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July 17, 2013 12:49 PM   Subscribe

The Rise and Fall of a Racist Corner of Reddit
posted by MisantropicPainforest (295 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'll believe that Reddit's owners are serious about making Reddit a less hateful place when they ban /r/rapingwomen, /r/beatingwomen, and /r/killingwomen as well.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:53 PM on July 17, 2013 [89 favorites]


Did Anderson Cooper have to get involved and embarrass the hell out of them this time?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:55 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Content had nothing to do with the banning. It was brigading that did them in.
posted by waraw at 12:56 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Finally, racists can't post on the internet ever again!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:00 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Censorship! Oppression! The internet is the wild west and moderation is evil!
posted by brundlefly at 1:04 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah - slightly less racist, but still as misogynistic as ever!
posted by rmd1023 at 1:09 PM on July 17, 2013 [17 favorites]


Why are there so many stupid, hateful people in the world?
posted by double block and bleed at 1:10 PM on July 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


As the offensive name implies, r/niggers was a place for users to bond over their disdain for black people. While Reddit itself boasts 69.9 million monthly users, r/niggers had only 6,000 members. On the other hand, on a percentage basis, it was one of Reddit's fastest growing online communities this year.

That last sentence implies innumeracy on the part of the author, either that or the intent is to create a false impression of danger, to further justify the article. When a community goes from 1 to 10 members, that's a 1000% increase, OMG! And going from 0 to 1 member is an infinity percent increase, making it the fastest growing community of any sort ever in the history of the universe!!1! It tells us nothing about the relative importance of the group.

Thing is, until I noticed that I was reading along and generally accepting the article. Now, the furor seems overblown.
posted by JHarris at 1:12 PM on July 17, 2013 [18 favorites]


Reddit is on the whole still the domain of the socially maladjusted reactionary white male. You can find racist shit on the front page without having to look at all, really.
posted by You Guys Like 2 Party? at 1:13 PM on July 17, 2013 [50 favorites]


But then I continue reading and yikes, these were terrible fuckers. The author shouldn't have undercut her point with the percentage growth thing, but the rest of it seems good.
posted by JHarris at 1:16 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


If they've only closing one subreddit, its quite possible the racist assholes will move elsewhere and find another unmoderated subreddit like r/blackgirls. They're griefers, like alt.tasteless vs rec.pets.cats, but racist. Trying to pretend that they deserve respect of any kind is pointless.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:18 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, reddit just changed the default subreddits (which determine what you see if you are not logged in/ haven't customized your subscriptions) to include /r/explainlikeimfive and to exclude /r/politics and /r/atheism. I think this is going to (gradually) have positive effects on site culture, but they still need to get rid of /r/wtf as a default.

In terms of banning certain subreddits altogether... that's a far touchier issue on reddit than it should be. There is a very vocal minority of people that think that unless a subreddit breaks an explicit reddit policy, it should be allowed to stand, no matter how vile it is. They view reddit as a utility that should be as neutral as possible re the content it hosts/transmits.

In my opinion, the idea of reddit as a utility is fairly damaging to the idea of reddit as a community, but a lot of redditors either don't see it that way or don't care.
posted by Jpfed at 1:19 PM on July 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


If they really meant it then subs like this would also be cut.
posted by charred husk at 1:21 PM on July 17, 2013


Thing is, until I noticed that I was reading along and generally accepting the article. Now, the furor seems overblown.

Like a toxin polluting water, some times it just takes a little bit to ruin everything. Contained, it's not bad, but once gets out and spreads, you're doomed. They closed down another subreddit by driving out the members, which makes it more than just an enclave of racist assholes saying racist things to each other.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:22 PM on July 17, 2013


> /r/niggers, /r/rapingwomen, /r/beatingwomen, /r/killingwomen

For this year's Efficiency and Effectiveness award, just shut down /r/.
posted by jfuller at 1:24 PM on July 17, 2013 [28 favorites]


Content had nothing to do with the banning. It was brigading that did them in.

This is the real reason. One of the things that is ban worthy is instigating upvote/downvote, or posting raids on other subreddits.

Of course, this, along with the anti-doxxing rules, gives lie to the whole "free speech" ethos of reddit. They have rules, and why should it be kosher to have a damn klan rally on one part of the site if it's against the rules to organize people to click down arrows?
posted by zabuni at 1:24 PM on July 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


A site that is not reddit seems awfully concerned with what happens on a site that is reddit. Strange.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:25 PM on July 17, 2013 [19 favorites]


The Atlantic missed something pretty big - /r/ImGoingToHellForThis, which is ostensibly meant for off-color jokes, is more or less a thinly disguised white power forum. It also has nearly 250,000 members, most of whom are active across the rest of the site. reddit has always been really misogynist and sort of racist in a naive white nerdy teenager way, but lately it's like reading Stormfront.
posted by theodolite at 1:25 PM on July 17, 2013 [31 favorites]


In my opinion, the idea of reddit as a utility is fairly damaging to the idea of reddit as a community,

In fairness, Redit sure looks, acts and works much more like Usenet (a utility) than a cohesive community.

Anyway, these guys (and you just know they're all guys) have moved their shit offsite? Outside the protection of Reddit's competence, network security, bandwidth and server capacity? Yeah I give them a week before the legions have DDOS'd them back to Asgard.
posted by Jimbob at 1:26 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


A site that is not reddit seems awfully concerned with what happens on a site that is reddit. Strange.

Are you kidding? It isn't every day that you can pat yourself on the back with one hand, while pointing and sneering with the other.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:26 PM on July 17, 2013 [29 favorites]


If they've only closing one subreddit, its quite possible the racist assholes will move elsewhere and find another unmoderated subreddit like r/blackgirls.

This is a problem with the reddit generally. I understand (and agree with) the desire to moderate it more heavily and remove offensive subreddits, but it never actually seems to work. People were happy when they closed down /r/creepshots, but it really just added a layer of fake cattiness about clothes and became /r/candidfashionadvice. I'm sure there's a solution, and reddit isn't looking very hard for it, but it is a problem with moderating the site.

I like reddit, mostly because it's a good place to easily find niche communities, but it really is the dregs of humanity a lot of the time.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:31 PM on July 17, 2013


Reddit is absolutely OK with unlimited amounts of racism, as long as you don't break their rules about their sacred voting procedure.

I don't know why this is even written as if it has anything to do with limiting free speech because of racism. It hasn't. Reddit is one of the most racism-welcoming parts of the internet.
posted by edheil at 1:32 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Are you kidding? It isn't every day that you can pat yourself on the back with one hand, while pointing and sneering with the other.

To be fair, "I don't hang out with blatant racists" is a pretty light pat and I'm all for pointing and sneering at blatant racism.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:32 PM on July 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


For this year's Efficiency and Effectiveness award, just shut down /r/.

You leave /r/castles alone!
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:33 PM on July 17, 2013


Reddit is on the whole still the domain of the socially maladjusted reactionary white male. You can find racist shit on the front page without having to look at all, really.

Oh, bullshit. Prove it with something racist on the front page now.
posted by waraw at 1:35 PM on July 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


I like what's going on in /r/stormfront. (SFW)
posted by tresbizzare at 1:36 PM on July 17, 2013 [24 favorites]


Incidentally, reddit just changed the default subreddits (which determine what you see if you are not logged in/ haven't customized your subscriptions) to include /r/explainlikeimfive and to exclude /r/politics and /r/atheism. I think this is going to (gradually) have positive effects on site culture, but they still need to get rid of /r/wtf as a default.

What's really odd about the atheism part of it was that there recently was a power stuggle amoung the mods of the atheism subreddit, which led to increased rules to make that part of the site less lulzy and full of image macros.
posted by zabuni at 1:37 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: You can pat yourself on the back with one hand, while pointing and sneering with the other.
posted by Scoo at 1:38 PM on July 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


This is a problem with the reddit generally. I understand (and agree with) the desire to moderate it more heavily and remove offensive subreddits, but it never actually seems to work.

Oh, moderation works. Just head on over to /r/askscience or /r/askhistorians (while you're there, click "subscribe"). But it's certainly true that the admins don't want to play subreddit whack-a-mole and can't be bothered to figure out a more effective way of removing these communities more permanently.
posted by Jpfed at 1:42 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


The obvious downside of the "Come one, Come all and create your community!" is that people will take you up on that, and on average, 50% of them are below average. This means that the fringes are really fringey, and things which can't fly on the mainstream media can if not flourish, stick around long enough to become *really* annoying.
posted by mikelieman at 1:43 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I don't hang out with blatant racists"

You do realize that reddit had over 70 million unique visitors from around the world last month, don't you? Do you really think that a significant number of them were racists?

Let's just be honest about it. Reddit has taken a free-speech first, laissez faire approach to community management. When problems crop up and threaten the integrity of the site in general, the moderators step in and shut things down. MetaFilter, by contrast, is a mod-intensive community that is quite comfortable enforcing (and discussing...and discussing...and...) strict ideological principles on some core issues. Most people who contribute here like the fact that they don't have to come into contact with speech they find actively offensive and that, when it does crop up, they have a sympathetic group of like-minded members and a facilitating team of moderators who can call on a range of responses to marginalize and silence that offensive speech.

Potato, potahto. Not everyone wants to live in Singapore. We don't call entire cities racist because racists live in them, do we? We just expect the police to step in swiftly when unpleasant communities get out of line.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:45 PM on July 17, 2013 [61 favorites]


Other than moderation, I don't think there's a good way for Reddit to deal with this problem. What makes reddit worthwhile (for me) is once I unsubscribed to all the default subs and found niche communities that I really liked. It sucks that some people are really into racism or hating women, but I don't think these is a good way to permanently remove these offensive subreddits while continuing to allow the site to grow and improve.
posted by antonymous at 1:46 PM on July 17, 2013


Oh and on preview, the moderation on /r/askscience and /r/askhistorians is superlative and it works. But the success of those managed subreddits also depends on the openness of reddit in general. They're like a research library. Nobody wants to hear music blaring or people screaming in the library. But it's a rare sort that expects the entire world to be run that way.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:47 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, it absolutely does work for subreddits with good moderators; those are the ones I subscribe to for the most part (and /r/aww because my wife needs a steady stream of puppy pictures at work), but the removal of subreddits doesn't seem to have worked. I'm willing to bet a lot of that is reddit not caring enough to find a solution, but it also is a problem intrinsic to letting people set up their own communities.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:48 PM on July 17, 2013


What's really odd about the atheism part of it was that there recently was a power stuggle amoung the mods of the atheism subreddit, which led to increased rules to make that part of the site less lulzy and full of image macros.

I actually think that struggle was part of why it was removed (the other part being the declining subscribership- it was the least popular default). There was a ton of backlash against the atheism mod moves. And the mods were having a hell of a time dealing with people that were dissatisfied with the rule changes flooding /r/atheism/new. I suspect that the admins were not happy with the very public friction between the /r/atheism mods and community.
posted by Jpfed at 1:48 PM on July 17, 2013


All we need is /r/Communism on the front page default and we will win the revolution, comrades!
posted by symbioid at 1:48 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


And for what it's worth, people who claim the subreddit in question represents how redditors are racist/sexist/whateverist are the same people who think /b/ represents all of 4chan.
posted by antonymous at 1:48 PM on July 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think anyone who has contributed actively in a subreddit and realized how unique these niche communities are is going to react badly to your cheap, broad-brush characterization, Gygesringtone.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:49 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


70 million unique visitors from around the world last month, don't you? Do you really think that a significant number of them were racists?

Don't know what universe you're living in, but I can guarantee if I grabbed a sample of 70 million people from around the world, a significant number of them would be racists.

We breathe rarified air, here on Metafilter.
posted by Jimbob at 1:50 PM on July 17, 2013 [16 favorites]


Won't this be like whack-a-mole where a subreddit or two might be banned but similar behavior will just appear elsewhere on the site in a new location?
posted by MoonOrb at 1:52 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always thought this comment from Ictus was particularly incisive:


"Reddit is a circlejerk of clueless white manchildren. The child porn and racism and misogyny are just the most obvious symptoms. You also got highschool libertarianism, endless nostolgia for 80s juvenilia, absurd sentimentality alternating with internet tough guy poses, social ineptness, nerd pride, and pendantry. Basically, take the worst parts of being fourteen and package it in a self reinforcing culture that is also scared of black people and angry that women won't sleep with them and you got Reddit. It is shit and I hate it."
posted by four panels at 1:57 PM on July 17, 2013 [73 favorites]


I'd bet 95% of those users are throwawy accounts. If you post to other subreddits, especially if you get a post to the front page, people will check your post history and call you out if you post to racist subreddits.

They need to raise the barrier to entry somehow. People can have as many accounts as they can manage. People get banned, just come back.

Percentage wise, I bet there are just as many racists on metafilter.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:00 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Won't this be like whack-a-mole

From the article:

After the banning, r/niggers regulars and moderators tried to regroup in new subreddits. They quickly started several alternatives like r/groids, r/nigs, r/chimps, each one being banned before being able to pick up steam. Rather hilariously, their attempt to repopulate at r/niggersrebooted resulted in the subreddit being flooded with pictures of puppies, rather than racist content. Seemingly defeated, they moved their users and content offsite.

posted by echo target at 2:03 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think anyone who has contributed actively in a subreddit and realized how unique these niche communities are is going to react badly to your cheap, broad-brush characterization, Gygesringtone.

To clarify, I don't think that everyone who posts on Reddit is a blatant racist, but I do think that blatant racism is tolerated.

I once quit a big band because one member frequently said horrible things about the Romani people that lived in Southern France (yes that's oddly specific, and no he hadn't even visited, the guy was weird). I don't think that any of the other 18 people were blatantly racist, just him. I just didn't want to be associated with a group that let those things get said.

I feel the same way about Reddit, 90% of it might be at worst perfectly harmless and at best really cool, but there are people in charge of the whole shebang, and they put up with all sorts of crap that I don't want to be associated with. Hopefully this will change.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:04 PM on July 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Rather hilariously, their attempt to repopulate at r/niggersrebooted resulted in the subreddit being flooded with pictures of puppies, rather than racist content.

Reminds me of back in the day on Livejournal when somebody registered a community under the username "fuckarabs" and started posting racist garbage. One of the lefty communities (I want to say sos_usa) got wind of it and started flooding it with pictures of good-looking Arab people, and the creator abandoned it shortly thereafter.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:05 PM on July 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Boy I could argue either side of this. On one hand Reddit is basically the whole Internet, the modern day equivalent of Usenet, and I'm enough of a free speech purist to see the purpose in letting even vile racists and sexists have a place. OTOH fuck those guys, let them run their own servers.

In other Reddit news, /r/atheism and /r/politics are no longer on the default home page.
posted by Nelson at 2:07 PM on July 17, 2013


We breathe rarified air, here on Metafilter.

Eh, it has a bit more O2 in it, which helps the occasional community high.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:08 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


You do realize that reddit had over 70 million unique visitors from around the world last month, don't you? Do you really think that a significant number of them were racists?

lol is this a joke

these comments are from one thread

there are decent subreddits. but most of reddit's userbase is fucking vile
posted by a birds at 2:13 PM on July 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


That's sad. They should have kept that subreddit. If people want to say terrible things on the internet in their own little corner great for them. I mean it will be in their user history that they're a neo-nazi when they post in other threads so you know not to deal with them if you think they suck. I mean it's basically adding information about who's a racist bigot and who's not, which is great if you want to hang with racists, and great if you don't. I mean either way it's a good thing right?
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 2:13 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm in the Reddit-as-utility camp because I've found some great niche communities but none of them are very mainstream by reddit standards. I find subreddit quality is usually inverse to size, with anything over ~100k members being a major red flag.

Spending a few minutes clicking "Random" will give you a good sense of the general mehness but occasional awesome that is Reddit. It really is what you make it, and if you're new I recommend un-subbing all the defaults and starting from a blank slate. Use the search box to discover subreddits aligned with your interests.

There are a lot of great learning and support communities in addition to regular interest groups. Some of my favorites right now are:
/r/Random_Acts_Of_Pizza
/r/riddles
/r/keto
/r/paleo
/r/slowcooking
/r/bodyweightfitness
/r/barefootrunning
/r/anticonsumption
/r/bad_cop_no_donut
/r/compsci
/r/algorithms
/r/languagelearning
/r/solotravel


Reddit has some scary fringes, but also amazing niches.
posted by jlh at 2:14 PM on July 17, 2013 [25 favorites]


If people want to say terrible things on the internet in their own little corner great for them.

According to reddit, as it says in the article, they closed the subreddit not because of what they said, but because the members gamed other subreddits' votes.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:18 PM on July 17, 2013


I guess I'm in the Reddit-as-utility camp because I've found some great niche communities but none of them are very mainstream by reddit standards.

The thing is, reddit could still have those cool niche reddits while coming down hard on bigotry. The mindset that reddit must be a utility to have this awesome diverse stuff is an obstacle to having a (non-toxic) community.

I find subreddit quality is usually inverse to size, with anything over ~100k members being a major red flag.

I agree, although active moderation can push that ceiling up (e.g. askscience has 700k members! They had to specifically tell the admins not to make them a default so they could maintain their standards of quality.)
posted by Jpfed at 2:22 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


First they came for /r/creepshots,
and I didn't speak out because then she might notice and hit me with her purse.
posted by wcfields at 2:23 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


After this meta post i enjoy reddit a lot more. There might be a bunch of racists assholes around, but at least I can turn them off with a click of a button. It's not like in real life people outside my small selective bubble of colleagues and friends from university are much better.
posted by sockpuppetdirect at 2:24 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


And all you uptight people who care what people say online: you're making the problem worse. Until they cross the line by invading other communities like /r/niggers, just ignore them. I'd bet a large fraction of reddit's racists, homophobes, fat haters, etc say things to troll and transgress societal norms to get a rise from unsuspecting folks like you.
posted by jlh at 2:26 PM on July 17, 2013


And all you uptight people who care what people say online: you're making the problem worse.

