Reddit is one of the most open platforms for discussion, but all too often that discussion can lead to arguments and harassment of a certain opinion/person. The admins of the site are looking to make a few changes to hopefully neuter the harassment and bullying, making it a better place to discuss topics.
The new anti-harassment policy contains several new rules regarding harassment and how to report it. Reddit claims it will be more hands-on with dealing punishments to repeated offenders, in order to keep things civil.
Reddit defines harassment as:
“Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2) fear for their safety or the safety of those around them.”
We should expect subreddits like /r/fatpeoplehate and /r/justneckbeardthings will disappear from the site, despite previous defense for these crass subreddits by ex-CEO Yishan Wong.
There is also the worry since this is case-by-case, report brigades will hurt people with controversial views. Reddit has not had great perception on harassment in the past, and may let one person off while another is removed for differing reasons.
Reddit users also questioned the admin’s defense of moderators, considering 35 per cent of reports were for censorship and/or moderator harassment. Each subreddit has a different moderating staff, meaning content is handled differently across each subreddit depending on rules and moderators.
Similar to Wikipedia, the volunteering attitude of moderators can lead to abuse and censorship of certain opinions. The most recent case was /r/technology where moderators had an auto-removal tool for topics with keywords ‘Tesla’, ‘Comcast’, ‘NSA’, ‘Snowden’, which resulted in an uprising against the mod staff.
Another subreddit /r/leagueoflegends recently rolled out a new set of rules banning personal attacks, memes, low quality content and actually went as far as to ban a journalist’s content due to his harassment of users - this lead to alternative subreddits and pledges to remove or revoke the changes.