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Reddit Bans Five Communities In New Anti-Harassment Campaign (wsj.com)
256 points by kolbe on June 11, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 352 comments



This article dramatically understates the magnitude of the shitstorm that is currently unfolding. Check out http://www.reddit.com/r/all/ if you feel like seeing all the ugliness.

(And if anyone has any doubts that this is ultimately about harassment, count how many of the posts on the front page (and their comments) are made up of personal attacks and/or obscenities targeted at CEO Ellen Pao.)

I don't fault the Reddit admins for trying to clean things up but I can't see any good that will come of this. To paraphrase a comment that I saw earlier today and now can't find, it's like trying to get rid of an anthill with a leaf-blower; you just end up with pissed-off ants everywhere.

EDIT: Ah, found it. It was in the "can I sue Reddit for violating my freedom of speech" thread in /r/legaladvice. http://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/39c58h/could_so...


I think banning the fatpeoplehate subreddit wouldn't have gone over so badly if it wasn't for the fact that Ellen Pao was already kind of hated on the site for constantly banning and deleting anything disagreeing with her viewpoint about her law suit.

Even political cartoons with her driving the tank and the reddit alien with a down vote in front were getting deleted, which were quite funny and appropriate, since she was shadow banning and deleting people basically for down voting her law suit.

It's tough to stand up and defend the fatpeoplehate group, but when someone abusing their power and deleting anything they don't agree with in a lawsuit does it, well, in this case maybe a villain ruining the site on her managed to do something not terrible, but because she is a villain it comes across a lot worse.


Please stop spreading this nonsense. I expected better from HN.

>constantly banning and deleting anything disagreeing with her viewpoint about her law suit.

There are multiple posts on multiple reddits, each with thousands of points and comments that were not deleted. Some posts were deleted by sub moderators(not the same as Reddit staff or Pao) on some subs because they were offtopic and were being vote brigaded and had comments full of hate speech.

E.g of posts:

http://www.reddit.com/r/news/comments/30j9mn/ellen_pao_loses...

http://www.reddit.com/r/news/comments/38qkmx/after_losing_he...

It doesn't make any sense why she would leave those posts up if she really was deleting stuff. It's interesting how the folks against her have made it look like she was. It's just sad how easily so many people are manipulated by false information.

Examples of comments that were being made and upvoted by the brigades on unrelated big subs:

>Somebody needs to fire this whore right fucking now. What a tampon smear...

>She's a lying cunt who is using her pussy pass because she didn't get what she wanted; a big pay-out for being a whore.

Why would subreddit mods want to deal with hundreds of such comments when the story is offtopic to their sub?


> Please stop spreading this nonsense. I expected better from HN.

She may not have been removing anything, nor any of the other admins, but lnanek2 does bring up a strong point, albeit indirectly: She is hated by a majority of users on reddit. And she's hated because of her bogus lawsuit she now appears to be dragging out, and how her husband is in serious debt due to running a ponzi scheme.

Her and her husband are not nice people. She even says as much in her interview with Katie Couric, she says "I'm not likable". I sort of have to agree there. The CEO of a website that cannot function without its community needs to be a pillar of that community. This isn't some hedge fund company or a company making widgets where a sociopathic and ruthless CEO flourishes, this is a very intimate community-driven company and the CEO needs to reflect that. The CEO needs to be the epitome of that.

By all accounts, she's straight up out of touch with what reddit even is. She even screwed up sending a PM earlier yesterday and instead posted it as a submission to a subreddit, and was getting made fun of for it. She literally doesn't know how her own website works.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy those hate subreddits are banned. But completely unreleated to the current drama, and these are my thoughts even before this whole thing started: Ellen Pao needs to leave reddit, like yesterday. She's quite literally the worst CEO for a site like reddit.


A majority of users? Please, Reddit has ~16M unique users per month. I really don't think 8M people hate Ellen Pao. Hell, I doubt more than 0.1M users know who she is.

There's no denying this is the biggest (and frankly hilarious to watch unfold) shitstorm in Reddit's history, but it is a vocal minority. There were only 5k subscribers to /r/fatpeoplehate. It was a silly move to ban it, because its clearly pissed off more than 5k people, but make no mistake, most of Reddit doesn't care.


> A majority of users? Please, Reddit has ~16M unique users per month.

You're off by about 160 million. Reddit had 172 million unique visitors last month. Source: http://www.reddit.com/about/

> There's no denying this is the biggest (and frankly hilarious to watch unfold) shitstorm in Reddit's history, but it is a vocal minority.

Here's the thing. I'm a power user over there. And a power mod. I have access to many of the backroom subreddits for the default mods and a few of the other "in group" communities. That said, I have never, not once, stumbled across anyone who truly likes her. Even the prominent mods of reddit are keeping their mouths shut because they're afraid of being targeted by her or the admins. But the general sentiment among most mods is that she's toxic.

Regular users either hate her or are largely indifferent. But those that are indifferent are either not really into the reddit metasphere, or they're ignorant of Ellen. Once they find out about Ellen's life (lawsuit, ponzi scheme) they usually bristle at the thought of her.

> but make no mistake, most of Reddit doesn't care.

If we were to scale reddit's public opinion of her, the people who don't care or are indifferent would get a zero. People who like her would move the scale to the right, into the positives, while the people who dislike her tip the scale to the left.

You're right in that many people are indifferent. They'd be a zero on this hypothetical scale. But the problem is, the rest of the people who do have an opinion tip the scale significantly to the left, into the negatives. There's virtually zero people who like her (even the people into SJW stuff don't particularly care for her) and there are many, many people who hate her. It's telling that more people liked Yishan Wong, reddit's previous CEO and that guy was a loon.


Apparently there were over 150,000 actually.


Now you are the one spreading misinformation /r/fatpeoplehate had over 100k subscribers and was growing extremely fast over the past few months.


No, there really was shenanigans, I've personally seen it a few times: http://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/35uyil/transp... http://www.reddit.com/r/blog/comments/35ym8t/promote_ideas_p...

It's never very logical, someone shadowbans the first person to make a comment about Pao's husband but leaves the rest alone. My pet theory is another admin is making it look like Pao is doing it to build a case against her for her dismissal because it only creates a bigger shitstorm.


Finally somebody else except me saying this. I've probably gotten -1000 comment karma saying that over the last couple months.

It's complete fiction that she is censoring anything. Every time it is sub moderators removing stuff that violates the rules of their sub. And there are massively upvoted threads bashing her everywhere with huge comment threads full of vicious attacks on her and nobody is deleting those.

If she is trying to censor criticism of herself on reddit, she is fucking awful at it.


Of course it's not fiction.

Tons of people got shadowbanned and shadowbanning can only be done by the admins.

So stop spreading misinformation please.


Right, that's what the conspiracy theorists always say on reddit, too. Ignoring my argument completely and bringing up shadowbanning.

Let's see your proof that people are getting showdowbanned for criticizing Pao. You have no proof. Because shadowbans are about as transparent as mud.

So stop spreading conspiracy theories as fact, please.


[deleted]


So do a search on reddit, look to see how much Pao-hate remains that is weeks/months old. It's pretty obvious that this was some BS rumor cooked up by conspiracy theorists.


The sub had no subscribers, and the only mod and founder of it spammed the name of the sub in another sub, and it was a new account. There are plenty of anti-Pao subs that haven't been banned since months and those actually have subscribers and content being posted.


They even censored

https://www.reddit.com/r/bestof/comments/39ddnb/if_you_dont_...

"If you don't believe in freedom of speech for those you loathe, you don't believe in freedom of speech." (1600 points and gone from http://reddit.com/r/bestof)


It wasn't even removed by Reddit. It was removed by subreddit mods who essentially have full control of a sub. Anyone can create a sub and enforce their own curation or arbitrary rules which is not the same as censorship. From the sub sidebar:

>This is a curated space. >The moderators reserve the right to remove posts, users, and comments at their own discretion.

If I create a subreddit where I ban all posts start with A, is that censorship, or is that freedom for me to run and build my online space as I wish?


If I create a subreddit where I ban all posts start with A, is that censorship, or is that freedom for me to run and build my online space as I wish?

