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harassment men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny MRA oppressed white men reddit the c-word women in tech

Even Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian is appalled by Reddit’s role in the attacks on Adria Richards

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Wow.  The vitriol directed at Adria Richards by the angry dudes of Reddit was so extreme it even had Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian feeling a bit embarrassed by the monster he helped to create. In a blog post earlier this week, Ohanian chided the

(otherwise reasonable-seeming) people I saw who were comfortable and self-righteous in calling a woman a bitch/cunt/etc from their Twitter, Hacker News, or, yes, reddit account. …

The comments (and support for them) I’ve seen over the past few days have really disappointed me …  This isn’t “political correctness,” this is you having the courage to use your words to create an environment that promotes an open exchange of ideas — not alienate people and certainly not terrorize them.

He reminded the “not-poor straight white men” who dominate the tech world that many of them were once the victims of bullies themselves.

Growing up, we typically weren’t picked first for sports, but were first on the Quake II server. Few people really understood our peculiar hobbies or how amazing it was to see “Hello, world” for the first time. Plenty of us got used to being ignored. Many of us were bullied. But what did we learn from it — empathy or hate?

We need to know the answer, because suddenly we are the cool kids. They’re making movies about us. We’re “rock stars.” Holy shit, the rest of the world is finally realizing how awesome we are. The geek has inherited the earth. And now that we’re the powerful ones, we need to remember: with great power comes great responsibility. It’s irresponsible to continue to act as though we are victims.

Now, there are more than a few problems with Ohanian’s plea for tolerance, up to and including all that self-aggrandizing crap at the end. On Buzzfeed, John Herrman describes Ohanian’s post as a “strategic response to a real problem.” As Herrman notes, the blog post

distances Ohanian from the site he helped create. Here, he is a commentator, not a leader. It’s a baldly political move: By identifying as a geek and then criticizing geek culture, he joins an ongoing conversation about tolerance in tech; but by minimizing Reddit’s role in driving the backlash against Adria Richards (its /r/mensrights community is raising money for the “vicims” of Richards), and characterizing the site’s actions as a reflection of a larger problem rather than a possible cause, Ohanian exonerates himself.

Technically, it was the Red Pill subreddit that started that laughable Feminist Victims Fund, but it’s certainly the case that Men’s Rights Redditors have been some of the loudest Adria Richards haters on the Internet.

Despite Herrman’s criticism, which I think is generally on the mark, Ohanian’s post is still quite striking. Apparently one of the architects of Reddit  is beginning not only to realize but to publicly acknowledge  just how toxic the culture on Reddit can be.

The big question now is whether or not the powers-that-be at Reddit will do anything about it.

EDITED TO ADD: In other news, the Daily Dot reports that Reddit’s new meme is just a topless woman who agrees with you.

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aworldanonymous
8 years ago

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, that’s it, I’m not getting a new reddit account, at all.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Hey Ohanian: I’ma let you finish, but you created the biggest internet cesspool of all time. You’re soaking in it.

Look at all the fucks I don’t give that this dude has feels. Maybe he should be monitoring this shit?

WordSpinner
WordSpinner
8 years ago

This was linked to on SRS and I think it is relevant to our interests:

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Awesome new meme. /sarcasm

Fuck this shit. This why as I get older, I’m becoming more and more comfortable with being called a radfem (minus the TERF shit).

Cannonball
Cannonball
8 years ago

I spent a lot of time on Reddit and no. He does not get to beg out now. He does not get to claim he just noticed it now. When it’s convenient. Nope. He is the architect of this wormhole and a pretty little blogpost does not annul his culpability. Sorry, butting in again but cannot tolerate the *oh it was something I only noticed we had to take control of until now* mentality.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Cannonball: you’re not butting in. This guy is completely full of shit.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

Hey Ohanian: I’ma let you finish, but you created the biggest internet cesspool of all time. You’re soaking in it.

Look at all the fucks I don’t give that this dude has feels. Maybe he should be monitoring this shit?

