Reddit has updated its content policy to be able to quarantine offensive communities. This is in line with what CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman had promised in July with respect to tackling the dark side of the Internet.
The company also confirmed that it has shut down subreddits that excessively promoted racist ideologies, and one that promoted graphic content involving minors. Some of the communities that have been removed include /r/CoonTown, /r/WatchNiggersDie, /r/bestofcoontown, /r/koontown, /r/CoonTownMods, and /r/CoonTownMeta.
Explaining the quarantining process, Huffman says, “One new concept is Quarantining a community, which entails applying a set of restrictions to a community so its content will only be viewable to those who explicitly opt in. We will Quarantine communities whose content would be considered extremely offensive to the average redditor.”
Of course, Reddittors are offering mixed reactions about the new policy, and most of them are voicing anti-ban sentiments. Huffman had already anticipated this uproar, and cheekily ended his post with ‘RIP my inbox’.
Huffman took over the position of CEO after Ellen Pao resigned last month. Her resignation was attributed to the large criticism she faced following the abrupt firing of a AMA co-ordinator Victoria Taylor, which led to widespread blackouts across the platform.
In May, Reddit even announced new anti-harassment rules, where the site’s administrators had said that they will be prohibiting “attacks and harassment of individuals” through the platform. According to the new rules, the website’s administrators will now probe complaints of online harassment and potentially ban users over them. The cases will be investigated by administrators rather that leaving it to moderators and respond based on the nature of the harassment.
Read Huffman’s post below:
Today we are releasing an update to our Content Policy. Our goal was to consolidate the various rules and policies that have accumulated over the years into a single set of guidelines we can point to.
Thank you to all of you who provided feedback throughout this process. Your thoughts and opinions were invaluable. This is not the last time our policies will change, of course. They will continue to evolve along with Reddit itself.
Our policies are not changing dramatically from what we have had in the past. One new concept is Quarantining a community, which entails applying a set of restrictions to a community so its content will only be viewable to those who explicitly opt in. We will Quarantine communities whose content would be considered extremely offensive to the average redditor.
Today, in addition to applying Quarantines, we are banning a handful of communities that exist solely to annoy other redditors, prevent us from improving Reddit, and generally make Reddit worse for everyone else. Our most important policy over the last ten years has been to allow just about anything so long as it does not prevent others from enjoying Reddit for what it is: the best place online to have truly authentic conversations.
I believe these policies strike the right balance.
update: I know some of you are upset because we banned anything today, but the fact of the matter is we spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with a handful of communities, which prevents us from working on things for the other 99.98% (literally) of Reddit. I’m off for now, thanks for your feedback. RIP my inbox.