infringement and threats against the president come to mind). You may think Reddit has a moral obligation to expose these authors or take down these posts, but it is legally much murkier. I'm not defending them morally, but the legal line has not been crossed.

    Well, that's one of the reasons people have been speculating that the Gawker link-ban could put them in hot water. They did exactly what a company with safe-harbor protection can't do.
    posted by verb at 8:36 AM on October 14, 2012


    Huh. That's an interesting theory. Any links for that one?
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:38 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Thoughts on Free Speech Logic and violentacrez
    The implication is that privacy resides in your name, not in your body. If you’re a man with the luxury to think this way, your body is understood as a sort of irrelevant accessory to your name, the thing that really matters. An invasion of privacy isn’t interpreted as a literal invasion. Although they plainly are, men’s bodies aren’t understood as being capable of being penetrated. People with this mentality don’t see a photograph as an invasion of privacy because they don’t experience the image of their bodies as being connected to the privacy that is capable of being violated. Of the genders, one is overwhelmingly more likely to think this way and to conclude—astonishingly—that having a username connected to an actual name is an invasion of privacy whereas a photograph of someone is not.
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:43 AM on October 14, 2012 [16 favorites]


    Well, that's one of the reasons people have been speculating that the Gawker link-ban could put them in hot water. They did exactly what a company with safe-harbor protection can't do.

    Wouldn't that mean that Metafilter has no DMCA protection because the mods here delete links to copyright infringers and people who will tell you how to get violent revenge on your ex?
    posted by decathecting at 8:45 AM on October 14, 2012


    ChillingEffects.org has some useful information on the concept of Safe Harbor. In particular:

    (b) The transmission, routing, provision of connections, or storage is carried out by an automatic technical process [512(a)(2)];
    (c) The Internet user, not the service provider, must select the origination and destination points of the communication [512(a)(3) and 512(k)(1)(A)];
    (e) The service provider must not modify the communication selected by the Internet user [512(a)(5)];
    Obviously, IANAL. But the safe harbor provisions are not a "get out of legal troubles free" card. If you do things like curating the stuff that users create using a manual process, or intervene to get rid of links that YOU don't like, while ignoring links that have illegal content, my understanding is that you can lose your safe harbor protection.

    What that means, essentially, is that if users do illegal things on your network you're held responsible for them -- because you intervened manually in OTHER cases, but chose not to in THIS one. That only applies to the legal issues, not the social complexities, but it's worth noting.
    posted by verb at 8:46 AM on October 14, 2012


    I have to agree, mediareport. When I saw Pres. Obama was doing and AMA I cringed with a sense that this was a bad idea. I don't know why any reputable person would want to be associated with that site.
    posted by spitbull at 8:51 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    That's DMCA safe harbor - which is, as you would expect, about copyright material. I would imagine that when people say "safe harbor" in the discussion around obscene or distasteful material on Reddit, insofar as they understand what they mean at all, they mean the provisions of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
    posted by running order squabble fest at 8:54 AM on October 14, 2012


    I'm not defending them morally, but the legal line has not been crossed.
    posted by to sir with millipedes


    Unclear in the extreme. DMCA is designed to protect companies from IP theft charges, not defamation lawsuits.
    posted by spitbull at 8:54 AM on October 14, 2012


    Something people keep getting confused is that while there is a "Reddit," the mods are not by any definition part of Reddit. "Reddit" did not delete r/creepshots -- Violentacrez did. "Reddit" did not delete VA's account -- VA did it himself. "Reddit" did not hold that IRC chat -- those were all unpaid volunteers with no authority outside of the subreddits they mod. "Reddit" is not blocking Gawker; those are mods who, as Reddit has officially pointed out, are free to ban all usernames that start with the letter G if they want to.

    Verb very cogently pointed out upthrad:
    Scaling a business on the back of that much volunteer labor is very, very difficult to sustain. It can also put you in a place where the volunteers actually have much, much more leverage over your business than you do.

    I think that may be the position that Reddit finds themselves in today, though I could obviously be wrong. I wonder what direction they will end up going in over the next year or two.
    I think this is exactly right. I particularly think that until the r/jailbait fiasco they were trusting VA to keep the NSFW side of Reddit legal, and they were legitimately surprised to find themselves on the wrong side of a line. The fact that they have marginalized VA since the jailbait roundup suggests that they have been moving in this direction, and VA's complaint that "Reddit isn't much fun any more" is consistent with it.

    Reddit manages to host an enormous community with very little paid labor because they have crowdsourced so much of what is normally paid administration. That's a clever hack but the situation at hand is its downside; if your admins aren't motivated by money, you have to put up with whatever is motivating them. And often that won't be pretty.
    posted by localroger at 9:06 AM on October 14, 2012 [21 favorites]


    if your admins aren't motivated by money, you have to put up with whatever is motivating them.

    That is the neatest description of one of my major objections to volunteer labor - and specifically moderators - that I've ever seen. Thank you.
    posted by restless_nomad at 9:12 AM on October 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


    So, if I'm understanding the discussion properly, it's possible that the thing VA is being praised for (filtering out obviously illegal jailbait pictures) may also have potentially put reddit at legal risk (by creating any sort of filter process at all). Is that right?
    posted by gerryblog at 9:12 AM on October 14, 2012


    Localroger, just a couple of wee points, though I'm not arguing with you overall: I'm pretty sure violentacrez didn't close creepshots, since he wasn't the originator of that subreddit, just an invited mod. I think that the originator did close it under duress (as opposed to Reddit admin closing it), but I'm definitely not totally clear on that.

    The IRC chat definitely included both paid admins, and volunteer mods.
    posted by taz at 9:22 AM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Wouldn't that mean that Metafilter has no DMCA protection

    That's true, we basically don't in the way that I think you guys are talking about this. This is really mainly about what you host, not linking to stuff for the most part. And Reddit hosts the forums where people were like "more creepshots plz" This is why a lot of focus has also been put on imgur where a lot of the creepshot photographs are said to be hosted. And it's why we're sort of jerks here at MeFi about not letting people post a lot of "Where can I find warez?" sorts of AskMe questions and a lot of torrent links as FPPs. We manually intervene, yes, we do not get safe harbor protection, yes.

    So if you're all "Hey we just provide the platform and we don't censor anything our users do except that we try to make sure it's legal!" you can start making a safe harbor argument. However this gets all messed up when you then start selectively limiting content or don't do the "make sure it's legal" part (and saying "hey guys, no illegality" isn't really enough). In Reddit's case, Reddit Inc. is still (I think?) not censoring content but there has been a lot of dustup among users about how much they think should be handled with this in a top-down fashion. And how much selectively banning links on the most-popular subreddits is a form of selective content enforcement. Because stuff like "which subreddits are shown on the front page of Reddit to non-subscribers" is a thing that people who are paid by Reddit decide.

    I know this is sort of handwavey. I understand this in a general sense but I've been paying attention to examples lately. So like the Megaupload fiasco turned into A Thing because, among other things there were reports that MU employees were actually actively encouraging employees/users to upload "desirable" content. That's not hands-off. Napster didn't get it because there was little or no evidence that it tried to deal with infringers via policy. Ebay, as another example, tries to deal with infringers so it gets more of a free pass safe-harborwise.

    So the analysis goes sort of like, if I'm reading this all right...

    1. Conde Nast - swears Reddit is a wholly owned subsidiary or something, says "not my problem" probably not going to get in legal hot water, though might respond to pressure
    2. Reddit Inc. - is very free speech oriented, generally hands off, could make policy level decisions, I think is hoping they don't have to
    3. Reddit paid staff, non-mods - do not have control over content (I think?) but can make some machine-based decisions (i.e. decide to block certain links), I know very little about these folks
    4. Reddit paid staff, admins - small group of people stuck in a miserable place right now, can also make some personal and machine based (I think?) decisions about content, getting a lot of pressure from moderators and users
    5. Reddit moderators - run most if not all of the subreddits, not Reddit employees at all, may have some special powers granted to them by Reddit paid staff [a la VC who got to write some FAQs and other things he wouldn't have access to as a regular user]
    6. Reddit users - all the other people, millions of them

    So the MeFi equivalent would be

    1. Matt
    2. Matt
    3. Matt & pb
    4. Matt & all other mods
    5. No one, or one-off project based people but usually (always?) paid
    6. You guys
    posted by jessamyn at 9:28 AM on October 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


    So to follow up on my own last stab at this: Violentacruz may or may not have put reddit at risk for filtering out certain types of content, depending on how he did it and what got through that fitter.
    posted by gerryblog at 9:47 AM on October 14, 2012


    Ah Taz, that's right. See, I do this conflating stuff myself. Universal human tendency and all that, though I think the point I was making survives the mistake.

    Jessamyn --

    One of the many elephants in this room is that by spinning Reddit, Inc. off as a separate company, liability can be limited to Reddit's financials and Reddit's staff. As an investor Conde is no longer responsible in any way for what Reddit does, except for the possibility of losing their investment if Reddit pulls an Enron.

    Reddit, Inc. officially takes a hands-off approach to all content, except for strictly required actions like removing and reporting child pornography. Before the jailbait fiasco they had been trusting VA for this; I suspect they have been paying someone, probably someone with a law degree, to do that since then.

    Most of Reddit's paid employees are technical. Their new CEO is an engineer. I doubt they have anybody on paid staff who is officially responsible for sitewide content moderation (except maybe for kiddie porn compliance). Having such people is counter to the very foundation of their philosophy.

    There are obviously Reddit employees who created subreddits, some of which are popular. I suspect Reddit, Inc. would insist that those people are acting in their capacity as individuals, not Reddit employees, when they perform moderation, and that they have no special privileges that any stranger could acquire simply by creating a subreddit.

