Trigger warning.png

Trigger warning!

The following article might be triggering for some people depending on past experiences.

Please read with caution, go back to the home page, or look at something nice.

Reddit wants to be a techno-libertarian's wet dream, but in practice it's a weak feudal system that's actually run by a small group of angry warlords who use "free speech" as a weapon.

—T.C. Sottek[1]

The Reddit logo.

Reddit is a controversial and popular social media website for sharing links and text posts. It is organised into "subreddits" (or just "reddits"), meaning a subforum, which are denoted by a "/r/" followed by the subreddit's name, e.g., "/r/SRSFunny".

Institutional oppression

Unchecked institutional-level racism creates a toxic user experience.[2]

Reddit is not only made-up of a bigoted user-base, it is systemically racist and cissexist. It has institutional-level oppressive norms. This means the admins themselves ignore organised abusive trolling and hate speech even when it disrupts the normal functioning of subreddits, and even when the mods ask for help from higher-up.[3]

Reddit administrators employ a laissez-faire policy of "government", which predictably devolves into a from of feudal state.[1][4][5] Yishin Wong, the chief executive of Reddit, explicitly states their position in the following blog post extract:

[W]e consider ourselves not just a company running a website where one can post links and discuss them, but the government of a new type of community. The role and responsibility of a government differs from that of a private corporation, in that it exercises restraint in the usage of its powers.

[...] The philosophy behind this stems from the idea that each individual is responsible for his or her moral actions.[6]

The double standard, doublespeak, and cognitive dissonance here are powerful. Moreover, in the past Reddit has indeed issued site-wide bans on linking to Gawker because they revealed an extremely abusive[7] member's private information.[8] Presumably this double irony is lost on the admins.

Notable controversies

Reddit was the last high-profile website to ban the posting of hacked celebrity photos.[9][10] Reddit's /r/TheFappening after leaking the private photos of celebrities attempted to donate to two charities, Prostate Cancer Foundation and, making the former issue the statement:

A post appeared on Reddit late Monday afternoon, September 1, 2014. A Reddit user directed other Reddit users to make a donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation without the Foundation’s knowledge. We would never condone raising funds for cancer research in this manner. Out of respect for everyone involved and in keeping with our own standards, we are returning all donations that resulted from this post.[9]

Reddit itself however, did make money from this gross infringement of privacy, and have made it clear they will not be giving it back:

Q: You profited on the gold given to users in these deplorable subreddits! Give it back / Give it to charity!

A: This is a tricky issue, one which we haven't figured out yet and that I'd welcome input on. Gold was purchased by our users, to give to other users. Redirecting their funds to a random charity which the original payer may not support is not something we're going to do. We also do not feel that it is right for us to decide that certain things should not receive gold. The user purchasing it decides that. We don't hold this stance because we're money hungry (the amount of money in question is small).[11]

See also

External links