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Reddit to White Supremacists and other bigots: We’ll host your forums — at our expense!

DailyMotion has helpfully labeled some of Snake Island's most notable features
Much better policy; Send Reddit’s bigots to Snake Island

So the new Reddit CEO — returning co-founder Steve “Spez” Huffman — announced the site’s much-anticipated new content guidelines today, and to say that they are disappointing is a bit of an understatement.

Essentially, he told the site’s many varieties of bigots that they could continue to spout their various bigotries on Reddit without repercussions, so long as they didn’t actually threaten to, you know, go out and murder or otherwise physically harm people whose sexual preferences or skin color or religion (or whatever) didn’t meet their approval.

Only now the bigots will be posting on Reddit s dime.

No, really.

Reddit’s new policy on hate speech is to make hateful content “opt-in,” like the site’s NSFW subreddits are now. Oh, and to not embarrass the site’s advertisers by running ads next to blatantly hateful garbage.

As Huffman explained in a posting on Reddit, under the new policy

it’s ok to say “I don’t like this group of people.” It’s not ok to say, “I’m going to kill this group of people.”

Hateful content — or, as Reddit euphemistically puts it, “content that violates a common sense of decency” — will be “reclassified” but not banned. The “indecent” stuff

will require a login, must be opted into, will not appear in search results or public listings, and will generate no revenue for Reddit.

What this means in practical terms, Huffman explained in a followup comment, is that

r/rapingwomen will be banned. They are encouraging people to rape.

r/coontown will be reclassified. The content there is offensive to many, but does not violate our current rules for banning.

So, yeah, Reddit’s grand plan to deal with its bigots is to … subsidize them.

I can’t even.

Adding to the repugnance of this “hide the hate, but keep hosting it” policy is the fact that, in the wake of the #RedditRevolt against now ex-CEO Ellen Pao, and Dylan Roof’s racist murders in Charlestown, South Carolina, /coontown and other blatantly racist subreddits have seen a giant boost in traffic, with more than 18,000 subscribers and roughly 200,000 page views a day.

As MrTomFTW noted in a posting on r/GamerGhazi, r/coontown is

closing in to matching Stormfront’s traffic. This means that Reddit could soon be host to the largest active white supremacist forum on the Internet.

Actually, that’s understating things a little. If you add Reddit’s other racist subreddits into the mix, Reddit is already the number one destination for white supremacists looking for a place to talk online.

And Reddit will keep footing the bill.

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kondziu
kondziu
5 years ago

I remember once upon a time Reddit had a banner instead of an ad that said something like “Since you turned off AdBlock, here is a picture of a happy duck!” I guess it’s now going to be “Since you are a white supremacist, here is a picture of a happy duck!”

Z
Z
5 years ago

If I’m grokking this right, this is starting to sound concerningly similar to the Deep Web to me,

So far, the idea is similar not to the “Deep Web”, but to sites like Deviantart requiring a login to view R-18 content. Though in this case the category is “offensive” instead of “explicit”.

Kootiepatra
5 years ago

In addition to all of the other reasons this is a Very Bad Idea that people have already covered, there’s also this one: There is zero way, none whatsoever, that the banned subreddits’ regulars are going to stay in their ad-free haven. I mean, if they ever exercised anything resembling rational thought, they would be ecstatic at this arrangement, but I doubt many are.

If it haven’t already happened, I am positive that the banned subreddits will be making raids on SJW and/or cute fluffy subreddits. A lot. Until some higher ups somewhere cave to their demands.

In my (admittedly limited) moderation experience, it seems to me that garbage-spewing trolls aren’t content to have a designated space in which they can spew their garbage. They want to be able to do it everywhere, and make it everyone else’s responsibility to like it or lump it. They don’t want a corner of Reddit; they want to run it.

I wonder who gets to play whack-a-mole with the raids and new subreddits that will be (or already are) raining down on them.

idledillettante
5 years ago

I wonder if Philosophy of Rape will get taken down or just unlisted.

Front page of the Internet my ass.