It's very much both. Where did you get the impression they're mutually exclusive? The "censorship" word is often only vocalized such when popular opinion objects to it, doesn't make it not censorship.

It's like how Bruce Schneier says that facebook's business model is surveillance. It's a descriptor advertisers and their platforms work hard not to be associated with, that doesn't make it not-surveillance.


How do you see who it was removed by?


Reddit admin staff don't touch any posts in subreddits unless it is something against the site rules like doxxing,personal info or child porn.

Some subs leave a flair or a moderator message on removed submission, if not you can modmail them and ask.


Used to; that's what's changing.


No, that part is not changing. What is changing is more rules getting added. They still don't remove anything that doesn't violate the rules.

The only new rule is no harassment.


Adding more rules counts as a change.


He said that they don't touch posts unless they violate the rules. You said that is changing. No, that is not changing. They still don't touch anything unless it violates the rules.


I thought they'd added the harassment stuff as a site rule though, presumably that's how they justify pulling subreddits? So admins could now be pulling posts on that basis?


Yes, theoretically they could. And banning users.

If they were abusing that, we'd know about it. There would be a shitstorm just like this. There has not been.

I reported a user harassing me all over reddit, stalking me everywhere I went for weeks. They did not even ban him. Anecdotal but the bar seems to be pretty high.


What is a shadow ban like on Reddit?


User keeps seeing their comments, but other users cannot see their posts or their user page. Only Admins can shadowban. Mods can use a tool called automoderator to remove posts by certain users but only in their subreddit.


To add to this, you can also be automatically shadowbanned by spam filters which, at times, can be quite aggressive. I was once shadowbanned for "getting caught up with a spammy IP address" according to a mod.


That happened to some guy and he kept using reddit as normal for three years until he found out. Took it pretty well. His history is painful to look at. Just talking to himself, nobody ever responds or upvotes him.

Was in /r/TIFU recently, too lazy to get the link.


I saw that too. That's what made me check if I was shadowbanned. I'm not nearly as active as he was, but it made me realize I wasn't always just late to the discussion or something.


Minor correction: Posts of shadow banned users are visible, but only after a mod of that subreddit manually approves each one. Basically everything they post is flagged as spam.


That explains a lot. I have a few users whose submissions to my sub are always flagged as spam even though they are fine. They must be shadowbanned.

Interestingly, one of them submits awful content. It's not spam but he is absolutely terrible. I wonder if they shadowban because the algo's figured out you suck.


You can check by trying to visit their user page. If it 404s, they're shadowbanned. The shadowbanning system is terrible. It's not transparent, it just randomly censors people, some of whom happen to be spam, does not notify the people involved and offers no recourse to those who have been shadowbanned. I was shadowbanned a few years ago, I spent about 3 months spamming different reddit contacts, then one day noticed I was unshadowbanned.


As a reply to jfuhrman's comment, Reddit has recently updated their rules to include "Keep Everyone Safe: You agree to not intentionally jeopardize the health and safety of others or yourself." (https://www.reddit.com/help/useragreement#section_reddit_rul...)

So, many of the deleted posts could have been deleted by the admins, in theory.


In what sense is it ironic? Reddit is a private corporation unaffiliated with the United States Government.


I was wrong, it's not ironic at all. Censoring a post criticizing censorship is perfectly consistent.

Though not entirely consistent with their statement that "we do protect the right of people to express their views".


You will doubtless learn, in your travels, that not every corporation will die on the hill staying true to the maximal interpretation of a throwaway sentence posted on their free service.


That statement was posted 10 hours ago in their official announcement of these bans.

Would remaining true to their statement for one day really have killed them on the hill?


Censorship need not involve a government entity. Censorship is not equivalent to violating the First Amendment.


Do you have any source that gives more detail about a post of "editorial cartoon" being deleted? That does seem an odd example.

Editorial cartoons are a pretty fundamental part of journalism. What if Tony Blair could delete news of the world editorial cartoons?

Seems to cross a line and, all due respect, until I saw proof that a delete happened, I'd be more likely to believe it was a histrionic "just-so-story"

I mean, Pao deleting this stuff personally? Even admins doing it?

It doesn't seem reasonable to me.


I don't know if it's reasonable or not but it is not happening. Every time it is subreddit moderators removing stuff that violates their own rules. Then the second it goes down everybody blames Pao automatically. Just like today.

These people somehow seem to miss the dozens of huge threads that aren't removed that she could delete with a couple clicks. She could search her name every night and delete everything in a few minutes. Yet instead she randomly deletes a thread here and there? Makes no logical sense.


I never understood why reddit was so lenient with its community. There are so many racists and hateful subreddits, that attract more and more people like that, that makes the community as a whole worse.

I'm really glad that moderation actions like that are taken, and I'm sad that people reply to that by "harassing" the CEO...

Hopefully such people will get frustrated by such events and will eventually leave reddit.

Note that it's mostly people posting to /r/punchablefaces that are reaching r/all right. Another hateful reddit for you...

PS: FWIW, /r/all has always been pretty bad. If you want a good reddit experience do like me: unsubscribe from most subreddits and suscribe to smaller subreddits with active moderators.


> I never understood why reddit was so lenient with its community.

I liked that reddit bent over backwards to allow a wide variety of opinions, even ones that were ignorant or hateful. I viewed it as a noble stance.

But once upon a time, the "ugly" subreddits were ignorable and mostly self-contained. (At least to me, usually)

> that attract more and more people like that, that makes the community as a whole worse.

Yup. This trend surprised me--the recent exponential growth of some of the toxic hate subreddits. I guess I was naive. The uglier subreddits more and more frequently show up on /r/all, the users would encourage each other to post more frequently, and there was a thriving community built around the hate. It struck me as mentally unhealthy for all involved--the rapid innovating of negativity and the stoking of mild opinions into full on hatred.


Two subreddits I like to browse from time to time are /r/darkenlightenment and /r/natalism, just to see people putting forth views that are very far from mine. I think that's the good side of a free speech stance.

But individuals being singled out to slander and poke fun at is not acceptable in my opinion, regardless of whether you define it as free speech or not. There's a world of difference between simply saying "I hate fat people" and putting up a specific image or video of a fat person and then gathering around to verbally abuse them. Quite happy to see that sort of behaviour banned.


Your comment seems to boil down to "this speech is ok, but that speech isn't". I think the point of free speech (something that reddit stands for) is that any speech is ok, as long as it isn't outright illegal (child porn for eg). If you begin to pick and choose ("I'm happy to see behaviour I don't approve of banned"), then its not really free speech.

Here's an example unrelated to harassment. Many people strongly disapprove of consumption of drugs, including marijuana. Reddit has a forum with 750k members who actively promote the consumption of this drug. It isn't even considered 18+ only, so reddit is ok with children subscribing to this forum. Shouldn't the promotion of acts which are illegal be banned too? Shouldn't we go after this before we go after the people who are merely insulting others?


> Yup. This trend surprised me--the recent exponential growth of some of the toxic hate subreddits.

Another way to view it: Hateful reddits are a pressure release valve caused by political correctness.

The media's political correctness and current pushes for "diversity" in tech pretty much gut normal speech in favor of giving control to outsiders. I could elaborate.


> I never understood why reddit was so lenient with its community. There are so many racists and hateful subreddits, that attract more and more people like that, that makes the community as a whole worse.

There's a large segment of the online community in general that understands the ideal of free speech to mean that no one may ever be prevented from saying anything, in any location or context. These folks believe that the banning of /r/shitniggerssay deserves exactly as much righteous indignation as, say, secret police disappearing anyone who speaks against the government. Reddit was founded on this ideal, and has only recently started to move away from it.

This understanding of "free speech" was obviously originated by petulant children on BBSes and Usenet groups casting about for a justification to (ironically) silence anyone who disagreed with them. I'm not really clear how it became something that otherwise-rational adults espouse in defense of people other than themselves.


