Reddit doesn’t geddit


So…SXSW had a panel yesterday about Reddit, with Farhad Manjoo, Adrian Chen, and Rebecca Watson. It went about as well as you might expect.

I like to imagine Reddit as great wide open restaurant with a lot of appealing stuff, and unfortunately, a lot of appalling stuff. It wouldn’t be so bad if it had a culture dedicated to making it better, but it seems to revel in wallowing in the crap instead. If my hypothetical Reddit restaraunteur were to discuss the content of his place, it would go about like this:

Fan: At our buffet, we have ripe peaches and pears, freshly tossed salads, New York bagels flown in expressly that morning, smoked salmon, baba ghanoush, churros, tureens of borscht and gumbo, a small mountain of fresh picked tomatoes, baklava, risotto, Chesapeake soft shell crab, spaetzle, sliced honeydew melon, an assortment of curries, paella, key lime pie, a large pungent vat of shit slurry, pho, barbecued ribs…

Critic: Wait, what was that you said after the pie? Shit slurry?

Fan: Yes. But I said we have peaches and pears, tossed salads, bagels…

Critic: I know. But why would you ruin the whole spread with something so noxious?

Fan: Some people love to splash fecal material over their food. What is this, Red China?

Critic: Maybe it would be a good idea for you to seriously think about what makes a good buffet.

And of course, once you suggest that they could be even better and that the shit is really nasty, they get all defensive and immediately stop listening. That’s what you get when you have no interest in adapting. Well, that’s the first thing you get. The second thing is extinction.

Comments

  1. unbound says

    Unfortunately, as long as there is a base that thoroughly enjoys wallowing in the shit, I don’t think extinction will happen any time soon. That base may eventually gravitate somewhere else that has even more vile shit, but that doesn’t eliminate the real problem…that they enjoy the shit and just don’t understand they are in the middle of it. Instead they’ll happily point out the good stuff.

    Rather sounds like the Catholic Church…

  2. vaiyt says

    Reddit can’t be compared with a restaurant. Rather, it’s a party where everyone can do what they want – even punching the other guests and throwing shit at them.

  3. says

    Reddit has awful stuff, and the awful stuff is suitably awful. That said, Reddit is absolutely goddamn huge, and the general argument against Reddit is pretty much the general argument against the Internet – the fine restaurant with shit slurry analogy fits it perfectly – television, radio, books or dealing with human odiousness in general.

    Anyone who talks about “Reddit” as one thing with a definable attitude is basically wrong. There’s a bunch of disconnected little subcommunities on there with pretty much no interaction. I use Reddit approximately daily and I’d never heard of the Reddit vs skeptics thing (which is really “some odious twits on Reddit vs sensible humans”) until it was all over, and I was reading detailed accounts of how all of Reddit apparently thought X and Y and did Z.

    Really – if your arguments against Reddit would work just the same with “Internet” substituted, they’re not robust arguments.

  4. Matt Penfold says

    Really – if your arguments against Reddit would work just the same with “Internet” substituted, they’re not robust arguments.

    Yes they are. Reddit is not “just like the internet” as you claim. To say that it is to purposefully misunderstand the difference between a domain name, which one person or entity has control over, and the Internet, which has no such overall control.

  5. la tricoteuse says

    And their attitudes towards people who would dare to criticise them is telling. I can’t tell you how many times I got “uh oh, SRS is leaking again” for merely pointing out that something someone said was fucked up. (SRS is “Shit Reddit Says,”(which apparently exists to document racist/sexist/etc stuff people on reddit say though I’ve never visited that particular subreddit) and it appears that the wider reddit community likes to keep its critics in a cage so they don’t harsh their buzz or whatever by pointing out that it’s fucked up to sexually harass women for the apparently heinous crime of having pictures of themselves accessible online, or GASP even posting pictures in which they appear, because that should apparently mean they’re fair game.)

  6. says

    You assume that ownership of a domain name means control of the content. This is trivially wrong and is avoided for solid legal reason – so that people can speak freely. I realise the problem is that the free speech here is in fact odious (I have looked at the fuckwittery on /r/mensrights), but your argument is actually terrible as well. The price of good free speech is the opportunity for bad free speech; you can’t remove opportunity for the second without removing opportunity for the first.