Wrong, and in related news of the day gay marriage just passed in England and Wales. Attitudes and language matter, and influence each other through validation and reinforcement. Welcome to semiotics.
posted by jaduncan at 2:29 PM on July 17, 2013 [30 favorites]


And all you uptight people who care what people say online: you're making the problem worse.

damn, this is a good point. if only no one ever criticized reddit for embracing the racism and misogyny of their teenaged users, the problem would have been solved by now.
posted by a birds at 2:29 PM on July 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


Egalitarianism is a great thing, until people get involved.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:31 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


jlh: "I'd bet a large fraction of reddit's racists, homophobes, fat haters, etc say things to troll and transgress societal norms to get a rise from unsuspecting folks like you."

This sounds like a pretty good reason to not call out anyone for anything, anywhere.

Well that's a relief.
posted by brundlefly at 2:31 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


these comments are from one thread

there are decent subreddits. but most of reddit's userbase is fucking vile


How does one thread say anything about "most of reddit's userbase"? Fundamentally people don't seem to realize that most reddit members never even know that most of the forums that are pointed to even exist.
posted by smackfu at 2:36 PM on July 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


I never heard of (or imagined) these subreddits; the Zimmerman threads were already more than enough for me.
posted by moorooka at 2:37 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


And all you uptight people who care what people say online: you're making the problem worse.

I also have to ask this: you realise that you're on remarkably-tightly-modded MeFi, right? This is a place where people and mods do care, and as a result MeFi has much less racism than most places on the internet.

Actually posting on the counter-example to your own argument seems odd.
posted by jaduncan at 2:38 PM on July 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


"I'd bet a large fraction of reddit's racists, homophobes, fat haters, etc say things to troll and transgress societal norms to get a rise from unsuspecting folks like you."

Jokes on you, I only complain about racists and homophobes to get a rise out of unsuspecting people like you!
posted by Drinky Die at 2:41 PM on July 17, 2013 [41 favorites]


How does one thread say anything about "most of reddit's userbase"? Fundamentally people don't seem to realize that most reddit members never even know that most of the forums that are pointed to even exist.

The thread a birds linked to is in /r/pics, which is the probably largest and most widely-read subreddit. That is, in the most mainstream, general-interest subreddit, an image that feeds on racist stereotypes (black people don't tip, black people play the race card) became one of the most popular posts on reddit and received tens of thousands of upvotes, to say nothing of the comments section.
posted by theodolite at 2:49 PM on July 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


smackfu: "How does one thread say anything about "most of reddit's userbase"? Fundamentally people don't seem to realize that most reddit members never even know that most of the forums that are pointed to even exist."

Casual racism and misogyny is part of the site culture in general, even if /r/niggers wasn't a go-to spot for every single redditor. It's the reason I deleted my own account there a while back.
posted by brundlefly at 2:50 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you want to see racism and misogyny on the main page from one of the default reddits then just wait for the monthly "Reddit, what horrible opinions do you secretly harbor?" topic and any variation of.
posted by gucci mane at 2:52 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


the idea of reddit as a utility is fairly damaging to the idea of reddit as a community

I'm not sure that reddit is a community. Individual subreddits are often wonderful little communities, but reddit as a whole? I'm not sure. I think I do tend to fall to the "reddit as a utility" side.

I love most of the small subreddits I subscribe to, but wouldn't consider myself part of a larger reddit community (especially not one that is considered racist, sexist, and "libertarian").
posted by asnider at 2:56 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I use Reddit frequently, though with very carefully selected subreddits and heavy use of the Reddit Enhancement Suite filtering tool. The place is great once you figure out how to do this, but it's incredibly embarrassing to admit you use the site considering how well known it is for its racism and sexism. An extremely large portion of the users--and seemingly all of the admins--have their heads so far up Ron Paul's ass that they don't see the value in eliminating some really disgusting corners of the site.
posted by TrialByMedia at 2:57 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


asnider: "I'm not sure that reddit is a community. Individual subreddits are often wonderful little communities, but reddit as a whole?"

I keep encountering this sentiment and it's totally counter to my experience. Are there little, mostly isolated subreddits? Sure. But there is also a generalized site culture that individual subreddits may be part of to a greater or lesser extent.
posted by brundlefly at 3:01 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Last year at a local Reddit gathering, I asked Alexis Ohanian why Reddit's Wild West approach over Metafilter-esque moderation? Of course, I got back some boilerplate about freedoms to create new reddits, and everybody gets choice, and the users decide, and all that. (Not that it was a particularly good question, but I was feeling outnumbered, and beers, and...)

But it makes me wonder, what's the point? Why do some people who use reddit need to say "yes but if you unsubscribe to everything but r/the_kindest_most_helpful_advice and r/armchair_particle_physics, it's wonderful!" That's pretty much how I use Reddit. I spent a lot of time tweaking things so that I never have to see r/pics again in my life, there are only a handful of subreddits I look at, and most of them have decent moderation policies in place anyway.

I see good things on Reddit, and it's useful to me, but what's the point of allowing the really vile, dehumanizing stuff to stand in such an open way? I guess according to their convictions, it shouldn't matter, because the free market will decide or something, but it seems to me like there would be some tipping point where allowing this stuff to be posted results in catastrophe.
posted by gobliiin at 3:05 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


And all you uptight people who care what people say online: you're making the problem worse.

Hearing someone condemn racism led Ss to express significantly stronger antiracist opinions than occurred following exposure to a no-influence control condition. Furthermore, hearing someone condone racism led Ss to adopt significantly less strong antiracist positions than when no other opinions were introduced. The robust social influence effects were obtained regardless of whether the source was White or Black or whether Ss responded publicly or privately.

And another:

The authors studied social norms and prejudice using M. Sherif and C. W. Sherif's (1953) group norm theory of attitudes. In 7 studies (N=1, 504), social norms were measured and manipulated to examine their effects on prejudice; both normatively proscribed and normatively prescribed forms of prejudice were included. The public expression of prejudice toward 105 social groups was very highly correlated with social approval of that expression. Participants closely adhere to social norms when expressing prejudice, evaluating scenarios of discrimination, and reacting to hostile jokes. The authors reconceptualized the source of motivation to suppress prejudice in terms of identifying with new reference groups and adapting oneself to fit new norms. Suppression scales seem to measure patterns of concern about group norms rather than personal commitments to reducing prejudice; high suppressors are strong norm followers. Compared with low suppressors, high suppressors follow normative rules more closely and are more strongly influenced by shifts in local social norms.

While these didn't study online interaction, as far as I know, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts the "establishing norms where racist speech is okay leads to more racist speech" truth holds out online as well. "THOSE GUYS ARE JUST TROLLING FOR A REACTION" doesn't seem to come up in social science research re: norms and racism, but it's been a while since I've looked at the literature.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:08 PM on July 17, 2013 [41 favorites]


Since we're doing anecdata: this bit of vile racism is currently on page 2 and climbing.

What a bunch of assholes, right?
posted by R. Schlock at 3:11 PM on July 17, 2013


That last sentence implies innumeracy on the part of the author... When a community goes from 1 to 10 members, that's a 1000% increase

900%
posted by biffa at 3:21 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are some pieces of work on reddit. At least you aren't their neighbor.

This /r/atheism saga is just funny.

They turned it into a shithole full of "DAE quote Carl Sagan when your le grandma says god bless you when you sneeze" type image macros.

The main mod hadn't been on reddit in a while, so he got deposed. The new mods put a no direct image link rule in place to stop the lame macros.

The subscriber base flipped the fuck out because they couldn't direct link to imgur anymore, they have to actually type a post now.

Today /r/atheism got dropped as a default sub, which it never should have been anyway, and dopes are trying to say it was the image macro ban that caused it.

No, you fucking idiots caused it with shitty image macros, the new mods tried to save the subreddit.

I'm going to link to /r/gayaww because don't think there isn't some forum somewhere fuming over that.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:22 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "We breathe rarified air, here on Metafilter.

Eh, it has a bit more O2 in it, which helps the occasional community high.
"

Duuuuuuuuuuuuude...

Seriously though.

There's free speech and there's assholery.

You don't hear me yelling about censorship do you?
posted by Samizdata at 3:28 PM on July 17, 2013


This ask post made me cry like a baby and made me so proud to be a longtime member of mefi

Here's reddit's commentary on the same thread.

I rest my case.
posted by BigCalm at 3:32 PM on July 17, 2013


lol is this a joke

these comments are from one thread

there are decent subreddits. but most of reddit's userbase is fucking vile


I guess it's racist to talk about, but that stereotype is absolutely one that was commonly observed and discussed when I worked in the service industry.
posted by averageamateur at 3:37 PM on July 17, 2013


This ask post made me cry like a baby and made me so proud to be a longtime member of mefi

Here's reddit's commentary on the same thread.

I rest my case.


The top comment is supportive and said it was a "nice read", and the less supportive comments have negative scores. I don't think it's fair to call this "reddit's commentary" on anything as if it was some final judgement issued by the community at large.
posted by averageamateur at 3:40 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


There are MeFites who had a different take on that as well, that's in the resulting meta though.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:45 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never heard of (or imagined) these subreddits; the Zimmerman threads were already more than enough for me.

Yeah, it's been a good week to browse directly to subreddits and skip the front page entirely. Kinda not missing the front page at all now and I think it's time to get rid of most of the default subs on my account.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:47 PM on July 17, 2013


asnider: “I'm not sure that reddit is a community. Individual subreddits are often wonderful little communities, but reddit as a whole? I'm not sure. I think I do tend to fall to the 'reddit as a utility' side. I love most of the small subreddits I subscribe to, but wouldn't consider myself part of a larger reddit community (especially not one that is considered racist, sexist, and 'libertarian').”

This right here is, I think, the attitude that causes most of Reddit's problems. And I totally understand its attraction. The founders of Reddit and its legacy admins have always wanted Reddit to be this pure web platform that has no "community norms;" individual subreddits are supposed to be the communities, and other than that Reddit is just a platform they exist on. The positive side of that for Redditors at large is that anyone can form a subreddit about anything, of any interest, often counter to the interests of another subreddit. And - this is less talked about, but probably more important - that meant that the admins didn't have to get their hands dirty with day-to-day moderation; they could just deal with larger system issues and leave the moderation to the (unpaid) mods of subreddits.

But now, Reddit is getting publicity in the press. And while it's often nice stuff, like the Obama AMA, it's also often stuff like /u/ViolentAcrez or this r/niggers mess. And the admins see that, for better or for worse, yeah, Reddit is going to be judged by the really shitty things that some Redditors do. And norms have to be imposed for the good of all. It's still not natural to the admins to impose norms, and they seem to fight having to do that at every turn, as though it really weren't their job. But at this point Reddit has common themes, common topics of conversation, common meetups and common points of view, even if there is a huge amount of diversity in the userbase. From without and from within, pressures are forcing Reddit to acknowledge that it is, in fact, an online community.
posted by koeselitz at 3:57 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Casual racism and misogyny is part of the site culture in general, even if /r/niggers wasn't a go-to spot for every single redditor. It's the reason I deleted my own account there a while back.

Yeah, I've defended Reddit in the past on the grounds that it's a big networky utility type thing. But over time, even when subscribed to a bunch of low-traffic, super-niche subreddits about nerdy things, I was still often subjected to pretty spectacular levels of racism, misogyny and homophobia when I opened a comment thread.

I think the thing that tipped me over the edge was opening a thread about an obscure window manager in search of a link to find out more, only to find a discussion underway about whether the submitter was black, based on the music he was listening to when he took the screenshot - the top comment was 'obvious nigger is obvious', and it went downhill from there.

Hate speech is considered okay, even de rigeur in all but the most heavily-moderated subreddits, and Reddit/Condė Nast don't seem to mind one bit.

Continuing to use the site feels like struggling to the bar in a pub packed with chanting EDL members, then donning earplugs to enjoy your favourite beer in peace.
posted by jack_mo at 4:04 PM on July 17, 2013 [20 favorites]


but most of reddit's userbase is fucking vile

This is the stupidest sentence I've ever read on Metafilter. Reddit gets 35 million unique visitors per month. That's around 1/5 of Facebook's traffic. Did you really judge tens of millions of people to be vile because they frequent a site that has content you find objectionable?
posted by justkevin at 4:19 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


There are absolutely good subreddits, but treating reddit like something that doesn't have an overarching culture is a mistake, in my opinion. First of all, a lot of people read /r/all, so posts that get popular enough to be on there tend to get brigaded by the unwashed, bigoted masses, who regularly have no context whatsoever for what the community is about or what the rules are. At best, this ends up putting a lot of unexpected load on moderators, at worst it can completely degrade a thread and overrun it with objectification, racism, victim-blaming, etc. I see this happen fairly often in /r/makeupaddiction and /r/creepyPMs; the latter is moderated with an iron fist and threads that make /r/all end up covered in "this post has been deleted because (RULE)" posts.

The other thing is that anyone can vote in any subreddit, even if they aren't a member. Even if they're banned. And since by default reddit sorts by most upvotes, this means that threads that get a lot of attention-- including ones that have been literally invaded by Stormfront-- get all skewed. This is what /r/n***** got banned for-- they broke the rules about voting in threads that they were linked to on reddit-- but it's totally possible to do this kind of brigading off-site and there are a lot of communities that contribute to this. /r/ShitRedditSays has a reputation for skewing these votes, which does happen when they link to stuff (though it's strictly against the subreddit's rules) but subs like /r/SubredditDrama, /r/WorstOf and others end up really doing this a lot.

The combination of easy, shitty jokes that are trying to be "edgy", a contingent of hardcore racists like Stormfront and misogynists like the Red Pill and MRA groups adding and voting on comments, and an adolescent attitude toward life that tends toward entitlement complexes really does change the culture of Reddit for the worse and it makes it so that moderators of the really good subs have to work really hard just to constantly stomp out all the roaches.
posted by NoraReed at 4:34 PM on July 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


I don't have to choose between Reddit and MeFi, nor would I want to. Reddit has many more morons, but it's configurable and huge. I can ignore, downvote, mock, or argue with these morons as I see fit.

MeFi is more of a bonsai community, and that has many advantages, but I don't need the entire Internet to be like it. The comparison to Singapore is funny, but I'd say that it's more like the Vancouver of the Internet.

I also browse some non-/b/ 4chan boards, and they have their own ups and downs as well, to say the least.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:38 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have nothing to add but



BENNED
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:39 PM on July 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


make /r/all end up covered in "this post has been deleted because (RULE)" posts.

That is 100% spot on.

Man if anyone sucks it's /r/all. Any rap thread that makes the front page get smeared with shit by damn /r/all kids.

If reddit wants to be a utility for subreddits,they should get rid of the front page.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:40 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am predicting a shitstorm for saying this but saying that reddit sucks because it has bad things on it when reddit is the size it is reminds me of people who say they don't like tv because all the shows are stupid, at this point reddit is a medium, if you can't find subreddits that are amazingly awesome and totally up your alley then you kinda sound dumb, like those people who say all television is garbage.
posted by Cosine at 4:46 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am predicting a shitstorm for saying this but saying that reddit sucks because it has bad things on it when reddit is the size it is reminds me of people who say they don't like tv because all the shows are stupid, at this point reddit is a medium, if you can't find subreddits that are amazingly awesome and totally up your alley then you kinda sound dumb, like those people who say all television is garbage.

I'm sure there is good stuff there, just not anything I can't find the equivalent of elsewhere that moderates content better. It's not like you can't spend all hours of your day vegetating in front of the web without using Reddit.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:48 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't find the equivalent of elsewhere that moderates content better

Really? I don't know of a single place with near as much activity as /AskHistorians or /AskScience that is moderated with anywhere near the same iron fist. Care to share? I maybe should be casting a wider net.
posted by Cosine at 4:51 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can we all just admit we're on reddit? Let's discuss this on reddit. My username is Smashey, I can start a thread in r/Cakewin or r/WheelchairJimmy.
posted by Teakettle at 4:55 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll believe that Reddit's owners are serious about making Reddit a less hateful place when they ban /r/rapingwomen, /r/beatingwomen, and /r/killingwomen as well.

Not just that... according to Shit Reddit Says, there are horrible comments everywhere from r/politics to r/aww... but I don't read Reddit besides SRS.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:56 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd say that it's more like the Vancouver of the Internet

Grey and miserable most of the year? Well it works for MetaTalk, anyway.
posted by Hoopo at 4:58 PM on July 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


and when i venture out of SRS and check out the front page, i just see endless image macros. what's the point?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:58 PM on July 17, 2013


I am predicting a shitstorm for saying this

As my colleague said in another thread on a touchy topic "If you find yourself predicting that you're going to start a shitstorm, that's the cue to just close the tab and go do something else, not hit post." I'm not deleting anything but it seems like good advice before you go calling half the people in a thread "kinda dumb". I'm also not dumb but I lack the patience to find perfect-for-me stuff on Reddit. There are other more-perfect-for-me places.
posted by jessamyn at 5:02 PM on July 17, 2013 [16 favorites]


Endless supply of cat gifs

Whoa whoa, nobody called anyone dumb, he said they sound dumb. I actually think that's a legit distinction.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:05 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


the point of image macros? Jokes, I think.

Browsing the front page is something I would only do out of boredom. It's like Readers Digest with an editorial staff consisting around 50% of bros and with a lot of complaining about video games. Like everyone else is saying, to get anything good out of Reddit you need to focus on subreddits on topics that interest you. Even those can contain the odd jerk making offensive comments, but at least in the ones I frequent they wind up downvoted until they're hidden. Because of how I configured Reddit right off the bat I am usually pretty surprised by these complaints; I hardly ever see offensive comments there. But I guess I'm usually hanging out on random shit like r/hockey and r/minecraft and r/beer and whatnot.
posted by Hoopo at 5:05 PM on July 17, 2013


Really? I don't know of a single place with near as much activity as /AskHistorians or /AskScience that is moderated with anywhere near the same iron fist. Care to share? I maybe should be casting a wider net.