When you claim that an extreme emphasis on free speech originates from people who secretly wish to silence others, you might be inadvertently revealing something about yourself :-)

My idea of free speech is that large privately-owned communication networks shouldn't engage in censorship, just like the government. If you disagree with that, say goodbye to free speech on the internet, because most of it is privately owned. Large websites are already cooperating with each other in censorship, and it's only a matter of time before ISPs join as well.


>My idea of free speech is that large privately-owned communication networks shouldn't engage in censorship, just like the government.

I think that's kinda weird. Does a book publisher have to publish my manuscript because "free speech" and rejecting me would be censorship? If MTV doesn't want to pick up a show is that censoring the producer's freedom? If I owned a site and then shut it down because I couldn't afford the bills is that censorship of the people who engage in my site? If I owned a very large site do I have to have a comments section for the stuff I post am I censoring other people's opinions on what I post? If I made a community dedicated to (say) Christians and it became overrun by atheists and was no longer suiting its original purpose and I shut it down because of that is that censorship? Is the New York Times obligated to post dick pics because a reader posted them in the comments section?

Private (IRL) meetings for a certain groups/organizations have the right to kick out troublemakers and those who disagree. Those kicked out have the right to start their own group with their own members too. That's not too much different with how it works on the internet too. If you go to (say) and atheist conference they are not obligated to give the podium to anyone who walks into the door and has an opinion. You are suggesting something as strange as that.

>If you disagree with that, say goodbye to free speech on the internet, because most of it is privately owned.

That's silly. There's plenty of hate and various opinions on the internet and always will be - but it thrives in smaller communities with a more dedicated audience. In other words something like Reddit who was trying to be "everything to everyone" has problems with making everyone happy but the KKK forums are certainly not going to have such an issue and will thrive. If there is so many people who want to shout to the world their hateful things than you bet one of those people (a private individual/company) is going to spend a couple bucks to make that happen.


First they came for /r/ShitNiggersSay, and I did not speak out--Because I was not an asshole.

[...]

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

I feel like you're skipping over a lot of slippery slope in the middle there.


If the overarching goal is to create a "safe space" and one of the tenets of that safety is "i do not have to be exposed to opinions and actions that offend me" then the slope is well greased.

I'm not saying that is explicitly the case for reddit, but there are a number of internet communities who work from that definition.


I definitely would not want all internet forums to be moderated to "safe space" standards, but I think it's perfectly reasonable for safe spaces to exist for, e.g., victims of rape/abuse/other trauma who have actual medical PTSD that they'd prefer not to trigger.

The thing is, these are different goals. There's no reason to assume that a goal of "we don't want to host a forum exclusively dedicated to egregious bigotry and bullying" will necessarily morph into "we demand that all our forums be safe spaces for PTSD sufferers." You might as well say that, I dunno, installing public security cameras on a college campus will lead to the students being escorted to recess by a hall monitor, and given detention if they're not in their seats when the bell rings.


I'm fine with "safe spaces" existing. I have very little interest in helping to create a world with all the edges filed off because a few people can't handle the sharp parts. Reddit seems to explicitly be searching after the second, using the language of the first, and there are good possibilities for it to all go downhill.

I don't care, though. I have never found use in reddit, except as an example of how putting people into internet echo chambers turns them into reference-spouting cliques.


> I never understood why reddit was so lenient with its community

> do like me: unsubscribe from most subreddits and suscribe to smaller subreddits with active moderators.

Answered your own question. Because people can do that and not have to deal with that crap. reddit is many things to many people. Some people enjoy that stuff and reddit wants as many people as possible on the platform. The site was also founded with free speech and an open platform as something they believed in. And they've stayed true to that.


The front page is pretty worrying.

The situation seems almost identical to when Reddit axed r/jailbait: one of their more embarrassing communities started to get too much attention, its users were increasingly behaving in a way that was damaging Reddit, and Reddit decided to kill it (ostensibly for the greater good of the site).

But even though that pissed plenty of people off... I don't recall the front page being totally dominated by calls for anyone's head on a silver platter. Reddit's userbase seems to feel especially threatened by Ellen Pao, and it's hard for me to believe that the difference is anything rational.


Previous Reddit CEO's have made lots of statements about wanting the site to allow relatively free expression, aside from things like doxxing and pedophilia. Ellen Pao has instead talked about turning Reddit into a "safe space", which is a common euphemism for eliminating dissenting viewpoints.

FPH in and of itself isn't the most defensible or tasteful subreddit, but they're going to start by banning the least defensible subreddits first. Once the precedent is made, they can start banning political dissent subreddits.


Oddly, theh still kept subreddits from reddit's "nigger network" in place. r/greatapes and r/coontown


Give them time. Neither of those subreddits reach /r/all, but FPH did.


Pao is attempting to "clean up"... in an environment that cherishes its traditional freewheeling and unrestrained discourse. Even if the stuff getting cleaned up is just the stuff that most people agree deserves it - for some value of deserves - it's a troubling precedent to set.

Some people find themselves wondering what opinions will be deemed unsafe next. The policies are not exactly clear-cut, and neither are the actions of the administration.


> what opinions will be deemed unsafe next.

I think this is a little dramatic. It's not about censorship of "unsafe opinions" - you are free to hold your opinion and talk about it, just not on Reddit. It's akin to a hotel owner disallowing a Klan meeting in the conference room. I think any business owner deserves that right.

> The policies are not exactly clear-cut

I dunno, the blog post seems fairly clear cut to me. It's not about blocking content, it's about blocking subreddits whose sole purpose was harassment of individuals.


> It's akin to a hotel owner disallowing a Klan meeting in the conference room. I think any business owner deserves that right.

Sure. But if your business derives its customer base from its longstanding support of freewheeling speech, more than a little pushback is to be expected.

> I dunno, the blog post seems fairly clear cut to me. It's not about blocking content, it's about blocking subreddits whose sole purpose was harassment of individuals.

If your only context is the blog post, it seems exceptionally clear. From following some of the discussions, I'm also aware that they came down on exactly five subreddits while ignoring many others. In a few cases, they appear to have tacitly approved of some.

So the result is that it's not clear what they come down on, why, when, or what gets their attention. Except bad PR - that seems to work miracles.


Business owners deserve that right, certainly. I don't have to patronize the businesses that won't cater to everyone; Internet forums would do well to remember the definition of forum, and realize that they outmode themselves when they stray from it.

Tell me; Would you support that same hotel owner disallowing the NAACP from renting a room? He disagrees with their economic views. Would you support him ignoring requests from GLAAD, because their color scheme doesn't fit with his drab hotel? Private enterprise refusing to serve those they disagree with should be treated no differently than any other form of bigotry.


I don't think anyone's saying reddit isn't within their legal rights to remove that or any other subreddit. They're saying that by banning fph, reddit violates the spirit of the community they've built up, and generally make reddit a shitter place.


I think this is a something without general and clear-cut answer. I don't think there is something inherently wrong if you run a hotel only for women or people of a specific religion, probably because your offering is tailored to your audience in some way. But if every hotel would start to randomly decided to set up rules who can and can not stay there, I would definitely see this as a case of discrimination. There is tension between your right to run your business the way you like and the right of your potential customers to not be discriminated and there seems not to be a general and easy way to draw the line.


There are easy ways to draw the line. There are also comfortable ways to draw the line. There are precious few that are both. Therein, I submit, lies the tension.


> It's akin to a hotel owner disallowing a Klan meeting in the conference room. I think any business owner deserves that right.

Would it be acceptable, or legal, if that were a Black Panthers meeting? Or a gay wedding?


> The policies are not exactly clear-cut, and neither are the actions of the administration.

Understated.


Reddit's userbase seems to feel especially threatened by Ellen Pao, and it's hard for me to believe that the difference is anything rational.

Well, she has basically said that she wants to start cleaning up the "objectionable" sides of reddit. Plus, there is a strong sentiment that content that's critical of her (even the less hateful stuff) has been removed often in the past.


Just because the volume of hate has been turned up to 11 does not in any way mean that the majority of Reddit users feel this way, and this is something that many people seem to be forgetting.

Take a look and see how much reddit gold has been gifted recently. Reddit is doing just fine.


I've seen plenty of these claims but far less in the way of actual removed content. My sense is that this is largely a myth used to stir up outrage.