    (I have a keen understanding of the difference and the levels of control in question mostly from Wikipedia, wherein the Wikimedia Foundation – owner of the domain name and controller of the servers – was sued over content on Wikipedia, and Mike Godwin got the case thrown out just by saying “Section 230″. It’s the precise same thing that protects Ed and PZ from personal responsibility for every fuckwit that ever posts a comment anywhere at all on FTB. You really do not want that protection to go away.)

  7. Matt Penfold says

    You assume that ownership of a domain name means control of the content.

    Yeap. Morally and ethically it does.

    This is trivially wrong and is avoided for solid legal reason – so that people can speak freely.

    Not sure why you posted that link, since it deals only with the legal issues and ignores the moral and ethical issues.

    I realise the problem is that the free speech here is in fact odious (I have looked at the fuckwittery on /r/mensrights), but your argument is actually terrible as well. The price of good free speech is the opportunity for bad free speech; you can’t remove opportunity for the second without removing opportunity for the first.

    No one is entitled to demand a platform from another. The owners of Reddit chose to make their platform available to those who want to push odious and vile views. If the content is legal that is their right, just as it is the right of the rest of us to point out how odious and vile these views are, and how badly that reflects on those expressing those views, and on those providing them with a platform so to do.

  8. vaiyt says

    Reddit’s administration isn’t responsible for the shit their users say, but they are responsible for abetting and actively defending them.

  9. says

    Oh, please. Not the unthinking “Free Speech!” argument again.

    They don’t have unlimited free speech. Nobody does. Reddit won’t let you post child porn (a good thing); does the imposition of a rule limit your ability to participate?

    Of course they take responsibility for some things. So do I. Creating a space usually means putting up walls that shape the contents. Reddit could create a culture of healthy responsibility for its content, but chose not to do so, and now faces constant criticism for some really contemptible stuff…but isn’t willing to own its own culture without hiding behind this cowardly “Free Speech!” argument.

  10. unbound says

    A few of these arguments are starting to sound like the gun control debate. Rather than engaging in ways to improve, it’s sounding more like “It’s legal, so just let the crap continue”.

    Even in the most free society, there will always have to be mechanisms to cut down the level of shit. Yes, you can say that shit, but should you say that shit. And, more importantly, exactly what the fuck is wrong with calling someone out on the shit? Shouldn’t we be looking for ways to be better as a whole rather than race to the bottom?

  11. says

    No, this is a thinking free speech argument, thanks.

    I live in the UK. Blogs regularly get taken down here by chiropractors and other such scum threatening the ISP with a libel suit.

    Your legal situation in the US is the only thing protecting you personally, PZ, from the same thing. You seem ridiculously cavalier about it.

  12. vaiyt says

    The price of good free speech is the opportunity for bad free speech; you can’t remove opportunity for the second without removing opportunity for the first.

    Free speech does not include the right for a platform. It is in Reddit’s right to allow or disallow speech as they see fit in their space. They choose to defend the right of people to post photos taken without permission for the enjoyment of pedophiles, and that rightfully reflects badly on them.

  13. Matt Penfold says

    No, this is a thinking free speech argument, thanks.

    Do you really think that the owners of Reddit should not be criticised for allowing users to post vile and odious content ?

    As for thinking, that assumes facts for which there is not evidence.

  14. vaiyt says

    No, this is a thinking free speech argument, thanks.

    Then why is it identical to the others?

    You’re confusing issues. The law says you aren’t legally liable for shit people happen to say on your website. That’s NOT the same thing as being subject to criticism for allowing people to say whatever shit they want on your website.

  15. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    David Gerard, it looks like you think the argument here is that Reddit should be legally responsible, or that someone is proposing to use legal methods of pressure on Reddit. This confuses me because that’s not what PZ or anyone is saying. They are talking about the ethical obligation of site owners to draw lines. This is separate and distinct from arguments about free speech construed in the legal sense. Things can be perfectly legal yet also morally objectionable and subject to community (not legal, not state) censure and pressure.

  16. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    They are talking about the ethical obligation of site owners to draw lines. This is separate and distinct from arguments about free speech construed in the legal sense. Things can be perfectly legal yet also morally objectionable and subject to community (not legal, not state) censure and pressure.

