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Bronze-level articleReddit

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Now the best part — showing the world how angry you are. For that you need to go to Reddit to create an account.
New York Times[1]
While Reddit has done well in getting interest from the mainstream, I just wonder if by allowing these children to run rampant and post whatever they feel will cause the most collateral damage.
—William Shatner[2]

Reddit is a social media and content-aggregation hivemind website which bills itself as "The Front Page of the Internet." It is a popular site on the web, receiving over 37 billion views and 400 million unique visitors in 2012 alone,[3] yet can't make itself profitable.[4]

Being absolutely huge,[5] it has attracted a large number of fuckwits. Some sub-communities have achieved legendary odiousness, particularly a weird brand of sexually-naïve yet resentful sexists, and a gathering of ardent pedophilia apologists. And this is apart from the general reactionaries who've adopted it as a platform. For local interest, the Reddit atheists, particularly in /r/Atheism, are considerably lamer than one might hope.

Although the awfulness is significantly awful, it should be noted that using it as an argument against Reddit in toto is a special form of the general argument against the Internet, television, books, and interacting with other humans under any circumstances. Sturgeon's Law arguably applies here, too.

Reddit is best treated as a form of internet television. It also used to knock RationalWiki over from time to time by sheer force of visitors.[6]

Contents

[edit] How Reddit works

Reddit works by having users (called "redditors") submit links to other websites, share stories, and post images, which are then voted up or down by other redditors. Comments on these submissions are also voted up or down. If a comment receives enough downvotes, it will be hidden from view by default. Reddit uses the up/down score of a given user's posts to calculate their "karma." (No one actually pays any attention to this except the user themselves.) A redditor's profile publicly lists all of the comments and posts they have ever made on Reddit.

The site is divided into smaller sections called subreddits, which each cover a particular subject. Anybody can create a subreddit (subject to approval by Reddit's administrators). Reddit admins take a very hands-off approach, wishing to keep their CDA section 230[wp] immunity, and each subreddit selects its own moderators, who in turn (attempt to) police their own community's posts and comments.

[edit] Whence the awfulness?

Though Reddit claims to be "the front page of the internet", it usually hits the news because of its nurturing attitude toward the asinine or the evil. Be it white power, radicalised sexism or advocacy on behalf of gamers (AKA radicalised white power sexism), it's hard to find a group Reddit's mods won't drag their feet about banning.
—Vice.com[7]

In many ways, Reddit represents one of the worst possible results of enormous popularity coupled with an immense and only loosely-connected pile of largely self-governing communities. (Take care not to assume a coherence that really isn't there.)

A sliver of any site's traffic will consist of cranks and malcontents; the jaw-dropping amount of traffic the Reddit receives means this subpopulation can number in the thousands or tens/hundreds of thousands. These cranks then either set up their own or join an existing subreddit that supports their ideas, which can (and do) turn into veritable echo chambers for their viewpoints. Any redditor who posts a comment that contradicts the prevailing opinion within any of the nastier subreddits often finds all their comments and posts (which are accessible via their public profile) downvoted across all subreddits in retaliation (The software attempts to counteract this to some extent: if the user downvotes comments on the public profile page itself, these votes are ignored for karma calculation purposes). While not a significant impact by itself, floods of this sort of retaliatory voting can marginalize sensible redditors, not just on the crank subreddit, but across unrelated subreddits as well (though socks and throwaway accounts cost only a few clicks/keystrokes, so this "problem" is easily manageable).

Unfortunately, the site's structure further encourages the spread of these ideas into any neutral or "good" subreddits; cross-pollination of users and topics between related subreddits can serve to grow and strengthen the various crank communities and drive away more sensible users. Any thread that vaguely touches on crank redditors' hobbyhorses can be swiftly hijacked by a sufficiently large population of cranks voting as a bloc. Subreddit moderators are often too apathetic, incompetent, or afraid of being too aggressive and alienating their own community to take any action, further encouraging crank redditors to continue colonizing other subreddits.[8] This is made worse when moderators across seemingly disparate or only tangentially-related subreddits are sympathetic to these crank ideas, and tolerate them to the detriment of the community. (For example, /r/ronpaul redditors spread into the /r/libertarianism community, which then spread into the /r/politics community, eventually turning Reddit into a particularly noisy fanbase[9] for Ron Paul's failed presidential campaign.)

[edit] Anti-censorship?

Reddit also has a strong culture (although by no means a universal one) present within it of subreddits opposing any form of moderation and believing that upvotes and downvotes should be the sole arbiter of whether content is any good, in the name of free speech — and that, consequently, any form of active moderation beyond that prescribed by Reddit itself is censorship. This extends to such things as prohibiting harrassing content directed at other users, racism, sexism, image macros, rage comics and other such things — the basic argument is that if these things are really odious then they will be downvoted, and if they aren't then that means the subreddit's readers want them there. This rather peculiar form of the just world hypothesis ignores the fact that all evidence available shows that if you have no form of enforced quality bar on an online community then it will quite rapidly become filled with low-effort content and subject quite dramatically to the dickwad theory. A demonstration of this can be seen by the stunning quality of strictly-moderated subreddits such as /r/AskHistorians compared to, well, take your pick.

