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[flagged] So Long, Reddit (braythwayt.com)
88 points by jmduke on July 12, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 66 comments

I'm an anti-censorship extremist. So I think it's OK that hateful asses have a place to hold forth. So as long as that's all a minor part of a site's business, I probably wouldn't take the same approach.

I feel differently, of course, when it's more central.

The closest I can come to judging this based on how speech affects me personally is that several of my great-grandparents died in the Nazi concentration camps, yet I would be pleased if Nazi hate speech were decriminalized in countries that I admittedly don't live in and rarely visit. Also, I read aljazeera.com even though Al Jazeera TV is at times badly anti-semitic (I'm referring to cases in the Arabic version that are extremely likely to have been accurately described.)

I'm Chinese, and I am constantly reminded by /r/worldnews that blatant ignorance and hate for everything China is a thing, a common thing.

Still I do not understand Reginald's reasoning. The world or reddit for that matter does not revolve around a single person. Sure, visit or don't, do what you see fit. But the grand standing is pretty hollow if I may say so.

Then I remembered the worshiping of free speech in the west and people's reprehension upon mentioning PRC's tight control over media, or on a lesser scale, people's reaction to Apple's walled garden approach. Well, now some company is walking the walk (kinda, with caveats), quite hilariously it becomes poison and the Antichrist.

EDIT:Also I'd like to remind Reginald: The ilks of /r/CoonTown are huge obstacles to reddit's monetization plan, the fact is plainly obvious I really do not get the "blood money" angle.

Most people who value free speech believe that the law should allow sites like StormFront to exist, but that the market bears no similar obligation.

Surely freedom of speech is enshrined in the Constitution because free exchange of ideas is valuable. When you say that only the government should respect this ideal and allow for exchange of ideas, I don't see how you can say you value free speech much at all. "It shouldn't be illegal" has to be about the smallest value you can give something.

First, that's not why we have a First Amendment. The Constitution's goal is to create an ordering of government that durably allows the people to govern themselves. Speech must be shielded from restrictive laws, to the extent practicable, in order to ensure that people will have a voice in their governance.

You can see this in the fact that the Constitution guarantees speech, and a right to bear arms, and a right to assemble --- but not a right to privacy, or to bodily integrity, or even to true equality under the law between genders. Those latter rights are also rights, acknowledged implicitly by the Constitution (as Locke --- who also didn't support unfettered free speech --- would say, the government protects rights, but doesn't grant them). Why are these specific rights in the Bill of Rights? Because they're the ones deemed most important to ensuring self-governance.

Second, 'raganwald isn't saying Reddit should be forbidden to host hate groups. He's saying he refuses to patronize businesses that are incentivized to host hate groups and do so without restriction. The antidote to bad speech is more speech, and that's what 'raganwald is doing, both out loud and with his pocketbook.

> Surely freedom of speech is enshrined in the Constitution because free exchange of ideas is valuable

That’s an interesting point to discuss, but before we do, are we talking about Reddit?

Any forum that has moderation in the form of downvotes and/or flags does not have a "free exchange of ideas." If we state something unpopular, we get downvoted and/or flagged and our speech disappears rapidly.

The ideal is that downvoting is for making poor arguments, not unpopular arguments. But few people believe this is what happens in practice. In practice, Reddit is moderated, it’s just that the moderation within a forum is carried out by the very people arguing with each other.

In a subreddit like/r/CoonTown, we are not going to find a free exchange of ideas with respect to race. If we want that, we have to go to a subreddit like /r/AskScience, where there is very active and aggressive moderation, and that moderation is associated with a set of laws restricting what you can and cannot say.

I think that there is a great deal of value in the idea of free speech, and in the utopian ideal of a free exchange of ideas. But I am not convinced that allowing all and sundry to create their own subreddits that represent finer and finer slices of single-issue society is the mechanism for enabling a free exchange of ideas.

Here's the specific comment from Steve Huffman's AMA that raganwald is referring to: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/3cxedn/i_am_steve_huf...