    Some mods who are very useful get special privileges, but are still do not have the benefits (such as a salary) or obligations of a Reddit employee.
    posted by localroger at 9:50 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    "It is not possible to separate the people who stay anonymous because they're creeps from the people who stay anonymous because -- though they are doing good -- they face harassment and violence for what they say or do. It simply is not possible."

    This is flat bullshit too. It is entirely possible to out anonymous people for some things and not others — the Adrian Chen article doesn't out a single one of the jailbait girls. It outs the guy who was posting them. What you're doing is imagining some slippery slope that doesn't exist and thinking that makes some philosophical case for a "hard line" about anonymity, down to abusing the "dox" term to include naming and shaming. And you're ignoring that VA was the one who put all that info out there — there was no hacking required or anything untoward.

    You're saying that Jailbait aficionados and pedos should have extraordinary protection because some hypothetical bad outcome might come down on some legitimate use of anonymity — it's a philosophy that if extended does mean that you would be against prosecuting child porn collectors in open court as long as they used a screen name. It's just amazingly unreflective bullshit.
    posted by klangklangston at 10:02 AM on October 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


    localroger: "Most of Reddit's paid employees are technical. Their new CEO is an engineer. I doubt they have anybody on paid staff who is officially responsible for sitewide content moderation (except maybe for kiddie porn compliance). Having such people is counter to the very foundation of their philosophy."

    hueypriest and chromakode, to take two admins, are pretty active behind the scenes. I know that there's a lot of mod annoyance right now at the fact that they try to be hands-off, but they are certainly aware of what's going on and thinking about what they can do for the community.
    posted by koeselitz at 10:03 AM on October 14, 2012


    koeselitz, that doesn't surprise me, I suspect they have realized since the jailbait implosion that they will have to move in a more proactive direction, but I think they will do so as slowly and minimally as they can manage. This event, of course, will probably give them another kick.
    posted by localroger at 10:06 AM on October 14, 2012


    (I mean, hueypriest was the original "community development" admin four years ago. The position is supposed to mean he is there to help subreddits get off the ground and flourish. I think that's pretty definitionally involved in content, and I feel like that's how it's played out, too.)
    posted by koeselitz at 10:07 AM on October 14, 2012


    koeselitz if there is always a volunteer mod involved and the admins are there to "advise," then they have a fig leaf of non-involvement to hide behind. You know, like when we "advise" third world dictators on how to organize a field operation we're not responsible for what the resulting death squads do.
    posted by localroger at 10:12 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    gerryblog : So to follow up on my own last stab at this: Violentacruz may or may not have put reddit at risk for filtering out certain types of content, depending on how he did it and what got through that fitter.

    That's something I've been looking around for more info, or someone in legal or IT somewhere to weigh in on. Violentacruz (there, I had been not misspelling his name properly) was as far is reported unpaid (right? he's volunteer?), but had been given the job to cull through stuff and get rid of underage/illegal stuff. Is that a good idea? Shouldn't a company have someone on paid staff doing that, for their own legal safety? Especially when VC was clearly putting himself in the category of "I like this stuff" and thus...well, this does not seem like a safe fit for someone culling. I could imagine all sorts of future problems, especially if the person culling things decided to start collecting some for a personal collection.

    NO, not that I know VC did this. It's just that over and over businesses find porn on workplace machines (not just links, actual content), so it's kind of silly not to assume that this might happen elsewhere. And for the site owner to act accordingly, to save their own butt at least. In this situation they seem to have ceded all control to VC, and yeah, that seems like a questionable decision.
    posted by batgrlHG at 10:14 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I don't think there's any problem legally with having (legal) porn on a workplace computer. Much of the reasoning behind 'no porn' restrictions at work are 1. really, people, wank on your own time ferchrissakes, and 2. if you are *displaying* porn at work there's a risk of being called out for creating a 'hostile workplace' wrt sexual harassment.
    posted by rmd1023 at 10:21 AM on October 14, 2012


    batgrlHG the Gawker article made it pretty clear that there was a bit of a courtship dance between VA and Reddit; they didn't just say "Hey! Someone who'll handle the icky smut side of things, cool!" VA demonstrated his usefulness and, very importantly, his scrupulousness about legal compliance, and was gradually given more power as he demonstrated his trustworthiness to stay within acceptable guidelines. I imagine they trusted him precisely because, as someone whose primary motivation was trolling, he knew he was making a lot of enemies and giving them a legal hammer to use on him would be quite stupid.

    In the end I think both VA and Reddit made an honest mistake, thinking that by complying with the no-nudity and reporting requirements and not hosting content itself, Reddit and VA were keeping themselves in the clear. I suspect it was a shock to everybody, and the beginning of the end of VA's relationship with Reddit, when they realized that he had failed them and they would have to become more proactive.
    posted by localroger at 10:25 AM on October 14, 2012


    localroger: "the Gawker article made it pretty clear that there was a bit of a courtship dance between VA and Reddit; they didn't just say "Hey! Someone who'll handle the icky smut side of things, cool!" VA demonstrated his usefulness and, very importantly, his scrupulousness about legal compliance, and was gradually given more power as he demonstrated his trustworthiness to stay within acceptable guidelines.

    I wonder if as part of this courtship he gave them his real life info so they could do a bit of a checkup on him. Because it would have looked pretty bad on their part had they, for example, not really checked up on the person doing this job and ended up with someone with "background issues." (Well besides the stuff he'd already admitted to and posted on their site.) I'd like to assume they did some checking on him, but the whole thing seems to be run on a non-businessy, "you're a helpful dude we know" kind of way. Or at least that's the appearance. (Then again I've read somewhere that Google has mainly contract workers cull out porn, etc. content on YouTube, which I'd also think would be a bad idea. But if they use contract workers a company wouldn't have to pay for any later psych help via insurance, so that may have something to do with it.)

    Oh and just read the story linked previously:
    Raw Story: Why Shutting Down Non-Consensual Porn Matters

    Quote: "...a man who went out of his way to humiliate and degrade thousands of girls and women, a man who especially loved hurting teenage girls by posting non-consenting “creep shots”, a man who filled the internet with racist bile that even celebrated genocide, a man who bragged about repeatedly raping his stepdaughter and cowing his wife into accepting it..."

    Ok I realize the writer is putting her own take on things and that this is not a news article - but I've read nothing about him "repeatedly raping" his stepdaughter. He said there was consent, and whether we believe the dude or not (I'd have trouble taking anything he says as fact, simply because of the longtime troll thing) jumping from that to "multiple rapes" seems...well, it could be possible, but I can't see provable. The AMA column where the stepdaughter was discussed isn't linked and last I checked (because yes, that I did go try and look at) has been deleted - so it's not like that statement can be backed up. (I take the word rape pretty seriously.)

    And this is the kind of speech that makes one side immediately say "witch hunt." Which is annoying because the dude is easily damnable with facts available (and his own words), despite what he's deleted. I'd bet that there are people with screenshots of things he's said, so I wouldn't be surprised if that info pops up later. (If he's a good journalist Chen will have saved shots of now deleted content in order to back up his story, in case there are any claims of libel.)
    posted by batgrlHG at 10:49 AM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I wonder if as part of this courtship he gave them his real life info

    He was going to meetups where everyone knew his RL ID. Whether it was the intent or not it's obvious Reddit knew who he was. I'm sure part of the deal was that he could trust them with that because Reddit held anonymity sacred.
    posted by localroger at 10:56 AM on October 14, 2012


    There is sort of a perverse curiosity I get when reading this thread, wondering whether the attitude would be the same if a woman who posted politically-sensitive material went to a meetup and later got outed, followed by real-world harassment and threats. Would people on Metafilter say it was her fault, and she shouldn't give her identity to her "internet buddies"?

    So again: it's simply not possible to formulate a coherent policy that says "everybody's personal information and identity is protected, except for the people we don't like". Some people here seem to believe they can do that; if so, I suggest you first start taking out intellectual-property protection for your ideas, then sell them and retire on the resulting millions. Because apparently you're some sort of wizard who can just magically conjure up a solution that's evaded tons of really smart people for decades.

    It also bothers me that on a site that normally cares about context, nobody here will look at context; in the context of reddit's policies, the people whose paid employment is to run reddit have been pretty consistent over the years.

    And really I think this is the crux of the debate between SRS and "the rest of reddit" (since everybody seems to feel that we can just lump all those folks into one big pile of creeps, rapists and pedophiles, regardless of whether it's true, and wow is it a surprise to me to find out I'm a pedophile creep rapist); the SRS line seems to be that heavy content-based moderation is the ideal. Reddit's founding philosophy is the opposite; it's the latest in a long string of attempts to live the dream of a community which has as little formal moderation as possible in order to keep existing.

    There seems to be a strong belief that it's possible to have heavy moderation of topics/opinions the community dislikes, and simultaneously to have a diversity of topics/opinions. Well, no. Perhaps there are some SRSters who get that, and want it anyway since they feel that the stuff they'd ban shouldn't ever be mentioned or discussed. But the majority seem to have an incredibly naive view about what happens when you start allowing or disallowing things based on opinions and social acceptability.

    Meanwhile there's all kinds of historical precedent for this, which is perhaps why I come off so cranky. This isn't a new debate, and people wandering into it with strong opinions and no background are going to elicit a lot of eye-rolling and sighing on my part. As I said a while back, I've been doing this a long time, and other people have been doing this for even longer, and there just isn't anything new under the sun here.
    posted by ubernostrum at 12:06 PM on October 14, 2012


    I'm sure part of the deal was that he could trust them with that because Reddit held anonymity sacred.

    But that's so insanely naive... I can't even parse it for a person of his age, apparent (?) intelligence, and experience. I don't know what his actual deal is, but in total armchair-psychoanalyst mode, I would think that he may be someone who, among other things, feels compelled to expose himself to a certain kind of risk for whatever reason.