However this paper-thin veneer of principled free speech breaks down when it comes to anything that might be critical of Reddit or redditors' particular hobbyhorses. Calls are regularly made to close or ban /r/ShitRedditSays, a subreddit that overall does nothing other than link to examples of what it sees as bigotry across Reddit (and enrage MRAs and racists in the process), and for sites that dare to criticize Reddit on the interwebs, a "shit" icon is coded on many subreddits to appear on any link that directs to them. This includes Cracked and the Satanic blog that starts with a "G" and ends with "r," as described below.

[edit] #RedditRevolt

In June 2015, Reddit shut down several breathtakingly odious subreddits which were not just saying hideous things or brigading other subreddits, but operating as bases for harassment off-site.[10]. This included the infamous /r/FatPeopleHate, a subreddit that included over 100,000 subscribers prior to its ban and was, ironically, one of the more censored subreddits on Reddit, as showing sympathy or empathy towards fat people quickly earned the speaker a warning or a ban. Upset FPH readers proclaimed the Reddit admins a pack of censoring Nazis (also either blaming /r/ShitRedditSays or demanding its banning as usual[note 1]), and many decamped to Reddit for a newer similarly-structured site, Voat,[11][12], which promptly melted under the load.

Much of the hatred, centered on the hashtag #RedditRevolt, surrounds Reddit's interim CEO Ellen Pao, whose sexual discrimination lawsuit against her former employers Kleiner Perkins made waves in Silicon Valley. Thus, the Chinese-American feminist in charge of the site was made into a perfect target by Reddit's "disenfranchised" assholes. In addition to being compared to China's Cold War dictator Mao Zedong with the epithet "Chairman Pao", as well as the usual cries of "Nazi" because a handful of subreddits exclusively formed to harass other people across Reddit got banned, a petition was made calling for her removal as CEO. All of this was pretty blatant harassment, racism, and sexism levied at her, until a popular Reddit staff member was fired in July 2015, leading to #RedditRevolt's revitalization as a form of solidarity with the former employee following a voluntary blackout of several Reddit boards. The petition to have her removed surged in popularity, and comment sections across the Internet seem to think that #RedditRevolt, which has its origins in June, only started in July with response to the firing.[13][14][15] One commentator at a DOTA2 website of all places, even noticed an obvious connection between the people pushing #RedditRevolt and Gamergate, pointing out that a feminist woman banning hateful communities is everything 4chan could have ever wanted in a controversy.[16] Pao ultimately resigned from her position during this shitstorm,[17] despite the fact another member of the executive board who was one of the site's founders was actually responsible for the popular employee's firing.[18]

But the real bombshell comes from former CEO Yishan Wong, who first suggested that Reddit's co-founder Alexis Ohanian had set Ellen Pao up to take the fall for his actions.[19] Bethanye Blount, Reddit's chief engineer, also echoed these sentiments when she quit following Pao's resignation.[20][21] After the new CEO announced an AMA to handle questions concerning how Reddit was changing with Pao's departure, Wong appeared again and revealed that Pao was the only member of Reddit's executive board who was arguing in favor of all of the website's most toxic communities. According to Wong, the board had pressured Pao to "outright ban ALL the hate subreddits in a sweeping purge" but she resisted, knowing it would result in a "shitshow". Now that #RedditRevolt ousted Pao, there's nothing stopping new CEO Steve Huffman from going through with this purge; Wong stated that Huffman had previously confided in him that he would have banned such hateful communities ("anything racist, sexist, or homophobic") outright.[22]

What actually happened was that Huffman decided that all of the terrible communities shouldn't be banned entirely and instead be put behind registration walls and within those new walled gardens they had no advertisements whatsoever. He's also fully embodied the libertarian hands-off approach; in response to a question concerning the growth of white supremacist subreddit /r/CoonTown since the new rules were put in place, he responded, "Horrible, actually, but I don't think you can win an argument by simply silencing the opposition."[23] Several more subreddits were banned the following week, such as ones for lolicon but more importantly /r/CoonTown and its various satellite subreddits;[24] however these were not banned because they were racist but because they were damaging to Reddit's reputation.[25]

[edit] The worst of Reddit

[edit] /r/atheism

Ah, the embarrassing misadventures of angsty adolescence. Back when you could just throw on a black trenchcoat and give a middle finger to religion because there was not a single other problem in your life to be upset about. Not as relentlessly awful as some, but a good demonstration of the fact that not believing in a god or gods in no way implies any capacity for joined-up thinking or not being a horrible person.[26] The average user is significantly younger than on other atheism-related sites and so fairly new to the whole non-belief sphere, thus the whole thing is more of a celebration of the new-found ability to blaspheme without guilt. Because of this, a large amount of posts end up being cross-posted to the self-explanatory subreddit /r/cringe.

