Censorship at Reddit increases as more communities are banned
Reddit announced more crackdowns on communities deemed to be offensive, and it also announced a quarantining policy for certain communities that will require users to opt-in to see those communities.
The content policy update was posted in Reddit's announcements section:
Today we are releasing an update to our Content Policy . Our goal was to consolidate the various rules and policies that have accumulated over the years into a single set of guidelines we can point to.
Our policies are not changing dramatically from what we have had in the past. One new concept is Quarantining a community, which entails applying a set of restrictions to a community so its content will only be viewable to those who explicitly opt in. We will Quarantine communities whose content would be considered extremely offensive to the average redditor.
Today, in addition to applying Quarantines, we are banning a handful of communities that exist solely to annoy other redditors, prevent us from improving Reddit, and generally make Reddit worse for everyone else. Our most important policy over the last ten years has been to allow just about anything so long as it does not prevent others from enjoying Reddit for what it is: the best place online to have truly authentic conversations.
I believe these policies strike the right balance.
I know some of you are upset because we banned anything today, but the fact of the matter is we spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with a handful of communities, which prevents us from working on things for the other 99.98% (literally) of Reddit. I'm off for now, thanks for your feedback. RIP my inbox.
As you might imagine, the content policy update spawned a gigantic flood of responses that totals more than 16722 comments as I write this roundup. Here's a sample of some of the comments posted by redditors:
AMarmot: "You wrote an update to your written policy on user code of conduct, and you banned communities based on violating the spirit of said policy?
Why didn't you just ban racism and racist communities explicitly? Also, why did you wait until you had new tools, specifically designed to deal with the situation of "undesirable" communities, and then ban them anyway? Were you waiting to see if you could bait them into behaviour that violated other elements your policy before banning them on these grounds? 'Cuz that's what it looks like."
AirPhforce: "I'm actually shocked you did it. I was thinking for-sure they would just become an ad-free subreddit dedicated to hate hidden behind an 'opt-in' wall."
ANharper: "The problem with this policy is that it's not objectively enforceable. Anything can be interpreted to be for "solely annoying other redditors". CoonTown is/was a horrible subreddit, but this was the DNA that made this site famous -- the promise that it was a completely open platform without censorship.
If you replace the platform born of the promise of freedom, with one that openly espouses banning "undesirable" (by whom??) subreddits, you are turning this site into its own antithesis, an omnipotently curated, handed-from-on-high, top-down nanny state. ANYTHING can be interpreted as annoying or insensitive, if one's pressure group is strong and loud enough. Reddit was once a safe-haven free from pressure groups. Anyone's voice could be heard, because the admins were not the moral police, but just the nerdy tech support. Now you've made admins the moral police, and reddit a nanny state.
Edit: thanks for the gold, kind stranger."
Number357: "Side note, it would be nice if for once reddit could just be honest. If you want to ban /r/coontown for being extremely racist, then just come out and say so. You didn't ban them because they exist solely to annoy other redditors, enough of this "we're banning behavior not content" nonsense. You're banning content. The content may be shit and you may or may not be justified in banning, but at least be up front about what you're doing.
The problem with banning hate speech is that not everybody agrees on what hate speech is, and a lot of people consider legitimate discussions of men's issues to be "hate speech" that should be banned. Which is why a lot of us object to bans on hate speech.
ChangloriousBastard: "Under "Enforcement", shadowbanning is not listed. I know the list is not comprehensive, but does that mean that shadowbanning will no longer be used to enforce the rules as illustrated in the updated content policy?"
Spez: "It will always be a useful tool for fighting spammers, but we are working as fast as we can on more nuanced tools for users who violate other rules so they have a chance to learn from their mistakes."
Lumpyguy: "Ban SRS already.
Why haven't you banned SRS yet? They are the WORST offenders of breaking the rules you have set up, but you refuse to ban that subreddit.
Why? Why do you continue to let SRS harrass people? Why do you continue to let SRS doxx people? Why do you continue to let SRS vote brigade?
Is it a racial thing? Are you only banning racists? Do you not give a shit about anything else? What is going on?
You keep on talking about being open with what you're doing, but you don't tell us anything about what we want to know.
What is even the point? Why are you even talking right now? Just letting us simmer in the absent silence is basically the same as what you're having us do right now.
"I believe this policies strike the right balance." Also, some people are exempt from them. Apparently."
321poof: "For the record, you just admitted that the intent of these rules has nothing to do with harassment or brigading, that is the spin you are using to justify them, but you just admitted it is really an attempt to discourage the posting of, and limiting the access to, certain kinds of content that you subjectively find heinous. that is exactly the motive you are being accused of having, and you just plead guilty.
I dont visit any of the affected subreddits or post anything outside of r/futurology , but on principle, you are selling out, betraying the internet, and slowly strangling reddit to death. It's sad. If anybody knows a better place to discuss futurology, one that still stands for the principles of free and open communication that the future should be built upon, let me know."
illegal_deagle: "Unfortunately it looks like SRS will continue to enjoy their harassment and downvote brigading."
Spez: "For the the time being we believe that brigading is best fought with technology, which we are actively working on...we can see downvoting brigades in that data, and we are working on preventing them from working. We used to do this in the past, and it worked quite well.