    Anyway, here's a pretty good, digestible summary article from The Verge that provides a clear explication of events, with, as far as I can see, very little mistake or confusion, and without really trying to plumb the ethical depths of the issue: Reddit leaders deflect censorship criticism and defend hands-off policies. Pretty handy for anyone who wants to get up to speed on how events played out.
    posted by taz at 12:07 PM on October 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


    If va was pruning illegal content including child porn, then almost by definition, he is going to have illegal content on his computer, including his work computer, if he ever did it from there.
    posted by empath at 12:19 PM on October 14, 2012


    There is sort of a perverse curiosity I get when reading this thread, wondering whether the attitude would be the same if a woman who posted politically-sensitive material went to a meetup and later got outed, followed by real-world harassment and threats.
    Yeah, so, harassment and death threats from political activity happens all the time. Does Sandra Fluke ring a bell? If Rush Limbaugh wants to be an asshole and out her without actually threatening her, it's his prerogative, it's legal and constitutionally protected speech.

    You can't squelch journalism, just because someone wishes to be anonymous. Adrian Chen wasn't making a list of people to harass. You can make the case to ban the predditors tumblr beause it's just a list of people without any actual journalistic merit, you can't make the case to ban actual journalism like that Gawker article.
    But the majority seem to have an incredibly naive view about what happens when you start allowing or disallowing things based on opinions and social acceptability.
    The banning that's relavant is banning actual journalism. Apparently from The Verge article, r/creepshots wasn't even banned by the reddit admins. So they're allowing pedos invading the privacy of underaged girls, while protecting those very pedo's invasion of privacy by squelching journalistic speech.

    Reddit moderators can try to shift the focus all they want to the predditors tumblr, but that's not why everyone's mad as fuck.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 12:19 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    There is sort of a perverse curiosity I get when reading this thread, wondering whether the attitude would be the same if a woman who posted politically-sensitive material went to a meetup and later got outed, followed by real-world harassment and threats. Would people on Metafilter say it was her fault, and she shouldn't give her identity to her "internet buddies"?

    You're right -- the reaction probably would be different. What's interesting is that both outings would have been legal, as best as I can tell. So why would the reaction be different? Probably because there is much greater social sympathy for people who use their free speech rights to voice political opinions, speak out against injustice, and so on... than there is for people who use their free speech rights to post sexual photos of nonconsenting women. Or for people who use their free speech rights to deliberately bait others into getting angry - not even ot prove a point, but as a recreational pursuit. While those uses of free speech may be legally protected, there is not necessarily social protection.

    Imagine, if you will, a woman who used her free speech rights to set up "/r/lockerlosers," a subreddit dedicated to surreptitious locker room photos of guys with tiny dicks. Would the reaction to her outing be different than the reaction to your hypothetical political activist? Yeah, I think it's fair to say that it would.


    everybody seems to feel that we can just lump all those folks into one big pile of creeps, rapists and pedophiles...

    This is not true, and even a cursory reading of the thread will make that clear. Most of the people participating in this thread, as far as I can tell, either feel that Reddit has some responsibility for the content that's posted on its site, or that its strict anonymity polices result in a functional safe harbor for trolls and abusers, or simply don't agree with Reddit's "Free Speech === Anonymity" credo.

    The discussion in this thread has been rather nuanced, and frankly the Gawker article was far more nuanced than any of the defensive reactions against it acknowledge. If you'd like to see Reddit treated as a complex place with a diverse userbase, a good starting point would be acknowledging the nuanced nature of the criticisms.
    posted by verb at 12:20 PM on October 14, 2012 [15 favorites]


    No, those other websites feature nonconsensual upskirt photography, often of young girls, frequently taken from people operating in a position of legal authority or other professional capacity. Ours are toasted "politically sensitive."
    posted by gerryblog at 12:21 PM on October 14, 2012


    a comment that starts by removing all context goes on to chastise others for not considering the context. the same comment also uses a broad brush to complain about being painted with a broad brush. it's an interesting read at the very least.
    posted by nadawi at 12:22 PM on October 14, 2012


    If someone reveals their OWN personal information, why is it considered doxing to point that out? none of the predditors stuff, AFAICT, was anything other than sifting through people's public posting history to collate the details they themselves had posted. There was no snooping IP addresses or anything like that. If I post on Metafilter -- in a comment, not in my profile -- that I live in Dallas, and in another comment that I work for Chase, and in another comment that I'm 32, and in another comment that my last name is Thompson, why is it some horrible violation of privacy to round all that up and say that I'm Kathryn Thompson of Dallas, TX, 32 years old, works for Chase? That's not doxing, that's just reading.
    posted by KathrynT at 12:23 PM on October 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


    "There is sort of a perverse curiosity I get when reading this thread, wondering whether the attitude would be the same if a woman who posted politically-sensitive material went to a meetup and later got outed, followed by real-world harassment and threats. Would people on Metafilter say it was her fault, and she shouldn't give her identity to her "internet buddies"?"

    No, because there's nothing wrong with posting politically sensitive material.

    "So again: it's simply not possible to formulate a coherent policy that says "everybody's personal information and identity is protected, except for the people we don't like"."

    Yes it is. The coherent policy is that if you're using anonymity to do something scurrilous, then journalists — who can and are sued for publishing inaccurate material — can and should name you. You trotted this out before and it's just as bullshit as it was then — it rests on this assumption that we cannot reasonably distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate uses of anonymity. And again, your argument would mean that people who post child porn under a pseudonym couldn't be prosecuted because, you know, some dissident could also be prosecuted. It's an assertion in bare, naked contempt of the actual facts, and that if taken to its implied conclusion leads to a terrible and absurd outcome.

    "It also bothers me that on a site that normally cares about context, nobody here will look at context; in the context of reddit's policies, the people whose paid employment is to run reddit have been pretty consistent over the years."

    In the context of Reddit's policies, it's clear that they're arbitrary and self-serving, and it's perverse to hold them up as some philosophical commitment to free speech.

    "And really I think this is the crux of the debate between SRS and "the rest of reddit" (since everybody seems to feel that we can just lump all those folks into one big pile of creeps, rapists and pedophiles, regardless of whether it's true, and wow is it a surprise to me to find out I'm a pedophile creep rapist)"

    No, no one's saying that you're a pedophile creep rapist. That's a straw man. What they are saying is that you're defending pedophiles, creeps and rapists. Which you are. Sorry that you don't feel comfortable admitting that, but that's what you're doing.

    "Reddit's founding philosophy is the opposite; it's the latest in a long string of attempts to live the dream of a community which has as little formal moderation as possible in order to keep existing."

    I think your use of "dream" is telling — it's a fantasy that requires no confrontation of actual bad actors and ends up defending pedophiles, creeps and rapists in the face of evidence that this is unnecessary and self-serving.

    "There seems to be a strong belief that it's possible to have heavy moderation of topics/opinions the community dislikes, and simultaneously to have a diversity of topics/opinions. Well, no."

    There seems to be the strong belief on your part that cracking down on pedophiles, creeps and rapists comprises heavy moderation, instead of one of the basic responsibilities of any community to self-police.

    "Meanwhile there's all kinds of historical precedent for this, which is perhaps why I come off so cranky. This isn't a new debate, and people wandering into it with strong opinions and no background are going to elicit a lot of eye-rolling and sighing on my part. As I said a while back, I've been doing this a long time, and other people have been doing this for even longer, and there just isn't anything new under the sun here."

    The problem is that you keep retreating to hoary bullshit instead of realizing that your assertions are weak, your reasoning is fallacious and the consequences are supporting pedophiles, creepers and rapists.
    posted by klangklangston at 12:25 PM on October 14, 2012 [37 favorites]


    klangklangston, wow. you had me at "hoary bullshit"
    posted by xcasex at 12:27 PM on October 14, 2012


    I think your use of "dream" is telling — it's a fantasy that requires no confrontation of actual bad actors and ends up defending pedophiles, creeps and rapists in the face of evidence that this is unnecessary and self-serving.

    Shorter version: Immune systems are a hassle, and can sometimes attack healthy organs. It would be awesome if we didn't need them.
    posted by verb at 12:29 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    "the rest of reddit" (since everybody seems to feel that we can just lump all those folks into one big pile of creeps, rapists and pedophiles, regardless of whether it's true, and wow is it a surprise to me to find out I'm a pedophile creep rapist)

    TBH as someone with a Reddit account I'm finding increasingly hard to say I *shouldn't* be lumped in with creeps, etc., because even by visiting entirely innocent sections of the site I'm giving clicks that fund the admins, and it's now very apparent that the admins would sooner Reddit be a support network for creeps than a place to share links. Certainly if they had continued to ban Gawker sitewide I'd be gone already.
    posted by Artw at 12:33 PM on October 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


    klang, a fist bump in your general direction. And KathrynT-- completely agreed. I use my real name here on Metafilter, and anyone interested could put together a fairly complete profile of me: where I live, work, my age, my interests, events from my past which I've divulged-- all of which I've done in the complete understanding that it is open information, and with forethought. I have a handful of usernames I employ for other sites and I rarely use the same one twice; I find it jaw-dropping that the men named on Predditors have chosen the same username for every single site where they have a presence: Flickr, Pornotube or whatever it's called, Twitter, a cuckolding site, Linkedin, Reddit. How anyone working in IT be so blase is beyond me, really, when identifying them is a matter of a single Google search.
    posted by jokeefe at 12:40 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Immune systems are a hassle, and can sometimes attack healthy organs.

    it's probably a mistake to think of political institutions in a medicalized way or as parts of a body
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 12:51 PM on October 14, 2012


    I googled (violentacrez reddit gawker site:news.ycombinator.com) because I thought the folks at hacker news might have an interesting viewpoint I had not yet seen and also I am looking for a bootleg copy of vz's Iama which has been disemvoweled on Reddit (I still cannot shake this memory of him claiming indifference to having his real identity outed for the whole internet to see).

