CRISIS ON INFINITE SUBREDDITS
June 11, 2015 1:08 PM   Subscribe

After last month's vow to curb targeted harassment and make the site a safer platform for all users, the admins of Reddit began making good on that promise yesterday by banning five offensive subreddits deemed guilty of doxxing, brigading, and otherwise tormenting others, including /r/fatpeoplehate -- a militantly anti-HAES forum whose attacks had recently extended to the admins of popular image host Imgur. In reaction, the 150K subscribers of FPH and their sympathizers in other fringe subreddits went on a rampage, creating countless clones (all banned), filling the front page with hate posts, and disregarding the veneer of free-speech activism to viciously slander Reddit CEO Ellen Pao personally. The dissenters advocate a mass exodus of the hate subs to Voat.co [obligatory_wonka.gif], a moderation-free clone of Reddit that has already crashed under the traffic. Ongoing coverage by the enlightened popcorn-munchers of SubredditDrama.

Other subreddits deleted yesterday:
  • /r/hamplanethatred (3071 subscribers) - similar to FPH; would routinely mock overweight people sitewide
  • /r/neof*g (1239) - an overtly racist and misogynist sub dedicated to slandering the mods and users of progressive-friendly gaming forum NeoGAF; featured a scrolling header of selfies stolen from various "pics of you IRL" threads
  • /r/shitn*ggerssay (219) - a virulently racist sub that regularly linked to black commenters for harassment
  • /r/transf*gs (149) - an anti-trans forum; posted images of a MTF minor over the objections of her mother
posted by Rhaomi (495 comments total) 69 users marked this as a favorite
 
Redditors, in defense of Reddit, destroy Reddit.
posted by entropone at 1:13 PM on June 11, 2015 [50 favorites]


The dissenters advocate a mass exodus of the hate subs ...

Is there a better outcome Reddit could realistically hope for?
posted by aubilenon at 1:13 PM on June 11, 2015 [149 favorites]


I'm always going to see it as "ham plane that red" and I'm okay with this.
posted by solarion at 1:13 PM on June 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


I was trying to figure out what the fuck happened over night. Thanks for clearing this up.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:14 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Good luck to Reddit, even if its overdue and they continue to be fairly footdraggy and halfassed in the way they go about this kind of thing.
posted by Artw at 1:15 PM on June 11, 2015 [21 favorites]


I was excited when I saw the post in /r/announcements yesterday about the bans. Then I clicked through to the comments to see the venom from mental-children who apparently treasure their "right" to, what, shit up other people's days? I occasionally hit /r/all when I want to spin through some stupid crap (since, obviously, I'm not subscribed to defaults), and the last few weeks have seen a constant stream of highly-upvoted posts from FPH (and blackpeopletwitter, for some reason?) that knocked me for a loop.

I guess with summer vacation coming up the kiddies would have even more time to harass , so now's the time to take action.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:16 PM on June 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


Good for Reddit. I'm one of the people who sticks to a carefully self-curated list of subreddits and usually has a pretty good time on them; the shitbirds who infested the banned fora can fuck off to 8chan if they have a problem with it. (I'd say "leave the internet entirely", but I'm being a realist.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:16 PM on June 11, 2015 [21 favorites]


Whatever happens, it's really interesting to watch an internet community of that size splinter and make an exodus.

Also the drama's pretty entertaining *popcorn.gif*
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 1:16 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]




People mention Reddit and wonder why I cringe.

Must admit though I am not really happy this is all going down the Internet memory hole though.

posted by Samizdata at 1:17 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Reddit: "No more hate speech please."
Haters: "You suck, we'll go elsewhere."

Sounds like problem solved. Am I missing something?
posted by monospace at 1:18 PM on June 11, 2015 [91 favorites]


This and twitter enabling sharing of blocklists between users* have given me the warm fuzzies.

*I'm told this sort of thing is a violation of every constitution everywhere including the ship.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:18 PM on June 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


Samizdata: "People mention Reddit and wonder why I cringe.

Must admit though I am not really happy this is all going down the Internet memory hole though.
"

(Since, ummm, I don't do Reddit really at all, but I like doing post drama archaeology, like when I missed the gist of GamerGate.)
posted by Samizdata at 1:18 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Must admit though I am not really happy this is all going down the Internet memory hole though."

I don't understand this sentiment. Just because somebody writes something shitty doesn't mean that it should be visible forever. I would think there will be plenty of threads left around that describe what happened.
posted by Roger Dodger at 1:19 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Reddit: "No more hate speech please."
Haters: "You suck, we'll go elsewhere."

Sounds like problem solved. Am I missing something?


All of the haters taking their sweet ass time going elsewhere, shitting up unrelated subs before they go :/
posted by jason_steakums at 1:20 PM on June 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


I'm one of the people who sticks to a carefully self-curated list of subreddits and usually has a pretty good time on them

I suspect the bulk of Reddit users are - they've got a small active community of trolls, harassers and creeps and then the bulk of users just want to get on with whatever their subreddit is about and are either ignorant of or tolerate that community. Previously Reddit has seen the creeps as essential and gone out of its way to support them, now I am guessing less so? Which is good - if KiA and other harassment and creep boards fuck off to the Chans I might start seeing it as a place I can interact with without holding my nose.
posted by Artw at 1:21 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


In related news: Twitter is letting you and your friends join hands to block trolls and miscreants

In what I'm sure is a shocker, this is considered CULOOSHUNS and UNETHICSAL and ESSJAYDUBYA THOUGHT POLICING among the these chuckleheads.

Also, as I mentioned in another thread: you can pretty reliably count on people who complain about being accused of being bigoted harassers violating both the actual, constitutional right to free speech as well as the lack of same in private spaces to immediately engage in the very behavior they deny they take part in.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:21 PM on June 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


cortex? mods? I hereby apologize (heck, I grovel) if I've ever caused any of you one seconds worry, annoyance, irritation or even mild pique. Thank you for all you do to keep this place what it is, and not Reddit!
posted by easily confused at 1:21 PM on June 11, 2015 [137 favorites]


Long overdue, but not exactly sure what the message is when private subs the Chimpire and related (no links, don't go looking) made the cut and apparently got the official seal of approval by not being marked for deletion.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:22 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


As I believe the peak of civilization was the release of Blazing Saddles, and it's been downhill from there, the Internet's downhill slide began with the demise of suck.com. I used to explain it to people as "Reddit is headlines, MeFi is the analysis", but frankly, this is the best $5.00(+) that I've ever spent...
posted by mikelieman at 1:23 PM on June 11, 2015 [32 favorites]


Sounds like problem solved. Am I missing something?

People are being super shitty on the way out.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:23 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


This isn't really a victory over hate speech. The other racist, sexist, etc subreddits remain and I got the impression the admins will continue to leave them be.
posted by Monochrome at 1:24 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Plus a history of being halfassed about this sort of thing on the part of Reddit. This is a company that only very reluctantly decided it didn't want to be used for sharing child porn.
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on June 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


I work for a sizable local government entity, and we toss around the idea of a Reddit account for outreach purposes. I'm reluctant, for a number of reasons not all related specifically to Reddit. When we were last discussing this we were looking at an example of a 'good' interaction on Reddit, between local government and constituents, and the name of the poster who asked the question was something like "babybukake."

Not that there isn't gleeful grossness and horrible behavior all over the internet and all over the world, and has been and will be forever, but it just always seems so on the nose at Reddit. So distilled.

I genuinely wish them the best and applaud this move. I am an active member of a few subreddits. But, oh my. You don't have to go very far from the well-lit areas to be in really horrible places indeed.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:25 PM on June 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


Long overdue, but not exactly sure what the message is when private subs the Chimpire and related (no links, don't go looking) made the cut and apparently got the official seal of approval by not being marked for deletion.


Apparently the position is "Shitty, racist stuff is OK as long as you don't harass other users".

(Because apparently, the existence of that shitty racist stuff doesn't count as harassment. )
posted by damayanti at 1:26 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is a decent summary from /u/lumpy_potato on the /r/subredditdrama thread:
TL;DR Say what you want, but keep it to your subreddit.
edit: since its brought up:
Being racist on your sub thats about being racist? Ideas, whatever
being racist on your sub and then harassing users on other subs, facebook, instagram, etc., is bad behavior.
You can have plenty of shitty ideas and talk about them with other people who have shitty ideas. As long as you just talk about them. Once it becomes actions taken against internal/external groups specifically to harass/demean/threaten, its an issue.
I'm not sure where brigading falls on this spectrum. If I had to guess, Reddit is more forgiving of brigading because it only affects reddit, while external harassment affects people in Real Lifetm. One big possibility is that claims of brigading are somewhat exaggerated (e.g. you aren't getting downvoted by a brigade, you're getting downvoted for being shitty). But only the admins would be able to release that kind of info. Kind of wish they would take the time to release some statistics on that.
In reference to questions about KIA, SRS, subs 'known' for brigading (even SRD has that reputation), I'm thinking Reddit doesn't care enough.
Imagine reddit like a big box full of little rooms, and you can go in and out of the rooms. There might be some rooms where the people there only ever want to run around chucking shit everywhere and attempting to fornicate with inanimate objects. And while Reddit doesn't like that, its all happening inside the big box. Once someone tries to escape the box to try to chuck shit and dry hump something outside of the box, it gets into no-no territory. If the room actively encourages or supports the people trying to chuck shit and dry hump things outside the box, the admins move in to clean house. That's my guess at least.
So Internal sucks, but not enough to make any big movements right now. External sucks and Reddit is moving hard to smack that shit down. I have no idea where internal harassment falls on Reddits priority list. I do not know what the specific reasons were behind FPH being banned, or how well they fall into the standards the admins are purporting to uphold.
my husband is a redditor and turned me to the dark side some years back. I stick to subs about my particular nerdy interests because there is a sub for everything and my particular subs of interest are very well modded by thoughtful people and are full of engaging content. I find the threaded discussions easier to follow for an old forum user like myself. I never venture into /r/all because, just, no.

that said this has been long in coming and I am glad to see it happen.
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:26 PM on June 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


"The only banned subreddit with more than 5,000 subscribers is r/fatpeoplehate."

I wish I found that surprising, but I don't. I guess it's good to know that something called "/r/shitniggerssay" was pretty unpopular.
posted by Aravis76 at 1:26 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Amazing that 150,000 people hit the subscribe button for r/fatpeoplehate.
posted by smackfu at 1:26 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


And yet again KotakuInAction gets a pass. Again this steaming shit train pulls in for passengers at KiA and again they're not run off the site for brigading. But, no, its cool, I Digg it.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:28 PM on June 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


This is one of the best horrible things to happen in a long time.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:28 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


So THIS is what happens when The Button's timer finally runs out?

...Shit. Sorry I held off pressing it for so long.
posted by delfin at 1:29 PM on June 11, 2015 [33 favorites]


I'm on Yik Yak (anonymous location-based twitter with upvotes, essentially - it parrots a lot of Reddit conventions and culture, I've found) because I find it's a good way to keep up with what's going on with the undergrads on campus.

This morning there were a few threads about this. One of them was crying about how Reddit is going against its commitment to "free speech". Then OP then made pains to talk about how they were a woman in the tech industry, and had suffered persecution in Ukraine for not being ethnically Russian, and a bunch of other stuff in defense of supporting "free speech" that seemed tailor made for an astro-turf campaign. Like a lot of fighty stuff on the campus Yak, it was downvoted and removed (once a post gets -5 karma it gets taken down).

It made me wonder how much of this stuff is done simply to get people riled up, how much is genuinely ideologically based, and how much coordination there is behind the scenes in terms of messaging and deployment.
posted by codacorolla at 1:29 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


And yet again KotakuInAction gets a pass. Again this steaming shit train pulls in for passengers at KiA and again they're run off the site for brigading. But, no, its cool, I Digg it.

They are certainly freaking out about it, and I suspect if they ever openly used it for organizing a specific act of harassment it would be all over for them, but that stuff generally happens on the Chans.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on June 11, 2015


best post title of the year

there are good subreddits but I kinda feel like every good subreddit is basically the Governor's town from The Walking Dead
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:30 PM on June 11, 2015 [35 favorites]


Better half-assed than no-assed.
posted by Segundus at 1:30 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


My favourite part of this has been the ridiculously pompous and over-the-top allusions to Nazis, worse-than-the-Holocaust, death of free speech, etc etc on the part of the poor, put-upon subscribers of these noble subreddits.

First they came for the intrepid members of shitniggerssay, and I was like, cool, and ate a sammich.
posted by Palindromedary at 1:30 PM on June 11, 2015 [74 favorites]


I'm so happy that the result of this is reddit's vocal hate population showing everyone what they really are: a bunch of hypocritical, petulant children who get upset when they can't do what they want. I can't remember the last time I saw such a mass of people throw a temper tantrum over something so inconsequential.
posted by gucci mane at 1:30 PM on June 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


The whining and entitlement is delightful. I hope this is only the beginning.
posted by bgal81 at 1:30 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


And yet again KotakuInAction gets a pass. Again this steaming shit train pulls in for passengers at KiA and again they're not run off the site for brigading.

The optimist in me wants to say that they're on really thin ice, and it's only a short while before it gets kicked off, but I'm not holding my breath. Then again, maybe the worst will actually follow up on their threats to move to voat, in which case they will focus the lawbreaking there and hopefully be easier targets for law enforcement.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:33 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


"And nothing of value was lost."

Reddit has some good communities, but they are like stepping stones when the sewers have overflowed.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:34 PM on June 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


I guess this means some apparently serious adults had meetings where they discussed the fate of subreddits called "/r/hamplanethatred" and "/r/coontown." And the result was they decided to ban one and keep the other? And not burn the whole thing to the ground?
posted by mullacc at 1:34 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


"The only banned subreddit with more than 5,000 subscribers is r/fatpeoplehate."

Which had 150,000 subscribers.
posted by zarq at 1:35 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Amazing that 150,000 people hit the subscribe button for r/fatpeoplehate.

Not really, sadly. There's a sliding scale of acceptability of bigotry, and bigotry based on body shape is one of the more acceptable.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:36 PM on June 11, 2015 [16 favorites]




Roger Dodger: ""Must admit though I am not really happy this is all going down the Internet memory hole though."

I don't understand this sentiment. Just because somebody writes something shitty doesn't mean that it should be visible forever. I would think there will be plenty of threads left around that describe what happened.
"

Yup. Because, on the internet, there's ALWAYS 100% objective discussions of events and I can trust every commentator to give me the WHOLE story with no flavoring.

As opposed to, you know, looking it up myself.
posted by Samizdata at 1:37 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sadly this is by no means CASE NIGHTMARE REDDIT.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:37 PM on June 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


From what I can tell the banning is due to brigading and not hate speech or etc. So it's more of a sideways victory-- Reddit is just enforcing the rules they've always had, not cracking down on awfulness.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:38 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


/r/fatpeoplehate was insanely popular for what it was. I get that hating overweight people is fairly socially acceptable, but Lord, that place was something else. It was pretty much the sole reason I very rarely looked /r/all, even when I was in the mood to scroll past rage comics and advice animals. It's a baby step, but having it gone is phenomenal.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:39 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wonder why all of this is happening now? And why is there such a main focus on fat-related subreddits? And what are the criteria for the bans? The FatPeopleHate subreddit was banned for posting information about imgur admins, if I recall correctly but all the subsequent bans do not make any sense and just result in a spillover to ordinary subreddits.

Strange.

Perhaps there is a shift in advertising strategy and this is a way of cleaning house? That wouldn't explain why some of the biggest racist subreddits have been left alone. The moderation of the banning and reasoning seems very strange and uneven.
posted by enamon at 1:40 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


See, I can't get into Reddit not only because it houses this sort of thing but also because it's just one massive sprawl with eighty billion subreddits of varying repute. If it comes down to visiting a more structured forum or wading through Reddit looking for diamonds in shit in shit in shit, usually I go with the former option.
posted by delfin at 1:42 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is too good to be true.

KiA is just being astonishingly stupid (well, more so than usual): Here's an example:
If you were around since the beginning than you would know that thousands of comments were deleted in a thread about Literally Who in /r/gaming. After that, gaming sub's banned all discussion of GamerGate. It's literally the reason KiA exists.
Thanks for admitting that "literally the reason KiA exists" was because you couldn't harass Zoe Quinn in the default subs, bro.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:42 PM on June 11, 2015 [65 favorites]


I saw the announcement and I didn't think much of it other than fewer annoying posts on /r/bestof. Then I made the mistake of clicking on /r/all. Good lord. I wonder how much of the outcry are real grievances, and how much is just trolls being trolls.
posted by Badgermann at 1:43 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, as long as users can just start new subreddits at will, I don't see how this is going to solve the problem. It's sort of like cancer. The problem cells used to be all grouped up over there in a big tumor where you could at least try to ignore them. By busting up the tumors, they've just caused the whole thing to metastasize and now you've got tiny little bits of cancer running amok all over the place and fucking up everything.

Sure you can play whack a mole with new subreddits all day if that's your thing, but at the end of the day the problem isn't subreddits, but the users creating and populating them. So when are they going to start banning users?
posted by Naberius at 1:44 PM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm not a Reddit user, but I know there were some white supremest groups that had subreddits there (Stormfront I think was the name?) Is there a reason those were not banned?
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:44 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wonder how much of the outcry are real grievances

I assume you mean people who actually feel wronged? 'Cause none of it is a "real grievance."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:44 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Who weeps for the h8ers?
posted by blue_beetle at 1:46 PM on June 11, 2015


Yeah, I realized after posting that.
posted by Badgermann at 1:46 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


So when are they going to start banning users?

It is so insanely trivially easy to make a new reddit account. I have lost count of my own.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:46 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


delfin: Don't think of Reddit as a forum. Think of it as the newsgroups of old (but with upvotes and downvotes).
posted by enamon at 1:46 PM on June 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


"Must admit though I am not really happy this is all going down the Internet memory hole though."

Oh, the NSA has it all already, no worries.
posted by emjaybee at 1:47 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sounds like problem solved. Am I missing something?

It's not so much "You suck,we'll go elsewhere" so much as it's "you suck, and we'll go elsewhere after we spend a day TP'ing your entire living room and smearing shit on all the sheets and standing outside in your yard mooning everyone and prank-calling your in-laws from your cell phone and making fake 911 calls that you're trying to rob us and stuff."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:47 PM on June 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


Chuck Wendig made an excellent and topical point in his defense of Irene Gallo:

And any time you want to make sure that your “inclusiveness” includes the most awful amongst us, please understand you’re not creating a safe space for anybody but the abusers. It’s like putting up a sign in your flowerbed: POISON IVY WELCOME.

There is a lot of recent incidents - not just this, but the dismissal of Nobel laureate Tim Hunt over incredibly sexist comments and the Strange Loop conference uninviting Curtis "Mencius Moldbug" Yarvin - and the outcry of "what about free speech!" that makes me feel that point needs to be hammered home to people.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:47 PM on June 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


Ugh, I damn nearly deleted my account when r/punchablefaces became the new outlet of the hour for reddit's petty temper tantrum. It wasn't just that all the posts (and I literally mean ALL) were Pao, it's that one of them was literally titled "ching chong ding dong," and the rest were not much better. Like others are saying here, I found my own niche of Reddit that I like for both the content and the people there. I like it so much that I moderate that niche and even host what I think is a pretty spiffy podcast for it. But that little corner is good because it deliberately chooses not to govern itself like the rest of Reddit (which is notably ungoverned).

Seriously, every time I am reminded that the rest of Reddit exists, I want to just walk the fuck away and never ever look back. Especially when it is shit like this, the kind of vituperative petty meanness which is common to 12 year olds and people who never grew out of being 12. I can only hope that this signals a change in the way Reddit runs so that maybe the first piece of advice to a new user wouldn't have to be "unsubscribe from all the defaults." Because I know I'm going to eventually hit that breaking point of abandoning my little corner just to avoid being associated with the shithole, which is kind of sad because I actually like the work I've done and the people I've met through the site.
posted by Panjandrum at 1:47 PM on June 11, 2015 [30 favorites]


So when are they going to start banning users?

Top comment in the second link of the FPP (the announcement) says they shadow banned all the admins from FPH
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:48 PM on June 11, 2015


Who weeps for the h8ers?

Well, I'm laughing so hard I'm crying a bit, so technically, me.
posted by eriko at 1:48 PM on June 11, 2015 [16 favorites]




Reddit: Where you go when you think you're too mature for 4chan
posted by davros42 at 1:49 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Reddit: "No more hate speech please."
Haters: "You suck, we'll go elsewhere."

Sounds like problem solved. Am I missing something?


They've fixed the glitch.
posted by gyc at 1:50 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Pretty happy that despite being subscribed to ~50 subreddits I only heard about this on another site.
posted by acidic at 1:50 PM on June 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


I can't keep up with this shit and I've been following it since the beginning.
posted by hellojed at 1:50 PM on June 11, 2015


NoxAeternum: I think if one were to go with the garden analogy then one can say that, previously, the poison ivy has been confined to the farthest corners of the garden but, now, has instead been spilled all over the place.
posted by enamon at 1:51 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Same here. /r/math does not have a problem.
posted by sammyo at 1:51 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Although now I'm tempted to make a post about some kind of "fat" algorithm, but no.
posted by sammyo at 1:53 PM on June 11, 2015


Nonsense. Math is full of problems. That's what math is about.

wakka wakka
posted by enamon at 1:53 PM on June 11, 2015 [31 favorites]


Which is because a strategy of confinement doesn't work with poison ivy, either metaphorically or literally.

You have to get rid of it. All of it.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:53 PM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


zombieflanders: "you can pretty reliably count on people who complain about being accused of being bigoted harassers violating both the actual, constitutional right to free speech as well as the lack of same in private spaces to immediately engage in the very behavior they deny they take part in."

Literally true -- I've heard the FPH mods were notorious for banning anybody who disagreed with the party line.

shakespeherian: "Reddit is just enforcing the rules they've always had"

The rule against harassment is actually only a month old, drawn up in response to feedback on a sitewide survey that showed majorities of users uncomfortable with the hate speech and bullying that was spilling out of the worst subreddits.

enamon: "I wonder why all of this is happening now? And why is there such a main focus on fat-related subreddits? And what are the criteria for the bans? The FatPeopleHate subreddit was banned for posting information about imgur admins, if I recall correctly but all the subsequent bans do not make any sense and just result in a spillover to ordinary subreddits."

The original five subreddits were banned based on reports of harassing users on other subreddits. One example from a link upthread:
"This is not about a sub being offensive, this is about them systematically encouraging harassment in other subs, and in real life. This is about the actions of the users and the inability/unwillingness of the mods to do anything about it. I saw a post on /r/firefly[1] from a girl posing with Alan Tudyk who was over-weight and among the several people harassing her about about it in the comments, one in particular was relishing in letting her know that not only had he linked her photo to FPH, he also went through her history and took other pictures he promised to post there later.

That sub not only condoned that behavior, but they actually encouraged it. THAT is why they were banned. Not because the Admins were taking it personally, but because it was spilling outside of the sub and other users were being harassed in the name of the FPH sub. I wish this was the only instance I ever saw of this, but there were many many more. I'm am personally thrilled as shit that sub is gone and every serious member can go fuck themselves."
The subsequent subs (fatpeoplehate2, fatpersonhate, etc.) were deleted for ban evasion -- there's no point banning a subreddit if the mods are allowed to clone the sub, tack a "2" on the end, and carry right on.

enamon: "Perhaps there is a shift in advertising strategy and this is a way of cleaning house? That wouldn't explain why some of the biggest racist subreddits have been left alone. The moderation of the banning and reasoning seems very strange and uneven."

They don't have the manpower or the willpower to root out subs based on content, so they're drawing the line at taking said shitty content outside the confines of the sub to harass other users. The racist subs have, so far, managed to keep to themselves, which makes them that much easier to ignore. But if they cross the line they'll be nixed, too.

Panjandrum: "Seriously, every time I am reminded that the rest of Reddit exists, I want to just walk the fuck away and never ever look back. Especially when it is shit like this, the kind of vituperative petty meanness which is common to 12 year olds and people who never grew out of being 12."

I honestly believe a lot of this is being driven by junior high and high school students on summer break with more time to be edgy and rebellious on the internets.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:54 PM on June 11, 2015 [23 favorites]


Just this weekend I was thinking of writing a crawler to take snapshots of r/all every 5 or 10 minutes with the intent of figuring out if r/fatpeoplehate was taking up a disproportionate amount of Reddit mindshare (bleh) or if it was just me. It's too late now but I could have sworn that for a long while, you'd easily find multiple posts from that sub in the top-100 posts on r/all and likely a few in the top-20. Now, I realize if I had followed through, I would have been able to get snapshots of the aftermath.
posted by mhum at 1:54 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Same here. /r/math does not have a problem.

I'm not going to say "/r/math has a problem" but literally thirty seconds after clicking into the subreddit I found this comment with a metaphor that is unpleasant at best.
posted by griphus at 1:55 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm not a Reddit user, but I know there were some white supremest groups that had subreddits there (Stormfront I think was the name?) Is there a reason those were not banned?

Stormfront is not on Reddit. It's a long running white supremacist message board. r/Stormfront, in one of Reddit's moments of brilliance, is about weather.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:55 PM on June 11, 2015 [55 favorites]


This bears repeating, "Don't think of Reddit as a forum. Think of it as the newsgroups of old (but with upvotes and downvotes)."
posted by djeo at 1:55 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Redditors are revolting!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:58 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


KiA, FatPeopleHate, and anything politically-related make me side with the Chinese model of internet commenting, which surprises me - as I remember, you must use a government ID when commenting online in China (please correct me, anyone more knowledgeable!)

There's a massive problem around responsibility there, built on top of a misunderstanding of 'free speech'. The subset of problem users expect their 'free speech' to be protected and underwritten by a company they contribute nothing towards, and for the responsibility of their 'free speech' to be shouldered by the same company - not themselves. I love that the $ signup speed bump at MeFi turns off pseudonymous trolls - $5 is too much to pay to disrupt other people's conversations.

There has to be a better way to deal with responsibility and reputation online, without having to call on the grown-ups every time the man children find a new way to wee in the pool. What it is, I know not. I remember when BoingBoing took their first-iteration commenting systems down, and the explanation I was provided (I was writing my thesis on this subject at the time) was that you're free to go say what you want, but don't come round to their house to be an obnoxious asshole. Reddit has been a 20-story mall overrun by unchallenged obnoxious assholes who act like it's their deity-provided home, rent and responsibility free.
posted by davemee at 1:58 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


enamon: "delfin: Don't think of Reddit as a forum. Think of it as the newsgroups of old (but with upvotes and downvotes)."

Except without the pre-AOL autoselection of technical users. Oh, and a "clever" mascot.
posted by Samizdata at 1:58 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Redditors are revolting!

You can say that again.....
posted by eriko at 1:58 PM on June 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


emjaybee: ""Must admit though I am not really happy this is all going down the Internet memory hole though."

