Reddit's creepiest character unmasked

Gawker's Adrian Chen unmasks Violentacrez, the man behind subreddits such as "Jailbait", "Creepshots" and "Chokeabitch".

A troll exploits social dynamics like computer hackers exploit security loopholes, and Violentacrez calmly exploited the Reddit hive mind's powerful outrage machine and free speech values at the same time. It was this pattern, repeated to various degrees dozens of times, that made Violentacrez an unlikely hero to many of the white male geeks who make up Reddit's hard core. They saw Violentacrez as a champion in the fight against the oppressive schoolmarms: "He upheld a certain amount of freedom for the worst of us to ensure freedom for all of us," wrote one user in a post mourning his departure. Fans followed him wherever he went on the site.

Reddit should take control of its reputation. Its "common carrier" aspirations—already proven to be unsustainable—seem to prevent it from exercising some much-needed quality control over what moderators do in top subreddits. And lest you think that its hands-off policy is about preventing censorship, remember that links to Gawker are currently banned on some top Reddit-promoted areas such as /r/politics.

Letting creeps and criminals speak for you is no defense of free speech: it's just an invitation to be measured by what they say and do in your name.


    1. There have been allegations of link gaming, requiring employees/interns to make accounts to promote links and other stuff, but the /r/politics ban is pure hivemind vendetta, mostly in reaction to this article. 

  1. He’s clearly super creepy, I don’t see many people arguing with that. But I don’t know how I feel about Gawker doxxing people behind pseudonyms for ad revenue.

    That’s also pretty creepy.

    1. “doxxing people behind pseudonyms for ad revenue” is a little disingenuous. By the same logic, you might say that anything and everything we write here at Boing Boing is “for ad revenue.” It’s not. Ad revenue is how we pay the bills, but I think it’s fair to say that Adrian Chen could find many easier ways to earn pageviews. This is, like it or not, a form of journalism.

      1.  You could say the same about everything on Fox news. Though as in this case, you’d be stretching the definition of journalism like taffy.

        But whatever the motive, no matter how white-knight the motives of the “journalist”: outing people is still super creepy.

        1. An argument about whether or not what Chen did is “creepy” or ethical is a separate argument from whether he, and Gawker, did it purely “for ad revenue.” I’m not wading into the former; I’m making a statement about the latter.

          1. Back in *my* day tech reporters talked about over-arching trends in the tech industry, new technologies, new approaches to old problems, and the direction of technology in general rather than pandering to specific products by specific manufacturers in such as way as to be almost completely like advertising.

      2. As a reader of both BoingBoing and Gawker, I don’t see the comparison. I don’t know how BoingBoing works, but from reading Gawker for a couple of years I gather that bringing in page views increases pay. When I read BB I don’t ever get the sense that something was posted to bring in page views, but to share something cool. 

        That piece wasn’t about exposing sexism, racism or anything else. It was about bringing in the page views. Aside from the guy’s real name and place of employment, it brought nothing new to the table that hadn’t already been covered at length in his, and his family’s, posting on Reddit, Gawker, and other places. Just about everything that Gawker is decrying in these pieces on Reddit can be found on Gawker.

        1. BB operates differently from Gawker in many ways. My note there was to simply point out that the charge seems unfair to me. One could easily say the same about many sites that publish both goofy/gossippy stuff AND serious journalism. Gawker has done some of both.

        2. Gawker hasn’t paid for page-views in a number of years, and actually has one of the most competitive salary/benefits packages in online media:

          “Just about everything that Gawker is decrying in these pieces on Reddit can be found on Gawker.” 

          Remind me when Gawker started posting photos of random, underage girls taken without their consent? Or encouraging domestic abuse, or glorifying rape? 

          1. So page views have nothing to do with bonuses and pay? Because I’ve seen a lot of banter in the comments of posts that have blown up over the years mention how the writer could should take their money and spoil themselves, and I’ve never seen anyone correct the commenter’s assumption that the page views would reflect on their pay.

            Also, I’ve seen pictures somewhere of a leader board in the office with listings of the bloggers by page views. For page views not mattering they sure put a lot of focus on them, like in the recent experiment between posting memes and long form work.  

            “Remind me when Gawker started posting photos of random, underage girls taken without their consent? Or encouraging domestic abuse, or glorifying rape?”

            Tell me what purpose using the same photos of these girls who had been exploited by online creeps to illustrate the story served that couldn’t have been done with a stock photo of a legal-aged woman? 



            Or what’s the purpose of posting the photos of people having sex on the roof.


            Did the woman in the photo give permission to Gawker to plaster her picture on the Internet? 

            But it’s OK because they don’t “glorify rape”–just rape culture by publishing stolen sex tapes and nude photos of celebrities who had their property stolen or hacked, or those who choose to be nude or semi-nude on balconies and beaches.

            Oh, and let’s forget that until very recently the company owned a porn website because that doesn’t count as glorifying rape. Just the underlying culture that creates it. 

            Did you read Gawker this week? Did you see their nude photo that was suspected to be of Justin Bieber? How old is that guy? Are “barely legal” nudes OK when they’re of males and celebrities? Was there any proof in the post of the junk shot that the photo was taken after he turned 18, or did they publish a photo that could reasonably have been taken when he was 15, 16, or 17?