    A couple observations:

    the views there are almost identical to the views here. Weighted a little different, but the issues are presented with almost the same words;

    and I found out that all gawker sites are banned from front page posting to hacker news because "the quality of their journalism sucks" <-- very very close to an exact quote. Chen's story was not posted to the front page of hacker news, but a synopsis off theatlantic website was. His story was linked in the thread.
    posted by bukvich at 12:52 PM on October 14, 2012


    taz: But that's so insanely naive... I can't even parse it for a person of his age, apparent (?) intelligence, and experience. I don't know what his actual deal is, but in total armchair-psychoanalyst mode, I would think that he may be someone who, among other things, feels compelled to expose himself to a certain kind of risk for whatever reason.

    The most important point I tried to make in the last thread is that everyone involved in the Reddit inner circlejerk is a True Believer in free speech as the first and most important of all rights. That is their axiom, and they will go over a cliff with it. You can't reason with them because it's essentially religious belief from which the rest of their belief system emerges. And one thing a True Believer quickly recognizes upon meeting is another True Believer.

    There is a thread of libertarian thought which I'm very sure the Reddit culture embraces that says, not only do creeps like VA need to be tolerated, in a certain sense they are needed to test your commitment to the most important principles. If you are not free to be offensive, the argument goes, then you aren't free at all because no matter what you want to do, it's sure to offend somebody. (Sidebar: Try explaining this to the Saudis who can't figure out why we won't pass a simple little heresy law.)

    I would bet Reddit observes the child porn laws only because they are laws with teeth, and only to the exact extent required for Reddit to function without interference. That's why I kept saying it's about the law in the last thread. They will be unswayed by your moral argument becuase they agree with your moral argument already, but they think their moral argument has the higher priority.

    So VA was among friends and Reddit recognized VA as one of their own. They worked together for years in confidence. It may seem naive to you (hell it does to me) but (better) people have put their lives on the line for less.
    posted by localroger at 12:52 PM on October 14, 2012


    it's probably a mistake to think of political institutions in a medicalized way or as parts of a body

    I wasn't referring to the legal implications of what's going on, just the social/community aspects. . Comparing a functional but imprecise thing like the human immune system to the organic growth of a community, the mechanisms used to prevent bad actors from damaging the community, and so on, seemed rather apt.
    posted by verb at 12:59 PM on October 14, 2012


    it rests on this assumption that we cannot reasonably distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate uses of anonymity

    So like I said, write a policy. Write it right now. And write it such that it will, when enforced, protect the anonymity of people you agree with while not protecting the anonymity of people you disagree with. Lay that policy out in clear words, and we'll see how well it would hold up on contact with the real world of online communities.

    In other words: your problem, and the problem people who agree with you are having, is equating "I can tell after the fact if this anonymity is legitimate" with "I can draft a policy that determines before the fact which uses of anonymity are legitimate and protects them in advance". The latter is what you need in order to run a large online community. The former is what you need to snark people on Metafilter.

    What they are saying is that you're defending pedophiles, creeps and rapists. Which you are. Sorry that you don't feel comfortable admitting that, but that's what you're doing.

    You're a regular poster on Metafilter, a site which is known to have users who are sexists, misogynists and rape apologists. Just go look through any gender thread, you'll find that stuff all over the place. And Metafilter's admins do not have a policy of banning those users on sight; on the contrary, those users are allowed to continue posting.

    So if I ever catch you defending the way MeFi is run, or suggesting that it has merits, I'll hang the accusation of "defending rapists" on you and you will openly accept that accusation as true, yes? Fair play all round? Heck, just by posting as much as you do I could make the same "supporter" argument jess brought up with respect to reddit, so as a first step you're going to start acknowledging that you're a rape supporter, right?

    And that's without getting into the wild generalizations people have been regularly making in this thread about reddit's user base, which you so helpfully dismiss as not existing; guess that files in shitthattneverhappened.txt?

    I think your use of "dream" is telling — it's a fantasy that requires no confrontation of actual bad actors and ends up defending pedophiles, creeps and rapists in the face of evidence that this is unnecessary and self-serving.

    More a belief that we can be better than we are, and a hope that it's achievable. It's a pretty tempting dream, after all, tied up in all sorts of optimism about changes to the way people communicate and how a new medium like the internet can bring that about. But hey, don't let that get in the way of a a good pile-on.

    There seems to be the strong belief on your part that cracking down on pedophiles, creeps and rapists comprises heavy moderation, instead of one of the basic responsibilities of any community to self-police.

    There is a strong belief on my part that there is a very dangerous line between cracking down on things that are actually illegal, and cracking down on things that are socially disapproved of, and that once you start down the road of the latter, the results will be ugly. What is desired, by many people in this thread, is the latter option.

    To borrow a relevant example: Clay Shirky tells a story of how attempts to start a newsgroup for discussing Tibetan culture used to get shot down, because "there is such a thing as Tibet, separate from the People's Republic of China, and there is such a thing as Tibetan culture, separate from Chinese culture", were statements of which a surprising number of (Chinese) Usenet users disapproved.

    Show me how to moderate based on social disapproval without banning the Tibetan-culture newsgroup, and then maybe we'll talk.

    The problem is that you keep retreating to hoary bullshit instead of realizing that your assertions are weak, your reasoning is fallacious and the consequences are supporting pedophiles, creepers and rapists.

    The problem is that your entire argument is based on appeals to emotion and attempting to shame people who disagree with you by painting them as being, if not members of the evil group, then aiders, abettors and supporters of the evil group, and then you go around accusing others of fallacious reasoning.

    The deeper problem is that you are expecting this to work when discussing people who are completely unaffected by such appeals. So you go on being the one who calls people names. And I'm going to keep right on telling you that the stuff people are arguing for here flat doesn't work as a way to run an online community, and I'm going to keep on being the one who can cite history to back up the point (hence when the first great reddit drama of 2012 broke out, I wrote an article titled with an obvious and deliberate allusion to what happened to LambdaMOO).
    posted by ubernostrum at 1:05 PM on October 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


    The main protections (in the US) for Internet intermediaries like Reddit and Metafilter is the DMCA safe harbor, and Section 230 of the CDA. The CDA covers everything but IP and criminal law, the DMCA covers IP. Editing (or deleting) material doesn't lose you the protection of Section 230 -- indeed, historically one of the points of Section 230 was to ensure that providers (like AOL, at the time) could feel confident enforcing their own editorial standards without suddenly assuming liability for their users' content.

    Section 230 only covers civil, not criminal law, but there are so few acts that are purely composed of communications that are criminal in the United States that criminal liability for intermediaries doesn't often arise. The distribution of child porn is the obvious criminal communication act that an intermediary could conceivable be held liable for as well as its users. There is no safe harbor for child porn. The authorities have rarely pursued such cases against intermediaries -- I think primarily because they realize it is more useful to have intermediaries assisting with tracking down the perpetrators of such crimes than being held liable for them. Another potential criminal liability is distributing info on how to circumvent DRM (which is why Digg freaked out about its users posting of the AACS key back in the day).

    As regards other IP violations and the DMCA safe harbor, a lawyer would hedge a lot, but I think (as a non-lawyer), the answer is that the rightsholders have spent a *lot* of time trying to make intermediaries more vulnerable over this over the years, with extremely limited results. Actively editing and moderating your site doesn't change much in this area -- the big battle in this space, I think, was MGM v Grokster, a Supreme Court decision which in theory gave rightsholders the chance to assert that intermediaries who "induced" infringement among their users could be held as contributorily (is that a word?) liable for IP violations. The standard here though, is less whether you're moderating, and more whether you're taking steps to actively encourage infringement among your userbase.

    Warning: I'm really not a lawyer, and I may be as much as three years out of date on the IP stuff.
    posted by ntk at 1:07 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    You're a regular poster on Metafilter, a site which is known to have users who are sexists, misogynists and rape apologists. Just go look through any gender thread, you'll find that stuff all over the place. And Metafilter's admins do not have a policy of banning those users on sight; on the contrary, those users are allowed to continue posting.

    AFAIK nobody at MeFi extends special favours to anyone like that. This isn't Reddit happening to have a creep on it, this is a creep being an active part of the infrastructure of Reddit and receiving privleges as a result of it.
    posted by Artw at 1:14 PM on October 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


    AFAIK nobody at MeFi extends special favours to anyone like that.

    Ah, so that's where the goalpost is now :)
    posted by ubernostrum at 1:16 PM on October 14, 2012


    No, that is the entire conversation as far as VA is concerned.
    posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Show me how to moderate based on social disapproval without banning the Tibetan-culture newsgroup, and then maybe we'll talk.

    It's not at all impossible, and I'm a little amused that you're making that argument on a site that does precisely that. The trick is that you decide up front the limits of your community.

    For example, Metafilter is, by my standards, lightly moderated. We ban very few people, we do relatively little moderation-for-content, and we have a relatively wide range of views on many topics.

    However, there are things that we do not tolerate. We delete links to sites we consider "hate sites." We stomp pretty hard on overt racism, misogyny, and homophobia. We strongly discourage whole classes of content that seem mean-spirited or hateful. These things are to a large degree community-driven - the community is too big for it to be anything else, although the site is not a pure democracy by any means. But that does not mean that anything that anyone disapproves of gets moderated. That's purely a strawman.