    QFT.

    Too many Freeze Peach absolutists sound like they have no concept of ethics when it comes to running a web site.

  17. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And I don’t need to ask anyone to stop, go back, and understand that censure is not “censor,” right?

  18. Matt Penfold says

    There is also an internal inconsistency in Gerard’s argument. If PZ should not criticise Reddit for allowing some very questionably material to be posted on the site, then who is Gerard to criticise PZ over a blog post ? If Reddit should not be criticised then PZ should not either.

  19. omnicrom says

    That’s a feature not a bug Matt Penfold.

    FREEZE PEACH arguments are usually used to defend one person’s right to say something by attacking someone else’s right to say something contradictory. As the old canard goes Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean Freedom from Response.

  20. nooneinparticular says

    I disagree with at least one of your premises, PZ. Reddit DOES “geddit”. They just have a different set of priorities (standards maybe a better word) than you. They have constructed a place where almost anything goes. It’s sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful, sometimes it’s entertaining, sometimes it’s vile. Kind of like the internet, or cable tv, or movies, as a whole. But it’s like anything else. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else. Or avoid those sub reddits you don’t like and stick to the ones you do.

    Also, IMO, like it or not, Mr. Gerard (above) is spot on; their ability to do what they like derives from the same protections that keep you from legal harm. FTR: I think your critiques of what you see as moral or ethical problems with Reddit’s TOS are your right and I think you -anyone- should make them. Loudly. Maybe the noise will make Reddit reconsider. But I doubt it.

  21. Beatrice says

    so reddit gets it, they just don’t give a fuck.

    That makes me like them so much more. *spits*

  22. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    If you don’t like it, go somewhere else. – nooneinparticular

    Crap. If what they are allowing is seriously harmful, it’s not just a moral right but a moral duty to bring pressure to bear on them to stop allowing it.

  23. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.

    Gee hypocrite, if you don’t like what PZ says, you go elsewhere without leaving turds in the yard.

  24. nooneinparticular says

    Who said I don’t like what PZ says? I disagreed that Reddit doesn’t “Geddit” is all. And I’m not the one leaving “turds”.

  25. zhuge says

    @ 23

    I disagree with at least one of your premises, PZ. Reddit DOES “geddit”. They just have a different set of priorities (standards maybe a better word) than you. They have constructed a place where almost anything goes. It’s sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful, sometimes it’s entertaining, sometimes it’s vile. Kind of like the internet, or cable tv, or movies, as a whole. But it’s like anything else. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else. Or avoid those sub reddits you don’t like and stick to the ones you do.

    PZ’s point is that the priorities/worldview/standards/ethics Reddit has are wrong, and that providing a space for creepshots, harrassment, etc. should be more objectionable than abrogating their own standards of “almost anything goes.” This isn’t about not understanding the reddit ethos, it’s about criticising the reddit ethos. (In effect, I think, the argument goes that some behaviours are so clearly objectionable andwrong, and that there is no benefit whatsoever from these, that it is better to increase moderation(or ban users or what-have-you at the risk of some slight loss of ideas or valuable content than to not.)

    Also, IMO, like it or not, Mr. Gerard (above) is spot on; their ability to do what they like derives from the same protections that keep you from legal harm. FTR: I think your critiques of what you see as moral or ethical problems with Reddit’s TOS are your right and I think you -anyone- should make them. Loudly. Maybe the noise will make Reddit reconsider. But I doubt it.

    No. You are absolutely mistaken on this point. No one, from PZ to any commenter, has argued for legal action against reddit. No one is claiming that Reddit should be held legally liable for anything. What is being argued is that as the administrators of the website, the owners have the moral duty to consider the harm they are brining and encouraging by not more forcefully clamping down on the most egregious sexist, racist, harassing, etc. users and subreddits.

    Reddit may or may not reconsider, but these critiques also serve as reminders to other administrators and websites that the reddit philosophy is not necessarily the best philosophy, and keeps us honest. It’s doubtful my comment here will do anything to change reddit, but I’d like to think that the sum total of articles/blog posts/comments might at least open some minds.

    Or, I guess, what is your point exactly?