> I think our approach to subreddits like that will be different. The content there is reprehensible, as I'm sure any reasonable person would agree, but if it were appropriately quarantined, it would not have a negative impact on other specific individuals in the same way FPH does. I want to hear more discussion on the topic. I'm open to other arguments. I want to be very clear: I don't want to ever ban content. Sometimes, however, I feel we have no choice because we want to protect reddit itself.

Completely ignoring that those users don't exactly stay in just the "contained" subreddits, or that this thinking doesn't pollute the water elsewhere.

If there were some actual way to enforce this idea that you post in [Bad Sub X] and couldn't post ANYWHERE ELSE for several hours, they maybe you'd have something, but the people who give me the worst time are often posting in at least 2 or 3 different subs, usually something innocuous like /r/videos along with the sub that makes me consider them scum.

As it is, a very popular women's subreddit -- TwoXChromosomes -- went straight into the toilet as soon as it was made a "default" subreddit and exposed to the "default" population of Reddit. Draw your own conclusions to that one.

> , but the people who give me the worst time are often posting in at least 2 or 3 different subs, usually something innocuous like /r/videos along with the sub that makes me consider them scum.

Yes. Every questionable post I read now has a second thought filter going on - is this shit post a troll from some coontown/TRP/whatever or should I bother to actually engage and dig into what they mean

Did he "completely ignore" it, or did he just not engage with it to your satisfaction in that particular comment?

Ignoring that everything else about reddit is designed to keep people hopping between subreddits and exploring new subreddits is, in fact, demonstrated by the idea that he thinks toxic users will happily stay in their own subreddits and not attempt to spread their toxicity elsewhere.

Furthermore, the fact that I am over here on HN complaining about reddit instead of trying to argue this sort of thing ON reddit should be proof enough that reddit as a "community" has changed so drastically that HN is somehow an IMPROVEMENT.

This makes me think of the quote (maybe it was Churchill), "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the other forms that have been tried". Anyone is free to set up a site like Reddit, with any level of censorship they want. Heck, reddit is open-source, so you don't even have to build it from scratch.

There is talk of a federated version of the site: http://cointelegraph.com/news/114785/ryan-x-charles-is-build...

Feels a bit akin to the old usenet idea

Some people are working on the concept in this repo -> https://github.com/hapori/hapori

> “Hate is an unpleasant side-effect of hosting unfettered free speech in exactly the same way that cancer is an unpleasant side-effect of selling cigarettes.”

What did he mean by that? They're both side effects...is he saying that the downsides of free speech outweight the benefits, as many would agree is the case with cigarettes?

> "is he saying that the downsides of free speech outweight the benefits"

The downsides of no-holds-barred, absolutist free speech outweigh the benefits - the qualification is important. The proof is readily examinable from the site.

The subreddits with greater representation (beyond young, white, and male) are all heavily moderated around-the-clock - e.g.,: askhistorians, iAMA, askscience. They are also unsurprisingly the only subreddits that aren't actively embarrassing when exposed to the outside world.

Meanwhile the laissez-faire subreddits are absolute cesspools in the comments - e.g.,: worldnews, videos, funny... The white supremacist subreddits routinely raid the comment sections of posts (particularly anything relating to black men) with impunity.

Reddit isn't just a good example of what happens when unfettered free speech is prioritized above the safety of individual users, it's also a good example of what happens when there is active community leadership and the willingness to shut down the most toxic members of a community. It shows brilliantly the results of years of completely unrestrained free speech vs. moderated speech, and I think the results speak for themselves.

The problem is IMO twofold:

- Reddit the corporation profits (or at least tries to) off of the hate speech that, while largely practiced by only a small minority of the userbase, is commonly found throughout its site, not just the dark corners.

- The existence of these hate communities on Reddit without rebuke, censure, or in fact any consequence, creates more work for the already-overworked and unpaid moderators. White supremacist communities (among other hate communities on Reddit) are emboldened to post their shit far and wide, well beyond the confines of their own communities. Reddit's tolerant attitude towards hate groups on its site actively makes the site worse for everyone else, and massively increases the workload of unpaid volunteers who are already frustrated at poor tools and lack of support from site owners.