It's a bit harder to link to this type of stuff because by definition its been removed, but for example,

this sub has been banned today: https://np.reddit.com/r/paoiskillingreddit

here's a thread regarding a joke removed about two weeks ago: https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/378smw/a_jo...


I wonder why people don't use archive.is and archive.org to archive things more.


Hey I wanted to thank you for your comments and links in the Kindle thread - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9365567 - I used them to successfully improve my device. Replying here cause replying on the other thread is closed. Cheers!



/r/all is not the front page. Reddit is at a scale at which this will probably blow over, likely for a better Reddit. Other teacup storms like the removal of /r/jailbait, their handling of 'the fappening' and gamergate don't seem have affected reddit much at all. It seems almost more like this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlOSdRMSG_k


> "But even though that pissed plenty of people off... I don't recall the front page being totally dominated by calls for anyone's head on a silver platter. Reddit's userbase seems to feel especially threatened by Ellen Pao, and it's hard for me to believe that the difference is anything rational."

I mean its almost like her being an asian woman rather than a white male makes a difference


You've got to give Christopher Poole credit, he was never dumb enough to try to police 4chan. This is as laughable as trying to get rid of trolling on IRC.


> he was never dumb enough to try to police 4chan

This is not true, there was a massive controversy and subsequent schism less than a year ago.

A "folk history" (if you're feeling generous enough to call it that) of the episode here: https://encyclopediadramatica.se/M00t%27s_GamerGate_Sellout


Reddit is a venture-funded company with a large staff that needs to monetize. Nobody wants their ad next to a post fat-shaming someone.

I don't agree with censorship, however the two sites aren't comparable.


The sites are very comparable, which is why everyone is comparing them. 4chan being profitable, and reddit not being profitable don't make them not comparable.

Lots of ads have fat shaming in them, so I'm not sure why you wouldn't want diet pill ads next to fat shaming posts. Have you read any fitness articles recently? It's pretty much fat shaming content, next to ads for things that might make you less fat.


4chan was profitable? I find that very surprising.


He said in an interview that it was technically profitable, but that nobody was taking a paycheck. That was in 2010. It's been supposed that the 'passes' system in 2012 made the site actually-profitable, but I haven't seen any statement to that effect.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/19/one-on-one-christop...


He also offered refunds for the passes last year because Google's new Recaptcha system meant that a lot of users were no longer seeing captchas at all.


I know me too, Poole described it as 'technically profitable' not sure if that is ramen profitable, etc.


Alternatively, Reddit is trying to build a community around a bit more positivity, and has no obligation to continue dealing with bullies and fascists.

People can express their freedom of speech elsewhere, I am extremely pleased with reddit getting rid of the most egregious subreddits


Luckily you can choose what subreddits your ads appear in then....


Yes, he was. When GamerGate happened, that's exactly what he attempted to do. He replaced most of the mods on the site within a very short amount of time and the heavy handed policing started. Most of 4chan left in response. Many alternative chan sites were started, including 8ch.net.


> Most of 4chan left in response. Many alternative chan sites were started, including 8ch.net.

A very small fraction of the worst bored on a bad website left to join an even worse website.

Don't kid yourself.


I keep hearing this from that group.

GamerGate seems to think that they are the majority of users on any given site. They're convinced that Twitter is going to fail if they leave. It's pretty amazing how much they misunderstand the scale of any large social platform.


Where do you keep hearing that? I don't religiously follow GamerGate, but I am subscribed to /r/KotakuInAction and that particular community holds no such opinion of themselves.


I don't hear a refutation buried anywhere in there. Did you have something other than base insults to bring to the table?


I was saying your statement is obviously false. The onus is on you to provide proof for your original claim, not me.


You're stating that like it's a fact. I don't think there's any credible evidence of the 4chan staff makeup changing significantly during GamerGate, other than a "leaked" IRC chatlog which essentially portrayed moot & mods cackling gleefully while rubbing their hands together like James Bond villains.


> IRC chatlog which essentially portrayed moot & mods cackling gleefully while rubbing their hands together like James Bond villains.

To be fair, I kind of always assumed that moot and mods did what they did solely for the shits and giggles they themselves got out of it.

It's not like they were running a distinguished web portal that would bring them fame, riches, and glory; they run the sewage pit of the Internet.


8chan was created in October 2013 in response to a group that didn't become active until late 2014? Something doesn't add up here.


Touche, I stand corrected.


I recommend you stand un-corrected.


I feel offended by your recent action(s). Please read http://stop-irc-bullying.eu/stop


(And if anyone has any doubts that this is ultimately about harassment, count how many of the posts on the front page (and their comments) are made up of personal attacks and/or obscenities targeted at CEO Ellen Pao.)

I think people are just upvoting anything that is critical of reddit at the moment. I doubt most people actually care who, if anyone, is being targeted.


An analogy I like is "using a leaf blower in a sealed room full of leaves". Sure, you'll kick users out of their former resting spots on the floor, but they have nowhere to go and will just settle back into new resting spots after being in everybody's face for a little while.


Wow. Even though I'm somebody who thinks reddit has crossed the line into thought-policing the frontpage of /r/all is surprisingly ugly.

An nice juxtoposition is the top post of the default homepage is social justice outrage about a police officer shooting somebody.


The magnitude of an online shitstorm is never as big as any of the people involved believe it to be.

This is reddit in the act of growing up. And it's about time and a a good thing in my opinion.

I like that I manage my filters well enough that I visited reddit several times today and was blissfully unaware of this particular bit of drama.


I think that's the end of my Reddit use then, the toxicity in a few fringe subreddits has spread into full blown septicemia.

That's really sad - I don't think there's many communities like /r/assistance and even /r/buildapc around.


Just cut your ties with all the main ones and keep around the few you like, I did that ages ago and while my front page is a lot slower it I still get good content and decent people, and I honestly had no idea this stuff was going on until I went on hacker news, so that's nice.


as another comment said "If you want a good reddit experience do like me: unsubscribe from most subreddits and suscribe to smaller subreddits with active moderators."

r/hiphopheads, r/nba and r/comicbooks are great communities in their own right


Not to mention there's a game of whack-a-mole going on where similar subreddits have been banned including fatpeoplehate2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9.


If they really want to go down this road, it feels like there's only one destination: real Know-Your-Customer-esque identity verification to prevent registration of duplicate accounts, like banks and X.509 CAs do.

If-and-when they do that, they will finally have an actually-effective tool (in the form of being able to ban people "for good") to stop harassment. Until then, it will just go on forever.


Urbit comes with this kind of identity management baked-in. It hasn't been shown yet to scale to the proportions of reddit. I'm not sure that even reddit has enough staff now to do that.


It seems like this is something that should only have to be done once, though.

Ideally: imagine that the government of each state/country—who already have to work out how to deduplicate people for purposes of taxation, Social Security, etc.—acts as an OAuth identity provider. Then doing KYC becomes as simple as having a signup process that requires an OAuth login, and having a whitelist of identity providers you'll accept for that login (presumably just government ones, but there might be interesting edge-cases.)

In other words, imagine a site that detects the country you're coming from, and presents a single button saying "Sign Up with [name of country] Federal IDPass" or something similar.

The first time you see one, you'll probably be forced to set up your Federal IDPass account, which will likely be a huge hassle (though I could see it being as easy as showing up at e.g. your local post office with your regular physical ID. A process similar to voter registration.) Every time after that, it's like logging in with Google or Facebook.


Great! Now the federal government is involved too :D I'm not sure this is a service I want the feds to provide.

All I mean is that your application (e-mail req for a ship) is processed by a human, and there's incentive to keep it that way (because there are objectively not enough 32-bit numbers for everyone to get their own.)

If you don't have one, you can still get on the network, you just have a 128-bit identity. It would be relatively easy to blacklist all of them if it becomes a case of abuse. At the scale of Reddit, you would probably need the help and intervention of the government (or at least some multiple of current staff devoted solely to new user onboarding) to prevent an impossibly large backlog from forming.

Maybe I'm overestimating the number of unique individual new users that sign up to reddit every day.