    Now, if you are talking about pure mob-rule up/downvote driven sites, that's a trickier thing. But I personally think that's not a successful way to have a civil community, which is why I work here and not for Reddit.
    posted by restless_nomad at 1:19 PM on October 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


    Show me how to moderate based on social disapproval without banning the Tibetan-culture newsgroup
    just make all the mods American
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:20 PM on October 14, 2012


    or Anglophonic
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:21 PM on October 14, 2012


    Ah, so that's where the goalpost is now :)

    The goalposts were about content and the people who specifically curated and support it. You broadened them to include anyone who may happen to be around. A blind quadriplegic could shoot and score using those as a guidelines for an assertion.
    posted by P.o.B. at 1:22 PM on October 14, 2012


    Once upon the time the press was such that they could keep mum about FDR's (in)ability to walk or Kennedy and other women - and no one would know. We don't live in that time anymore.

    If there's someone out there under an alias, even for a noble and worthy cause such that all is sweetness and light, hearts and flowers, and lo the angels sing and none dare dispute its righteousness - if that person is still lax enough to spread their true identity around such that it does NOT take a team of investigative journalists ready to spend months uncovering the identity - but a handful of google searches within an hour can uncover the name behind that alias - it does NOT MATTER that those within the fortress of Protect the Alias aren't going to out them. In fact it doesn't matter about the cause at all, or how nice or not nice the person is.

    Someone else will because the information is readily available. You can't keep an alias secure if the person it's supposed to protect is helping to out themselves.

    Remember the whole internet love fest with the idea that anyone could be a journalist? Well, that's what's going on here. Multiple ways this info could get out. Reddit can stick to its guns all it wants - but if its users aren't being careful with their own identity, there's nothing that can keep it from coming up in a search engine for those who know how to look.

    On the harumphing about being judgmental, I'd like to point out that nowhere have I called all Redditors pedos, and I even suggested dialing back on a linked article's description of VC as a rapist. Most of the anger in here has been over the hypocrisy that's going on. Any judgementalness directed towards VC is not just from MeFi - dude was a troll. Trolls urge others to hate them, and they enjoy stirring shit up. It's not a shock there's not much of a lovefest for him personally.
    posted by batgrlHG at 1:27 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    It seems to me that a site like Mefi has a community value of "Evil pedos and rape fantasists shouldn't be tolerated, even if rooting them out means infringing some on free speech that's technically legal, and limiting anonymity" while a site like Reddit has a community value of "free speech and anonymity are core values even if some evil pedos and rape fantasists misuse them and collect at the bottom of the barrel."

    I don't think that taking either position as your starting point makes one automatically a bad person. I do think that people who loudly proclaim the upside of their position, while denying that the downside exists being either dishonest with themselves or with the people they're speaking to. And I think that whichever position one takes, you ought to be actually committed to minimizing the downside of your choice.
    posted by tyllwin at 1:28 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    ubernostrum: I still haven't read a clear justification of why Gawker was banned, considering Reddit cares so much about free speech, even going as far as to protect creepy pedos violating the privacy of high school girls. You can't have it both ways.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:28 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    So if Reddit is run by such free-speech absolutists that they'll bend over backwards to protect the speech of people they dislike and don't ever want to moderate based on "community disapproval," then what the fuck just happened there with all the Chen article/Gawker link-banning? How are people still, nearly a thousand comments later, seriously advancing the rationale that Reddit is governed by free-speech absolutism or a commitment to "light moderation" in the face of the series of insanely heavy-handed, anti-open-discussion moderation decisions that this thread is actually about? Much less arguing that Reddit moderators refuse to use "community disapproval" as a yardstick, when the backpedalling admission that the Gawker-banning was a "mistake" seemed clearly driven by just that, vocal disapproval?

    I don't see any convincing response here, still, to the arguments far upthread that the free-speech rationale is often just self-serving rationalization, or that it seems to mask the plain old ordinary politics of in-group vs. out-group moderation as those IRC chats seem to reveal.
    posted by RogerB at 1:29 PM on October 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


    It seems to me that a site like Mefi has a community value of "Evil pedos and rape fantasists shouldn't be tolerated, even if rooting them out means infringing some on free speech that's technically legal, and limiting anonymity" while a site like Reddit has a community value of "free speech and anonymity are core values even if some evil pedos and rape fantasists misuse them and collect at the bottom of the barrel."

    I would frame it more as Metafilter has a vision of what kind of community we want to have, in terms of content, civility, and tolerance, and Reddit has a vision of what kind of rules they want to have, and they live with the community that fits within those rules.
    posted by restless_nomad at 1:31 PM on October 14, 2012 [22 favorites]


    (And that may be a capsule description of the difference between liberalism and libertarianism; I'm not totally sure.)
    posted by restless_nomad at 1:31 PM on October 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


    ubernostrum: I still haven't read a clear justification of why Gawker was banned, considering Reddit cares so much about free speech, even going as far as to protect creepy pedos violating the privacy of high school girls. You can't have it both ways.

    That's the tell that their whole free speech /not posting PI argument is self serving bullshit. That and that Reddit is quite happy posting PI if it's nobody they consider important, as mentioned above.

    The sadly now apparent truth is that Reddit is pro-creep because it wants to be pro-creep, not through some unintended result of policy.
    posted by Artw at 1:33 PM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Also arguing that any community that has admins or mods inevitably takes on the cultural attitudes of those mods or admins only makes Reddit seem worse, not better.
    posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on October 14, 2012


    yeah, "civility" does seem to be a buzzword in lots of conservative/libertarian circles
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:38 PM on October 14, 2012


    RogerB: then what the fuck just happened there with all the Chen article/Gawker link-banning?

    Allow me to clear my throat here because I obviously haven't been shouting loud enough *cough*

    REDDIT DID NOT BAN GAWKER. A BUNCH OF MODS, WHO ARE NOT PAID EMPLOYEES AND WHO REDDIT ALLOWS TO BE LORDS OF THEIR LITTLE EMPIRES, DID THAT.

    Reddit as a company and as a whole did for awhile ban the specific article, on the basis of one of their other core principles (violating anonymity is also a violation of free speech), but after a bit of navel-gazing they relented.
    posted by localroger at 1:38 PM on October 14, 2012


    They have banned that particular link. And for some time they did indeed ban all of Gawker, which they later rolled back.
    posted by Artw at 1:40 PM on October 14, 2012


    localroger: Yeah, and banning them for a day is the problem I have, yes they have relented, but it lays bare where their alliegences lie. They'd sooner protect the pedos with incredible ferocity, and hastily ban actual journalism -- at least until outside pressure gets to them too much.

    Also, if you take the IRC logs in context, both the relationship between reddit moderators and admins, as well as reddit moderation as a unified culture has to be taken into context.

    It's perfectly fair to say that r/politics banning Gawker and r/gaming's banning of Gawker and Kotaku represent's reddit's moderation community as a whole, even though admins permit linking to Gawker in niche reddits which do not show up on the homepage.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:42 PM on October 14, 2012


    ubernostrum: “There is a strong belief on my part that there is a very dangerous line between cracking down on things that are actually illegal, and cracking down on things that are socially disapproved of, and that once you start down the road of the latter, the results will be ugly. What is desired, by many people in this thread, is the latter option. To borrow a relevant example: Clay Shirky tells a story of how attempts to start a newsgroup for discussing Tibetan culture used to get shot down, because "there is such a thing as Tibet, separate from the People's Republic of China, and there is such a thing as Tibetan culture, separate from Chinese culture", were statements of which a surprising number of (Chinese) Usenet users disapproved. Show me how to moderate based on social disapproval without banning the Tibetan-culture newsgroup, and then maybe we'll talk.”

    You keep calling it social disapproval. What you mean is moral judgment. Yes, moderating an online forum requires moral judgment. So does living as a human being in the world. Morals are not some evil trick invented by censors and fascists. They're an essential part of how we approach our relationships with other people.

    And I would argue that an online community that attempts to eschew moral judgments entirely is doomed from the beginning. Even Reddit makes moral judgments – for example, that freedom of speech is a right, and that protection of identity is essential for that right.

    “There is sort of a perverse curiosity I get when reading this thread...”

    I realize now that that's because this whole issue is about something entirely different to you than it is to everybody else. To you, it seems to be about the hint of the possibility that maybe somebody somewhere thinks that revealing personal information shouldn't be against the rules in an online community. That's clearly not the Metafilter philosophy – the moderators here have tried to pretty strictly uphold the "don't reveal personal information in comments, please" rule, and I think they were right to do so. But I guess it worries you that people seem to be cheering the "doxxing" of creeps, since (in your mind) that implies that they don't really agree with this rule against personal info being revealed.

    To me, this is about something completely different. It's about Reddit being hypocritical, to the expense of its integrity. It's about Reddit having a very good rule against revealing private information in comments, a moralistic rule about the content of comments enforced at the admin level, and then refusing to have any other rules because they claim that Reddit does not have moralist rules and that Reddit does not enforce any rules at the admin level. That hypocrisy is a betrayal of the victims of the creepsters.
    posted by koeselitz at 1:44 PM on October 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


    And I'm going to keep right on telling you that the stuff people are arguing for here flat doesn't work as a way to run an online community, and I'm going to keep on being the one who can cite history to back up the point

    Since you haven't clarified just what you think people here are arguing for, it's hard to say exactly what you're claiming "doesn't work." Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds as if you're saying that "moderation beyond limitation of legal liability doesn't work." That statement doesn't mesh with my own experiences or those of the community builders, community managers, and community members I've known over the past couple of decades.

    You cited LambdaMOO (probably the Mr. Bungle incident, I'm guessing?) as an oblique example, but that incident is an excellent demonstration of the sort of carefully articulated 'moderation' that you say can't work. It was user driven, administrator empowered, and organic, but it absolutely was not a "total free speech zone." Also, at its most active it had a few hundred participants at a time -- nothing compared to the scope and scale of Reddit or the modern social web. I watched it unfold, I ran for office there, and a couple of my good friends were central figures in the Mr. Bungle incident -- I'm not unfamiliar with the history of social spaces on the 'net, you know?