Shalimar
Shalimar
5 years ago

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/16/reddit-decency-reckoning-ellen-pao-trolls

The most interesting info in the story is that all but one mod for r/catholic is also a mod on some type of disgusting rape or gore sub-forum too. They have to appease their worst elements. The racists and misogynists and future mass murderers are also moderating Reddit’s mainstream forums in their spare time from being horrible people.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

In my (admittedly limited) moderation experience, it seems to me that garbage-spewing trolls aren’t content to have a designated space in which they can spew their garbage. They want to be able to do it everywhere, and make it everyone else’s responsibility to like it or lump it. They don’t want a corner of Reddit; they want to run it.

This is a very cogent summary of my experience too.

Film Runner
5 years ago

Btw, while ‘rapingwomen’ will go, ‘philosophy of rape’ remains. Apparently it does not offend Huffman’s standards of decency.

Some standards.

He has no standards. This all comes off rather sociopathic to me actually, in the sense of lacking the empathy to understand why anyone is having a problem with them and just assuming that if they hide the problem it will go away.

berdache from a previous life

Still holding out hope that this is simply a delaying tactic on their part. They realize that the denizens of threatened sub reddits are primed to explode all over reddit if they cut them off now. That giving them space and cutting them off later will result in far less disruption.

They may think that making the sub reddits private will knock the traffic down a bit and make them easier to deal with later.

Personally, if I’d been in charge of reddit [shudder], I’d have made a clean break, put up with the shitstorm for a week or two, ban a bunch of people and be done with it. Would not be surprised if you banned 100 people and got rid of 90% of the vileness.

Don’t really think the people that run reddit will eliminate the underbelly but that the investors who have poured millions into it and want a profit will.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Neither Alexis nor I created reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen: These are very complicated issues, and we are putting a lot of thought into it. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for quite some time. We haven’t had the tools to enforce policy, but now we’re building those tools and reevaluating our policy.

Translation: We had no idea what we were up to going in, and we still haven’t a fucking clue. All we really care about is all those sweet, sweet clicks from rubes like you. Is the bafflegab working?

freemage
5 years ago

Pharyngula today linked to this Daily Beast article, which is a good analysis of why Reddit’s structure has the function of not merely allowing hate sites, but actively encouraging them to nest there:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/11/reddit-s-terrorists-have-won-ellen-pao-and-the-failure-to-rebrand-web-2-0.html

Fred_the_Dog
5 years ago

ick ick ick ick ick ick ick

ICK

katz
5 years ago

I love that he realizes that certain content violates a sense of human decency, but it never occurs to him to just not host that content.

banned@4chan.org
banned@4chan.org
5 years ago

…as a highschooler, I was a big user of GameFAQs. That website had a huge forum that had grown far beyond the scope of just talking about how to beat video games, and included a board called “Life, the Universe, and Everything,” or LUE, which I’m sure was at least spiritually one of the ancestors to /b/. They ended up doing something-or-other which turned out to be the last straw for the site’s creator and then-owner, but instead of just wiping LUE off the site, he made a weird policy where only accounts created before the date of the last straw thing, would be able to post to or even view LUE. In other words, the population of LUE now had a ceiling, and as people fucked up and got banned, the ranks of LUE would thin out and become irrelevant.

I never paid much attention to LUE, so I don’t know how effective this plan was in the end. I wanted to tell the story though, because I think there’s a possibility gating off subreddits like /coontown is an opening to some sort of similar attempt at a slow death.

But I could be wrong, and Scented Fucking Hard Chairs could have a much better idea of Yishan just posturing and appeasing while making no serious changes.

leftwingfox
5 years ago

So far, the idea is similar not to the “Deep Web”, but to sites like Deviantart requiring a login to view R-18 content. Though in this case the category is “offensive” instead of “explicit”.

Do you have to subscribe to reddit, or to the individual subreddits? It’s the latter that I worry about, since it may allow the subreddit mods to limit access to those who might report negatively on them.

