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On Reddit’s Recent Banning Spree

I just found out that Reddit banned several of its communities on June 10th. And I’m not angry at all. In fact, I support this decision wholeheartedly.

Now, I’m not trying to say I support censorship. I’m a huge fan of the Reddit model of a decentralised network, where each community is (largely) self-ruling and there’s a community for every interest or subject.

However, while many a Redditor are crying bloody murder and ascribing this to their fear that the world is imploding with fire & brimstone 10-year-old site is going the path of Digg, I frankly welcome the actions taken.

According to the article above, the five communities taken down by Reddit were,

Name Subscribers Subject
/r/FatPeopleHate 151 404 Fat-person hate
/r/HamPlanetHatred 3 071 Fat-person hate
/r/neofag 1 239 Criticism of NeoGAF
/r/ShitNiggersSay 219 Colourism, Racism
/r/TransFags 149 Sexism, Genderism

The subscriber counts, aside from /r/FatPeopleHate, are from Jay Hathaway’s article on the Gawker site, Internet.

I won’t comment on /r/neofag since, frankly, I know close to nothing about the site it aims to criticise or about its own content & practices. But, as someone who

  • is fervently against both racism & colourism,
  • happens to be transgender herself,
  • is also female,
  • is fervently against sexism & genderism regardless of form, and
  • typically doesn’t enjoy generalising a sizable chunk of Humanity,

I really don’t appreciate the other four…

There are some seeming negatives, however. As you can see, only one of these, /r/FatPeopleHate, had greater than five thousand members. And, there are still others that haven’t yet been affected: as Hathaway noted in their article (linked above in caption),

FatPeopleHate, the most popular of the banned five, has apparently had an offshoot called FatPeopleHate2 for more than a year. It’s still active, and getting more attention than ever after the bannings.

And while this handful of five relatively small subreddits is gone (or at least forced to restart under new names), they barely scratch the surface of the virulent s**t that thrives on reddit. Blatant hate subs like the anti-black /r/CoonTown (10,000+ subscribers) still exist because, as a Reddit spokesperson told us last month, “Views we disagree with or find offensive will not be affected.”

(/r/FatPeopleHate2 has been taken down by this time. /r/CoonTown is, sadly, still up.)

However, the goal of the company, I imagine, was not quantity but quality. Reddit was setting an example that the site should not be a breeding ground for hate-oriented behaviour, that although yes, you should have the freedom to have communities A-F, H-S, and U-Z, certain grades of crap, such as G and T, are just going too far.

And whilst this is mere speculation on my part, the message (to me, anyway) was simple: do what you need to do and do what you want to do, but whatever you do, remember Wheaton’s Law: Don’t be a d**k.

If you want to be an a**hole, go to f***ing 4chan.

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