Theoretically, a company in each country could do the same thing. You wouldn't want multiple competing companies in a country with overlapping databases, though, because it'd be way easier to just use your other-company identity to get a duplicate account. (It'd be like using your Facebook account to register once and then your Google account to register again.)

And because of that, any company that did this would have a sort of natural monopoly. So the respective government would have to at least regulate them a bit to avoid them exploiting their users. A "crown corporation", in the British terminology. (In British Columbia we have ICBC, a crown-corporation insurance company, as the issuer of physical ID, which works well enough.)


Here's /r/all as of about a half hour ago. Not cool.

http://imgur.com/a/5KMCS#0


This is what I'm doing about it: http://i.imgur.com/E5tIRGg.png


So... basically nothing?


meh. Mostly from r/punchablefaces which is another hateful subreddit.


Yep. It's just a nice reminder for me to quietly stay subscribed to r/scala, r/learnprogramming, and r/AskHistorians.


Yes, it's actually a testament of how good subreddits generally work that I didn't even know about all this going on until I happened to read it on another site. After reading Reddit for a couple hours. None of this nonsense showed up on my homepage at all.


Why not? It's pretty funny.


This makes me want to leave Reddit alone.


It's worth noting that reddit is a big place. The majority of subs are largely free of this nonsense - it's the accumulation of it all that makes it look so prevalent.

I only noticed what was up when The Verge wrote an article on it, for example, since I tend to browse subreddits directly.


Why? Hackernews is way more heavily moderated and would never tolerate anything like those subreddits for a minute.


It would be more accurate to compare Hacker News to a single subreddit than it would to compare it to reddit as a whole. Like reddit, hacker news has it's own rules and tolerances in place, but reddit as a whole attempts to leave censorship up to the subreddit moderators.


Me, too. I just blocked it on all devices on my home network. I wouldn't want to touch that community with a 10 foot patch cable.


not only on /r/all, now on /r/pics a lof of the links are about... body-sizes, opinions about the CEO, etc


Can someone explain how and/or why so many people have come to believe that freedom of speech obligates others to provide an arena for them to spread their opinions?

I see mentions of thought-policing etc., but that's really wholly different from censorship and moderation.


Nobody does, but up until now the reddit admins have been very supportive of the idea that they are a home for any content that isn't illegal. Former CEO of reddit, Yishan Wong: "We stand for free speech. This means we are not going to ban distasteful subreddits. We will not ban legal content even if we find it odious or if we personally condemn it." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19975375

This is an obvious departure from this ideal.


Thanks! I've seen loads of people espouse this belief though, and the current top comment [0] here links to a thread [1] that runs with the premise. A quick search of the site reveals that there are many more.

I understand that point of view and agree with the need for those kinds of arenas. But even the article you link to state that doxxing and harassment goes against the TOS, which seems to be precisely what started this whole mess, from what I've gathered. Or at least that's what the official announcement [2] and /r/OutOfTheLoop [3] threads state.

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9697285

[1]: http://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/39c58h/could_so...

[2]: http://np.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/39bpam/removin...

[3]: http://www.reddit.com/r/OutOfTheLoop/comments/39bzdf/why_was...


Wow, that /r/all. I really thought Reddit was better than that.


They should just shut down the site. Who knew the internet would devolve into middle school bullying of fat people? It was just ten years or so ago that the kids started to get on myspace. We've reached the point where even the dumbest people have internet access. They've ruined everything.


HN users consistently imply this place has better comments than Reddit. "Reddit is a cesspool." "Can we please not bring this to HN as well." etc.

I've never had a problem avoiding content I didn't like there. Meanwhile I saw great discussions at various times.

Here, on the other hand, I've nearly stopped reading. Besides the unjustified elitism, constantly I'd post on a thread here only to see it disappear with no explanation. I don't understand HN's weighting and it seems to change without notice, or it did a while ago. Arbitrary curating means someone is arbitrarily imposing their values on discussions. I prefer allowing legal speech.

I generally preferred Reddit to HN and will probably end up going to Voat.co like everyone else talks about.

EDIT: Case in point: When I posted the above, the story was number 1 and it was about fifty minutes old. When it hit one hour, it dropped to number 5. The stories that it dropped behind were 5 to 12 hours old so I doubt they suddenly got surges of activity.

In the time I wrote the above edit this story dropped to number 11. Soon it will probably drop from the front page. Who knows?

I don't understand HN's weighting. Maybe this story is getting downvoted and user behavior is driving its trajectory, but it seems arbitrary and tells me to leave the site.

EDIT 2: corrected voat.co address thanks to ljk's comment.


HN isn't very good, but it's a little better than the current state of reddit, which is like a middle school without adults. At least people try to be intellectual on HN.


It really depends where you look and what subreddits you subscribe to. Opening reddit this morning looked exactly the same to me as any other day, except for one thread because I'm subscribed to /r/subredditdrama.


Yeah, as bad as /r/all has been (though, I have to admit, I've been amused by the drama), my frontpage looks the same as any other day.


You could leave all the users behind and come visit http://skimfeed.com :)


Hacker news is consistently superior to reddit. I think we're just being difficult.


I have to agree. It's not like shitty stuff doesn't get posted here all the time, but on average, HN is definitely better than reddit.


I'd rather we all be intentionally snooty and arrogant and keep the unsuited at bay instead of succumbing. We can easily be silenced with a few keystrokes, at pg's command.


Moderators haven't touched this post. Upvotes and flags are in the usual tug-of-war that happens with controversial submissions.


> HN users consistently imply this place has better comments than Reddit

That isn't a big surprise, is it? If they thought otherwise, they'd be commenting on Reddit about how HN sucks :)

Reddit and HN have different audiences. I tried both and found HN suits me much better. If it's not your cup of tea, nothing wrong with that too.

Yes, HN story ranking is arcane and I wish there were better tools to track content I like. But it also has a lot of insightful people and great discussions while trying not to devolve into circus.


> will probably end up going to Voat.co like everyone else talks about.

Good luck with that. The users exiting reddit are precisely the kind of users you don't want on your website. The young, trolls, immature and racist/bigots. They're essentially filling their community up with 4channers. That site is already filled with reddit's /r/conspiracy users. They run many of the most popular subreddits.

That place is doomed to fail. And as far as I know, they've already begun banning users and blacklisting domains. So much for "free speech".


There are lots of normal, high-functioning and even helpful users having discussions daily on 4chan. This is something that is often glossed over by folks who don't understand chan culture: its chaotic neutral, not chaotic evil.


> I generally preferred Reddit to HN and will probably end up going to Voat.com like everyone else talks about.

correct url is https://voat.co!


> constantly I'd post on a thread here only to see it disappear with no explanation.

We surely don't have the same experience with reddit then, most big subreddits have a huge amount of rules and posting to them will just cause a bot/moderator to remove your thread and ask you to make changes


> cause a bot/moderator to remove your thread and ask you to make changes

He said "disappear with no explanation". Most of the time, bots will comment on why a post was removed. Not only that, the rules are indicative of why your post was removed. It serves as an explanation. Here on HN, you get nothing. Not even a list of rules which need to be followed.


Reddit also has an astroturfing problem


Astroturfing being present or not is simply a function of size and influence.


> Arbitrary curating means someone is arbitrarily imposing their values on discussions.

This has been bothering me about HN for some time. Maybe it's due to a smaller user base, but having stories disappear, specific user's comments always being weighted lower, and childish hellbanning is really discouraging. It does give the sense of a 'country club', where if you're not of the same bread and butter as those making the rules then you're not welcome.


When something that was previously (more or less) politically neutral takes a stance people get upset. Especially when there is vendor lock-in.

Some thought experiments:

Imagine if Comcast blocked access to all liberal sites.

Imagine if Microsoft word was changed so only pro-liberal documents could be created. For extra fun imagine if people could be "shadowbanned" so all their files were silently deleted.

Imagine if Google could only be used to find websites that supported global warming.

Imagine if Facebook messages could only send "patriotic" messages (as determined by their moderators).

Imagine if Intel processors could only run non-violent games.

