| Someone is wrong on|
“”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|
“”Reddit has done well in getting interest from the mainstream[.] I just wonder if [...] allowing these children to run rampant and post whatever they feel will cause the most collateral damage.
Reddit is a social media content-aggregation website which bills itself as "The Front Page of the Internet". It is incredibly popular, collecting over 37 billion views and 400 million unique visitors in 2012 alone, even though it can't make itself profitable.
Reddit works by having users, or "redditors", submit links to other websites, upload images, or just provide textual content, or "self-posts". These posts and their comments are all voted up or down by other redditors. Reddit displays more recent and more upvoted content higher, so "good" stuff gets visibility while "bad" stuff falls away. The site is divided into smaller sections, or "subreddits". Each subreddit focuses on a particular subject, and any redditor can create one; subreddit creators automatically become moderators on those subreddits. Moderators (normal users) effectively run most of the website.
Reddit admins take a very hands-off approach, wishing to keep their CDA section 230 immunity. It's swiftly becoming a site entirely made of YouTube comments.Given that Reddit is absolutely huge it has attracted an absolutely huge number of fuckwits, documented below.
- 1 Whence the awfulness?
- 2 Prominent terrible subreddits
- 3 Other fairly awful subreddits
- 4 Other controversies
- 5 The best of Reddit
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
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.
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 that 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 sockpuppet 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. This is made worse when moderators across seemingly disparate or only tangentially-related subreddits are sympathetic to these crank ideas and tolerate them, much to the detriment of the community. For example, /r/ronpaul redditors spread into the /r/libertarianism subreddit, which then spread into the /r/politics subreddit, eventually turning Reddit into a particularly noisy fanbase for Paul and Bernie Sanders' presidential campaigns. Russian propaganda outlets such as SputnikNews and RT (not to mention Breitbart) routinely make it onto the front page whenever they are pushing an anti-Clinton or pro-Sanders story.
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 harassing 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, they will be downvoted, and if they aren't, 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, it will quite rapidly become filled with low-effort content, and become 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. For insight, CEO Steve Huffman is a doomsday prepper who frequently attends Burning Man, a yearly gathering for filthy-rich Libertarians in a desert. This might explain why /r/The_Donald hasn't been banned yet (or /r/AltRight, or anywhere else where Nazis congregate, dox people, and spread racist propaganda). /r/Anarcho_Capitalism is just one bad day away from joining them themselves.
Meanwhile, 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.
In June 2015, Reddit shut down several breathtakingly odious subreddits that weren't just saying hideous things or brigading other subreddits, but also operating as bases for harassment off-site. This included the infamous /r/FatPeopleHate subreddit, which included over 100,000 subscribers prior to its ban, and was, ironically, one of the more censored subreddits on the site, 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 named Voat, which promptly melted under the load.
Much of the hatred, centered on the hashtag #RedditRevolt, surrounded Reddit's interim CEO Ellen Pao, whose sexual discrimination lawsuit against her former employer 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 were 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 for Pao's removal surged in popularity, and comment sections across the Internet seemed to think that #RedditRevolt, which had its origins in June, only started in July in response to the firing. One commentator on 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.
Pao ultimately resigned from her position during this shitstorm despite the fact that another member of the executive board who was one of the site's founders was actually responsible for the popular employee's firing. But the real bombshell comes from former CEO Yishan Wong, who first suggested that Reddit's co-founder Alexis Ohanian had set Pao up to take the fall for his actions. Reddit's chief engineer Bethanye Blount also echoed these sentiments when she quit following Pao's resignation. After the new CEO announced an AMA ("ask me anything") to handle questions about 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 had ousted Pao, there was 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 outright. 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." Several more subreddits were banned the following week, such as ones for lolicon, but more importantly /r/CoonTown and its various satellite subreddits; however, these were not banned for being racist, but because they were damaging to Reddit's reputation.
Prominent terrible subreddits
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. 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. However, by the end of 2014, the ruckus had died down and /r/atheism had been (very quietly) restored to the default list.
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). 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! 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.
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), believing guys like Mitch freaking McConnell are not true conservatives, and linking to/having heavy overlap with /r/theredpill. 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 DNC and Hillary Clinton, but they don't truck with the Big Government, Fiscal Irresponsibility of the wackaloons at RCon.