I mean the moderation of the site as a whole. I would rather ask about science or history on AskMe even if the answers aren't as great because it isn't next door to the klan meeting.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:06 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would dump my cable if the racism was as blatant as this story highlights too, the worst I have to deal with there is Fox News.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:07 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I go to reddit for goofy macros, cute animals, and nude selfies, and I try to never read the comments. It's pretty much my anti-Mefi, and just a little bit of it is enough.
posted by klangklangston at 5:07 PM on July 17, 2013


MetaTalk: Censorship! Oppression! The internet is the wild west and moderation is evil!
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:18 PM on July 17, 2013


Did you really judge tens of millions of people to be vile because they frequent a site that has content you find objectionable?

If you think there aren't tens of millions of incredibly vile people you're either incredibly naive or somebody who should under no circumstances be trusted as a judge of character.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:20 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would rather ask about science or history on AskMe even if the answers aren't as great because it isn't next door to the klan meeting

Yeah but /r/blackladies is on the same block.

Some people like cities, cities have millions of people I don't want to associate with, but I'm not moving to the country. It's totally cool for people to live in the country nowhere near racists, but I don't want to miss out on all the other stuff the city has to offer because there are some assholes down the street.

None of us like racists, some of us disagree with the admins policies, but in my personal opinion, the good outweighs the bad, for now.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:21 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean the moderation of the site as a whole. I would rather ask about science or history on AskMe even if the answers aren't as great because it isn't next door to the klan meeting.

Fair enough, but according to that logic, you shouldn't borrow or buy a book from a library or seller who also stocks odious books. I'm not saying that you have to like Reddit now - what I mean is, I'm not sure how Reddit's general approach to speech is that much different than that of the NYPL or Amazon. It's an open platform with minimal restrictions, which may not be what you want out of your Internet experience, but there is very much a place for it in the world.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:22 PM on July 17, 2013


When I go to the library, a copy of The Turner Diaries doesn't interrupt me while I'm reading.
posted by brundlefly at 5:26 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


yeah but there's SO MUCH bad stuff - racism, sexualization of minors, etc - and its given legitimancy by being put next to interviews with Obama
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:28 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am predicting a shitstorm for saying this but saying that reddit sucks because it has bad things on it when reddit is the size it is reminds me of people who say they don't like tv because all the shows are stupid

Um, it's interesting that you chose television considering how tightly the FCC and even media broadcasting corporations regulate content. And it's also interesting that you chose television when we're living in a time when it's actually fairly normal for someone to not own a TV nor have a subscription to cable or satellite service.

Finally, your strawman of "That Guy" who says TV is garbage isn't even original, as can be seen by this Onion article from over a decade ago. So, there is no shitstorm. Only you wallowing in your own filth.
posted by FJT at 5:32 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah but /r/blackladies is on the same block.

Yeah, in a new location on the block because a mob of racists burnt down their old location at /r/blackgirls.

This isn't the library, it's a for profit bookstore with a big old wall full of bookshelves of books for racists. The cafe is full of skinheads. Maybe there is a partition to keep that part of the bookstore out of sight, but it's there.

To be clear though, I don't blame folks at all for still going there and keeping to their own corners. It's just not for me.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:34 PM on July 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Ok hold up. I'm not here arguing in favor of keeping racist subreddits. I think the admins are wrong on their stance and they should figure out a way to fix it, perhaps a review board of some sort if they don't want to get their hands dirty.

I'm just arguing that not everyone on reddit is a racist by proxy because of some assholes who I want gone.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:35 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was thinking of each subreddit as being its own book, but I do see your point. It does not apply to all subreddits, though.

As for TV, FWIW, the FCC generally does not regulate the actual content of cable television, in contrast to the power it exerts over broadcast TV.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:36 PM on July 17, 2013


your strawman of "That Guy" who says TV is garbage isn't even original

It's not really a strawman, there's an in-joke on this site about a comment that was made to the effect "is this something I'd need a TV to understand?"

"That Guy" is/was pretty much a real person on Metafilter.
posted by Hoopo at 5:38 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


i mean look at this random thread from r/AskReddit: Men of Reddit, what are some things you hate women for that they probably do not know about?

or horrible comments from r/funny
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:45 PM on July 17, 2013


When I go to the library, a copy of The Turner Diaries doesn't interrupt me

Looks like somebody hasn't read my weird and offensive fan-sequel to The Pagemaster
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:46 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]



/r/amandapalmer
/r/bicyclehelmets
/r/hipsters
/r/outdoorcats

posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 5:47 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


"That Guy" is/was pretty much a real person on Metafilter.

It is a strawman argument, because when someone usually says "TV is garbage" they don't mean "all the shows are garbage" though. It's a jump to randomly turn on TV on any day and say "TV is garbage" to thinking that someone is condemning an entire medium to the trash heap. I mean, usually people who say "TV is garbage" are saying it as a comparison to programming they like and have liked.
posted by FJT at 5:49 PM on July 17, 2013


The basic difference between Reddit and MeFi is that Reddit is vastly more diverse. Politically, obviously, because MeFi pretty enthusiastically mods on the basis of ideology and Reddit doesn't. But also racially, religiously, and regionally. I'm not sure that's a coincidental correlation---the bonsai moderation of MeFi makes a lot of people who are not middle-to-upper-class and college-educated feel unwelcome.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:58 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Every time I see a Reddit story where commenters say "Yeah, but there is awesome stuff there!" I briefly feel guilty. "Hmm, maybe I am missing out on internet awesomeness."

And then I think "Upskirters. Rape fans. Women-are-shit true believers. Worse-than-your-racist-uncle racists. They like to hang out around that site too."

And then I never do make it onto Reddit. Because life is short, anything truly awesome will show up someplace else eventually (like here) and I don't need to worry about whether I will need to downvote a rape-promoting slimeball or racist image.

It's pretty nice.
posted by emjaybee at 5:59 PM on July 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


I think reddit would be much improved if users were only allowed to have one account, with a faxed/emailed copy of a drivers license or other ID, and the usernames tied to their published full name.

If you want a private/unlisted account, it'll cost you a cool 20 bucks, and you still have to provide the info, it just wouldn't be made public.

Biggest issue that site has is lack of accountability for the shit people spew.

Also, a complete ban on all meta subs. If you link to any content on reddit from reddit, you're gone.
posted by disclaimer at 6:01 PM on July 17, 2013


I mean, usually people who say "TV is garbage" are saying it as a comparison to programming they like and have liked.

Right, so kind of like Reddit then?
posted by Hoopo at 6:03 PM on July 17, 2013


Forcing people to post under their real names doesn't seem to have made the discussions any more nuanced or emphatic on Facebook; I don't see why it would work any better on Reddit. For every troll who says offensive things simply to get reactions and might thereby be dissuaded by exposure, there are twenty people who sincerely hold those beliefs and aren't ashamed to post them under their real names.
posted by Pyry at 6:10 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think reddit would be much improved if users were only allowed to have one account, with a faxed/emailed copy of a drivers license or other ID, and the usernames tied to their published full name.

You don't even have to venture past Ask.Metafilter to realize what a terrible fucking idea this is.
posted by clearly at 6:12 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm also curious as to why people will not visit reddit at all over some assholes saying asshole things in the comments when the same isn't true for say, Youtube
posted by Hoopo at 6:14 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think reddit would be much improved if users were only allowed to have one account, with a faxed/emailed copy of a drivers license or other ID, and the usernames tied to their published full name.

You don't even have to venture past Ask.Metafilter to realize what a terrible fucking idea this is.
posted by clearly at 9:12 PM on July 17 [+] [!]


Did you get past that paragraph to the part about paying for an unlisted account? Because its still there, I just checked.
posted by disclaimer at 6:25 PM on July 17, 2013


Did you get past that paragraph to the part about paying for an unlisted account? Because its still there, I just checked.

Do you realize that the idea of paying for anonymity is a backwards proposal? Trying to upload footage on the ground in Syria over a satellite connection? $20, and your papers, please.
posted by clearly at 6:31 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Right, so kind of like Reddit then?

Not really, no. I think people who don't like Reddit seem to be saying that either the entire site is "permeated" with misogyny or racism or hate, OR that the bad parts of Reddit affect the good parts, creating a whole that's less than the sum of it's parts. So, they totally avoid Reddit.

People who say "TV is garbage" are not avoiding TV totally. They usually still watch Korean soaps, anime, watch Al-Jazeera and BBC, rugby and cricket matches, or like me, seasons 1-10 of The Simpsons ad infinitum. They don't draw the same "air" so one doesn't affect the other.

The original post by Cosine claims Reddit is like a medium, like TV, which I don't agree. Reddit is more like a package of channels, like all the Showtimes, or rather, all the porno channels in one package.
posted by FJT at 6:32 PM on July 17, 2013


You don't upload content to reddit, though. Not that I think the "papers" proposal is really a good one. Though I can certainly see the appeal.
posted by NoraReed at 6:34 PM on July 17, 2013


but most of reddit's userbase is fucking vile

This is the stupidest sentence I've ever read on Metafilter. Reddit gets 35 million unique visitors per month. That's around 1/5 of Facebook's traffic. Did you really judge tens of millions of people to be vile because they frequent a site that has content you find objectionable?


oh, i'm sorry you feel that way. but: reddit conveniently lets their users select what should appear on the front page through "upvotes" and "downvotes". when racist, misogynist bullshit makes the front page, it means more people "upvoted" than "downvoted" it!

also, you don't think an overwhelmingly white and male, mostly young userbase could possibly contain 10mil racists, huh? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
posted by a birds at 6:34 PM on July 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


also most of facebook is racist too. most people are racist. are you shocked
posted by a birds at 6:35 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm also curious as to why people will not visit reddit at all over some assholes saying asshole things in the comments when the same isn't true for say, Youtube

Maybe it's the community guidelines that make an effort to limit the worst of the content?

We encourage free speech and defend everyone's right to express unpopular points of view. But we don't permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity).
posted by Drinky Die at 6:36 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


"The basic difference between Reddit and MeFi is that Reddit is vastly more diverse. Politically, obviously, because MeFi pretty enthusiastically mods on the basis of ideology and Reddit doesn't. But also racially, religiously, and regionally. I'm not sure that's a coincidental correlation---the bonsai moderation of MeFi makes a lot of people who are not middle-to-upper-class and college-educated feel unwelcome."

That's not the most significant difference. Reddit's also orders of magnitude larger, and has a lower barrier to entry. And saying that MeFi pretty enthusiastically mods on the basis of ideology is only true if it's also true for Reddit — they're just different ideologies. (It's also true the same way you'd say a newspaper enthusiastically edits based on an ideology — true, but not exactly all that revelatory as a point.)

Reddit also tends toward a siloed or self-segregated social structure, where followers of one /r/ won't necessarily interact with others outside of their community of interest. MeFi is flatter and encourages more cross-pollination (though some people obviously stick to Ask or Music or whatever), so MeFi is probably more diverse than most niche /r/s (which is also influenced a lot by relative size).

I will give you that Reddit probably has more spread on the bell curve of intelligence, but that's not an unalloyed good; /r/niggers is full of outliers toward the low end, but you wouldn't want to encourage that they participate here out of some dedication to principled diversity.
posted by klangklangston at 6:37 PM on July 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


One of the things that does make a difference for me here is that it's small enough that I've met a lot of MeFites, and that does make it a lot less fun to troll — I realize it's a totally basic duh empathy thing, but it's just not as much fun to willfully piss people off when you can picture actual people getting mad, and most anyone on MeFi, I'd get a beer with.

(I am kinda glad that I did the majority of my trolling on sites that have passed from the zeitgeist — no one's really going to be digging up old lj_debate pages, and most were rightly nuked from orbit.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:45 PM on July 17, 2013


You don't upload content to reddit, though.

It doesn't matter. Extrapolate. Requiring payment for anonymity to speak/upload/distribute/communicate on the internet is a bad idea. The threshold for requesting anonymity here is low enough to make this clear to anyone, no matter how poor their imagination is, or how bad they are at ignoring *ist comments.
posted by clearly at 6:46 PM on July 17, 2013


I'm also curious as to why people will not visit reddit at all over some assholes saying asshole things in the comments when the same isn't true for say, Youtube

Because YouTube comments are ancillary to the primary content. They're boxed away at the bottom of the page under the video. The point of YouTube is "let's watch this video". It's entirely possible to do so without ever actually reading any comments.

Reddit comments pretty much are the primary content: they're the body of the page, given as much importance as the link. The point of Reddit is "let's discuss this thing". And, for me, knowing that some of that discussion will be sexist, racist, homophobic, or simply juvenile puts me off engaging with it.

I have some sympathy for the "but not all subreddits are like that" argument; but as an outsider, all Reddit pages look pretty much the same to me.

It's a perception problem: your buffet may well contain many fine dishes, but if you have to qualify it with "yes, OK, there's a bowl of shit in the corner there, but if you don't take any of that you'll be just fine" then I'm probably not going to eat there.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:46 PM on July 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


Reddit's also orders of magnitude larger, and has a lower barrier to entry

I think this is the key. Metafilter managed to sail a very narrow course, from the days when it was basically just bloggers, to managing and controlling new sign-ups, to a membership fee, to strong moderation. Yes, both sites are basically about posting links to cool shit on the internet. But sometimes it feels like the difference between a private gentlemen's club, and a rabid mob in the town square.

So, so many people are racist, sexist, unenlightened regressive fucks. You only have to look at who holds the majority in the US House of Representatives to see this. Reddit is just a grab-bag of humanity, with a bias towards the slightly-tech-savvy. Facebook is too, and would look a lot like the nasty shit on Reddit if when you logged in you saw a stream of what everyone in the world was posting and saying.

It's not a community. In no way whatsoever is it a community. And I'm surprised the Randite managers of Reddit would claim it's a community. It's just Usenet, with an even lower barrier to entry and less blatant spam.
posted by Jimbob at 6:47 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Reddit comments pretty much are the primary content: they're the body of the page, given as much importance as the link. The point of Reddit is "let's discuss this thing".

Heh. Maybe my vague tolerance for Reddit (certain subReddits anyway) is that I'm very much not there for the discussion. I just click the links, and move on, because I have so rarely, rarely in the past read anything of value below the fold. Too much noise.
posted by Jimbob at 6:49 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love Reddit. I've been a user for several years and having watched it grow to its current user base has been nothing short of amazing.

The variety of subreddits where I can find likeminded people and the number of interesting, hilarious comments I find per thread are greater than anywhere else I've been on the internet. I attribute this to the fact that the power of Reddit is truly in the finding of interesting subreddits. I've made several of my own, and stay away from anything remotely adviceanimals.

I notice most of those who hate it are the usually the ones who are scared away by what they hear secondhand or from a cursory glance at the default page.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 7:02 PM on July 17, 2013


or from a cursory glance at the default page.

Maybe they need to do something about that default page...
posted by Jimbob at 7:04 PM on July 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


also most of facebook is racist too.

Well and thats the analogy people are making, more or less. Facebook contains lots of racists. My friends list, however, contains no "outward" racists (meaning no one on my news feed makes racist posts or racist comments). This is because I have removed people who did this in the past (the biggest purge was a bunch of high school acquaintances during the 2008 election).

Reddit has plenty of subreddits that are moderated like that and contain little to no racism. The larger audience might be 80% racist for all I know, but thats irrelevant to a particular subreddit.

And it's also interesting that you chose television when we're living in a time when it's actually fairly normal for someone to not own a TV nor have a subscription to cable or satellite service.

In the US its still pretty abnormal, less than 5% of households do not have a TV. 90% of Americans pay for television.
posted by wildcrdj at 7:04 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are awesome subreddits and Reddit users, and there are horrible ones and horrible people. I wish so many folks wouldn't lump all of Reddit into one singular entity based on the actions of this niche group or that niche group.

I posted this comment in a thread a little over a year ago.

Even now, on average I get at least one private message a day from someone asking "Hey, you okay? Hang in there" or saying "Hey, what you said there really got to me, I talked with my SO and we saved our relationship" or "Thank you for making me realize what's really important" or "I'm 16 and dealing with depression, do you mind talking about it?"
posted by mrbill at 7:05 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


They've recently removed politics and atheism and added a few different ones. But I personally don't give a hoot about the default page. If someone won't take the time to figure out how it works (which takes all of a minute) I doubt they're gonna contribute much in any case.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 7:07 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because YouTube comments are ancillary to the primary content. They're boxed away at the bottom of the page under the video. The point of YouTube is "let's watch this video". It's entirely possible to do so without ever actually reading any comments.

Yeah. It is amazing, I recently got some racist spam on my most popular video (which is a kitten being bottle fed). A KITTEN VIDEO. I mean wtf. But while I eventually removed it, it probably didn't matter because most people just want to see the cute kitten and then move on to the next kitten.

And honestly, lots of people _do_ use reddit (and MeFi) that way. Of course anyone participating in this discussion is more of a commenter / comment-reading type in general...
posted by wildcrdj at 7:08 PM on July 17, 2013


Reddit comments pretty much are the primary content: they're the body of the page, given as much importance as the link

That's actually not true at all. Those image macros and stuff that clog up the front page: they're links to jokes. The discussion is not the primary content. The comments are boxed away, just as they are on YouTube. They don't pop up when you click the link.
posted by Hoopo at 7:08 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


r/dome
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:16 PM on July 17, 2013


Honestly, can you really call them JOKES when they're either boring comics made using a template or boring memes using a template?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:16 PM on July 17, 2013


Taste is subjective.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:24 PM on July 17, 2013


> If reddit wants to be a utility for subreddits,they should get rid of the front page.
> posted by Ad hominem at 7:40 PM on July 17

Beat me to it. It's the front page that makes reddit look like there's sort of a there there. Take it away and reddit.com would just be a domain name that appears at the beginning of a lot of longer URLs, like geocities or angelfire.
posted by jfuller at 7:25 PM on July 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


justkevin: "This is the stupidest sentence I've ever read on Metafilter. Reddit gets 35 million unique visitors per month. That's around 1/5 of Facebook's traffic. Did you really judge tens of millions of people to be vile because they frequent a site that has content you find objectionable?"