As a side note: I don't think there's any disagreement that moderation is fraught with dangers, and that drawing the line between acceptable content vs. unacceptable content will be exceedingly difficult in many cases. Reddit's response to this difficulty so far has been to - instead of tackling a very hard problem - absolve themselves of doing anything, an attitude that IMO has caused great harm to itself and its users.

I assume he is referring to unfettered free speech. In most countries there is no such thing as true free speech. There are defamation, anti-racism and anti hate laws that protect individuals and minorities. Getting rid of those so you can have true free speech arguably does nothing other than invite and support hatred which I assume is the point he is making.

His biggest point is that Reddit is (trying) profiting from hosting that speech and thus the downsides of supporting Reddit outweigh the benefits. Not necessarily free speech in general.

Worth pointing out that the DNS provider for braythwayt.com has similar policies to reddit's on racist speech, likely for similar reasons (though maybe it is required of all registrars?).

I do think it would be good for them to turn off monetization on the worst subreddits. But you could always move the goalposts and say they still get a benefit by serving those people and potentially having them visit the other, monetized, subreddits. Or complain they are serving racist reddits for free but running ads on nonracist ones. Etc.

I don't know what the .COM registry-registrar stuff says about racist sites, but there's a colorable argument that cutting off basic, irreplaceable communications infrastructure to objectionable speech is different than hosting a convenience for it. Cutting off DNS for hate groups is closer to denying them telephone service.

The old-school DNS registrars are for the most part part of a collaborative effort to help actually operate the Internet.

Reddit is not.

To me, Reddit seems more like a revival of newsgroups, which which haven't been able to work decentralized due to spam.

I feel the same way, but spam didn't kill Usenet, binaries did.

Not really.

As far as I experienced it (mostly de.*), old-timers were rejecting any little piece of modernization (sometimes going as far as claiming that Umlaute must not be used -- and that in German!), and clinging to a shared culture that was unwelcoming, backwards-oriented and conservative.

Users hated that and used web forums more and more, even for subjects where thriving Usenet groups existed and were regularly found by newbies.

Usenet regulars told themselves that their technically superior Usenet was winning, even when the ship had already hit the iceberg.

I used to be part of that conservative cabal, and I regret it today (though our fight against the trolls and "net terrorists" was a necessary one, we became extremist ourselves).

As do many many others. But it's too late. Usenet is dead.

Just to establish bona fides: I ran a Freenix-competitive Usenet server in the mid 90s (we were competitive because we independently co-invented the INN history cache). Hosting discussion groups was cheap and easy. Hosting binaries was a logistical nightmare. We were required to build expensive, cutting-edge storage systems to keep up with them. Falter on binaries coverage even a little and customers would revolt.

Had binaries not happened to Usenet, lots and lots of companies and even small non-profit organizations could have set up competitive Usenet servers. Instead, software piracy forced Usenet to centralize to just a small set of well funded providers. This in turn cut off access to Usenet for lots of users, which further amplified the vote pirates had over the evolution of Usenet.

Eventually, the few real Usenet providers that remained realized how non-remunerative the service was for them compared to virtually anything else they could be doing, and Usenet obtained its destiny as a second-rate faux-anonymous P2P piracy network.

Obviously, I saw a different niche of Usenet, but I ran my own personal INN with few users and never carried binaries. None of the relevant German news servers carried binaries, and for a time they thrived.

I had slight hope for a renaissance of decentralized Usenet service (instead of the big two: T-Online and Uni Berlin), when a very influential netizen posted a "how to run your INN, and you get a feed from me" on his blog and dozens of small, personal INNs sprang up. Ultimately it did nothing.

Of course, there was another niche, Hamster (http://www.tglsoft.de/freeware_hamster.html), that did a lot for Usenet.