The front page of paranoia on the Internet. Run by a white supremacist moderator who worships Timothy McVeigh, they made Hitler Did Nothing Wrong their official documentary long before Trump ever considered running for president. Theories discussed here 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. People who are interested in woo but not politics, meanwhile, have mostly fled to /r/ConspiracyII.
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. Despite everything (though it shouldn't be any surprise), the documentary stayed up, and anyone who didn't like it were deemed Zionist Shills.
It is regularly featured on r/TopMindsOfReddit, another watchdog sub.
A place for Trump supporters to gather. The majority of t_d doesn't really seem to have any defined political stance. It can change with the wind depending on what Trump does/says. People rarely speak out if they disagree on something that he does, and they will tie themselves into knots to defend anything the Alt-Right does. Next thing you know, paying $5 dollars for a gallon of water will be good for America and bread lines are going to be "Alpha".
They're known for brigading all over the site. It's a mystery why the sub is allowed to exist when it frequently breaks the site's TOS, though they purchase a lot of Gold (stickied post paid for by debit), so that might have something to do with it. They operate a half dozen splinter subs, among them r/The_Farage, r/The_Ivanka, and r/Le_Pen.
Milo "Raspberry Reich" Yiannopoulos was a mod, until he was caught scamming money off of the sub. (This was his second scam: He also raised $100,000 for a "white male" scholarship fund and then pocketed the money.)
The same exact premise and worldview as /r/The_Donald, but focuses on legislative races across the United States.
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 video games.
KotakuInAction itself spun off from /r/WikiInAction, where everyone on KotakuInAction goes to complain about Gamergate stuff on Wikipedia and RationalWiki.
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.
Similar to /r/MensRights but actually worse, to the point where even /r/MensRights has denounced them as misogynist. 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." 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.
Other fairly awful subreddits
Reddit has many users. Reddit makes it easy to create splinter communities. As a result, Reddit hosts innumerable small, dedicated, and truly horrifying communities.
- 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.
- The subreddit's Truthers scrape the bottom of the conspiracist barrel. Case A: 9/11 terrorists ate pizza = secret government code words. Case B: Linking to globalresearch.ca. Case C: Shitty memes. Like, really shitty. Case D: It's an echo chamber. The sidebar states "Submissions [...] supporting the official version [...] are considered off-topic here." (No quotemine.)
- Supports homeopathy and other assorted alternative medicine nonsense.
- 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".
- A rather underpopulated subreddit at around only 12,600 subscribers as of April 2018, /r/overpopulation is a rather misleading source when it comes to human ecology. Misanthropic in nature, users repeatedly predict overpopulation doomsday scenarios. To top off its woo, its top post is from The Onion.
- The USSR to r/DarkEnlightment's Reich. Its mods are avowed Stalin apologists, and it links to articles defending Enver Hoxha and North Korea.
- Seizing the memes of production. Notorious for having entire comment threads reading "Stalin did nothing wrong. Kulaks deserved it." The moderators have been known to be authoritarian.
- Crawling with tankies who will hunt you down if you say anything good about the Nordics. Spend their free time ridiculing people who speak positively of the Democratic Party or Labour, and fantasizing about the perfect gulag living conditions. Unlike /r/FULLCOMMUNISM, there are no signs of irony at all.
- Mostly just grousing, joking about the status quo and how depressing the world can be (while blaming it all on capitalism, of course). There's definitely some liberal-hating going on (because after all, liberals != commies) coupled with a lot of predictably unrealistic expectations about the results of communism. Time well spent, guys.
- /r/Communism's marginally more moderate cousin. Bans Maoists. Acquired recent notoriety for purging catgirls.
- 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."
- Edgy kids who spend most of their time enjoying stories of police officers being attacked/killed for being "fascists". They see no contradictions between advocating for the death of "fascists" and simultaneously defending vegetarianism because of the goodness of all life. Has a reputation for being extremely overdramatic and incapable of handling views that deviate virtually at all from their own. This has effectively scared off many of the more reasonable posters and left behind only the most extreme posters. While they can talk a big game it is increasingly just nihilism and misanthropy hiding behind anarchism.
- Some users got tired of the constant "edginess" and founded /r/leftwithoutedge for a place to discuss leftist politics without constant bloodthirst. In retaliatiation the worst parts of /r/anarchism founded /r/leftwithsharpedge (see below).