  26. nooneinparticular says

    *blink* *blink*

    You know, I thought what I wrote was clear. It was to me, but I guess I screwed up. No where did I say I didn’t like what PZ said about Reddit. I didn’t say that PZ argued for legal action; I commented on Gerard’s comment. I actually did say that PZ and “anyone” ought to “loudly” speak their minds on the ethical and moral issues with Reddits TOS. I said, in fact, “Maybe the noise will make Reddit reconsider.” I doubt it will because they “have a different set of priorities (standards maybe a better word) than you.”

    This was not clear?

  27. la tricoteuse says

    But Gerard’s comment seems to hinge on the idea that only the “anything goes” or the “you can get sued and forced not to say stuff people don’t like just because they don’t like it” models are possible. It’s as though the possibility of a legal system (which is what Gerard was talking about) in which important speech (such as valid, evidence-based criticism of pseudo-scientific practices by powerful organizations) is protected and harmful speech (hate speech and the like) is discouraged/vehemently criticised if not prohibited.

    None of this of course being relevant as no one is talking about imposing any legal restrictions on reddit. We’re simply criticising them for the types of hateful shit their environment not only allows but encourages and fosters, and not just in “certain subreddits” but on the front damn page. All the time.

  28. says

    they “have a different set of priorities (standards maybe a better word) than you.”

    Ok so reddit isn’t a horrible website of bullying harassment and other antisocial behaviors due to mismanagement its one by deign good to know.

  29. zhuge says

    It’s the Grician Principle of Indiciture at play. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicature)

    Gerard’s comment is either a non-sequitur, out of nowhere praising the virtues of America’s first ammendment, or it’s meant to be an argument against PZ(namely the all or nothing la tricoteause described). When you agreed with it, I took it to be that you also agreed with the implied argument, and the ambiguities in your post read to me thus as arguments with caveats as opposed to agreement. (For example, doubting that reddit will listen struck me as a silencing technique as opposed to, say, the sort of thing I might say with a sigh like “I’d like Republicans to take sexual violence seriously, but they probably won’t.”)

    It’s akin to someone say coming into a thread on the chilly climate for women/minorities in the sciences and saying “The rape of congolese women as an act of war is horrible.” On its own the comment is 100% true, and right and good to say. But in that context the principle of Grician impliciture suggests that it must be relevant to the thread. The implication would likely be, “Therefore stop complaining about coworkers treating you like an object”.

    If you had said, for example, “While I see that this isn’t an argument against PZ’s point, I do agree with the principles of free speech in the US sense” I would likely not have read you in that fashion. But I would still be confused as to why you would find that relevant to mention.

  30. unclefrogy says

    something about this does not make sense to me leet me see if I got this wrong.
    Reddit claim to fame is as an uncensored forum were almost anyone can almost anything. all divided into different areas or pages or what ever they call them.
    then they complain because they are being criticized publicly for allowing and in fact profiting off the traffic draw of offering this type of shit sandwich.

    they do not seem to like the negative publicity but seem to profit by it.
    uncle frogy

  31. says

    I didn’t say that PZ argued for legal action; I commented on Gerard’s comment.

    But Gerard’s comment is completely irrelevant unless somebody is threatening legal action. If we’re all agreed that nobody is threatening to sue, then what exactly was the point?

  32. says

    Reddit as a whole is more like a food court than a restaurant. They create a venue where vendors set up their food stalls, and some of them serve excellent food. But amongst them are other vendors serving shit sandwiches. And endangered species burgers. And food specifically tailored to make certain groups sick.

    The problem isn’t that the food sold should be made illegal (though in some vases it maybe should be, and in others probably already is)… it’s that the building owner not only thinks it’s acceptable for these vendors to operate under their roof, but that it’s just and right that they do.

  33. says

    Well, you could sort of say there are… but they’re volunteers and have no regulatory powers.

    However, when they raise objections, they’re drummed out of town as being anti-food.

  34. says

    “Hey, shit sandwiches are bad for you.”

    “What’s the problem, you damn food nazi! I can eat whatever I want because LIBERTARIAN FREEDOM!!!!”

  35. Bernard Bumner says

    No-one has ever presented a plausible argument as to how Reddit removing voyeuristic content, abusive content, and violent content from the protection of its brand umbrella endangers free speech.