    There's so much conflation going on in the discussions around the Reddit issue that it's hard to even correct. External legal consequences for actions are not the same as social consequences for actions, for example. The idea that anonymity and free speech are absolute co-requirements is an assertion, not a plain fact. Muddling the distinction between "reporting on a person using their name" and "conducting a witch hunt" is irresponsible, too.

    There is so much interesting, important, and necessary meat to this story. The issues raised are central to the health and longevity of every virtual community on the Internet. Sadly, the circle-the-wagons reaction of many of the most vocal Redditors is also typical. If their perspective "wins" internally, it will ensure that problems like this one will become more and more common on Reddit, until they have to be dealt with. That's the way it goes.

    One aspect that I think is useful to keep in mind is the profound danger of putting a self-professed troll in a position of authority in a social space. All questions of sexual ethics, consent, and legality aside, that is a terrible fucking idea. If you are trying to build a healthy, self-sustaining community, you need to make sure that the motivations of your non-staff leaders and influences are as closely aligned (or as complimentary) as possible. A Troll's motivation is not to build and grow community, but to antagonize and exploit for personal amusement.
    posted by verb at 1:44 PM on October 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


    It seems like we agree at least partially on these things. I think most of us here feel kind of ambivalent (at the very least) about the fact that Reddit let r/jailbait, r/creepshots, etc go on as long as they did (and that related sites are still going). And I also think most of us here feel, at varying degrees of fervitude, that revealing personal information on an online community should be against the rules. So, yeah. Probably we agree more than we want to admit.
    posted by koeselitz at 1:44 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    They backed down on the link when under pressure then? Well, that's worth not a lot.
    posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on October 14, 2012


    They backed down on the link when under pressure then? Well, that's worth not a lot.

    "We really WANT to defend creeps from the consequences of their actions, but we won't" is kind of the worst of all worlds in terms of PR.
    posted by verb at 1:47 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Artw: According to the buzzfeed article, Reddit admins claimed they made a mistake, but say it's up to individual subreddits to determine who to ban. r/gaming and r/politics ban of Gawker remain in place.

    It's a really clever way to do it, because top tier subreddits are a united front, so you're not likely to see a Gawker article on the homepage, because important subreddits have blocked Gawker articles. The top-tier subreddits are either imagedumps/meta which won't link to gawker (r/pics, etc.), or have banned Gawker if they are the type of subreddit to likely link to Gawker (r/politics). Gawker is de-facto banned from the reddit homepage for people that do not directly go to/add niche subreddits.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 1:51 PM on October 14, 2012


    And for some time they did indeed ban all of Gawker, which they later rolled back.

    From what I can gather, the subreddit r/circlejerk banned all posts EXCEPT those to Gawker media sites, upon which the subreddit was flooded with submissions to Gawker, Kotaku, IO9, etc. These triggered the spam-filter, since so many were getting posted.

    If there is more information on a site-wide ban on all Gawker links, I'd be happy to hear more.
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:54 PM on October 14, 2012


    I just went ahead and deleted my account there, FWIW, with a note on why. I'd urge other people to do the same.
    posted by Artw at 1:57 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    "So like I said, write a policy. Write it right now. And write it such that it will, when enforced, protect the anonymity of people you agree with while not protecting the anonymity of people you disagree with. Lay that policy out in clear words, and we'll see how well it would hold up on contact with the real world of online communities."

    How about I write a policy as it accurately applies to this example: "Anonymity is a general good on Reddit and should be protected as is practicable. However, users comment at their own risk and Reddit has no control over any person or entity outside of Reddit."

    Note how that policy doesn't ban journalists from shining a light on the underbelly. Notice how it's also pretty much what their actual policy is.

    "You're a regular poster on Metafilter, a site which is known to have users who are sexists, misogynists and rape apologists. Just go look through any gender thread, you'll find that stuff all over the place. And Metafilter's admins do not have a policy of banning those users on sight; on the contrary, those users are allowed to continue posting."

    I don't know of any metafilter members, benighted as they may be, who are posting jailbait here. I also know of plenty of folks who the moderators have required to come clean about their bad behavior — Scott Adams comes to mind. It's entirely possible to have a balanced approach.

    So if I ever catch you defending the way MeFi is run, or suggesting that it has merits, I'll hang the accusation of "defending rapists" on you and you will openly accept that accusation as true, yes? Fair play all round? Heck, just by posting as much as you do I could make the same "supporter" argument jess brought up with respect to reddit, so as a first step you're going to start acknowledging that you're a rape supporter, right?"

    You can try, though you'd look ridiculous. To quickly kibosh this — no one is saying that SRS folks are defending rapists. And if someone was using their sockpuppet to game MeFi, I'd be in full favor of their exposure — I remember Dhoyt, do you?

    "More a belief that we can be better than we are, and a hope that it's achievable. It's a pretty tempting dream, after all, tied up in all sorts of optimism about changes to the way people communicate and how a new medium like the internet can bring that about. But hey, don't let that get in the way of a a good pile-on."

    It's fine to have that as a dream, but if you want people to take you seriously, you have to acknowledge the facts as they exist. It's like the libertarian fantasy that private charity can take care of all of society's needs — it'd be nice if that was true, but it's not, and pretending that it is has real consequences. The consequence is that you're defending pedophiles, creeps and rapists.

    "There is a strong belief on my part that there is a very dangerous line between cracking down on things that are actually illegal, and cracking down on things that are socially disapproved of, and that once you start down the road of the latter, the results will be ugly. What is desired, by many people in this thread, is the latter option."

    That belief is unjustified, based on misleading premises and bad definitions. It ignores law and history on the basis of specious appeals to a slippery slope. I think, honestly, it would be better for your argument if you weren't making an absolutist case based on a hypothetical harm weighed against an actual exercise of free speech. As it stands, it's just inconsistent.

    "The problem is that your entire argument is based on appeals to emotion and attempting to shame people who disagree with you by painting them as being, if not members of the evil group, then aiders, abettors and supporters of the evil group, and then you go around accusing others of fallacious reasoning."

    No, no it's not. My argument is that in this case, the system worked: Dude was doing something unsavory and got got by a journalist. That's what journalism does. Arguing that deleting links to Gawker is anything but peevish idiocy and instead a true free speech stance is bullshit.

    "The deeper problem is that you are expecting this to work when discussing people who are completely unaffected by such appeals. So you go on being the one who calls people names. And I'm going to keep right on telling you that the stuff people are arguing for here flat doesn't work as a way to run an online community, and I'm going to keep on being the one who can cite history to back up the point (hence when the first great reddit drama of 2012 broke out, I wrote an article titled with an obvious and deliberate allusion to what happened to LambdaMOO)."

    Well, no, the deeper problem is that people who defend pedophiles, creepers and rapists from legitimate scrutiny are making self-serving arguments based on an imagined threat, hyperbolic restatement of what actually happened, and a stubborn belief that they're being misunderstood rather than rightly understood and roundly dismissed.
    posted by klangklangston at 2:04 PM on October 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


    "Yes, moderating an online forum requires moral judgment. So does living as a human being in the world. Morals are not some evil trick invented by censors and fascists. They're an essential part of how we approach our relationships with other people."

    Yes, this is exactly it.
    posted by klangklangston at 2:08 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    What I saw of the drama a couple days ago (like I said, I took a break) was that moderators of subreddits were deciding, on their own initiative, to ban links to Gawker sites. The overarching policy of reddit is that subreddit moderators have the power to do that within their subreddits.

    If the actual employees of Reddit, Inc. instituted an actual site-wide ban on links to the Gawker story, I would not be surprised since their implementation of their ideals is codified in four rules, and linking to a story which reveals personal information would violate one of those rules. That is consistent, and not a contradiction, as people seem to hope it to be.

    This is why localroger is doing his "LOOK HOW LOUD I HAVE TO YELL" bit, by the way.

    koeselitz: Even Reddit makes moral judgments – for example, that freedom of speech is a right, and that protection of identity is essential for that right.

    Yup.

    It's about Reddit having a very good rule against revealing private information in comments, a moralistic rule about the content of comments enforced at the admin level, and then refusing to have any other rules because they claim that Reddit does not have moralist rules and that Reddit does not enforce any rules at the admin level.

    Reddit's founders and admins have decided what they want, as far as guiding principles. They seem to believe that making additional judgements about content, beyond those necessary to the specific small set of guiding principles so articulated, would inevitably compromise said principles. Without expressing an opinion on whether their principles are correct, I tend to agree with that belief.

    The desire to have additional judgements imposed on types of content is simply not compatible with what reddit's stated goals appear to be. Do I want a world in which /r/creepshots exists? No. If I were dedicated to a world in which the banning of /r/creepshots were incompatible with other principles of greater importance, though, I would find no contradiction in allowing something I don't like or morally or socially disapprove of to continue to exist. To me, this is as simple as saying that while I don't like the KKK, I am willing to live in a society which allows them to exist and hold parades, because it is extremely difficult -- and, I would argue, impossible -- to have a society which doesn't allow that but does allow the groups I like and support.

    verb Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds as if you're saying that "moderation beyond limitation of legal liability doesn't work."

    At scale, I believe that's absolutely true. Smaller or more insular or more single-topically-focused communities can and do thrive with much more involved topical moderation, sure. This is basically what the majority of subreddits are.

    But for reddit as a whole? Won't work. In fact, even drawing the line at legal/illegal doesn't work, since there's a lot of content on reddit that is illegal in certain jurisdictions, and this is even encoded into some of reddit's long-running humor (e.g., "you've just been banned from /r/pyongyang").