Early in 2013, there was a little coup d'etat among the moderators at /r/atheism, wherein the founder of the subreddit was forced out.[note 2] The first assistant moderator the founder had invited to help with /r/atheism became chief moderator. Afterwards, a lot of new policies were implemented, leading to the wailing and gnashing of teeth among most of the members. The original founder then created a new subreddit called /r/atheismrebooted (which is just like it sounds — a rehash of the best and worst of /r/atheism's original format). Yada, yada, yada. One of the users at /r/atheismrebooted was kind enough to post a timeline of their grand soap opera here.

Anyway, it all became so annoying to the Reddit admins that they woke up for once and took /r/atheism off the default subreddit list.[27] However, by the end of 2014, the ruckus had died down and /r/atheism had been (very quietly) restored to the default list.

[edit] /r/Conservative

One of the more infamous subreddits even among other redditors as it's known for being something of a self-parody of conservatives and a crackpot magnet. It is from an American conservative point of view (Londonstan European conservatives are generally not regarded as conservative enough[28]). Known for their mocking of "SJWs" and "safe spaces", it is also one of the most ban-happy subs on Reddit with even any mention of the Southern Strategy being a damnable and bannable lie![29] On slow days, the mods blanket-ban anyone who criticizes their views, even if they've never posted in the sub. We're talking about a group of people with so little going on in their lives that they actually feel the need to comb over entirely different subreddits just looking for people they can ban from their hugbox. Clicking the ban button must be the only way they can get an erection.

Other shenanigans include the pro-fetus wing of r/con seeing fit to weigh in on bacterial life on Mars (as if it somehow relates to a fertilized human egg[30]), believing guys like Mitch freaking McConnell are not true conservatives,[31] and linking to/having heavy overlap with /r/theredpill.[32] In fairness they will sometimes stop short of endorsing some more absurd conspiracy theories and shockingly enough usually accept climate change to some degree (though it's obviously exaggerated by the libruls) so it's a bit better than Conservapaedia, just not by much.

r/ShitRConservativesays is a rival conservative subreddit, in the European-style, set up to monitor the unusually-high proportion of anti-science, racist screeds and PRATTs pouring out of Reddit. Make no mistake, they still despise the DMC and Hilldebeest — but they don't truck with the Big Government, Fiscal Irresponsibility of the wackaloons at RCon.

[edit] /r/conspiracy

Run by a white supremacist moderator who worships Timothy McVeigh, /r/conspiracy is the front page of paranoia on the Internet. Theories discussed there run the gamut from 9/11 to chemtrails to lizard people. /r/conspiracy has a large subscription base but is considered by many to be the laughingstock of the site, with regulars routinely accusing anyone who disrupts their echo chamber of panicking of being a "shill" or an evil impostor working for the government/Jewish overlords/reptilians. Despite being presented as an open forum and "thinking ground" which "respects people of all religions and creeds," we dare you try to question prolific appearances of Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Alex Jones. Lastly, anytime a mass shooting or a terrorist attack or anything horrible where many people die or are injured it is automatically considered a false flag perpetrated by the United States government. No exceptions.

Many /r/conspiracy regulars actually believe that most of Reddit is paid government employees watching them (and yet they still go there). Due to the insanity and hostility of the subreddit, other subreddits such as /r/conspiratard and /r/actualconspiracies have been set up take a slightly more rational approach to conspiracy discussion.

In September of 2014, the subreddit showed how anti-Semitic it really is by posting the documentary Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told in their sidebar (which included a big picture of Hitler's face). The move caused major controversy and was heavily panned by /r/conspiratard and /r/subredditdrama.[33] Despite everything (though it shouldn't be any surprise) the documentary stayed up, and anyone who didn't like it were deemed Zionist Shills.

[edit] /r/creepshots

A subreddit devoted to posting images of women taken without their consent. Although "upskirt" shots were later banned, hundreds were posted here. Notably, a high school teacher was arrested and fired after posting images of girls in his class on /r/creepshots. Like /r/jailbait, /r/creepshots was brought to the attention of the mainstream media by /r/ShitRedditSays and was later shut down during the public relations debacle involving Violentacrez (see below) in October 2012.

[edit] /r/GenderCritical and /r/Gender_Critical

The latter sub was forked because of an internal dispute but the members go between them interchangeably. They deny being a hate sub yet make the same comments and even post the same material as /transfags/, a Neo Nazi transphobic board on 8chan. They just happened to make the exact same comments expressing sympathy for the driver of a truck that a transgender girl jumped in front of. /r/GenderCritical applauded her suicide just as much as /transfags/.

[edit] /r/jailbait

A subreddit that was, from 2007 to 2011, devoted to images of "clothed" (often naked, but with no genitalia showing) teenage girls, often heavily sexualized and taken from Facebook or Photobucket pages without the subject's knowledge. In October 2011, /r/ShitRedditSays brought attention to the existence of /r/jailbait and the mainstream media got involved; after an exposé by Anderson Cooper of CNN, Reddit shut the subreddit down. A noisy portion of Reddit now despises Cooper for doing his job.[34]

In February 2012, Reddit officially instituted a rule banning sexualized images of minors.