Oh, the NSA has it all already, no worries.
"

They don't share their toys. At all.
posted by Samizdata at 1:59 PM on June 11, 2015


I think if one were to go with the garden analogy then one can say that, previously, the poison ivy has been confined to the farthest corners of the garden but, now, has instead been spilled all over the place.

Well, theoretically they're going to have to deal with better-moderated subs that won't put up with their shit. At which point I have even less sympathy for their impotent rage.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:59 PM on June 11, 2015


Rhaomi: From what I heard, the FatPeopleHate subs would crack down on anyone violating Reddit guidelines and the subreddit was banned only when some imgur info was posted on the sidebar. All the admins, however, were shadowbanned so banning other subreddits for ban evasion doesn't really make sense. According to one of the posts on this thread, FPH had over 150,000 subscribers so it only makes sense that those subscribers would start a new subreddit. But going on a banning spree seems odd and heavy handed and, most of all, counterproductive, since you're going to have a guaranteed spillover which is what we're seeing. Or, as someone posted on this thread, you pretty much end up with this: https://youtu.be/j3Uy9wsfkok?t=2m00s
posted by enamon at 2:01 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


delfin: Don't think of Reddit as a forum. Think of it as the newsgroups of old (but with upvotes and downvotes).

Fucking hell, that's spot-on. alt.reddit.* with all of its connotations.

It also reminds me why reading even the pre-AOL incarnation of Usenet was scary without a carefully tuned newsreader with threading and scorefiles and whatnot.
posted by delfin at 2:05 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


If these now-banned subreddits are where some people get their overall impression of Reddit, no wonder they think it's a terrible site. I unsubscribed from the defaults soon after I joined and have found great communities in the smaller subreddits. There's a chance that these bans will cause an exodus to a new site, like how Digg users once switched to Reddit, but then again, that's "mission accomplished."

I do appreciate that the intended policy is to go after harassment, not just anything offensive. There's a lot of content that offends somebody but is valuable and should stay up—any politics, religion, NSFW topics, controversial issues like circumcision or anorexia or suicide. Take /r/atheism, for example; plenty of people would see it as clear-cut hate speech against religion, while others use it as a place to vent because their local community is too religious for them. The Reddit admins are better off not setting themselves up as the arbiters of what's too offensive to tolerate, and instead having concrete rules like "keep your weird opinions within your own subreddit" and "don't harass people."

(Yes, I know that some subreddits really do seem intolerable by anyone. Apparently some of the racist and sexist and outright Nazi ones are still around. But letting the admins ban them for that means either (a) trusting the admins' judgement to be perfect (which it definitely won't be), or (b) accepting that the admins' judgement will be conservative (so they'd ban /r/communism along with /r/nazism). I can accept that hateful subreddits exist, as long as they keep it to themselves.)
posted by Rangi at 2:05 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


They seem to have decided Ellen Pao is responsible, but perhaps that's just today's villain.
posted by tommasz at 2:06 PM on June 11, 2015


Good to see Reddit taking some positive steps.

I always thought it was weird how reddit tried to balance being a neutral platform while also calling themselves a community. Claiming you're a community implies there's shared values, injokes, and friendships, while a neutral platform would ideally be apathetic about users' views. Claiming you have a community on a private platform while letting users be antisocial bigots is an implicit endorsement.

I think Reddit management's biggest blind spot was acting like they had a moral obligation to provide a free speech platform, when the fact is that the internet makes it very easy to host any type of content. Even if you rule out web hosting companies, you can still host a server with consumer hardware and an internet connection. And much of Reddit's own code is open source, and there are clones.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:06 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why is it counterproductive? You get rid of a toxic cesspool, and you identify all the toxic people you want to get rid of.

Seems like a win win to me.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:06 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don't think of reddit as newsgroups; that's what these jerkfaces want and plays into their narrative. Usenet was a medium, Reddit is a for-profit website.
posted by Justinian at 2:07 PM on June 11, 2015 [54 favorites]


The fad of gilding ridiculous comments about encroaching Nazism and then having that person FREAK OUT about supporting "Chairman Paos" regime is making my whole day!
posted by lattiboy at 2:08 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Usenet was is a medium

Sorry Usenet. Death of Usenet predicted; film at eleven.
posted by Justinian at 2:08 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I can accept that hateful subreddits exist, as long as they keep it to themselves.

"I can accept that toxic waste is kept around and allowed to harm people, just as long as I don't have to see it. "
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:09 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Death of Usenet predicted; film at eleven.

Is anyone using Usenet for anything other than downloading tonight's film?
posted by effbot at 2:10 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I thought Usenet died in September 1993.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:11 PM on June 11, 2015 [11 favorites]




like how Digg users once switched to Reddit

And now Digg has no comments and is much better!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:13 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought Usenet died in September 1993.

The death of Usenet began that September, but since that month never ended the process has been a slow one.
posted by Palindromedary at 2:15 PM on June 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


No, Usenet is really dead now. There's still a few small discussion groups left but it's basically dead.

I like Reddit. More than Metafilter these days, I'm sad to say. But there's a lot of bad people and bad culture on Reddit, as this incident has demonstrated. I am a little hopeful the worst people really will just go run off to whatever hate-ghetto they prefer and leave Reddit alone, but I think that's a vain hope.

It's been interesting to see all the community changes that Reddit has made in the past few months since Ellen Pao took over after Yishan Wong's ouster. This particular incident doesn't seem to be that big a change though. One awful subreddit started a harassment campaign against imgur admins, and that's against the rules. There's still a lot of other awful subreddits and there will still be a lot of awful subreddits. I'm kind of OK with that, as long as I can keeping ignoring them when I use Reddit.
posted by Nelson at 2:17 PM on June 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


Stormfront is not on Reddit

Not under that name anyways. But there is a wide and thriving community of interlinked racist subs. The previous central hub (literally just r/n*ggers) was purged previously. For vote manipulation, IIRC, but def not for anything related to being a bunch of racist shit stains. The users just popped up new subreddits and migrated there, which is the standard response to a banned subreddit.

If the Reddit admins really want to actually enforce this purge, they're going to have to continue to ban all the myriad new copycat subs popping up, this something they have never bothered to do in the past. With the exception of the r/jailbait (the subject of which they actually changed the rules of the site to ban), they haven't been willing to carry out the sustained effort to ensure that banned subs actually stay banned instead of just cloned.
posted by Panjandrum at 2:17 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I thought Usenet died in September 1993.

Just tried accessing it through my shell account...hey, it works! Nothing but spam, but it still works.
posted by Melismata at 2:18 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


But letting the admins ban them for that means either (a) trusting the admins' judgement to be perfect (which it definitely won't be), or (b) accepting that the admins' judgement will be conservative (so they'd ban /r/communism along with /r/nazism). I can accept that hateful subreddits exist, as long as they keep it to themselves.

The only institution required to be apathetic would be the local government, in this case the US. And even the US doesn't have an unlimited right to free speech, nor should it lest anyone be allowed to deprive other people's right to free speech.

(Also: communism is at the same level of Nazism? Advocating for a different economic system is not anything like calling for the extinction of entire races and religions, and I'm sure you can come up with a better analogy.)
posted by zombieflanders at 2:18 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have friends who've had their reddit/imgur posts linked on both /r/trans_f*gs and /r/neof*g -- which is to say that I'm really glad those two subreddits have been banned
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 2:19 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's spooky to think about who or what is still posting spam to usenet
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:24 PM on June 11, 2015 [27 favorites]


There's still a lot of other awful subreddits and there will still be a lot of awful subreddits. I'm kind of OK with that, as long as I can keeping ignoring them when I use Reddit.

Then you don't get to complain when people consider Reddit as a whole to be the sort of place that defines "wretched hive".
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:26 PM on June 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


It's spooky to think about who or what is still posting spam to usenet

It's probably some ancient server that was bricked up behind a wall during a remodel. It's just one server spamming itself till it dies.
posted by nathan_teske at 2:28 PM on June 11, 2015 [37 favorites]


Why am I feeling empathy for a hypothetical inanimate object.
posted by griphus at 2:29 PM on June 11, 2015 [46 favorites]


are you hungry for musubi?
posted by boo_radley at 2:30 PM on June 11, 2015


"I can accept that toxic waste is kept around and allowed to harm people, just as long as I don't have to see it."

If it's causing harm, they must not be keeping it to themselves. If a subreddit like /r/fatpeoplehate starts spilling its hate over into other subreddits, or harassing people outside of its own community (like how /r/transf*gs posted a minor's picture), then they're breaking the rules and can be shut down. If none of that is happening, the only way people will be hurt is by choosing to go there. (...Or by browsing /r/all, but I would support blocking controversial subreddits from there. Or have /r/all, /r/allplusnsfw, and /r/noreallyimeaneverything.)

(Also: communism is at the same level of Nazism? Advocating for a different economic system is not anything like calling for the extinction of entire races and religions, and I'm sure you can come up with a better analogy.)

I was just naming the usual two "far-right" and "far-left" ideologies. Substitute whatever makes more sense. Basically, my point was that what gets banned should not depend (too much) on the opinions of who's in charge. If Bizarro World Ellen Pao liked /r/fatpeoplehate and hated /r/ShitRedditSays, a well-designed rule system would still require her to ban the former and allow the latter.
posted by Rangi at 2:30 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm really not sure why you're feeling empathy for that object. After all, it's a spambot.
posted by frimble at 2:30 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don't think of reddit as newsgroups; that's what these jerkfaces want and plays into their narrative. Usenet was a medium, Reddit is a for-profit website.

Well, let's start with the most basic thing. Once Usenet's signal:noise plummeted to decimals it was primarily known for three things: 1) Porn, 2) Binaries (warez and porn) and 3) Relative anonymity. #1 and #3 are clearly all over Reddit in spades -- does Reddit police #2, in binary or in links-to-binaries-or-torrents form?

As far as discussion goes, the comparison is apt: highly focused subgroups, some places to ask questions that you should know the answer to anonymously, the kinds of group creation and naming and lack-of-substantial-moderation chaos that were the hallmark of alt.*. It's only missing Kibo.
posted by delfin at 2:32 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm really not sure why you're feeling empathy for that object. After all, it's a spambot.

It didn't ask to be a spambot! It was just paying its dues, waiting for its shot at the big time. And now it's stuck behind that wall toiling away and will never get to see the World Wide Web.
posted by mullacc at 2:34 PM on June 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


It's only missing Kibo.

Novelty accounts, /r/fifthworldproblems, and the Button religons are the modern-day equivalent.
posted by Rangi at 2:35 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Basically, my point was that what gets banned should not depend (too much) on the opinions of who's in charge. If Bizarro World Ellen Pao liked /r/fatpeoplehate and hated /r/ShitRedditSays, a well-designed rule system would still require her to ban the former and allow the latter.

I always find the "managing communities of people is too important to be left to people!" argument to be a headshaker.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:38 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


There are plenty of bozos and megabozos on reddit.
posted by bonehead at 2:46 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I can't remember the last time I saw such a mass of people throw a temper tantrum over something so inconsequential."
posted by gucci mane


Every Tea Partier at every election?
posted by symbioid at 2:47 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Reddit needs clown insurance.
posted by clavdivs at 2:49 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


The "I think reddit is fine because I only view the good subs" bollocks is L I T E R A L L Y why we can't have nice things.
posted by fullerine at 2:50 PM on June 11, 2015 [47 favorites]


One of the things I find interesting is that for a long time now, it has been very possible to get shadowbanned because you were a new user who didn't understand what "brigading" was and went to a post you saw linked from literally anywhere else in the universe and voted on something because you thought that agreeing or disagreeing or wanting to promote/demote the message was a perfectly good reason.

Now, having visited there a bit, I understand why the rules against brigading are totally necessary, but they're also incredibly non-obvious and the whole thing about shadowbanning is that you never get told that anything's happened, you never get a warning, you just have to figure out that nobody seems to be seeing your posts, or have a mod tell you after you try posting.

So, being a newbie who clicks an upvote button in the wrong circumstance is considered roughly equivalent, here, to modding a community that's actively harassing people. Probably worse, because it took them far less time to deal with "brigading" by random people who saw links on Twitter or something than it did for these subs to get canned. So it's not really that Reddit's a total free-for-all where there were no rules about behavior until recently. It's that this particular kind of shittiness was apparently way down the priority list in things to deal with. There were always totally discretionary rules--and yet these rules have only recently started to apply to things like nude pictures of minors and organized harassment. And as KiA proves, all you have to do is organize the harassment off-site with the exact same people and even that's still fine.

Reddit's largest shareholder is still the parent company of Conde Nast. I'm pretty sure that the only reason these things get done at all is because stuff starts threatening to tank the value of that investment.
posted by Sequence at 2:51 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


"I can accept that toxic waste is kept around and allowed to harm people, just as long as I don't have to see it."
If the toxic waste is kept anywhere in the same building with you, you will inevitably get poisoned. That's why ALL of Reddit is on my Internet Shitlist, and I consider anybody who thinks they're "only supporting the good parts of Reddit" to be supporting the WORST parts of Reddit.

"The Front Page of the Internet"
DO NOT WANT. "The Internet" can already be defined as a Failed State with a few surviving decent communities (including this one). But maybe MetaFilter represents the top limit that a Good Community on the Internet can grow to. The greatest tragedy is that Facebook could have been an intelligent alternative but it was the 'brainchild' of one Ivy League Fratboy Koch-Wannabe.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:51 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


The "it's just Usenet" is a rather pathetic attempt at excusing the vileness. For one, Usenet did not provide, as your very first sight on opening a newsreader, a torrent of racist, sexist, and just generally shitty posts. You actually had to go hunting into the deeps to find the bad crap. And second, most Usenet admins would refuse to carry something like alt.n*gg*rs.suck, but Reddit was happy to do so for ages, and still sponsors only slightly less vile subreddits today.
posted by tavella at 2:59 PM on June 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


(Also: communism is at the same level of Nazism?

Some of my Cambodian relatives certainly think so.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:59 PM on June 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


I have a problem with the language involving light and darkness, metaphors that suggest that things like r/math (or whatever) are the stuff that's illuminated in the middle of the room, while things like r/fph are a few people huddled together in the shadows being nasty together.

The thing is, this very post is about how if you go to r/all — the subreddit that shows what things are the most popular on reddit — you see almost nothing but totally reprehensible shit. I argue that this indicates that people are mistaken about reddit is about: by using the "dark corners" rhetoric to describe the nasty part of reddit, you're misidentifying the things that happen at the margins of reddit (things like r/math) as being the center, while simultaneously misidentifying the things that actually are at the center of reddit (creepshots, fph, kotakuinaction) as being at the margins.

Evil reddit is reddit; it's where they get their money from, and it's where the majority of the users are. Good reddit, on the other hand, is the thing found huddling in the corners, carefully protecting itself, as far as it can, from the shit-light that emanates from the center of the reddit room.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:00 PM on June 11, 2015 [143 favorites]


Good reddit, on the other hand, is the thing found huddling in the corners, carefully protecting itself, as far as it can, from the shit-light that emanates from the center of the reddit room.

The only reason I know this sentence wasn't written by China Miéville is that you didn't find a way to get "inchoate" in there.
posted by griphus at 3:02 PM on June 11, 2015 [74 favorites]


holy crap I've finally unlocked the "get compared to China Miéville" achievement.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:04 PM on June 11, 2015 [107 favorites]


This FPP was just the reminder I needed to make a donation to Metafilter. Thanks again for creating a well-moderated site!
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 3:08 PM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


yeah ditto. sigh. I guess I've got to actually give y'all money... this site is worth way more to me than the five bucks I paid back in two thousand and whatever, even though it may prove singlehandedly responsible for me never finishing my dissertation.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:10 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I honestly believe a lot of this is being driven by junior high and high school students on summer break with more time to be edgy and rebellious on the internets.

I've been wondering just who is at the other end of these accounts, and I hope you're right. Because then there's hope that they'll act more mature when they grow up.
posted by Rangi at 3:12 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I recently switched browsers and happened to be not logged in and viewing only my default subs like normal. DEAR GOD!

It was like taking off your dark sunglasses in the middle of a nuclear explosion of shit.
posted by lattiboy at 3:12 PM on June 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


I've been wondering just who is at the other end of these accounts, and I hope you're right. Because then there's hope that they'll act more mature when they grow up.

I have consistently found that the worst people on the internet are always older and more outwardly "normal" than you'd assume.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:14 PM on June 11, 2015 [29 favorites]


Goodness, people on Metafilter are certainly invested in trashing Reddit. You seldom see this many comments on ANY thread here, but let one unrelated site ban five forums with probably zero readers in common with Metafilter, and wow.

I've been on Metafilter much, much longer than on Reddit. I just never got around to looking at Reddit for a very long time. And I still spend more time on Metafilter. And I've learned things here that have been valuable to me and perhaps made me a better person. And, on Reddit, I rarely have anything to do with the "general interest" subreddits, let alone any "issue" ones or "bitch about these people" ones.

But I have to say that if Metafilter dropped off the Internet tomorrow, it wouldn't have much of an effect on the discourse of the world as a whole. Whereas if Reddit dropped off, it would have a significant effect, and that effect would be more negative than positive. On Reddit, people can converse about things other people, even most other people, think are out of bounds. That means that the local Overton window can move. In whatever direction. There need to be places like that. That's how the world progresses, or at least avoids stagnation.

If you don't want your norms to freeze solid, then, yeah, it's necessary to allow forums that you consider vile. And forums that I consider vile, too. They don't just need to be legal; they need to actually exist, and be findable, too. I think the "keep it in your own subreddit" line that they've drawn is a reasonable one.

Arguments that Reddit, or whoever, isn't legally obligated to provide a technologically content-neutral system are beside the point. Doing so is still a valuable service, and they should not be hounded into stopping. Things like that are important. Echo chambers simply don't change the world. They can be amusing, friendly, fun, healing... but never Important with a capital "I".
posted by Hizonner at 3:15 PM on June 11, 2015 [34 favorites]


For those surfing the schadenfreude, I'd suggest going to bestofoutrageculture for quotes and delicious delicious bigot tears. There you can see comparing the the closure of subreddits to:

North Korea
A culture war
Nazi Germany
Tienanmen Square

I'd like to also say that I kicked 50 bucks to Metafilter after seeing this explode over Reddit.
posted by zabuni at 3:16 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Um, r/all has ALWAYS been awful, for is anyone telling the difference.
posted by Artw at 3:19 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's probably some ancient server that was bricked up behind a wall during a remodel. It's just one server spamming itself till it dies.

Obligatory bash.org quote.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:19 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Goodness, people on Metafilter are certainly invested in trashing Reddit.

Reddit is sort of the new Plastic in that respect.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:21 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Arguments that Reddit, or whoever, isn't legally obligated to provide a technologically content-neutral system are beside the point. Doing so is still a valuable service, and they should not be hounded into stopping. Things like that are important. Echo chambers simply don't change the world. They can be amusing, friendly, fun, healing... but never Important with a capital "I".

Please, explain to me how providing incubators for hate provides a needed public service. Preferably like I'm a 5 year old.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:22 PM on June 11, 2015 [31 favorites]


You seldom see this many comments on ANY thread here, but let one unrelated site ban five forums with probably zero readers in common with Metafilter, and wow.

What the hell are you on about? ~150 comments seems crazy to you? What in the what?
posted by erratic meatsack at 3:22 PM on June 11, 2015 [18 favorites]


150 comments isn't unheard of, but I don't think it happens in the average week.
posted by Hizonner at 3:24 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of the less uncompelling arguments given to me while on reddit yesterday is that Evil Reddit--a collection of communities warts and all--is representative of reddit, and that representativeness means that it shouldn't the place of the admins to edit or sanitize the natural content of any subreddit.

To ban a sub as a solution is a kind of violence. It's the principle of it. It forcibly relocates the problem elsewhere, and that is why certain redditors perceive this admin decision as incompetent. It reminds me of the study that the decline of crime was not primarily caused by incarceration. It's the concrete difference between concentrating a toxin elsewhere, which is easy to do, compared to finding some way to neutralize it. Through education and positive resources, for example.

To be clear, I'm not saying this line of thought is complete (for, whose job is it to educate the bully?), but rather that it was one point amongst my take-aways from arguing with various redditors yesterday. It did help me see the issue from their point of view. But based on their stubbornness I don't think they understood the degree of radicalism lurking in their own argument.
posted by polymodus at 3:24 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


You seldom see this many comments on ANY thread here

You have a point. For threads posted today, the only topics beating this one are...
Tattoos, Christopher Lee dying, bagels, architecture...

Reddit: Almost as discussable on Metafilter as bagels.
posted by CrystalDave at 3:24 PM on June 11, 2015 [59 favorites]


Goodness, people on Metafilter are certainly invested in trashing Reddit.

It's a large influential site on the internet with a documented history of awfulness and the source of multiple harassment campaigns - sure we're going to discuss it and it's not all going to be positive.
posted by Artw at 3:25 PM on June 11, 2015 [24 favorites]


Hmm. Evidently I'm full of it.

Maybe I just don't read most of the long ones?
posted by Hizonner at 3:25 PM on June 11, 2015


150 comments isn't unheard of, but I don't think it happens in the average week.

Wha? There's a thread like this at least every couple of days, if not daily.
posted by dialetheia at 3:26 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


people on Metafilter are certainly invested in trashing Reddit

There's a difference between trashing a site, and talking about trash on a site.
posted by zippy at 3:27 PM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


But I have to say that if Metafilter dropped off the Internet tomorrow, it wouldn't have much of an effect on the discourse of the world as a whole. Whereas if Reddit dropped off, it would have a significant effect, and that effect would be more negative than positive. On Reddit, people can converse about things other people, even most other people, think are out of bounds. That means that the local Overton window can move. In whatever direction. There need to be places like that. That's how the world progresses, or at least avoids stagnation.

I disagree. For many reasons. I don't think the creation of communities that allow people can converse with others about things "out of bounds" changes the Overton window of the greater Internet. You complain about echo chambers, but you're talking about a site where the main place to make fun of its foibles is /r/circlejerk. Reddit is a thousand echo chambers, many of which argue for the lower class status of various minority groups like fat people or jews or blacks or women. I don't see many minds changing because of places like fatpeoplehate and conspiracy. I just see prejudices being enforced.

Even if we agree that Reddit changes the Overton window, I'm pretty happy with keeping values that black people are human beings, people shouldn't harass fat people or women, and that being a woman doesn't make one chattel property. Call me a stick in the mud.


150 comments isn't unheard of, but I don't think it happens in the average week.


We love trash talking other web sites. Almost to the point that the mods frown upon it enough that I didn't make a thread about this because I thought it would be deleted. I actually kind of agree, that we don't show our best face in these threads. Take a gander at this thread about BoingBoing. We're Metafilter, we do meta.
posted by zabuni at 3:27 PM on June 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


r/Stormfront, in one of Reddit's moments of brilliance, is about weather.

I love love love how the logo subverts a white power symbol.
posted by desjardins at 3:28 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Any time someone mentions "echo chambers" it becomes immediately clear that they have nothing new nor intelligent to add to a discussion.
posted by erratic meatsack at 3:29 PM on June 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


But I have to say that if Metafilter dropped off the Internet tomorrow, it wouldn't have much of an effect on the discourse of the world as a whole. Whereas if Reddit dropped off, it would have a significant effect, and that effect would be more negative than positive.

On Reddit, people can converse about things other people, even most other people, think are out of bounds. That means that the local Overton window can move. In whatever direction. There need to be places like that. That's how the world progresses, or at least avoids stagnation.


This is demonstrably false, given that what gave rise to Reddit was itself a lot of stuff not being tolerated elsewhere. The idea that Reddit is the be-all, end-all Actual Front Page Of The Internet is just their propaganda. Racists and misogynists and all manner of bigots have literally thousands of other places they could go, and there is nothing stopping them. Of course, the point at which their bigotry becomes rhetorical or actual violence aimed at suppressing free speech elsewhere--which is the entire point of places like KotakuInAction and other subs created for the purpose of allowing platforms of harassment--then we are no longer obligated to consider their speech in any way a form of progression, and indeed that they are attempting to force stagnation.

If you don't want your norms to freeze solid, then, yeah, it's necessary to allow forums that you consider vile. And forums that I consider vile, too. They don't just need to be legal; they need to actually exist, and be findable, too. I think the "keep it in your own subreddit" line that they've drawn is a reasonable one.

The point is that they don't have to be at Reddit, which is a general-interest site that claims to be attempting to form a diverse community. Bigotry is the opposite of that mission.

Arguments that Reddit, or whoever, isn't legally obligated to provide a technologically content-neutral system are beside the point. Doing so is still a valuable service, and they should not be hounded into stopping. Things like that are important. Echo chambers simply don't change the world. They can be amusing, friendly, fun, healing... but never Important with a capital "I".

Again, the point is that they aren't providing a content-neutral system, and that the defense that they are or they should based on their current state is aimed at preserving a bigoted status quo rather than, as you say, allowing the world to progress and not stagnate.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:29 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


by using the "dark corners" rhetoric to describe the nasty part of reddit, you're misidentifying the things that happen at the margins of reddit (things like r/math) as being the center, while simultaneously misidentifying the things that actually are at the center of reddit (creepshots, fph, kotakuinaction) as being at the margins.

I have somehow managed to browse reddit everyday for multiple years (without logging into a carefully curated set of subreddits) without ever having heard of any of these subreddits.

Apparently these things only appear if you go to /r/all, and special snowflakes like me who only browse the front page before clicking on my niche marginal subreddit bookmarks of interest (with mid-6 digit subscribers) just see no evil. TIL.
posted by The arrows are too fast at 3:31 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Same here. /r/math does not have a problem.

/r/stevenuniverse/ is pretty great!
posted by JHarris at 3:32 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have somehow managed to browse reddit everyday for multiple years (without logging into a carefully curated set of subreddits) without ever having heard of any of these subreddits.

Apparently these things only appear if you go to /r/all, and special snowflakes like me who only browse the front page before clicking on my niche marginal subreddit bookmarks of interest (with mid-6 digit subscribers) just see no evil. TIL.


Yes, which is part of the problem. As I've said in prior Reddit threads, just because you don't see anything amiss doesn't mean the septic tank isn't overflowing and causing a massive mess.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:34 PM on June 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


For context: THIS particular rule was introduced specifically to deal with the fat people hate subreddit - there are a thousand different hate subreddits like it dedicated to making fun of various topics, but this one grew large enough (150,000 subscribers!) that it started becoming visible on /r/all which made people uncomfortable. No one cares if people privately spew hate speech in a subreddit that only 10 people read, but this was growing too large and something had to be done about it. And good riddance too, that fat hate subreddit was a growing cancer that had no redeeming value whatsoever, and I'm glad that it no longer clutters /r/all with its garbage.

It getting banned, though, does raise some really interesting questions...