    Reddit already moderates content. They specifically refuse to condemn abhorrent content. It is an irresponsible organisation willing to sacrifice the most vulnerable members of society for its own self-enrichment.

  36. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Point of contention. Didn’t Reddit fiercely defend the right to post kiddie porn (jailbait) or non-consent material (upskirts)?

    If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.

    Reddit (in fact no place on the internet) is a quarantined zone. See Reddit Men’s Rights, see Reddit tormenting people with disabilities via taking their pics from the net, see 4chan tormenting people with Progeria etc. Just don’t go there doesn’t fix the problem because their shit seeps out and they drag people in against their will.

  37. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    NOT an quarantined zone*

    Sorry.

  38. delecoix says

    PZ, the sort of criticisms you and others like you raise against Reddit are meaningless and invalid, since you don’t have a common ground with the creators of the site. The admins have stated numerous times that their goal with Reddit was to create a place with as few restrictions on what people can post as possible. To argue that they should place more restriction on what people can post is to miss the point. You say that there’s a moral obligation on their part, when they have stated essentially that they do not believe such an obligation exists.

    An analogy: Let’s say Star Wars Episode VII is released and there’s a group of people who’s criticism of the film is that there are no Vulcans or Romulans. No one would take those people seriously as Romulans and Vulcans are not a part of Star Wars.

    Another Analogy: A Christian attempts to convert an atheist by talking about how the Bible is divinely inspired. Since the atheist by definition does not believe in divinity, the Christian’s argument is meaningless to him.

    These are the sorts of arguments you and others make when you criticize Reddit as a thing. You do not understand what Reddit is or is attempting to be. To criticize it for what people post is akin to criticizing a paper mill for what people right.

  39. omnicrom says

    Delecoix: That does not make Reddit immune from criticism.

    Just because Reddit has decided that they will value absolute freedom of speech over all other things does not therefore mean that people cannot nor should not call out Reddit for the many hideous posts that it contains. In fact if Reddit is dedicated to absolute freedom of speech then we should call out all the more and cast a spotlight on the grizzly shit that is flung from there, to do anything less would be curtailing our own speech. Isn’t it ironic that the people who say you should back off from criticizing Reddit because it believes in absolute Free Speech are totally in favor of telling people not to express their beliefs and opinions?

    Also none of your analogies are correct. A more apt analogy would be comparing Reddit to a person who gives someone a megaphone and a tower to shout from. Since Reddit allows anyone a platform it is indeed fair to call them for the shit that is said on Reddit.

  40. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @delecoix

    So the only reason reddit doesn’t allow kiddie porn is because the Man prevents them from doing so?

  41. zaoldyeck says

    omnicrom

    I don’t think the argument here is that reddit is immune from criticism. I think the argument is more “they acknoledge the criticism, but their priorities are a completely free platform first, and the ethical implications of those subreddits second”.

    There are plenty on reddit as well who find various subs loathsome, and I’m sure a vast majority won’t care one way or the other if the ToS are changed to prevent creepshots or what have you. Such a discussion is fine, but apparently less popular.

    Less popular doesn’t mean it’s not allowed. It means you need to change minds. The fact that people don’t LIKE to have their opinions criticized doesn’t mean they argue you shouldn’t be allowed. Just because people argue a contrary position doesn’t mean they maintain they are immune from criticism.

    People argue with me all the time, that doesn’t mean I’m immune from criticism.

  42. delecoix says

    omnicrom: I never said that Reddit was free from or above criticism, just that the particular criticisms made by PZ and others making similar points are misplaced and meaningless given the goals of Reddit. Imagine a football. You could criticize it, saying it’s perhaps made out of an inferior material or is too heavy or too light, but to criticize it for not being spherical like a basketball is not valid. Saying that Reddit has a moral obligation is meaningless when it’s purpose is to be an amoral platform.

    It really is arguing without common ground or even a common frame of reference. There is no internal purpose towards self improvement or to become “less shitty” by any arbitrary metric. It’s about neutrality, and that it does very well. There are numerous progressive, safe spaces that heavily moderate racism/homophobia/sexism/transphobia/etc. Someone mentioned the SRS Fempire in an earlier comment. Hell, r/LGBT is run by a blogger on this very network. But due to the neutral nature of Reddit as a platform you must take “the good” with “the bad”. And that’s something that PZ and many other critics just don’t understand.