            I don’t care what Gawker does, what makes me laugh is people pretending like there’s any kind of moral high ground here, and that Gawker is standing on it.

          2. Did you see their nude photo that was suspected to be of Justin Bieber?

            You mean the staged photo that was released by Biebz’s PR people as a publicity stunt?

      3. For what it’s worth Xeni, I trust you and BB about a million times more than Chen and Gawker.

        Maybe I’m too fair on BB, maybe I’m too harsh on Gawker, but that’s how I feel.

      1. You know those Woodward & Bernstein characters only went after Nixon because they knew it would let the Washington Post charge more for for their Sunday Classifieds.

          1. What? His identity?

            I wasn’t questioning the validity of the information, but the intentions behind exposing him.

            Is this some vigilante crusade or are there some genuine legal motives here? There are a lot of slimy bastards on the internet, but I don’t neccessarily think journalists should be doxxing them and exposing their identities because they don’t like what they do on the internet.

          2. Isn’t that a bit of a double standard: the ‘slimy bastard’ partakes of violating the privacy of folks with vaginas through the use of illicit digital images and video. So that’s somehow fairly described as “what they do on the internet” but doxxing someone (on the internet) is not something that you are comfortable with describing as just “what they do on the internet?”

          3. I don’t want to give the wrong impression here, I’m not saying that what Gawker are doing is WORSE. I can find one thing distasteful without validating the other.

          4. This is the first rule of Bully Club: The victim cannot use the same tactics as the bully.

            How convenient for the bully.

          5. Putting words in my mouth. Your analogy was wonky, and given that you have an annoying knack of being deadly accurate and, dare I say it, correct, I think you should give me this one.

          6. @NathanHornby:disqus : I’m actually pretty OK with that as long as those journalists don’t break the law in the process. We’re not exactly talking about someone who was using his anonymity in a particularly constructive way here.

          7. Okay, but why does Adrian Chen (who has a real and true hard-on for Reddit) get to determine who gets outed?

            The Reddit user in question is a private citizen who – though a creep – has done nothing illegal AFAIK.  Creepy, skeevy and immoral?  Sure.  

          8. The Reddit user in question is a private citizen…

            He lost his privacy when he entered the public sphere – the internet. I mean, that’s the whole argument to support what he was doing, isn’t it? That his victims lost their privacy when they entered into any kind of public interaction, like leaving the fucking house without wearing a burqa?

            Massive hypocrisy much?

          9. And what if laws are broken as a result of the work of a journalist? Do journalists have any responsibility when they’re uncovering people who haven’t technically broken a law, but who are creepy? 

            When I read the Gawker piece earlier today, there was one comment by someone claiming to live near the subject of the piece saying he was going to take it upon himself to “troll” the guy in real life. Another saying something to the effect of wishing that there was a thread about the guy’s murder so he could favorite it. 

            If the troll’s wife and son are hurt or killed because of the guy being outed– it will be OK because Gawker didn’t break any laws in uncovering his name?

          10. What if journalism stopped reporting when bad things happened due to the prospect of vigilantism? 

            I dunno? edit- I dueknow, you’re moving towards a discussion of hate speech, where intent matters a great deal.

          11. EnglebertFlaptyback, In answer to your question, Adrian Chen gets to decide who gets outed for precisely the same reason that Michael Brutsch gets to do what he does on Reddit. 

            There is no difference whatsoever. 

            Michael decides to post a picture of a young girl and make comments on it. 

            Adrian decides to post an article about Michael doing so. 

            Chips fall. Chips land. It’s all good.

            Personally, I’m not about to extend “First they came for the —–, and I said nothing, for I was not a —–.” to “First they came for the masked man, and I said nothing, even though I wear a mask.”

            Why? Because he knew and that’s why he wore the mask. Risk taken, didn’t pan out. Net loss to the other masked men? Zero, wasn’t their risk. They take their own.

          12. @ Antinous – Somehow I doubt you’d be so circumspect about this matter if someone developed a grudge against and outed you in such a fashion, with the inevitable, concomitant harassment, possible loss of employment, etc.  

            God, I can’t believe I’m defending this asshole.

            ETA: As bad as the creepshots thing is, I don’t recall hearing any instances of personal details of the targets being posted.

          13. Somehow I doubt you’d be so circumspect about this matter if someone developed a grudge against and outed you in such a fashion, with the inevitable, concomitant harassment, possible loss of employment, etc.

            There’s not much to out. Although I’ve certainly annoyed a few people, I haven’t really done anything that’s likely to lead to a serious harassment campaign. I’m certainly not going to lose my employment over it since I don’t spend my BoingBoing work time doing creepy shit on other websites.

            You’re viewing this whole discussion in terms of form rather than in terms of content. There are bullies and victims here, and you’re siding with the bullies.

          14. @ kringlebertfistyebuns “As bad as the creepshots thing is, I don’t recall hearing any instances of personal details of the targets being posted.”

            so.. not their faces?

    2. I can’t decide who’s more despicable: Gawker or Violentacrez. Adrien Chen specifically is a small-time shit-hawk.

    3. It’s called investigative journalism and really, if you go around shooting pictures of teen girls boobs and butts without their consent you have absolutely nothing to complain about if someone outs your identity!