QFT

Cannonball
Cannonball
8 years ago

*many angry faces* Does he honestly think this will do? The hatred and fear-mongering on that site is rampant. This is not an isolated incident as you all know. Nope. Bugger off with your tissue paper culpability.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

“Tissue paper culpability” – I like that, makes me think of him sobbing his crocodile tears.

pillowinhell
pillowinhell
8 years ago

With great power comes great responsibility. Nice words, back them up dude. You’re a co founder, you created the twisted monster being used to attack countless innocent people. Rein it in, clean it up and show some of that godamn responsibility you’re trying to flake on.

Cannonball
Cannonball
8 years ago

He will, for maybe six months. And then it will be straight back to the happy-go-lucky, well rape is manly, freaking awful excuse for a ‘community’ I have ever seen outside the roosh forums. No capitals for him. Sorry about the run on sentences, am angry.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

You don’t need to apologise for your sentences or anything else, Cannonball!

Cannonball
Cannonball
8 years ago

Ta Kittehs’, I’m just so sick of these pathetic excuses.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

You aren’t alone … grrrr.

WeeBoy
WeeBoy
8 years ago

What, did he just sleep through creepshots and jailbait? Reddit has been a cesspool for a long time.

cloudiah
8 years ago

[Joins in the kitty growl-fest.]

Ohanian is getting eviscerated on Reddit, because apparently even a weaksauce call for decency counts as a FASCIST ATTACK ON FREEZE PEACH.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

USA! USA! FREEZE PEACH! GARGLEBARGLE!

Cannonball
Cannonball
8 years ago

Oh dear Doctor, I just give up.

Cannonball
Cannonball
8 years ago

Meaning Reddit, obviously.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

Dammit, don’t you people realize that our Founding Fathers died for the right to post death threats online to uppity cunts? If there’s any kind of decency on Reddit it’ll be like their deaths weren’t even worth anything!

feministgamer
feministgamer
8 years ago

My father enjoys telling me all the new things he learned on Reddit since I last saw him. Interesting new stories, funny pictures, rape jokes.

Cannonball
Cannonball
8 years ago

Because where would we be without the go to threat of rape…oh right, exactly here.

cloudiah
8 years ago

I wonder how long it will be until she gets death threats.

I REALLY HOPE SHE DOESN’T GET DEATH THREATS, but if she doesn’t it’s probably because r/mensrights doesn’t get wind of this. Sigh.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Okay, now I really have to go asleep, but Adria Richards has issued a new statement and check out the terrible, terrible comments. Maybe I didn’t dig deep enough, but the comments I saw were par for the course.

katz
8 years ago

Even if he were really, really sincere about this, I’d just like to point out that there’s a ton of other shit on Reddit that he apparently has no problem with. Did he also object to r/jailbait or r/beatingwomen?

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Let’s assume for a moment that he’s sincere*. If so, he has a fantastic opportunity, as a tech superstar with the influence that goes along with that, to make a difference. He can start with the part that he has power over – Reddit. The subreddits about beating women, creepshots, the creepshot variations that focus on underage girls? Shut that shit down now. It’s his site – if he cares about it being used to victimize women, he has the power to make that happen. So he should do it.

Talk is cheap, Mr Ohanian. If you mean it, if you’re serious, if you’ve finally realized that there’s some stuff on your site that’s really fucked up? Use your power and your status to fix it. If you don’t, it will be clear to everyone that you don’t really care after all. If you do, you’ll piss off a bunch of people, but are those really the kind of people whose admiration you want?

* He may or may not be sincere. Who knows. You know how we’ll find out? By what he does next. Ball’s in his corner.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

(In case everyone is wondering if I was hit by the naive stick – nope, I don’t think he’s sincere. But I think that now that he’s made a public statement we can and should try to hold him to what he’s said. If he doesn’t want to look like a giant hypocrite, he better do something big.)

joanimal
joanimal
8 years ago

If he doesn’t want to look like a giant hypocrite, he better do something big.