[edit] /r/mensrights

One of the top gathering points for MRAs, because they really needed more of those. Notably, /r/mensrights was flagged by the Southern Poverty Law Center in a report about online misogyny.[35]

Essentially full of outdated anti-feminist conspiracy theories, their contest to find the worst woman on the planet, and whining about any joke ever made with men as the punchline, while contributing fuck all to any gender debate. RationalWiki also annoys them.

[edit] /r/theredpill

Similar to /r/MensRights but actually worse, to the point where even /r/MensRights has denounced them as misogynist.[36] While /r/MensRights tries to mask its hatred of women in the language of anti-feminism, the folks on /r/theredpill are far more open about it. They reserve just as much hate for "betas," with quoting and mocking what male posters say in /r/relationships. Described on /r/TrollXChromosomes as "a place where bitter divorcees and young ugly dudes meet up to discuss strategies of making themselves feel better."[37] When you're so toxic that even the bottom 10% of MRAs don't want you, it's a sad day for you.

/r/RedPillWomen is another thriving subreddit. There are so many women who actually believe that they're lesser than men. (If he's flirting with other women, it's just because he's being alpha. Make sure that he knows he's the king!)

We're not joking when we say TRP is worse than /r/Conservative.

[edit] Other Subreddits

The extremely large population of Reddit combined with the relative ease with which one can create a subreddit on any topic has led to a number of minor subreddits with small, yet dedicated populations on topics that can be a little... disconcerting, to say the least. These include:

/r/911Truth
With a disturbingly large number of subscribers, yes, it's as bad as it sounds. Filled with so-called "professionals," the subreddit's Truthers often contradict their own evidence and fail to understand even elementary school physics.
/r/AntiPOZi
For fighting "Cultural HIV".[note 3] Popular among white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, homophobes, and red pillers. This subreddit received Reddit's newest punishment of quarantining, meaning that users must opt into it, users must have a verified email, and the logos are replaced with caution signs.
/r/AskAConservative
Protip: You will get banned from /r/conservative for making a point, and you'll get banned from /r/askaconservative for asking a conservative something.
/r/Art
A case where a subreddit for a relatively generic topic has a very high proportion of users with a particular taste or viewpoint (see also: /r/Politics). Coming from a site with such a strong STEM demographic, it's not too surprising that its userbase's taste in art is extremely basic. The top posts for the longest time were She Only Loves You When She's Drunk - 3,587 pts. Naked Lady, Graphite - 3,022 pts. /r/Art Mods Crying Into Their Beers - 6,999 pts.
/r/Bad_Cop_No_Donut
Polar opposite to law enforcement support subreddit /r/ProtectAndServe (which whackers and wannabes are particularly fond of). While it does fairly thoroughly document cases of police brutality, it comes with an incredibly deep undercurrent of hatred of, paranoia about, and conspiracy-mindedness towards law enforcement "roving gangs of militias instituted by local warlords we call sheriffs."
/r/BadFattyNoDonut
Parody of /r/Bad_Cop_No_Donut, successor to /r/fatpeoplehate. Different name, same shit and it got banned, too.
/r/BeatingWomen2
Originally banned as /r/beatingwomen. It has become more notable after Reddit began to ban controversial subreddits.
/r/CoonTown
See /r/GreatApes. Unfortunately, not about a village filled with cute fuzzy procyonid townspeople.[note 4] On August 5, 2015, /r/CoonTown and several satellite subs were banned as /r/FatPeopleHate was the month before.
/r/ClimateSkeptics
One of the milder ones -- a subreddit devoted to climate change denialism, branding themselves as "seeing past hyperbole, alarmism and environmentalism driven politics." It doesn't particularly help that their sidebar declares that they are "not a science subreddit".
/r/Communism
The USSR to r/DarkEnlightment's Reich. Its mods are avowed Stalin apologists, and it links to articles defending Enver Hoxha and North Korea.
/r/cringeanarchy
After /r/cringe said no to petty bullying and harassment, a fuckton of the users threw a hissyfit and created the cesspool you see today.
/r/cutefemalecorpses
Yes, this is really what it sounds like. Proceed with extreme caution, or better yet, don't proceed at all.
/r/DarkEnlightenment
Reddit's playpen for Neoreactionaries. ("Today In Science: The negroes sure are uppity today."')
/r/Entrepreneur
Unsurprisingly one of the most cringe-worthy subs out there. Users range from plenty of failed lemonade-stand owners who try to talk down others, skeptics that will never take any advice from anyone unless they literally provide a picture of their business bank account, people who read a couple books and now think they are qualified to give business advice, people buying whichever products from Alibaba and selling them in the US or Canada, people trying to steal ideas (you see this in /r/startups as well) or people trying to piggyback on someone's success. It's particularly alarming that the newly appointed mod has his product as his username thus self-promoting every time he posts. This is ironic as Reddit frowns upon self-promotions in general.
/r/European

As of May 12, 2016, the subreddit was quarantined (only viewable by registered users who wish to see it, among other restrictions[38]), creating much outrage and calls for, you guessed it, a migration to Voat.