      1. I detest ViolentAcrez, and I detest the “candid” photos. However, an upskirt shot is not the same thing as outing someone’s identity. I would judge that there are very, very few cases in which someone could be identified by their underpants.

        1. Since when is identifying someone who did something this grave and terrible deed?  Why are there newspapers?  Don’t they engage in vigilantism daily by identifying people who did stuff?

    4. “That reporter just wrote that story to sell newspapers.”

      Or are you saying that the real identity of a highly-visible, publicity-seeking, morally-questionable internet celebrity is not newsworthy?

      Gawker is very clear that they post some content to juice pageviews, while at other times they encourage their writers to do more in depth reporting. As someone who is not very interested in the former content, I think Chen’s piece clearly falls into the latter category.

      1. Since when are tech reporters investigative journalists concerned with moderators of upskirt forums? This isn’t a panorama special, it’s gawker.
        Sorry but I don’t buy it. If some good comes if it, then great. But I’m afraid I don’t see Chen as some vigilante hero standing up for the rights of teenage girls.

        Google Chens name and take a look at his history with Reddit. The guy ain’t no saint and this is all part of a trolling exercise that gets precious page views.

  2. I, unlike some critics, would not assume that defence of the guy is general or even widespread on reddit. It’s just loud and poorly argued. It’s true Violentacrez started a bunch of content campaigns as troll reactions to criticism from SA Goons, but I have zero sympathy for him. Have all the free speech you want, but here comes the consequence train. 

    That said, /r/politics is run by independent moderators, and is generally regarded as an intellectual black hole. Their banning of Gawker links has nothing to do with reddit as a company or as a whole, and is just another bullet point in the long list of reasons to unsubscribe from that sub immediately. 

    It’s an internet standby to bemoan the decline of a community almost immediately on launch, but as a six-year reddit user, things are getting a bit iffy over there. The quality has Balkanized along with the structure, and is harder to find each day. 

    1. ” /r/politics is run by independent moderators, and is generally regarded as an intellectual black hole. Their banning of Gawker links has nothing to do with reddit as a company “

      Right, this is my point. It’s amazing how many news stories start with claims or headlines that *Reddit* has banned gawker links, that *Reddit* supports violentacrez, or some other mistaken view of what’s going on.

      While it’s not hard to distinguish the company from its creepier users, Reddit does promote its top subreddits: politics is number 3 on the front door nav for logged-in users. 

      And those loudest, most poorly-argued voices thereby get access to the front door of Reddit more or less on-demand. 

      I might be wrong in thinking that quality control — i.e. a tighter rein on moderators and admins in the primary subreddits — is the right way to prevent unfair associations being made between Reddit itself and the creeps.

      But sitting there and letting them claim to speak for Reddit itself — that’s not going to work out in the long run.

      1. Reddit *has* banned Gawker links. Try to post one, in any subreddit you like. Since the Violentacrez article went up its been banned site-wide by the admins.

          1. It is against the rules of Reddit to post personally identifiable information of members. I see no hypocrisy in Reddit banning the link across the site because it identifies the guy’s name and place of employment.

            I’ve seen funny screenshots of Twitter & Facebook have the person’s name blacked out. When others have wanted to follow the originator of the joke/gag/one-liner the resulting links get deleted by moderators. The “no personal info” rule can be taken to extremes, but it’s there and enforced by mods. 

          2. That’s too bad. 

            Banning the entire domain is just plain stupid. 

            The rule could be enforced banning links to the article that contains the rule-break, no? Since posting that and that alone is the only way for a user to actually break the rule by linking to Gawker.

            Reddit fail. Unless there is some technical reason that banning that which resolves to the article only is impossible, which sounds a bit silly to me if that is the case. If it were, then the question is, do we ban an entire domain because of one single offence against one single user in an event of journalism? Most org would probably say “nah” IMO

      2. Preach. It’s a weird circle of suck, really. A subreddit is popular, becomes a default subreddit, reaches a critical mass of people, and becomes a horrible embarrassment now shoved into the face of every user by default. This is why we can’t have nice things.

      3. How could one person do this, even regardless of the crap-geyser nature of the guy’s favorite subject matter?

        He moderated more than 400 subreddits and had many high-profile friends, amassed over many years. His stable at times included hundreds of popular mainstream subreddits, like Funny and WTF, that reach audiences of millions.

        That has to just mean he collected moderator status, not that he actually did anything on most of those subreddits, right?

        This guy should go into professional arm-wrestling now that he’s done being the official underage/violence/nonconsent soft-porn king of Reddit. He must have a right arm like a fiddler-crab.

        1.  I was one of several  co-moderators of one of his 400 subreddits. He was an active and skilled moderator. (A bit too heavy handed for my tastes, but overall good.) The subreddit was for fans of an actress I first learned about on boingboing. VA came to reddit via boingboing.
          Sometimes, an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

          1. Sometimes, an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

            If I see someone being attacked for being an intentionally offensive misogynist bigot violence-porn-spreading pedophile-feeding megatroll then I’m not going to run to his defense as “one of us” just because I happen to have something else in common with him.

