Reddit jumps shark, bans /r/fatpeoplehate for "violating the reddit rules to keep everyone safe"
Many of us are familiar with the old quotation, "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." But we rarely stop to think what other religions we have. Safety is one. Science is another. Tolerance is yet a third. And when fascism comes to America, it may well be wrapped in those as well.
And what are those "rules of reddit"?
These guidelines are intended to keep people safe, protect kids, keep reddit running, and to encourage personal responsibility for what you do on reddit. You must:
- Keep Everyone Safe: You agree to not intentionally jeopardize the health and safety of others or yourself.
- Keep Personal Information Off reddit: You agree to not post anyone's sensitive personal information that relates to that person's real world or online identity.
- Do Not Incite Harm: You agree not to encourage harm against people.
- Protect Kids: You agree not to post any child pornography or sexually suggestive content involving minors.
- Take Personal Responsibility: As you use reddit, please remember that your speech may have consequences and could lead to criminal and civil liability.
You also agree to follow the rules of reddit.
- Don't spam.
- Don't ask for votes or engage in vote manipulation.
- Don't post personal information.
- What might be personal information?
- No child pornography or sexually suggestive content featuring minors.
- Don't break the site or do anything that interferes with normal use of the site.
So... uh... not to be master of the obvious, but which rule was broken? /r/fatpeoplehate was a community of people who disliked fatties. Not particular fatties, fatties in general. (It's not a prejudice that I share, but I understand the resentment and disgust, even if I'm about to have a double bacon cheeseburger just to spite them).
And even more... who wrote those completely juvenile rules? They read like a kindergartner proclaiming herself Führer in the name of safety. Reddit has gone downhill more quickly than anyone has anticipated. It's a simplistic view of the world where criticism is bad, but people click on ads is good.
Reddit also posted an announcement explaining this event:
We will ban subreddits that allow their communities to use the subreddit as a platform to harass individuals when moderators don’t take action. We’re banning behavior, not ideas.
Today we are removing five subreddits that break our reddit rules based on their harassment of individuals. If a subreddit has been banned for harassment, you will see that in the ban notice. The only banned subreddit with more than 5,000 subscribers is r/fatpeoplehate.
According to Reddit dictator Ellen Pao, the following subreddits were removed:
r/hamplanethatred (3071 subscribers), r/transfags (149), r/neofag (1239) and r/shitniggerssay (219)
However, zero evidence was given of who these subreddits 'harassed' and whether that was general criticism, e.g. "Taylor Swift writes boring songs" or specific criticism, e.g. "Dave Hamilton smells like stale cream cheese." These are important determinants as to whether Reddit is merely removing troublesome ideological enemies, or enforcing some actual policy.