I still don't believe that binaries were very relevant to the demise of non-binary Usenet. Both offers were very distinct, AFAIR.

Either you did "discussion Usenet" which didn't make money, and never really did much, then the egress of users killed you over time, because your employer couldn't see a reason to keep your news server running. Many servers mostly ran under the radar for the last years, with admins almost trying to hide that they had this little thing besides their mail server and other duties.

Or you did binary Usenet, then you made money, but were in a totally different line of business: selling pirated music and software to your customers.

Again, all observations mostly limited to de.*, which was pretty big.

Falter on binaries coverage even a little and customers would revolt.

Doesn't this suggest it had less to do with binaries than the kind of users it had and could retain/attract? My impression at the time was that it was too clunky for new users (convoluted setup, specialized text or native clients, obtuse topic hierarchy, etc) and binaries or not, the web killed it just like it killed ftp sites, standalone email clients and so on. Why weren't companies running servers just for discussions (or maybe there were? what happened to them?)

Binaries made Usenet massively --- orders of magnitude --- more expensive to run. Fewer service providers ran their own Usenet service. Fewer people got access to Usenet. A death spiral commenced.

I just wanted to say thanks to the author of this article (I hope they are reading this section). This post really made me think hard about reddit, and about my own personal values. I've decided, personally, to stay away from reddit because of this, and I appreciate the write up.

Maybe someday reddit will be a more inclusive place, but for now I agree with the author and will be voting with my feet, as they say.

This is not to say or imply that any of you should necessarily do the same, I think each person needs to come to their own conclusions (which can definitely be different for any number of great reasons)

> “Hate is an unpleasant side-effect of hosting unfettered free speech in exactly the same way that cancer is an unpleasant side-effect of selling cigarettes.”

I really don't agree with this / maybe I am missing something here. Free speech on the internet is extremely important.

Ok, Free Speech on the Internet is important. Therefore, Stormfront should be allowed to exist.

Now, let’s imagine Stormfront has a “Master Programming” forum of some kind, and they discuss one of my books. Should I link to that discussion on Twitter and/or my blog?

Let’s say that I am allowed to purchase advertising on Stormfront’s “Master Programming” forum. Should I advertise my books there?

I assert that I can say that free speech on the Internet is important enough to allow Stormfront to operate, but still choose not to do business with Stormfront (presuming that they would choose to do business with me).

All my post is saying is that I now view Reddit in the same light, and am making the same decision.

I assert that your refusal to do business with Reddit sends a clear message that it should not be allowed to operate. Your actions are speaking louder than your thoughts here.

Is free speech not worthy enough to be blindly defended?

I think it is.

In your world, I am not free. A store near my house sells Confederate flags. Can I stop shopping there? No, because that sends a clear message.

A racist is on a street corner calling for ethnic cleansing, and waving pictures of black people being lynched (found via Reddit, by the way). Can I turn tail and walk away, denying them my attention? Once again, that sends a clear message.

A racist pops up out of nowhere on Twitter and tries to apply some foolish argument. Can I block them, and thus never read what they have to say? Again, ignoring them sends a clear message.

If I can't choose where I spend my money, who I associate with, and who I listen to, what kind of freedom is this?

I appreciate it's muddy water here, but it doesn't seem like a simple case of free speech.

These are internally-moderated groups (i.e. not really free speech to start with for regular folks) that form echo chambers in which hate groups can fester and evolve their groupthink.

Try and imagine something like that happening offline, where a group's ideas separated them from wider society, and their speech was governed so absolutely by a small number of leaders. The closest comparison I can think of is a cult.

Cults are broadly legal, but their tight structure, disconnection from wider society, and the fact that they disproportionately attract vulnerable minds mean that they at least need some policy consideration.

I don't claim to have an answer, I just think the problem is more complicated than 'free speech, defend it blindly'

I think you are missing the word "unfettered." It's the difference between an expertly manicured garden and an unkempt one. Someone has to do the weeding, or it will be all weeds. You may say that whoever does the weeding is practicing censorship, but that doesn't mean it's an unnecessary job. Yes, it's difficult (and morally hazardous) to decide what constitutes a weed, but the alternative -- not weeding -- is worse.