  3. Oh, look! The creator of “N****rjailbat” and other equally classy photo collections just decided that “reasonable expectation of privacy” is an important thing after all! Let’s all take this lesson to heart and sing campfire songs about how important it is to respect the feelings of others.

  4.  indeed, and comments like “Letting creeps and criminals speak for you is no defense of free speech:
    it’s just an invitation to be measured by what they say and do in your name.” is a sad remark to make on a site like boingboing. It’s just the core of what “free speech” is .
    ha and by the way, please enable comments without the need to enable 3the party tracking. it’s plain silly for a site like this who pretends to be in favour of “free speech”
    “Warning: A browser setting is preventing you from logging in. ” I know, I’m disabling cross site tracking…

    1. Freedom of speech is a legal/political/civil right, and one that’s always been accompanied by limitations.  It’s not the ability to walk into someone’s home and start screaming whatever you want without getting thrown out.  Or having your antics simply reported on, as in this case.

  5. Unlike reddit, when you say something BoingBoing doesn’t like, they just delete your comment.  I much prefer reddit’s free speech model.

    This post deleted in 3..2..1..

    1. If that’s the price of keeping racial epithets and pictures of dead teenage girls off this site, then hooray for our fascist censorship-wielding moderators.

      1. My posts that got deleted by BoingBoing moderators in the past had none of that.  Mostly I was criticizing the day after day after day  Daniel Clowes posts.  And I was criticizing them politely, too.  Still deleted.

        1. Then it sounds like they were deleted because you were behaving like an annoying whiner. We post what we love here. We don’t apologize for it. It’s free. Scroll bar is your friend. Note that your comments here have not been deleted. 

          1. Would you consider marking deleted posts as “deleted stuff here”? I find it genuinely creepy when stuff just disappears?

    2. If “N****rjailbat” and creepshots of dead teenage girls is your idea of free speech, then yeah, absolutely. We are not obliged to host that kind of shit here, in the blog or in the comments, and we don’t.

      1. As repulsive as those things are…yeah, they are arguably free speech (with some qualifications).

          1. Really?

            I guess the best answer I can give is to suggest you read the original post, Xeni’s response, your own contribution, then mine. 

            That should reveal it.

          2. @twitter-212575908:disqus  You basically just restated her point, I think.  
            My initial read on Xeni’s post was that she believes that things that might be personally disgusting don’t qualify as free speech.  Maybe I misunderstood, and if I did I will retract any gainsaying I might have done.

            It’s well understood that no private website is obligated to host any content it deems unacceptable, and their so doing doesn’t compromise freedom of speech.  

            I was in fact quite outspoken to that effect when /r/jailbait was taken down and some Reddit users were whining about it.

          3. Don’t sweat it, 

            1st post – BB = censored my shit < Reddit = free speech shit  –  reads as BB = no free speech

            Xeni's – Ha, yeah, then I guess we done been banning yo free speech chuckles, if shit is yo free speech

            Your post – That shit is free speech

            my post – banning shit it isn't contrary to practicable free speech shit

            see so it's not really restating.

        1. You might want to check up on what “free speech” means, though. It does not mean that anybody anywhere has to put up with what anybody anywhere has to say.

          1. Yes, that’s been covered extensively in replies to my comments and elsewhere in this thread.  Thanks for piling on, though.

      2. So I must have accidentally included a picture of a dead person while criticizing Boing Boing’s overblown surveillance-state FUD posts? Because that comment was deleted.

    3. Your experience might differ, but I haven’t noticed BB taking down posts that the collective ‘They’ don’t like. 

      I’ve had my share of posts taken down – and I believe Antinous was doing me a real solid  because they were stupid late-night boozy posts that, if I remembered posting them – I would have quickly scrambled to delete the next morning while hoping no one saw them. 

      I have also disagreed with the BB person who authored the post, the moderator, or both – these have never been taken down. A good moderating system with great moderators is like gold. I’m not trying to kiss arse here – I just really enjoy the way BB’s comment section is managed. It’s one of the big reasons I have frequented this site since sometime in the late ’90s.

      However geekd, I get your drift. My own perspective is that the type of comment system used by reddit would totally not work on BB and BB’s system would suck equally for reddit. Different types of websites – different types of comment systems. 

      1. Obviously the sites are different and the comment system is different. That doesn’t mean they have to delete all posts that are the slightest bit critical of Boing Boing. Perhaps they could, I don’t know, reply to defend Boing Boing instead?

        1. Perhaps they could, I don’t know, reply to defend Boing Boing instead?

          Because nothing could possibly be more fascinating to our readers than to defend ourselves in every thread. Your comments have been removed because you whine all the time about how you don’t like the subject of the posts. Try not reading them. Better yet, go read some other site that doesn’t cause you so much dyspepsia.

          1. I do second not reading stuff you don’t like. I even more second not even visiting sites you don’t like (not giving them any page impressions and ad-watching). However, I would appreciate that, if BBer’s choose to delete a post, there would be a notice. Like, post deleted for hate speach, post deleted because seriously nobody wants to read THAT, or post deleted because poster was embarrassing himself (and others).

            And yes, I am serious. There is no sacrasm or irony intended.