  43. John Morales says

    delecoix:

    Saying that Reddit has a moral obligation is meaningless when it’s purpose is to be an amoral platform.

    Your opinion as to its purpose is duly noted.

    Care to attempt to substantiate this claim?

    There is no internal purpose towards self improvement or to become “less shitty” by any arbitrary metric. It’s about neutrality, and that it does very well. There are numerous progressive, safe spaces that heavily moderate racism/homophobia/sexism/transphobia/etc. Someone mentioned the SRS Fempire in an earlier comment. Hell, r/LGBT is run by a blogger on this very network. But due to the neutral nature of Reddit as a platform you must take “the good” with “the bad”. And that’s something that PZ and many other critics just don’t understand. There is no internal purpose towards self improvement or to become “less shitty” by any arbitrary metric. It’s about neutrality, and that it does very well. There are numerous progressive, safe spaces that heavily moderate racism/homophobia/sexism/transphobia/etc. Someone mentioned the SRS Fempire in an earlier comment. Hell, r/LGBT is run by a blogger on this very network. But due to the neutral nature of Reddit as a platform you must take “the good” with “the bad”. And that’s something that PZ and many other critics just don’t understand.

    Neutral, is it?

    So flat earthers and climate denialists no less than holocaust denialists get a free rein there?

    (If so, that is anything but neutrality)

  44. WharGarbl says

    Er… aren’t we, in essence, discussing sanitizing the internet of opinions we despise?

  45. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I never said that Reddit was free from or above criticism, just that the particular criticisms made by PZ and others making similar points are misplaced and meaningless given the goals of Reddit. – delecoix

    So, if its goals were to cause maximum harm to as many innocent people as possible, any criticism of the amount of harm it did to innocent people would be “misplaced and meaningless”, according to you. Because it’s always misplaced and meaningless to criticise goals. Or something.

  46. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Er… aren’t we, in essence, discussing sanitizing the internet of opinions we despise? – WharGarbl

    Er… no.

  47. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Er… aren’t we, in essence, discussing sanitizing the internet of opinions we despise?

    Category error pretending Reddit is the internet. Nothing wrong with a web site that conveys it is porn and takes precautions to allow people to avoid it by allowing filters to keep timid folks out. Is Reddit filtered as voyeur site for its upshot photos? Why not, as the vilest most unethical segment should be the one generating the rating for the site?

  48. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Here we go again, WharGarbl, conflating harassment and repugnant behavior with “opinions.” It’s all just points of view, opinion, dissent, and disagreement.

  49. Matt Penfold says

    PZ, the sort of criticisms you and others like you raise against Reddit are meaningless and invalid, since you don’t have a common ground with the creators of the site. The admins have stated numerous times that their goal with Reddit was to create a place with as few restrictions on what people can post as possible. To argue that they should place more restriction on what people can post is to miss the point. You say that there’s a moral obligation on their part, when they have stated essentially that they do not believe such an obligation exists.

    Why did you write such nonsense ? It is the fact that Reddit clearly has different values that is being criticised.It is if you are missing the point on purpose. You have not been the only one. A couple of others have been as unable to comprehend as you have. However, you seem to be even more stupid since you read what they said, read the demolition of their position and said what you said anyway.

  50. WharGarbl says

    Wait, what exactly do people here want Reddit to do?
    Is is like what @Nerd said, a build in filter to let people “filter out” stuffs they don’t like?

    Or is it to make more contents considered prohibit content on Reddit?

  51. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    I for one would like reddit to get a fucking graphic designer to fix its hideousness

    Also I note no one answered my question. Is the law twisting their arm the only reason Reddit prohibit child porn?

    Also there is no fucking moral way to be amoral by design. It is inherently unethical to remove ethics or not consider the ethics of a situation. This isn’t a video game reddiots, big kid world. You don’t get to remove ethics period. No. not fucking ever.

    You don’t get to design a sociopathic system and claim it’s ok because you wanted it amoral.

  52. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    have so many people really bought into the lie that sociopathy is the greatist moral good?