- Ever wonder what a leftist version of /pol/ would look like? This thankfully tiny (and short-lived) sub was practically founded on the idea of sending death threats to other reddit users, particularly to less violent leftists, and spent most of its time fantasizing about killing everyone not quite as radical as them during the inevitable "revolution". Was hilariously and unsurprisingly discovered to be all bark and no bite however when a self-described police officer confronted them in their own sub and they quickly grew confused as to what to do and revealed they would not act on their convictions unless there was no chance of personal risk to them.. Now banned, the last straw likely being caught writing songs about murdering and cannibalising another reddit user.
- "To denounce the evil of truth and love..." They have never been anything besides pseudo-intellectual bigots.
- Dedicated to 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.
- An alt-right subreddit... that was actually shut down by Reddit management on Febuary 1, 2017 after calls for doxxing the man who punched Richard Spencer. 
- Reddit's playpen for Neoreactionaries. ("Today In Science: The negroes sure are uppity today.")
- If you think Hitler sounds like he was pretty bad but you don't want to jump to any conclusions, these guys are here to help.
- Sidebar: "Debate amongst fascists is welcomed, and critiques of fascism (as well as those just curious) are encouraged to ask questions." Unlike actual fascism, this fascist subreddit loves free speech!
- As of May 12, 2016, the subreddit was quarantined (only viewable by registered users who wish to see it, among other restrictions), creating much outrage and calls for, you guessed it, a migration to Voat.
- Has a fairly classy looking design, and instructs its users to "post examples of redditors spreading disease or promoting behaviors which are dangerous to public health". In practice, this means they link to Reddit posts describing what they deem to be acts of depravity by who they deem as "degenerates"...which totally won't lead to harassment, as if the rules they display to cover their ass are to be taken seriously. The groups they deem to be degenerates includes pedophiles, and such a revulsion to pedophilia is definitely understandable...only they treat LGBT people with the same amount of scorn. With post titles like "The Jews have finally decided to drop the anti-'hate' and anti-White shit, and have become productive comedians", it's fairly obvious what kind of people its target audience consists of. Not particularly well-known, but earned its spot here for its truly sickening nature. Not surprisingly, it is now banned.
- Two flavors of white supremacist. One arguing the Holocaust never happened, the other arguing the Holocaust did happen, and it was the best thing ever.
- The evil twin of /r/AsianMasculinity. It calls itself "a space for Asian men and Asian women ... [but] primarily focused on Asian Men." In practice, it's little more than a circle jerk of unhinged hatred for Asian women who date outside their race, with a side of fetishism for natural blondes. Challenging any of the sub's beliefs will result in being banned as a "white troll" (they even require photographic proof that a "troll" is Asian). The racial slur "whitey" is commonly used;, and one thread celebrated the fact that white American mortality rates are rising. In one example of their contempt for Asian immigrants who have the gall to integrate, commenters on an incident where an Asian woman shopping at an Asian market stall insisted on speaking English suggested that the people working at said market stall should have pretended not to speak English and acted "super, super Asian" to deal with the woman's supposed "self-hate". . This is another example of them seeing themselves as superior to white people and those who integrate, describing them in very negative terms and using a perjorative Vietnamese word meaning "lost origin" to describe a family attempting to blend in. This whole post and associated comments are basically a call to action to get Asians in America to stop integrating. 
- Short for
Voluntary AssholesInvoluntary Celibates. /r/incels was just /r/truecels under another banner as they moved following a quarantine. (r/truecels had a banner of Eliott Rodger. Can't imagine why nobody wants to sleep with them!) There's nothing to understand other than these people want to fuck virgins and have constructed their entire worldview around wanting to fuck virgins. This new pet theory is white women are conspiring to have as many mixed-race babies as possible. If there's any place more cartoonishly evil than the Red Pill, this was it. Was banned in April 2017, only to be replaced by r/incels, which was then taken down in the following November.
- 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. Was taken down in 2015.
- In theory, GenderCritical is a "radical feminist subreddit to discuss gender from a critical perspective." In practice, it's a breeding ground for trans-exclusionary radical feminism. The subreddit has no unifying opinion other than a strong dislike and distrust of trans people, especially trans women. The stickied post is a "peak trans" thread, in which people can talk about their bad experiences with certain trans individuals and how it made them turn on all trans people. GC cites a handful of fringe doctors and scientists when defending its positions. Some GC users even go as far as arguing that the acceptance of trans people is actually a conspiracy created by surgeons, doctors, Big Pharma, and/or the makeup industry to make money. Most users of GC are otherwise liberal and don't have an issue with lesbians or gay people, but most of them do look down upon bisexuals.