        2. Well, I will only speak to my own experiences. 

          Every post I’ve seen deleted here have been due to jack-assery, especially mine. I really enjoy reading the posts and comments here, and I really enjoy commenting. I try not to be a jack-ass but sometimes it happens and I’m always relieved when the Mods delete my posts b4 even I can. 

          I’ve figured out that BoingBoing only uses its BanHammer as a last resort – I mean they really give people a lot of slack — I think this is really cool.   

          There are plenty of other places to be a dick  and I’m pleased that this isn’t one of them. There are many, many, real-life analogies. Meatspace and cyberspace are becoming increasingly blurred — it’s important to keep this in mind and respect the vibe, rules, culture and whatnot of sites. 

          I would not behave the same way at a decent mixed-company restaurant, or in a university class that I would at a divebar or in a friend’s rumpus-room. 

          One more thot then I’ll STFU. BoingBoing is the workplace of other people, it is their lively-hood — it is a small business — it is not a park or city-hall where people can rant and rave. What would you do if someone came into your business and disrupted it? You’d likely ask them to keep it down and if they persisted you’d be within your rights to ask them to leave and/or ban them for whatever period you deem appropriate.

      2.  Well said, the moderation on Boing Boing is great.  MarkV must have some specific butthurt because I see posts disagreeing with the OP all the time.  Usually several, and with much arguing and tooth-gnashing.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a Cory post that didn’t feature the word “propaganda” in at least three comments.

    4. I would like BoingBoing *vastly* more if deleted posts appeared as “This post deleted by moderator” rather than just disappearing into the ether.

      It would be a small change but for me such a meaningful one.

  6. Regardless of the innumerable unsavoury things he has posted to the internet, it is unfortunate that he’ll lose his job and probably be blacklisted because the world is the prudish place that it is.

    Any thoughts on this particular detail?  Does everyone think he deserves to live in poverty for being extremely creepy?

    1. Considering that he spent countless hours doing all that creepy stuff on company time, absolutely.

      1. I assume some porn site would give him a job just for the publicity and “loyal followers.” In a year there’s going to be a whole chain of Violentacres-branded used-panty vending machines across Tokyo.

        Wait a second… he’s a programmer for a financial services company? Has anyone checked to see if the “flash crash” of the stock market coincided with the publication of some underage starlet’s upskirt photos?

        1.  If he works in finance a record of creepy misogyny will probably just be a feather in his cap.  Hell, he might even get a raise.  I bet some of his superiors are fans.

      1. Funny, I’m the father of a young girl too.  And though I think Violentacrez needs therapy, it’s still shitty behavior by Chen.  Go figure.

        1. Do you know the difference behind Violetacrez and Adrian Chen? Regardless of what you think of his behavior, he has the balls to do it in the open.

    2. Hmm, fired? Perhaps. Blacklisted – I really doubt it. I read Chen’s interview with him and he seemed pretty okay with being outed – or at least fatalistic. His attitude seemed sorta ‘if ya can’t do the crime, don’t do the time’. 

      I kinda groked that he had thought about this happening eventually and had already accepted that if he was outed, he might be fired. 

      I think he had weighed this a while ago and decided that continuing on reddit was worth the risk. I also kinda got that he seemed burned out on his present position anyway and was ready for a change. Perhaps he feels he has a safe place to land too. I believe that if he was fired over this it would be more of a laying off and he would absolutely qualify for unemployment benefits. 

      If he did any of this at work, and they fired him saying this was the reason – his company would have to prove that no one else there does personal biz on company time w/o being boxed. Also, if they have logs showing he did this on company time, they would have to explain why, since they knew he was doing personal biz all along, why they chose _now_ to sack him. Recall, he wasn’t doing anything illegal. 

      Also I should add, if Texas is an ‘At Will’ state, and he wasn’t under some sort of contract, they were within their rights to let him go as long as it wasn’t because of a protected thing like race, religion and etcetera. However, they can try to deny him benies, but they’d likely lose.

      BTW – IANAL ;)

    3. It’s not unfortunate at all.

      And there’s nothing “prudish” about objecting to abuse of women and to racism.

  7. “The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”
    H.L. Mencken

    1. First of all, there are no laws being aimed anywhere in this case.  

      And second of all, do you even know who Mencken is, or did you just find that quote somewhere and repost it because it “spoke to you” or something?  He had no issues at all outing people, especially frauds and hucksters of various sorts, and reporting all sorts of damning information about them and their actions.  Doing so is not in any way a violation of free speech.

      1. Interestingly, in some (quite democratic, not very opressive) countries, there would be some laws against publishing photos of a person (mind the singular – if it’s a group picture, law allows it).

  8. Point of clarification: Violentacrez was not “behind” creepshots in the same way he was “behind” jailbait and chokeabitch, at least according to TFL.

    And while I’m not going to go into the “ethics” of doxing itself, I will say this: if you’re gonna dox a guy or spread that information further, you have an extra responsibility not to muddy the waters.

  9. What a terrific endorsement of free speech this is. Seriously.

    Person A (violentacrez) engages in free speech that many people find reprehensible. Person B (Adrian Chen) engages in free speech about person A that may cause consequences for person A, inflicted by person D for his speech. Person C (reddit mods) engage in more free speech (banning Gawker links) that may cause consequences for person B in response to their belief that person B’s speech was reprehensible.