  53. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    man this is bugging me…where did I read the “amoral so it’s ok” defense today…

    Oh right

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/03/rat-breeders-meet-the-men-who-spy-on-women-through-their-webcams/

    So reddiots please explain how your justification is different and if you think the above is wrong

    Cause that’s what people want, you to show a goddamn ounce of humanity and acknowledge that shit stinks rather than defend its right to stink.

  54. vaiyt says

    PZ, the sort of criticisms you and others like you raise against Reddit are meaningless and invalid, since you don’t have a common ground with the creators of the site. The admins have stated numerous times that their goal with Reddit was to create a place with as few restrictions on what people can post as possible.

    We’re supposed to think Reddit’s shit sandwich is okay because the shit is there by design?

  55. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Wait, what exactly do people here want Reddit to do?

    You appear to have reading comprehension problems. I’ll just give one example. Close the “upskirt” voyeur section. Ethically bad section and perhaps criminal, as the photographers can’t show consent. Continue until all sections are ethical.

  56. delecoix says

    Wow, we’ve got a lot to unpack.

    John Morales:

    So flat earthers and climate denialists no less than holocaust denialists get a free rein there?

    What do you mean by “free rein”? That they have the ability to spam their content everywhere? That’s not the case, subreddit mods can delete denialist postings if they so wish. Can denialists create their own subreddits to discuss their topics? Yes. The power users have on Reddit does not mean they have “equal time”. There is not an equal amount of climate denial on the site as there is climate science. The same goes for things like creationism, etc. As a brief example of the disparity r/evolution has 8,639 readers, while r/creationism has 71 readers. And the funny thing is that r/Creationism is a joke subreddit intentionally left blank. If anything, denialist ideas have much less traction on Reddit than in real life. r/Homeopathy has 140 readers while r/medicine has 16,623 readers. Wow! Literally 10s of cranks!

    WharGarbl:

    Er… aren’t we, in essence, discussing sanitizing the internet of opinions we despise?

    Essentially yes. Criticizing the Reddit Admins for the content on Reddit is easier than criticizing Tim Berners-Lee for the content of the World Wide Web even though they are essentially analogous.

    Ing:

    Also there is no fucking moral way to be amoral by design. It is inherently unethical to remove ethics or not consider the ethics of a situation.

    You cannot possibly believe that. People create things that lack morals and ethics all the time. What is the morality and ethics of a flash light? A single Lego block? A paper plate? Paint? Paper? A street? Your hyperbole is hilarious.

    You don’t get to design a sociopathic system and claim it’s ok because you wanted it amoral.

    Go ahead and tell me what are the moral and ethics that are built into, let’s take something at almost random, the internet.

  57. WharGarbl says

    @Nerd
    #65

    Ethically bad section and perhaps criminal, as the photographers can’t show consent.

    I can understand criminal/borderline criminal actions. But I’m somewhat leery of having giving someone the power to decide what’s ethical, which would essentially be what happens here (someone has to make that decision).

  58. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    But I’m somewhat leery of having giving someone the power to decide what’s ethical

    You mean like Youtube and Facebook and Google+ and other ‘platforms’ already do? Like bloody Reddit already does to various extents?

    Seriously, you’re weary of a platform doing more of what it already does? That’s silly. And for some of the stuff that goes on in some subreddits that’s quite legal, the content is clearly unethical.

    Reddit does not have an obligation to simply ignore that stuff and users have a right to ask the company to control such content. That’s kind of what’s happening.

    It’s not unreasonable, even, to expect a platform not to provide itself for the publishing of unethical content. I doubt very much that if Reddit got rid of the unethical stuff that it would seriously impact the utility of the platform. Unless the upskirt subreddit or some such awfulness constitutes their main source of traffic and thus income.

    Such awfulness must constitute some portion, I don’t know how significantly, of their profit. It’s quite terrible, really, that Reddit is essentially monetising upskirt photos and other such awfulness.

    The purported benefits of Reddit as it exists are not worth even one instance of a downside, such as the upskirt subreddit.

  59. reddiot says

    I feel like a lot of people here are missing the point about the sheer size of Reddit. According to their stats page, they had 55 million unique visitors last month. That’s close to 1% of the entire population of the world! Approximately 2m people actually log in each day to participate, and as you’d expect from such a staggeringly large number of people, that includes many thousands of bigoted fuckwits.