These may seem weird comparisons because when we think of forums, we think of moderators having the power. But reddit isn't a forum. Reddit is basically a site that hosts forums. And now it wont host some of them anymore. Not only will it stop hosting some of them. It stopped hosting them unexpectedly, with a self-righteous "fuck-you".


If we accept the premise of Reddit not as a forum, but as a host, perhaps a more apt analogy would be other hosts.

For example, both AWS (http://aws.amazon.com/aup/) and Google (https://cloud.google.com/terms/aup) have very broad acceptable usage policies that allow for doing anything deemed legal by US law.


That's not an especially useful comparsion.

If Google didn't let people search for what they wanted, they'd just go use a different search engine.

If reddit doesn't do what people want, there are other websites for them.


The google example is bad, but I think it applies to reddit and facebook. There are no real alternatives to speak of. Now, if they really adopted policies that harsh, people would leave anyway and the competitors would experience a massive burst of growth. However, milder forms of biased content filtering could probably get through.


I don't know how to feel about this. On one hand I'm against censorship, on the other I'm against internet bullying.

/r/FatPeopleHate was engaging in both.

In the end reddit is a private site that can do what it wants. Wikipedia removes things all the time and sites like 4chan remove all sorts of extremely offensive material.

I'm glad the mods of the hate oriented subreddits have been shadow banned, I actually think this shit storm is wonderful and I hope the reddit admins literally pull the plug and shut down. The FPH spammers are complete idiots, buying thousands of guilds and donating money directly to reddit and hurting their cause by vote brigading at the same time. They're sealing their fate.

This whole fiasco has shown the true face of reddit, just a whole bunch of (slightly below) average kids who don't deserve my attention.

I can't wait until reddit dies, but I have no idea where I'll go. I want something like reddit, but more open and transparent, and with a way for users to somehow remove mods.


Reddit has replaced RSS for me. HN is nice but hyper-curated and very specialized; though I prefer the HN voting system and algorithms over reddit's.

Reddit also has a massive advantage when it comes to companies/games/etc communicating with their fan-communities. It's an excellent medium for it as the type of vote-curation that happens there is great to sort topics of importance and the threaded comments are far better than what you would find on bulletin boards.

Overall, reddit has had a fantastic impact on the internet when it comes to communication, IMO. I hope that sticks.


> On one hand I'm against censorship,

I feel like censorship isn't the right word for this but I can't think of a better one.


It's moderation.

"Censorship" implies suppressing free speech, which this is not. It's simply removing undesirable content from a privately-owned website.


This is absolutely censorship. Censorship doesn't have to be done by governments (this seems to be a weird American blind spot).


Moderation doesn't seem right either, though: the people who wanted to be part of those (toxic, terrible) communities had chosen to go there, and the only times they popped up in other communities was people linking to them as a sign of how terrible the people there are (counterproductive as a strategy).

Moderation implies curating an intermingling of user-generated comments so as to provide a super experience for the people reading those comments. There was no intermingling here.

I think a large part of the anger is that people on Reddit tend to recognize it's a patchwork of communities, each with distinct borders you can't cross accidentally, and they like it that way. In contrast, this decision is motivated by a desire to expand Reddit's appeal to new users and as an advertising platform, both of which rely on it having a good reputation to the outside world.


Isn't it both? I don't see how moderation (in the form of removing/editing content) isn't censorship.


Let me clear it up for you:

Say you post an article about the current state of socioeconomic affairs in the EU in /r/askscience. Your submission will be deleted, because /r/askscience's subject is not to host such articles. There is room elsewhere in Reddit for such an article.

This is an example of moderation.


...and censorship. They aren't mutually exclusive terms.


Get ready for someone to tell you that the legal definition of "censorship" is only if the government does it.


You were 13 minutes ahead of me but I didn't reload the page so I just said it anyway. :)


I think he was implying that it doesn't.

Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication or other information which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets, authorities or other groups or institutions.[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship


Because it's not the government doing it I'd say.


But censorship isn't limited to governments.


People have been saying this since the forum age (at least), but privately-owned websites have become the new public spaces.


Keeping bad content off your own site is just good old-fashioned moderation.

Most forums will delete stuff like this - I assume HN would too, and no one bats an eye.


Censorship is when the content has to be pre-approved by an authority in order to be published at all. If content is removed after it has been published (because it violates some agreements / ethics), that's moderation or "legal-stuff".

Of course, moderation can be misused to a point where it's almost effectively cencorship. But IMHO, the order matters here.


It's censorship, in the context of reddit they have appointed officers who censor objectionable speech.

This precisely fits the common definition of censorship (not the legal one)


Curated speech.


[deleted]




Yeah, I know. Free speech zones is what the blog post was in response to.


I don't think there is one. I'm pretty sure censorship has a pretty specific connotation, but it's the only term in the ballpark of what is being accused.


Yep. I would post from time to time to point out incorrect "facts" they posted. It doesn't matter how well researched and reasoned your argument is. If you aren't towing the line, you are moderated and banned. They auto moderate and message any user who is voted down by the self-proclaimed shitlords.

It is a pretty disgusting place.


Just like the great Digg v3 Migration to Reddit happened years ago... its happening again from Reddit to Voat.


If the people leaving are the obnoxious hate monger, bandwagoners, and other general trolls that's fine with me.

If Reddit wants to get some of the amazingly creepy stuff under control, I'm all for it.


>If Reddit wants to get some of the amazingly creepy stuff under control, I'm all for it.

But they're not actually doing that, because they're leaving plenty of subreddits that are arguably much worse.


Agreed.

Because they've taken so little action (and because of the way the admins were defending it in the announcement thread) instead of a real step forward this looks like someone pushed them forward 2mm and they're trying to claim victory.

But if some of the worst elements of the site want to take this as an opportunity to abandon the site, I'll feel better about it.


I think you mean "I hope it will happen", because there is no evidence that it is actually happening.


I had never heard of voat.co until just now, but their site appears to be down, which is some evidence that they probably are receiving a ton of traffic from somewhere.

Edit: For the record, I don't think voat.co will become more popular than reddit in the way reddit became more popular than digg. The subreddit system is much more resilient than digg's system was. As others have said, I barely noticed that this was occurring.


I'm betting that a day/week/month from now, Reddit still lives on. Subreddits, which Digg did not have, would make Reddit resilient to such 'migrations'.


If the problem is "bullying", there's plenty of subreddits that exist solely to bully other subreddits. The administration are showing bias and bending around their own rules, but that's not really surprising for a site that shadowbans its users.


>/r/FatPeopleHate was engaging in both.

Blatant lies such as this do not help your side of the argument.

FPH was not engaging in harassment or bullying whatsoever, any instances of this were entirely attempts at false flagging. FPH is not about hate, it is not discriminatory, it is not prejudice, and it most certainly didn't violate any of reddits rules.


What was it about then?


Wikipedia has a stated goal, a public management team engaged in discussion and debate with their users, and something resembling accountability. Reddit has the Silicon Valley's most notorious gender-baiting troll as it's head, virtually zero interactions between the corporate side and the unpaid community managers, and no clear rules on what it does and doesn't allow.

Honestly, the writing should have been obviously on the wall when r/jailbait was banned. I think they could have made up reasonings that would have placated the userbase, but they failed to, and they handled the resulting outrage very poorly. I was sorta surprised that wasn't reddit's 'digg moment', but I thought that the HDCP controversy was Digg's, so maybe I'm just ahead of the wave.


> Reddit has the Silicon Valley's most notorious gender-baiting troll as it's head…

What does "gender-baiting troll" mean?


It means that GW is a white male gamer (this is not supposition, hi GW!) that disagreed with Pao's discrimination lawsuit.


What does being white or a gamer have to do with this?


> What does being white or a gamer have to do with this?

Absolutely nothing, in reality. In terms of Randi Harper though, she is a misandrist using a convenient boogeyman to push her own agenda.


Internet bullying? What? Just don't visit places like r/fatpeoplehate if you are fat. Just turn it off.


You don't have to visit to get bullied. They were literally posting people's Facebook pages, images posted in other subs, and original photos they took themselves.

There are numerous incidents of harassment against other users on Reddit, and even off of Reddit. The admins said themselves they received numerous complaints.