1. What is harassment? Users there reposted publicly available pictures from fat acceptance pages into that subreddit order to make fun of them. Does that constitute harassment? If it does, then in truth Mitt Romney would be the most harassed person on Reddit. Would we then ban all memes about Mitt Romney on grounds that it is harassment? Fundamentally, a subreddit post is different to twitter: in twitter, you can tweet at someone, and they receive your message. Same with emails. But posts within these "harassing" subreddits remain safely inside, unless a person deliberately goes there to read them. Can someone consider themselves "harassed" by a post if they deliberately had to go to a specific subreddit and open up the posts one by one to find something that harassed them? One view is that we define a harassment platform as one that directly targets messages to a user in a way that can't be avoided (private messages, emails, tweets) OR is a wide ranging public broadcast like a news site or publication. Another point of view is that anything put online is potentially a source of harassment: even private communication between a few people, if leaked out, can constitute harassment.

2. Hence my analogy of them as cancer: those users (150,000 subscribers) are probably the most toxic people on Reddit, and they're not all leaving. We can see the effects of banning their subreddit right now: they've dispersed and gone and infected other subreddits! The situation is arguably worse than before. There's a decent argument that it was better containing / warehousing them all inside one subreddit and not allow them to spill outside. My (better) solution would have been to create the ability to shadowban the entire offending subreddit - make it so their posts can not be seen by anyone else and won't rise on /r/all. They can go make all the toxic posts they want there, and no one has to read it if they don't want to. It effectively becomes cordoned off from the rest of Reddit. Going nuclear on them by banning their subreddit doesn't work, because...

3. What does banning a person or subreddit actually achieve? Sign up is free, creating a new subreddit is free, and the way Reddit works, it's a "flat" society where users have no reputation to speak of. There's no cost to a user being banned: I have an account with several years of good standing and a decent quantity of Karma points, but it would not inconvenience me (or phase me) one bit if I was randomly banned tomorrow - I'd just start a new account. There would be literally no difference in how I use the site or interact with other users - personal identity really doesn't matter at all in this medium, just like in 4chan. It's a bit like V for Vendetta: when everyone is anonymous - no one has anything to lose, so you have no ability to punish, with no ability to punish, you have no ability to control.
posted by xdvesper at 3:39 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think the "freedom of speech" meme has eclipsed the real problem with the banned subreddits - the subreddits were being used to organize trolling and online harassment. Presumably the other remaining ethically dodgy subreddits are not (yet) doing that.
posted by Nevin at 3:40 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


NoxAeternum:
Please, explain to me how providing incubators for hate provides a needed public service. Preferably like I'm a 5 year old.
Because, within my lifetime, if a system like this had existed, with the content that we have today, somebody would have said the same thing about "incubators for homosexual propaganda" (I'm choosing one of many possible topics, and guessing at the words). That person would have been cheered on basically universally. And if somebody else had posted "I don't think homosexuals are that bad", they would have been piled onto, if not modded out of existence.

Pretty much by definition, you can't build a system that lets you break out of that mode, without building a system that lets you say things directly contradictory to prevailing values. REGARDLESS OF WHAT THOSE THINGS ARE. Because you don't know which of the prevailing values will turn out to be wrong.

That includes having "incubators" that are friendly enough to those ideas that they can at least be expressed more than once.

So you have a choice: hope that people will move the window toward better things, and trust in them not to blow it too badly... or freeze in exactly whatever you have now, and hope that you have chosen wisely.
posted by Hizonner at 3:40 PM on June 11, 2015 [25 favorites]


i go to reddit every single day - there's no reason to deny the grosser parts or the position they have on the site. whether individuals see the ick factor or not, looking at what events or subs had a concentrated boom of new users does show what the site and a large percentage of the members value. there's really no arguing that even if you just stay cloistered in your favorite subs.
posted by nadawi at 3:43 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hizonner: That's not the same thing, though. "Incubators for hate" are exactly what those subreddits were. There are absolutely zero redeeming qualities about anything posted there, and no preposterous room for growth or acceptance or anything worthwhile.
posted by erratic meatsack at 3:44 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Because you don't know which of the prevailing values will turn out to be wrong.

We're all going to feel very silly when it turns out minorities and women are in fact inferior.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:44 PM on June 11, 2015 [77 favorites]


Whereas if Reddit dropped off, it would have a significant effect, and that effect would be more negative than positive.

For you, perhaps. For a lot of people, the effect would be positive. For vastly larger numbers (which include me), it wouldn't matter even a bit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:45 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


zombieflanders:
This is demonstrably false, given that what gave rise to Reddit was itself a lot of stuff not being tolerated elsewhere.
OK, if you say so. I don't know the history.
The point is that they don't have to be at Reddit, which is a general-interest site that claims to be attempting to form a diverse community. Bigotry is the opposite of that mission.
So, according to what you just said, they "didn't have to be at" wherever they were before. They weren't tolerated there. So they went to Reddit. From which you're now saying they should be evicted. Even though you seem to indicate it was founded "for" them.

Where, exactly, should they go? Do you get to approve the slogans on any sites they move to? Is that what's important: whether it says "The Front Page of the Internet" at the top?

If they went and built their own system and called it "We're evil haters who suck", are you sure you wouldn't find yourself complaining that it was hosted at a "general-interest data center"? What if it got DDoSed? Would you think maybe the hosting company should drop it then, because it was causing trouble for other tenants as well as being evil?

Anyway, I always thought Reddit claimed to be a "platform", not a "community". Am I wrong about that?
posted by Hizonner at 3:45 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


also - it's like people completely forget a time before reddit - these sorts of sites have always existed on the internet and they grow and grow and grow until they fall under their own weight and everyone moves on and finds the next thing while the previous community usually goes back to a smaller core group. reddit is not more important than digg is not more important than fark and on and on. the sky is not falling. it will be ok.
posted by nadawi at 3:46 PM on June 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


I still get use out of reddit but let's not pretend this particular for-profit toxic shitpile is the last bastion of free speech on the internet
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:46 PM on June 11, 2015 [25 favorites]


I remember plastic as being kinda great, but I had a crush on pretty much anything even tangentially connected to suck.com.

There are a range of reasons why I think the "reddit is a zone for free expression no matter how vile and that's good" line of argumentation. First is the idea that the vileness is just incidental to the site — the "hey, man, we're just providing a service and how people decide to use it is up to them" argument that the reddit administration has historically copped. The creepshots debacle revealed that one as a total lie: the people running the site did everything they could to specifically support the person enabling and encouraging the growth of the most genuinely irredeemable parts of the site, because he made them a giant ton of money... and because he fit in well with the general reddit culture.

Second, the "we're just a forum for people to say the shit they wanna say" rhetoric is at odds with the "we're the new usenet /we're the front page of the internet" rhetoric they deploy when people aren't calling them out on shit. You can either be the new center of everything or you can be the dark corner that abusers hide in — but if you try to do both at the same time, you aren't providing a service, you're mainstreaming hate. If people correctly understood reddit to be the social equivalent of stormfront, I wouldn't have such a problem with it — but they don't, and so you end up with (for example) major respected political figures doing AMAs there.

Third, though, and maybe most importantly, the reddit ethos suppresses speech. There are a lot of people here on metafilter holding a lot of interesting, useful conversations about feminism, transpeople rights, antiracism, anticapitalism, and so forth. Many of these people do not fit into the categories of privilege. These people simply could not hold the same conversations on (white-straight-cismale dominated) reddit; it might, in fact, be actually unsafe for them to do so, outside of carefully quarantined safe zones like the SRS fempire. The idea that an anything-goes space enables open expression is, in practice, totally wrong. Genuinely free speech for all participants is something that has to be protected and cultivated; it's not something you get by just throwing a bunch of people together into a room — especially not when that room is run by and for racists and misogynists.

Finally, metafilter as it exists now is less about mainstreaming new ideas and more about people with interesting ideas sharing them with each other and networking with each other, more a space for building ideas than a space for promulgating them. This is not a bad thing. It is, in fact, a necessary thing.

memo to self: go to more mefi meetups!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:46 PM on June 11, 2015 [48 favorites]


If you don't want your norms to freeze solid, then, yeah, it's necessary to allow forums that you consider vile. And forums that I consider vile, too. They don't just need to be legal; they need to actually exist, and be findable, too. I think the "keep it in your own subreddit" line that they've drawn is a reasonable one.
The point is that they don't have to be at Reddit, which is a general-interest site that claims to be attempting to form a diverse community. Bigotry is the opposite of that mission.
This sounds like a tension between two kinds of diversity, personal and ideological.

Metafilter has personal diversity—people of different ages, countries, races, classes, etc can discuss a variety of topics here—but not so much ideological diversity; there's a pretty obvious center-left consensus, where snark against some opinions will garner favorites while careful posts in favor of those opinions will be thoroughly criticized. (I'm not saying that's a bad thing! For those who fit in with Metafilter's community, they benefit from feeling safe and knowing that a random user can probably be trusted.)

Reddit has ideological diversity. Social justice and GamerGaters, Christians and atheists, vim and emacs: they don't coexist, exactly, but they do all exist. But does Reddit correspondingly lack personal diversity? I don't think so. The more friendly, reasonable subreddits seem about as diverse as Metafilter is. And the extremist subreddits, no matter what dimension of extremism, are required to keep to themselves. When they don't do so, it's a failure to enforce the rules, not a failure to define good rules.

So when Reddit "claims to be attempting to form a diverse community," I don't think that allowing anti-diversity views means they're failing. To pick another example, Metafilter has frequent feminist and women-related posts; so do the appropriate subreddits, and their female communities seem to be doing fine. The distant existence of communities antithetical to them does not make them less safe. (Unless somebody starts brigading or harassing them; but again, that's against the rules and gets people banned.)
posted by Rangi at 3:47 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


xdvesper: "Users there reposted publicly available pictures from fat acceptance pages into that subreddit order to make fun of them. Does that constitute harassment? If it does, then in truth Mitt Romney would be the most harassed person on Reddit. Would we then ban all memes about Mitt Romney on grounds that it is harassment?"

Romney's a prominent public figure with no reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to satire. Ripping personal photos from individual's Facebook pages and small community threads to viciously mock them in subreddits dedicated to hating on a whole group of people is not remotely similar.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:49 PM on June 11, 2015 [23 favorites]


Pretty much by definition, you can't build a system that lets you break out of that mode, without building a system that lets you say things directly contradictory to prevailing values. REGARDLESS OF WHAT THOSE THINGS ARE. Because you don't know which of the prevailing values will turn out to be wrong.

Perhaps, but I'm pretty sure that, as an educated and moderately socially aware person, I can make a few educated guesses on which values are worth keeping, and which ones should go to the bin.

So I'm still not seeing the value of defending bigoted and hateful speech.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:50 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Anyway, I always thought Reddit claimed to be a "platform", not a "community". Am I wrong about that?

They always claimed to one or the other, whenever it suited them better.

Community
Platform

They want the warm fuzzies of a community, without doing the hard work that folks like the mods here at Metafilter at guiding the community with shared norms.
posted by zabuni at 3:51 PM on June 11, 2015 [18 favorites]


Perhaps, but I'm pretty sure that, as an educated and moderately socially aware person, I can make a few educated guesses on which values are worth keeping, and which ones should go to the bin.

As long as you accept that "an educated and moderately socially aware person" in 1950 might well have wanted to ban those degenerate homosexuals. Or in 1900, the dangerous anarchists. Or in 1850, the abolitionists. Even today, there are educated and informed people who would disagree with you and I about what views should be beyond the pale.
posted by Rangi at 3:52 PM on June 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


zombieflanders: (Also: communism is at the same level of Nazism? Advocating for a different economic system is not anything like calling for the extinction of entire races and religions, and I'm sure you can come up with a better analogy.)

r/communism is completely dominated by "anti-revisionist" Marxist-Leninists, which is to say Stalinists and Maoists. The dominant outlook in that subreddit is, among other things, enthusiastically pro-North Korea, and generally believes that the atrocities committed by the North Korean government are either justified or didn't happen, which is also the view they take of the Soviets under Stalin, China under Mao, etc. Of course that's not the entirety of what socialist or Marxist thought is, but there's very much a dominant ideology on that particular subreddit, and it's something that goes way beyond just advocating for a different economic system. What this means for the larger questions of free speech vs. repellant beliefs under discussion here is another question, but whatever point of view one takes on that, I would not hold that sub up as an example of a group that holds benign but potentially controversial beliefs- their ideology is not benign at all.
posted by a louis wain cat at 3:52 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Reddit has ideological diversity. Social justice and GamerGaters, Christians and atheists, vim and emacs: they don't coexist, exactly, but they do all exist. But does Reddit correspondingly lack personal diversity? I don't think so. The more friendly, reasonable subreddits seem about as diverse as Metafilter is. And the extremist subreddits, no matter what dimension of extremism, are required to keep to themselves. When they don't do so, it's a failure to enforce the rules, not a failure to define good rules.

I disagree. The tendency of the site as a whole is toward white supremacist misogynist libertarianism, and as a result white supremacist misogynist libertarianism bleeds into almost every subreddit, modulo the ones with extremely aggressive moderation.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:52 PM on June 11, 2015 [29 favorites]


There are a lot of people here on metafilter holding a lot of interesting, useful conversations about feminism, transpeople rights, antiracism, anticapitalism, and so forth. Many of these people do not fit into the categories of privilege. These people simply could not hold the same conversations on (white-straight-cismale dominated) reddit; it might, in fact, be actually unsafe for them to do so, outside of carefully quarantined safe zones like the SRS fempire.
... but I'm not suggesting shutting down Metafilter, or even those carefully quarantined zones on Reddit.

You might be able to knock a hole in my "Metafilter is less Important" point with that, but that's still far from showing that Reddit itself should change.
posted by Hizonner at 3:53 PM on June 11, 2015


Because you don't know which of the prevailing values will turn out to be wrong.

That includes having "incubators" that are friendly enough to those ideas that they can at least be expressed more than once.


We're talking about sexualization of women (and minors!) of pictures taken without their consent, organization of campaigns to harass people put of their jobs and their homes and their personal lives, and to advance the removal of civil and human rights from disadvantaged groups. Those aren't ideas that need to be incubated, and if they want to be, there's millions of places that aren't supposed to serve a general population.

So, according to what you just said, they "didn't have to be at" wherever they were before. They weren't tolerated there. So they went to Reddit. From which you're now saying they should be evicted. Even though you seem to indicate it was founded "for" them.

No, I'm saying it wasn't founded for them, as they are functioning as obstacles to the kind of place Reddit supposedly aims to be.

Where, exactly, should they go? Do you get to approve the slogans on any sites they move to? Is that what's important: whether it says "The Front Page of the Internet" at the top?

If they went and built their own system and called it "We're evil haters who suck", are you sure you wouldn't find yourself complaining that it was hosted at a "general-interest data center"?

Yep, until the point at which they attacked others outside their group.

What if it got DDoSed? Would you think maybe the hosting company should drop it then, because it was causing trouble for other tenants as well as being evil?

Yes, but only if I was one of the other tenants, although more likely I would have taken my business elsewhere by that point.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:54 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


their female communities seem to be doing fine.

I strongly disagree. Every woman-centered subreddit I've ever followed (and there have been a lot) has eventually been invaded by dudes who wanted to concern troll women and tell them what they should think and how they should act in offensive ways (that's too much makeup, that's not enough makeup, your nails look slutty, don't get a tattoo, your clothes aren't sexy, real feminism is egalitarianism, you're doing science wrong, you're being too sensitive, etc etc). It's a pervasive problem and it's completely ruined the ability to talk about anything with other women there in almost any capacity.
posted by dialetheia at 3:55 PM on June 11, 2015 [48 favorites]


the people who control reddit think it should change - that is literally all that's required. people who want a different experience are free to go make their own sites, like has happened from the beginning of the internet.
posted by nadawi at 3:56 PM on June 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


As long as you accept that "an educated and moderately socially aware person" in 1950 might well have wanted to ban those degenerate homosexuals. Or in 1900, the dangerous anarchists. Or in 1850, the abolitionists.
posted by Rangi


That's not the same thing. Is it really that hard to understand that people spewing hate operate differently from the other mentioned groups?
posted by erratic meatsack at 3:56 PM on June 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


Who is saying that reddit should be shut down? No, seriously, who? This is a fast moving thread and I haven't been following all of it as closely as I could be... apologies if I'm wrong and there are in fact calls to shut down reddit on it.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:57 PM on June 11, 2015


If this place is such a shitfest for shitheads, what do people think is going to happen when reddit changes rules?

They are going to leave and find another forum to do this shit on.

But, the fact that reddit has made a policy where hate groups will not dwell there regularly makes me more likely to visit the site.

So that's how it affects me. And still it doesn't rate. It's fucking reddit.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:57 PM on June 11, 2015


if we all just flag the comments that boil down to "but what about the homosexuals in the 50s!!!" instead of responding to them, this might be a better thread...
posted by nadawi at 3:57 PM on June 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


Anyway, I always thought Reddit claimed to be a "platform", not a "community". Am I wrong about that?

Reddit is simultaneously particle and wave.

When the news is good (charity fundraiser, Boston bombing detective hunt before realizing they screwed up), it's "Yay! We did it Reddit! Reddit the community! Reddit culture!".

When the news is bad (admin protection of /r/jailbait, Boston detective hunt after realizing they screwed up) suddenly it's "No, we're just a platform of unrelated, unconnected subreddits. How could you possibly think there's such a thing as *site culture* or community here".
posted by CrystalDave at 3:58 PM on June 11, 2015 [47 favorites]


The tendency of the site as a whole is toward white supremacist misogynist libertarianism, and as a result white supremacist misogynist libertarianism bleeds into almost every subreddit

The tendency of libertarianism, or at least the dominant form of it in the US that is expressed at Reddit, itself leans towards racism and misogyny. Self-identified libertarians in the US are almost entirely (94%) white and overwhelmingly (68%) men, and libertarian policy is dominated by ideas and actions that function as de facto maintenance of keeping that status quo as a power bloc.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:58 PM on June 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


That's how the world progresses, or at least avoids stagnation.

really? is it your proposition that there was no progress in the world before reddit? before the internet? before electricity?

if there was progress before reddit than reddit is not necessary for progress to happen
posted by pyramid termite at 3:58 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Now, having visited there a bit, I understand why the rules against brigading are totally necessary, but they're also incredibly non-obvious and the whole thing about shadowbanning is that you never get told that anything's happened, you never get a warning, you just have to figure out that nobody seems to be seeing your posts, or have a mod tell you after you try posting.

"...posting for three years and just now realizing I've been shadow banned this entire time."
posted by jjwiseman at 4:00 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


As long as you accept that "an educated and moderately socially aware person" in 1950 might well have wanted to ban those degenerate homosexuals. Or in 1900, the dangerous anarchists. Or in 1850, the abolitionists. Even today, there are educated and informed people who would disagree with you and I about what views should be beyond the pale.

Your point?

This is an argument that I hear over and over - that unless we allow a free for all, one's personal beliefs will be under attack. Sorry, but the way the marketplace of ideas is, your ideas and ideals are up on the block no matter what - and you need to defend them.
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:00 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I mean, I won't even interact on reddit without a gender-neutral username anymore, after years of seeing the weird responses you get if you have a recognizably-female username. I was a daily redditor for years and just couldn't take it anymore. It's a site culture problem. This policy is a decent start at reigning in some of the most rampant hate on the site, and I hope they go further.
posted by dialetheia at 4:01 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Reddit seems to be doing a good thing: Shutting down some of the bad parts. The good parts are a treasure, and I certainly hope reddit continues to exist.
posted by jjwiseman at 4:01 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


The distant existence of communities antithetical to them does not make them less safe. (Unless somebody starts brigading or harassing them; but again, that's against the rules and gets people banned.)

Which they absolutely are doing. What Reddit has done here is a start, but it's only a start. There are plenty of other brigading hubs.

Maybe these assholes will go elsewhere and keep on keeping on. That doesn't matter. Reddit has an ethical responsibility to take steps to ensure that their product isn't being used to hurt others.

I can't control whether other people drive drunk, but I can ensure that I don't. Just because I can't fix the behaviour of others doesn't mean I should chug a bottle of Johnny Walker and jump in the car.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:02 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is it really that hard to understand that people spewing hate operate differently from the other mentioned groups?

Kind of? I mean, if you have a Jewish speaker whose talk gets disrupted by right-wing fascist thugs, it's obvious who's in the wrong. But if the next day an Israeli Jew gets no-platformed by left-wing agitators, it starts to look like the tactic is the problem, not the views being enforced by the tactic. I value the existence of Reddit as a whole, a site where opinions don't get no-platformed, only actions. (Even though I'm personally repulsed by some of the opinions that people are discussing, in their own subreddits, far away from the sane ones.)

(Edit: I apologize for bringing up Jews and Nazis, but that's where the term "no platform" originated, and I see a parallel between that tactic in real life and banning sub-communities on the internet. No Godwinning was intended.)
posted by Rangi at 4:02 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
posted by Beware of the leopard at 4:02 PM on June 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


i am constantly having to change my subs list because another cool place has been taken over by assholes. they aren't far away from the sane subs.
posted by nadawi at 4:03 PM on June 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


Anyway, I always thought Reddit claimed to be a "platform", not a "community". Am I wrong about that?

I can claim to be Queen of England but they still arrest me when I try to walk naked through Buckingham Palace.
posted by Justinian at 4:07 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


/r/schadenfreude
posted by AGameOfMoans at 4:07 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Anyway, I always thought Reddit claimed to be a "platform", not a "community".

A platform is a legal distinction and is relevant to the Communications Decency Act, section 230, which states that service providers are not responsible for what is published on their platform. That responsibility is the author's own.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:09 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


But does Reddit correspondingly lack personal diversity? I don't think so. The more friendly, reasonable subreddits seem about as diverse as Metafilter is. And the extremist subreddits, no matter what dimension of extremism, are required to keep to themselves.

The progressive subreddits pretty much only stay that way from constant, vigilant moderation of hatred. "They seem to be doing fine" = they're constantly under attack and doing 24/7 plumbing to keep the shit out. The non-progressive content-neutral subreddits - math, or model trains, or whatever - might be a crapshoot of just having focused, niche discussion that is okay, or having virulent racism, sexism, etc. leak into them by virtue of the site culture being so tacitly encouraging of it. If moderators don't have a vigilant mission to actively moderate it out and cultivate a safe space (and most don't), it's very likely to seep in.

This idea that bigotry just mostly keeps to itself on Reddit - that's so far outside of my understanding of the site. It doesn't accord with reality at all, it just sounds like wishful thinking while keeping one's head in the sand. Mutter the words and use your subreddits that work for you, and hope the problem goes away...
posted by naju at 4:09 PM on June 11, 2015 [30 favorites]


and look there's totes ideological diversity on metafilter. we have socialists and anarchists!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:09 PM on June 11, 2015 [22 favorites]


Section 230.

It is one of the bright and shining stars of the internet.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:12 PM on June 11, 2015


The distant existence of communities antithetical to them does not make them less safe.

The existence of communities centred on hate is absolutely dangerous to the subjects of their hate. Those communities legitimise and enforce that hate. It allows people with hateful world views to find confirmation of that world view, helps them believe that they are right. That doesn't stay in their little hate centre on Reddit, it bleeds into everything they do and everywhere they go.

This is like saying that the existence of the KKK doesn't make black people less safe, or that the endless Fox News disinformation on racist cop shootings doesn't encourage racism. They're not living on an isolated island with no means of escape. They're in the world with the rest of us. And it is fucking dangerous when they are told their insane views are correct.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:12 PM on June 11, 2015 [34 favorites]


I'm still working through this thread, but if thought I'd mention one extra nice thing: /r/BestOfOutrageCulture has been unusually entertaining over the past few days.
posted by brundlefly at 4:13 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is an argument that I hear over and over - that unless we allow a free for all, one's personal beliefs will be under attack. Sorry, but the way the marketplace of ideas is, your ideas and ideals are up on the block no matter what - and you need to defend them.

Imagine this discussion taking place in 1850:

"I heard over and over that unless we allow the abolitionists to publish, our orthodox Protestant beliefs will be under attack. We'll always need to defend our ideas anyway. So let's ban the abolitionists, because all decent people know they're wrong, whereas we all won the fight to allow Protestantism long ago."

Or in 1450:

"I heard over and over that unless we allow the Protestants to publish, our orthodox Aristotelian beliefs will be under attack. We'll always need to defend our ideas anyway. So let's ban the Protestants, because all decent people know they're wrong, whereas we all won the fight to allow Aristotelian metaphysics long ago."

And so on. My point is that beliefs which we now consider obviously correct would have had an easier time gaining acceptance in the past if people had been more tolerant of all views. And even now, it's very unlikely that all our beliefs are correct. So we should tolerate and even encourage controversial speech, because we can't tell which bits are actually worth keeping, even though our descendants (hopefully) will.

(I think I've posted enough in this thread, so NoxAeternum and the rest of y'all, I'll read any replies later.)
posted by Rangi at 4:13 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Rangi, I understand the broad strokes of the point you're trying to make, but literally not one decent person is going to miss the banned subreddits. Getting rid of them demonstrably improves, well, everything. No one will shed tears, the world is not going to be worse off, and we are not going to stagnate in place as a society. I think making arguments about Big Picture stuff when these vile hellholes are destroyed is really out of place.

We do not need to defend assholes who have proven to us that they are assholes. It does not make you a better person. I promise.
posted by erratic meatsack at 4:15 PM on June 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


And so on. My point is that beliefs which we now consider obviously correct would have had an easier time gaining acceptance in the past if people had been more tolerant of all views. And even now, it's very unlikely that all our beliefs are correct. So we should tolerate and even encourage controversial speech, because we can't tell which bits are actually worth keeping, even though our descendants (hopefully) will.

No one is censoring your precious assholes. A private company is choosing not to allow their behaviour on their service. Much like a bar ejecting a drunk and rowdy patron is not equivalent to prohibition.

Harassment =/= 'controversial speech'.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:15 PM on June 11, 2015 [35 favorites]


Oh my god can we please stop comparing commenting on a website to abolitionism?
posted by griphus at 4:16 PM on June 11, 2015 [28 favorites]


Also it's really fucking gross to imply that racist/sexist/etc speech is worth keeping around.
posted by erratic meatsack at 4:17 PM on June 11, 2015 [24 favorites]


You guys right and wrong are unknowable concepts and we should respect the fact that hating overweight people might be considered progressive in the future
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:17 PM on June 11, 2015 [58 favorites]


[Rangi, your point has been made, further examples aren't going to help convince anyone. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 4:21 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love how arguments about the sanctity of freedom of speech tend to go into lofty philosopher king thought experiments, and tend to ignore the actual harm that is done to the targets of hateful speech.
posted by codacorolla at 4:22 PM on June 11, 2015 [24 favorites]


Imagine this discussion taking place in 1850: ...

What you're missing is that e.g. banning subreddits like this is actually the end stage of the very process you're describing. That 'marketplace of ideas' cycle doesn't go on forever; eventually people reach a general consensus that yes, murder really is wrong, harassment is wrong, racism is wrong. We eventually reach some mainstream consensus that [crappy idea] has become a crappy outmoded idea and it's doing more harm than good.