Yutolia
Yutolia
5 years ago

@pandapool:

True – as they say, what’s a thousand MRAs chained to the bottom of ocean? 😀

Johanna Roberts
5 years ago

@Freemage — great article, though the comments on it lowered my IQ a few notches.

Robjec
Robjec
5 years ago

I forget who said it about reddit sounding like the deeper bit the deep Web does have a lot of good uses too, you just don’t hear about them as often.

It is used by human rights or resistance groups as a way to communicate I’m oppressive countries, used by governments to send important or classified information, used by the military and spies for the same reasons, which is good or bad depending on how you view such things. It is also used as a back market, which isn’t always a drugs and weapons thing but sometimes a way to smuggle in banned ideas or books. It has a lot of uses but allowing people to communicate below the radar and it’s uses by our own governments are the most important.

Robjec
Robjec
5 years ago

I guess thiswant no hoped for purge. I don’t think they have any idea what they will end up doing but are trying to do the least possible to appease investors.
I think they hope to get ad revenue from people who would leave if they weren’t allowed to hate, simply because people uses lots of varying subreddits. And I imagine to opt in might just be like the NSFW now, where you just have to say I agree and don’t need to be logged in. Although with a different warning label.

Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

@Jane, Z, and Robjec

Oh, I see! Thanks for taking the time to help me understand this better. At least I can say I learned something in the wake of all this awful.

banned@4chan.org
banned@4chan.org
5 years ago

The Deep Web also has some completely boring, mundane uses. Anyone who telecommutes, or does any kind of banking, is using the Deep Web.

Robjec
Robjec
5 years ago

@Catalpa
Np it’s actually something I learned recently from a cracked interview about the Arab spring. (Which was sourced and I checked the source)
I’m always spruced how much I learn from there. :p

Robjec
Robjec
5 years ago

*surprised (don’t know how to edit this on my phone)

A Land Whale
A Land Whale
5 years ago

If reddit didn’t subsidize hateful people, reddit would not exist.

AndreTheFireant
AndreTheFireant
5 years ago

Reddit should get the same companies that handle rebates for PC components to manage the opt-in process. 4 months plus 2 pieces of snail mailed identification later and you will finally be able to let everyone know how much of a shit you are. (Maybe!)

Also, that Frank Sinatra gif is a misquote. It should actually read, “As long as I hate your guts, I’ll take pictures of you getting raped.”

Robert
Robert
5 years ago

The only thing I read at Reddit is creepypms. Given what I’ve been finding out about Reddit lately*, I am not sure how long that particular subreddit is going to be around.

*I didn’t know a lot, and most of my meatspace friends knew even less. It’s as if many people don’t follow this kind of news.

wombatnotkayak
5 years ago

@Catalpa and Robjec

You’re both talking about the dark web, not the deep web. The deep web is just anything that isn’t indexed by traditional search engines: academic databases, bank accounts, etc. It basically means anything you couldn’t find through a Google search. By most estimates the vast majority of the internet is the deep web. The dark web is a small subset of the deep web.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Web_%28search_indexing%29
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Web

Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

Huh, I am seriously not well boned up on my terminology and knowledge about the deep web/the Internet. I suppose I never thought about secure connection sites being unindexed as well. It makes sense.

Robjec
Robjec
5 years ago

Yah I mean dark web, I get the terms mixed up quit often.

Ellesar
Ellesar
5 years ago

Mass boycott surely only option for decent minded peeps?

A.A. Wils
5 years ago

Maybe Reddit will go bankrupt, then, subsidizing that hate. Cause let’s face it, there’s a ton of hate on Reddit that will have to be subsidized. A metric shit ton.

Had To Be Said
Had To Be Said
5 years ago

The darknet gets a bad rap too, though. It’s an easy way to access drugs, whether it’s pot from one state over (where it’s legal) or antibiotics that you know you need that only cost $25 on a darknet market instead of effectively $125 (doctor visit $100 just to get the prescription, then $25 for the drugs). People without health insurance use the darknet markets for all sorts of non-recreational prescription drugs. Lots of listings in that category. Plenty of buyers are just avoiding paying the doctor in specific cases where the doctor is only functioning as an expensive obstacle. Or to avoid embarrassment in the case of ED drugs.