    No jails, police, pepper spray, guns or nightsticks necessary. Free speech kicks ass.

    1. I almost agree with the thrust of your argument, but I think it is better not to omit the girls and women whose expression was coopted in a prurient context. To me, the consequences for them do not seem just; I know many women who would rather take pepper spray to the face than have an identifiable upskirt shot floating around the intersphere. 

  10. I’m surprised to read that Reddit is important. The few times I’ve looked at it, it appeared more as an amateurish, completely un-art-directed BBS of uninteresting topics.

    So Reddit is as big as facebook?  I had no idea.

    And it got that way by being a venue for people looking for almost-but-not-quite porn?  I guess it’s a tempest in a file folder that I never open.

    1. Nah, it became that way by being a simple to use link sharing site which was a contemporary to digg and In the beginning the user base was primarily tech oriented and probably drawn to it’s spartan interface. It became very popular as the other link sharing sites went by the wayside. The problem is; the bell curve and user moderation don’t get along. The more users, the worse the moderation becomes. 

      1. Seemingly nobody on the Webz is old enough to remember Usenet directly   You may as well be talking about your time as a Spitfire mechanic in England.

        1. _OUCH_   (btw – Spitfire mechanic, there were actual mechanics that specialized in Spitfires? You’d think any competent Triumph mechanic would do – or Ford mechanic.) 

          Anyway, there are plenty of people using the Webz  old enough to remember Usenet, if they knew what Usenet was back in the day, which they obviously did not. 

          Most likely they started using Webz after their children or grand-children did, and the kids likely are the reason the Oldz discovered the Webz. 

          (I remember having my mind blown, 1981 when my fifth-grade home-room teacher showed me his CompuServe account. A year or so later I saved for a, like 300 baud modem and futzed around with BBS system. 

          I took a look at Usenet in ’85 but didn’t become an actual user until entering university in 1990 – the fast connections of the uni machines I couldn’t believe at first use.)

    2. I share your surprise, yet, on the other hand, I guess I shouldn’t. 

      I first used Usenet in 1990 (along with Gopher – Fcuk Yeah!) and I used it everyday for a long time and mostly not for jollies, but for the home brewing boards, collecting etc. 

      I visited reddit a few times over the years and couldn’t get into it. Maybe I didn’t give it a chance, I dunno. I do miss Usenet during its heyday and dammit – I really miss Gopherspace. 

      The attached pic is me, back in the day, hard at work banging out Usenet posts. The other one is a fortuitous Polaroid taken of me when I first discovered Usenet and Gopherspace. 

      Before that, I was just another ape-thing using BBS.

  11. I guess I’m a little puzzled by this outing.  Why this particular guy?  It isn’t as if there aren’t many thousands just like him all over the intertubes – people who post repellent, repulsive shit to get a rise out of others.

    And AIUI, banning Gawker links had nothing to do with Chen’s report per se – he and Reddit have had their share of tiffs before – but because Reddit specifically bans the posting of personal information or links to said info, full stop.  Whether it’s of users or not.  Linking to Gawker sites would pretty much guarantee that the guy would be outed.

    This was a doxxing by Chen, pure and simple.  I have zero use or respect for an asshole like Violentacrez, but he didn’t do anything illegal, and Chen had absolutely no right to out him.

    1. By the same token Violentacrez had absolutely no right to not be outed. 

      If Reddit banned the article and not the domain I’d agree on that point. Rules are rules and private agencies have a right to their rules. But it is hard for me to believe that Reddit can’t ban anything that resolves to the article itself, and harder for me to believe that Chen -is- Gawker.

    2. …but he didn’t do anything illegal….

      Neither did the person who outed him. So everything’s jake, right? Because legality is the only consideration that matters here. As I note that I’ve now replied to two of your comments on a subject about which I don’t actually give a shit, it occurs to me that you’re applying one set of rules to trolls and a more restrictive one to their victims.

      1. Of course the outing was perfectly legal.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a shitty thing to do,  just as much as Violentacrez’ behavior was shitty.  

        It’s possible to legitimately think both sides of a dispute are acting badly.

        BTW, sorry about posting under two IDs. Forgot to log out of that other account, which I maintain because some websites really *don’t* like open debate.

        1. That’s because it’s a fair and (AFAIK) accurate description of the behavior being “punished” here.  Immoral? Almost certainly.  Repulsive?  Sure.  Illegal?  No.  

          I would be far more sanguine about this if Chen hadn’t amply demonstrated that he’s a complete asshole.

          1. Fighting assholes with assholes — it’s the only way.

            Edit: When you look into the asshole beware lest the asshole look back into you.

    3. Because Reddit’s a huge site, and this guy wielded a lot of influence and authority. He is close to Reddit’s founders, and acted as Reddit management in some specific ways. He’s not just some random, unknown internet troll that Chen picked out.

      Read the article. It’s all in there.

    4.  Because this guy was buddy-buddy with reddit’s admins, one of the sites more popular powerusers, and has modship in over 400 subs, including r/creepshots, r/jailbait, r/hitler…

      if it was sexual and/or offensive and/or arguably law- or privacy-violating on reddit, Violentacrez was almost always invovled somewhere along the line.