/r/FatPeopleHate
Exactly what it says on the can: the hating of fat people. As of June 10, 2015, the subreddit was banned by Reddit admins for harassing behavior (now undergoing a diaspora to Reddit clone Voat and 4chan clone 8chan).
/r/Futurology
There's a very big anti-immigrant/anti-reform circlejerk there because it's "logical" in the future; despite, you know, decades of statistical and social science research indicating otherwise.
/r/GreatApes
Unfortunately, this subreddit does not feature discussion of chimpanzees or orangutans. Lately, most of their userbase have moved to /r/coontown.
/r/Holocaust
Created by an ex-mod of /r/conspiracy, a subreddit run by and dedicated to Holocaust denial. In early 2014, the mod list was expanded to include another mod of /r/conspiracy and members from the now banned /r/niggers.
/r/ImGoingToHellForThis
Low-effort "offensive" humor (like, "making the n-word with alphabet snacks" low-effort). This sub is sounding more like your cranky granddad everyday: In addition to trannies, gays, dyed hair, uppity muslims, millennials, and Yoko Ono, they get bent out of shape over MLK Day. They'll be cussing out Hispanic gardeners and threatening to call immigration services on them before they even hit 30.
/r/KotakuInAction
A bunch of whiny manchildren who take Gamergate way too seriously. The members of this subreddit believe that there is a widespread feminist conspiracy to censor or ruin entertainment for everyone, that feminism will bring about the end of men everywhere, and that Gamergate is literally class warfare. All this... over videogames. KotakuInAction itself spun off /r/WikiInAction which is where everyone on KotakuInAction goes to complain about Gamergate stuff on Wikipedia and RationalWiki.
/r/PCMasterRace
A facetious label coined by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, a game reviewer,[39] it was adopted by messianic dweebs who have a preference to playing video games on a personal computer rather than on a game console. And by "preference" we mean pseudo-religious devotion, to the point where the subreddit had once been temporarily banned due to harassment of users in other subreddits.
/r/PhilosophyOfRape
Also exactly what it says on the can (Better described as rape advocates). View only if you place no value on your sanity and faith in humanity. It, among other horrors, thinks that raping a 6 year old is justified.[40] Was taken down in 2015.
/r/PicsOfDeadKids
WTF, this is a subreddit?
/r/Politics
Paulbots and Berniebros: A match made in Hell! Formerly one of the "Defaults", subreddits displayed on the front page to new users, but was removed.
/r/Prolife
Made up of the most hardline of the hardline pro-lifers and often compares abortion to the Holocaust,[41] doesn't support exceptions for incest and/or rape, and often doesn't even support abortion rights when the mothers life is in danger.
/r/PurplePillDebate
An example of the golden mean fallacy par excellence, this sub is meant to be a debating area for "Red pillers" and "Blue pillers" so that they can find a common ground somewhere in the middle.[42] In practice the bias towards hardcore neutrality between extreme misogyny on the one hand and no misogyny on the other leads to the sub generally being only mildly misogynistic, often in the form of JAQing off. It's only real use is for people who are curious enough to debate red pillers without getting banned because they want insight into a weird internet cult.
/r/SexyAbortions
Gosh, most of us at RW are pro-choice, but this?
/r/SpaceDicks
Don't even think about it.
/r/The_Donald
Trump supporters. Cuck, cuck, cuck, and cuck. Got into a fight with /r/Sweden, ending with hilarious results.[43]
/r/TumblrInAction
Exists to mock users of Tumblr and other blogposts that meet their criteria (usually involving those dreaded SJWs), which are often either teenagers or people from TumblrInAction and elsewhere producing self-serving troll blogs. It's a self-sustaining system.
/r/VoAt
"First they came for /r/fatpeoplehate, and I did not speak out because I wasn't /r/fatpeoplehate..."
/r/WhiteRights
Two types of white supremacist. One arguing the Holocaust never happened, the other arguing the Holocaust did happen, and it was the best thing ever.

[edit] Other controversies

[edit] Gullibility

Redditors, like most massive online communities, are known for being particularly gullible and easily sent into a frenzy. As many redditors are "passive content consumers" who only read the title and then upvote or downvote accordingly, without reading or participating in the comments, many posts with extremely misleading or false titles are upvoted to the front page of Reddit. It is common to see a highly upvoted article on the front page, only for the top upvoted comment in the thread to provide a detailed debunking of the article's claims. Reddit is at least as susceptible as the Twitterati to hoaxes about pet topics like Republicans, marijuana, gun control, Bitcoin, Feminists, workers' rights, and so forth.

