Here Lies Imzy, RIP.

Credit: Imzy.

Imzy, the “nice Reddit” has been laid to rest, and is being mourned by its users. It would seem that nice has little place on the ‘net, and has once again been chased into small pockets here and there in the netverse.

After a long bout of illness and injury sustained from battling racism, misogyny, and general depravity, Imzy — the last hope for human decency on the internet — has died. It was 2 years old.

Imzy, the “nice Reddit” created by Jessica Moreno and Dan McComas, two former Reddit executives who left the company in 2015 amid intense controversy over their anti-harassmentpolicies, will officially shut down June 23.

The reason? There’s no room for a platform that promotes basic politeness in the social media market.

In a blog post announcing the impending shut down Wednesday, McComas wrote “it is time for us to shut down the site” as Imzy couldn’t find a “place in the market.”


Imzy’s sunset isn’t just a loss for users, who regarded it as a place of belonging, it’s also a sign that the worst things about human interaction — bullying, harassment, forums dedicated to promoting racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia, unsolicited photos of genitalia, beheading and other snuff videos, child pornography — are likely permanent fixtures on the internet, and by extension in society.


Maybe this is what life on the internet is supposed to be. After all, the internet is just a mirror of the society it serves and a product of the biases and blind spots of a technology’s creators, so why would we expect it to be any different? Why should the internet somehow be better than the casual and blatant nastiness people experience every day?

It seems that belief in duality persists, this idea that online is distinct and separate from ‘real’ life. Yes, the ‘net is societies, writ large, often in crayon and spray paint. There’s a whole lot of ugly in human societies, so it should not be a surprise that ugly rears up on the ‘net. There’s a whole lot of kindness and creativity in human societies too, and that also shows up on the ‘net. It’s true that nice, fun, and kind don’t garner the same attention as ugly and malicious; we are all attracted to the worst excesses of humankind, if for no other reason, to tsk and be shocked that people could do such a thing. I’ve done my own tiny experiments here on Affinity, with doing nothing but art / photography / nice and fun stories in a day of blogging. When I do that, my stats take a serious hit. Blog about politics, assholes, bigots? Much better for my stats. I try to strike a balance, but it’s not always easy to do.

I am not a social person, at my keyboard, or away from it. I find socializing to be exhausting, and can only handle it in limited amounts, so for someone like me, the internet is ideal, because I can wander away when it all becomes too much. That’s why I don’t indulge in social media much, because being involved with social media means being involved with people, and all the consequent obligations to those people. I don’t think there is any particular reason nice can’t thrive on the ‘net, there are pockets of it all over the place, if you go looking. PZ has written about Mastodon a couple of times, and seems to enjoy it. If you’re trying to be a massive media giant, maybe it doesn’t work so well, I don’t know. Imzy had a great deal of money in October, $8 million. I won’t pretend to understand why it’s now being considered a failure, and those in charge don’t seem to want to explain it fully. Perhaps if there was less focus on the money, nice would thrive better on the ‘net, I don’t know. Seems to me that greed and nice don’t go hand in hand, but what do I know?

Think Progress has the full story.


  1. The Mellow Monkey says

    Seems to me that greed and nice don’t go hand in hand, but what do I know?

    I largely agree, though as a counterpoint I’ll note that you can build an empire on one with the appearance of the other, if you’re lucky, ruthless, and strike at the right time. Disney is a monument to greed with a big, beautiful “nice” facade out front. A nice experience for users--if not employees and competitors--can make money hand over fist, if you approach it in the right way.

    In this case, I suspect there were missteps involved (and bad luck) that had little to do with people not being interested in a pleasant and polite user experience. I’d also suspect there was a certain level of purposeful sabotage from that small but frighteningly loud minority who brand anything less than actively hostile as “SJW” trash.

  2. says


    In this case, I suspect there were missteps involved (and bad luck) that had little to do with people not being interested in a pleasant and polite user experience.

    Oh, plenty of people were (and are) interested. It’s not like they don’t have users, they do, users who want to keep their communities. There is a place for communities where people can happily socialize and do everything from silly to serious. That’s the reason I keep an open thread here, because people do like that sort of place, where they can be social without having to deal with all the assholes.

    And I take your point about Disney.

  3. says

    I admit, I tend to skip over your art posts in favor of your posts about bad news. I’m making an effort to pay more attention to them.

  4. says

    Joseph, that doesn’t make you unusual in any way. In a larger sense, people have stopped making time for art of any kind. That’s a right pity, too, given the immensity of art history in our world, and its importance. There’s much more competition for peoples’ attention these days, and yes, the salacious generally wins out. In days of yore, painters catered to the salacious too, because people are always much the same. “Oh, pretty flowers…oh, look at the painting of that man gutted and hanging!” :D In many ways, the artwork in days of yore was also news. It’s much easier, too, for people to pick out buzz and soundbites here and there, out of the mass buffet of available items.

    People often claim to be too busy or too stressed or too something or other to pay attention to art. Personally, I think that’s a mistake, but I can’t make that decision for other people. I can only put art on offer. I do try for a wide range of art, so as to appeal to a wide audience, but who knows if I do a good job at that or not? I really don’t have a way to tell, unless people let me know.

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