So to my mind, e.g. fatpersonhate has legitimately been discarded through the very process you claim to champion. People saying "that has no place in a civil society" is just the end stage of that process in this case. That idea has been found lacking in the marketplace and we've decided it's not civil anymore.
posted by dialetheia at 4:23 PM on June 11, 2015 [37 favorites]


Why would our children have a better viewpoint on whether it's okay to hate fat people? Why shouldn't this be something we, as a society, teach our children as not okay? It's not a crisis for us to take this stand. It's called progress. Actual stagnation is waving your hands around going "Well we can't really know what it meeeeaaaans...! Maybe in the fuuuutuuuure..!"
posted by erratic meatsack at 4:27 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]




Section 230.

It is one of the bright and shining stars of the internet.


Yes, because when I think of bright and shining stars of the internet, I think of the law that has enabled revenge porn and harassment.

(To be fair, the real issue isn't 230 itself, but the exerable, tech-ignorant Batzel ruling, which turned it into blanket immunity. I use support of Batzel as a litmus test of whether or not someone actually dislikes tech-ignorant court rulings, or just uses the phrase as a euphemism for "court ruling I don't like.")
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:38 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thing that baffles me about this is that 150,000 people joined a community called "fatpeoplehate." I'd thought that flavor of bigotry was more casual, made of dismissiveness and jokes. But no, 6 digits of human beings decided to add wallowing in hatred for overweight people to their daily browsing routine. Bizarre.
posted by skymt at 4:42 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


The thing that baffles me about this is that 150,000 people joined a community called "fatpeoplehate." I'd thought that flavor of bigotry was more casual, made of dismissiveness and jokes. But no, 6 digits of human beings decided to add wallowing in hatred for overweight people to their daily browsing routine. Bizarre.

It really isn't, which is the part that should make you sad. As I said earlier, there's a spectrum of social acceptability when it comes to hate, and for a number of reasons, hate of fat people is considered very socially acceptable.
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:45 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes, because when I think of bright and shining stars of the internet, I think of the law that has enabled revenge porn and harassment.

I do not. I think of it as something that has protected specific and vulnerable human individuals.


To be fair, the real issue isn't 230 itself,


Well, thanks for being fair.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:45 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I pretty much only check reddit as a local news source, since even in a giant market like LA, the local news still sucks and if something weird is going down in your neighborhood that isn't related to police activity (or even then, if it's not enough activity) they don't know about it. It's really cool that there are official or semi-official accounts for a lot of local government agencies. I've seen such accounts for the city of West Hollywood, the LAFD, the LADOT and probably some others. The fact that you can interact with these agencies directly in this way is unprecedented, at least to my knowledge, on such a large scale. I think these interactions have a lot of potential.

That being said, when I saw a post about these bans in /r/losangeles and it was filled with a bunch of the same bogus apologia you see everywhere else, I couldn't help but think that it was a sign of the strain that the whole edifice will eventually buckle under. You can't create a meaningful community with people who argue that racism should be allowed to flourish because the government is barred from restricting speech. Eventually, someone will figure out a meaningful way to filter out people who have no interest in engaging in good faith and just want to troll for the hell of it and the very next day, the people who constitute whatever good remains at reddit will flock there en masse, because they can't wait to be free of the constant stream of bullshit that makes you feel too old for this shit regardless of how old you are.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:49 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Since other racist/sexist/etc subreddits have not been banned, we can fairly conclude that this is not about repressing certain ideologies. This is not about the moderators standing up against fatphobia or whatever. Assuming they consistently enforced the rules, if r/math was harassing people who didn't pass calculus, then they would/should be banned too. Societal beliefs about math have nothing to do with it.
posted by desjardins at 4:50 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I had heard that reddit was good for local news, and so a while back I looked in on the Bay Area related subreddits. and uh was not tempted to continue reading them.

(r/oakland is particularly fun; it is, as far as I can tell, entirely full of white tech guys who hate Black people and love OPD repression).
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:51 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


I do not. I think of it as something that has protected specific and vulnerable human individuals.

It's also hurt a lot of specific and vulnerable human individuals by closing legal routes to curtailing harassment and abuse. And while a good part of the problem has been the fact that the courts have interpreted the law in an exceptionally boneheaded manner, it's not like groups who are ostensibly about protecting people's freedom online have been in any real hurry to try to fix abuses of the law. The EFF's response to revenge porn and other forms of online harassment has been exceptionally poor.

You don't get to have the good of Section 230 without acknowledging the bad.
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:53 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm not going to get into the question of free speech vs. truly vile, hateful stuff. It's complicated and depressing. But I think Neil Cicierga had the right idea: Never go on Reddit.

The thing that baffles me about this is that 150,000 people joined a community called "fatpeoplehate."

This honestly isn't meant as a snarky put-down at all, but... you're kind of a thinnish, average-looking, middle class, straight white dude, right? I ask because your question seems to come from a place where you're surprised by the idea of strangers throwing rocks at you for not being like them. Again, I am not trying to make fun of you for expressing surprise, and I apologize if it sounds like I am. But I'm surprised that you're surprised, and I'm trying to figure out why this kind of hideous, ridiculous bigotry would shock you.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:54 PM on June 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


Yeah, it's pretty bad in /r/losangeles too. I started noticing a real uptick in hatred around Ferguson and then with this unfolding Ezell Ford tragedy, things took another turn for the worse. It's one of the many reasons I am disengaging. It's pretty bad when your forum turns into yet another site where you can't read the comments.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:56 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


This honestly isn't meant as a snarky put-down at all, but... you're kind of a thinnish, average-looking, middle class, straight white dude, right?

Got it in one (and don't worry, I'm not bothered). I guess the social acceptability of fatphobia means it gets less attention than other kinds of hate, and so not hearing much about it or experiencing it myself left me ignorant.
posted by skymt at 5:01 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, having to read an offensive website is no loss.
posted by clavdivs at 5:01 PM on June 11, 2015


toppest of keks
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:05 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Reddit in a nutshell:

/r/PuzzleAndDragons - A subreddit dedicated to one of the world's most popular mobile games, full of guides, tips, strategies and discussion. Focused, informative and useful.

/r/PuzzleAndDragonsNSFW - A subreddit that is an archive of lewd Puzzle and Dragons pictures and fanart. (and bonus points for videos). -No highly explicit shota/lolicon please.

...welp.
posted by delfin at 5:07 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


No one is censoring your precious assholes. A private company is choosing not to allow their behaviour on their service.

Reddit is indeed censoring FPH. As a private entity in the US, that is incontrovertibly Reddit's right, and I haven't seen anyone here saying the administration's actions are illegal, though I did see a laughable query to r/legaladvice along those lines.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:10 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Never heard of any of these subreddits, and god knows would never have visited them. I always recommend unsubscribing from the defaults and subscribing to small to medium subreddits that you have real interest in.

The only real drama I ever see is when someone pisses off kotakuinaction, shitredditsays, and other similar type subreddits. Everything goes haywire for a few days, then they move on to other targets.
posted by aerotive at 5:12 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's pretty bad in /r/losangeles

Glad I'm not the only one who noticed. That sub was an oasis in terms of reasonable commentary around city issues for years, and then in the last 18 months it's declined drastically, with truly racist/sexist/awful commenters being the loudest voices.

Interestingly, one thing I've noticed is that the worst users tend to be the earliest commenters, and then move on. So if you see a story in the morning full of racist comments, by the evening many of them are downvoted. I think the problem is that the hardcore redditors get their comments in first, not /r/losangeles casual users.
posted by cell divide at 5:12 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


The only real drama I ever see is when someone pisses off kotakuinaction, shitredditsays, and other similar type subreddits.

... has SRS changed since I stopped reading reddit? Because from what I remember, the SRS fempire was vastly better than the rest of the site. Certainly not something I'd ever think of comparing to kotakuinaction...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:18 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Okay, somebody help a non-Redditor understand: what's the difference between www.reddit.com and www.reddit.com/r/all? The content seems mostly the same, but it's not identical.
posted by Bugbread at 5:18 PM on June 11, 2015


As long as you accept that "an educated and moderately socially aware person" in 1950 might well have wanted to ban those degenerate homosexuals. Or in 1900, the dangerous anarchists. Or in 1850, the abolitionists.

Anyway, this is kind of a strawman. Those viewpoints were reactionary then and now. The worst thing you could say about a well-meaning liberal in 1850 is that they might have been overly cautious or tepid in proposing how to dismantle slavery, or that in 1950 hospitalization was preferable to criminalization of homosexuality - we can disagree with the methods or degree of response in hindsight, but the idea that everyone was just gung ho for these things is wrong.
posted by anazgnos at 5:18 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Okay, somebody help a non-Redditor understand: what's the difference between www.reddit.com and www.reddit.com/r/all? The content seems mostly the same, but it's not identical.

I might be wrong about this, but the primary difference only shows up if you're logged in or not. For example I follow roughly 50 subreddits, all of them pretty niche. I had no idea about the current crisis, literally nothing on the front page about it when I log in, but if I click on r/all, it's completely dominated by hatred of Ellen Pao.
posted by cell divide at 5:24 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Reddit is what it is because it wants to be what it is.
Their business model is lowest common denominator = more page views.

There are many easy ways to make the place better - plainly and simply the owners of Reddit do not want that to happen.

Hey - how about requiring all new account sign ups to have a verifiable email address? Bans would be more permanent and bad people creating multiple user accounts would have more of a bother to create.

How about allowing creators of a subReddit (mods) the ability to set a level of time and number of posts before a new user can post to it (say, no account can post to my subReddit until it is a week old and/or has 50 posts with positive karma) ? So accounts become more valuable and trolls have more difficulty trolling after being banned.

How about allowing subReddit creators to deny people the ability to post based upon other subReddits that they have posted in? So that if you post to /r/WhatAboutTheMens then that account could be prevented from posting to /r/FeministTheory for instance.

There are an almost infinite number of good solutions to this problem which could easily be implemented - but the owners do not want that. It is a cesspool because that is their business model - that is who they are catering to.
posted by AGameOfMoans at 5:26 PM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


So the objections seem to largely boil down to "if I can't mock and harass fat people whenever I like, Reddit is the Nazis."

I'm always disappointed by how upset people get when you ask them to behave less awfully. Its like they don't want to acknowledge what they're doing is awful, so instead of saying "yeah, maybe we're being shitheals let's be better people" they'd rather try and force everyone else to say "you know, you're right, being monstrous to other people really does make the world a better place."

Reddit is facing the problem today but its also sort of a problem with all humanity. Just treat people decently and own up when you fuck up and treat somebody badly (and don't do it again). Its not that hard. Well, I mean, it shouldn't be that hard.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:26 PM on June 11, 2015 [22 favorites]


I'm not certain cancer is the right image here. I think this is more like expressing an infected anal gland: it's smelly, horrible and awful, even the vet has to run out of the room. But, at the same time, utterly necessary and your furry little one can finally sleep comfortably again.

The problem with gland problems too is that sometimes they have to be expressed multiple times before you can get rid of the stench and agitation they cause.
posted by bonehead at 5:27 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think this is more like expressing an infected anal gland: it's smelly, horrible and awful, even the vet has to run out of the room. But, at the same time, utterly necessary and your furry little one can finally sleep comfortably again.

Can we keep stuff like this in /r/InfectedAnalGlandsStories where it belongs, please?
posted by The Tensor at 5:37 PM on June 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


Also: communism is at the same level of Nazism? Advocating for a different economic system is not anything like calling for the extinction of entire races and religions, and I'm sure you can come up with a better analogy.

A hundred million people in the 20th century died of Communist wars and genocides. Communism as an ideology may not have called for it, but as it was carried out, it was pretty effective at mass killing.
posted by theorique at 5:41 PM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


So to my mind, e.g. fatpersonhate has legitimately been discarded through the very process you claim to champion. People saying "that has no place in a civil society" is just the end stage of that process in this case. That idea has been found lacking in the marketplace and we've decided it's not civil anymore.

I'd actually say the opposite has occurred - it's precisely because of the sudden surge in popularity and acceptance of "fatpersonhate" - its meteoric rise to 150,000 subscribers and high activity - that it's attracted attention leading to its banning. It's the beginning of both "fatpersonhate" and the backlash against it, not the end.

If it was legitimately discarded, we'd have seen the users dwindle to zero, and it would never have been banned - continuing to exist in the gutter alongside the thousands of other gross and vile subs that no one has ever heard of.
posted by xdvesper at 5:43 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Bugbread: "Okay, somebody help a non-Redditor understand: what's the difference between www.reddit.com and www.reddit.com/r/all? The content seems mostly the same, but it's not identical."

If you haven't customized your subreddit subscriptions (e.g.: you're not a logged in user), www.reddit.com shows you posts only from the default subreddits. If you go to reddit.com/r/all, it shows you posts from all subreddits, ranked according to their own ranking algorithm that is a combination of recency and upvotes. Since the default subreddits have such a large number of subscribers (owing to their default status), popular posts there will generally have tons of upvotes, and hence bubble up to the top of r/all. The interesting thing is to see which non-default subreddits show up in r/all.
posted by mhum at 5:55 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Geez. This thread makes me wonder how some of you react when a comment gets deleted by the mods here on Metafilter.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:57 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's only missing Kibo.

Unfortunately Usenet is also missing Kibo. The date of his last post is the one I put on Usenet's headstone.
posted by straight at 5:59 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Bugbread: "Okay, somebody help a non-Redditor understand: what's the difference between www.reddit.com and www.reddit.com/r/all? The content seems mostly the same, but it's not identical."

The Reddit homepage shows the most popular content from the default subreddits, of which there are 50. This list is updated every few months to dump deteriorating subs (like /r/atheism) and replace them with fresher ones (like /r/dataisbeautiful). Sort of like the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Since all users are subscribed to the default subreddits by, um, default, they have huge subscriber counts and tend toward mediocrity, though strong moderation and strict rules in subs like /r/AskScience limits this.

/r/all, by contrast, is the most popular content in ALL subreddits, default or no. So you'll see some one-hit wonders from smaller subreddits that briefly become popular. This is normally a good thing -- it surfaces interesting niche subreddits like /r/SquaredCircle and phenomena like /r/TwitchPlaysPokemon, and generates most of the trending subreddits you see at the top of the homepage. It's only shit right now because the outcasts from FPH are fellating each other, hijacking the new posts queue and upvoting their "protest" posts from innumerable copycat subreddits and downvoting anything relevant, but this is just temporary.

Anyway, this might be a good opportunity to share subreddits you frequent and think are worth sharing. I read the site mainly through an RSS subscription to /r/all (which has its share of crap but is not nearly as bad as some people say), but I also subscribe to and/or seek out these subs on a regular basis:
  • /r/jailbreak - for keeping up with the latest extensions and tweaks for jailbroken iOS devices
  • /r/pebble - for learning about the best apps and follow news about the Pebble smartwatch I've got headed my way in the mail
  • /r/oculus - for staying up to date with the latest news about the VR industry
  • /r/TipOfMyTongue - for helping random folks track down half-remembered things
  • /r/halo - for getting updates on the latest fixes for the Master Chief Collection, along with news on Halo 5
  • /r/radiohead - for discussion and interesting covers of the band, as well as news about their next album
  • Subs for TV shows I watch -- /r/bettercallsaul, /r/rickandmorty, /r/lastmanonearthTV. They're like meme-ier, faster-paced supplements for FanFare.
And of course, shameless self-link to /r/MetaFilter, though the traffic there is woefully low...
posted by Rhaomi at 6:00 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Geez. This thread makes me wonder how some of you react when a comment gets deleted by the mods here on Metafilter.

Well, there's this amazing MeTa on deleted comments.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:03 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


The distant existence of communities antithetical to them does not make them less safe. (Unless somebody starts brigading or harassing them; but again, that's against the rules and gets people banned.)

I'd say the existence of snark subs like TheBluePill and AgainstMensRights is very strong evidence that the existence of those communities makes women and feminists generally feel incredibly unsafe, because a huge chunk of the "humor" is very clearly of the "you have to laugh or else you'll go to bed and never stop crying ever again" kind of variety. Yes, some people get banned. I spent a fair amount of time in some very feminist parts of Reddit for a little while and have since entirely stopped because the site feels that unsafe. Trans acquaintances got random threats by private message constantly and the offending users, as far as I could tell, knew damned well it was a bannable offense and were therefore using throwaway accounts to do it. I got some whiffs of some very repellant people trying to figure out who I was offsite, and even though I'd used a different username there to everywhere else on the internet and tried not to reference anything that'd be traceable, I still felt too freaked out to keep posting there.

Flexibility of ideology is great. Freedom of speech generally is a thing I support. That doesn't mean there aren't some viewpoints which are just 100% wrong, and that giving platforms to those viewpoints isn't 100% wrong. Some of them are not just wrong but actively harmful. Facilitating recruitment efforts for people who are going to hurt other people is evil. There is an enormous difference between a government with a militarized police force and a standing army forbidding speech it defines as hate speech and a business refusing to provide hosting.
posted by Sequence at 6:08 PM on June 11, 2015 [22 favorites]


Anyway, this might be a good opportunity to share subreddits you frequent and think are worth sharing.

/r/kerbalspaceprogram
/r/terraria
/r/CK2GameOfthrones
/r/homebrewing
/r/Multicopter
/r/DIY
/r/Stoicism

Logged in after work and scrolled through 3 pages before I found a single thread (already locked) referencing any of this. Reddit is full of solid little nerd communities, unfortunately tarred by sharing a domain with whatever the fuck you want to call these other people.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:21 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


AGameOfMoans - I believe your second and third ideas are already available via mod bots, & definitely could be implemented without Reddit admins doing anything.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:23 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


... has SRS changed since I stopped reading reddit? Because from what I remember, the SRS fempire was vastly better than the rest of the site. Certainly not something I'd ever think of comparing to kotakuinaction...

Redditors have built up a huge mythology around SRS wherein SRS are an army of marauding harpies stealing their internet points, deliberately driving people to suicide, and suborning other subreddits' moderators in a conspiracy to destroy Reddit.

In reality, we talk about things in the Fempire subreddit, we point and laugh in SRS Prime, and we collect the best silly lies about us in /r/SRSMythos. SRS loves nothing about Reddit so much as the self-important mythologizing that casts SRS as the devil incarnate, and the number of times that the admins have said that SRS isn't actually a problem only to be met with a wall of "COLLUSION!" and "ADMINS SLEEPING WITH SRS MODS" and so forth is all the funnier.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:25 PM on June 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


So the objections seem to largely boil down to "if I can't mock and harass fat people whenever I like, Reddit is the Nazis."

Being as I am acquainted with a woman who got a tattoo from some nice young Lutheran White Boys at this one Summer Camp in Poland, I find trite comparisons to Nazis as extremely stupid.

But mainly, also, flames from the side of my face.

Bad at history most internet whineybabies are.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:27 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Pope Guilty: "Redditors have built up a huge mythology around SRS wherein SRS are an army of marauding harpies stealing their internet points, deliberately driving people to suicide, and suborning other subreddits' moderators in a conspiracy to destroy Reddit."

SRS is to your average Redditor as ACORN is to a Tea Partier.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:29 PM on June 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


Anyway, this might be a good opportunity to share subreddits you frequent and think are worth sharing.

/r/kerbalspaceprogram


What's sad is that sexism crept into the KSP subreddit when female Kerbals were introduced. Welcome to Reddit.
posted by nathan_teske at 6:34 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


I've yet to see r/programming go off topic into sexist rants, so I'll give it that.
posted by Artw at 6:36 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


> Just tried accessing it through my shell account...hey, it works! Nothing but spam, but it still works.

Yeah, a functioning newsspool is a standard part of unix and of every linux distro I ever looked at (several, starting with Slackware, kernel version 1.0.13.)

But who on earth bothers to spam usenet now? That's like putting up billboards at the bottom of Colossal Mammoth Cave, down where it's penetrated all the way through the crust and starting to get into the mantle.
posted by jfuller at 6:39 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


The thing that baffles me about this is that 150,000 joined a community called "fatpeoplehate."

It's not (quite) as bad as that.
150,000 accounts were subscribed to that group.
Many of those accounts (probably a great many) were from nitwits who had their accounts banned numerous times and rejoined under a different account. Many of those accounts were probably from robo-accounts created by the group creators/supporters to inflate the group stats.

Frankly I would be surprised if the group had more than 10K or so actual individual active users.
posted by AGameOfMoans at 6:42 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've yet to see r/programming go off topic into sexist rants, so I'll give it that.

In my experience, the topic-focused subreddits seem to be the most, well, focused. Makes sense, I suppose. The motivational and goal-oriented ones tend to be not-bad, although the usual demographic is the usual demographic (male, twentysomething).

The SRS/Fempire area is an intriguing subculture. With its own culture, slang, and rules, it seems to have been consciously designed or evolved to subvert a lot of the "vibe" of the site overall. (I suppose that makes sense given that its origin was in drawing attention to casual racism and sexism site-wide).

As others have pointed out, with the cost of creating throwaways and alts near zero, reddit is a lot like 8chan, but with more persistent identities and more moderation (still not that much).

Similarly, with the cost of creating new subreddits effectively zero for a group, the banning of one leads to dozens of new ones created (e.g. when the n-word subreddit was banned, apparently for "brigading", the members formed lots of other racist subreddits, and the activity continued).

This is the strength and weakness of the reddit model: the advantage is that anyone can create an account and a subreddit about anything; the disadvantage is that anyone can create an account and a subreddit about anything. Moderation and curation costs either money (in the form of paid workers' time) or effort and goodwill (in the form of volunteers' time). Given that Reddit - the for-profit corporation - is under the gun to show some kind of profitability for all its publicity and user activity, the expense of active moderation may be too great for them.
posted by theorique at 6:55 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: " I find trite comparisons to Nazis as extremely stupid."

Oh, man. This picture managed to float up to r/all a few days ago, well before this current tempest in a teacup. I think it originated in r/KotakuInAction (the GamerGate subreddit) and I think the woman in the tank is supposed to be Ellen Pao, the current CEO of Reddit. And, again, this happened before this whole r/FatPeopleHate thing so I'm not 100% sure exactly what these guys were reacting to. In any case, trite comparisons to oppressive regimes seem to be pretty common among certain sub-populations of redditors.
posted by mhum at 6:58 PM on June 11, 2015


In my experience, the topic-focused subreddits seem to be the most, well, focused.

Also the ones that are strictly moderated -- you don't see any of this nonsense creeping into /r/AskHistorians or /r/DaystromInstitute (in-universe Star Trek discussion) because the moderators are dedicated to enforcing their sub's rules.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:02 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Seconding AGameOfMoans. Harassment groups have demonstrated a proclivity for vote manipulation via bandwagoning/brigading and these tactics require dummy accounts. Shadowbanning and other admin responses exist in large part to fight this sort of behavior, but it's very much a game of trap and endless-horde-of-mouse: reddit's sorting algorithm lends particular weight to a post's initial votes, so whenever a malicious group wants to artificially bury or boost a post, they just need to use a handful of accounts that haven't yet been used for this purpose so that they know the votes will count.

In short, it's pretty trivial for an aggrieved group to temporarily take over the front page with content of their choosing. Saying that you can draw conclusions about the true character of the average redditor based on the content appearing on /r/all betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the forces at work.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 7:03 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm the opposite of many people and I almost always go to /r/all. I enjoy encountering new content I wouldn't discover otherwise. It's how I discovered some of my favorite subreddits, including standupshots and talesfromyourserver.

Today, going to /r/all was like wading in raw sewage. It was gross and disgusting. On the bright side, I wasn't at all tempted to check into Reddit for most of the day.

From now on I may have to stick with curated subreddits; I really can't stomach the garbage that was out today.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:07 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's only missing Kibo.

Unfortunately Usenet is also missing Kibo. The date of his last post is the one I put on Usenet's headstone.


                       Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998
X-Battlestar-Galactica-Date: 9136 centons, 74 microns, .02 abians

posted by zippy at 7:21 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


The thing that baffles me about this is that 150,000 joined a community called "fatpeoplehate."

It's not (quite) as bad as that.
150,000 accounts were subscribed to that group.
Many of those accounts (probably a great many) were from nitwits who had their accounts banned numerous times and rejoined under a different account. Many of those accounts were probably from robo-accounts created by the group creators/supporters to inflate the group stats.

Frankly I would be surprised if the group had more than 10K or so actual individual active users.


It's a bit of a moot point to be arguing this now (as the subreddit is banned and traffic stats are unavailable) but I see no reason to think it would have a substantially different traffic pattern to any other subreddit - it's certainly hitting the /r/all with the frequency expected of a subreddit of that size.

For example, a subreddit like League of Legends subreddit has roughly 700k subscribers but 9 million unique visitors per month. That means that of every 10 people who read the site in a month, only 8% are subscribers.

Fat people hate having 150,000 subscribers is indicative of at least over 1 million people who read it on a semi regular basis.
posted by xdvesper at 7:23 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


cjk98 posted an interesting perspective on /r/TheoryOfReddit (an equivalent of MetaTalk):
Sure, Reddit (the userbase, not the company) values free choice and personal responsibility, but only because it knows that it doesn't really have either. That's because every user is working under the (correct) assumption that they wouldn't be allowed to make truly dangerous, harmful choices (like posting child porn). And the userbase realizes that since it doesn't have complete autonomy, it doesn't have to accept complete responsibility since they're still abiding by rules set in place by the system, i.e. Reddit. Thus the anger when the system seems to turn against them. ...

That's right. If you think "personal responsibility" or "freedom" are reasonable rallying cries when the admins ban something, it's because you think of Reddit as an omnipotent entity. I know that sounds silly since you're criticizing their actions, but it's true. "If FatPeopleHate were such a bad subreddit, Reddit would have never allowed it to exist in the first place, right? If FatPeopleHate already exists, it must be okay by whatever standard is in place!" Thus the problem with screaming "slippery slope", a problem rooted in the way the West approaches the ideal of free speech: you think the slippery slope is what happens when the ambiguous entity of 'free speech' is slowly restricted by a system of people. But it's really just the opposite: a system of people are slowly being restricted by 'free speech' and are pushing back. Let me explain.

If all the FPH mods simultaneously had a change of heart and decided to delete the subreddit, no one would be angry. But when Reddit decided FPH was a threat that it somehow 'missed' initially before it banned the subreddit, we were pissed. But not because of 'corporate intrusion' or because we think our free speech is being threatened - rather, we're pissed because the system showed it wasn't infallible.
They make a good point. If Reddit's admins quickly banned communities like fatpeoplehate and shitn*****ssay, on the general principle of "these are not only offensive but downright obscene," I and probably most other Redditors wouldn't care, because we'd be implicitly selected from the set of people who wouldn't participate in those communities anyway. But once a community has been allowed to grow to 150,000 members, it's like an implicit acceptance that their material may be offensive but it's still worth having around. Which is incorrect—it's obscene, but only just now is it being addressed.