I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Given there are physicians who have taken the freaking Hippocratic Oath and still perform cosmetic surgeries on people with mental health issues regarding their appearance and then rationalize that if they did not do it someone else would, I do not think Mr Ohanian will so easily give up a functioning revenue stream.

Though, I would love to be proven wrong…

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

What I’d like to see is people holding his feet to the fire. He says he’s just now noticing that there’s a problem with Reddit? Cool, so now that he’s noticed, it’s his responsibility to do something. Everyone should keep pointing this out to him as loudly and as often as possible.

joanimal
joanimal
8 years ago

@cassandra, I totally agree.

And to everybody else…I am starting to really dislike my own example of human greed as ham-fisted at best and more likely just plain sucky. Sorry! Please don’t let it cause a derail.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

I’m kind of Machiavellian that way – I don’t care whether or not he’s sincere, I care whether the position he’s chosen to take on this can be used to pressure him into doing something about the giant clusterfuck of awfulness over which he presides. He has a strong financial interest in Reddit’s reputation not going completely down the toilet, which is probably why he released this statement. If he can be made to see that it’s not in his best interests financially to allow the nastier parts of Reddit to flourish, he might do something. Whether it’s out of the goodness of his heart or because he doesn’t want his whole site shut down – I don’t care. If he was sincere that would be nice, but ultimately I care far more about what he does than what he thinks.

TomBcat
TomBcat
8 years ago

@Cassandra

But You’re right.
In the end, it isn’t that important how he personally feels anyway, but how thousands of other would feel if he actually did something. There are enough public opinions out there, and from the statement I get the feeling he doesn’t quite understand the problem anyway.

Jessay (@jessay)
8 years ago

Cue someone saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,”

Cue eyeroll.

I’ll follow that quote with a counter by paraphrasing/quoting Chris Rock: Just because you CAN do it doesn’t mean it’s to be done. “Shit, you can drive a car with your feet if you want to, that don’t make it a good fucking idea!”

TomBcat
TomBcat
8 years ago

Followup: Can’t shake the feeling my post sounded somewhat patronizing, or maybe I’m just paranoid today. I’ve got a job interview today and it’s an almost all male environment there, and when people left and right tell me that if I don’t get the job then it must be because I’m a woman…just ugh. I’m trying not to be oversensitive, but that’s hard with all those little reminders.
OT ramble off. Sorry.
I just meant to say that I feel like we shouldn’t put our hopes in Ohanian opinions anyway but instead in the disapproval of the majority because ends and means and stuff I lost my train of thought I’m nervous. Fuck.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

TomBcat – if it’s any comfort, your comment didn’t read as patronising to me.

Good luck with the job interview!!!

OT meander: I can never decide whether to pronounce your name Tom B cat, which sounds like a name for a cool kitty, or Tomb cat, which has a wonderfully sinister feline-guardian-of-Egyptian-tomb feel to it. 🙂

TomBcat
TomBcat
8 years ago

Both is right.
It’s somewhat of a play with the words tomcat and tomb since my Name starts with a B…
It’s very entertaining in my head. I’m also responsive to B (much simpler), and someone tried to make the name cooler with some sort of Latin mash up calling me Epita(ph)Felis, which is awesome and matches your cool Tomb Guardian image.
Yay, thx, way to take my mind off work with language 🙂

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

Cool, language plus kitties! I was just flicking through a mag on Ancient Egypt and it seemed a good time to mention your name. I’m now totally going to picture a cat like this when I read your comments!

(I tell a lie, I already was, lol.)

TomBcat
TomBcat
8 years ago

Awesome.
That’s how I want the world to see me 😉
I even have (almost) matching piercings!
Off to the interview, have a very nice day!

thenatfantastic
thenatfantastic
8 years ago

Good luck TomBcat!