    5. Yep, “he didn’t do anything illegal” seems to be the consensus here, only I wouldn’t be so sure that that’s right. Several states (including New York, California, and Washington) have laws specifically targeting upskirt and other voyeuristic photo imagery that exceeds expectation of privacy. Depending on where images originated, just the photos may have been illegal regardless of age or ability to identify the subject by her face. 
      Unfortunately, federal law does little to protect women who are in public places. It’s often only with transmission or sale of images that laws get broken. Since laws across the U.S. are grey for this subject, I really would double check the idea that it was crime-free. By moderating the admission of these photos to the internet, VA might be claimed as a trafficker, and have participated in an illegal activity.

      Even if it was a legal activity: By his own standards – if you put yourself into a public arena, you open yourself up to exposure (like upskirt shots). He voluntarily put himself into a public arena, and thus opened himself up to exposure.

  12. I don’t mind too much that a person who creates reprehensible subreddits gets exposed for their actions.  I DO mind that all of Reddit is taking the heat for it.  The beauty of Reddit is that it is wide open, like the internet at large.  Blaming Reddit for what this one chump does is like blaming “Internet-ers” for something found in some dark corner of the Internet.  As a Boinger and free speech advocate, I support Reddit’s lack of patrolling each and every post – because that is just not what they do.  But like free speech in the real world, you may have the right to spout some vileness, but you also have to deal with the attention it inevitably attracts.

    1. Yeah, I don’t like that the whole site is getting painted as this haven for pervs. I’ve been on Reddit three years now and I never encountered the seedier side of it until it was blown up around the Anderson Cooper piece. 

      I go to Reddit to talk about gardening, look at cool pics, see what’s going on in my city, and generally try to stay on top of an Internet culture I’m quickly aging out of. 
      I don’t encounter gore, porn and all the other stuff because I don’t go looking for it and it isn’t thrown in my face.

      1.  It IS a haven for pervs. That doesn’t mean that everyone on Reddit is a perv of course. But if you knowingly invite in people of questionable moral standard and defend their right to share your space you are going to be associated with them because you have chosen to associate with them.

        1.  No, they are not “invited”.  It is a platform, free to all.  It would be ridiculously untenable for the 11 or so employees of Reddit to patrol the millions of posts each day, and pass judgement.  What you ask for would be a huge endeavor of a scale that only a Google or NSA is likely to be capable of, and which creeps us all out a good bit to consider.

          1. “reddit is a source for what’s new and popular online. vote on links that you like or dislike and help decide what’s popular, or submit your own!” = invitation

            Free to all is an invitation. Invitation confers no particular obligation on the host unless specified.

            The guy Ryan isn’t saying that there is an invitation process or asking/saying that it confers obligation,

            but that there is in fact an open invitation, which does denote association.

            whether the association is justified or not is subjective, debatable and immaterial.

    1. No, but Gawker is. They (mostly Chen) love painting Reddit as the place for pervs to generate page views while they mine and link to Reddit for all the funny/interesting stuff that gets posted to generate page views. 

      If Reddit was as bad as Gawker makes it seem to be you would think they’d be so disgusted with it that they would stop reading it and exposing more people to it. But there’s no money to be made in integrity. 

  13. Chen is creepier than any of the upskirt wierdos on reddit.  The reddit creepers are just sad and twisted.  Chen actually has power and money, and that makes his creepiness legitimately frightening.

    And not for nothing, but I’ve had at least a dozen of my comments here deleted for pointing out hypocrisy. Boingboing is in no position to complain about other sites censoring certain content.

    1. No –

      It was the link at the bottom of the article you linked to.

  14. Since Brutsch stumbled on Reddit from a link on the internet culture blog Boing Boing in 2007

    This is all your fault, BB. ALL. YOUR. FAULT.

      1. If you want a picture of the future, imagine an ass stitched to a human mouth — forever. And then imagine a bunch of them in a row.

  15. The linked article is as close to reading Redit as I want to get and even then, too close.  Ewwh . . .

    1.  This is like saying you will never go to a library because someone showed you a book that you disagree with.  There is tons of worthwhile material there, for any interest you can possibly have.  You are free to ignore any aisles you choose.

      1. I don’t go to libraries where some of the aisles have men masturbating to the girls over in the YA section. I guess I’m uncultured that way.

        1. My local library put the YA section in a glass-walled booth that you can only reach by walking through the pervert tank computer room, which it abuts. One stop shopping. One the one hand, I need an escort if I want to get a copy of Twilight. On the other hand, all I have to do is ask to use the computers if I want to stare at teen ass all day.

    2. The piece is rather unfortunate in its characterization of reddit. Violentacrez was, and is, certainly a creep. And there are many reprehensible subreddits. 
      But on the other hand, Chen is intentionally misleading to make these things sound like a major part of reddit. When he talks about a photo of a woman being beaten upvoted to the “front page,” he’s not talking, to my knowledge, about the front page of reddit, with its millions of viewers, but the front page of the “r/beatingwomen” subreddit, which has around 2,000 subscribers who probably mostly creeps and trolls. When he talks about violentacrez being the “most important person on reddit,” and talks about r/jailbait being the most popular thing on reddit, that’s simply nonsense. Most of these things happen in the seedy underbelly of reddit, and many redditors will never come across the things being discussed.