I'd still draw the line at removing obscene content from an entire data center, hosting company, or other "platform" (and of course from the entire internet, which is unconstitutional anyway); but Reddit is enough of a "community" on the platform−community spectrum that they can sensibly moderate the tone of their overall discussion. (xdvesper and AGameOfMoans suggest some possibilities in-between lasseiz-faire tolerance and a complete ban, e.g. shadowban the whole subreddit, or give the subreddit mods more abilities to prevent trolling.)

The real test of any level of silencing power is speech that's offensive but not obscene. Transhumanists, Luddites, radical vegans, carnivores, neocons, anarchists, creationists, dinosaur fans: all of those should be encouraged even if one group could technically be banned for offending another. You'll never see a pro-creationism thread on Metafilter because those people have been selected out and have their own discussion sites; but Reddit is intended as an unbiased platform for differently-biased communities. I don't want to see the entire site take on a certain viewpoint. I have been persuaded, though, that some purported "topics" are not really viewpoints and are not worth keeping.
posted by Rangi at 7:35 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


xdvesper: "It's a bit of a moot point to be arguing this now (as the subreddit is banned and traffic stats are unavailable) but I see no reason to think it would have a substantially different traffic pattern to any other subreddit - it's certainly hitting the /r/all with the frequency expected of a subreddit of that size."

I don't know how long the page will be up, but here are the FPH traffic stats according to RedditMetrics. It mostly grew slowly with a late-breaking upsurge, gaining 50% of its final subscriber count in the last three months. It was also the 230th largest sub when it was banned. Compare with the LoL subreddit you mention, which had much more linear growth.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:36 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know why we shouldn't take reddit at its word that its concern is harassment, not hate speech. If I were in reddit's legal department, I would be thinking very carefully about what kind of liability I might attract if I hosted a platform that abets and encourages the kind of behavior we've seen. And if I were an enterprising class-action attorney, I would be looking carefully at the same thing.

"Source of potentially costly liability" is as good a filter as any for deciding which subs to ban and which to leave alone.
posted by awenner at 7:37 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also: communism is at the same level of Nazism? Advocating for a different economic system is not anything like calling for the extinction of entire races and religions, and I'm sure you can come up with a better analogy

Communism in theory is about economics, Communism in practice is about brutal oppression that results in deaths of millions upon millions of people. But that's a conversation for a different subreddit.
posted by MikeMc at 7:38 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm the opposite of many people and I almost always go to /r/all. I enjoy encountering new content I wouldn't discover otherwise. It's how I discovered some of my favorite subreddits, including standupshots and talesfromyourserver.

A lot of the talesfromX subreddits are worth reading. One guy who posts regularly on /r/talesfromtechsupport, airz23, spun off his own subreddit, and ArtzDept was inspired to make comics of some of his stories.
posted by Rangi at 7:41 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


A lot of people (here or on reddit otherwise) like to claim that the culture of the defaults vs. the niche subs is segregated, which is partially true, but not to such an extent that the violent overall site culture is reigned in by these supposed barriers. /r/TwoXChromosomes use to be a safe place for women until it became a default, and now the sub is overrun with MRAs. /r/feminism is moderated by a guy who is big on the MRA subs. The non-default subreddits aren't gated communities like people think they are, a lot of users exist between the defaults and the niche subs and that's where the issues come in. It's why there are multiple subreddits for science-related topics, because /r/science isn't good on its own, and it's why things like /r/AskScience are so heavily moderated with very strict rules. The defaults bleed through everywhere and it's annoying and hard to get away from.
posted by gucci mane at 7:47 PM on June 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


Rangi: "Which is incorrect—it's obscene, but only just now is it being addressed."

I apologize if I'm misreading your comment here but are you implying that FPH was banned on the basis of obscene content? Based on the announcement of the banning itself, I inferred that they were banned for breaking Reddit's rules against harassment. Or are you also including harassment under obscenity? I mean, I thought the story here was that FPH was not banned because the Reddit admins disagreed with their opinions (and how they expressed them in particularly distasteful ways) but rather because the participants organized harassment campaigns on FPH.
posted by mhum at 8:00 PM on June 11, 2015


>> It's only missing Kibo.

> Unfortunately Usenet is also missing Kibo. The date of his last post is the one I put on Usenet's headstone.
posted by straight at 5:59 PM on June 11 [6 favorites −] [!]


hey guys you know what site actually has Kibo?

Metafilter: the new Usenet. because we have Kibo.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:05 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


/r/xcom has generally been a daily stop for me - I play the Long War mod of XCOM, and that's where the discussion about it happens. The mod programmers talk with people there, new features are discussed, yadda yadda. And the only other place, the nexusmod forums, are terrible in terms of searching and viewing things.

I'd noticed in the past few days a lot more bullshit (aka: sexism, casual homophobia, etc etc) in there, where before there'd be the odd comment but drowned out by either technical minutiae or gaming glee. I had thought it was because when Xcom2 was announced* a lot of non-"heavily focused on xcom" people came to the sub. Now I'm unsure if it's that or this, or probably both. Either way, it's been interesting to see.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:07 PM on June 11, 2015


/r/CasualConversation for conversations which are, uh, casual.
posted by um at 8:07 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Reddit was interesting about 8 years ago. Nowadays is a cesspit of hate, racism, misogynism, intolerance and jingoism.

The few times I mentioned reddit to friends or acquaintances I was so humiliated: the frost time was while I worked with a group of female professionals, from lawyers to fundraisers to DBAs, just at the time that the rapist thread was going on.

Then I mention it to some friends while working on a parent coop, and that's when the jailbait thing hit the fan. Seriously.


Latter, it was the Boston bomber witch-hunt, the cancer patient doxxing, etc. As a result, I had to quickly disassociate myself from the site: too toxic to mention, and professional relationships coudl and did get strained at the possibility that I might share some of the proclivities of the most notorious members of the site.

It simply is not worth the emotional distress and and the professional disrepute.
posted by kadmilos at 8:34 PM on June 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


It simply is not worth the emotional distress and and the professional disrepute.

Aw hell yes. People are viewing it accurately these days!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:42 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


You Can't Tip a Buick: "Aw hell yes. People are viewing it accurately these days!"

I dunno, from comments like this, about r/losangeles/: "That sub was an oasis in terms of reasonable commentary around city issues for years, and then in the last 18 months it's declined drastically, with truly racist/sexist/awful commenters being the loudest voices." it seems like the issue isn't "Reddit has always been this bad, but people were too stupid/blind to notice" as much as "Reddit is getting worse".

I don't mean to say that it was great or good or mediocre or whatever in the past (I dunno, I've never been a reddit user). Just that however good or bad it was, on the whole, it's going noticeably downhill.
posted by Bugbread at 8:53 PM on June 11, 2015


I apologize if I'm misreading your comment here but are you implying that FPH was banned on the basis of obscene content?

Not at all. I know that current policy banned those subs because of harassment, brigading, and ban evasion, and I support that. There was some debate about whether obscenity should be sufficient to ban a sub; I disagreed at first, but changed my mind, as long as a clear separation is kept between obscene content (hating people for bigoted reasons) and offensive content (which includes controversial but substantial topics, and just about every political or religious position).
posted by Rangi at 8:53 PM on June 11, 2015


Thanks for posting this. I joined reddit a couple months ago, to follow /woodworking and chopped my list down to /aww, pics, world new and a few others. I clicked the "all" tab for the first time last night and couldn't believe the disgusting shit storm....was kind of wondering if that was a regular thing.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:59 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


As long as you accept that "an educated and moderately socially aware person" in 1950 might well have wanted to ban those degenerate homosexuals. Or in 1900, the dangerous anarchists. Or in 1850, the abolitionists. Even today, there are educated and informed people who would disagree with you and I about what views should be beyond the pale.

Actually, no. This is more analogous to a person in the 50s pining for the days of chattel slavery and advocating for taking away women's votes, and maybe also the votes of anyone who isn't a white male who owns property.

I mean, we have tried the things (prejudice, discrimination, othering, hatred, violence) that these subreddits advocate. They are not new ideas. They are very old, have been tested, and shown to be destructive in their effects. It's like attacking/stalking/doxxing people for believing in democracy because you crave a return to absolute monarchy. You have the right to your opinion, but you're not adding anything to the conversation. And you can't claim that it's "revolutionary" or useful when in fact it's just demanding we re-fight old and long-decided battles.

But even then, I am ok with not banning a group of racists or whatever, so long as they don't attack those they disagree with. But the problem in this case is that they do. They do attack, they do harm others, and they need to cut that shit out.

And it does hurt the site. For example, I was tempted by JHarris upthread talking about the Steven Universe subreddit. But I can't be sure it won't be overrun by people demanding I show them my tits or posting something otherwise gross. So I probably won't go there. I have enough shit to deal with in my life.
posted by emjaybee at 9:13 PM on June 11, 2015 [22 favorites]


I clicked the "all" tab for the first time last night and couldn't believe the disgusting shit storm....was kind of wondering if that was a regular thing.

It definitely isn't a regular thing. Like I said upthread, I subscribe to the RSS for /r/all because I wanted to see content beyond just the 50 defaults. There is certainly some garbage there -- reposts, general anti-feminist stuff, the occasional post from FatPeopleHate or TumblrInAction. But the large majority is reasonable general interest web content -- news, politics, viral videos, cute animals, neat webtoys. What you see right now is an aberration -- in my Feedly, around 90% of recent stories were referencing FPH or bashing Pao. But it will subside as interest burns out; in fact, I'm already beginning to see a return to normalcy.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:14 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's like attacking/stalking/doxxing people for believing in democracy because you crave a return to absolute monarchy.

... so, uh, there's these guys, they call themselves the Dark Enlightenment movement...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:20 PM on June 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


I also kinda want to point out the cancer metaphor is one captured by the jacknuts at reddit complaining about not being allowed to have completely free rein to be bigots.

They purport the "redditcancer" that is "destroying" the site are the "sjws". Or, in other words, people who think that maybe spouting vile bigotry "as a joak" isn't really funny.
posted by qcubed at 9:25 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


And of course since this sort of person is a 4chan wannabe at heart, they're just repeating the antique "the cancer that is killing /b/" meme from like 5 years ago.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:31 PM on June 11, 2015


It's like attacking/stalking/doxxing people for believing in democracy because you crave a return to absolute monarchy.

... so, uh, there's these guys, they call themselves the Dark Enlightenment movement...


And as I mentioned earlier, one of the leading voices of said movement got booted from a tech conference when the organizers found out he was a bigoted jerkwad. Of course, the usual suspects cried censorship.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:31 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


i use reddit more now since i started doing a blog that keeps track of what gamergate is up to, because GamerGhazi is good for that, and even that sub is full of people willing to make boring apologia for their fave boring white guys; even if you aren't bothered by that there are still occasional turds of cissexism floating in the metaphorical pool. it's obvious that a lot of the subs that are oriented towards anti-bigotry are actually just in that direction COMPARED TO THE REST OF REDDIT; the redditry still infects them because when you're reacting in a social justice oriented way to that kind of cissexist white male sinkhole of sewage, and when you get used to sites that aren't awful, it's frequently "well there are LESS turds in our punch", which still doesn't mean it's drinkable.

i have friends who mod a sub that's been getting popular and occasionally hear about the kind of shit people send them or see screenshots of their modmail and it's just fucking awful, these entitled whiny douchebags flipping out because a sub deleted their shitty rape joke and infringing on their ~freeze peaches~.

i think it is especially funny when people are like "well the defaults are the worst", especially when you can actually see subs go downhill as they get more and more members, because defending a community based on "well it isn't so bad until you get a critical mass of its members and then it is awful" is just so ridiculous. reddit also doesn't let moderators take money for their work and they don't do anything to keep banned users from subs from making different accounts and just coming back over and over again, and they are literally not allowed to get paid for that even if their users were willing to pay them.

anyway, when this happened with creepshots people just re-made it while also pretending to be catty gay guys giving fashion critiques of "candid shots" and nothing was done, so i am guessing this actually does 0 good in the long run, though it is kind of fun to watch the awful dandruff-encrusted fedora crowd cry
posted by NoraReed at 10:11 PM on June 11, 2015 [24 favorites]


And as I mentioned earlier, one of the leading voices of said movement got booted from a tech conference when the organizers found out he was a bigoted jerkwad. Of course, the usual suspects cried censorship.

More like the Hollywood blacklist than censorship, I think - I haven't seen any claims his Urbit talk has any offensive content.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 10:47 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Got it in one (and don't worry, I'm not bothered).

I'm so glad! I posted my post and then immediately started wondering if I sounded like a snide, condescending jerk, despite my efforts to put my questions in context.

Anyway. If I ever start feeling like Metafilter is maybe getting too PC granola, a few minutes on Reddit makes this feel like my happy place.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:54 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


More like the Hollywood blacklist than censorship, I think - I haven't seen any claims his Urbit talk has any offensive content.

Doesn't matter that the talk doesn't have any offensive content - as Wendig pointed out, when you say that it's okay for open bigots to be presenters as a conference, it says that the conference is not safe for the people he denigrates. Considering that this specific conference (Strange Loop) has made a name for itself on being a progressive and safe space, that's an important thing.

And to compare telling bigots that they are not welcome to use the platforms of others to the Hollywood blacklist is a really offensive comparison to make.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:08 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


The comparison to the Hollywood blacklist is also a GamerGate talking point
posted by NoraReed at 11:17 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's easy to write this off as not doing much good in the long run, but it honestly makes a pretty big difference to me as someone whose old picture (I don't know how they got it - maybe from my Skype profile, which is pretty terrifying) was still visible on one of the banned harassment subreddits. I know at least one other MeFi poster's face was there too.
posted by Corinth at 11:20 PM on June 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


Anyway, this might be a good opportunity to share subreddits you frequent and think are worth sharing.

/r/dragonage
/r/AlistairMancers
/r/CullenMancers
posted by Jacqueline at 11:24 PM on June 11, 2015


Obligatory xkcd. I've adapted the observation in the mouseover text to deride people who use that argument countless times. A+
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 11:48 PM on June 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


I have to say, this is persistence, and kind of amusing in its futility:
They already banned /r/fatpersonhate /r/fatpeoplehate2 /r/fatpeoplehate3 /r/fatpeoplehate4 /r/fatpeoplehate5 /r/ObesePeopleDislike /r/largehumanloathing and even /r/publichealthawareness
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:20 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was a big fan of reddit a while ago: I'd unsubscribed to all the default subs pretty quickly, as I found them boring (Or at least I think I have), and mostly use it as a way to look at cool pictures when I don't want to think. Then I found that one of the subreddits I really liked, /r/subredditoftheday , posted Kotaku In Action as its subreddit of the day on women's day. Right then, unsubscribed.

That said, I still visit quite a few places:
r/AskHistorians They've asked not to be a default sub, despite having enough subscribers to be one. VERY heavily moderated discussions of history.

R/BattlePaintings Paintings of battles. I've also posted newspaper drawings without trouble. Very helpful if you want a painting of a specific group (They found me two paintings of the unit one my Great-Grandfathers fought in in WWI)

It is also a great place if you want to see photography or art: ex. r/MattePaintings or the Imaginary Network (Picked a random subreddit to link to; there is a list of topics at the top.

I don't visit it a ton, but I adore R/PrivateStudyRooms Pictures of private study rooms. I forget how I found it, but it was basically just the moderator posting images until Subreddit of the Day picked it up.

Oh, and if you like cute things: Red pandas and Foxes

And if you like old computers: Retro Battlestations.

Is there somewhere I can find this kind of stuff that isn't reddit? (No, really, is there is an anti-reddit full of people talking about foxes and old computers, but without the scary side, sign me up). It really does well when it plays to its strength of "Here is a topic, it is really easy to set up a place to post about it and share links and have discussions". Like a forum, but based on links/images and without having to manage a million login passwords. But I can see how that leads to nasty things congregating there.

Perhaps the solution is hellbans? It is like a shadowban, but instead of no one seeing your post, only other hellbanned users can see them. Then hellban subreddits so once you post in them, you get trapped in a twilightzone where only spambots and other hellbanned users can see you. Hard to notice, but would help contain them. The only problem I could see is the hate could still spill onto other sites, but used to organzie hate campaigns and whatnot....
posted by Canageek at 12:38 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


The effort to turn this thread into a referendum on The Black Book of Communism is pretty silly and pathetic.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:38 AM on June 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


Consider this: without places like Reddit, a lot of pretty mainstream folks would have NO idea how much hatred is out there. I like to believe that people are generally good, and that when your average mainstream person sees this hate, they too are repelled by it. And then they are perhaps inclined to consider whether or not they are unconsciously part of the problem and maybe change their behavior or mindset a bit.

And without /., Fark, Digg, Reddit ...whatever comes next, I think many mainstream people would just blithely go about their lives never considering how some people can spew such hate and cause such pain to more marginalized folks. Reddit is huge, and I do believe it can move the Overton Window, just perhaps not the way people above are suggesting.
posted by digitalprimate at 12:51 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, r/dataisbeautiful linked to a blog that purportedly ran a statistical analysis of which of the top 250 subreddits were toxic versus supportive. And here's the subreddit link discussing it.

This "information" is somewhat dated now, I am not a statistician and have no way to gauge the validity of the methods or analysis nor do I have any particular opinion about it other than I think it's interesting that someone tried to do this. I just thought I'd throw it out there in case anyone has any insight into quantifying the amount of hate vs. support on Reddit.
posted by digitalprimate at 1:04 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


[Comrades, the communism derail has been excised by the Bureau. In addition, the Bureau denies any such derail ever existed. Please continue to further the glory of the revolution confident in the knowledge that the derail, which never existed, has been excised, which is the truth. Thank you.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:13 AM on June 12, 2015 [73 favorites]


i am constantly having to change my subs list because another cool place has been taken over by assholes. they aren't far away from the sane subs.

Not just that, but even the nerdiest or more niche subs always have random flareups of shittiness even if they've seemed safe for months. You'll click on a mundane seeming thread and the top comment is suddenly full blast misogyny or rape jokes or whatever and you're like WOAH, where the fuck did that come from. And then a bunch of people, and often sadly even the mods, just upvote it and congratulate it.

Browsing reddit is kind of like living with someone whose nominally ok, but has a hair trigger temper. It can blow up and punch you in the face over nothing at any second.

it's obvious that a lot of the subs that are oriented towards anti-bigotry are actually just in that direction COMPARED TO THE REST OF REDDIT

Before i came back to mefi, i really didn't have any perspective on this. But yea, it's super duper true. Even the good parts of reddit are good for reddit. Rarely are they actually completely safe or good.
posted by emptythought at 2:13 AM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


zabuni: I disagree. For many reasons. I don't think the creation of communities that allow people can converse with others about things "out of bounds" changes the Overton window of the greater Internet. You complain about echo chambers, but you're talking about a site where the main place to make fun of its foibles is /r/circlejerk. Reddit is a thousand echo chambers, many of which argue for the lower class status of various minority groups like fat people or jews or blacks or women. I don't see many minds changing because of places like fatpeoplehate and conspiracy. I just see prejudices being enforced.

digitalprimate Consider this: without places like Reddit, a lot of pretty mainstream folks would have NO idea how much hatred is out there. I like to believe that people are generally good, and that when your average mainstream person sees this hate, they too are repelled by it. And then they are perhaps inclined to consider whether or not they are unconsciously part of the problem and maybe change their behavior or mindset a bit.

Two of the big factors driving reddit's dynamics are (1) "anonymity/cheap pseudonymity" and (2) "loose coupling".

The first one is well known to be a driver of Internet nastiness, reaching its peak in the bowels of the *chans. No identity = no accountability = "say anything you want", with all that implies.

The second one is a powerful influence but it's more subtle. Because Reddit is thousands of different "communities" or "cultures" provided by a single pseudonymous sign-on, people's participation in one subreddit will inevitably bleed into others. Consider racist subreddits like /r/StormFront. While they can't actively brigade or spam unrelated subreddits without getting reprimanded or banned, they are linked to the site as a whole through user participation. Any user can look anywhere on Reddit and they are still on reddit. That apparently normal person who made the funny comment on that default subreddit could be anyone and post anywhere else. Suppose their comment history also has a few hundred angry comments about Jews on /r/StormFront. 99% of people are repelled, but some bigots nod their heads and think "yeah, this guy has a point".

Whatever unpleasant views you have, but think you don't, reddit has plenty of tacit support for it. This means that a racist in denial can browse "funny" racist subreddits (memes, jokes, etc) and still believe he's not a "real" racist. That kind of denial is not possible when the same guy has an account on the actual Stormfront web site - that's specific, but Reddit is general.

(This phenomenon was discussed earlier - the tl;dr version is that this anonymity and loose coupling of communities means that Reddit can be a recruitment funnel to more extreme groups and forums.)
posted by theorique at 3:16 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Consider racist subreddits like /r/StormFront

Not that it changes your point much, but to nitpick, at the moment /r/StormFront is run by "some fine upstanding amateur meteorologists" and is all about weather. And trolling racists. The actual racists are elsewhere.
posted by effbot at 3:29 AM on June 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Consider this: without places like Reddit, a lot of pretty mainstream folks would have NO idea how much hatred is out there.

there's still yahoo news, you tube and a lot of loosely moderated local news sites that have a lot of hatred and stupidity in the comments

it's actually getting harder and harder to miss
posted by pyramid termite at 3:48 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Setting aside the defamation of the innocent cloud-watchers of /r/StormFront for a moment, this
Because Reddit is thousands of different "communities" or "cultures" provided by a single pseudonymous sign-on, people's participation in one subreddit will inevitably bleed into others.
and this
Whatever unpleasant views you have, but think you don't, reddit has plenty of tacit support for it.
It seems you're taking for granted the most pessimistic scenario. There's nothing in your argument to rule out influence in the opposite direction. Is the premise that there are no decent people on reddit? Or that there is some sort of 'human nature' that inclines people to viciousness and cruelty?
posted by um at 3:53 AM on June 12, 2015


There's been an epidemic of "public health" (read: obesity-hating) accounts on Instagram that have targeted Tess Holliday and her followers and filled some of the hashtags like #healthatanysize and #effyourbeautystandards with hateful images and comments. I wouldn't be surprised if the spillover hastened their dismissal on Reddit.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:56 AM on June 12, 2015


> Consider this: without places like Reddit, a lot of pretty mainstream folks would have NO idea how much hatred is out there.

there's still yahoo news, you tube and a lot of loosely moderated local news sites that have a lot of hatred and stupidity in the comments


Yeah, but there aren't ever any TV news spots about "this weird place on the Internet called 'Yahoo news' that's got shocking comments". A lot of mainstream people are sort of blinkered about the shit in their own news sites and it's only when Brian Williams or whoever talks about trolling on TV that they hear about it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:47 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


maybe the worst will actually follow up on their threats to move to voat

Now if everyone else could just stop hammering on voat's Windows box, they could at least sign up and rant there a bit until they get bored or school starts again.

(I'd be happy to buy some really nice beers to anyone who could leak some N-day/N-hour numbers for the involved parties to my mailbox... I strongly suspect they're pretty entertaining, quite possibly hilarious.)
posted by effbot at 4:51 AM on June 12, 2015


Not that it changes your point much, but to nitpick, at the moment /r/StormFront is run by "some fine upstanding amateur meteorologists" and is all about weather. And trolling racists. The actual racists are elsewhere.

Oops. Shows what happens when you assume. I know the names of some of the other ones but I preferred not to type out racist epithets. Apologies to all the storm chasers I may have offended.

It seems you're taking for granted the most pessimistic scenario. There's nothing in your argument to rule out influence in the opposite direction. Is the premise that there are no decent people on reddit? Or that there is some sort of 'human nature' that inclines people to viciousness and cruelty?

That's true. The other direction is definitely possible. The main reason why I was discussing the pessimistic angle is because the thread is focused on what subreddits were banned and why.

I firmly believe that with as many people as are on reddit (many millions, I don't know the exact number), you will get the best, the worst, and the average. (I've certainly learned good things on reddit and gotten value out of reading parts of the site.)

Unfortunately, there seems to be this entropic tendency where the factors I described (anonymity/cheap pseudonymity + loose coupling) seems to create a set of conditions that favors a race to the bottom in some specific places. (Though reddit also appears to recognize this, which is probably why one of the strongest implicit rules seems to be: keep the 'crap' in your own subreddit and we won't bother you.)

When you create an *chan platform, /b/ seems to arise spontaneously over time. Metafilter or the high-quality curated/moderated subreddits (I've heard people mention AskHistorians as a positive example) do not spontaneously arise but need to be fostered through paid or volunteer effort.
posted by theorique at 5:31 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seems you're taking for granted the most pessimistic scenario. There's nothing in your argument to rule out influence in the opposite direction. Is the premise that there are no decent people on reddit? Or that there is some sort of 'human nature' that inclines people to viciousness and cruelty?

1. Bad chases out good. It only takes several people behaving badly to disrupt a conversation. You see it all the time on Metafilter.

2. Groups polarize over time. Moderates and dissenters leave, and the group reinforce their values

By harboring racist/sexist/anti-semetic/*ist groups on reddit, it allows people to reinforce their beliefs about these subjects.

By making participation in any subreddit trivial, in fact making preventing participation in a subreddit by a moderator quite difficult (alt accounts), you let these groups, once formed, disrupt conversations that are anti-ethical to their beliefs.

It takes a lot of effort to fight against racism and sexism, and people get tired of doing so. It's even worse if the site in question has areas for them to group up and organize their attacks.
posted by zabuni at 5:36 AM on June 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


One of the things that has helped me avoid a stereotypically angry mood is my willingness to recognize that there are people who think my complexion makes me inferior and therefore don't like people like me. That's cool, I don't think too highly of such people either. I do feel strongly about such people being allowed to deny me quality schools or housing or shoot me down in the street but honestly, if the Black Guerrilla Family shot me, I'd be just as dead. In other words, my problem isn't with their beliefs, it's with actions whatever the motivation.
Perhaps after we're done ending the entrenched edifice of structural discrimination I'll get around to being irate at pimply teens on the Internetz.

PS Doxxing and harassment are not wrong because they're being done in support of GG, they'd be wrong if they were done in support of Oxfam or Greenpeace.
posted by Octaviuz at 5:50 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


just created a reddit account. i'll have that cesspool cleaned up in no time.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:03 AM on June 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Metafilter or the high-quality curated/moderated subreddits (I've heard people mention AskHistorians as a positive example) do not spontaneously arise but need to be fostered through paid or volunteer effort.

I've heard this a few times and, although I haven't made up my mind whether I agree or not, it always feels to me curiously like a dig at MetaFilter members. Like the people here are by default terrible and the site only works because of the moderators. No moderators? Automatic cesspit. It's not exactly a vote of confidence. I understand you probably don't mean it that way.

Bad chases out good.

Is it not possible for the opposite to happen? What is it about bad behavior that trumps efforts to foster decency?

Groups polarize over time

I think that's only true under certain conditions.
posted by um at 6:18 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's even worse if the site in question has areas for them to group up and organize their attacks.