You may be missing the word "hosting." Free speech on the internet is much bigger than free hosting for hate on one particular site.

It's hard to draw the line. I'd guess 99% of users would not miss coontown, but what about mensrights and kotakuinaction that host a lot of misogyny but are not expressly dedicated to it? Or what about a Christian sub deriding gay marriage? Or pornography. I agree that Reddit should not feel obligated to host racist or hateful content even if they don't harass. But it's not easy to wield that authority fairly.

If the presence of these subs prevents other people from being able to recommend reddit to their friends...

Kotakuinaction has poisoned the well to the point I don't even want to wear my /r/mylittlepony shirt in public anymore. Or at all, really.

Totally agree, it'd be really hard deciding where to draw a line if you start banning subreddits. Plenty would disagree with whatever choice you made.

That said, banning isn't the only option on the table.

Part of the problem is that close-knit extremist groups tend to cut themselves off and form echo-chambers that pressure the members to conform, and exclude anyone that criticises them either directly or by labelling them as someone to disregard (see gamergate's use of SJW, or scientology's use of SP).

If I were in charge of Reddit (aside from running a business) that self-propogating isolationism would be the thing I'd want to change, mainly using product design.

The problems with unfettered anonymity / harassment stem from two major "features" of reddit: It's trivial to make a new account that doesn't even have so much as an email address tied to it, and it's almost as trivial to make a new subreddit community like /r/punchablefaces and grow a community of "like-minded" people.

The only way to do this that wouldn't require added staff would be to a) require these features to have some traceable information, like an email address, or b) require these features to cost money, or at least only allow subreddit creation if you've donated reddit gold in the past or something.

I don't know, I think making anonymity more expensive is addressing the symptom rather than the disease.

I'd be more interested in looking at ways to nudge the behaviours exhibited in those groups so that the degree of groupthink was reduced rather than amplified. Reducing anonymity is one possible lever but has down-sides.

There are other options, for example you could change the way moderation worked. The moderation 'rules' for /r/CoonTown for example are a recipe for an echo chamber: "Dissenting opinion is allowed but don't insult CoonTown or its residents... No posting about 'good' blacks". You could reduce the control moderators have to set their own rules, and that may help nudge conversation back in the direction of free speech from the current system of fiefdoms.

I'm loathe to reduce the number of powers moderators have. Yes, it gives echo-y mods the ability to create their own echo chamber, but free and "unmoderated" *chan sites tend to do that anyway.

Most of the moderators who wanted more accountability from Reddit want MORE power to protect their users, not less. You do that by introducing consequences for user behavior, and that requires increasing the "cost" on users somewhere down the line.

We're never going to have Joanna with an EMP cannon on the doorsteps of the trolls, but we can dream.

I said change, not reduce.

Mods want 'more power to protect their users' because they want to protect their users, and having more personal power themselves is the first solution a mod would think of, but doesn't address the extremism problem. The power would be exercised in a non-uniform way.

I'm guessing I'd try something along the lines meta-moderation, so that a mod who bans someone from /r/Coontown for saying something nice about a black person would have that decision examined after the fact and brought in line with a more standard policy.

I've noticed an increase amount of racist crap posted on more generic subs like /r/videos since the closing of /r/fatpeoplehate etc. It bothers me greatly. This shit shouldn't be getting to the top, but it is.

/r/videos is a default, most of the defaults are cesspools. unsubscribe

... doesn't saying that set off alarm bells?

How good can the rest of the site be if your response is "unsubscribe from all the default content, it's full of shitty people"?

that applies to any comment section. foxnews, cnn, youtube. any place with that much attention and low moderation fills with shit.

I wrote this comment at a time when the submission was flagged, and subsequently could not submit it. I only post it now, so that anyone finding this discussion via Reginald's post may read it.


