I know that Reddit is immensely popular and has some good qualities, but I’ve never been able to get into it, because it invariably happens that anything I read there will be tainted by some hideous commentary. I don’t just mean comments I disagree with; I read creationist sites for entertainment, you know. I mean comments that cause me to despair for humanity.
David Futrelle has a post up that describes a new subreddit called “PhilosophyOfRape”, which openly advocates raping women to teach them a lesson. It’s a monstrous idea, and the bits quoted from it are simply vile, dehumanizing nonsense to promote criminal behavior.
But then he has to top it all off with a list of other horrible subreddits.
And while PhilosophyOfRape has only picked up a tiny handful of subscribers in the first few days of its existence – and a small army of detractors who’ve collectively spammed the subreddit with kitten pics – other subreddits with a similar, er, appeal –from RapingWomen and BeatingWomen2 to HotRapeStories and ChokeABitch – collectively have thousands of subscribers. CuteFemaleCorpses, a subreddit devoted to sexualizing pictures of actual dead women, managed to rack up a little more than 800,000 pageviews last month. The WatchPeopleDie subreddit boasts 44,000 subscribers.
Racism also sells. The cartoonishly racist GreatApes subreddit, devoted to over the top attacks on “n*ggers” that make Stormfront seem a bastion of tolerance by comparison, generated nearly one million pageviews in September; the subreddit boasts several dozen other smaller subreddits in what it calls its “chimpire,” the overwhelming majority of which contain the word “n*gger” (without the asterisk) or references to apes in their names.
Don’t give me the “these are just a few trolls” speech. Don’t tell me that we have to stand up for Free Speech, and that means defending people’s right to say even words we find odious. Reddit is not the government; the American Constitution does not guarantee you a right to create your own subreddit. What these sites do is encourage criminal behavior against minorities. Reddit isn’t even making a stand on principle — they have shut down subreddits when the PR heat gets too high. Apparently posting prosecutable photos of naked teenagers can be silenced (but only after enough media outlets notice!), while somehow, collecting grisly crime scene and autopsy photos of dead women, and making sexualized comments about them, is a noble expression of commitment to open communication.
Fuck that noise. We need to recognize that reddit is a hate and porn site that has successfully masked its true nature with a thick layer of social chatter. I won’t be linking to it anymore, I won’t be participating on it ever, and I will be disappointed in people that henceforth use it for promotion. (And I say that knowing that some people I like very much have participated in “IAmA” sessions — but that’s all just part of the reddit whitewash.)