All else aside, let's first be clear on facts here: Reddit's userbase is absolutely not the same as it's number of unique visitors (which is actually around 70 million now, according to their official stats anyway.) Their about page says they about a bit more than 2 million active users who post regularly. That's big, but it's certainly not Facebook big; however, it's more than a hundred times the size of Metafilter's userbase.

Probably more to the point you're discussing - I think both sides here are a bit simplistic. Yes, I agree that it's probably unfair to say that most of the userbase is "fucking vile." However, whether anyone wants to call it a community or not, Reddit is a shared space where a lot of people spend time; and the fact is that a lot of vile things get tolerated by the majority of the people sharing the space. I don't say they're all terrible people; it seems generally more to be the case that people have convinced themselves it's either not an issue at all or not an issue they need to worry about. The architecture makes it easy to down vote or fold up whole threads of the conversation that you don't want to see. But I don't think that's enough; and apparently not enough people are even willing to down vote to remove the prominence of the shitty stuff most of the time.

Yeah, it's still unfair to brand everyone on Reddit with the label for the actions of a loud few. Hell, I'm on Reddit myself a lot these days. But what Redditors need to know is that more and more people are going to judge us by that shit as Reddit becomes more and more well-known. If we want to stop that and maintain Reddit's reputation, then we as Redditors, as a community, have to try to put a stop to the shit.
posted by koeselitz at 7:30 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


oh, i'm sorry you feel that way. but: reddit conveniently lets their users select what should appear on the front page through "upvotes" and "downvotes". when racist, misogynist bullshit makes the front page, it means more people "upvoted" than "downvoted" it!

also, you don't think an overwhelmingly white and male, mostly young userbase could possibly contain 10mil racists, huh?

I don't know. I didn't take a massive and diverse group and make a snap judgement that most of them are "fucking vile."

I realize it wasn't you who made the original comment, but I stand by the statement that claiming most Reddit users are vile is stupid on multiple levels.

None of the current posts on the default front page strike me as racist or misogynistic.

Here is the current top comment, on the top post, for the default front page:

I'm not necessarily afraid of death, but I am afraid of spending my life with someone for 20, 30, 40, 50 some odd years only to wake up one day and realize they're not there anymore and aren't coming back. I don't know how anyone deals with that kind of grief.

Sounds sensitive, but this person is probably vile, according to Metafilter.
posted by justkevin at 7:38 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Honestly, can you really call them JOKES when they're either boring comics made using a template or boring memes using a template

Some of them are jokes, some are funny, some are not.

Some are not jokes. Take this. It was posted with the title "As a Muslim, this means mucho to me"

You see for a variety of reasons, people prefer to post images with words rather than typing. One reason is that to get "link karma" you have to post a link, even if it is to imgur.

You will no doubt say,"that's stupid, redditors are stupid as well as racist", but I actually prefer it because most of the time you can read the text from the thumbnail next to the link.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:38 PM on July 17, 2013


I don't think Reddit actually needs more visitors though, koeselitz? It can't actually become more well known. Or at least not by much. Isn't it one of the top 10 or 20 most visited places on the net?

In any case, the only place where I actually hear regular complaints about Reddit are on Mefi (and 4chan--channers hate Reddit just about as much). I'm just here to say there are at least a couple of us who are fine using both sites.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 7:40 PM on July 17, 2013


+1 for "reddit does have a pretty clearly visible site culture that on average does embrace exhibitions of racism, misogyny, and other odious behaviors" but I will allow that a significant percentage of the most vehement defenders have probably been there long enough and isolated enough to not pick up on what a new user is encouraged to pick up on, by, you know, the layout of the front page that everyone is supposed to know they're supposed to eliminate and customize immediately.

Agreed that some subreddits are amazing and it's not too hard to mostly ignore the worst by ignoring / unsubscribing the entire front page, tuning out the occasionally over-the-top usernames, etc, but there is an overall site culture that permeates a significant enough number of users.

I wonder if there have been any site-wide surveys to determine which subredditors more frequently agree that they would identify themselves as "Redditors" as we might with "MeFites."

I don't recall IamA being too bad on average which is overall what got my attention focused on Reddit for awhile until I did notice the overall problems, spent some time in SRS and then seeing the worst before losing interest for the most part. I did notice shittiness in r/IamA like "I bet you're hot as fuck, grrrr think of me being all aroused whoo" in reaction to "I have sexy job" posts ostensibly written by women, and particularly racist usernames.
posted by lordaych at 7:43 PM on July 17, 2013


spent some time in SRS

I thought that was a joke subreddit whose members posted trollish comments then sent a mob in afterwards?
posted by The ____ of Justice at 7:51 PM on July 17, 2013



spent some time in SRS

I thought that was a joke subreddit whose members posted trollish comments then sent a mob in afterwards?


No, its a community that call out racist, homophobic, and sexist Reddit comments.


In any case, the only place where I actually hear regular complaints about Reddit are on Mefi (and 4chan--channers hate Reddit just about as much). I'm just here to say there are at least a couple of us who are fine using both sites.


And SomethingAwful, which put together the RedditBomb calling attention to Creepshots. Like MeFi its a heavily moderated, left-leaning community. I just think its important that such a popular site not be filled with horrible opinions; according to SRS Stormfront has even infiltrated r/politics. That sort of thing makes people think their bigoted views are more accetable.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:01 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure there's no need for false flag ops in reddit comments for SRS's purposes. Theres too much legitimate assholery on Reddit for that to be worthwhile. Personally I am turned off by SRS because I don't need to go out of my way to find offensive things online. I guess everyone needs a hobby.
posted by Hoopo at 8:02 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Making usernames public: you want to make racist, sexist comments? Then sign your goddamned name to them. Feel free to post shit, and then later, as you are regretting the beer bong shots on your Facebook wall along with your ignorant screed about [insert bigoted statement here], realize the bed you've made and live in it. Might not be enough to stop all the shit, but god damn, it's so fucking easy to hide behind an alt and just spew diarrhea.

A pay walled anonymous account with a cost just high enough that your typical 14 year old might think twice about buying his ability to be a little shit on the Internet? It has its appeal.

There needs to be a way to make people accountable and responsible for what they say. Fuck yeah, if you want to be a dick on reddit, goddamn right you should either pay for the privilege of hiding behind a fake name, or put your name with your words. Note I said 'name', not your "papers" whatever the fuck that means. Make someone with a bigoted opinion put their name to their history and I bet a good third of the morons shut the fuck up.

I'm a big believer in "freedom of speech" not that there's anything like it on reddit (just read the terms of service), but along with freedom to speak your mind comes the responsibility to stand behind what you say. And you do that in a newspaper by providing your name in a letter to the editor, and one way to do that online is by signing your name.

Dumb idea? Is it dumber than offering free alt accounts that can be created with no accountability, no email address, in less than 2 minutes? It's not as dumb as that, I'd say.
posted by disclaimer at 8:04 PM on July 17, 2013


Reddit is a shared space where a lot of people spend time; and the fact is that a lot of vile things get tolerated by the majority of the people sharing the space.

"Tolerating" is a dodgy statement. The really bad stuff tends to happen in back corners. Life is too short to constantly be searching out objectionable stuff and shouting at it. There's awful stuff that happens on Facebook too; is it all "tolerated" by everyone who doesn't seek it out to condemn it?

I don't know. I didn't take a massive and diverse group and make a snap judgement that most of them are "fucking vile."
[...]
Sounds sensitive, but this person is probably vile, according to Metafilter.

Wow, did you mean this ironically? By the way, EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET IS HITLER.
posted by JHarris at 8:05 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sounds sensitive, but this person is probably vile, according to Metafilter.

Performance art? Irony?
posted by lordaych at 8:06 PM on July 17, 2013


Whoops
posted by lordaych at 8:07 PM on July 17, 2013


along with freedom to speak your mind comes the responsibility to stand behind what you say

I'm not up on my American Constitution, but is this true?
posted by Hoopo at 8:08 PM on July 17, 2013


Well I suppose not being on the front page, I do feel pretty removed from the discussion here. I've stuck with comic book, science, writing, art, film and LGBT-related subreddit clusters that have been my mainstay for years. The only large subreddits I routinely visit are IAMA and askreddit, sometimes bestof.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 8:08 PM on July 17, 2013


Personally I am turned off by SRS because I don't need to go out of my way to find offensive things online. I guess everyone needs a hobby.

That's such a snotty characterization, kind of like "get a life"; I think I putzed around reading it off and on for a couple of weeks after the CreepShots stuff.

It was actually interesting to see this weird anti-Reddit contingent talk about Reddit and gave a good glimpse at how pervasive the disgusting aspects of the site culture were. There's a shitload of Venn-Diagram shit going on with Reddit so it's also interesting seeing a subreddit often seen as anti-Reddit embrace certain aspects of the culture while having dominant oppositional aspects that towered over the common ground most of the time.
posted by lordaych at 8:13 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


TIL DAE 90s kids literally Le hitler maymayz.

The thing about SRS is that it is also on reddit. Checkmate atheists.

Damn I gotta get off reddit.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:17 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's awful stuff that happens on Facebook too; is it all "tolerated" by everyone who doesn't seek it out to condemn it?

The issue isn't just that there is bad stuff there...any large site will have issues, it's that it is tolerated by those responsible for the site even if someone does find it and call attention to it.

Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.


On other sites hate speech is a cancer and attempts will be made to eradicate it. Reddit just attempts to try and prevent it from spreading, but otherwise seems to have no issue with profiting from it.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:18 PM on July 17, 2013


I just realizes "SRS" is like, a vague weird meta subreddit with users like "fagtardicus" posting so what I meant by "SRS" is:

http://www.reddit.com/r/shitredditsays
posted by lordaych at 8:18 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hoopo: I don't see it as a legal obligation. I see it as what responsible people should do. If you believe that [insert wildly bigoted/sexist, mind numbingly ignorant opinion here], and you state it on a very public Internet forum, you should be held accountable to your audience, not necessarily the law, for saying it.
posted by disclaimer at 8:19 PM on July 17, 2013


First of all, a lot of people read /r/all, so posts that get popular enough to be on there tend to get brigaded by the unwashed, bigoted masses, who regularly have no context whatsoever for what the community is about or what the rules are.

Incidentally, /u/Deimorz made a tool called Automoderator that (among many other things) lets mods choose to automatically publicly tag any post that makes it to /r/all as a warning to normal subscribers that the shit may hit the fan shortly.
posted by Jpfed at 8:23 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


My last comment, I think it's profound!

I enjoy bits and pieces of Reddit but don't bring it up in "IRL" conversation the way I bring up MetaFilter. I was 18 in 1998 during Slashdot's reign of grits and Natalie Portman and am glad I eventually found my way from there to Everything2 to MetaFilter rather than Digg to Reddit. I'd rather my son stumble on MetaFilter first rather than Reddit, I'd say, in much the same way I'd prefer he experiment with marijuana before alcohol, both of which have their place but one just seems to invite more trouble and boorishness and having to apologize for shit in the grimy light of day.
posted by lordaych at 8:24 PM on July 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


If somebody says they post on MeFi I don't immediately suspect them of Libertarianism and hating women.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:25 PM on July 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


Wow, I also get the feeling from this thread I have an incredibly high tolerance for racist/sexist comments compared to the rest of metafilter even though I'm a non-white woman. Maybe I just hear this shit on a daily basis IRL and I've become really jaded? I stop it in real life (or try to within my means) but on the net they don't really bother me and I ignore them. It's why I guess I can hang out on 4chan even though the stuff there is about 10x worse. I get the info I need and leave.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 8:26 PM on July 17, 2013


That's sad. They should have kept that subreddit. If people want to say terrible things on the internet in their own little corner great for them. I mean it will be in their user history that they're a neo-nazi when they post in other threads so you know not to deal with them if you think they suck. I mean it's basically adding information about who's a racist bigot and who's not, which is great if you want to hang with racists, and great if you don't. I mean either way it's a good thing right?

Except they got their playhouse closed because they spread their racist shit in other people's playhouses and fucked with other aspects of the site.

There are plenty of internet corners left to say terrible things. This was not their promised land, as some hyperbole-heavy comments from the linked article might have otherwise implied. Webspace is cheap, and there is still plenty of "wild west" left in which people can be openly and aggressively racist.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:26 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow, I also get the feeling from this thread I have an incredibly high tolerance for racist/sexist comments compared to the rest of metafilter even though I'm a non-white woman. Maybe I just hear this shit on a daily basis IRL and I've become really jaded?

The came in to /r/blackgirls and started spewing some terrible things. It's like someone comes into a place you feel comfortable and starts painting racist stuff on the walls. Sure, you might be OK with it scrawled on park benches or other public places, but someone came into your place of respite and starts swearing at you. Maybe you have a high tolerance in all situations, but I think most people have some space online that they feel safe, and it seems like these racist assholes came in as aggressive griefers.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:30 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Filthy light thief, I meant my comment in response to the other commenters here talking about the aggregate number of racist/misogynistic comments (again, probably varying according to which subreddits you subscribe to), not the r/blackgirls situation.

Sorry I didn't make that clear.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 8:34 PM on July 17, 2013


That's such a snotty characterization, kind of like "get a life"

It's snotty that I don't feel a need to compile every idiotic comment I find on Reddit for the perusal of like-minded people? Or that I don't find the prospect of reading it appealing? I'm not telling anyone to get a life, I just finished admitting I read r/minecraft for fucks sake.
posted by Hoopo at 8:50 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]



It's snotty that I don't feel a need to compile every idiotic comment I find on Reddit for the perusal of like-minded people? Or that I don't find the prospect of reading it appealing? I'm not telling anyone to get a life, I just finished admitting I read r/minecraft for fucks sake.


The point is to change the site's culture - and its a major major site that has a big influence on Internet discourse. They're trying to do a good thing.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:57 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


disclaimer: Making usernames public: you want to make racist, sexist comments? Then sign your goddamned name to them. Feel free to post shit, and then later, as you are regretting the beer bong shots on your Facebook wall along with your ignorant screed about [insert bigoted statement here], realize the bed you've made and live in it. Might not be enough to stop all the shit, but god damn, it's so fucking easy to hide behind an alt and just spew diarrhea.

In many places in the country, you'd be far more likely to get fired over a pro-choice post than a racist post. So, not such a good idea.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:10 PM on July 17, 2013


It isn't a debating club, or anything like metatalk, As it says in the FAQ, it is a "circlejerk". Don't go in asking questions or you will be banned. It is for making jokes about white cis-males only.

THey have a life already too, They are redditors just redditing along, see a comment and post it. It isn't like they are anti-reddit, they got like 20 subs.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:11 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


And if that's your thing, fine. Totally good for you if that's what you want to do. I don't have any interest in reddit's site culture, I go there for pretty specific things and don't come across 99.9% of the things SRS draws attention to. When I do come across an awful comment I downvote. I find reading SRS about as fun as r/atheism; as in, I probably agree with what's being said but its not doing anything for me. For other people I guess it's fulfilling. Great! Let's not tell people they're being snotty for not being into that thing you're into on some website somewhere.
posted by Hoopo at 9:16 PM on July 17, 2013


Also in the FAQ:

"A: We are not here to "change reddit." We don't expect reddit to change."
posted by Hoopo at 9:21 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Relevant entry in their faq

Q: How is cutting off rational discourse going to make a difference? If you want to change reddit, shouldn't you explain why something is wrong?
A: We are not here to "change reddit."....


bottom line is:

Q: What is SRS?
A: In short, a circlejerk.....


I'm with you hoopo. I'm not big on /r/circlejerk either, it is all like navelgazing meta-meta-meta humor, I ain't an advanced enough redditor for it
posted by Ad hominem at 9:23 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


People who talk about how most reddit users are "vile" or that all it's known for is sexism and racist are hilarious to me because they clearly have no idea what they are talking about.

The biggest story about reddit right now isn't r/niggers, it's that redditors sent a crapload of pizza to a two year old cancer patient because her mom jokingly put a sign saying "Send Pizza" in the hospital window.

Reddit has:
- Raised $50,000 for Doctors Without Borders in 2010 and $200,000 in 2011.
- Raised money to send a 7 year old with Huntingon's disease on a shopping spree at a toy store because she was being teased by neighbors.
- Donated over $600,000 to DonorsChoose in support of Stephen Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive.
- Donated $185,356.70 to Direct Relief International for Haiti after the earthquake
- Donated over $70,000 to the Faraja Orphanage in Tanzania after intruders robbed the orphanage and attacked one of the volunteers, Omari, who survived a strike to the head from a machete.
- Started a fund raiser for a bullied bus monitor to send her on a vacation that eventually raised over $700,000.
- Raised $30,000 for a terminally ill cancer patient so that he could travel before he died.

And that's just the some of the big stuff. Little kindnesses happen all the time.

Yes, reddit is chock full of racism and sexism and if it's too much for you, then it's too much. No one should go to a website that they can't stand. But don't act like sexism and racism is all there is to reddit. That's not remotely true.
posted by nooneyouknow at 9:37 PM on July 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


me: "Reddit is a shared space where a lot of people spend time; and the fact is that a lot of vile things get tolerated by the majority of the people sharing the space."

JHarris: "'Tolerating' is a dodgy statement. The really bad stuff tends to happen in back corners. Life is too short to constantly be searching out objectionable stuff and shouting at it. There's awful stuff that happens on Facebook too; is it all 'tolerated' by everyone who doesn't seek it out to condemn it?"

Hm. Well - there are three differences I see between the way Facebook and Reddit operate on this point.

