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)
Big groups can do amazing things with surprisingly few implements, and internet communities can spontaneously become collaborative experience designers. Redditors are playing a new game of sorts with themselves and each other involving a color-changing button and a timer, and the emergent memes are weird and glorious. Read the rest
Redditor Fallenmyst just started a job at Walk N'talk Technologies, where she listens to randomly sampled speech-to-text recordings from our mobile phones, correcting machine conversions. Read the rest
Profcyclist told students that they could bring a 3"x5" card to an exam; a clever student wrote overlapping notes in blue and red ink and brought in gels to read them. Read the rest
Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "The Sunlight Foundation released a study based on data that the FCC had released to the public about the most recent batch of net neutrality comments. We at Fight for the Future worked really hard to deliver more than 750,000 comments of our own to the FCC, but when we looked at the data, hundreds of thousands of them were missing. Our CTO Jeff Lyon just took to Reddit to try to get to the bottom of this. Maybe you can help?" Read the rest
There is something unsettling about The Guardian's recent series of photographs of the case's key locations: it's their bleakness, their small town-ness. Or maybe it's because they serve as a reminder that what's effectively become "reality radio" for listeners concerns a real-life place, a real victim and family.
The Guardian also interviewed Syed's family on what the apparently wholly-unexpected Serial sensation has meant for them. It's certainly interesting to listen to Koening's methodical study of the case, and my household's definitely hooked. Wouldn't it be amazing if her work leads to the truth about a situation where there arguably weren't enough answers?
Watching the murder become property of public opinion—especially with Syed's brother being told by a Reddit moderator that a key witness and former person of interest in the crime might be participating in the threads—leads to complex feelings. Read the rest
Cabbagetroll's masterful summary of the Bible (both testaments) on Reddi's /r/Christianity really captures the books' spirit. Read the rest
Luke McKinney demolishes the idea that notional corruption in the press can be fought by harassing women, or participating in an ex-boyfriend's awful, privacy-invading vendetta against his girlfriend -- and notes that the original incident that sparked the campaign was a fabrication. Read the rest
A great Reddit thread asks "What's something you're pretty sure only your body does, but have been too embarrassed to ask," and comes up with some genuinely great responses. Read the rest