Yesterday, Reddit CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman posted this:
There has been a lot of discussion lately —on reddit, in the news, and here internally— about reddit’s policy on the more offensive and obscene content on our platform. Our top priority at reddit is to develop a comprehensive Content Policy and the tools to enforce it.
The overwhelming majority of content on reddit comes from wonderful, creative, funny, smart, and silly communities. That is what makes reddit great. There is also a dark side, communities whose purpose is reprehensible, and we don’t have any obligation to support them. And we also believe that some communities currently on the platform should not be here at all.
Neither Alexis nor I created reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen: These are very complicated issues, and we are putting a lot of thought into it. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for quite some time. We haven’t had the tools to enforce policy, but now we’re building those tools and reevaluating our policy.
We as a community need to decide together what our values are. To that end, I’ll be hosting an AMA on Thursday 1pm pst to present our current thinking to you, the community, and solicit your feedback.
PS – I won’t be able to hang out in comments right now. Still meeting everyone here!
Internet types have already pointed out that Mr. Huffman is clearly a lying piece of shit, at least when it comes to his co-founder’s perspective on reddit and free speech:
I agree with /u/unsolvedparadox. If you’re excited about learning something, doubledown on it – especially at your age.
I love that talk, actually, and reference it often.
Our why actually started pretty simply – we wanted to keep living like college students and working on projects we loved, indefinitely. So starting a company made sense for me and Steve. The “why” we quickly learned about reddit was something we’d both grown up with — online communities — the amazing things that happen between total strangers, possibly a world apart, when they come together in authentic ways. It happens every day on reddit, across thousands of communities on the platform, but we want to bring this to the entire world.
We’re working to spread empathy + understanding to as many people as possible — people aren’t just coming here because it sets the media agenda for the rest of the internet, it’s because of the connection that happen when diverse people from across the world can speak freely about things they care about.
I hear you — ideally, I’d like the rules to be universal. We’ve created a unique situation with defaults.
I’ve long said that I’ve wanted to see an alternative to ‘defaults’ entirely. We designed the network with the intention of it being dynamic, fluid enough that if one community happened to get lame, people would easily flow to a new one (the first case happening with /r/marijuana -> /r/trees many moons ago).
Obviously admins should encourage strict and timely reporting of illegal content or personal privacy violations
Thank you for pointing this out — protecting privacy is something we really care about since founding reddit — and it’s a standard we’re happy to set for the rest of our social media peers. And I also want to point out that we’re adhering to the USA laws of regarding “illegal content,” since we’re a USA company with USA servers.
We’re sticking to those principals for our admin team’s use only, though we’ll always rely on the userbase to help notify us (there’s just too much content).
We designed reddit to allow users to create the experience they want — subscribing to communities they’re interested in and creating distinct spaces with their own cultures, languages, and values. Any decision we make is always tested by: “Is this moving the reddit platform toward a place where it can be the best way for as many people as possible to find great communities to share freely and openly discuss the things they care about.”
This is not what we’re proposing. We made reddit so that as many people as possible could speak as freely as possible — when our userbase is telling us that harassment is a huge problem for them and it’s effectively silencing or keeping people off the site, it’s a problem we need to address.
edit: added citation!
You know what inspired reddit? Speakers Corner’s in London.
I studied abroad in London for a semester and it really inspired me (I came back States-side and started a phpbb forum and then a year later Steve and I made reddit).
It’s a place where literally anyone can get on a soapbox and talk about what matters to them. I listened to Iraqis (2003) argue for AND against the Iraq war, heard a really hateful speech by the Nation of Islam, was moved by a woman talking about the need for better mental health treatment in the UK, watched a man argue for Gay Rights standing across from a VERY conservative christian telling him he’d burn in hell.
reddit should be a place where anyone can pull up their soapbox and speak their mind, or have a discussion and maybe learn something new and even challenging or uncomfortable, but right now redditors are telling us they sometimes encounter users who use the system to harass them and that’s a problem.
You get the idea. Either Steve Huffman is a liar, or his partner misunderstood the point of Reddit. But let’s unpack some of this bullshit Huffman is serving up on the Eve of Redditnacht.
“The overwhelming majority of content on reddit comes from wonderful, creative, funny, smart, and silly communities.”
Already Huffman is deploying a common propaganda technique: marginalizing your opposition. The majority of content is “wonderful, creative, funny, smart, and silly” i.e. a bunch of fluff adjectives that actually means “things he personally approves of.” This implies that only the evil minorities are saying things that are not wonderful, creative, funny, smart, or silly.
There is also a dark side, communities whose purpose is reprehensible, and we don’t have any obligation to support them.
Ooga-booga! The Dark Side! And they don’t have cookies! Propaganda technique numbers two and three: fearmongering and appealing to the masses. Huffman doesn’t tell us what in particular is reprehensible about these communities or why they require HIS support. Just be afraid. Be very afraid. With regards to his appeal to the masses, he hides behind that most troubling of pronouns, “we.” You see, it’s not him who wants to purge Reddit of these undesirables. He’s just a humble vessel of the General Will. It’s actually your fault, as part of the WE, that Redditnacht will take place.
And we also believe that some communities currently on the platform should not be here at all.
More appealing to the masses, but he actually mixes it in with a valid point: Reddit is privately owned and is under no obligation, as owners to have users on their site that they don’t want. Of course, Huffman doesn’t possess the requisite testicles to actually come right out and tell r/fatpeoplehate to get off his lawn, so he will, again, hide behind the WE.
Neither Alexis nor I created reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen
As noted above, Alexis clearly disagrees. More importantly, what is the distinction between “free speech” and “open and honest discussion”? I’ll tell you. Free Speech entails people saying what they want, how they want, when they want, to who they want, so long as they don’t directly cause harm. “Open and honest discussion” limits speech to the chosen topic of the person in charge (Huffman).
These are very complicated issues, and we are putting a lot of thought into it.
No, the issue is pretty straightforward: Are people allowed to say what they want on reddit or not?
We haven’t had the tools to enforce policy, but now we’re building those tools and reevaluating our policy.
Note how utterly ridiculous this is. The co-founder of Reddit, claims he lacks the tools to enforce policy. I guess he and all of the admins are waiting for Chris Hemsworth to come along and wield the Banhammer of Thor for them. In seriousness, this is another propaganda technique: claiming to lack power in order to seize more power. Politicians do this all the time. They need more money to buy bigger guns to fight gangs, terrorists, right-wing militias, communists, hippies, whatever because the death machines they have now are just not killing the enemies fast enough. In this case, Huffman needs to wield greater censorship powers to protect us all from the community terrorists/gangs/right-wing militias/communists of r/fatpeoplehate.
We as a community need to decide together what our values are.
This is the most insidious shit that this piece of shit wrote. To ask a person to submit their values to the whims of the majority. And if your values don’t conform to those of Steve Huffman, you are not welcome on Reddit. Again, Huffman doesn’t have the balls to say that he will be imposing moral values on users, or to say this is what he himself wants. Look for the WE.
To that end, I’ll be hosting an AMA on Thursday 1pm pst to present our current thinking to you, the community, and solicit your feedback.
I take that back. THIS is the most insidious shit that the piece of shit wrote because it smacks of the kind of Vanguardism that would cause Lenin to shed a tear. “Sure! You get have an open and honest discussion about OUR thinking! Of course, we’ll present OUR thinking to YOU, the community, and solicit your feedback! You get to have feedback! You don’t get to actually make a decision! That’s not for you!”
Bye-bye Reddit. It was a hell of a ride while it lasted.