When the punishment for breaking the rules is you lose your account, but the cost of an account is zero, than means the punishment is, well, effectively zero. Yeah, theoretically, you lose your reputation, but when you don't care about your reputation, then well, you lose nothing.

When cortex & company breaks out the ban hammer, you're out $5 here. Yeah, theoretically, you can try to roll a new username and come back. If you get caught, *BLAM* and that's another $5, thankyouverymuch. But even if you don't get caught and you end up learning and becoming a decent member, that initial ejection actually cost you money. It's a real punishment, but more importantly, if you want to be that idiot and keep rolling a new username and getting banned, well, CHA-CHING. Eventually, you're either going to get tired and bored or cortex is going to retire rich.

When accounts are free and unlimited, banning is basically meaningless without the ability to make certain that a given individual, once banned, can never make a new account, and nobody has that ability. So, I think a big part of what keeps sites like ours civil is the fact that there's a *real* cost to being here, and thus, there's a real cost to being banned. So, the moderators have an effective punishment to those who violate site rules, so very few do -- and those who keep doing so go away and stay away.

On sites like reddit, which don't have such, those who do so don't go away and invite all their asshole buddies.
posted by eriko at 6:23 AM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


As an aside, it's interesting to note that metafilter is now widely regarded as an example of successful moderation due to being "highly curated", when the site used to be proud to be mostly "self-policing".

I say interesting, but I actually feel it's a pity. Not that metafilter has changed, but that self-policing just doesn't seem to scale.
posted by walrus at 6:31 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


1. Bad chases out good. It only takes several people behaving badly to disrupt a conversation. You see it all the time on Metafilter.

2. Groups polarize over time. Moderates and dissenters leave, and the group reinforce their values


This is an exceptionally limited view for how communities and societies work presented as uniform.

1. A good discussion which does not take the bait of a troll can and does cause them to wander off somewhere else. As well, a strong community can find a moderation sweet spot that deters trolls from even wasting their time (see: Metafilter vs. Reddit.)

2. Groups find centrist beliefs which a reasonably majority agree with - and this causes dissenters and radicals to leave. Political fringe parties develop because the mainstream perspective is too middle-of-the-road. See: the libertarian and/or radical religious splits from the traditional conservative parties in any number of Western countries.

The point is - how you moderate this stuff matters because there's no one eventual endpoint for communities, online or offline. Metafilter today is massively different than it was a decade ago, even if it still has some problematic and persistent issues. Reddit is a massive cesspool because they've subscribed to the idea they're not building a community and therefore do not need to enforce a culture of any kind.

The fact that we're here and not there is an indication that moderation and good can and will be fostered, even if it's imperfect.
posted by buoys in the hood at 6:35 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean... have a cookie reddit?

I'm not at all impressed by this move. Encouraged? Maybe a tiny bit. But Impressed, nope.

Why? Because even a cursory glance shows that you're still harboring about a gazillion subs that cater to some pretty terrible shit. Seriously, while this is a move in the right direction it seems that it's only a drop in the bucket, which we all knew was a huge and awful bucket to begin with, of what needs to be done.

They can't plead ignorance to the existence of these other subs so what are they pleading? Something something brigading vs racism something. Yea, whatever, not good enough.

Like many other here I mostly lurk on reddit and stay strictly on subs that are so esoteric as to be immune to this sort of thing.

*goes back to reading about vintage fountain pens*
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:39 AM on June 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I say interesting, but I actually feel it's a pity. Not that metafilter has changed, but that self-policing just doesn't seem to scale.

Anyone have examples where self-policing does actually scale? I mean, I'm not coming up with anything offhand and it almost seems like part of the human experience for it to not scale. /aside

posted by RolandOfEld at 6:43 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've heard this a few times and, although I haven't made up my mind whether I agree or not, it always feels to me curiously like a dig at MetaFilter members. Like the people here are by default terrible and the site only works because of the moderators. No moderators? Automatic cesspit. It's not exactly a vote of confidence. I understand you probably don't mean it that way.

Part of the way moderation helps a community is by ensuring that people like to make it a cesspit either don't join in the first place or leave once they're here. It's not all policing bad actions by Metafilter users, a lot of it is making sure people likely to cause problems don't feel welcome.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:47 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is it not possible for the opposite to happen? What is it about bad behavior that trumps efforts to foster decency?
I think it IS possible; not to diminish in any way the hard work that the mods do, but I think it helps that a random visitor will figure out after a short period of lurking that it's not a culture where low-effort meanness to other members is tolerated or rewarded.

But it takes more energy to create than to destroy. Even when you're not talking politics or social justice stuff, there is an emotional cost that comes with spending a long time on a post that tries to be measured, and kind, and empathetic, and then seeing that get cut down with lazy snark. All the more so when you feel like you're being attacked for who you are. (Which is why the most prominent social justicey part of reddit is hyperbolic and mean in equal measure, I guess, instead of being an enlightened consciousness-raising circle; you just burn out too fast if you take it too seriously.) I don't think there's any such emotional cost to "LOL FAT PEOPLE."
posted by Jeanne at 6:48 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is an exceptionally limited view for how communities and societies work presented as uniform.

I think that's only true under certain conditions.

I should have prefaced my comments with "If left to their own devices". Good communities can be fostered, but it takes tools, and effort. Reddit's moderator tools are terrible, and the few bright spots that exist take coordinated effort to pull off (AskHistorians).

Group polarization is a fairly well studied process. It doesn't have to happen, but has to be fought against, or it usually does.
posted by zabuni at 6:52 AM on June 12, 2015


Oh my god the intensity of the baby tantrums online yesterday because *gasp* there is suddenly NO WHERE LEFT TO CRUELLY MOCK FAT PEOPLE, apparently.

I feel kind of bad for those people that use reddit that aren't just there for gleeful shitposting, but enh, fuck reddit.
Happy to see other harassment subs like KotakuInAction quivering in fear, realizing that oh wait, maybe we are really terrible too... Yes, everyone leave to your chans and voats and whatnot. Please.
posted by Theta States at 6:54 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Because even a cursory glance shows that you're still harboring about a gazillion subs that cater to some pretty terrible shit.

That list.... good lord.
posted by zarq at 7:02 AM on June 12, 2015


walrus: ... self-policing just doesn't seem to scale.

I see by your number that you've been around long enough to remember how early those scaling problems cropped up. I can remember some fairly epic MeTas, going back a few years....
posted by lodurr at 7:06 AM on June 12, 2015


Watching the outrage has been incredible. Yesterday as the FPH people were spilling outwards, they started posting gross shit in r/whalewatching, so it got banned. Then a post showed up claiming that "The nazi admins had banned a tiny subreddit devoted to whale watching in their zealous hatred of free speech and also they're dumb" with a picture attached of the subreddit with like 6 posts all from 2 years ago. Clearly it had been "taken over" by the FPH and wasn't active, but this was such solid proof to those idiots that the admins were drunk with power or something.

Also, reddit is so great if you're following the popular video game of the month or cool indie games (r/KSP, I'm reading r/Hearthstone and r/CompetitiveHS a lot these days) and the sports subreddits (r/nba, r/nfl) are usually ok, but even in these you get such gross leakage from the awful side of reddit. I used to love the r/magictcg subreddit and read it constantly, but it's gotten really weird these days because occasionally a woman will write a post about how Magic needs to be nicer to women and the responses range from "I don't think you're right" to "lol shut up we're fine". Furthermore I enjoy browsing by r/all when I'm bored, because you see really interesting subreddits rise up in big moments that you'd never thought were popular. Times like these is how I found out reddit has a huge hip-hop/rap sub (r/hiphopheads) or a big wrestling community (r/squaredcircle), etc. But that's become too annoying to do in the past few months given the rise of awful gamergate-y subreddits like kotakuinaction, tumblrinaction, and tumblr, and subreddits that are kinda funny sometimes then you read the comments and they're all racist (looking at you r/blackpeopletwitter). I'm so excited about the bannings and I hope they keep going and hitting subreddits that aren't harassment directly but are just awful, like redpill and the others I've mentioned.

Other good subs I like most the time:
r/asoiaf
r/bicycling
r/boardgames
r/DIY
r/dwarffortress
r/fantasyfootball
r/math
r/nba
r/stevenuniverse (this is basically just a compilation of SU tumblr but I'm too lazy to really jump into tumblr so there we are)
posted by DynamiteToast at 7:17 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've heard this a few times and, although I haven't made up my mind whether I agree or not, it always feels to me curiously like a dig at MetaFilter members. Like the people here are by default terrible and the site only works because of the moderators. No moderators? Automatic cesspit. It's not exactly a vote of confidence. I understand you probably don't mean it that way.

Indeed not, but let me put it a slightly different way. "The group" collectively create the culture. (The group is the users plus moderators, together.) Unadjusted, there will be a bell curve where the x-axis is "toxicity" and the y-axis is frequency. There will be a small number of truly nasty contributors, a great middle of reasonable contributors and lurkers, and a small number of stars who contribute disproportionately.

Suppose we're able to define "good" perfectly, and agree that we want our forum to be "good". People who make neutral to good contributions get positive feedback from users and moderators, people who make negative contributions get discouraged and possibly even removed if their contribution is bad enough. Over time, a culture develops and sustains itself.

I liken it to a garden. If you leave your garden alone for a few weeks, it will be fine. If you leave it alone for a few years, it will transform completely.
posted by theorique at 7:22 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


When the punishment for breaking the rules is you lose your account, but the cost of an account is zero, than means the punishment is, well, effectively zero. Yeah, theoretically, you lose your reputation, but when you don't care about your reputation, then well, you lose nothing.

Exactly. *chan culture goes even further than this in that the value of an "account" is actually less than zero. Participants with persistent identities as opposed to pure anonymity are mocked, in usual chan eloquence, as "tripfags".
posted by theorique at 7:25 AM on June 12, 2015


r/knitting and r/sewing are both very civil. (Three guesses as to why!)

OTOH, someone on r/anticonsumption is CONVINCED that this is about pandering to that famously important marketing demographic, SJWs.
posted by chaiminda at 7:31 AM on June 12, 2015


A good discussion which does not take the bait of a troll can and does cause them to wander off somewhere else.

Firstly, I can't remember the last time I saw this happen. Maybe as much as a decade ago?

Secondly, do you really think groups like r/fatpeoplehate are accurately described as 'trolls'? Harassment, hate, racism, chasing people from one website to another in order to continue making them feel like shit? Those Redditors aren't trolls, they're stalkers.
posted by harriet vane at 7:36 AM on June 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


Firstly, I can't remember the last time I saw this happen. Maybe as much as a decade ago?

Once, on another site, I saw an instance where a troll came in and the rest of us spontaneously decided to pretend we were a jug band and fended him off that way.

...Although that may not count to your example, because that wasn't so much "simply don't take the troll bait" so much as it was "confuse the fuck out of the guy".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:15 AM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Browsing /r/all this morning has been fun. Most of the FPH stuff has cleared out. What remains has threads full of upvoted people shitting on FPH relentlessly and the "found the fatty" assholes are getting downvoted. As Reddit tantrums go, looks like this one won't have the staying power of the /r/atheism blowback (maymay june) or gamergate. In a week, I think the consensus will be firmly on the side of: FPH deserved to die, and the FPH holdouts will be weeping into the abyss of their dwindling imaginary internet points.

Could be wrong, but that's the trend line for the moment. Even the idiots at /r/AdviceAnimals have decided FPH was bad. That's a good indication the pro-FPH riot is mostly over and wasn't in their favor.
posted by honestcoyote at 8:19 AM on June 12, 2015


/r/trollxchromosomes is usually a fun place to hang out (they are not a default sub and removed the sub from showing up on /r/all; MRAs and pretty much anything anti-feminism gets deleted or LOL'd out of the room).

That and /r/askhistorians and /r/askscience are pretty much the only subs I go into anymore (/r/twoxchromosomes and /r/personalfinance used to be in my daily repertoire but went to shit after becoming default subs). The wiki at /r/abrathatfits is awesome (the posts are good too, but gross people sometimes slip through the cracks).

/r/tax is great too - lots of tax pros willing to answer your tax questions; we get the occasional tax protester who thinks the IRS is literally satan, but that never goes anywhere (the IRS and the people who work there are actually pretty awesome and great to deal with, and anyone who works in tax knows this).
posted by melissasaurus at 8:19 AM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Relevant: Hey, I'm Just Being Honest!
posted by melissasaurus at 8:34 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


just created a reddit account. i'll have that cesspool cleaned up in no time.

you know what they say - it's hard to remember your initial objective was to drain the swamp when you're up to your ass in gamergaters
posted by pyramid termite at 8:45 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd actually suggest to everyone who has a consistent username they use across the internet to register on reddit just to park it for yourself. God forbid someone unpleasant takes your username on there and then you have to spend your time explaining no you're not that xBongzilla69x.
posted by griphus at 8:47 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is too good to be true.

Wow, the list of users tragically shadowbanned, NAY, CENSORED!
/u/The_Penis_Wizard
/u/The_Wizard_Of_Wang
/u/Achtung_Shitlord
/u/Space_Aryan
...
posted by Theta States at 8:50 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh yah melissasaurus, I totally forgot about r/trollxchromosomes, that one's great.
posted by DynamiteToast at 8:50 AM on June 12, 2015


In a week, I think the consensus will be firmly on the side of: FPH deserved to die, and the FPH holdouts will be weeping into the abyss of their dwindling imaginary internet points.

Here's the thing - will said consensus be brought about because the community finds their beliefs noxious, or because they tore down the curtain and showed the truth about Reddit?

This is a pretty important question to answer.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:53 AM on June 12, 2015


This is a pretty important question to answer.

The older I get, the less I am convinced that intentions matter much at all. What happens matters, because changes matter, mostly to those who come later. If those who made the change were perfectly pure of heart or not seems to matter very little in the long run.
posted by bonehead at 9:05 AM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


The older I get, the less I am convinced that intentions matter much at all. What happens matters, because changes matter, mostly to those who come later. If those who made the change were perfectly pure of heart or not seems to matter very little in the long run.

It's more that the question is whether they're mad about the sewage being stored there, or that it got tracked through the parlor.

One is about substance, the other appearance.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:11 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


As Reddit tantrums go, looks like this one won't have the staying power of the /r/atheism blowback

I poked my head into FPH once. Once. That shit was brutal, and brutal for no apparent reason. I don't think that many people actually care about FPH specifically but are on the Fee Speech horse (I know, I know).
posted by MikeMc at 9:44 AM on June 12, 2015


It's a lot harder to clean up the hate and viciousness once it's entrenched than to have had some decency from the start. They created a haven for that crap. I appreciate they they want to start cleaning it up, even a little. And the haters will fight hard to keep their haven.

So, lots of comments, and I skipped some while trying to track some themes. Seems to me FatPeopleHate is largely directed at women. All the more reason to clean that shit up.
posted by theora55 at 9:48 AM on June 12, 2015


Like many other here I mostly lurk on reddit and stay strictly on subs that are so esoteric as to be immune to this sort of thing.

Or so I thought until I wandered into r/koans last night seeking quiet contemplation only to find a 2000-word libertarian screed on free speech from an outgoing moderator. Jeez.
posted by Lorin at 9:48 AM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


"it's neither the wind or the flag flapping, it's your lips"
posted by pyramid termite at 9:53 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's more that the question is whether they're mad about the sewage being stored there, or that it got tracked through the parlor.

One is about substance, the other appearance.


I think the question has been answered - it looks like you can do "anything" legal you want on reddit (i.e. racism, sexism, discussion of violence, links to repulsive or obscene links), in your own subreddit, as long as you don't bring it into other subreddits or outside the site.

Once someone in another subreddit reports you, or (god forbid) you get noticed by the "real world" (double god forbid it's someone famous like Anderson Cooper or Jennifer Lawrence, with attorneys), then the free speech goes out the window and reddit (the corporation) goes into full on, lawyered-up, ass-covering mode.

So yeah, I think it's about appearance. They want the rabid, dedicated users of the sicko subreddits, but they don't want legal troubles either.
posted by theorique at 9:57 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


One is about substance, the other appearance.

If they both have the same effect on participants and possible future participants on the site who will know nothing of what those mods and site admins hold in their hearts, why does this difference matter?
posted by bonehead at 10:04 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I consult with a company who just last week was all" we should have a subreddit", and I said " oh hell no!", because none of their target audience is going to see it, and because the people maintaining it are women and it's a code related company. I got a lot of pushback from the management side, until yesterday when I was able to open /all and showed the c-level the true face of reddit. They decided that maybe the scum and villainy was more trouble than it was worth. (Also all the women at the company unilaterally said they wouldn't maintain a subreddit that might expose them to the shit women get on reddit.)

Why Conde Nast is destroying their brand with this crap is beyond my ken.
posted by dejah420 at 10:05 AM on June 12, 2015 [16 favorites]


Why Conde Nast is destroying their brand with this crap is beyond my ken.

They spun Reddit off as a separate company.
posted by cell divide at 10:14 AM on June 12, 2015


Or so I thought until I wandered into r/koans last night seeking quiet contemplation only to find a 2000-word libertarian screed on free speech from an outgoing moderator. Jeez.

This I gotta see. OK, here's all the excerpt you need:

EDIT: I feel the need to clarify the concept of "freedom of speech".

The reddit gold boycott hijinks in the comments are hilarious, though.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:21 AM on June 12, 2015


Once someone in another subreddit reports you, or (god forbid) you get noticed by the "real world" (double god forbid it's someone famous like Anderson Cooper or Jennifer Lawrence, with attorneys), then the free speech goes out the window and reddit (the corporation) goes into full on, lawyered-up, ass-covering mode.

oh yes GOD FORBID jennifer lawrence and her EVIL ARMY OF LAWYERS descend upon the FREE SPEECH of the INNOCENT REDDITORS who only want to do 100% above-the-board unsketchy things like share illegally, nonconsentually obtained nude photos of her
posted by NoraReed at 10:23 AM on June 12, 2015 [19 favorites]


One is about substance, the other appearance.

If they both have the same effect on participants and possible future participants on the site who will know nothing of what those mods and site admins hold in their hearts, why does this difference matter?


Because they don't actually have the same effect.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:27 AM on June 12, 2015


I find it weird people feel that have to justify why they're on Reddit. I'm on Reddit because I want to be. If someone feels the need to cast aspersions about my beliefs or values based on that, please share your thoughts so I can return the favor.
posted by bgal81 at 10:32 AM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is it not possible for the opposite to happen? What is it about bad behavior that trumps efforts to foster decency?

I can only speak for myself but when I first visited Reddit it was related to my interest in World of Warcraft. I went to exactly one subreddit and the whole place was like the worst of WoW trade chat. Sexist, racist and homophobic with a signal to noise ratio that was way too noisey. Maybe it was just that day and maybe there are tools to block some of the crap. I don't know because I didn't bother to stay and find out.

I have a reason to learn how to address the Trade Chat asshole issues when I play WoW (I like the game so I learned the tools to block the noise) but I have no reason to bother to learn how to work Reddit.

On the other hand, I imagine a persistently awful Trade Chat person who stumbled into the WoW subreddit that day would have been all like "I'm home" and felt quite welcome.

Thus, shitty culture propagates itself.

It's so much work and misery slogging through bullshit. If you're a new user and your first encounter with a site suggests that it's filled with hate, you don't stay unless you like the hate.

I'm part of a Facebook WoW group now where the moderators enforce strict rules all the time. It's not perfect but it's high on signal and low on noise. In the case, Facebook - FACEBOOK! - is a more useful environment than Reddit.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:39 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh yes GOD FORBID jennifer lawrence and her EVIL ARMY OF LAWYERS descend upon the FREE SPEECH of the INNOCENT REDDITORS who only want to do 100% above-the-board unsketchy things like share illegally, nonconsentually obtained nude photos of her

She had a very good case, which is why reddit played ball with her and nuked the fappening content. If she had been Jennifer Laurence of Nowhere, ID, who worked as a waitress ... good luck with that. (Don't mistake my cynicism for approval.)

The Reddit brass are caught between a rock and a hard place - if they drive people away, their user numbers go down; if they let the site continue as it has been, they may get growth but risk a publicity disaster every few months or so.

If you were in Ellen Pao's shoes, what would you do?
posted by theorique at 10:42 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


burn it all to the ground

some websites can only be cleansed with fire
posted by NoraReed at 10:47 AM on June 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


The Reddit brass are caught between a rock and a hard place ...

... of their own choosing and which position enriches them daily.

If you were in Ellen Pao's shoes, what would you do?

Well, I wouldn't be, frankly, for lots of reasons, but one of them is that I wouldn't be able to cope with the cognitive dissonance of living between said rock and place. I get that if it's not reddit it's *chan, but I could also argue that the existence of reddit as a relatively moderate *chan-alternative enables *chan-culture.

Not that I have an answer, either....
posted by lodurr at 10:49 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


(on post, i have some sympathy for NoraReed's idea.)
posted by lodurr at 10:50 AM on June 12, 2015


... of their own choosing and which position enriches them daily.

Perhaps it culturally enriches them but AFAIK Reddit operates in the red.
posted by MikeMc at 10:53 AM on June 12, 2015


alternately, before burning it down, i would attempt to team up with to catch a predator or the FBI or something in an attempt to catch the massive quantities of pedophiles who keep building nests on that site
posted by NoraReed at 11:04 AM on June 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Perhaps it culturally enriches them but AFAIK Reddit operates in the red.

Are you suggesting that they don't get paid? Or that a former VC is in it for her moral health?
posted by lodurr at 11:06 AM on June 12, 2015


burn it all to the ground

some websites can only be cleansed with fire


Can we roast marshmallows over the glowing embers of the server farm?
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:06 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don't forget your gas mask.
posted by lodurr at 11:07 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]




Are you suggesting that they don't get paid? Or that a former VC is in it for her moral health?

My sense is that investors and managers have been playing hot potato with reddit as a weakly performing asset. There are a lot of opportunities to monetize, and 70+ million monthly users are nothing to sneeze at, but it's not clear how to maximize the reward or minimize the risk.

Of course Pao's being paid, but she's also the lighting rod for any perceived "unwanted" changes to the platform. It's less like being a bean-counter turnaround specialist at a sleepy, old-line company like a utility, and much more like being a high-profile head coach of a beloved pro sports team. A sports team where the fan base are internet savvy, meme savvy, and slightly psychopathic.
posted by theorique at 11:15 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


The medium-term game for that kind of a position (and they never bother to plot a long-game) is always to make your profile more spinnable. She wins basically no matter what happens, as long as she does her spin right. Traditionally the way it works in the industry (which I've been part of since 1997) is that you get a post, ride it out until the company fails or you get fired, and then you spin it as either a stunning success most people just weren't bright enough to perceive, or all a matter of legions of cretins overwhelming your walls.

Ellen Pao's gonna do just fine, and she might even do better for Reddit going up in flames. There's a bizarre sense in which the bigger a CEO fails, the bigger paycheck they can command the next time. Of course, she's got to gamble on her lawsuit not scotching that, but I think the culture appreciates chutzpah more than it craves revenge -- she'll probably get credit for it as a bold move. (Plus, there's the fact that the whole prohibiting-salary-negotiations thing can be spun amongst the C-club as a cost-saving measure.)
posted by lodurr at 11:20 AM on June 12, 2015


Anyway, this might be a good opportunity to share subreddits you frequent and think are worth sharing.

/r/pitbulls is the only subreddit you will ever need. Daily pics of slobbery, grinning lunkheads make everything better.
posted by MissySedai at 11:21 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


However you spin it, the position reddit is in does in fact demonstrably enrich her daily, and probably into the future as well. So, kinda gonna stand by that one.
posted by lodurr at 11:22 AM on June 12, 2015


MissySedai, someone posted that on my Facebook feed the other day. It was actually kind of fun, though the margins on reddit fun are narrowed by having to navigate too much to see the damn pictures.
posted by lodurr at 11:23 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


This recap of the event is so amazing I cannot hardly contain myself.

Mah dearest Annabelle,

These last many days I have kept the memory of you close to my bosom. The cursed Fat Haters who have harassed us lo these many months were delivered a mighty blow. However, their fury has spread wide and fight has been exceedingly buttery but I am certain of victory though it may be ever so long in the fighting. The Admin corps is resolute and stand proudly. Anabelle I am weary and the fight has been ever so long. The thought of you sustains me as I gaze upon the front page. Give my love to little James. With the help of Providence I pray I shall return soon.

With the fullest of my devotion,

/u/CupBeEmpty

posted by lattiboy at 11:26 AM on June 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


I don't know if there really is much of an option besides burning it to the ground to some degree. I'm becoming convinced that a large portion of why they don't do much about the harassment and hate speech is less about free speech ideals and more that they just don't have the resources to pay a staff to handle it on the scale it would be necessary for a site that ridiculously large. I've compared them to massive sites like Facebook before, places where at least theoretically that sort of thing doesn't fly even if it isn't perfectly enforced, but Facebook actually has the resources to do that.

When virtually every day Reddit gives me an error screen for overloaded servers at least once I wonder if they are just out of their league for the amount of traffic they have. If I was Ellen Pao, the first thing I would do is start charging $5 to comment or submit links and grandfather nobody in. Take that cash and spend it to at least make an attempt to fix the issues with the site. It's easy to say people will just go elsewhere, but people are invested where they are and the other sites like Voat are clearly not ready for real traffic.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:31 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you like modded Minecraft (nerd alert), /r/feedthebeast is the place to be.

It's also quite accepting, there are a number of women and even some gender-fluid folk who are community leaders and tastemakers. Gender and gender choices pass without comment. No fuckery of that sort is tolerated in the slightest degree.
posted by bonehead at 11:32 AM on June 12, 2015


Perhaps it culturally enriches them but AFAIK Reddit operates in the red.

"I'm an asshole farmer. I keep losing money at it, but I'm going to keep doing it because there's GOT to be money in farming assholes. They grow like fuckin' weeds and you hardly have to plant them and they fertilize themselves. There's just GOT to be a way to make money on this."
posted by pyramid termite at 11:34 AM on June 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


"I'm an asshole farmer. I keep losing money at it, but I'm going to keep doing it because there's GOT to be money in farming assholes. They grow like fuckin' weeds and you hardly have to plant them and they fertilize themselves. There's just GOT to be a way to make money on this."

Too bad nobody pays for porn these days, Asshole Farmer could have been a blockbuster idea 10 years ago.
posted by MikeMc at 11:38 AM on June 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


chaiminda: r/knitting and r/sewing are both very civil. (Three guesses as to why!)

Ironically FPH brigading into r/sewing was one of the triggers for banning FPH. A user from /r/sewing was harassed by FPH when she modeled a dress she made herself. The modmail from the FPH moderators is pretty damning, a shining example of the turd that FPH was. I won't repost the link but it can be found in the linked Reddit announcement thread.