In a well-known example, redditors fell for a hoax involving a user named "LucidEnding," who claimed to be about to use Oregon's right-to-death laws to perform assisted suicide. After redditors sent him thousands of comments and well-wishes, some users finally discovered his alleged mode of suicide (IV therapy) is not legal in Oregon. In the first of many incidents, Gawker writer Adrian Chen joked that he was behind the LucidEnding profile.[44]

[edit] Violentacrez

Violentacrez was a Reddit user responsible for creating and moderating many of the NSFW subreddits, including /r/jailbait and later, /r/creepshots. Violentacrez posted hundreds, perhaps thousands of images to Reddit. He also regularly made outlandish comments about his sexual history, most notably claiming in an Ask Me Anything session that he had sex with his stepdaughter. In October 2012, Gawker writer Adrian Chen obtained Violentacrez's real identity, that of 49 year old Michael Brutsch from Arlington, Texas, from a disgruntled former friend who met Brutsch at a Reddit meetup and became disillusioned with his disturbing sexual behavior. Chen contacted Brutsch and informed him that he would be writing an article about Brutsch's online behavior. On October 12, 2012, this article was posted.

War was declared.

[edit] /r/ShitRedditSays

A subreddit devoted to criticizing, making fun of, and drawing attention to the ignorant and otherwise disturbing content that some redditors shower with upvotes. SRS users typically find upvoted comments, post them to SRS, and then make fun of or heavily criticize the users involved. SRS was originally designed as a subreddit to try and educate these users, but when those attempts were met with severe downvoting, the users decided to turn the subreddit into the "circlejerk" it is known for today. Because SRS is supposed to be a safe space for marginalized groups to talk without fear of downvotes, those who violate the circlejerk or attempt to argue their viewpoint find themselves swiftly banned, ostensibly to preserve the "safe space" for people who would get downvoted elsewhere on Reddit.[note 5] This practice tends to upset other subreddits, which typically have a much more tolerant policy on speech and are less likely to issue bans (Yes, even /r/mensrights has a better speech record than /r/ShitRedditSays), and users who believe they have been unfairly banned.

This results in /r/ShitRedditSays being blamed for all manner of things by all manner of people in Reddit, such as vote brigading, publishing personal information on other users and conducting campaigns of harassment against other redditors. The fact that there is no definitive proof of an SRS-wide conspiracy for anything worse than cynical insults kept strictly within the subreddit itself[note 6] which is continuously emphasized by the admins of Reddit[45] does not seem to stop them being viewed as a mystical bogeyman or part of an even greater conspiracy encompassing the Reddit Admins (particularly former interim CEO Ellen Pao), who allegedly turn a blind eye.

One such conspiracy that seems to perennially pop up as proof is the doxxing of Youtube comedians Jon "JonTron" Jafari and Stephen "Boogie2988" Williams by someone claiming to be from the SRS IRC chatroom over their support of Gamergate, despite one of them (Williams) having had little to do with Gamergate at the time of the doxxing. However, the main piece of evidence claimed to prove this conspiracy is a screenshot of a now-deleted anonymous post on Pastebin (a service which anyone can post text to) signed with the SRS IRC address at the bottom of the page. No IRC logs, SRS posts, etc., have been found corroborating the allegation that it had been posted by members of SRS, and the style of the doxxing is more consistent with a false flag operation against SRS than a malicious act by SRS users.[46]

[edit] /r/creepyPMs

Another "safe space" for people, largely women, who are creeped upon or harassed via text/SMS or private messages on social media. Reddit's personal messaging system is one of their sources: that is to say, if a photo of yourself (no matter the context) goes to the front page — and you look any bit attractive to the hivemind — expect a veritable flood of sexual advances from a large number of the single 20/30-year-olds that inhabit the site.[47]

[edit] /r/fatpeoplehate

FatPeopleHate, as the name implies, was set up for people who are so completely enveloped with rage that other people are fat that they have to post about it on the Internet, this obviously being a rational activity engaged in by only the most well-adjusted of individuals. Naturally, with Reddit management not caring about any shitty content on their servers unless it somehow causes negative consequences to Reddit itself, it was allowed to live right up until the point that it was determined that it was being used to harass other people, both on and off Reddit, and that its moderators were not banning users who were engaging in this behaviour which included harassing a fat person on a suicide support subreddit and mocking and attacking the staff of Imgur.[48] This, naturally, led to a huge conniption fit amongst the Reddit user base who were convinced that, as opposed to this being an expression of one of Reddit's famous few hard and fast rules ("if you're harassing people or brigading other subreddits we will ban the shit out of you"), it was actually a "politically correct" judgment on the content of /r/FatPeopleHate itself. This, clearly, makes no sense, as Reddit left up myriad other subreddits who don't brigade while also being filled with all manner of racism, misogyny and rape advocacy, as well as the non-FPH affiliated /r/FatPeopleStories which has not engaged in any harassing behaviour of note (while, it must be said, also being somewhat lighter on the "hatred" aspect). At the same time, FPH's defenders also tried the old "but SRS brigades too" argument, which as previously noted doesn't work simply because SRS doesn't brigade. SRS however did take credit for the banning on the basis that everyone would blame them anyway and that it was funny.