The only reason I have my doubts is the admins are banning several knock-off subreddits as "ban evasion". Essentially the idea of "fatpeoplehate" is banned from reddit, not the behavior of users or the moderators, which is contrary to the claims of the admins.


>The admins said themselves they received numerous complaints.

Come on lol everyone knows that isn't true.


You can turn off messages + friend requests and make your entire FB page private. You can also change the URL. It takes all of 30 seconds.


Are you seriously trying to blame the victims of the bullying and suggest they disconnect from the internet..? I literally cannot comprehend where you're coming from.


This isn't real life. It's access via a screen. In real life, my argument wouldn't stand. On the internet, you are given tools to weather the storm. Shitty people will always exist. Everyone else now has to suffer as casualties of the wide net cast in hopes of eliminating a vitriolic idiots because of a few victims.


Internet hate can often turn into real life hate. Witness: SWATing, emails to employers, ordering pizzas as a "joke".

Not to mention, the number of death threats and threats of sexual violence is climbing at an alarming rate, especially for women and PoC.

I have no idea why people think it's socially acceptable to say things on the internet to people that you wouldn't say to them IRL in front of a police officer.


> Internet hate can often turn into real life hate

> I have no idea why people think it's socially acceptable to say things on the internet to people that you wouldn't say to them IRL in front of a police officer.

Whoa. Incredibly hypocritical of you to lecture others on hate, harassment and tone policing. You have routinely said awful things online and harassed people.

- You tell people to "set themselves on fire", a favorite phrase of yours used to those that disagree with you (http://s2b20blog.mukyou.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/8-579... & https://twitter.com/search?q=%22set%20yourself%20on%20fire%2...)

- You harassed a data scientist, Chris von Csefalvay, and set your followers on him to the point he quit Twitter after he conducted some research that didn't suit your narrative. (http://s2b20blog.mukyou.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/10.jp... via http://s2b20blog.mukyou.com/the-hidden-face-of-hypocrisy-ran...)

- You wrote a non-review on Amazon to bully an author you disagreed with: (http://www.stopthegrbullies.com/2015/06/01/randi-harpers-bul... & http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/06/03/renowned-author-c...)

... just the tip of the iceberg. Now you are posting on HN and masquerading as an online anti-harassment activist. Unreal.


She isn't harassing anyone. When a woman suggests something horribly violent "set yourself on fire" its cute and funny and empowering. Its only threatening and harassment if the source is male.


Thanks for being a voice of reason. Providing actual facts and evidence can quickly invite the usual terms of being either racist, sexist, misogynistic or whatever-phobic.


It is real life, and your argument holds no water.


Yeah, no. Why should they have to go into hiding because you are an asshole? I am perfectly fine with that being shut down.


You can't deny that they're engaging in bullying. They are literally posting pictures of the reddit mods and making fun of them. That's bullying.

A lot of fit people don't participate or enjoy FPH either. I couldn't imagine one of my college professors asking the fat kids to leave when another student starts bullying them.

If you pulled this kind of behavior on just about any college campus you would be asked to leave, this just shows the level of immaturity these people have.


This is probably the best illustration of the 'no broken windows' theory at work on the web. You can start a new community and keep it 'clean' from day one, but you can't let your community turn into a cesspool and then one day decide to clean it up, the inmates will be able to achieve critical mass and they'll happily burn down the asylum if they can't have their cesspool back.

What I really don't get is that they choose these 5 subreddits to ban, reddit has at least 50 (and probably more) subreddits that are arguably a lot more offensive than the ones they just blocked.


> What I really don't get is that they choose these 5 subreddits to ban, reddit has at least 50 (and probably more) subreddits that are arguably a lot more offensive than the ones they just blocked.

I think this is the key thing that's really got everyone all in a tizzy. There are a pile of subreddits that the vast majority of Reddit users would like to see gone: topics that aren't just politically divisive, but are offensive for the sake of being offensive. Instead, the only thing that's consistent about Reddit's decisions to police subreddits is that it's inconsistent. Reddit's administration looks like they're generally OK with whatever's on the site up until it gets some kind of exposure elsewhere and only then does it get banned, and then the reasons given for it don't make any sense given the site as a whole.

I think Reddit is actually in a unique position to start cleaning up their site. They don't have any real competition at the moment and they have a huge userbase. They could probably institute and enforce new consistent site-wide policies and actually get away with it. But this blindfolded "pin the ban on the subreddit" game is only succeeding in irritating their users and making the admins look ham-handed.

On a side note, I was a little disappointed to see kn0thing's name prominently on the announcement. He's always seemed like a smart, level-headed guy. I'd genuinely love to hear from him how the subreddit banning policy makes any kind of sense. (Alexis, are you lurking here?)


The point wasn't that they were banning subs that had offensive content, it was that they were banning subs that were actively harassing individuals. In my opinion, judging by a rough timeline I have of events, the final straw was when /r/fph went after imgur employees.[0]

What I find funny about people complaining of censorship is that the sub in question would routinely ban people for saying positive things about the people they were trying to harass.

[0] http://np.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/39bpam/removin...


Yup, it's like trying to clean up a crack neighborhood when the rent is already cheap everywhere else.

You cant gentrify reddit because there's no incentive to be the first to go back to the cesspool.


Clarification from the Reddit Admins on their announcement post indicate that they're banning subs where moderators either took no action or encouraged organized harassment (as in going to other subs or websites and actively harassing the person in question) as opposed to subs that just post awful things about people.


I'm not sure how much I believe that.

I've dealt with reddit's administrators from a moderator side before, and they can just shadowban moderators they don't like. It makes no sense to ban a subreddit for the actions of that subreddit's moderators when they can just remove the moderators that are the issue.

I suspect they wanted to ban certain subreddits, and "the subreddit has toxic moderators" is a good reason to give publicly. Nonetheless, they've always had policies for dealing with toxic moderators that don't involve removal of subreddits.


More "the entire subreddit is involved in the harassment of users by taking action outside of their subreddit"


You'd think so, but they're banning any new sub that attempts to be a "new" /r/fatpeoplehate -- if it's not about "banning ideas", but "banning behaviour", then I find that somewhat at odds. I think there's a simpler answer: FPH ended up on the front-page of /r/all constantly, and the Imgur staff "doxxing" (I've heard right before they were banned there was something happening regarding harassing the imgur editors outside of Reddit, though I don't know how true it is) was enough to get the admins to pull the plug.

If you're monetising a website, and the most active and fasting growing sub on your website (aside from the defaults) is a subreddit dedicated to mocking fat people, I think that may make it a difficult sell.


Or, if you're monetizing a website and one of the largest hosts of your content (imgur) is being actively harassed by a minority of your users, you find a way to mend the insult.

It's becoming more clear that Reddit took action specifically because of the Imgur insult, and that makes a lot of sense from a business perspective. But from a wider perspective it looks very focused and targeted - not in a good way.


> Or, if you're monetizing a website and one of the largest hosts of your content (imgur) is being actively harassed by a minority of your users, you find a way to mend the insult.

I said exactly as much in my comment?


> You'd think so, but they're banning any new sub that attempts to be a "new" /r/fatpeoplehate

Is there any reason at all to think that /r/fatpeoplehate5 is not going to be administrated in exactly the same way that /r/fatpeoplehate was?


Why not ban the people organizing these activities rather than the sub? It's a smoke screen for banning ideas.


If the people organizing the activities are the moderators, how do you ban them without banning the sub?


Ban the moderators but not the subs?

Is this some sort of trick physics question?

It seems to me to be possible to have this sort of feature in software... it's like a channel in IRC with out an op.

Also, how is what the mods were doing not a speech issue? If crimes were committed surely reddit was not negligent in reporting these to authorities?


There's over 50 subs currently banned.


And yet subreddits like 'coonville' and 'GreatApes' still exist and continue shitting all over reddit. I know it makes my (black) wife feel welcomed when subreddits she frequents are slammed with the most virulent hate speech you can imagine.


People keep bringing up racist subs, but it is unclear what exactly they're trying to argue. Should Reddit not ban anything because they haven't banned everything?