First: Reddit is (virtually) 100% public. Facebook is (I would say) between 70% and 80% private. It's possible to find screenshots of dodgy stuff that's on Facebook, but Facebook intentionally makes it hard to link or navigate to almost anything except through personal connections a logged-in user has. It's hard to say anybody "tolerates" anything that can't be seen by 99.9999% of the userbase, much less the public.

Second: Facebook at least pretends to have community standards and guidelines, and will moderate and delete when it thinks those standards and guidelines are being broken. Facebook refuses to allow porn, for example, and is actually weirdly conservative on this sometimes. They have slipped up at times and allowed some fairly offensive stuff here and there, but they clearly aspire to being a gated community that polices that stuff heavily.

Third, and most importantly: because of the two things above, Facebook has an edge as far as their public image is concerned. They maintain it by keeping unfortunate stuff from public view; they have help from their own users on making sure they don't become known for objectionable or offensive stuff. But Reddit is public. And, for better or for worse, we Redditors are judged by the shitty people among us. When I tell some people I know that I'm on Reddit, they screw up their faces and say "that sexist, racist place where all the crappy stuff I heard about happened?"

Now, I know the typical Reddit response to those reactions. The typical Reddit response is to give the Reddit lecture that half a dozen people in this thread have given: 'it's not all like that, in fact it's very diverse, most subreddits don't even know about the other subreddits, etc.' I appreciate that a lot of that is kind of true, but it doesn't matter. That stuff doesn't make sense to non-Redditors. We are, and shall remain, the community that tolerates the crap, in their eyes.

And in a large sense, I actually think they're right. I've said this before here, but I think Redditors constantly underplay the amount of cross-pollination between subreddits. That's because it's more comfortable to distance oneself from some of the shit, I know; but, as I've said, I don't think that's really possible anymore. For better or for worse, SRS has it right: shit on one subreddit hurts us all, and it needs to be dealt with and talked about. Reddit will be a community or it will be 4chan.
posted by koeselitz at 9:45 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm not deleting anything

Thanks for holding back.

but it seems like good advice before you go calling half the people in a thread "kinda dumb".

I think "half the people" is a bit of a stretch, don't you?

I'm also not dumb but I lack the patience to find perfect-for-me stuff on Reddit. There are other more-perfect-for-me places.

Googling "best subreddits" doesn't exactly require patience and actually brings up some pretty great subreddits, I strongly suspect your own involvement with metafilter is a bigger factor than impatience, but I could be wrong.

The worst of reddit is far, far, disgustingly far worse than anything one could ever find on metafilter but the best of reddit is also quite a bit better than anything here, I wouldn't turn to reddit for personal advice and I wouldn't expect staggeringly informed, in depth and long responses from experts to questions on metafilter either, different things. I don't know how much of that breadth is due to reddit's loose monitoring or due to metafilter's over-policing though.
posted by Cosine at 9:55 PM on July 17, 2013



The biggest story about reddit right now isn't r/niggers, it's that redditors sent a crapload of pizza to a two year old cancer patient because her mom jokingly put a sign saying "Send Pizza" in the hospital window.


I always hear the 'pizza defense', but MeFi and SA and heaps other sites have managed to raise money for charity without all the horrible stuff.

The other thing is sites like 4chan and SA know there's horrible stuff - its part of the image. But Reddit pretends to be a super-nice, mainstream site and you scratch the surface and find vile things.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:56 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The biggest story about reddit right now... [is] that redditors sent a crapload of pizza to a two year old cancer patient because her mom jokingly put a sign saying "Send Pizza" in the hospital window.

Yeah, reddit does some great charity stuff, but in a way it's sort of like a lot of mainstream organized religion: you have to wade through a lot of bigoted stuff to get to the parts where they're being charitable, and the main mission is almost always promoting one's own view. Yeah, not all redditors are like that, and not all religious people or individual churches are like that, but if you're going to ally yourself as an individual with an organization that not only has a checkered past but also some pretty bad shit on its recent track record, you have to acknowledge that.

I doubt most redditors would be willing to say "Oh, yeah, well, the Mormon church might have some issues with gay people and some pretty recent history with racism, comparatively, but they do a lot of charitable work and actually provide a really great framework and support network for their members." But they want people to be able to say "Oh, yeah, well, reddit might allow communities dedicated to being racist dickbags to fester, have regular invasions by Stormfront and circulate sexualized pictures of minors, but they donate money to charities and have IAMAs."

Personally I am turned off by SRS because I don't need to go out of my way to find offensive things online.

SRS is a community for people who are sick of bigotry to hang out and blow off steam. A lot of the content is in-jokes, at least on Prime (/r/shitredditsays). But, I mean, I participated in that ridiculous MetaTalk alphabet thread and that was just circlejerky silliness too.

They have an entire network of affiliated subreddits and that's where I spend a lot of my reddit time; the rest is split between stuff like /r/askscienfiction and yelling at poop. (Sometimes explaining how I use the internet to poop, too.)

SRS is interesting because it is seen as a huge threat to redditors. There are a million conspiracy theories about us, (one of them came up in this thread, the "false flag" bullshit), and there's this thing you see on reddit where anyone calling anyone out on racism, sexism, homophobia, etc will get yelled at by someone saying they're SRS (whether they are or not). Every time a cesspool gets taken down, SRS is blamed for it. This seems to be a relatively mainstream opinion on reddit-- the more out there conspiracy theories involve SRS being a group of a handful of people with a million alts that is secretly funded by Obama. A lot of people think the admins are SRS or are in bed with SRS (usually this is suggested literally). Shit like that.

And, I mean, it's a sub for people to post shitty things people say on the internet and then make fun of how terrible they are. Sometimes some of the SRSters go to the place where people were saying terrible things and make fun of them to their face. And that's enough to seriously rustle the jimmies of the community. People who are telling bigots to knock it off will preface their comments with "I'm not SRS but" the same way people will say "I'm not feminist but".

It's a boogeyman of sorts. A boogeywoman, probably. And that fact is a lot more telling about the people who made SRS a boogeyman than about SRS itself.
posted by NoraReed at 10:03 PM on July 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


I always hear the 'pizza defense', but MeFi and SA and heaps other sites have managed to raise money for charity without all the horrible stuff.

The other thing is sites like 4chan and SA know there's horrible stuff - its part of the image


Haha, that's kinda a interesting argument that if reddit said "yep, most of us are racists" it would all cool.

Instead of saying reddit pretends to be nice you could also say there are nice things and bad things and good people and assholes, like in the rest of life.

I ain't going to say shit about SA, you guys are pro level internetters, you would have me arguing in circles all night.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:05 PM on July 17, 2013


Charley: The pizza's weren't charity, and that is kind of illuminating.

Metafilter and Reddit are siblings, Metafilter stayed in school, got a good job as an accountant and gives $15.16 from each paycheque to the United Way. Metafilter is the wild child that just wants to have fun and party and is whimsical and nutty and sometimes out of line or worse. I know which one is likely more fun to have a beer with and which one I want advice on my retirement planning from and both are valuable.
posted by Cosine at 10:05 PM on July 17, 2013


One point to note is also that Reddit is one of the most overwhelmingly male sites on the Internet. I know a lot of women there, but I also know a lot of women who've quit in disgust.
posted by koeselitz at 10:20 PM on July 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


SRS is interesting because it is seen as a huge threat to redditors. There are a million conspiracy theories about us, (one of them came up in this thread, the "false flag" bullshit), and there's this thing you see on reddit where anyone calling anyone out on racism, sexism, homophobia, etc will get yelled at by someone saying they're SRS (whether they are or not).

Whenever I look at /r/ShitRedditSays, it strikes me as obtuse and hostile, which I think feeds into the non-SRS-reddit impression of SRS.

There are communities with similar ostensible aims like /r/ffsreddit and /r/forabetterreddit that seem much more approachable, but they're basically dead as far as I can tell.
posted by Jpfed at 10:24 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I read reddit regularly I loved how SRS would cause the internet tough guys with their "edgy" jokes to get all whiney and oppressed. "People in another subreddit are saying mean things about me!" For that alone, they have my appreciation.

*goes back to white knighting*
posted by brundlefly at 10:24 PM on July 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Jpfed: the point of SRS is not to be approachable or friendly. It's to blow off steam in a healthy way, which is to say in a way that doesn't involve downvote brigades or shitting in other subs.

If you're looking for a place to actually talk about the issues raised there, I'd say you should take a look at r/SRSDiscussion. It's basically the wing of SRS designed for having conversations about those things, and I think you'll find it very welcoming and thoughtful. It's a good demonstration that the hatefulness most of Reddit attributes to SRS is mostly a myth.
posted by koeselitz at 10:32 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


First: Reddit is (virtually) 100% public. Facebook is (I would say) between 70% and 80% private. It's possible to find screenshots of dodgy stuff that's on Facebook, but Facebook intentionally makes it hard to link or navigate to almost anything except through personal connections a logged-in user has. It's hard to say anybody "tolerates" anything that can't be seen by 99.9999% of the userbase, much less the public.

Counterpoint: Twitter, which is 100% public, and doesn't even have a formal grouping mechanism, meaning everyone is in the same flat pool of users. Are racist and sexist tweets a stain on Twitter as a whole, or do Twitter users not constitute a community which can be judged collectively?
posted by Pyry at 10:34 PM on July 17, 2013


I think Twitter does constitute a community. Conversation is not as knit together there, so to speak, so there's a lot more division between groups; there are not separate places for separate discussions, for example, and comments are even less static on the page than the are on Reddit. But there are frequently and regularly conversations there about what should and shouldn't be tolerated, and most people I know view it as their community to be cared for. And Twitter dust ups even get press outside of Twitter as people talk about norms and such. One thing about Twitter is that it's so instantaneous that I don't think it lends itself very well to adminitrative moderation, unfortunately. However, that doesn't stop people from working toward community moderation and toward attempts to build norms and to establish what is and isn't to be tolerated.
posted by koeselitz at 10:47 PM on July 17, 2013


A thread in /r/SRSDiscussion linked to /r/socialjustice101, which also looks really promising.
posted by Jpfed at 10:49 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I stopped reading the comments, and removed SRS* from my subs. I just don't need to engage with that anymore. Now I only go there for the occasional blast of pictures. There's just something about /r/cableporn that I find horribly compelling.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:49 PM on July 17, 2013


Counterpoint: Twitter, which is 100% public, and doesn't even have a formal grouping mechanism, meaning everyone is in the same flat pool of users. Are racist and sexist tweets a stain on Twitter as a whole, or do Twitter users not constitute a community which can be judged collectively?

I'm surprised to learn Twitter as a company can definitely be negatively judged for the presence of hate speech. As far as I can tell they only react to hate speech under court order and enforce no rule against it. Considering shutting down my account for sure.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:05 PM on July 17, 2013


Well, reddit has the built-in community approval system of upvotes = visibility and it has r/all, which combined are the direct barometer of "What Reddit Likes". Twitter/Facebook don't really have anything comparable to that. (I always think it's kind of hilarious that the response to "Man... it really looks like most of reddit is bad" is always "That's only if you look at r/all, which literally displays exactly the content approved by the majority of our users!" Well... yeah.) Oh, and there's the "you join these by default when you join the site" subreddits, too, which FB/Twitter also don't have.

But look, no one's saying all redditors are scum. I use the site myself, and have for years. But: the majority opinion on reddit is that of a 19-year-old white male proto-libertarian hardcore gamer. 25-year old white male "liberal" hardcore gamer if I'm being generous. (That's also bad.) You can escape it by avoiding the most-used parts of reddit, yeah, but that's still the overall character of the site you're using. And yes, it infects the discourse as a whole. Personally, I just sort of sigh and go "Well, that's reddit for you" when that shit pops up on the subreddits I still read. But I'm not gonna delude myself about what kind of site I'm using.
posted by a birds at 11:12 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah wasn't there a thing a few weeks ago, where the mens rights subreddit, or some such thing, organized a survey of their members to prove how diverse they were, and the results were like 80% 18-24 single white male Americans?... trying to find a link.
posted by Jimbob at 11:21 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reddit is horrible. But I do love /r/cableporn/

The rest is shit.
posted by johnpowell at 12:54 AM on July 18, 2013


Stats for /r/hiphopheads

Spoiler: 95.9% male, 69.97% white
posted by Ad hominem at 1:12 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]



If somebody says they post on MeFi I don't immediately suspect them of Libertarianism and hating women.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:25 PM on July 17 [7 favorites +] [!]


Reddit is horrible. But I do love /r/cableporn/

The rest is shit.
posted by johnpowell at 12:54 AM on July 18 [+] [!]


Wow, thanks for discounting and shitting on all of Reddit, guys. It's not without its problems, but there are a huge number of people who use it other than racist/sexist white dudes.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:42 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now I feel like i should post a link to a confession bear titled "I read Metafilter, but I actually like /r/pics".
I don't know if I'm ignorant and miss most of the racism in /r/pics, or I just don't see it at all, as I browse the imgur gallery directly, but I think /r/pics is amazing. People share there wonderful stuff.

AdviceAnimals has horrible breakouts of crap, and in general, removing from the frontpage made wonders to my reddit experience. Also, not allowed on /r/pics.

To recap my previous post, it's very nice to sit here in our well groomed, heavily modded, gated community, with like minded people, but most of humanity is not a college-educated intellectual "elite". Just look at your tv programming - you might think it's stupid, but it if wasn't making money, it wouldn't have been there. People are stupid and racist and assholes, and they like stupid things.
Every time I leave my small bubble of university or knowledge-work I run into the rest of humanity, and it is not pretty.

People were always assholes online, starting at talk-backs on news website, comments on youtube, etc, etc. It's horrible. Reddit's racism is on par with the average racism in youtube comments and talk-backs on news sites.
posted by sockpuppetdirect at 2:41 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


...it's very nice to sit here in our well groomed, heavily modded, gated community, with like minded people, but most of humanity is not a college-educated intellectual "elite". Just look at your tv programming - you might think it's stupid, but it if wasn't making money, it wouldn't have been there...

A collective ideology and consequential mutual back-patting for all the wondrously important humanitarian works (such as discussing sexism and racism on the Internet on the Internet)...and apparently Metafilter has self-awarded itself a status of being the haven of the culturally and intellectually superior. How nice.
posted by Nibiru at 3:31 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The majority of people defending reddit here seem to be saying "well yeah the mainstream stuff can be terrible, so go to the cool subreddits". Which is nice, but if you are arguing that reddit should be for that, it could be curated differently.

For example, there are indeed racists on facebook, but I am unlikely to meet them. This is because Facebook is designed to connect you primarily to your friends. You can find these racists, but you have to go looking for them. They will not be posting on your feed. The content facebook wants you to see is what your friends think about stuff.

Meta filter, for another example, wants you to see its front page, or maybe ask, where you see lots of posts. When you click on a post it takes you to a moderated comments page which is usually of high quality, you can then click on the links while remaining on said discussion page. You can get a feel for what the community likes via favourites, but pages don't change ranking owing to it. Its worth noting that the sometimes more hostile (historically, although I think it has become less so) metatalk is harder to find by accident.

Reddit on the other hand has the popcorn stuff on the front page. Thanks to its ranking system the lowest common denominator tends to creep on there. It also has the odd (to me) behaviour of links pointing directly out of the site. You have to make a bit of an effort to read comments.

I honestly didn't know reddit had subreddits for quite a while, only being vaguely aware of it. In the one subreddit I've been checking out recently, someone objected to the term "guys" as a catch all for both genders. That individual was heavily downvoted, with counter arguments basically going "well I mean both girls and guys by it, and I know people who do the same, which is fine."

I'm sure there are nice places in reddit, and expert users of the site will be able to find them, but websites are actually not visited by expert users most of the time. New users will go to the front page, and might click a few links. Their experience in doing so will determine how much time they spend at that website.

Askhistorians is a good subreddit I'm sure, but I honestly only knew about it because someone mentioned it to me. Whenever I'd been to reddit before I thought "huh, those are some boring links right there" and bounced off. Yes, I could have googled "good subreddits" but why on earth would I? The internet is a massive place, and I don't really feel a sense of loss if I miss out on a bit of it.

I'm not saying any of this should change necessarily, but I do believe it is how people get an impression of a website. I wouldn't be surprised if this impression of reddit might be why it has less female members (if that is indeed the case)
posted by Cannon Fodder at 4:51 AM on July 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I actually do like parts of Reddit. I don't much stray from them unless I'm looking to yell at people for being shit. Which I feel like less and less.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:59 AM on July 18, 2013


I'm imagining the equivalent of a reddit default sub with Facebook accounts/comments. I cringe at even the abstract concept of it.
posted by jaduncan at 5:08 AM on July 18, 2013


The majority of people defending reddit here seem to be saying "well yeah the mainstream stuff can be terrible, so go to the cool subreddits".

It's more like, "don't paint with such a broad brush, because reddit is a large community".

It would be like saying everyone on Metafilter is really into feminist causes, because the biggest threads on MeFi and especially MetaTalk are always about feminism.
posted by smackfu at 6:14 AM on July 18, 2013


I'm not part of the reddit community and tend to avoid it because 1. I'm getting my good content and discussion elsewhere right now, and 2. I'm not eager to spend time on a site where I'm likely to run into a random crazyracistmisgynisticfuckwad with a couple of wrong clicks.[1]

That said, I can recognize that the same "anyone can start a group about anything" networking effect that lets, say, queer nerds into some niche hobby (who may not know any queers or people into niche hobby in their offline life) get their geek on with people all over the world who are in that tiny demographic... that same open-ended networking effect also lets people who believe in things I don't approve of and/or fine abhorrent *also* get their freak on.