I’ve never seen any racism or child abuse images or other horrifying things on the darknet, because I’d have to go looking for those things. On content sites, I’ve mostly seen some great conversation about taboo subjects like illegal drugs and drug prohibition that are too risky to have on the clearnet, especially if they include personal stories.

Oh, and the hiring-a-hitman thing? Not a thing. Experienced darknet folks just laugh when they see that in the media. There are hitman sites, but they are just ripoffs or possibly law-enforcement traps. No actual murders I am aware of have ever been traced back to a darknet “hitman” site.

ktward
5 years ago

So basically, y’all think that private enterprises, like Reddit, should just blanketly ban *all* speech that is somehow deemed “offensive”. Right?

I don’t agree.

I’m a card-carrying liberal and feminist, and I think that even assholes deserve to be heard, just like everyone else. In fact, I especially support assholes being able to wave whatever flag they want to wave. Makes it way easier for us to shine light on those cockroaches. Reddit is one of very few online places anymore where assholes feel free to wave their asshole flag. I say, let them.

Also too, I suspect y’all think Reddit is way more influential in terms of public consciousness than it actual is. Even amongst millennials.

tinyorc
5 years ago

ktward:

So basically, y’all think that private enterprises, like Reddit, should just blanketly ban *all* speech that is somehow deemed “offensive”. Right?

Nope, that’s a total misrepresentation of most of what has been said on this thread. Try again.

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
5 years ago

ktward sez:


So basically, y’all think that private enterprises, like Reddit, should just blanketly ban *all* speech that is somehow deemed “offensive”. [emph. added]

“Somehow,” huh? I smell moral relativism brewing. (P.S. No one is making that argument, and the concern isn’t “offensive” content in the first place.)

I’m a card-carrying liberal and feminist




And? You can call yourself that in earnest and still hold conflicting values that work against feminism and other kinds of social progress, especially when you allow yourself to remain ignorant of what you’re talking about. Maybe you should go read Arthur Chu’s article for a start.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

I’m a card-carrying liberal and feminist–

http://38.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m726zq9AQe1rp79c3o1_500.gif

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Reddit can give white supremacists and rapists a platform if they want. We can criticize it if we want. Freedom of speech is not freedom from criticism or consequences. Why is this so hard for people to understand?

katz
katz
5 years ago

I’m a card-carrying liberal and feminist, and I think that even assholes deserve to be heard, just like everyone else. In fact, I especially support assholes being able to wave whatever flag they want to wave. Makes it way easier for us to shine light on those cockroaches. Reddit is one of very few online places anymore where assholes feel free to wave their asshole flag. I say, let them.

Even if we agreed with this view, why would it be laudable of Reddit to be the place where the cockroaches congregate?

megpie71
5 years ago

Reddit – the 4chan you go to if you don’t want to be seen using 4chan.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Reddit can give white supremacists and rapists a platform if they want. We can criticize it if we want. Freedom of speech is not freedom from criticism or consequences. Why is this so hard for people to understand?

And we can also vote with our feet and refuse to visit that site, and thus refuse to subsidize hate speech with our clicks anywhere on Reddit. That, too, falls under “freedom of speech”.

GrumpyOldSocialJusticeMangina

Hearing all this stuff about Reddit reminded me of a chapter from Terry Southern’s 1959 novel “The Magic Christian.” (Southern is best known as the principal screenwriter of the iconic film, “Easy Rider”, and the co-writer of the equally iconic “Dr. Strangelove.”)
The novel is about a multimillionaire who loves playing very expensive practical jokes. The relevant episode has him setting up a huge fire and cauldron on a busy Chicago street, having the cauldron filled with urine and manure from the stockyards, setting up a huge fan behind the cauldron, and then dropping a million dollars in small bills into the cauldron — and then watching as people chased and pounced on and fought over the shit-stained currency.
Except in the case of Reddit and its management, the currency is large denomination bills.