    So far as I am aware, there is no successful instance of social/moral/whatever-based moderation of acceptable content on that scale. The only successful (in the sense of long-lived) instances of communities or groups of communities at that scale, that I am aware of, have had the line at the law, and specifically at the law of the US or occasionally other major Western nations. Beyond that line, all judgements have been deferred to admins/moderators of sub-communities, applicable only within their sub-communities.
    posted by ubernostrum at 2:08 PM on October 14, 2012


    Artw: “And for some time they did indeed ban all of Gawker, which they later rolled back.”

    the man of twists and turns: “If there is more information on a site-wide ban on all Gawker links, I'd be happy to hear more.”

    There was never any site-wide ban on Gawker links.

    I think the idea that Reddit ever banned Gawker links on a site-wide admin level was a confusion introduced in this thread by this comment, which appears to be misreading this comment (or the tweet it links to).
    posted by koeselitz at 2:10 PM on October 14, 2012


    "The desire to have additional judgements imposed on types of content is simply not compatible with what reddit's stated goals appear to be. Do I want a world in which /r/creepshots exists? No. If I were dedicated to a world in which the banning of /r/creepshots were incompatible with other principles of greater importance, though, I would find no contradiction in allowing something I don't like or morally or socially disapprove of to continue to exist. To me, this is as simple as saying that while I don't like the KKK, I am willing to live in a society which allows them to exist and hold parades, because it is extremely difficult -- and, I would argue, impossible -- to have a society which doesn't allow that but does allow the groups I like and support."

    Which still doesn't counter the point that it is good for Chen to expose them. That's how we negotiate that conflict in speech rights: You can say whatever you want, but people can also point out what you said. Speech has consequences.
    posted by klangklangston at 2:11 PM on October 14, 2012


    klangklangston, if it makes you feel better, by all means continue to vent your spleen and call me names (or strongly imply that I have earned such names by association with unsavory people). But unless/until you can actually have a conversation rather than a name-calling contest, I'm done replying to you.
    posted by ubernostrum at 2:12 PM on October 14, 2012


    A story in which a person has consented to be interviewed is not the revealing of personal information by any rational standard.
    posted by gerryblog at 2:12 PM on October 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


    And I would argue that an online community that attempts to eschew moral judgments entirely is doomed from the beginning. Even Reddit makes moral judgments – for example, that freedom of speech is a right, and that protection of identity is essential for that right.

    I would say they use "free speech" as a way to shed any need for morals. A simple statement does not make a morality, but abiding by certain rules and statements does. There is a responsibility there, and there is a reason the 'ability to respond' is a trait of maturity. Maturity is marked by the ability for depth of thought. I know that many people want to say they surely abide by their rule, but they don't. They've proven over and over again they don't care about actual free speech or what that entails; they only care enough to want they want. Surely that is an obvious Id response rather than Super Ego, and depth of thought is not marked by "screw you, I'll do what I want".
    posted by P.o.B. at 2:13 PM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


    So far as I am aware, there is no successful instance of social/moral/whatever-based moderation of acceptable content on that scale.

    Nor, as far as I'm aware, are there successful instances of online communities without moderation at that scale. The question has always been "what sort of moderation?" Reddit has one particular answer to that question, other communities have others.

    Most of the discussion in this thread has dealt with the ripple effects of the particular answers Reddit's creators chose.
    posted by verb at 2:13 PM on October 14, 2012


    I didn't call you a single name, but I understand it can be hard to respond when all of your answers have been tried and failed.
    posted by klangklangston at 2:14 PM on October 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


    What I saw of the drama a couple days ago (like I said, I took a break) was that moderators of subreddits were deciding, on their own initiative, to ban links to Gawker sites. The overarching policy of reddit is that subreddit moderators have the power to do that within their subreddits.
    Ok, let's pretend that Reddit admin's sidewide ban of the Gawker article was an honest mistake in haste (which I really think it wasn't, they had a good amount of time to think it thorugh and they've sure as hell talked it through).

    The moderators of the subreddits in question are the de-facto moderators of pretty much all of reddit that receives traffic from non-logged in users. Those moderators acted in unison through the IRC channel and talked it through. They are not some independent agency seperate from reddit as an institution. They are the de-facto institution that manages reddit, considering how uninvolved reddit employees are with day-to-day moderation.

    When they have not only zero opposition for the privacy invasions that creepshots conducts, but actually actively defend creepshots by censorship of press, they cannot legitimately take a position that they are concerned with free speech. They are concerned with protecting pedophiles by squashing speech.


    It's absolutely ridiculous that anyone could think with recent actions that reddit is the one protecting free speech. The people protecting free speech are the newspapers and magazines calling out reddit for de-facto censorship of journalists.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:14 PM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


    gerryblog: A story in which a person has consented to be interviewed is not the revealing of personal information by any rational standard.

    When the interview starts with the surprise reveal "I know you're Batman, Mr. Wayne," I don't think you can really call it "consent" when Wayne shrugs and comes clean.
    posted by localroger at 2:16 PM on October 14, 2012


    Not so fun fact, the mods of /r/shitredditsays are actually not allowed on the main reddit mod board /r/modtalk.

    I feel like I can't leave reddit just yet, I need to articulate a few 'fuck yous' first.
    posted by hellojed at 2:16 PM on October 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


    ubernostrum: “Without expressing an opinion on whether their principles are correct, I tend to agree with that belief.”

    You may not wish to "express an opinion on whether their principles are correct," but it seems to me that you're doing just that here.

    “The desire to have additional judgements imposed on types of content is simply not compatible with what reddit's stated goals appear to be. Do I want a world in which /r/creepshots exists? No. If I were dedicated to a world in which the banning of /r/creepshots were incompatible with other principles of greater importance, though, I would find no contradiction in allowing something I don't like or morally or socially disapprove of to continue to exist. To me, this is as simple as saying that while I don't like the KKK, I am willing to live in a society which allows them to exist and hold parades, because it is extremely difficult -- and, I would argue, impossible -- to have a society which doesn't allow that but does allow the groups I like and support.”

    If we were actually talking about laws in a society, then I would say that making it illegal for anyone to even discuss personal information about anyone else is repressive and almost fascistic.

    But we aren't, thankfully. We're talking about online communities. And it's starting to look like Reddit is learning that it's impossible to have an online community without making moral judgments beyond freedom of speech and anonymity.
    posted by koeselitz at 2:19 PM on October 14, 2012


    They are not some independent agency seperate from reddit as an institution. They are the de-facto institution that manages reddit.

    Reddit as an institution has a very light footprint on Reddit the thing on the internet. This is more an aspect of something I mentioned above; when you depend on volunteers who aren't motivated by money you have to put up with what does motivate them. A lot of them are highly pissed about VA's outing (and to certain degrees scared that they could be next). So it's not surprising that they would rise up en masse and strike back at the thing they feel has attacked them. This is still not necessarily Reddit, Inc. policy and Reddit, Inc's stated policy is to let them do whatever they want with the subreddits they own; if that involves a conspiracy of speech-suppression (or banning usernames that start with the letter G), Reddit, Inc's only possible response consistent with the Four Sacred Rules is to let them do it.
    posted by localroger at 2:21 PM on October 14, 2012


    Reddit is not "not making judgements", Reddit as an organisation is pro-creep. They are way past the point of plausible deniability on that.

    Folks who can live with that can continue to stay on the creep-supporting site or make excuses for it if they want, but I'm not. And remember: if you stick with them now you'll inevitably have to go back on that or dig in deeper next time they do some creepy thing, and there's going to be a next time. How far do you want to dig in?
    posted by Artw at 2:21 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    localroger:
    Yes, I agree. I was trying to make the point that reddit as an institution isn't just Reddit, Inc.

    Actions by reddit's top-tier subreddit mods represent reddit's moderation policy as an institution, because they're the ones actually moderating what shows up on the homepage.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:23 PM on October 14, 2012


    The moderators of the subreddits in question [...] are the de-facto institution that manages reddit.

    Exactly. There's some kind of weird defensive double standard operating here — we're allowed to talk about Reddit as a whole as long as we're saying nice things about it, but as soon as we talk about any problems with Reddit moderation or site culture it's suddenly IMPOSSIBLE AND IMPERMISSIBLE to discuss the site as a whole; as if there's no such thing as "Reddit" apart from a few hands-off admins at Reddit Inc. who are mainly just there to keep the server running, and so really we should just be talking about a thousand individual subreddits and their cultures because all generalization is suddenly forbidden. So "Reddit" is all about "free speech" and opposing "heavy moderation" but then all the default subs' mods can just ban whoever they like and whatever links they like, completely arbitrarily and without discussion, because that's not "Reddit" doing that.
    posted by RogerB at 2:24 PM on October 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


    States rights! Ron Paul! etc...
    posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


    A story in which a person has consented to be interviewed is not the revealing of personal information by any rational standard.

    When the interview starts with the surprise reveal "I know you're Batman, Mr. Wayne," I don't think you can really call it "consent" when Wayne shrugs and comes clean.


    Sure you can. (And Batman doesn't just drop his cover as soon as someone accuses him of being Bruce Wayne--check your source material.) People say "no comment" all the time, and in this particular case it's hard to imagine what the story would have looked like if VC had refused to participate. The entirety of the story derives from their interview.

    But that's beside the point that once you grant a journalist an interview you can't turn around and complain about being "exposed." If violentacrez had refused to participate in the story, there'd at least be some case to be made about personal information; but banning the article (or, more ludicrously, Gawker Media as such) under these circumstances is pretty obviously special pleading designed to squash criticism of the site.
    posted by gerryblog at 2:26 PM on October 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


    I wonder if I can ask them to remove my likeness from the reddit meme poster.