Very far rightists
- Made up of the most hardline of the hardline pro-lifers and often compares abortion to the Holocaust, doesn't support exceptions for incest and/or rape, and often doesn't even support abortion rights when the mother's life is in danger. "Pro-life" indeed. </sarcasm>
- A sub for very conservative Christians created because they denounced the more mainstream Christian sub, /r/Christianity, for being too moderate/liberal and thus not truly Christian. Unsurprisingly rabidly homophobic (while insisting it's not and if you point it out well then you're the real bigot!) and sometimes (though not always) anti-Catholic.
- A place where Ancaps fantasise about throwing Socialists out of helicopters. Ultimately banned on August 15, 2017 following the tragic events of the Charlottesville white nationalist rally.
- A "free speech" subreddit where people can post "unpopular opinions". Popular topics on the subreddit include anti-LGBT, far-right conservatism, anarchism, and religious fundamentalism.
- Reddit's self-described "syndicalist commune of ideas". /r/GamerGhazi shares a significant userbase with aforementioned subreddits /r/ShitLiberalsSay and /r/FULLCOMMUNISM. As of April 2018, it has had a post that claims that all people of a certain race are racist and attempts to establish an echo chamber[note 4] stickied since 4 November 2017.
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.
Violentacrez, jailbait and creepshots
Violentacrez was a Reddit user responsible for creating and moderating many of the NSFW subreddits, including /r/jailbait and later, /r/creepshots.
/r/jailbait 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.
/r/creepshots was 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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. 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.) 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). 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.
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.)
- Probably the nicest subreddit on the site. (See also: /r/eyebleach)
- Honestly, the best subs are the ones covering how bad the other subs are. /r/economics (or ones with similar content) has some competent people, but also all sorts of Reddit quackery. /r/badeconomics is the single best place on all of Reddit to discuss anything related to Econ by a large margin. See also /r/BadHistory, /r/BadLinguistics, /r/BadLegalAdvice.
- Cousin of /r/BadEconomics. Annoyingly circlejerky at times and not as good for serious discussion, but great at savaging the dimwittedness that the rest of Reddit spawns.
- A sampling of apoplectic rants and overreactions by other users who are, as the title suggests, outraged by a topic (usually something trivial).
- Conspiracy theorists love to make up statistics that they claim proves their worldview. Use this to find more credible info they willfully ignore.
- When you feel like a visit to the shooting range.
- Complex or confusing phenomena and situations to be explained in layman's terms.
- A satire and mock-subreddit of /r/GenderCritical, /r/Gender_Critical, /r/GenderCritLesbians, and the farcical /r/GCdebatesQT.
- The official favourite subreddit of RationalWiki for obvious reasons. And /r/goatpics for the discerning gentlegoat.
- 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?") For more entertainment, see their sister site, /r/BadLegalAdvice. (DO THE JUDGES REPRESENT THE SOIL!? WHO HAS TITLE TO MY SHIRT!?)
- For real world happenings that cross into the realm of Poe.
- For catching up on trends, memes, and news stories you don't understand or haven't heard of.
- 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.
- Bork bork.
- Toot toot! We have our own horn too...that nobody seems to spend any time on.
- The Pirate Bay of academia. Their powers to ferret out obscure paywalled papers are stupendous.
- 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.
- 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.
- Work at an IT helpdesk? A repository of frustrating (and very occasionally heartfelt) stories of dealing with IT clients.
- 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.
- A great community to help you identify what's currently making you say "NOPE".
- A collection of the craziest posts on social media. Craziness can range from average nuttery to absolute psychopathy. (Poe's law DEFINITELY applies!) (Possible NSFW warning!)
- It's time to see what ol' granny's up to!
- What is this thing called Reddit?, BBC News
- Reddit is a failed state, The Verge
- Can Reddit Grow Up?, The New York Times
- Reddit or Stormfront?
- Let's play Reddit's Controversial Opinions Bingo! -Or if you want to lose your faith in humanity, enter these terms into the search bar.