[1] Yeah, I know. "Uh... rmd1023, have you *met* the internet?" But still, I find the likelihood of it happen on reddit higher than other places.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:52 AM on July 18, 2013


Reddit is like Apartheid era South Africa. Sure there may have been some nice, non-bigoted people doing really interesting things. However, anyone not directly taking action against Apartheid was benefiting from and indirectly supporting a highly racist system. The same goes for Reddit. Anyone apologizing for and excusing Reddit's racism and sexism it's in fact supporting the racist and sexist system. In short, if someone says they are against bigotry and misogyny, and supports Reddit, I seriously doubt their bona fides.
posted by happyroach at 7:10 AM on July 18, 2013


The ____ of Justice: “Wow, thanks for discounting and shitting on all of Reddit, guys. It's not without its problems, but there are a huge number of people who use it other than racist/sexist white dudes.”

Like I said, this is a problem Reddit is going to face. People are going to come to Reddit, look at the front page, and judge the site on what they find there. They are going to hear about crappy things that happen on subreddits and draw conclusions. You really can't prevent that at all, and to some degree you can't blame people for judging it based what they see.

In the end, the only thing we as Redditors can control is how we react to that, how we deal with it. That's what we'll be judged on. And every time we respond to people who bring up racism and sexism on Reddit by saying things like 'it's not really that bad' and 'you learn to ignore it and focus on the good stuff,' we're encouraging the perception that we really don't care when it comes down to it. We really have to do something more. We have to agitate for actual change.
posted by koeselitz at 7:29 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


After reading all this, I'm getting the idea that the members of Reddit are a bit like the police in attitude. Not all cops are racist assholes on a power trip, but the way that the cops circle the wagons when a bad cop gets found out makes it hard to differentiate the "good" cops from the ones who aren't happy unless they've stopped some poor guys face in that week. The proportion of good cops to bad cops is widely debated, with numbers swinging from 5% to 95% (although the last is a joke about how the 95% of corrupt cops spoil the barrel for the 5% of good ones).

So Reddit does not have that kind of power, thank god. But given the contents of the front page, the ease by which SRS is filled, the size and strength of MensRights, the doxing of people in GoneWild (which for some odd reason is not cracked down on hard) it starts to become impossible to differentiate between the good redditors who donate to good causes and take care of each other and the human scum who get their ideas about the world from some combination of Stormfront, Fox News, the Spearhead etc. I don't doubt that there are good people on reddit, but the shit that gets thrown by these assholes tends to smear on everyone there.
posted by Hactar at 7:29 AM on July 18, 2013


In short, if someone says they are against bigotry and misogyny, and supports Reddit, I seriously doubt their bona fides.

Well, this certainly seems like a productive discussion!
posted by smackfu at 7:30 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


After reading all this, I'm getting the idea that the members of Reddit are a bit like the police in attitude.

Nope, it's more like a thing on the internet that's open to everyone, including some people who are trolls and some people who have racist and/or sexist opinions.
posted by Hoopo at 7:45 AM on July 18, 2013


Yeah wasn't there a thing a few weeks ago, where the mens rights subreddit, or some such thing, organized a survey of their members to prove how diverse they were, and the results were like 80% 18-24 single white male Americans?... trying to find a link.

Yep.
posted by NoraReed at 8:02 AM on July 18, 2013


Yeah wasn't there a thing a few weeks ago, where the mens rights subreddit, or some such thing, organized a survey of their members to prove how diverse they were, and the results were like 80% 18-24 single white male Americans?... trying to find a link.

This is true of basically all of reddit. /r/taylorswift is 80% male, which I'm willing to assume doesn't accurately represent either internet users or Taylor Swift fans. I like parts of reddit, and I'm able to ignore the racist parts, so I participate (it's a lot like the real world that way), but it's also absolutely a boyzone.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:10 AM on July 18, 2013


I was a nerdy, white latchkey kid who turned to online ( BBS) communities to fill the gaping hole in my social world.

What really deeply bothers me about Reddit is the fact that it does often purport to be this high-minded community when it really just furthers groupthink with the karma system.

So imagine you're a nerdy 15-year-old who sits in the back of the classroom and skates by but is mostly unaccomplished. One day you post in a default sub and it's your first post that gets thousands and thousands of up-votes. Your post was some stupid racist or sexist crap. That experience of positive reinforcement might be the only time you ever get noticed, let alone lauded, at all. When you're used to being invisible, being noticed at all is a very powerful experience.

That reenforcement is going to become part of your identity and the absence of true person-to-person community means that there is very little chance that this experience will be counter-balanced.

And there's no way to know if your up-votes all came from the /r/ni**ers/ brigade.

Kids say stupid stuff all the time and in functional cultures, immature crap gets redirected. Mildly or harshly as appropriate.

Reddit is full of sophistry that is posing as wisdom. For people who are still forming their identity that is a lot more worrisome than, say, 4Chan or Something Awful. 4Chan also says a lot of awful stuff, but Reddit takes itself a lot more seriously and puts on airs of mainstream acceptability.

Reddit needs to make up its mind whether it wants to be a bastion for fringe free speech or a gatekeeper on the level of mainstream media. Either choice is fine, but if they want to be the latter, they need to have editorial controls.
posted by Skwirl at 8:29 AM on July 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: “This is true of basically all of reddit. /r/taylorswift is 80% male, which I'm willing to assume doesn't accurately represent either internet users or Taylor Swift fans. I like parts of reddit, and I'm able to ignore the racist parts, so I participate (it's a lot like the real world that way), but it's also absolutely a boyzone.”

If you look at the overall stats (see this chart) Reddit is still one of the most overwhelmingly male sites on the internet, at least among the major players; the split is about 68%-32% male-female. I think it's safe to say, in fact, that none of the other predominantly-male sites reviewed in that chart (Slashdot, Hacker News, etc) are even close to the size of Reddit.

It's interesting; I can say that I have started to feel like there are a few more female-positive subreddits, although they're hard to find. Of course the SRS fempire has a number, but that's not really anybody's idea of a fun diversion, I don't think. This is purely anecdotal and I don't have much to back it up besides my own feelings about what I've observe there, but r/ragecomics seems to be a lot more woman-friendly than most subreddits. (Of course, I've seen crap there, too. I'm mostly just saying that women usually seem to be able to share stories of their lives, as women, on r/ragecomics without having to confront an endless stream of shit automatically. It's sad that that's a benchmark, I guess, but there you go.)
posted by koeselitz at 8:47 AM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's very easy to tell it's a boyzone. GGGreg does cool things to help people. GGGina puts out.
posted by jaduncan at 9:02 AM on July 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Reddit needs to make up its mind whether it wants to be a bastion for fringe free speech or a gatekeeper on the level of mainstream media. Either choice is fine, but if they want to be the latter, they need to have editorial controls.

I think the problem is that either choice is not fine, because what has made reddit the size it is is that it allows "fringe free speech".

One group of people are saying "something of this size has to be more responsible" and other people are saying "it only is this size and valuable because the design-technology that drives it encourages unprecedented communication, and a lot of the suggestions for making it more responsible misunderstand what reddit is, or what the internet or humans are".

Which are absolutely not conflicting statements. But it's more fun to get snarky over things that you don't bother educating yourself about.

I mean, this is the front page of MetaFilter after all...
posted by tychotesla at 9:07 AM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


s/Reddit/Internet

Ignorance is everywhere. I don't think that the maintainers of what is supposed to be an open platform should crack down on users they disagree with.

When something I'm reading turns on me, I stop reading it. There are a ton of useful and interesting subreddits. There are a ton of boring and/or offensive ones. Just like there are tons of useful and interesting websites and plenty of boring and/or offensive ones.

If I were going to cut myself off from a whole because it has shitty parts.. well, first I would pull the ethernet cable from my computer--no more internet. Then I would attempt to go outside--remember Earth and have to kill myself.
posted by yonega at 9:09 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


When something I'm reading turns on me, I stop reading it. There are a ton of useful and interesting subreddits. There are a ton of boring and/or offensive ones. Just like there are tons of useful and interesting websites and plenty of boring and/or offensive ones.

The thing is, there's no one group of people setting policy for the internet. There is for Reddit, and as much as people like to pretend that anything goes on Reddit, that's simply not true. We're commenting on a story about people who broke a Reddit Wide policy. There are people who set policy for the entire infrastructure, can and do control who uses the site and what they're allowed to do. Somewhere, there are people who own Reddit and make money off of that ownership, and their decisions about what they allow people to do.

That issue of ownership is a fundamental difference between Reddit as a part of the internet, and the internet as a whole. It's the difference between a guest telling a racist joke at someone's party or sending one to a friend in a letter. In the first case, it's absolutely a reflection on the host if they're aware of it and don't say anything, and if I hear that sort of thing often at their parties I'd stop going. It'd be silly to stop using the post office because my letters get sent via the same infrastructure.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:46 AM on July 18, 2013


There is for Reddit, and as much as people like to pretend that anything goes on Reddit, that's simply not true. We're commenting on a story about people who broke a Reddit Wide policy.
...
It's the difference between a guest telling a racist joke at someone's party or sending one to a friend in a letter. In the first case, it's absolutely a reflection on the host if they're aware of it and don't say anything, and if I hear that sort of thing often at their parties I'd stop going.

If parties at your house and the houses you go to have implicit content policies, that's fine. Reddit isn't one party, it's more like a neighborhood with lots of parties going on. Subreddit mods can moderate their subreddits, that's the level at which content moderation happens on Reddit.

Reddit itself doesn't limit its content to what is socially acceptable to some particular in-group or espouse any particular agenda. How is Tumblr, for example, any different in that regard?

"I don't use Reddit because people I disagree with speak freely there." That's your right. It's also, combined with the self-organizing community structure, a big part of Reddit's entire appeal. And it's easy enough to simply avoid that content. I'm linked to much more offensive content on Reddit from other sites that I am on Reddit itself.

Is Reddit perfect? Hell no. But it provides a lot of value to me and I wish there were more structures like it around.
posted by yonega at 10:18 AM on July 18, 2013


Ok I think we all agree that there is a lot of crap on reddit, I think the disconnect is some people think it is mostly vile people while some people think it is mostly good people.

I am willing to admit I stick to the same few subreddits, so outside my little corner there could be all kinds of shit going down.

I propose as an experiment anyone who cares to should go and hit the random button on the top left, see what comes up, and browse those subreddits.

So far I got /r/yogscast, pretty famous let's play people who seem to focus on minecraft, /r/led_zepplin and /r/LGBTeensGoneMild/
posted by Ad hominem at 10:22 AM on July 18, 2013


Okay! I did a few random clicks and then checked the first discussion in each that had more than 20 comments.

/r/climateskeptics - people arguing about who is and is not a fascist, bitching at each other about who is or is not "smearing feces" all over the place

/r/caps - happy sports people!

/r/wine - people calling each other fascists because of their tastes in wine, otherwise ok, is imgur post ragging on someone's aunt for chilling their wine

/r/StonerProTips - "take your girlfriend's bobby pins to use for roach clips" - argument about what to do about girlfriendless or that some redditors are women

/r/QuotesPorn/ - Kurt Cobain quote - argument about whether he was a worthless human being, wife beater, or not, conspiracy theories

Still shruggo, still feel there are overarching vibes to the whole place, but that could be confirmation bias.
posted by jessamyn at 10:37 AM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


/r/StonerProTips - "take your girlfriend's bobby pins to use for roach clips" - argument about what to do about girlfriendless or that some redditors are women

It is a stretch to call that an argument. There's almost no back and forth in that thread, just some people making jokes.. not even mean ones.

Do you really see a thread that chill as an argument just because it's on Reddit, jessamyn?
posted by yonega at 10:59 AM on July 18, 2013


I guess I just don't see argument as that negative a word. Maybe banter is better?
posted by jessamyn at 11:01 AM on July 18, 2013


/r/personalfinance, boring seems like a lot of accountants talking about laws and checklists and 401ks.

/r/washingtondc, people complaining because something called the silver line is late.

/r/buildapcforme,this one was cool. A lot of posts with 1-2 comments but the comments are detailed parts lists with links. Wonder if they have a bot or something to compile these lists.

/r/trees, I love this subreddit, front page is currently people posting pictures of places they have smoked pot and people trying to guess where they are.

/r/gentlemanboners, you guys won't like this one, publicity photos of actresses, comments are chaste yet creepy like "she's the one for me"

I won't keep spamming lists of subreddits.

Overall yeah, I get a locker room vibe from most of them. Not super offensive but everyone seems to assume its all men.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:11 AM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


/r/washingtondc, people complaining because something called the silver line is late.

If /r/washingtondc did it's version of the "Metafilter: Tagline" thing, this would be absolutely perfect.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:17 AM on July 18, 2013


The problem with Reddit dealing with the issue of harsh (i.e. effective) censorship (i.e. moderation), is that a great deal of it's users jump to the conclusion that "Once you start banning subs for hateful content, then people will whine incessantly until all slightly objectionable subs are banned." I could go into a tangent about how this might relate to the young, white, male demographic that dominates Reddit both in population and discourse, but the real point is that there is an implicit connection between an increases in moderation and some amorphous yet inevitable downfall of Reddit.

Yet, if you look at what subreddits get consistently recommended as good and worthwhile, you can see the larger ones almost universally have active moderation with mods willing to engage their communities. For the smaller ones, it's relatively easy to have a sub with 10-20K user that can self police. Beyond that though and the signal-to-noise ratio gets skewed, and every whines about it and then someone goes as creates something like r/truereddit (or r/truetruereddit). The laissez faire philosophy of Reddit towards moderation is hypocritical, is what I'm saying. Everyone assumes that it will lead to some draconian apocalypse that will kill whatever they liked about the a certain subreddit to begin with, but experience shows again and again that the opposite is true.

I have first hand experience with this. I'm one of the moderaters of r/AskHistorians and more than a year ago -- when we had 1/10th of our current subscribers -- we had several conversations about the direction we, as a community, wanted to take. The conclusion was ultimately to move towards a more active moderation style, and that's been something that both my fellow subscribers and mods point to as a reason we've not only grown, but maintained quality.

Now, moderating an Ask* style sub has advantages over something as amorphous and free-form as r/funny (or rather r/"funny"), but laying our a couple simple rules shouldn't be that hard and actually enforcing them is really not that hard. Most subreddits have, and even Reddit as a site has, rules in-place prohibiting abusive and racist, but the prevailing culture of the major mods and admins is one of what they seem to consider benign negligence. Those admins and mods don't seem to know how their own site works, in other words. Shutting down a clique of open racists (even if it was vote manipulation, not breaking the user agreement) may be a nice gesture on the part of the Admins, but their official policy is still to not just watch the tragedy of the commons that is Reddit, but actively encourage it, which is just about the only active thing they seem to do (other than hocking Reddit Gold).
posted by Panjandrum at 11:44 AM on July 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


/r/collapse, a lot of posts on "Peaker stuff". Comments are pretty much all doom and gloom. Definitely a survivalist and objectivist bent to it, too.

/r/dust514, appears to be about a game, a MMOFPS from the makers of EVE. Discusses the game itself, with a few meme jokes.

/r/foofighters, is what it says on the tin. Recent, most active is just talking abou which songs of Nirvana should FF cover.

/r/crossfit, yes, they lift and then some. Seem very encouraging of each other

/r/asexuality, seems like a little of AskMe, with people seeking help and advice, and lots of suggestions to talk to your doctor and mental health professional first about deciding anything.
posted by FJT at 11:48 AM on July 18, 2013


"If parties at your house and the houses you go to have implicit content policies, that's fine. Reddit isn't one party, it's more like a neighborhood with lots of parties going on. Subreddit mods can moderate their subreddits, that's the level at which content moderation happens on Reddit. "

… unless it's r/creepshots or r/niggers.

Which goes from "They can't!" to "They can, and have, but they don't want to!" which carries a lot less moral force and feels a lot more like apologia.
posted by klangklangston at 11:59 AM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think people don't object to moderation in general, but to global, top-down moderation of the entire site. The idea is that each subreddit can set its own standards, so r/AskHistorians might ban image macros while r/FuckYeahHistory allows them. Or, to use a more contentious issue, r/hunting probably allows trophy pictures of dead animals while r/animalrights (I don't know if either of these exist) likely prohibits them. Or r/LetsArgueAboutReligion probably allows religious arguments while r/PeacefulBibleStudy doesn't.

Maybe the solution is to give more power to the moderators of subreddits: let them make it so only subreddit members can comment or vote.
posted by Pyry at 12:07 PM on July 18, 2013


The problem with Reddit dealing with the issue of harsh (i.e. effective) censorship (i.e. moderation), is that a great deal of it's users jump to the conclusion that "Once you start banning subs for hateful content, then people will whine incessantly until all slightly objectionable subs are banned."

Actually, go up to the top of the comment tree you linked. Here is a post from /u/yishan (read it to the end for a good picture of how reddit operates):
Apropos of nothing, let me describe a situation that occurs from time to time on reddit:
  1. Users create a community containing, discussing, celebrating, or over time descending into being dominated by distasteful, odious, or otherwise objectionable content. Such is the way of the internet.
  2. Drama and tongue-clucking ensues. Again, such are the ways of the internet.
  3. Users in that community engage in behavior that violates rules on reddit (vote-cheating, brigading, doxxing, etc).
  4. reddit admins respond, bans happen.
  5. Users complain that they were banned due to the objectionable content in their subreddit.
Thus, ironically, objectionable content ends up being used as a "shield" for actual bad behavior.

It really never has anything to do with free speech or political correctness. We have no need to impress any potential investors or acquirers. Even if we did, apparently there's this outdated belief that such entities actually care about things like that, but they often don't. "Family-friendly" is out, "edgy" is in.

reddit doesn't have much of an interest in banning questionable content. We hope for a diversity of content, and work on building tools to help different users discover more of that content (e.g. /r/multibeta).

Also, we have recently implemented a number of additional benefits (see /r/goldbenefits) for reddit gold users. If you would like to ensure that reddit continues to cater primarily to users, consider buying reddit gold. reddit gold gets you access to feature in beta (/r/multibeta), special gold-only features, and special deals or discounts from our gold partners. You may even wish to give gold to other members of your community by "gilding" their comments. The presence of gilded comments in a subreddit is a great way for us to see if users are truly creating value for other users in those same communities or if their existence is merely a pointless expense. Why, it would certainly be a difficult decision for us to ban a subreddit that habitually prompted many gildings!