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

Go for it, channel the awesomeness of Egyptiian kitties!

lowquacks
lowquacks
8 years ago

@joanimal

I was under the impression that the Hippocratic Oath wasn’t used much any more and was a little shitty to begin with?

Fibinachi
Fibinachi
8 years ago

It’s a little iffy, in some translations and modernizations, but it’s still in use. Very, very few graduates use the actual Hippocratic oath (since swearing to Greek gods and goddesses of healing is a little curious for, say, a christian). So instead they use different versions, sign slightly altered statements to the same effect, so on.

Pretty popular thing, actually.

lowquacks
lowquacks
8 years ago

I was looking to find a title for a medicine-themed noise-rock mixtape for a friend and found that it had an anti-abortion clause and didn’t actually include the famous “first, do no harm is all”.

AK
AK
8 years ago

Yeah, part of me is happy that we’re even having the conversation at all and that Ohanian condemned the misogyny at Reddit even in such weak terms…

…and then the rest of me is really pissed that I’m happy at all about such small crumbs. Seriously that is messed up.

Tina
Tina
8 years ago

What’s wrong with ” with great power come great responsibility”? Other than the fact that it’s a line from “Spiderman”. I’ve said it myself. Recognizing that wow we do have this power, should we really have it, how do we use it, do we share that power. Oh, and be careful how you/I use it. (sorry, should be using “I” statements)

freemage
freemage
8 years ago

Tina: Well, consider the source material–the comic book character. He has ‘great power’, and after a personal crisis, he decides that this means he must use that power actively, for the greater good. Here, however, the ‘great responsibility’ being called upon here is merely, ‘not being a complete douchebag’. No one’s asking the geek community of Reddit to cure cancer, or groupthink up a solution to global warming. They’re just being asked to not drive a 50-ton hate-truck up to the door of every woman who somehow violates their personal view of how women should act.

In short, he’s trying to make ‘act like a decent human being’ into a heroic action.

Dvärghundspossen
8 years ago

Spidey might have stolen it from Pippi Long-stocking… there’s a quote from a Pippi story from the forties which goes “if you’re very strong, you have to be very kind”. 🙂

ANYWAY, people on the internet CONSTANTLY misunderstand what free speech is. It’s not just Americans, I see it all the time on Swedish internet forums as well. A mod bans people or censures people on some internet forum, and people go “YOU KNOW WE HAVE FREE SPEECH IN SWEDEN!” as if they’ve come up with a master argument.

Free speech means that the government doesn’t imprison you for what you say, free print that you’re not imprisoned for what you print. It DOESN’T mean that you have the right to be PUBLISHED anywhere you choose.
Everyone realizes that this is the case when it comes to books, papers and magazines. People who have had their articles rejected by a publisher may whine about it, they may even think that it’s just because the publisher didn’t dare print anything as controversial – but they don’t try to argue that the publisher just violated their constitutional rights by rejecting what they wrote. It’s the same thing with the internet! If someone has an internet board, forum, community, zie can decide which people to publish. This may be less obvious than in the case of newspaper and book publishers, who often gets tons of commissions and only publish a tiny few of them, while someone who owns an internet board often lets almost everything through. But it’s still the case that the owner gets to decide.

Free speech means that if you’re shut down from a certain forum/blog/board/community for being offensive, nothing stops you from starting up your own internet space where you can write whatever you like. It doesn’t mean that the owner of the original forum/blog/board/community violated your rights in shutting you down.

Howard Bannister
8 years ago

In short, he’s trying to make ‘act like a decent human being’ into a heroic action.

That’s it right there. We’re not talking about risking your lives to save others. We’re not talking about being a hero.

We’re talking about NOT BEING THE FUCKING VILLAIN.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

I think the “great power” bit is a little much; Reddit users having great power? Sure, in a very limited sphere they do. :p

ostara321
ostara321
8 years ago

I think it’s entirely possible that he NOTICED this shit going down a while back, but only just started recognizing it was a problem now.

Of course, it’s also entirely possible he’s just full of shit.