- Anatomy of a Circlejerk, or A Grand Unified Theory of Redditors A decent (if generalized) explanation of the mindset of not just redditors but the comments section of some other popular sites as well (it helps that they tend to overlap in commentators).
- You are benned from r/conservative
- In a stroke of genius, SRS immediately claimed full responsibility on the basis that they were going to be blamed for it anyway.
- The minor issue of the founder not logging onto /r/atheism in about a year. Gotta keep current, y'know.
- the term "poz" is a corruption of the word "positive" as in "HIV-positive"
- "Anyone who thinks this statement is wrong ...: find some place else to debate it."
- 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)
- In fact, the subreddit uses a automated historical vote tracking system in an effort to maintain transparency in preventing vote brigades
- Put Your Rage Into a Cartoon and Exit Laughing, New York Times
- William Shatner Voices Dismay At Reddit's Dark Side, Huffington Post
- erik (hueypriest). "Top Posts of the Year and Best of 2012 Awards", Reddit Blog
- Reddit CEO Admits 'We're Still In The Red', Business Insider
- As of May 2013: 71 million unique views, 5487 active subreddits, approaching 5 billion pageviews a month.
- The Horrifying Food of Reddit's Bro-Cooking Community , Vice
- Why Reddit sucks: some scientific evidence, Washington Post
- The "Ron Paul 2012!!!!!11!" brigade was downvoted to virtual invisibility in many instances afterwards.
- Osno, Evan, "Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich", New Yorker 1.30.17.
- These voat.co infidels also take goats name in vain!
- Chitra Ramaswamy, "Is Reddit’s Ellen Pao just too radical for Silicon Valley’s unequal terrain?", The Guardian
- Derrick Clifton, "The problem with the backlash against Reddit's CEO that nobody’s talking about", The Daily Dot
- Megan Condis, "#RedditRevolt is harassment dressed up as free speech", Al Jazeera America
- Gay Farang, "RedditRevolt: Just Another Offshoot of GamerGate", Mid or Techies
- Mike Isaac, "Ellen Pao Is Stepping Down as Reddit’s Chief", The New York Times
- Alexis "kn0thing" Ohanian, "An old team at reddit", /r/announcements, Reddit
- Sam Biddle, [Gawker.com: archive.is, web.archive.org "Was Ellen Pao Set Up? Former Reddit CEO Unleashes on Founders"], Gawker
- Noah Kulwin, "Reddit Chief Engineer Bethanye Blount Quits After Less Than Two Months on the Job", Re/code
- Gabrielle Bluestone, [Gawker.com: archive.is, web.archive.org "Top Reddit Engineer Quits Saying Ousted CEO Ellen Pao Was Set Up to Fail"], Gawker
- T.C. Sottek, "Reddit's secrets are being leaked by the company's former CEO", The Verge
- Adi Robertson, "Reddit needs to stop pretending racism is valuable debate", The Verge, July 29, 2015
- T.C. Sottek, "Reddit bans several of its most racist communities", The Verge
- 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."
- See the redditors of /r/atheism in action.
- Link to different sub mocking them for it
- /r/badhistory deconstructs this
- "KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL!" "Science Tools!" - updated Bill Nye Theme Song
- Warning direct link
- Sadly it is so
- "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!"
- Misogyny: The Sites, SPLC
- It's seriously that bad.
- Pretty much.
- Warning direct link
- Subreddit Drama almost has too many posts on this
- Most of the planet, esesentially
- Reddit Bans Alt-Right Group http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/02/01/reddit-bans-alt-right-group.html
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- http://www.fstdt.com/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=109504 We are not making this up
- File:GamerGhazi Subreddit Similarity Page 2.png
- Concerning White Fragility
- [Gawker.com: archive.is, web.archive.org Why the Internet Thinks I Faked Having Cancer on a Message Board]
- Enter if you wish.
- "The accusations of brigading we have investigated many times, and the data just doesn't support the claims." --spez, "Reddit in 2016 (Archive)"
- 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?
- Oh, you think we're joking?
- Reddit, Administrator Ocrasorm explains how /r/whalewatching was banned and unbanned
- Reddit, /r/ThePopcornStand "The banning of /r/fatpeoplehate."
- Archive of Slimgur/SLiMG creator discussing the suspension of Slimgur