Good day, ladies and gentlemen.
FYI, /u/yishan is the CEO of reddit.
posted by Jpfed at 1:07 PM on July 18, 2013


You Guys Like 2 Party?: Reddit is on the whole still the domain of the socially maladjusted reactionary white male. You can find racist shit on the front page without having to look at all, really.
Citation definitely needed.

A screencap will do.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:39 PM on July 18, 2013


R. Schlock: We don't call entire cities racist because racists live in them, do we?
We do, if "we" is the vocal majority of Mefites, and the "city" is Reddit.com.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:43 PM on July 18, 2013


The 25th most popular thing on the front page is pictures of a racist memoriabilia collection. Right now.

www.reddit.com
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:57 PM on July 18, 2013


Jimbob: 70 million unique visitors from around the world last month, don't you? Do you really think that a significant number of them were racists?

Don't know what universe you're living in, but I can guarantee if I grabbed a sample of 70 million people from around the world, a significant number of them would be racists.
That's his point - R. Schlock just _ a word in the sentence.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:03 PM on July 18, 2013


Drinky Die: Really? I don't know of a single place with near as much activity as /AskHistorians or /AskScience that is moderated with anywhere near the same iron fist. Care to share? I maybe should be casting a wider net.

I mean the moderation of the site as a whole. I would rather ask about science or history on AskMe even if the answers aren't as great because it isn't next door to the klan meeting.
Well, that's going to seriously limit your learning. Just how big is the geographical radius you draw around such hot spots? Would you work in an office if it was across the street from a KKK member? How about seeing a doctor who had previously worked on a Nazi wannabe gang member?

Really, that's a ridiculous metaphor you're establishing.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:06 PM on July 18, 2013


The presence of gilded comments in a subreddit is a great way for us to see if users are truly creating value for other users in those same communities or if their existence is merely a pointless expense. Why, it would certainly be a difficult decision for us to ban a subreddit that habitually prompted many gildings!

What an odd way of putting that, it's like the paragraph ends with a wink. Banning a subreddit is, presumably, something that happens when (and only when) a very small set of guidelines are violated and there's some corresponding outcry. Looking at general participating "non gilded" users as "pointless expense" and viewing subreddit bannings as something that can be essentially avoided with money just seems sort of frontier town to me.

I've been really enjoying poking around the subreddit drama stuff. Apparently /r/politics and /r/atheist have been removed from the defaults (they were added in October '11)? And /r/earthporn (really?) and /r/books have been added? But then immediately /r/books bans image macros?

I totally absolutely understand why people like it there and what they get out of it. At the same time I feel like there are top down decisions being made, just not that many of them, and lack of decision making is still a managerial choice. Works for other people, not my thing and I'm sort of surprised how saying "not my thing" about Reddit often seems to turn into a conversation about how it Could Be My Thing If I Would Try Harder which to my mind is just sort of part of the problem.
posted by jessamyn at 2:08 PM on July 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


So reddit only shuts groups down once they organize roving bands of vote-gamers and sitewide shit-stirrers? I don't know much about reddit's history, but I thought there were a couple of times when they ended up removing some particularly bad subreddits? I guess if the groups were really shut down for cheating or brigading, as the note from the CEO says, then there will always be confusion over whether a group got shut down for their site-breaking behavior or for "anti-free-speech politically correctness run amok" or whatever.

Still, the hugely problematic (and popular!) communities full of creepshots of kids, hate speech, etc., are on a spectrum that ranges from "family friendly" to "edgy?" Dang spectrum surely needs its goalposts moved or perhaps a new dimension or something?
posted by gobliiin at 2:18 PM on July 18, 2013


The 25th most popular thing on the front page is pictures of a racist memoriabilia collection. Right now.

www.reddit.com


Yeah some of that stuff is racist but its clearly WTF pics from some kids who's parents own an antique store. There are other things in there, like several jukeboxes slot machines etc.

But then immediately /r/books bans image macros?

From the mods [Mod Post] We have decided to ban direct images and memes from this subreddit.

I am glad. What I always hated about /r/books was like literal pictures of books that got posted over and over.

"Scored these gems at a yard sale" -> picture of random assortment of paperbacks.

Cool, another picture of a dog eared copy of Catch-22. Type some shit out people,.

I certainly don't want the sub filled with le may mays.

Scumbag Storm of Swords:

Le me, Derp: reading le Storm of Swords
Le book: I'm le close, you lose place.
Le me: Fuuuuuuuuu
le book: Problem? trollface.jpg
posted by Ad hominem at 2:26 PM on July 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


But then immediately /r/books bans image macros?

Yes! /u/blackstar9000 has been thinking for a long time about how the specifics of reddit's ranking algorithms favor low-effort content, and he regularly posts on /r/theoryofreddit about it. The /r/books mod post all but cites his work. I had been kinda bummed in the past that /r/theoryofreddit wasn't going to do much to improve the culture of the site, but apparently mods are paying attention to it.
posted by Jpfed at 2:28 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The 25th most popular thing on the front page is pictures of a racist memoriabilia collection. Right now.

Yeah, but pictures of racist memorabilia are interesting to non-racists.
posted by smackfu at 2:34 PM on July 18, 2013


If you want to find quality content on reddit without poking about the site, go to /r/DepthHub. That sub is well insulated of many of the gender and racial issues which permeate the site while being a focal point for some interesting stuff.
posted by banal evil at 2:37 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"R. Schlock: We don't call entire cities racist because racists live in them, do we?
We do, if "we" is the vocal majority of Mefites, and the "city" is Reddit.com.
"

Actually, it's pretty fair to call a city racist if a lot of racists live in them, e.g. Philly. If racism is a norm in a city, then yeah, it's a racist website city.
posted by klangklangston at 2:42 PM on July 18, 2013


Yeah, but pictures of racist memorabilia are interesting to non-racists.

It is all advertising and packaging. Some of those kids are also 12 and don't realize that shit even happened. It is good they see it wasn't all that long ago people were selling "n*gger hair tobacco".
posted by Ad hominem at 2:42 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sort of surprised how saying "not my thing" about Reddit often seems to turn into a conversation about how it Could Be My Thing If I Would Try Harder which to my mind is just sort of part of the problem.

I think it's more the implication often found here that Reddit is all racism and racist stuff, when a lot of people that go there simply don't encounter much (or any) of it because of how they've customized it to cater to their own interests. It sort of carries the implication that if I go to Reddit, I am exposed to all kinds of racist garbage and I'm totally OK with it. Which is not really the case. I'm not lying when I say I don't even see it 99% of the time at the places I frequent on Reddit. Certainly I see far less of it on Reddit than I do on YouTube or Yahoo! comments, by virtue of the parts of the site I visit.

If someone were to say "Reddit is not my thing" it doesn't really carry any implications. When someone says "Reddit is not my thing because it's on the whole still the domain of the socially maladjusted reactionary white male", I'm like "what did you just call me?"
posted by Hoopo at 3:04 PM on July 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


SRS is a community for people who are sick of bigotry to hang out and blow off steam.

Absolutely, however as someone who has ventured there out of curiosity a few times, what it looks like to an observer is a long list of links to awful fucking comments. I'm not even knocking it by saying that, it's just what it is as far as I can tell. Hanging out at a compilation of the worst, most terrible comments on Reddit even just to mock it doesn't look fun and SRS isn't somewhere I went to spend my time. Honestly, I'm likely to get angrier looking at those. If it's meant for blowing off steam, it's kind of counterproductive if I get more worked up reading it than I was before.
posted by Hoopo at 3:27 PM on July 18, 2013


The 25th most popular thing on the front page is pictures of a racist memoriabilia collection. Right now.

Oh, come on! That is almost unbelievably disingenuous.
posted by Cosine at 4:26 PM on July 18, 2013


Okay! I did a few random clicks and then checked the first discussion in each that had more than 20 comments. Still shruggo, still feel there are overarching vibes to the whole place, but that could be confirmation bias.

I'm sort of surprised how saying "not my thing" about Reddit often seems to turn into a conversation about how it Could Be My Thing If I Would Try Harder which to my mind is just sort of part of the problem.



Okay! I randomly pulled a few books off the shelf and most of them were not my thing, if I have to try harder to find quality I guess books are not my thing.

It's not so much "try harder" as "make a tiny, sincere effort".
posted by Cosine at 4:35 PM on July 18, 2013


In order for the books comparison to work, people would have to look at reddit and decide to never go on the internet again. Reddit doesn't work for some people, but the internet is a big place and there are plenty of other places for them to go.
posted by brundlefly at 4:45 PM on July 18, 2013


brundlefly: In this comparison subreddits on reddit = books in the library.
posted by Cosine at 4:48 PM on July 18, 2013


Hoopo: "I think it's more the implication often found here that Reddit is all racism and racist stuff, when a lot of people that go there simply don't encounter much (or any) of it because of how they've customized it to cater to their own interests. It sort of carries the implication that if I go to Reddit, I am exposed to all kinds of racist garbage and I'm totally OK with it. Which is not really the case. I'm not lying when I say I don't even see it 99% of the time at the places I frequent on Reddit. Certainly I see far less of it on Reddit than I do on YouTube or Yahoo! comments, by virtue of the parts of the site I visit... as someone who has ventured [to SRS] out of curiosity a few times, what it looks like to an observer is a long list of links to awful fucking comments. I'm not even knocking it by saying that, it's just what it is as far as I can tell. Hanging out at a compilation of the worst, most terrible comments on Reddit even just to mock it doesn't look fun and SRS isn't somewhere I went to spend my time. Honestly, I'm likely to get angrier looking at those. If it's meant for blowing off steam, it's kind of counterproductive if I get more worked up reading it than I was before."

SRS is actually kind of interesting in how misunderstood it is. Most Redditors seem to really want to believe that, at best, SRS is kind of a gossip column kind of thing where people love to tell salacious stories about the worst Reddit has to offer because they get off on that kind of thing. But - as far as I can tell, that actually isn't the case; at least it's not the major draw SRS has to people who post there.

SRS is popular because many devoted, dyed-in-the-wool Redditors have an experience that is directly counter to yours. Many Redditors who know exactly what they're doing when they set up their subscriptions, who carefully prune their list of followed subreddits, who are savvy about finding the more intelligent corners of Reddit to hang out on, still find themselves encountering sexism and racism daily. And it pisses them off. And they'd like to say something about it, but they know it wouldn't be welcome.

And honestly I really appreciate and value the larger SRS project at this point. If SRS has a goal, as a crusade, judging from the larger actions it's taken, then that goal is to shed light on the worst things that happen on Reddit with the goal of spurring change and building a Reddit-wide community where hate speech isn't tolerated. The goal is to either convince the admins to moderate those community norms or to convince communities to do the work on their own levels. And I have to say that I think SRS has been somewhat successful in this; at least they've helped publicize some of the darker corners of Reddit, and they've helped moderators see that, at the very least, allowing hatespeech in their subreddits causes the potential for bad publicity.

So, yeah. This is one respect in which Reddit is really more diverse than even many Redditors realize. Many people here have made what I think is a typical Reddit argument here: racism and sexism aren't a huge problem that affects all of Reddit, the community respects freedom of speech, all you have to do is be careful what subreddits you follow. But not all Redditors feel that way. SRS has a huge number of followers, most pretty intensive Reddit users, and almost all of them seem convinced that Reddit needs to change, and that the admins need to start adopting and enforcing community norms.

Cosine: "It's not so much 'try harder' as 'make a tiny, sincere effort'."

I try. I'm there every day. Almost 4000 comment karma may not be exactly incredible, but I'm a regular contributor to conversations. And I, as a Redditor, think Reddit has some massive problems that require real change, from the top down. I'm not alone; there are forty thousand of us on SRS who agree.

So, honestly, I don't think the 'if you just tried it a little more' tack is really very convincing.
posted by koeselitz at 4:51 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I try. I'm there every day. Almost 4000 comment karma may not be exactly incredible, but I'm a regular contributor to conversations. And I, as a Redditor, think Reddit has some massive problems that require real change, from the top down. I'm not alone; there are forty thousand of us on SRS who agree.

So, honestly, I don't think the 'if you just tried it a little more' tack is really very convincing.


It wasn't "try harder not to find massive problems on reddit" it was "try harder to find subreddits worth subscribing to".

Of course there are problems on reddit, my issue is with people being all "reddit is awful at worst and meh at best". Which is just silly.
posted by Cosine at 4:55 PM on July 18, 2013


Cosine: "brundlefly: In this comparison subreddits on reddit = books in the library."

Yes, I understand that. But subreddits aren't as diverse as books, and are tied together by a much more specific culture. Reddit isn't a medium, it's a specific place with its own set of social norms, and those norms don't work for a lot of people.
posted by brundlefly at 4:57 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


A lot of what's going on on SRS is basically straight white men being treated the way gender and sexual minorities are treated everywhere else on Reddit. Once in awhile we get a post to the effect of "...oh, I get it." and everybody cheers. Much more often we get "OMG UR R TEH REOL RASCISTS" and then we post those publicly and laugh our asses off.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:03 PM on July 18, 2013


It's not so much "try harder" as "make a tiny, sincere effort".

You saw my sincere effort. It was actually not tiny. I do not think Reddit is awful. I dip in to Reddit now and again, I haven't put it on a blacklist. I just don't like it that much. And that should be totally fine. And the fact that I have to argue with people about my own personal preferences regarding what sites on the internet to visit and spend my limited non-MetaFilter time makes the place less, not more, palatable to me.

I get why people don't like the throwaway "Reddit is a cesspool" sorts of comments. I don't think they're particularly cool either. But there should be a point at which we get to a "reasonable people can disagree on whether Reddit is right for them" point and people can go their own ways without folks implying that either set of people Redditors or non-Redditors are somehow not clued in to what everyone else knows to be true.
posted by jessamyn at 5:11 PM on July 18, 2013


Maybe a lot has changed since my days there, but SRS isn't about changing anything. It's shelter from the storm for the people who need it, and that's about it. SRS is FOR the members of SRS and could give a shit about saving Reddit.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 5:13 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I genuinely enjoy the fact that every conversation about Reddit somehow devolves into a conversation about SRS.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 5:15 PM on July 18, 2013


The best thing about SRS is /r/SRSMythos, where we post and laugh about the ridiculous shit people say about SRS. My favorite are the persistent "SRS runs the government!" silliness.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:20 PM on July 18, 2013


Cosine: "Of course there are problems on reddit, my issue is with people being all 'reddit is awful at worst and meh at best'. Which is just silly."

Well, a few things:

(a) Regarding jessamyn's point: people are not required to find subreddits they like. I mean, I really think olives are wonderful, but if people don't like olives, they aren't required to spend time learning to enjoy them. Those things seem pretty much the same to me. I am not super-invested in whether people like my favorite websites - or at least I shouldn't be.

(b) I've also kind of decided to give up on trying to convince people to find better subreddits. This seems like the best course of action to me at this point; it's effort I can't really demand from people who aren't into it. I mean: people are going to go to the front page of a website and judge the website by what they see there. That isn't insane, is it? It's normal. I'm done with blaming people for judging Reddit by its front page; judging it by the front page is perfectly rational, in fact. Those are our most popular subs. And the frequency with which stuff that should only be showcased on SRS ends up on the front page is sort of worrisome. I'd rather fix that before demanding that people look closer.
posted by koeselitz at 5:21 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


jessamyn: If, as you said, you just clicked random a few times then...

But yeah, you're right that it should be totally fine for you to not like it, and it is totally fine (not that it would matter if it wasn't), my issue is more disbelief that anyone with decent interneting skills wouldn't find high quality content there with little effort, but if you already feel skeeved by the general state of the place then I honestly understand how the good stuff would have a harder time standing out.

I can be naive but I find it extremely easy to miss all the racist/sexist/nasty stuff from reddit too, it doesn't come up much in the subs I subscribe to and I don't use the general front page (who does?) so honestly I tend to forget it's there. From time to time I get a shock, and it's unpleasant, but it's like stumbling onto accidental porn, close the tab and move on.
posted by Cosine at 5:29 PM on July 18, 2013


people are not required to find subreddits they like.

Yup, they aren't, but if they tell me they looked and COULD NOT find good stuff then either they have poor search and filter skills or they aren't being genuine or I am drastically underestimating the breadth of the entirety of what people can find uninteresting or not valuable.

I mean, I really think olives are wonderful, but if people don't like olives, they aren't required to spend time learning to enjoy them. Those things seem pretty much the same to me.

I think there is slightly more variety in subreddits than olives.
posted by Cosine at 5:33 PM on July 18, 2013


r/hunting probably allows trophy pictures of dead animals while r/animalrights (I don't know if either of these exist) likely prohibits them

Not to pick on you, but I think this is the kind of commentary that is exactly the problem when it comes to Reddit dealing with the fact that it has some seriously unsavory shit on it. Something like hunting vs. non-hunting (or to use a real example, the pro-regulation r/gunsarecool sub vs. r/guns) may be contentious issues, which is exactly why they are not on the table for some sort of site-wide regulation. Hosting a bunch of white supremacists, however, is not and should not be a contentious issue that requires deep introspection. That's where these conversations go off the rails, when someone suggests banning something near universally reviled that adds nothing to the quality or experience -- actively detracts from it, really.
posted by Panjandrum at 5:36 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


jpfed, I did see that, and I think Yishan's "Such is the way of the internets" attitude is precisely why I have so much disdain for the Admins. They're in charge of an immensely popular and heavily trafficked site, if anyone could do something about changing "the way of the internets" it's them. I think they're just too scared of losing their market share at this point, and too daunted and unimaginative, to do anything about it.
posted by Panjandrum at 5:45 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cosine: "I think there is slightly more variety in subreddits than olives."