The end result of this was of FPH users creating new replacement FatPeopleHate subreddits (which were promptly banned) and invading existing ones such as two whale watching communities - /r/whalewatchers and /r/whalewatching - which were accidentally banned on suspicions of being FPH clones after FPHers started making threads there, and they were later unbanned when the subreddits' moderators explained the situation to an administrator.[49]) With the administrator's cracking down on any attempts to make a new FatPeopleHate subreddit, the FPH users began posting obesity-related content to any and all other subreddits (which was promptly deleted).[50] When the FPH users realized their tantrum did not work, they began threatening to up sticks and move to Voat, a Reddit clone which promises a completely hands-off approach to hosting content and as such is beloved of racists, misogynists etc. The general consensus was that they are more than welcome to do so and were encouraged to follow through. Voat's instability led the FPH users on a brief exodus to 8chan before returning to Voat as their site of choice to stew in their hatred. Not content with just ersatz reddit, a FPH member also created their own Imgur clones because Imgur had been removing FPH uploads; the first was called Slimgur (it was shut down after someone uploaded child pornography and reported it) and the current one is called SLiMG.[51]

[edit] The best of Reddit

Thankfully, the particularly notorious subreddits tend to be in the minority (although the users who favor them do occasionally leak). The long tail of Reddit is an amazing place. The nature of how communities and networks form has led to a great number of subreddits on a bouillabaisse of topics, from hometowns (e.g. /r/Boston, /r/PeoriaIL) to home countries (/r/De[utschland], /r/Australia) to interests and hobbies (/r/DIY, /r/books) to fandoms (/r/ASOIAF, /r/TheWalkingDead). The better of these include:

/r/askhistorians and related
Good starting points if you need homework help, and often feature real-life academics. (Plus /r/badhistory features a tonne of amusing instances where people show how little they have understood.)
/r/aww
Probably the nicest subreddit on the site. (See also: /r/eyebleach)
/r/BestOfOutrageCulture
A sampling of apoplectic rants and overreactions by other users who are, as the title suggests, outraged by a topic (usually something trivial).
r/dataconspiratardshate
Conspiracy theorists love to make up statistics that they claim proves their worldview. Use this to find more credible info they willfully ignore.
/r/debunkthis
When you feel like a visit to the shooting range.
/r/ExplainLikeImFive
Complex or confusing phenomena and situations to be explained in layman's terms.
/r/Goats
The official favourite subreddit of RationalWiki for obvious reasons. And /r/goatpics for the discerning gentlegoat.
/r/legaladvice/
Better Call Saul. A good morning read; the advice tends to be spot-on and their takedowns of crazies are hilarious. ("Help I committed a crime, how do I cover it up?")
/r/nottheonion
For real world happenings that cross into the realm of Poe.
/r/OutOfTheLoop
For catching up on trends, memes, and news stories you don't understand or haven't heard of.
/r/raisedbynarcissists
A source of support for people who were raised by a parent or parents with abusive personality traits, particularly those associated with cluster B personality disorders.
/r/RationalWiki
Toot toot! We have our own horn too...that nobody seems to spend any time on.
/r/scholar
The Pirate Bay of academia. Their powers to ferret out obscure paywalled papers are stupendous.
/r/skeptic
Annoyingly blokey and dumb at times, but people actually come to it asking for help dealing with foolishness and get good answers, so it can be a good place to help combat public stupidity. Also a good repository for skeptic-related news and blogposts not covered here.
/r/spaceporn
For amateur and professional images of space and the things in it (and not, as the title seem to imply, space-related smut). The rest of the SFW Porn Network is cool too.
/r/talesfromtechsupport
Work at an IT helpdesk? A repository of frustrating (and very occasionally heartfelt) stories of dealing with IT clients.
/r/topmindsofreddit
Showcasing the ramblings of redditors who know THE TRUTH about the Jewish space-lizard Marxist bankers who are faking school shootings in order to destroy the white race... or something like that.
/r/whatsthisbug
A great community to help you identify what's currently making you say "NOPE".