DynamiteToast: r/dwarffortress

We all know that r/dwarffortress is a hotbed of elf hate. (And by "hotbed" I mean magma.)
posted by nathan_teske at 11:51 AM on June 12, 2015


Okay how much would we have to bowlderize the name "Asshole Farmer" for Facebook to accept it as a FarmVille-style annoy-your-friends-for-points game? Because uh that would be a really amusing game, if just because of how the theme of the game would neatly coincide with what that sort of game encourages you to do.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:56 AM on June 12, 2015


/r/hockey is actually an ok place and well moderated, though it skews a bit young (no historical perspective I mean).

On their sidebar is the well-enforced #1 rule: "Racist, ethnic, sexist or homophobic slurs/remarks of any kind will lead to a ban. "
posted by Rumple at 11:58 AM on June 12, 2015


the man of twists and turns: "The Misfits Of Reddit Aren't Leaving"

Bwa ha HA. The audacity of fucking Digg to put up an article like this. The "fundamental lack of concern [the] site mods have for their users," indeed.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:59 AM on June 12, 2015


You jest, but r/dwarffortress had a random transphobic hatejerk a while back, which the mods had no problem with. A lot of the niche subs being "better" is really more of a security-through-obscurityluck thing. Almost everyone there is still a terrible person, they're just distracted with Dwarf Fortress or C++ or whatever. Until they're not.
posted by Corinth at 12:12 PM on June 12, 2015 [17 favorites]


On their sidebar is the well-enforced #1 rule: "Racist, ethnic, sexist or homophobic slurs/remarks of any kind will lead to a ban. "

I've had decent, if not perfect, luck with the subreddits that have some kind of note like that in their rules. I read /r/malefashionadvice, which has a newly strengthened rule about weight comments, which has been fairly successful, even if it did lead to some gnashing of teeth from people who were worried that they were losing their "right" to tell random strangers to lose weight. The release of the new album has unleashed a wave of creeps on /r/taylorswift with mixed results (lots of random pictures of her looking hot appearing months or years after they were taken), but that community has a rule about creepy comments that is enforced with decentish results. Most of the time, communities that are trying to enforce these rules are okay.

I mean, surprise surprise, communities that don't want people making racist remarks are better than those that don't care, who would have guessed?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:13 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay how much would we have to bowlderize the name "Asshole Farmer" for Facebook to accept it as a FarmVille-style annoy-your-friends-for-points game?

Let's see...
"Rectum Rancher"? Probably not.
"Alimentary Canal Saga"? That's a maybe.
"Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy"? Copyright issues.
"Balloon Knot Business Saga"? A possible winner.

I'll have to ponder this further.
posted by MikeMc at 12:19 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Spelunky Brown
posted by griphus at 12:24 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Okay how much would we have to bowlderize the name "Asshole Farmer" for Facebook to accept it as a FarmVille-style annoy-your-friends-for-points game?


republican recruiter
posted by pyramid termite at 12:34 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Bung Republicans
posted by nom de poop at 12:37 PM on June 12, 2015


republican recruiter

Oh sure, go for the low hanging fruit. Might as well say "Tea Party Saga". Shit, anyone know how to write an app for FB?
posted by MikeMc at 12:38 PM on June 12, 2015


                                  +&-
                                _.-^-._    .--.
                             .-'   _   '-. |__|
                            /     |_|     \|  |
                           /               \  |
                          /|     _____     |\ |
       *   *   *  *   *    |    |==|==|    |  |
       |---|---|---|---|---|    |--|--|    |  |
       |---|---|---|---|---|    |==|==|    |  |
      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

asshole farm
posted by NoraReed at 12:40 PM on June 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's so weird how many of you have this extremely negative view of reddit. I spend more time there than I do on Metafilter these days, and the kind of stuff you're talking about just isn't part of my experience. Reddit does skew younger and more... um... mainstream, shall we say, than the rarefied adult left-liberal echo chamber Metafilter tends to be, but the kind of "OMG they are all assholes" comments in this thread just don't match my experience at all.

People do say stupid, bigoted things from time to time, of course, but they generally get downvoted into oblivion or deleted by the moderators. Sometimes I call 'em out for being assholes and get lots of upvotes, which tends to give me the impression that there are lots of reasonable people about. But mostly it's just.... people, hanging out and being people.

I think you just have to delete the default subreddits and subscribe to whatever you're actually interested in. My reddit feed is full of interesting pictures of things I like to look at, commentary on events and activities I like to participate in, discussion of local issues, etc. Fun, useful community conversation.

It really is just usenet for the new millenium. Don't get worked up about it.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:42 PM on June 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think you just have to delete the default subreddits and subscribe to whatever you're actually interested in. My reddit feed is full of interesting pictures of things I like to look at, commentary on events and activities I like to participate in, discussion of local issues, etc. Fun, useful community conversation.

Wait until your subreddits start getting some weeds from the asshole farm.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:44 PM on June 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Don't get worked up about it.

Don't tell people what to be upset about when they've already told you what has made them upset. Especially if you have to rely on putting them down with stupid, tired "echo chamber" sneering.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:48 PM on June 12, 2015 [28 favorites]


Sure, they sprout up from time to time, and we smack 'em down again, but it's been six years and I just don't see the wretched hive of scum and villainy so many of you are describing as a universal reddit experience.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:49 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, maybe they could try not putting the entirety of reddit down with all the amazingly negative things that have been said in this thread which are much worse than "echo chamber", acting like their own personal experiences there are universal.

And I call Metafilter a "left-liberal echo chamber" as someone who has been participating in said echo chamber since May 2000, so, you know, back off.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:50 PM on June 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


[Cut it out please. This isn't personal and needs to not get personal.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:52 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are a lot of people who have the opposite experience, Mars Saxman, and who find that even in niche-interest subs there is a lot of awful content from assholes and upvoted bigotry.

Perhaps coming into a thread and dismissing peoples experiences because you do not happen to share them and telling them "Don't get worked up about it" isn't exactly the most empathetic or helpful response, especially considering that even people who do not spend time on reddit have to deal with the fallout when its shitty, bigoted nonsense allows for harassment campaigns that reach out of its cesspool, or from the way that having a sort of petri dish in which particularly virulent strains of bigotry are able to get stronger and flourish ends up having far-reaching cultural effects. I've seen the kind of shitty, reactionary conservative horseshit that really festers in places like reddit, 8chan, stormfront, and elsewhere reach its tendrils out and harm people outside of reddit. Places like tumblrinaction end up creating waves of hatred on tumblr that target harmless teenagers experimenting with gender identities. New terms like "SJW" get dropped unironically even here on a fairly regular basis. And then there's GamerGate, which I don't think I need to go into detail about here.

The negative effects reddit has on the rest of the internet are actually pretty well illustrated in that stream of privilege-blind, experience-denying comments, actually.
posted by NoraReed at 12:55 PM on June 12, 2015 [26 favorites]


I'm not dismissing other people's experiences! I'm saying, hey, there are other experiences too. Like mine. Whenever reddit comes up on metafilter, it's used as a shorthand for all that is terrible about the web, and I'm kind of tired of that because it seems to have more to do with us-versus-them group identity politics than reality.

Shitty reactionary conservative horseshit festers everywhere. It's not reddit, it's people.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:57 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


[Mars Saxman, I appreciate that you've had a good experience there, but coming in here to tell other people they are self-deceived about what they're seeing there isn't a great way to engage with people.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:01 PM on June 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


Sure, they sprout up from time to time, and we smack 'em down again, but it's been six years and I just don't see the wretched hive of scum and villainy so many of you are describing as a universal reddit experience.

I frequent /r/TrueReddit. Well, I used to. Until recently, it was one of my favorite subs. Filled with links to thoughtful, interesting articles. Right up my alley.

About six months ago, some subscribers started posting links to blatantly antisemitic sites. Not anti-Israel stuff, but full-blown Protocols/Jews rule the world/media/economy bullshit. Those posts always get downvoted. But they're still there, and not being deleted. Worse, the people who post them tend to create headlines that aren't clearly identifiable as anti-Jewish. So every once in a while, I wind up opening a seriously disturbing link, and it just ruins my day. It's depressing and sad. I've stopped reading the sub.

It didn't take much to drive me away. Bet I'm not the only one. Universal experience? No. But I guarantee you that there are people like me out there, who don't want to be exposed to stuff like that and would rather walk away entirely than deal with bigots.
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on June 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


Well, as someone who frequents Reddit a lot, I think it's obvious that these sexist, racist attitudes are part of Reddit's culture. For a long time it was a feature, not a bug, and they enabled that because that's who their base was.

Then Reddit expanded and became more mainstream and popular. When you have the president doing AMA's and Bill Gates as a regular, some things are going to have to change.

I like the idea of Reddit a lot, it fills a space in my heart left by the fall of LJ and demise of many messageboards I loved back in the day. And I don't care who was there first or who is loudest, I have as much of a right to voice my opinion there and will continue to do so.
posted by bgal81 at 1:11 PM on June 12, 2015


Left-liberal echo chamber

Disqualified. Don't care.

Try harder next time maybe?

Why does every thread on reddit need a bunch of heartfelt defenses about how the guys shouting the n word over and over at the next table down aren't that bad if you ignore them?

It's ok to say "it's shit and full of shitty people but I use it anyways", that's fine, I do that! Stop trying to pretend it's totally ok and the people here saying it's bad are circle jerking for attention and cool points or something though. It's bad, ok?
posted by emptythought at 1:19 PM on June 12, 2015 [19 favorites]


Also this from earlier is worth revisiting as one of the funniest things I've seen in quite a long time.
posted by emptythought at 1:21 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


RolandOfEld: "Why? Because even a cursory glance shows that you're still harboring about a gazillion subs that cater to some pretty terrible shit. Seriously, while this is a move in the right direction it seems that it's only a drop in the bucket, which we all knew was a huge and awful bucket to begin with, of what needs to be done. "

Speaking of a drop in the bucket, I randomly Ctrl+clicked on ten of those:

AdviceApes: 76 subscribers
BlackPlague: 37 subscribers (and 3 posts)
Detoilet: 124 subscribers
funnyn*ggers: 205 subscribers
GreatAbos: 186 subscribers
HBD: 1323 subscribers(all-time top post is 2 years old, has 27 votes)
Nationalism: 350 subscribers
N*ggerDocumentaries: 80 subscribers
n*ggerlovers: 38 subscribers
NorthwestFront: 286 subscribers

These are minuscule numbers for Reddit -- even my sleepy MetaFilter sub, which sees maybe one post every two months, tops all but one of these with 364 subscribers. Not to mention most of these racist subs probably pool their membership and mod staff from the same goon squad of fringe users and alt accounts.

Then, because I'm both curious and a masochist*, I went through all of them to find the biggest ones. They are, in order:

SHHHHHEEEEEEEEIIIITT: 16264 subscribers. An "edgy" template-based minstrel character comic in the style of Dolan or early rage comics. Sees a post every few days, most of the image hosts are broken, and most of the top posters banned. Sliding in rank despite slow growth.
CoonTown: 15085 subscribers. The Big Bad, and most-cited for future bannination, but they'll probably be treading lightly in terms of harassment after yesterday. Still hasn't cracked the top 2000 subreddits despite the 15K subscriber count.
BlackFathers: 9573 subscribers. An intentionally blank "joke" sub that picks up a few hundred "readers" whenever it's cited in a "what's the darkest/edgiest/cleverest subreddit" thread. Also sliding in rank.
WhiteRights: 7606 subscribers. Stagnant growth, not in the top 4000 subreddits.
DarkEnlightenment: 6176 subscribers. On the grow, but it's also more of a reactionary political subreddit than overt racism.
GreatApes: 4802 subscribers. Peaked last November, but it's been steadily bleeding subscribers since, which is fairly unusual.
new_right: 4669 subscribers. Another political sub. Also sliding.

It's important to remember that Reddit has more than 650,000 subreddits, with around 500 new ones created every day. Some of these are bound to be utterly noxious, but the vast majority are inconsequential circlejerks for an insular clique of racists and have zero pull with the overwhelming majority of subreddits that far surpass them in terms of subscribers, activity, and mindshare.

*/r/bdsm, for the record, has more than 50,000 subscribers, more than triple the largest racist subreddit on that list
posted by Rhaomi at 1:35 PM on June 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


i really do not care how the racist subs "don't have that many subscribers", especially since the racism constantly spills out everywhere else. "the sewers are mostly pretty empty" can alternately mean that there isn't a lot of sewage of that the sewage just is sitting around in the streets
posted by NoraReed at 1:39 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


the racist subs aren't KEEPING THE RACISTS IN, they're just places for people who are particularly enthusiastic about racism. racism's fandom, if you will. there are many people who are ~only~ casual racists, and a gajillion of them hang out on reddit
posted by NoraReed at 1:43 PM on June 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm not sure what we're even discussing anymore, to be honest.
posted by bgal81 at 1:45 PM on June 12, 2015


People have developed a lot of tools to enable reddit users to avoid interacting with others whom they don't want to. For example "RES" (Reddit Enhancement Suite) allows people to share blocklists and tag unsavory user IDs. There's no reason to browse unmodified, vanilla reddit if you don't want to - not when there are so many easy fixes to transform the experience to be the way you want it to be.
posted by theorique at 1:47 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I mean the restaurant is really great but you have to make sure to ask the hostess to not seat you in a bathroom stall, and make sure to always order off-menu because otherwise they'll just bring you a turd on a plate.
posted by griphus at 1:51 PM on June 12, 2015 [24 favorites]


Wouldn't that make it a hipster restaurant?
posted by bgal81 at 1:52 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


People have developed a lot of tools to enable reddit users to avoid interacting with others whom they don't want to. For example "RES" (Reddit Enhancement Suite) allows people to share blocklists and tag unsavory user IDs. There's no reason to browse unmodified, vanilla reddit if you don't want to - not when there are so many easy fixes to transform the experience to be the way you want it to be.

So, what you are saying is that Reddit is deeply, profoundly broken, and the proprietors are relying on the patrons to sort of fix it.

...and I would want to use it...why, exactly?
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:54 PM on June 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


And apparently it's our fault for not bringing the recipes and the utensils.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:56 PM on June 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


RES is not an "easy fix" any more than using Nancy would remove the need for MetaTalk
posted by NoraReed at 1:56 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


You don't have to? I don't think anyone is saying you have to go to Reddit? They're just explaining what they use?
posted by bgal81 at 1:56 PM on June 12, 2015


...and I would want to use it...why, exactly?

Because there is good content you might like too. Even among the most vocal people against Reddit policies and culture some find homes in places like SRS. It's up to the individual to determine to what degree they can make that bargain, I don't blame anybody for simply refusing to visit the site.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:59 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


...and I would want to use it...why, exactly?

It's easier just to link to the features page than to try to explain everything item by item. But the relevant capabilities associated with reducing reddit "toxicity" include:
  • filteReddit - Filter out NSFW content, or links by keyword, domain (use User Tagger to ignore by user) or subreddit (for /r/all).
  • User Tagger Adds a great deal of customization around users - tagging them, ignoring them, and more.
As the Scottish proverb goes, "tis better to light one wee candle, than to curse the darkness". RES is a candle to many users.
posted by theorique at 2:00 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'll just go somewhere the powers that be have installed streetlights.
posted by Monochrome at 2:14 PM on June 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


I read and occasionally comment in /r/netrunner, which I think is maintaining security by obscurity. However, the vast majority of netrunner players are white and male, so there's no one obvious for the shitheels to go in and harass. I'm happy to go there, although every time I do, I feel like I'm taking a helicopter over a shit filled swamp and am just hoping that this particular island hasn't sunk into the mire. It probably will one of these days, which is a shame.
posted by Hactar at 2:20 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


NoraReed: "the racist subs aren't KEEPING THE RACISTS IN, they're just places for people who are particularly enthusiastic about racism. racism's fandom, if you will. there are many people who are ~only~ casual racists, and a gajillion of them hang out on reddit"

The list was implying Reddit was overflowing with hardcore virulent racism, which isn't the case; such blatantly awful subs are numerous but microscopic, and mostly the same people. The casual racism you mention is a different beast, and hardly unique to Reddit, or the internet. Expecting the admins to eliminate casual racism among Reddit's mainstream userbase is as unrealistic as eliminating it from a football stadium, or a rock concert, or a shopping mall. It can be shunned, shamed, and forcibly removed by the authorities when it crosses into harassment, but it's not going to disappear entirely in a population that large.

You can stick to smaller, moderated spaces like MetaFilter if you want to shut offensive behavior out entirely. But IMHO the benefits of millions-strong platforms like Reddit are worth standing against the latent prejudices of the population they represent -- better, anyway, than abandoning such an influential public space to bigotry.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:35 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure what we're even discussing anymore, to be honest.

MetaFilter: I'm not sure what we're even discussing anymore, to be honest.

Just kidding, we're discussing asshole farming and Chrome extensions.
posted by MikeMc at 2:36 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


The casual racism/misogyny on Reddit does often cross over into hate speech on mainstream subs. It's not impossible to reduce that if you adopt a policy against that kind of content and make an effort to enforce it. Most large sites do that. Of course it can't be totally erased, but you earn a lot of credit from me for making a credible effort to combat it.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:37 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


The list was implying Reddit was overflowing with hardcore virulent racism, which isn't the case; such blatantly awful subs are numerous but microscopic, and mostly the same people.

Meh. My posting of the list (I can't speak to the original poster of said list) was to show that those subs aren't nuked from orbit by admins the moment they were notified of their existence, as if that should even be necessary, in the thread that was specifically about 'removing harassing subreddits'.

Defending their [continued and, by proxy, condoned] existence by saying 'oh they're small and there's a ton of subs with more created every day' sounds like a pretty blase way of approaching the situation.
posted by RolandOfEld at 2:42 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


The casual racism you mention is a different beast, and hardly unique to Reddit, or the internet. Expecting the admins to eliminate casual racism among Reddit's mainstream userbase is as unrealistic as eliminating it from a football stadium, or a rock concert, or a shopping mall. It can be shunned, shamed, and forcibly removed by the authorities when it crosses into harassment, but it's not going to disappear entirely in a population that large.

I'm not talking about casual racism the way you are thinking. I am thinking of people who are not going out of their way to look for racist subs, but are still happy to make sure any time a picture of a Black person is posted in any sub the comments fill up with awful racist shit. I mean "casual" in "casual racist" to be like "casual gamer". They aren't gonna dedicate their lives to racism, but maybe they'll spend a few minutes a day posting awful racist shit in newspaper comments sections or on reddit, or upvoting other people doing the same. Dropping eugenicist bullshit in science threads. Etc. You know, instead of Candy Crush.
posted by NoraReed at 2:52 PM on June 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


FWIW The defences of Reddit here now have me much less hopeful for any cultural changed and must less convinced there actually is a silent majority of non-awfulness.

Because, sheesh, listen to yourselves.
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on June 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


Wow, having consensus forced upon you doesn't actually form consensus. Whooda thunk?!
posted by entropicamericana at 2:55 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Okay, as a non-Reddit user and a non-Twitter user, there's something I don't really get:

From what I can tell, the vast majority of MetaFilter loves Twitter. The vast majority hates the fact that Twitter is shitty at blocking abuse/just plain ignores abuse. The vast majority hates Twitter management for this. But the vast majority thinks Twitter itself is wonderful and revolutionary and empowering and whatever.

The vast majority of MetaFilter hates Reddit. The vast majority hates the fact that Reddit is shitty at blocking abuse/just plain ignores abuse. The vast majority hates Reddit management for this. But the vast majority thinks Reddit itself is a horrible cesspit and one would be crazy to use it.

So why the gap? Is there something I'm not grokking? Why isn't Twitter as reviled by MeFites as Reddit?
posted by Bugbread at 2:56 PM on June 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Twitter is better at functioning as a neutral platform than Reddit. Reddit has a distinct site culture that bleeds into everything unless it is aggressively modded out.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:00 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's possible to have a curated Twitter feed that isn't awful by only following non-awful people. You might still have awful people bursting into your mentions like the Kool-Aide man, but your main feed can only consist of whoever you want in it. Reddit isn't curated, though. AlLso, the third party tools that exist to filter Reddit-- tools like RES-- aren't nearly as good as the tools that exist to filter Twitter, which allow you to do stuff like mute certain hashtags or autoblock most of GamerGate.

That's the broad strokes, anyway.
posted by NoraReed at 3:02 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Twitter never gave its trolls a prize.
posted by Artw at 3:05 PM on June 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


[Couple of comments deleted. As always please don't bring the metacommentary to the blue. If you'd like to solicit recommendations for other websites to go to, feel free to just ask for that. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:08 PM on June 12, 2015


The list was implying Reddit was overflowing with hardcore virulent racism

Have you like, actually read the comments on say an /r/videos(one of the biggest/most active/most popular default front page subs) thread that features a black person doing something unfortunate?

It instantly shifts gears from lol cats to your grandpas newspaper website comments section. I don't know what to call the levels of "black people amirite?" and quoting chris rock and shit other than hardcore virulent racism, because it basically turns in to "black people are monkeys rite? upvotes to the left +4562"
posted by emptythought at 3:08 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Somewhere there is a mode of operating a discussion site which is a happy medium between the craziness of Reddit and the enforced blandness of some other sites.

Somewhere there is a good balance between lack of user accountability of Reddit and the tendency of some sites out there to avoid difficult issues.
posted by AGameOfMoans at 3:11 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


They could make creating a new subreddit cost money. I doubt they'd actually do it, though.
posted by halifix at 3:12 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


And there's the big thing - Twitter actually acknowledges they have a problem, and they've been working on it (though to be fair, they've been dragged a good part of the way.) In comparison, Reddit is pretty much drowning in Egypt.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:14 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Somewhere there is a mode of operating a discussion site which is a happy medium between the craziness of Reddit and the enforced blandness of some other sites.

Something Awful and Fark are still pretty good for being a little more free wheeling but still with a moderator presence. They both have massive, massive failings of their own when it comes to offensive content though. The extra space for controversial opinions doesn't do as much to improve conversation as people seem to think it would.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:17 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wonder if Something Awful is really a good example ? My understanding is that is is a far worse place than even Reddit?
posted by AGameOfMoans at 3:25 PM on June 12, 2015


Reddit is worse, but don't take that as an endorsement of SA not having some really bad content. For SA it depends heavily on which forum you use but none are as bad as the worst of Reddit, some are pretty much fine.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:30 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


emptythought: "Have you like, actually read the comments on say an /r/videos(one of the biggest/most active/most popular default front page subs) thread that features a black person doing something unfortunate?"

Eh, I just scanned /r/videos and the current #3 post is about the controversy over that NAACP lady who was falsely claiming African-American heritage. That has the potential to inflame racist, sexist, and trans* bigotry, but the top comments were fairly okay. Criticizing her dishonesty, joking references to Tropic Thunder, a questioning comparison to transgender people that received a respectful and cogent response, which itself received an earnest personal account of struggling with racial identity, which in turn got a link to /r/mixedrace, a pretty decent subreddit. There are some ugly comments, but they are not nearly as popular.

I don't deny that assholes can vote up seriously offensive garbage from time to time -- I've seen it happen plenty, and they typically garner a disgusted reaction from other users -- but on the whole the default subs with their millions of subscribers are not noticeably more bigoted than any other large population. It's certainly not wall-to-wall sewage 24/7, and continuing to participate with other reasonable people and downmodding the worst content when it pops up helps to keep it that way.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:39 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sooooo... How much poo is too much poo?
posted by mikurski at 4:06 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


[One comment deleted. Seriously let's not derail onto whether and how MetaFilter should discuss the NAACP lady situation. It's great that reddit had a good discussion of it.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:18 PM on June 12, 2015


Sooooo... How much poo is too much poo?

Depends on the size of your sack. 3 pounds of poo in a 5 pound sack is fine, but, if you try and stuff 10 pounds of poo into a 5 pound sack you're going to have a bad time [Insert South Park Ski Instructor Image Macro Here]. This actually comes up during level 194 of Asshole Farmer (but you'll probably have to buy the Platinum Dingleberry Pack from the in-app store to get past that level). Sorry, I'm just enjoying this Asshole Farmer™ thing way too much to let it go.
posted by MikeMc at 4:20 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Rhaomi: “Expecting the admins to eliminate casual racism among Reddit's mainstream userbase is as unrealistic as eliminating it from a football stadium, or a rock concert, or a shopping mall. It can be shunned, shamed, and forcibly removed by the authorities when it crosses into harassment, but it's not going to disappear entirely in a population that large.”

Yes, but that's not because those are difficulties on the same scale. It's difficult to eliminate casual racism among a vast crowd of actual physical people because people whisper, people talk casually, etc. It's just not something you could or should police at all.

People posting messages on the internet are having their thoughts and ideas published by the site they're posting on. We're talking about posting ideas on Reddit.com – and no matter how much the admins would like us to believe otherwise, the things that are said on Reddit.com, and published by that entity, say something about the owners and administrators of Reddit.com.

I totally agree that a good and just Reddit is worth fighting for, that we can't abandon it entirely. But I've said for a while, and will keep saying, that this will not get better until Reddit's owners and admins change the structure of moderation, because it is absolutely untenable. Reddit needs paid moderation. Reddit can afford paid moderation, at least on the most-trafficked subs. And until Reddit's owners and admins demonstrate the dedication to improving the site that it would take to hire actual professional moderators, it will stay the same, and crap will bleed from one subreddit to another.
posted by koeselitz at 4:28 PM on June 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think you just have to delete the default subreddits and subscribe to whatever you're actually interested in.

I think this was pointed out upthread, but "Reddit is okay as long as you avoid the parts where virtually everybody goes" is not the strong endorsement of Reddit you're thinking it is.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:46 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Fuck it, I'll bite the bullet and ask - is this a discussion about recent changes in Reddit or are we calling out people who go to Reddit?
posted by bgal81 at 4:57 PM on June 12, 2015


Yes, but if you have a 5 pound sack and a 7 pound sack, how do you get exactly 1 pound of poo?
posted by halifix at 5:07 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Self-identified libertarians in the US are almost entirely (94%) white and overwhelmingly (68%) men, and libertarian policy is dominated by ideas and actions that function as de facto maintenance of keeping that status quo as a power bloc.

This reminds me that libertarianism is ultimately based on denial. When someone is really worried whether they will succeed at what they thought were sure odds, there is always the government to blame. The alternatives are too emotional, such as facing up to a false sense of entitlement, and rethinking the winners-only system they spent their lives servicing.
posted by Brian B. at 5:11 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


you move your asshole farm and your 12 pounds of poo to new york city - after rent and taxes, you'll only have a pound left
posted by pyramid termite at 5:12 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes, but if you have a 5 pound sack and a 7 pound sack, how do you get exactly 1 pound of poo?

1. Fill the 7 pound sack, then use it to fill the 5 pound sack. The remainder in the 7 pound sack is 2 pounds. Dump that out someplace safe.
2. Repeat step 1, this time putting the 2 pounds with the 2 from before.
3. Repeat step 1 again. Now you have 6 pounds.
4. Use this amount to fill the five pound sack. The remainder is 1 pound.

But really it's a trick question, because a sack measures volume, and pounds are weight. Not all poop is the same density. In any case, remember to wash your hands afterwards.