The phrase "slippery slope" is stereotypically used whenever free speech is the topic of focus, and for good reason. It is simply impossible to respect free speech (much less champion it), whilst simultaneously selectively censoring it. And that's the key word: selectively.

Imagine a scale from 0 to 100 which represents the level of offensiveness in any given comment. Now try to come up with a logical and ethical value which matches your implied "universally agreed upon" cutoff point for what should be allowed. Unfortunately, you won't ever be able to accomplish this feat, because your level of sensitivity is wholly unique to you. To impose your personal cutoff point on others is the exact opposite of free speech.

So now that we have established speech is free for a very legitimate reason, the question becomes: how do you, personally, decide where the slippery slope ends?

If you're going to publicly chastise and boycott a company such as Reddit for not censoring hateful speech, then you must also abandon your ISP, due to its insistence on making money from facilitating those comments in the subreddits you abhor. But you can't stop there. Don't forget to never buy any computers, tablets, phones or writing utensils ever again, because the companies making those products are facilitating the comments, too. Then you need to abandon any method of commercialized travel, as the companies who make planes, trains and automobiles are facilitating hate rallies and even violent hate crimes.

Eventually, all the way at the bottom of the slope, you find yourself withdrawn from all civilized society. Because the unfortunate reality is that governments are businesses, and if we're avoiding businesses who facilitate hate speech, then we can't live in any country in which people who hate others are allowed to verbalize it, or reside, or even live.

I don't know about you, but I'm keeping my car, my computer, my internet connection and my Reddit.

Sentiments like yours are why people quote the aphorism, “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” It is impossible to come up with an ironclad policy with respect to good speech vs bad speech, to have a perfectly consistent policy with respect to who we do business with and who we do not.

So if we wait until we have a perfect policy, that day may never come.

There will always be some imperfection in the way we phrase our policies, in large part because we don’t know everything about the way the world is today and how it will be tomorrow.

What do we champion here on HN? Lean business. You try something. Then you listen carefully to feedback. You iterate. Or pivot. Not everything works, or works out as you expect, but you learn and grow and move forward.

Morality often works the same way. Trying to get a “Minimum Viable Policy” out the door involves many compromises and sleepless nights wondering f you made the right choice. But in the end, it’s more important that you maintain an open mind and learn from trying than to abandon the thought of trying anything until you can come up with something that is so perfect that it can’t possibly have any failure modes.

By all means use Reddit, I’m not judging in anybody’s direction. But please don’t go through life with the thought that the only ethical decisions you can make are those that won’t involve some gray areas or quandries or paradoxes or judgments.

Life is full of them. That’s why we have judges, because laws by themselves cannot suffice. We have to use judgment. And we have to reconsider our judgment.

Today, I make a different choice than you. Tomorrow, or next month or next year I may make a different choice. I think the important thing is to continue to observe and grow and possibly, to make mistakes as we try to do the right thing.

I sense that you are sincere, and so I wish you well and thank you for taking the time to write and share.

> But while the inhabitants may be different people, the landlord is the same person, and keeping the lights on in /r/javascript is also keeping the lights on in the Chimpire.

This same logic could be extended to the internet as a whole.

How do you figure? The internet is a non-central system by default. There is no central authority, period. Someone putting money and time into their own website does not help fund Stormfront.

Why is it that when anyone tries to make a statement or a stand these days, people equivocate themselves into a blithering hole?

The internet is a decentralized network. His argument is focused on a centralized subset, namely the reddit servers, and its owner(s).

No it couldn't, and the reason is right in the name. No one entity controls the internet. It's network-of-networks, most of which are privately owned.

Any particular reason this submission disappeared off of HN?

The now-downvoted guy at the bottom of this post misread & flagged it. It's apparently since been restored.