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Notes

  1. In a stroke of genius, SRS immediately claimed full responsibility on the basis that they were going to be blamed for it anyway.
  2. The minor issue of the founder not logging onto /r/atheism in about a year. Gotta keep current, y'know.
  3. the term "poz" is a corruption of the word "positive" as in "HIV-positive"
  4. "I went to Walmart last night to buy gin and noticed the people around me: muslims, non-whites, foreigners, and etc. I doubt they came here because they loved Western culture and cared for it...Then I passed two white dudes who looked gay." Ah, you gotta love Eugene. Even other racists hate him because he is a "jew sympathizer". No sub will accept him (not even Voat!) so he just trolls.
  5. It does sound a little harsh, and it and related subreddits have had their share of unpopular or in-poor-taste ban decisions, but we're dealing with an audience that tends to verge into boob jokes and dank memes within a short period of time (Particularly on default subreddits)
  6. In fact, the subreddit uses a automated historical vote tracking system in an effort to maintain transparency in preventing vote brigades

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Put Your Rage Into a Cartoon and Exit Laughing, New York Times
  2. William Shatner Voices Dismay At Reddit's Dark Side, Huffington Post
  3. erik (hueypriest). "Top Posts of the Year and Best of 2012 Awards", Reddit Blog
  4. Reddit CEO Admits 'We're Still In The Red', Business Insider
  5. As of May 2013, 71 million unique views, 5487 active subreddits, approaching 5 billion pageviews a month.
  6. To be fair, at its peak, Redditors coming to RationalWiki could easily exceed a million visitors. Our poor servers had no chance. http://www.reddit.com/domain/rationalwiki.org
  7. The Horrifying Food of Reddit's Bro-Cooking Community , Vice
  8. Why Reddit sucks: some scientific evidence, Washington Post
  9. The "Ron Paul 2012!!!!!11!" brigade was downvoted to virtual invisibility in many instances afterwards.
  10. https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/39bpam/removing_harassing_subreddits/
  11. http://voat.co/
  12. These voat.co infidels also take goats name in vain!
  13. Chitra Ramaswamy, "Is Reddit’s Ellen Pao just too radical for Silicon Valley’s unequal terrain?", The Guardian
  14. Derrick Clifton, "The problem with the backlash against Reddit's CEO that nobody’s talking about", The Daily Dot
  15. Megan Condis, "#RedditRevolt is harassment dressed up as free speech", Al Jazeera America
  16. Gay Farang, "RedditRevolt: Just Another Offshoot of GamerGate", Mid or Techies
  17. Mike Isaac, "Ellen Pao Is Stepping Down as Reddit’s Chief", The New York Times
  18. Alexis "kn0thing" Ohanian, "An old team at reddit", /r/announcements, Reddit
  19. Sam Biddle, "Was Ellen Pao Set Up? Former Reddit CEO Unleashes on Founders", Gawker
  20. Noah Kulwin, "Reddit Chief Engineer Bethanye Blount Quits After Less Than Two Months on the Job", Re/code
  21. Gabrielle Bluestone, "Top Reddit Engineer Quits Saying Ousted CEO Ellen Pao Was Set Up to Fail", Gawker
  22. T.C. Sottek, "Reddit's secrets are being leaked by the company's former CEO", The Verge
  23. Adi Robertson, "Reddit needs to stop pretending racism is valuable debate", The Verge, July 29, 2015
  24. T.C. Sottek, "Reddit bans several of its most racist communities", The Verge
  25. Steve Huffman, "Content Policy Update", /r/announcements, Reddit, "We didn't ban them for being racist. We banned them because we have to spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with them. If we want to improve Reddit, we need more people, but CT's existence and popularity has also made recruiting here more difficult."
  26. See the redditors of /r/atheism in action.
  27. Finally.
  28. Link to different sub mocking them for it
  29. /r/badhistory deconstructs this
  30. "KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL!" "Science Tools!" - updated Bill Nye Theme Song
  31. Warning direct link
  32. Sadly it is so
  33. "Isn't r/Conspiracy overwhelmingly opposed to 'big government?' And yet they admire the man who led one of the most intrusive governments in history!"
  34. Enter if you wish.
  35. Misogyny: The Sites, SPLC
  36. It's seriously that bad.
  37. Pretty much.
  38. https://reddit.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/205701245-Quarantined-Subreddits
  39. Ben Croshaw, "I meant it as a dig", The Escapist.
  40. http://www.fstdt.com/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=109504 We are not making this up
  41. https://np.reddit.com/r/prolife/comments/4p3a1v/ironically_it_was_a_holocaust_survivor_who_was/
  42. This is pretty much like trying to find a compromise between being a Neo-Nazi and just not being a Neo-Nazi.
  43. In Reddit war, Swedes defeat Trump fans with fuktiga mejmejs (dank memes) We Hunted the Mammoth
  44. Why the Internet Thinks I Faked Having Cancer on a Message Board
  45. "The accusations of brigading we have investigated many times, and the data just doesn't support the claims." --spez, "Reddit in 2016 (Archive)"
  46. A KotakuInAction user who regularly logs chats on the /r/ShitRedditSays IRC room mentioned that they could not find any instances of the unusual slang found in the doxx. And let's be frank here, what kind of utter moron would knowingly attach their name or organization to something like this?
  47. Oh, you think we're joking?
  48. https://np.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/39bpam/removing_harassing_subreddits/cs20pnh
  49. Reddit, Administrator Ocrasorm explains how /r/whalewatching was banned and unbanned
  50. Reddit, /r/ThePopcornStand "The banning of /r/fatpeoplehate."
  51. Archive of Slimgur/SLiMG creator discussing the suspension of Slimgur
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