    I'm the unicorn
    posted by hellojed at 2:28 PM on October 14, 2012


    And that's putting aside reddit's tolerance for users tracking women down, as described upthread, which by itself shows how inconsistently this supposedly sacred rule is being applied.
    posted by gerryblog at 2:28 PM on October 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


    And Batman doesn't just drop his cover as soon as someone accuses him of being Bruce Wayne--check your source material.

    Well, pretty frequently Wayne will sleep with them and then they'll die*. Pretty sure that wasn't going to happen in this case.

    * Likelihood enhanced in case of movie Batman.
    posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I was trying to make the point that reddit as an institution isn't just Reddit, Inc.

    But really, apart from Reddit Inc and the Four Sacred Rules there really is no "Reddit as an institution." The way Reddit is set up if enough of us make subreddits and subscribe and create and upvote content those subreddits will become the front page experience of non-logged-in Reddit users. Reddit, Inc probably did encourage the current culture, especially in the early days, but at this point it is way out of their control unless they elect to do things they've sworn they would never do.
    posted by localroger at 2:30 PM on October 14, 2012


    The way Reddit is set up if enough of us make subreddits and subscribe and create and upvote content those subreddits will become the front page experience of non-logged-in Reddit users.

    That's kind of like saying "If all the Canadians moved to America and all the Americans moved out America could be just like Canada." It's *technically* true, but it ignores the existence of the actual extant community in favor of the rules.
    posted by restless_nomad at 2:33 PM on October 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


    ...attempting to shame people who disagree with you by painting them as being, if not members of the evil group, then aiders, abettors and supporters of the evil group...

    Individuals who shield wrongdoers become accessories to whatever wrongs were committed. An action may be legal but immoral, and therefore wrong. So what's your point here?
    posted by Pudhoho at 2:33 PM on October 14, 2012


    localroger: I think we're completely in agreement, we just differ on what counts as being part of "an institution" (or possibly merely a semantic miscommunication on the word "institution"). By having Reddit, Inc. delegate power of political topics that show up to the homepage to the moderators of r/politics, I consider the moderators of r/politics part of reddit as an institution.

    Freely replace institution with "moderation culture" or "group that have executive moderation powers on reddit's homepage".
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:34 PM on October 14, 2012


    in this particular case it's hard to imagine what the story would have looked like if VC had refused to participate.

    Actually I find it very easy to imagine what the story would have looked like; we're talking about Adrien Chen and Gawker here, and VA knew that.
    posted by localroger at 2:34 PM on October 14, 2012


    localroger: I see it this way, are volunteers at a food bank part of the food bank as an institution? If the volunteers largely decided to refuse serving meat, I believe it's justified to take the position that the food bank as an institution refuses to serve meat, if upper management takes no action.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:37 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Well aD I'd agree that we agree, but I find it maddening how sloppily the noun "Reddit" is used here as if it succinctly describes a certain entity that can be held accountable. There are several major, very different values of "Reddit" and if you don't specify the one you're talking about, whatever you're saying is likely to be almost completely meaningless.
    posted by localroger at 2:37 PM on October 14, 2012


    Yeah, for sure. It's even harder because reddit subreddit moderators and Reddit, Inc. are intentionally opaque. I sure didn't know about r/modtalk and their secret IRC clubhouse before this.
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:39 PM on October 14, 2012


    Surely that is an obvious Id response rather than Super Ego
    i thought freud had been discredited

    as for this other stuff, it is really really easy to trumpet the good of "morals" and of authority when you've never been the victim of the morals of authority, of people who know with absolute conviction that they. are. right.

    of course left-center America in the 2010s is unique and it can't happen here, we have empirically, objectively reached the apex of moral development having come to the point to which history has been leading

    but to never have dealt with people who with utter certainty and righteous fervor denounce your existence as literally intrinsically evil and degenerate instills complacency and faith in a person. perhaps that complacency and faith is necessary for what we call civilization to flourish but it also has its victims.
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:39 PM on October 14, 2012


    If the volunteers largely decided to avoid serving meat, I believe it's justified to take the position that the food bank as an institution refuses to serve meat

    As I said upthread if you depend on volunteers who aren't motivated by money, you have to put up with whatever is motivating them. If your food bank depends on vegetarian volunteers it doesn't mean you're a vegetarian because you choose to let them send back the canned meat donations instead of serving them, if the alternative is that nothing gets served to anybody.
    posted by localroger at 2:40 PM on October 14, 2012


    oh for the love of.

    Reddit is an institution because of the structure it uses to enforce social order, the moderators cooperate with the main moderators as seen in the irc log, this enables them to enfore a specific behaviour of the individuals (users) within the community. Reddit as an institution is defined by the social purpose (sharing content, four rules etc) because it mediates a set of rules that govern the damn thing and enforces a specific set of behaviours with their userbase.
    FURTHERMORE there's also a social purpose afoot within the community.

    If you deny any of this, I have a mighty fine holocaust for you to deny.

    Reddit, is an institution because of.. Reasons.
    posted by xcasex at 2:45 PM on October 14, 2012


    Yeah, I agree, but Reddit Inc isn't free from responsibility for the subreddits banning Gawker. Much like how the owners of the food bank cannot claim they have no problem with serving meat, Reddit Inc cannot claim honestly that Gawker is allowed on reddit.com even though it's de-facto banned from r/gaming and r/politics (pretty much the only top-tier subreddits where one would submit a Gawker Media link). It is their choice to abdicate authority to r/politics, when r/politics does something, it represents reddit as an institution (even though Reddit, Inc doesn't have anything to do with it)

    (I have no problem with vegetarians, I'm just using it as an example, I don't think vegetarians are pushy.)
    posted by amuseDetachment at 2:46 PM on October 14, 2012


    This, of course, alludes to you: “but to never have dealt with people who with utter certainty and righteous fervor denounce your existence as literally intrinsically evil and degenerate instills complacency and faith in a person. perhaps that complacency and faith is necessary for what we call civilization to flourish but it also has its victims.”

    I kind of disagree with what I think you've been saying here; I gave a few snarky answers above, but I've been meaning to actually say what I think in response.

    I think you've been underlining the fact that moral judgments often lead to terrible things like victimization of innocents. But I disagree entirely. It's incorrect moral judgments that lead to victimization of innocents. In the example I think you've pointed to chiefly, the moral judgment that homosexuality is evil led to the victimization of innocents because the moral judgment that homosexuality is evil is wrong.

    The point is that this doesn't mean that all moral judgments are bad. It just means we have a duty to be careful in making moral judgments. But if we don't make moral judgments, then we can't even say that the victimization of innocents is wrong.

    Human life absolutely requires us to make moral judgments.
    posted by koeselitz at 2:47 PM on October 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


    It's even harder because reddit subreddit moderators and Reddit, Inc. are intentionally opaque.

    This is definitely true, and unfortunate. Most of what people like klangklangston are harping on doesn't really discredit their actions if you understand their motivation, and that's as they intend. But things like the secret IRC playhouse fuck up their narrative.
    posted by localroger at 2:47 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    It's incorrect moral judgments that lead to victimization of innocents.

    Once you get in the business of enforcing moral judgements, it is 100% likely that you will make some incorrect ones.

    Repulsive as the results sometimes are, policies like Reddit, Inc's Four Sacred Rules attempt to avoid this.
    posted by localroger at 2:48 PM on October 14, 2012


    But Reddit's Four Sacred Rules are moral judgments. So I'm not sure where you're going with this.
    posted by restless_nomad at 2:52 PM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Reddit, is an institution because of.. Reasons.

    Yeah, well, that's pretty much where we are in the argument, isn't it?
    posted by localroger at 2:52 PM on October 14, 2012


    localroger, well, of all the things you could've quoted, you quoted the closing statement and not the description of what makes reddit an institution with systemic properties. Good Going there mate.
    posted by xcasex at 2:54 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    But Reddit's Four Sacred Rules are moral judgments.

    Actually, they're not. They're intended to be practical, with the One Supreme (and actually moral) Rule being Thou Shalt Not Fuck with the Free Speech Reddit. The only moral judgement encoded is that free speech is the ultimate good. The Four Rules are meant to protect freedom of speech and, as visualized by Reddit, Inc., the necessity for anonymity if one's speech is to be truly free. Everything else is backwash.
    posted by localroger at 2:55 PM on October 14, 2012


    The only moral judgement encoded is that free speech is the ultimate good.

    Yeah, that's my point. They're making that specific moral judgment. That specific moral judgment has led to a bunch of stuff that many people consider bad and/or immoral. That is a thing that happens, and their setup does not in any way exempt them from it. You said "policies like Reddit, Inc's Four Sacred Rules attempt to avoid this" which, ok, but that policy has demonstrably failed.
    posted by restless_nomad at 3:00 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


    you quoted the closing statement and not the description of what makes reddit an institution with systemic properties

    Well it should be clear by now that I don't buy any of those arguments. The fact that your closing statement ended "Reasons (ellipsis)" suggests that maybe you aren't so sure of any particular ones of them either.

    As I've said upthread the Reddit site gods are True Believers in free speech. They are going to push you all the way to the law no matter where you start and no matter what the law says, because legal trouble (or a very unlikely existential threat due to user exodus or DoS attack) is the only thing they care about. So it's kind of important to define the entity in a way that the law can understand. And Reddit, Inc. has done a very proper job of separating itself from that mob of mods in the IRC chat. Maybe not complete enough, just as they found out they had exposure on r/jailbait despite taking all the precautions they thought were necessary. But that's the territory they are staking out, and they are going to ressist very hard having the moderation economy pinned on site administration, and they're on pretty good ground resisting that.
    posted by