The moderator class has become so detached from its mediating role at Reddit that it no longer functions as a means of creating a harmonious community, let alone a profitable business. It has become an end in itself — a sort of moderatocracy in which the underlying logic of moderation has been turned on its head. Under the watch of its moderators, Reddit has become a haven for extremists: The Southern Poverty Law Center recently called it the new ‘‘home on the Internet’’ for white supremacists, and it also functions as the central organizing point for the dubious ‘‘men’s rights’’ movement. For years, a moderator with the handle Violentacrez presided over an empire of execrable content on the site, including a hugely popular subreddit that shared sexualized photos of under-age girls, and another that glorified violence against women.
Some 1.6 billion of them are yours, courtesy of Archive.org.
This is an archive of Reddit comments from October of 2007 until May of 2015 (complete month). This reflects 14 months of work and a lot of API calls. This dataset includes nearly every publicly available Reddit comment. Approximately 350,000 comments out of ~1.65 billion were unavailable due to Reddit API issues.
You'll be needing about 5Gb, just for the compressed dataset. Read the rest
Reddit's proposed new policies continue its principled ideological commitment to ignoring problems. But it also wants to do something about copyright infringement. Perhaps Reddit can brush its white supremacy and rape advice subreddits under the rug! But can it live without copyrighted material? Get real, Reddit! Read the rest
“I have just endured one of the largest trolling attacks in history,” writes Reddit's recently-departed interim CEO Ellen Pao in a Washington Post op-ed today. “And I have just been blessed with the most astonishing human responses to that attack.” Read the rest
Sarah Jeong reports on the bizarre and public wrangling over Reddit, whose free-for-all atmosphere blew up just in time to singe new investors expecting rapid growth. A labor problem, hidden in free speech posturing…
To outsiders, it looks like a form of collective insanity, a sign that Reddit itself is overrun with the denizens of r/CoonTown, utterly broken beyond repair. Yet Reddit still drives much of the Internet’s traffic. How can such a mainstream site appear to be so fringe? … Reddit appears to be overrun by a racist, sexist fringe. It’s not. … Reddit has driven itself into the ground by the same cost-efficient model that made it rise to the top. The site has a content problem because it has a moderation problem, a terrible labor problem that it has long hidden behind proclamations of “free speech.”
The hostiles there are expected to get a haircut today, following the installation of co-founder Steve Huffman as CEO and hints at more moderation. But who gets paid? Read the rest
Reddit's army of seething adolescents found a target for their anger in the form of Ellen Pao, the site's caretaker CEO and the presumed feminist fascist monster who presided over the censorship of r/fatpeoplehate and other bastions of free speech.
According to her predecessor Yishan Wong, however, the Reddit board has long wanted to rid the site of its nastiest subreddits. Ellen Pao, he claims, was in fact the last person around "upholding my free-speech policies" and telling them no.
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How’s everyone doing? This is AWESOME!
There’s something I neglected to tell you all this time (“executive privilege”), but I’m declassifying a lot of things these days. Back around the time of the /r/creepshotsdebacle, I wrote to /u/spez for advice. I had met him shortly after I had taken the job, and found him to be a great guy. Back in the day when reddit was small, the areas he oversaw were engineering, product, and the business aspects - those are the same things I tend to focus on in a company (each CEO has certain areas of natural focus, and hires others to oversee the rest). As a result, we were able to connect really well and have a lot of great conversations - talking to him was really valuable.
Well, when things were heating around the /r/creepshotsthing and people were calling for its banning, I wrote to him to ask for advice. The very interesting thing he wrote back was “back when I was running things, if there was anything racist, sexist, or homophobic I’d ban it right away.
Reddit's Bethany Blount is out, saying she has lost confidence in the company's new direction.
Her departure follows the resignation of CEO Ellen Pao, who apparently took the heat for a decision made by co-founder Alexis Ohanian to fire popular employee Victoria Taylor.
The situation at Reddit has gone from nightmarish to bizarre, as another former CEO, Yishan Wong, took to the site to denounce Ohanian and co-founder Steve Huffman's maneuvering to regain control of it. Read the rest
The embattled interim CEO of Reddit, who became all the more embattled after the sacking of a popular admin left unpaid mods outraged, is leaving the company. Read the rest
A number of Reddit communities were effectively shut down last night to protest the unexpected departure of staffer Victoria Taylor, an important liaison between Reddit's employees and its army of volunteer moderators. Read the rest
A few days ago, Reddit began applying its new anti-harassment policy, shuttering subreddits (such as r/fatpeoplehate and r/shitniggerssay) found to be regular originators of personal attacks. This resulted in a lot of whining from a vocal minority of Reddit users, whose clueless beliefs about free speech remind everyone else that the site has a culture problem that piecemeal enforcement actions won't change.
Digg's Brian Menegus writes that, despite the appearance of an exodus, the misfits have nowhere to go—most of them, ultimately, don't care about Voat or 8chan. They want to participate in Reddit.
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Across multiple (soon-to-be-banned) subbreddits — 8Chan, the barely-functioning Voat and fph.io, which many of the old moderators of FHP allegedly created — these cells of small, angry and quickly-dwindling groups not only pale in comparison to the size of the original community, but have nothing justifying their continued existence other than ire at Reddit’s growing pains. Many who sought free speech (or the illusion thereof) without consideration for the quality of what was being said will likely realize they no longer enjoy the company they keep. Those who do leave permanently may hopefully realize they are a vocal minority, rather than the voice of “The Frontpage Of The Internet.”
What seems to be lost in this discussion of free speech is that, like it or not, Reddit — or any discussion platform on the Internet — is well within its rights to censor or ban anything they see fit. Whether it’s for the prospect of monetary gain, to create a more welcoming space for new users or to soften their image in the public eye is utterly immaterial.
The Button, the Reddit game that started (perhaps) as an April Fools' joke and became a social experiment, religion, and drug, has ended after 1,008,316 presses. Time's up. "The Button has ended" (Reddit)