Cthulhu's Intern
5 years ago

The only thing that could possibly be even remotely good about this would be if this happens:
“Welcome to /r/coontown. Please login with Facebook to continue. All your activity will be posted to your timeline and viewable to all your subscribers’ news feeds.”

And they need to realize what this means: If you need to log in, then that means the white supremacist lurkers will have to make accounts. And they’re probably not going to just stay on the racist subs, they’re going to leak out at a much greater rate than before. And if you read stuff like Stormfront’s BUGS guide, this is what they’re planning.

Robjec
Robjec
5 years ago

@ktward
your missing a big part of people’s complaints which is that reddit has banned some groups for abuse language such as fat people hate but not others. The company rook a stand and said you can’t discriminate against people for their weight bit you can for their skin color or religious beliefs. They can’t say anymore that they are just doing it for free speech unless they stand by that value equally at all times.

They are just doing the minimum they can and hoping it blows over before they have to do the real work they promised.

Also only 2 days ago one of the founders said they would ban coontown so of course people aren’t happy with this.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

I’m a card-carrying liberal and feminist …

I spy with my little eye something beginning with #N__Y__S__.

Feminists don’t battle straw feminists on a feminist blog; liberals don’t argue that only über-right-wing conservatives are allowed freedom of speech on a liberal blog.

So basically, y’all think that private enterprises, like Reddit, should just blanketly ban *all* speech that is somehow deemed “offensive”. Right?

And this, in particular, is pretty fucking telling. Murderously violent bigotry of every awful flavour, idolising Breivik, Rodger and Roof, /r/PhilosophyOfRape, revenge porn, child porn – “Somehow deemed offensive-in-scarequotes”? Wow.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

Also, running a Google search on your avatar turns up a bunch of right-wing forums you post on and nothing else, so.

Kakanian
Kakanian
5 years ago

I’m a card-carrying liberal and feminist, and I think that even assholes deserve to be heard, just like everyone else. In fact, I especially support assholes being able to wave whatever flag they want to wave. Makes it way easier for us to shine light on those cockroaches.

Honestly, the problem is that we’re talking about a specific type of communication here – under normal conditions, what they say is either locked on paper or is gone the moment they utter it, but online, it’s both public and permanent and the sheer weight of it clogs up channels every-fucking-where.

Online hate speech is frankly a classic case of broken window theory – somebody’s gotta clean it up and fix the window or the whole place is going to hell in a basket.

gelar
gelar
5 years ago

Murderously violent bigotry of every awful flavour, idolising Breivik, Rodger and Roof, /r/PhilosophyOfRape, revenge porn, child porn – “Somehow deemed offensive-in-scarequotes”? Wow.

I was a big fan of Huffman’s “I don’t want to ever ban content, but…” remark, because you can replace the polite, neutral “content” with the above, and make it sound increasingly horrible.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

I’m a card-carrying liberal and feminist

O RLY? I didn’t realize there were cards for those. I’m a socialist, and no one gave ME any cards. Where do I go to pick them up, Your Infinite Wizdumb?

Also, running a Google search on your avatar turns up a bunch of right-wing forums you post on and nothing else, so.

Heh. Figures. You’re a card-carrying LIAR, KT.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Why do people keep thinking that they can call themselves liberal, feminist etc. and then make right wing arguments and that we’ll buy it? It never works, but they keep trying. Is it projection? They’re gullible and reactive so we must be too. They’re insecure followers whose values will be shaken if someone on their side disagrees with them, so we must be like that too.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

@WWTH

I think it mostly comes from their bizarre belief that “SJWs” automatically believe and agree with everything women/PoC/LGBT+ people say. Which is just more projection, since they really do seem to automatically believe and agree with everything cishet white men (who aren’t “SJWs”) say.

KL
KL
5 years ago

I think this could be a good thing. Irs better than the current policy, and it makes hosting those groups more expensive…