    The people who blithely say that “ownership of a domain name means control of the content” ignore the fact that the scale of Reddit makes this a practical impossibility. This is part of the reason for the owners’ hands-off approach to running Reddit… there is simply no way for a handful of people to police millions. They are forced to rely on subreddit moderators to remove offensive content, and as we’ve seen, that often does not happen. Not to mention that the very question of “what is offensive?” covers a wide spectrum of grey.

    By all means, let’s continue to talk about Reddit’s problems, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that there is an easy solution.

  60. says

    Also there is no fucking moral way to be amoral by design. It is inherently unethical to remove ethics or not consider the ethics of a situation.

    You cannot possibly believe that. People create things that lack morals and ethics all the time. What is the morality and ethics of a flash light? A single Lego block? A paper plate? Paint? Paper? A street? Your hyperbole is hilarious.

    Morality and ethics of a flashlight? Mostly revolve around the specifics of its manufacture and how you dispose of it. It is correct to say that refusing the consider the ethical implication of using recycled plastic or rare metals in the making of the flashlight is inherently unethical.

    A single lego block: Does it interlock with other lego blocks? How is it being marketed? Is it capable of choking a toddler, and are there warning labels if so?

    Skipping past the discrete physical objects because the ethics of manufacture and disposal are pretty much the same for all of them. Let’s talk about a street for a moment. How wide is the street? Should we make it wide enough for most cars, or just narrow enough to exclude Hummers and bigger trucks? Is there a sidewalk? Should we make sure there is one, and make sure it’s connected to other sidewalks, or should we cater exclusively to the needs of automobile drivers and let pedestrians fend for themselves? Are there blind spots, sharp turns, or complicated intersections? Should we put up signs warning about these trouble spots or just let drivers fend for themselves and deal with the increased rates of collisions, injuries, and deaths that will result? What about the crosswalks? Should we have them? If so, how long should the green light for pedestrians be? Should we make sure that senior citizens and disabled people who move more slowly than the average pedestrian have enough time to cross the street or not? How about non-motorized vehicles, do they get a lane or not? Do we want to encourage bicycling by making it safe for cyclists or do we not care?

    It’s your lack of imagination that’s at issue here, not anyone else’s hyperbole.

  61. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I can understand criminal/borderline criminal actions. But I’m somewhat leery of having giving someone the power to decide what’s ethical, which would essentially be what happens here (someone has to make that decision).

    You keep forgetting we are talking about private property. Not public commons. Category error on your part, as it has been on every post. Reddit can make and terms of use it desires. Since it isn’t a public venue, there are no prior censorship of the government. Freeze peach absolutists keep forgetting the reality. Decisions are made by the blog owners/runners, as there is no government decree to keep them out. Merely the ethics of the owners.

    Why is this so hard for you accept?

  62. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    I like how I was talking about social groups being amoral by design and shithead went into fucking flashlights. Go away and let someone smart talk please.

  63. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    “I send the rockets up, where they come down is not my department”

  64. Ichthyic says

    I keep thinking… what if Reddit was like the LA Times? just a regular published in print newspaper?

    How would people feel if the LA times published horribly sexist, racist opinion columns on a regular basis?

    is it an issue of free speech?

    the hell it is.

  65. Ichthyic says

    You keep forgetting we are talking about private property. Not public commons.

    exactly.

  66. Ichthyic says

    It’s your lack of imagination that’s at issue here, not anyone else’s hyperbole.

    again, exactly.

  67. Ichthyic says

    The people who blithely say that “ownership of a domain name means control of the content” ignore the fact that the scale of Reddit makes this a practical impossibility.

    LOL

    if only that were even remotely true. Because, if it was, I suppose we wouldn’t have the RIAA cajoling the US govt to send CIA shock troops to a foreign country to confiscate, arrest, and attempt extradition of people that haven’t actually BROKEN any laws in their country of residence.

    please, don’t tell me you think I’m making this up, or you’ll have to excuse yourself of being ignorant of the many, MANY cases like Kim Dotcom’s here in NZ.

  68. Ichthyic says

    …obviously, the RIAA certainly seems to think THEY can control content… globally, let alone within a specific domain.

    your ignorance of that fact notwithstanding.