I'd love to see them squish some of the subs mentioned, but ultimately today is just one day, and I'd prefer to see them take SOME action than sit around waiting for the day that they can sweep Reddit clean in one single swoop (which won't ever happen).

PS - The two subs you listed have under 5K readers combined. FPH had 150,000. I've never seen any racist sub on /r/all but FPH was bullying on the front page daily.


There's nothing wrong with them banning those ideas, they just shouldn't claim their not banning ideas.

I don't see why banning racist ideas would be so out there. Sure people are going to complain and leave, but aren't those like EXACTLY the people you want to leave?


This marks the beginning of the end of Reddit. It's been a long time coming and Reddit has become a huge promotional platform for pseudo user generated content submitted by shills and celebrities.

A lot of people are migrating to Voat.

http://voat.co


I genuinely hope they do, it would be nice to browse reddit without them


That site has been down all day. But frankly if they get all of the racists/fat haters/misogynists/etc then Reddit will be significantly better for it.

The site always had undertones of this stuff, but as the popularity grew these previously minority voices got louder and louder and harder to ignore until I myself don't spend a whole lot of time on Reddit now.


If you look at parent's URL you will see mostly garbage. The migration of the shitty reddit to voat.com has begun :)


I wouldn't have agreed with you until today.


You'll all be there in a few years if it sticks around.


This. I was one from Digg to come to Reddit, but since then the quality of posts has gone to shit. Comments worse than Youtube sometimes.


Yeah take a gander at some of the bigger 100k+ subscriber reddit comments...low effort comments with grammar or spelling mistakes.

For instance, /r/games used to be super awesome with great comments and discussion. Since it got bigger over the past few years posts are lackluster, comments are nonsensical, and so on...gah now I'm ranting


I'm quite sure that it will take more than that to kill Reddit. The fact that I haven't heard of Voat anywhere else but HN reinforces my belief.


Reddit has become a real cesspool over the past few years. You'll always find misogyny front and center and you don't have to dig to find racism.


I've been on reddit for 8 years, and lurked before that. The top submissions and comments have always, and consistently, been standard-issue PC/liberal in their overall view.


In the years since SJW turned from a meaningful term into a catch-all for anyone who advocates for social justice in any way other than qualifying lip service[1], the general reddit crowd has noticeably moved away from standard-issue PC/liberal to anglo-centric liberal. Systemic issues of injustice are portrayed as primarily matters of self-fulfilling prophecy. The protestant work ethic is heavily espoused for minorities, but it's all systemic issues when it comes to college grads having a hard time finding a job.

The same is true to a lesser degree[2] for many women's issues, though I hesitate to mention it because this community isn't immune either.

[1] Ex) "I hate racism as much as the next guy..."

[2] Or maybe I don't appreciate it as much.


> The protestant work ethic is heavily espoused for minorities

What do you mean here? Just looking for an explanation...


In social psychology research this often refers to the belief that, in essence, "hard work will bring success." For many, particularly on the right, it also implies the opposite: the poor/unsuccessful are in their situation because they are not working hard enough.

It's a bit of a confusing term, because its use from a more theological perspective (e.g., hard work is a symbol of salvation). I probably should have used a different term.


I've been on Reddit approximately that long, and I disagree. It's always been made up of people who like to think of themselves as liberal, in a group-solidarity, shared-identity sort of sense. But the conservative/reactionary undercurrents have been around for quite a while and have been growing with every passing year.


I don't think this has anything to do with liberal vs conservative. Nor does outright bullying really have anything to do with "political correctness".


The world view of the founders was pretty clearly "tech libertarianism" (incidentally, not a view I share), which, in the context of the site, meant a hands-off moderation policy, which allowed the site to deteriorate in many ways but flourish in many others.


You'll always find misogyny and racism if that's what you're looking for :)


I know that /r/politics seems to lean heavily towards what might be termed "liberal" politics, but outside of that it really depends. Most of the subs I read aren't political at all. The nice thing about reddit is that you have some control over that.


[flagged]


What? Are you comparing feminism to misogyny and racism?


There's a movement of people who call themselves "Social Justice Warriors" (SJWs). They engage in activities that they claim are in support of race, gender and class equality but are in fact often racist or sexist. In general they seem to be hateful people damaging the causes they claim to fight for.

The #KillAllMen, #KillAllWhiteMen hashtags on Twitter are good examples of some of their activities.

Their backwards activism is often self-branded as "feminism", giving birth to things like #WomenAgainstFeminism. The definition of feminism has become sufficiently corrupted thanks to these people that women themselves are fighting against it.

I have a feeling it's their backwards "feminism" your parent commenter was referring to.


> There's a movement of people who call themselves "Social Justice Warriors" (SJWs).

No, there isn't. "SJW" is an insult used by their opponents. (Some of them might choose to adopt it, but most as far as I know do not.)

> The definition of feminism has become sufficiently corrupted thanks to these people that women themselves are fighting against it.

I've seen that claim, but I'm extremely skeptical that it's a significant phenomenon.


Perhaps we should not take hashtags as a serious form of debate.

There are idiots on the internet. They have opinions. It's alright.

Like any other -ism people are always debating what TRUE -ismists believe. eg. Is Rand Paul a libertarian? eg. Is Obama a liberal? In general most people have opinions that don't fit into neat little boxes.


A group? To my understanding, "SJW" is a pejorative naming from the other side of the scale.


Apparently you're right. I have seen instances of members of this group self labelling as an "SJW" though.


In practice, when someone refers to themselves as an SJW they mean they are the sort of person who's likely to be labeled that way. Similar to "bleeding heart liberal" a generation ago, I guess.


> The definition of feminism has become sufficiently corrupted thanks to these people that women themselves are fighting against it.

The concept of feminism becoming discredited started happening way before the term "SJW" existed. Both from outside the movement (See: the straw feminist trope) and within the movement (from a small minority of crazies).


I don't find mind difference between the conduct of 3rd wave feminists and a lot of the misogyny and racism I see online.


Every time I see this accusation against 3rd wave feminism, I realize the poster has no idea what 3rd wave feminism is.

2nd wave is the one which frightened insecure men, and had some strong anti porn and anti sex messages from a few proponents. 3rd wave, in short, is why don't we all get along, sex is awesome, and if we help men with some of their problems with toxic masculinity, then everyone is better off.

edit: Here's a good & brief overview of feminism's waves - http://www.pacificu.edu/about-us/news-events/three-waves-fem...


> if we help men with some of their problems with toxic masculinity

And this is why nobody takes you seriously.


yeah all that needs to happen is men need to be fixed for women to be happy. it works for dating, why wouldn't it work for society?


I'm hoping this was voted down for the snark, because if you disagree with the point, you are really lacking in an understanding of how humans actually work


every 'ism has its bullies...



It baffles me that people still have trouble differentiating Feminism as wanting women to be equal to men in the world AND the usual stupid more vocal minority.

I think a lot of people here on HN are feminist in the sense that we think women should be treated equally to men in a modern society.


The "stupid, more vocal minority" has done for the word "feminist" what stupid, vocal minorities have done for other well-intentioned ideas like "Christian".


I really don't see the link with a cult.


Yeah, Christianity isn't that bad.


it's not that bad? There is thousand of years of history that contradicts you. But I don't see how all of that is relevant in this thread?


I'm "feminist in that sense," but that's not how I equate the feminist movement, nor how it seems to play out in practice.

That said, I think it's true of lots of other situations. Political parties, for instance, are widely characterized as those "stupid" extremists. If you ask a liberal, Bill O'Reilly is the epitome of a conservative, and if you ask a conservative, Michael Moore is the epitome of a liberal.

In reality, most people on other side are just pretty normal.

I would never identify as a feminist, but certainly I believe in equal rights. I think that typically, people who identify as feminists give the "movement" a bad name.


I'm pretty sure the radical feminist movement is being curated by Russian trolls to create social unrest.


Gloria Steinem worked for the CIA, not the KGB ;-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4H...


Last week I would have called you a crazy conspiracy theorist. This was in the new York times... http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.htm...

Even then I feel like it has to be a hoax


What the fuck, dude.


+1


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