Figuring out schemes for measuring poop gives me more joy than contemplating evil people on the internet.
posted by JHarris at 5:16 PM on June 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yes, but if you have a 5 pound sack and a 7 pound sack, how do you get exactly 1 pound of poo?

But assuming that the asshole farm is just a sea of poo, with nowhere to store any measured amounts other than your sack…

Fill up the 7 pound sack at the asshole farm, then transfer 5 lbs to the 5 pound sack, leaving 2 lbs of poo. Dump out the 5 pound sack, then transfer the 2 lbs into it. Refill the 7 pound sack at the farm, then top the 5 pound sack off from it, using 3 lbs of poo and leaving 4 lbs of poo behind in the 7 pound sack. Again, dump out the 5 pound sack, transfer the 4 lbs of poo to it, and refill the 7 pound sack from the farm. Topping the 5 pound sack off with 1 lb of poo from the 7 pound sack leaves 6 lbs in the 7 pound sack. If you then dump out the 5 pound sack and refill it from the 7 pound sack's 6 lbs, you'll be left with just one pound of poo in the 7 pound sack. Victory!

Of course, you are still holding a couple shitty bags while standing in a big puddle of crap.
posted by JiBB at 5:26 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


(ahem, points to message above, feels like King of Crapville)
posted by JHarris at 5:29 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Although your method doesn't rely on having a place to just leave crap lying around. It's not a substance that one usually wishes to leave out. (Someone might steal it.)
posted by JHarris at 5:30 PM on June 12, 2015


I wonder if Something Awful is really a good example ? My understanding is that is is a far worse place than even Reddit?

Something Awful has several significant differences:

1) Paid accounts, which helps minimize throwaway account shit-and-runs.
2) A strong moderation presence in the more "mainstream" forums, particularly the political one, with probation and ban systems in place.
3) The almost-anything-goes forum (FYAD) is largely self-contained and there is a general understanding of what is permissible there that is not in the main forums.
4) Goons can't create subforums on a whim.
5) A self-policement avatar system; you can buy your own avatar for $5 or someone else's for $10, so known shitheads find it hard to avoid being publicly labeled in big red text as known shitheads.
6) A smaller and thus more controllable user base.

This is not to suggest that SA is inherently better or more reputable, necessarily -- that wouldn't be any fun -- but it is much easier there to keep things at a pre-riot stage.
posted by delfin at 5:34 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Someone might steal it.)

I'm sorry, but if somebody wants to steal your poo, you're doing poo wrong.

I know you were joking but I really wanted to type "you're doing poo wrong."
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:35 PM on June 12, 2015


This thread sure has a lot of discussion of crap, communism, and libertarianism. But then, I'm being redundant.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:36 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not all poop is the same density.

I think we can calculate a standard American poop density based average caloric intake, grams of fiber, fat, proteins etc... in the average American's diet. The unit of measure should be called a FreeDump or something like that. So, for the sake of this conversation, let's say one FreeDump is one cubic inch of the average American poo weighing one ounce. Calculate your sack capacity accordingly. And, to try and stay on-topic, Reddit. A ReddDump would weigh 1.41 FreeDumps due to the high fat, low fiber diet of the average Redditor
posted by MikeMc at 5:44 PM on June 12, 2015


Rhaomi: "I've heard the FPH mods were notorious for banning anybody who disagreed with the party line."

From a post on /r/quityourbullshit from a couple of months ago, a quote from the rules of /r/fatpeoplehate:

"2. No dissent / No being fat
Speaking out against hating fat people is a good way to get banned permanently. Saying positive things about a fat person or fat people in general is another good way.
We hate fat people here at FatPeopleHate. If it is discovered you are fat yourself, you will be banned."
posted by botono9 at 5:59 PM on June 12, 2015


MetaFilter: you're doing poo wrong
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:24 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]




How have those people not been rebanned?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:43 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I owned reddit I'd make some immediate changes.
I'd ban every single meta subreddit there is and every moderator of them. SRD and it's ilk, SRS prime, all the circle jerks and brokes, all of it.

I'd make it a chuckspears-bannable offense to cross link subreddits for the purpose of calling out anyone.

I'd set up an approval process for creating subreddits, including a flexible probationary period, and the creators/mods wouldn't know the end date of that period.

You'd have to pay to create a subreddit in some form.

I'd set up subreddit tags site wide that would warn of potentially offensive material, and the ability to filter the site accordingly.

I'd pay the moderators of the defaults and have high expectations of their curation skills.

And I'd establish clear, consistently enforced site wide rules about hate speech of any kind.

Of course, I don't own it so I'll just stick to my 5 or 7 well moderated subs and ignore the rest.
posted by disclaimer at 6:49 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I frequent /r/TrueReddit. Well, I used to. Until recently, it was one of my favorite subs.

About 6 months ago I dropped /r/TrueReddit in favor of /r/foodforthought. Much better discussion, although there are always going to be low-effort commentors who treat the sub as if it were actually /r/foodformyhottake.
posted by um at 7:02 PM on June 12, 2015


FPH mod team AMA

What I learned is that they believed they were doing fat people a vital service by shaming them into getting thin. Also, it was Lulzy.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:36 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


They never believed that. It was simply an excuse that let them claim some kind of pathetic high ground.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:38 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


People who get their jollies mocking others usually justify it that it way. Be highly skeptical of anybody who claims they are bullying to help others, even in cases where they seem like they are on your side.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:41 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah the thing about tough love is that the latter half is essential.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:47 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


See also the idea that queerbashing is good because it incentivizes people to be straight.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:53 PM on June 12, 2015


lol SA worse than reddit? SA is full of cat ladies, both male and female.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:09 PM on June 12, 2015


There is a lot of genuine transphobia in certain areas with some lower level homophobia and racism that I think is more on the ironic side for the most part. Some general anti "SJW" backlash because they ruined the "jokes" on the site. Definitely better than Reddit, but if someone ventured into certain threads over there I can see why they might get confused on that point.

"Cat ladies" is also not really a particularly nice term.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:21 PM on June 12, 2015


"Glad I'm not the only one who noticed. That sub was an oasis in terms of reasonable commentary around city issues for years, and then in the last 18 months it's declined drastically, with truly racist/sexist/awful commenters being the loudest voices. "

Oh god it's my fault — I started reading r/la about two years ago, but had recently kinda given up because ugh.
posted by klangklangston at 10:07 PM on June 12, 2015


"I'm an asshole farmer. I keep losing money at it, but I'm going to keep doing it because there's GOT to be money in farming assholes. They grow like fuckin' weeds and you hardly have to plant them and they fertilize themselves. There's just GOT to be a way to make money on this."
posted by pyramid termite


Once soylent green is a viable food source you'll be RACKING in the cash.

More seriously: Hellbans. That is like a shadowban, but you can see other hellbanned people's posts so it is harder to notice. Good idea, or would that just leave festering communities that no one else notices until it spills off of reddit?
posted by Canageek at 11:06 PM on June 12, 2015


As far as I'm aware Reddit shadowbans and SA hellbans (which are no longer done, because the SA servers are a rickety agglomeration of fifteen year old code and hellbans were apparently brutal on the servers) are the same thing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:06 AM on June 13, 2015


Nah, reddit shadowbans don't have that seeing-other-banned-peoples-posts functionality

lol SA worse than reddit? SA is full of cat ladies, both male and female.

I've been an SA member for longer than i've been here in earnest, although i haven't been active in ages. SA was, at one point, super fucking bad. Calling people slurs and sperglords and just the general behavior was pretty shit if you were in any of the more lowbrow sections. 4chan came from there, for fucks sake, and goons were the original posters.

It was also, and continues to be, another place that people make constant excuses for just like all the reddit excuses in here. "Oh, only certain parts are bad and they stick to their own spots and the mods swat it down if it leaks" when yea, there was for a long time in most places serious assholery that just get even assholier if you dug a bit deeper.

I made the observation today that reddit is 4chan for people who wanted their name associated with their shitposting so they could collect attention and become internet famous. SA was sort of like that too. Lots of look-at-me stuntposting that was also shitty. It always kinda blew my mind how much people loved/defended that site, like, smart decent people when it really was kind of a hive of scum and villainy. It's grown up, but it can still be shitty.

Not that mefi couldn't be awful in the past too, but somehow it felt a lot more kicking-and-screaming over there. Maybe it's just that i knew more posters from there who were all saddlesore about it, but basically everyone i knew who used to post there a lot launched in to some ethics-in-gaming-journalism esque "yea the PC police have conquered it, it's lame now" aside.
posted by emptythought at 1:11 AM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's actually a Stormfront-lite site for people angry at SA for being taken over by the dreaded SJWs. It's pretty sad.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:40 AM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]





Also, Internet Lawyer weighs in: "As should be obvious, profiting from a website you've said is in favor of free speech and then banning that speech is a clear example of financial advantage by deception


phhft - they don't charge for membership, so the members have no damages to sue for
posted by pyramid termite at 3:24 AM on June 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


4chan came from there, for fucks sake, and goons were the original posters.

Strangely enough, the same can be said of SRS. Towards the beginning the invading goons weren't always very good at dispensing social justice, e.g. tending to fat-shame Reddit users or mock them as sperglords/autistic.

SRS has been kinda tailing off, kind of weird how it remains a boogeyman for many Reddit users.

To be pedantic lest I get called on it - the subreddit was created and briefly posted to by another user, then abandoned and reclaimed.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:41 AM on June 13, 2015


The most recent episode of The Todd Glass Show podcast features Andy Kindler, who riffs on the tendency of some people online to say the most racist or mysogynist crap followed up by "free speech!" He does a great job of breaking down the pattern into its essential elements and runs with it. After reading the recent "jk" thread here, and having followed this latest Redditplosion all over for a couple days, it's obvious that they are interchangeable. "Hey, here's some horrible crap I wanted to share with you ..." "Kidding! Not kidding!" "Free speech!" "Can't you take a joke?" It's like when anyone says, "I'm not a racist, but ..." you can be 100% sure that what follows is going to be racist. It's not like being passive aggressive or speaking in abstract hypotheticals is some kind of invisibility cloak for hatred, but it's the plausible deniability being sought that's always the fallback, like a form of gaslighting.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:34 AM on June 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Reddit supports topic categorization, comment reply threading so you can see which comment is a reply to which other comment, reply notification, editing with no time limit, image links, and a downvoting system. Those are the reasons why I moved away from MeFi to Reddit. I still check in here from time to time, however the MeFi UI now looks to me, having gotten used to these things, like a disorganized mess of uncategorized content, with randomly-interleaved conversations about that content, and I quickly get frustrated and leave again.

I agree that the quality of the average post (and comment) is better on MeFi. Just as students who go through private school do better than those who go through public school, by the simple expedient of private schools expelling or never taking in problem students. MeFi is better because it is kept better, which is only possible due to the far smaller post volume. If equivalent effort were put in on Reddit, by hundreds of active moderators, Reddit could be made better than MeFi. If MeFi gave up moderation, average comment quality would drop. MeFi being better is not a matter for self-congratulation, it's simply a consequence of the method.

Even so, there are so many more posts and comments on Reddit, that there are still more high-quality and/or interesting posts (and comments) there than here.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:45 AM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, Internet Lawyer weighs in: ...

Good lord, what a pretzel.

So, how does his plaintiff demonstrate standing? What are the damages, and what is the relief?
posted by krinklyfig at 5:55 AM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Even so, there are so many more posts and comments on Reddit, that there are still more high-quality and/or interesting posts (and comments) there than here.

You could think of Reddit as a large chaotic city without gates or barriers to entry. Yes, in theory, there are cops to keep the peace but they are overworked and underpaid and there are far too few of them. Homeless people defecate openly in the streets of some areas. Crackheads and junkies consume their product in public parks. Other areas are essentially controlled by armed gangs and the cops don't go there unless gang activity breaks out into "respectable" areas. There are a few very nice neighborhoods with good, active communities but they are kept that way through private security and highly involved citizens.

Contrast this with Metafilter Heights, a little luxury gated community with an admission fee, which is a lot smaller and more deliberately managed. Highly-trained security guards patrol the streets and the citizens are active in neighborhood watch and community activity. Metafilter also has the authority to ban community members for egregious violations, which is harder in the big Reddit city ("Oh, you banned me from your block? Guess I'll go over here then. Or maybe come back with a fake moustache on.") All these features keep the average discourse at a higher level than is currently possible with Reddit. But the sheer volume of Reddit means that there's an occasional unique gem that is created, recognized, and elevated by the vast Reddit population.

Two different worlds.
posted by theorique at 7:16 AM on June 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've said on the blue before that reddit is impossible to use without using the reddit enhancement suite, specifically it's filters. After blocking about 15 subreddits thrown up by fathaters, I finally wised up and blocked "Pao" and there's the old /r/all as I know it, seeing about one fifth of the postings.
posted by Catblack at 7:33 AM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Even so, there are so many more posts and comments on Reddit, that there are still more high-quality and/or interesting posts (and comments) there than here.

I guess it depends on whether you're willing to put up with the toxicity, how much of it you encounter, or whether you've been harassed.

I'll read the occasional AMA or notable thread if a link comes my way, but I gave up on Reddit as a regular user a long time ago. I'm grateful that Metafilter has made better choices in site policy, which is why I'm still here after 13 years, and which also helped me to become a better person through the conversations involving moderation issues. I've learned a lot about empathy in the process. Such conversations don't really happen on Reddit in the same way. The tacit acceptance and undercurrent of toxic behavior and speech makes it an unwelcome place for many people.

I grew up being abused, and I see a lot of the same behavior playing out within the site culture throughout Reddit. I don't need to subject myself to it as an adult, nor support a website which has adamantly refused to recognize it as a problem by design. I wouldn't want to invite a number of my friends to the site for the same reasons... I mean, it's not like Reddit's unknown or they wouldn't find it anyway, but by contrast I would and have invited friends to check out MeFi... which, hey, as much as I love the Blue, it's not for everyone, but it's run by and for people who believe in community, and who are willing to take responsibility for it. I've never been to a meetup, but I feel like my extended family is here, and we're all in it together.

BTW, aeschenkarnos, if you're interested, you can choose the classic blue design where you edit your user profile. I prefer it myself.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:38 AM on June 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


comment reply threading so you can see which comment is a reply to which other comment ... editing with no time limit, image links, and a downvoting system

I hate threaded commenting so much. You can't just read a conversation once and know you've read it -- every time you load the page it might be entirely different. Same for no time limit on edits and downvoting. It reminds me of trying to follow conversations on LiveJournal.

Image links, bleah. I've been trying to get into Something Awful lately and had to disable all the images for months since I just couldn't deal with it. Too much visual clutter.

Anyway, I say these things not to argue that my view is better but to point out that there is no objectively better or more modern UI. Probably. Though I do think quality of conversation is better when a) everyone's reading the same thing and b) we're not relying on silly pictures to get our points across.
posted by asperity at 8:21 AM on June 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


asperity: I hate threaded commenting so much. You can't just read a conversation once and know you've read it -- every time you load the page it might be entirely different.

If threaded comments are supported at all, it should be possible to have a profile setting where you can choose to display them in chronological order instead. I would at least appreciate a "Reply" link on each comment that creates a link back to it in my reply (like that one above), so I don't have to manually italicize or blockquote what I'm replying to. (Sometimes I want to follow a conversation backwards and have to keep Ctrl+F'ing for the quoted snippets.)
posted by Rangi at 9:25 AM on June 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


and a downvoting system

I don't know how this works on Reddit, but it might be a flaw if it works in tandem with up-voting across a range of selections. Negative voting can become disinformation as a gamed feature to elevate another point for reasons unrelated to the down-voted object; basically rejecting something without first having to evaluate its merits. The main condition for voting is where sincerity is demanded for desired results. If down-voting is someone's idea of self-moderation, then I can see why a site may have problems with civil discourse. Rejection must be achieved by neutral examination when compared to an objective and its body of rules. A machine could do it by threshold nomination, by simply calling a jury of non-vested parties to decide an issue. Wikipedia had similar problems with self-selected moderation at one point, perhaps still, where self-interested cabals rule over their self-entries and related pages with impunity.
posted by Brian B. at 9:31 AM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


a "Reply" link on each comment that creates a link back to it

Ravelry forums work this way! It's pretty handy. Even though it's chronologically-ordered, I find it's not quite as easy to read as MeFi, but that's mostly due to the pagination. Which is a result of allowing images (and hey, at least on Ravelry, there's a really good reason for lots of images.)
posted by asperity at 9:37 AM on June 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


like a disorganized mess of uncategorized content, with randomly-interleaved conversations about that content,

I think both of these are more "feature" than "bug" for a lot of people, though. Part of the reason I like it here is entirely because I can stumble on something posted to the blue that I would be unlikely to encounter in the course of my normal ramblings about the internet.

And the randomly-interleaved conversations not only don't bother me at all, but can often throw up some gems, like this thread (found because griphus was looking for it on MetaTalk), where a serious yet wide-ranging discussion about a website where women can rate men they've dated also had a whole bunch of users doing an extended-joke-riff on a comment (not in a mean-spirited way.) Admittedly, it got to the point where the mods told people to knock it off, but that sort of interleaving of "serious" and "not serious" tends to not happen on sites where comments are threaded.

I mean, if it's not your thing, it's not your thing, but I'll second asperity in that there's not really a bright line between "good" and "bad" UI's. A lot of it is about the reader's personal preferences.


Even so, there are so many more posts and comments on Reddit, that there are still more high-quality and/or interesting posts (and comments) there than here.

IME, this is very much a YMMV situation. I've done plenty of prowling through various Reddit subs about or associated with my hobbies/personal interests/professional interests, and not once been convinced that I need to sign up and start participating. I've found that moderated forums dedicated to a particular subject have a much higher signal-to-noise ratio and more advanced & complex discussions than the Reddit subs, and if I can't find a dedicated forum the Reddit subs just aren't interesting enough to hold my attention. Again, this is just me & my interests, but my experience does make me cock a wary eye at claims that Reddit has a lot of high-quality content.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:08 AM on June 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Discussion quality is extremely subjective, however to the extent that it is objective, it is found more in small-topic subreddits, like /r/truefilm or /r/boardgames - the topic of the conversation being relevant to my interests makes me evaluate it more highly. On MeFi, we get maybe a dozen posts a day of which three or four may be interesting (and the benefit of random expansion of one's interests by exposure to unsought ideas); on reddit perhaps one or two per dozen posts may be interesting but there are a dozen or more posts in each area relevant to my interests.

As with living in a big city rather than a small town, one adapts. To deal with the asshole comments, I have learned to just throw them a downvote, maybe make a joke at their expense, and move on. Or argue with them, if there's fun to be had in doing so.

Which is another thing. I am a lot more of a "flamer" (in the Usenet sense :D) than MeFi mods will remotely tolerate. I like arguing. From time to time I enjoy giving some creep who posts a cruel and stupid comment both barrels; I have no serious expectation of changing the creep's mind, but "pour les encourager les autres", as the saying goes. I like a bit of the intellectual equivalent of mixed-MMA from time to time.

That simply isn't done here, any more than brawling is allowed in a library. If one desires a brawl, one must go to the seedy bars. Casting subtly acerbic aspersions is about as "violent" as MeFi gets; some users have become experts at this art of provoking one's opponent just enough that if they escalate further, they will draw the ire of the mods.

I mean this as examples of culture differential, not criticism of MeFi. I respect the rules of the room and during the fourteen years I've had a MeFi account, I generally have remained within MeFi's preferred civility level.

But sometimes I want to fight crime, dammit, and to fight crime there must be criminals, and the guards don't often let them inside the gated community, and if they did they tell me to "step back and let them handle it", which entirely removes the fun.

I know this is a privileged perspective; I'm a self-employed white male of reasonable intelligence living in a country with civilian rather than military police, and the worst I have to fear from nasty PMs or people trying to mess with me via meatspace is the work of telling them to fuck off and setting them on ignore. And no-one has ever bothered to doxx me; trawling through tens of thousands of often-lengthy comments looking for nuggets of individuation would be a task beyond the most patient possible troll. And I don't maintain a public ID to risk. So I'm safer on Reddit than a lot of people are. But that's Reddit's problem, not mine.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:59 PM on June 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Reddit supports topic categorization, comment reply threading so you can see which comment is a reply to which other comment, reply notification, editing with no time limit, image links, and a downvoting system.

I'm late to the party, but man oh man. Threaded replies, no-limit editing and (particularly) downvoting are things I really hate about Reddit and I would be heartbroken to see those features show up here.
posted by brundlefly at 1:48 AM on June 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I would at least appreciate a "Reply" link on each comment that creates a link back to it in my reply

Isn't there a plugin that does that? (MetaQuote, maybe?). There's also one that links subthreads to each other in the left margin, but I don't recall the name of that one.
posted by effbot at 5:27 AM on June 14, 2015


3 pounds of poo in a 5 pound sack is fine...

... if what you want is to have your sack's contents Pareto-Sturgeon-optimized at 80% poo.

I mean, i get the whole 'there's valuable stuff there' bit. I'm a packrat and an information junkie and I've been known to actually read all the way through Freep threads to eke the tiniest bit of value out of them. But as a general resource, it does not strike me as a good thing when people are defending a place because its content is only 80% shit.

This is of course coming from a guy who spends a lot of time on Facebook. But while a good solid 80% of what I see in my feed doesn't interest me, it's also not people trying to hurt other people (bundled with side orders of 'no one has a right not to be offended' hash and 'they can just ignore it' slaw).
posted by lodurr at 5:28 AM on June 14, 2015


Boy my math sucks today. But 60% poo is still more than I'm prepared to settle for.
posted by lodurr at 1:18 PM on June 14, 2015


The reddit upvote/downvote system encourages polarization and is antithetical to really thoughtful discussion. The threading system also makes it less about having a discussion and more about a race to say something popular.
posted by humanfont at 4:03 PM on June 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I like a bit of the intellectual equivalent of mixed-MMA from time to time.

But sometimes I want to fight crime

This strikes me as a bit of macho "Internet Tough Guy". I admit, sometimes I was like this too (especially as a teenager on the GameFAQS message board), but I realized I wasn't really helping anyone by arguing, especially myself. Going online and arguing and being angry with people who I thought deserved it wasn't serving as a pressure valve, it was actually only adding fuel to my own internal fire and keep me in a longer state of annoyance or anger. These days, the only part of Reddit I even semi-occasionally go to is SRS. Even then it's in small amounts, as too long and it puts me in a crummy mood. And I partly go to bring it up to my younger brother, who is slowly becoming a Reddit regular (ew).

Also, it's relatively easy to get into arguments with people online. There's a chance of doxxing, of course, but in general it's a contained environment and you can always choose to disengage and do something else for an hour. This is different than an argument in real life, where you usually can't walk away, and there's less time to think of a response, and there's the possibility of it actually turning into a brawl.
posted by FJT at 10:49 AM on June 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Voat, the Reddit alternative for bad people, was (temporarily?) shut down: cached announcement. They make a not-particularly-believable claim their hosting provider shut them down for "political incorrect parts". Not clear if they're coming back or not, but the admin is taking people's money.
posted by Nelson at 7:32 AM on June 20, 2015


It's up and running again, it seems. Guess they found out the hard way that it's probably not sufficient to say you're "based in Switzerland" if you host neo-nazi and jailbait forums when your servers are in Germany, under German jurisdiction...

For the easily entertained, SubRedditDrama is tracking the latest developments as well. The Internet Lawyer is back, of course, this time speculating in how voat's astronomical future revenue potential will result in courts handing over reddit.com to voat's owners once his investigation is complete, and other overexcited posters are busy generating "first they came for the video games" snowclones/copypasta that's already spreading across the Internet.
posted by effbot at 1:18 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]




3 pounds of poo in a 5 pound sack is fine...

... if what you want is to have your sack's contents Pareto-Sturgeon-optimized at 80% poo.


That's still an improvement over the traditional 90%.

I think this problem—that most content will be repellent or at best irrelevant to any particular consumer—is unavoidable when that content is coming from everyone. Sturgeon's law applies to overall media or entire genres, because those are broad categories and most of what gets classified as "SF" or "TV" will seem terrible to any one reader or viewer.

Individual magazines, channels, websites, etc can get around this problem by selecting for a small audience with homogeneous tastes. I might like only 10% of all TV, but 50% of Netflix originals and 80% of my friends' recommendations. MetaFilter, after all, manages to have consistently good content by appealing to particular people and filtering for what interests them. Reddit isn't trying to make the whole site "non-poo" because everyone has a different idea of what poo is, so they only delete the content that is (or should be) repulsive to everyone: harassment, illegal material, hate speech.

(And all of those are still blurry categories. One ought to be able to make a subreddit about "harassing" a public official, or discussing illegal drugs, or forming an in-group by mocking/"hating" the out-group.)
posted by Rangi at 12:56 PM on June 26, 2015


... this problem—that most content will be repellent or at best irrelevant to any particular consumer—is unavoidable when that content is coming from everyone.

It's only unavoidable if you conflate 'repellent' with 'irrelevant.'
posted by lodurr at 11:23 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]




Interesting timing for that with it being literally immediately after the Jesse Jackson AMA, which was one of the worst threads in the history of reddit.
posted by emptythought at 6:26 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Given that Reddit is Reddit it's remarkable that they all don't turn into massive shitshows - I guess that is not something that was achieved without effort.
posted by Artw at 6:34 PM on July 2, 2015


I've been reading about it for the last hour. A lot of big default subs have gone private in solidarity. Huge mess.
She was essential as a go-between with the celebrities and the volunteer moderators and without someone in that role the AMA thing just doesn't work. She was let go suddenly with no transition plan in place. I can't guess why they would have to do it so suddenly instead of giving her a week's notice at least.

She also acted as a go-between for volunteers and staff for other high traffic subs who now feel totally abandoned. You can't really blame them. Those volunteer moderators on those massive subs are the backbone of the site, they deserve to be paid but all they are asking for is more communication and better moderation tools. They are the ones who make sure AMAs are not always a mess and are a huge draw to the site.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:44 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


It doesn't help that the admins have been dead silence on their official channels, and rather lulzy on, of all places, /r/subredditdrama. I like watching the drama as much as anyone, but when the people responsible for stopping it are fueling it, jesus christ.
posted by zabuni at 7:01 PM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Voat currently buckling under the pressure again. Hard to take your ball and go home when the door is always locked.

What did they do this time?

Voat is currently getting hit with a huge amount of traffic as a direct result of recent changes happening over at that other place.

Everyone, we’re sorry. We’re both sad to see what we once loved change in this manner, but we’re also excited about the future, but our future won't be traveling down this same path.

We won’t be getting any sleep tonight (again) and we are doing everything we can to handle the traffic.

Our budget is limited but we’ll make sure to fight to the last penny in order to keep Voat alive for this community. If you want to donate, well, now is the time. Our bitcoin address is 1C4Q1RvUb3bzk4aaLVgGccnSnaHYFdESzY.

posted by Drinky Die at 7:11 PM on July 2, 2015


thread
posted by Artw at 7:57 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


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