Maybe, but probably not. Wikipedia says there are thousands of different cultivars of olives, though it doesn't say exactly how many; and each of those cultivars can vary widely in flavor according to where it is grown and what methods are used for growing it. Meanwhile, there are only 5,580 active subreddits, according to Reddit's about page.

Olives are pretty diverse.
posted by koeselitz at 5:46 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Basically, Reddit is an egregious violator of Rule 6 of the Dashlaw: If your website's full of assholes, it's your fault.
posted by Panjandrum at 5:47 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Man I love olives. Right now I'm eating "marinated green pitted Sicilian olives" $5.99 a lb. I like pretty much all olives. The ones I don't like are the wrinkled black ones.

The active subreddits I believe are the ones that have a post in the last x day. So there are a shitload that are out there that just don't meet the criteria.

I don't know what I like more, olives or reddit. Probably olives.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:55 PM on July 18, 2013


Yup, olives are great. I have some trouble however believing anyone could keep a straight face suggesting that even two radically different types of olive are less similar that /r/nastybitches and r/AskScience.
posted by Cosine at 6:02 PM on July 18, 2013


Most Redditors seem to really want to believe that, at best, SRS is kind of a gossip column kind of thing where people love to tell salacious stories about the worst Reddit has to offer because they get off on that kind of thing. But - as far as I can tell, that actually isn't the case; at least it's not the major draw SRS has to people who post there.

With all due respect, when its explicitly explained that way in the FAQ, and the content conforms to the FAQ, maybe it's not other people that want to believe something about SRS that it isn't
posted by Hoopo at 6:09 PM on July 18, 2013


I have some trouble however believing anyone could keep a straight face suggesting that even two radically different types of olive are less similar that /r/nastybitches and r/AskScience.

And I have some trouble believing that "OLIVES: MOST OF THEM ARE NOT SHIT-STUFFED, SOME ARE REALLY QUITE GOOD" is a good way of marketing olives.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:10 PM on July 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Throubes olives believe it or not that is a review in esquire.

Yeah, granted I've only had like maybe 50 types. More if you count olives stuffed with almonds, Gorgonzola, or garlic. But they are all still olives. AskScience says it is a chemical compound all olives contain that makes them similar.

Maybe reddit is the same, the one constant is the karma system and the threaded comments. No matter how awesome your users are you can't change the basic components of a subreddit.

Maybe that is what some people don't like.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:11 PM on July 18, 2013


If anyone is interested in finding better subreddits, check out my profile. I've tried to outline a reasonably effective strategy that should be more efficient than hitting /r/random.

Redditors, if you have any suggestions for improving my profile, let me know. I'm especially interested in suggestions from women and minorities about what they consider non-bigoted reddits, because I suspect that I'm just not sensitive enough to bigotry to notice things that would be repellent to others.
posted by Jpfed at 8:15 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


even r/adviceanimals is dodgy
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:30 PM on July 18, 2013


me: "Most Redditors seem to really want to believe that, at best, SRS is kind of a gossip column kind of thing where people love to tell salacious stories about the worst Reddit has to offer because they get off on that kind of thing. But - as far as I can tell, that actually isn't the case; at least it's not the major draw SRS has to people who post there."

Hoopo: "With all due respect, when its explicitly explained that way in the FAQ, and the content conforms to the FAQ, maybe it's not other people that want to believe something about SRS that it isn't"

What FAQ are you reading? I tend to refer to this one. It does not say what you seem to think it says.

Specifically, the FAQ says this:

"Q: What is SRS? A: In short, a circlejerk. A lot of people get really, really sick of the bigoted shit upvoted on this site and our community functions as a break room for them to laugh, vent and commiserate without being dismissed, silenced through downvotes or needing to explain why the comments suck over and over. This is why the mods are quick to ban and why the rules to keep it a circlejerk are so stringent. It may come off as asshole-ish, but part of the appeal of the sub is that for once we're the majority. It's our space and we don't have to make room for people who don't "get it". More to the point, SRS is a place for those who already know why something might be considered offensive; not for those who wish to find out why."

Where in this does it say that SRS is supposed to be a gossipy place for people to tell salacious stories just because they get off on that kind of thing? This seems dramatically different. I mean, here's the way I characterized SRS in the comment you were responding to:

"SRS is popular because many devoted, dyed-in-the-wool Redditors have an experience that is directly counter to yours. Many Redditors who know exactly what they're doing when they set up their subscriptions, who carefully prune their list of followed subreddits, who are savvy about finding the more intelligent corners of Reddit to hang out on, still find themselves encountering sexism and racism daily. And it pisses them off. And they'd like to say something about it, but they know it wouldn't be welcome."

Is this not an accurate characterization of the SRS FAQ?
posted by koeselitz at 9:28 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Reddit has 5 rules, they're all explicit, and they're all about not gaming the system or bringing the heat down. The Reddit admins don't want to moderate content. Subreddit moderates can go crazy with content moderation, that's their purview.

For an easy comparison: How many rules does MetaFilter have and how many of those are explicit? (I don't even now and I tried to find out, if anyone has a link to a specific list I'd appreciate it.)

It seems like many people think that only forums that are heavily moderated from the very top down are good places for discussion. They want implicit rules. They want an 'I don't like the thing this person says.' button that goes to the highest authority and they want moderators roving around policing everything. They want a site-wide mandated social alignment and site-wide enforcement of conformity. They want an overarching authority to come down on people who express views they disagree with, that's what their participation requires.


It's really up to the subreddit moderators on Reddit to police their own communities, that's the level at which this stuff is meant to be resolved on Reddit. Complain toyour moderators, whose moderation you've consented to by using their subreddit. In a racist subreddit, I assume they'd delete submissions and ban users who don't demonstrate adequate racism. At least, I'd expect this if they have any standards about the purity of their hatred.

It's not about free speech. It's about self-organizing communities, each of which have their own norms and standards. Honestly, I think the bad of Reddit makes the good better and I like that so many diverse things are happening on the same site. When people don't run to their corners to be "safe" from each others ideas I think change is more likely.


This focus on racism strikes me as really weird. "Reddit is a place where racists are free to gather." always makes me think "The United States is a place where racists are free to gather." (and they often gather in government.) Which of these two things do you think, if you had to guess, does me more harm online: 1. The occassional overt racists, overtly racist joke, or racist group; or 2. The constant background of deeply ingrained background of "not racist" white supremacy/European-origin ethnocentricity that is rampant on the internet.

It's really easy to point the finger at the overt bigot or press a 'report' button and tell on someone anonymously. I'm sure many do this and then continue to literally sit at tables where the people they claim to care about would never be welcome. (Not to mention applauding the latest 'nigger'-fest by Quentin Tarantino.(I'm still not over how many progressives think this racist piece of trash and exploitation of painful history is a good movie and that QT should keep his 'nigger' privileges.))
posted by yonega at 9:30 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


yonega: "For an easy comparison: How many rules does MetaFilter have and how many of those are explicit? (I don't even now and I tried to find out, if anyone has a link to a specific list I'd appreciate it.)"

Metafilter is a community with an organic set of community norms and guidelines; there are some rules (no self-linking, and racism and sexism are generally not allowed) but largely the community has looser guidelines like "don't derail conversations." This makes a lot more sense for a community that has lots of discussions, I think; it means things can be more fair because they're decided on a case-by-case basis and the community can discuss them if we feel we need to.

"It seems like many people think that only forums that are heavily moderated from the very top down are good places for discussion. They want implicit rules. They want an 'I don't like the thing this person says.' button that goes to the highest authority and they want moderators roving around policing everything. They want a site-wide mandated social alignment and site-wide enforcement of conformity. They want an overarching authority to come down on people who express views they disagree with, that's what their participation requires."

Yes, a lot of us Redditors want that. We want it because Reddit is slowly being torn apart by the fact that it is becoming known for a whole bunch of crappy things. That brings down the whole Reddit community, and all subreddits feel the brunt of it. When people in SRS come up for air (rarely, although it happens, and much more in other fempire subreddits) this is what they talk about: the fact that the lack of community norms is really destroying what we have on Reddit.

"It's really up to the subreddit moderators on Reddit to police their own communities, that's the level at which this stuff is meant to be resolved on Reddit. Complain toyour moderators, whose moderation you've consented to by using their subreddit. In a racist subreddit, I assume they'd delete submissions and ban users who don't demonstrate adequate racism. At least, I'd expect this if they have any standards about the purity of their hatred."

It's becoming clear, I think, that this is unsustainable. The linked article above describes admins deleting racist subreddits aggressively. They ostensibly began doing so because of brigades and campaigns into other subreddits; but the number of deletions made it clear that that wasn't the only reason. They did it because the racist subreddits are hurting all of Reddit by destroying our reputation and seeping into other subreddits. And the admins know that Reddit cannot afford to become known as "that racist place on the Internet," no matter how many nice subreddits there may be.
posted by koeselitz at 9:45 PM on July 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


(The closest thing to a set of rules Metafilter has, I think, is the FAQ.)
posted by koeselitz at 9:48 PM on July 18, 2013


This focus on racism strikes me as really weird. "Reddit is a place where racists are free to gather." always makes me think "The United States is a place where racists are free to gather."

"The United States" isn't private property.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:22 PM on July 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Reddit is one website with a unified logo and design for all its subs. The material on it is published on Reddit and is associated with the site, not with the single users (like Facebook). If MeFi had a bunch of racists or sexists, then people would know it for that. If SA was still full of pedophiles and griefers, it would be known for that. Reddit is a place where a cute photo of a teenager's drawing gets sexulized comments and where, for a while, a large number of people came to it looking for jailbait.

So yeah, the admins should moderate and police the worse comments, because its their site. And if its up to subreddit moderators, why aren't the mods of popular subs like r/politics, r/atheism, r/pics, and r/aww policing the comments more closely? Maybe they don't notice or don't care.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:35 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Something like hunting vs. non-hunting (or to use a real example, the pro-regulation r/gunsarecool sub vs. r/guns) may be contentious issues, which is exactly why they are not on the table for some sort of site-wide regulation. Hosting a bunch of white supremacists, however, is not and should not be a contentious issue that requires deep introspection.

I think there are two largely-independent arguments being made:
(1) Reddit has a problem because it harbors some beyond-contention *-ist subreddits
(2) Reddit has a problem because the overall culture is *-ist

It's the same distinction as between "Philly is a racist city because it has a KKK chapter" (1) and "Philly is a racist city because it has a large percentage of racist people" (2).

In my mind, the overall culture (to the extent one exists) is what really matters, and (1) is at best a symptom of that culture. If the overall culture is healthy, then it can tolerate having a small number of *-ists encysted in their own subreddits, in the same way that (I hope) Metafilter could tolerate a user sincerely arguing against gay marriage (for example). If the overall culture is unhealthy, then lopping off only the very most extreme edge of that unhealthy distribution will have little effect on the broader problem.

So that's why I bring up other contentious issues, because if the plan is to steer the whole culture from the top down through moderation, it will not be enough to weigh in on only the most extreme, beyond-contention cases-- it will need to target the bulk, the 'average' sexist and racist comments, which will require making decisions on when (for example) opinions on Israel/Palestine stray into religious and racial bigotry.
posted by Pyry at 1:37 AM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


In other Reddit news, /r/atheism and /r/politics are no longer on the default home page.

I've rarely used Reddit, but this put me off as much as the sexism/racism - I really dislike evangelical atheists (and maybe that's because I'm from a country where being atheist, or childfree, or whatever, is not actually that much of an issue) and internet politics forums make me want to take out my eyes. (This is the same thing that stopped me using DigitalSpy.) I just...can't be arsed with it. I tired of 2edgy4U when I was sixteen and had a boyfriend who showed me Rotten.com.

I've found a few interesting boards on there that chime with my interests, but I always feel like I'm two clicks away from something that would be equally at home on Stormfront or BTL on the Daily Mail, or at best, someone M27 complaining about their girlfriend's 'fat vagina'. I don't want to risk that at work, frankly.
posted by mippy at 4:23 AM on July 19, 2013


Reddit gets 35 million unique visitors per month. That's around 1/5 of Facebook's traffic. Did you really judge tens of millions of people to be vile because they frequent a site that has content you find objectionable?

I know people who have stopped using Facebook because they are happy enough to allow groups to post racist and sexist crap. Some of which was only taken down after people like @EverydaySexism contacted the advertisers on the page and Facebook realised they'd lose money. I no longer have an account, and I don't particularly care if others do, but I'm happy that I no longer have to deal with indirect involvement with that.
posted by mippy at 4:31 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I left reddit, and don't visit the site except for maybe r/actuary once in a while.

I left because on one of the 'smart' subreddits, it was either r/truereddit or r/depthhub, I was told by a number of people, that victims of childhood sexual abuse who were traumatized by that abuse were "weak" people, and that "strong" people wouldn't be traumatized by the abuse.

So I deleted my account of +5 years and haven't commented since.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:59 AM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Part of the divide in experience we're talking about comes from the conflict between whether Reddit is a tool or whether Reddit is a culture.

The trick is that this confusion is built into the Reddit brand and marketing -- it 's exactly how they can take credit for free pizza for cancer kids out of one side of their mouth and simultaneously claim innocence while they close rank and try to protect the violentacrezes of the world from the consequences of their actions.

That's the brilliance of the brand. Snoo, the Reddit alien, will truck with Neil Degrasse Tyson one minute and share a high five with pedobear the next.

Reddit markets itself as a singular community. I will say that I "use" Reddit, but I will not call myself a "Redditor." I'd sooner go to a Tea Party rally than go to a Reddit meet-up because the majority vocally supports values that I do not care to identify with. It's pretty depressing because I do love me a good, old-fashioned meet-up.

If Reddit is a tool, then it should be a free-for-all. If it is a culture, then we should do everything in our power to either put Reddit culture on a healthy path or, failing that, to ensure that its sickness does not corrupt or impede mainstream culture.

PS -- There is a /r/metafilter, although I don't really understand what is supposed to be posted there.
posted by Skwirl at 8:47 AM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


What is or was Violent Acres? I vaguely remember an inflammatory blog by that name, but just seemed kinda outragefilter.
posted by mippy at 9:09 AM on July 19, 2013


u/ViolentAcrez was Michael Brutsch.
posted by koeselitz at 9:28 AM on July 19, 2013


I like how the only picture that article has is one of Anderson Cooper.
posted by jessamyn at 9:37 AM on July 19, 2013


"For an easy comparison: How many rules does MetaFilter have and how many of those are explicit? (I don't even now and I tried to find out, if anyone has a link to a specific list I'd appreciate it.)"

MeFi has two classes of rules, technical and social. On the technical side, there's things like, only one FPP a day, or one question a week in AskMe, no img tags, no marquee tags, and a few others of that ilk, e.g. no duplicate comments right after another.

On the social side, if I recall correctly, it all stems from one rule: Don't be an asshole. (Even then, that might be "Don't be too much of an asshole.") From that flows, "Don't self link," "Don't spam," "Don't reveal memail correspondence without permission," "Flag comments that bother you," "Self police," etc. We then have pretty active discussions in MetaTalk about the interpretations and applications of that policy, and the mods have, like, three tools in their kit: Talking to a person, deleting a comment/post, and banning/temp-banning.

Of course, MeFi+ subscribers can see all the deleted content, and undelete one thing per week, which is a pretty sweet deal.
posted by klangklangston at 9:56 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is entirely possible Reddit isn't aimed at me as a 30-something non-US person*. I had a look at the recommended subReddit thread in MeTa a while ago, and clicked through to r/lifeprotips, which all seemed to be things like 'Try separating your washing into dark and light colours to make clothes last longer' and 'Use coupons to get groceries cheaper' - things I might have found useful when I was eighteen and realising that I actually didn't really know how to use an iron properly. Maybe r/relationships and whatnot are the same, and maybe r/atheism is full of young men who are just realising that it's okay not to believe in God even if your parents do, and r/mensfashion is for young men who are getting used to having to think about their clothing for their first office job or dating. I'm kind of past that stage in my life now, and maybe me disliking Reddit is as unfair as a 30 yr old guy hating on Justin Bieber - it's not for me.

I also really dislike 'TL:DR' - if you can't be arsed to read a damn paragraph, then you should probably be participating in a different discussion. I appreciate that's kind of a meme on the site, but seriously. What I love about Metafilter is we all like telling our stories, and it's OK to be prolix at times.


* I find r/British Problems howlingly unfunny.
posted by mippy at 9:57 AM on July 19, 2013


The problem with Reddit and racism is that you can argue all you want that your punch is fine, nobody likes a punch bowl with a turd floating in it.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:51 PM on July 19, 2013


http://www.reddit.com/r/ImGoingToHellForThis/comments/1iozh5/niggers_gonna_nig/

front page of r/all! reddit is a good website for healthy people
posted by a birds at 9:38 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Augh, and today yet another perfectly good /r/makeupaddiction meme thread made it to /r/all and got a bunch of dudes who don't get the joke and a couple who prefer women without makeup and think we give a shit came into the discussion. /r/all is reddit's mechanism for rapidly making really good, supportive communities get overwhelmed and shitty by too many random commenters whenever any of their posts get popular. It's like the community version of the slashdot effect.
posted by NoraReed at 3:29 PM on July 21, 2013


Take the Reddit or Stormfront quiz
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:56 PM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


What is or was Violent Acres?

A housing development with a now-sacked marketing team.
posted by jaduncan at 9:07 AM on July 22, 2013


NoraReed, to be fair, whenever there's a make-up related post on the Blue there's inevitably a comment along the lines of 'Ladies, you don't need to put that overpriced mud on your face, women are all beautiful as they are'. It's very strange, because make-up wearing women don't go into threads about, I dunno, football kit changes and say 'Hey guys, you don't need to wear that polyester replica strip to be a real fan, stop bowing to the forces of sportswear capitalism whilst at the same time reeking of BO!'
posted by mippy at 9:35 AM on July 22, 2013


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