I'm split on the matter, but I think it would be better if Reddit would admit they need to double down on moderating users. The whole laissez-faire approach isn't going to garner any long term sustainability of their business. This is especially true in regards to /u/spez's statements regarding his dislike for deleted comments. He may think it's bad, but I've encountered in various sub-reddits all sorts of harassment and intentionally hateful commentary (especially towards people like myself [transgender]). And at this point in my life, if I don't want that sort of nonsense in real life then it's clear I don't want it in my time on Reddit. So, I may have to make the same choice as the article's author has and stop going to Reddit. Or at very least not interact at all with the users of Reddit.

In that part of his AMA, he came across as oblivious to the experience of a normal user in a normal subreddit. Deleted posts may pique your curiosity, but if you are able to view them and discover some of the really aggressive abuse, most people get turned off the experience.

He obviously doesn't, and that's why reddit is optimizing for the young-straight-white-male-in-a-dorm-room demographic. There may be nothing wrong with that, but it is at odds with being “The Front Page of the Internet,” and it is frustrating for mods trying to create safe spaces.

People associate “safe spaces” with culturally marginal groups, but even if you can’t imagine what it's like to be a woman or transgendered, you can imagine what it's like to try to argue factually about hot-button topics like race, free speech, gun control, or the historical use of the Confederate Battle Flag.

Reddit has always had a untenable position on the questionable elements of their community.

FatPeopleHate is banned but yet Coontown is allowed.

Sure technically there is a difference i.e. one specifically targets individuals but from the general public's perspective there isn't. Both subreddits are there purely to attract and spread hate. And that hate as the OP mentions spreads through to other subreddits and undermines the integrity of the site.

This is not a compelling argument, it applies to "using the internet" in general. Your 50$/mo helps Comcast become a neutral pipe-forum that also chooses to transport (and profit from) hate speech.

(On the other hand, I am so dense as to not yet understand Reddit. HN has much better s-n-r.)

The difference is that Reddit is a centralized community, where it's actually possible to moderate things without providing the tools for problematic censorship. Just like the comments on a private blog, where the owner has absolutely every right to delete comments or ban users.

On the other hand, if you give the same level of control to a decentralized network, especially to a pipe like Comcast that is often people's only option to access said network, you wind up with nowhere else to go when important things get censored.

I'm very sympathetic to what you're saying, but how does this response to racism accommodate when we move online forums to decentralized platforms -- when there is no landlord, and you either stick it out with you fellow tenants or find greener pastures (ie. silos)?

Gracefully. His concern is that participating in the good parts of Reddit makes him an enabler, because Reddit has some incentive to nurture racist hate groups. Were Reddit truly decentralized, managed by a network of infrastructure providers (like Usenet was), there would still be hate groups, but the incentives would be different (and muted).

What's your new "Reddit"? Did you migrate to Boat?


You've shared a community with 'raganwald for 1552 days, long enough for you to know that he doesn't write "insulting garbage". You don't have to agree with him, but you should be collegial regardless.

While I don't agree that reddit should be judged by the most terrible content on this site, much more could be done to dissuade people from inhabiting its darker areas.

How about disabling custom CSS/images and comment gilding on a per-sub basis? Presumably Reddit will need to flag offensive subs anyway (if they don't already) so that future advertisers' content isn't associated directly with them.

I think he's reaching with this, comparing reddit to stormfront. That tickled me.

Why not instead ask yourself; where are the black empowerment subreddits? Why are young white, and sometimes angry, males over-represented on reddit?

Reddit, and all other communities like it, are only internet forums. Anyone can subscribe, anyone can discuss and in the case of reddit anyone can set the topic and moderate it.

So it's a waste of time to throw blame and fear around without discussing the real question he's interested in, where are black people on the internet? What are they doing? What sites are they interested in?

Questions that I would be interested in.

Reddit only contains about 6% of the online population (while Pinterest -- girly, girly, Pinterest -- has more like 21%). Believing that 6% of the internet is representative of the internet as a whole is absurd.

But to answer your question: Tumblr. Twitter. Facebook. YouTube. Literally anywhere else on the Internet whose name doesn't end in *chan.

Specifically sites that provide a superior mobile experience, but basically NOT the ones that insist that it's "free speech" to show that curbstomp gif from American History X.

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