      Reddit’s like USENET was. There are reprehensible subreddits. There are also serious subreddits. Some subreddits are unmoderated, some are heavily moderated. Try looking through , for example. The AskScience subreddit is extremely serious, deletes anything off-topic, untoward, or even simply lacking sources, and serves as a very useful way to get answers about scientific questions from commenters who are often highly-qualified. I’ve even asked obscure questions in the course of writing scientific papers, and gotten reasonable answers. r/AskHistory is similar. In non-academic fields, there are things like r/moderatepolitics. r/photography often has very useful advice and views. There’s r/literature, too, and r/latin, and r/art. There are even things like r/amateurradio, which are incredibly technical. 

      Reddit tries to tailor each person’s experience to what they want to see. Even the front page is made up of only posts from subreddits the reader is subscribed to. If one wants serious discussion, it’s there; if one wants ridiculous hivemindness, it’s also there (see r/politics, for example). If one wants creepiness, it’s there too. But reddit primarily displays what one wants. Look at my front page for example. 

      In all, Reddit really is the modern-day replacement for USENET. There were things in the alt.* hierarchy just as bad, if not worse, than the subreddits violentacrez was involved in, while there were things in some newsgroups that were just as good, if not better, than subreddits like r/askscience. If Vernor Vinge were writing A Fire in the Deep today, Twirlip of the Mists would be downvoted, not simply ignored.

      1. Thanks for your perspective – if reddit is this much like Usenet, I’ll checkitout. 

        Maybe reality of the site differs, but my perception is that we cannot make a direct comparison between reddit and Usenet because reddit is a single domain, controlled/registered to a person,or just a few persons, and that its domain is administered by an agency that could be ordered by the U.S. gubmt, at the drop of a hat, to suspend and/or seize the reddit domain. 

        Usenet on the other hand was and is decentralized, the posts passed along and propagated in a decentralised system.  This being said, I might give reddit another look.

  16. I would like to read the Gawker piece, but I won’t because if I did, I would give that awful website an additional page view. If anyone would kindly take a screen capture, it would be nice. As for the post by Rob, it screams of “I don’t know what I am talking about.”

  17. Having read the Gawker article, I think I can safely say that, given the self-confessed nature of this person, I agree with the use of sunlight as a disinfectant!

  18. The story has now been taken up by the British paper press. The Daily Mail, having described his conduct as ‘disgusting’, then goes ahead and posts one of the very pictures they complain about along with the article, for all of their readers to look at. 

  19. Am I correct in the notion that that The Mail might be considered a leaflet for middle-class internet illiterates who desperatly need steaming proof that teh webz are for pervs? However, The Guardian also reports. Fun to read the comments on that site of The Atlantic. Puns intended. (I just lmao on the notion that journalists obviously really quote redditors with quite absurd aka’s; giyf.)

    /edit: wtf, is automatically creating a link? Noo, didn’t want this.

    I wonder what really has changed at the end of this debate.

  20. > 2010: “He was asked what was the creepiest thing he’d done “IRL” and delighted readers with a tale ripped out of Penthouse letters. “That’d be a tough call,” Violentacrez wrote, “Perhaps oral sex with my 19-year-old stepdaughter.” It was completely consensual, he claimed in the post, and went on to brag about how awesome it had been in graphic detail.”

    The admins at reddit sheltered this POS for years. Gawker and Reddit are both little slimepools that seem to attract evolutionary deadends. Anyone defending either site needs to check their ideas of free speech. Even the Pentagon, that bastion of sociopathy and insights of the below average nature, fires the pedophiles it finds in its midst.

    It’s a shame. Reddit used to be a great site, full of smart, insightful people. Some of them are still there, but they’ve been drowned out by Digg refugees and their kith and kin. The front page of Reddit is a good gauge for measuring the rising levels of gleeful ignorance that are inundating our fair world. Then I go to Gawker to confirm the measurement. 

    1. I agree that Reddit is starting to suffer from the fate of most internet communities, like Digg, Metafilter, delicious, and others, which over time lose their freshness and start to smell like the bad breath of the same few folks who keep their mouths open the longest. Why is that, I wonder? Hmmm. Could it be that people are full of shit, mostly?

  21. The fact of the matter is that reddit has long been known among those who are  interested in such things (i.e. organizations and companies longing to increase article views) as something to stay away form because its main readers are males between 16 and 40, who cluster around a certain mind-set inimical to drawing in other readers (i.e. females, anyone with any kind of moral sense).  Especially policy oriented organizations – ones who take what they publish seriously – we don’t want those readers.  The reputation, when put bluntly in discussions about them runs like this: “Do you want a bunch of skanky porn-obsessed, sexist cretins promoting our policy papers?” “Oh, er, No, not really” “Let’s not promote to reddit, then.”

    1. Are you saying that most users of reddit are consumers of Fox News and right-wing radio? Interesting. It never occurred to me.

      My attempt at humor aside, I think you are correct about why those who actually care about their image stay well away from reddit. 

      Question – are you labelling males between 16 and 40 as immoral cretins and are you asserting that only females have any moral sense? I’m not saying you are, it’s just that it’s one way of reading your comment.

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