Took ’em long enough. After several months of protest — and following the ouster of Reddit CEO Ellen Pao at the behest of a hateful online mob — Reddit’s new CEO Steve Huffman has taken action against horrifically racist subreddits such as /r/CoonTown.
Huffman previously defended Reddit’s policy of leaving virulently racist subreddits alone on free speech grounds. As Huffman put it, “I don’t think you can win an argument by simply silencing the opposition.”
Of course, as others have pointed out, the sort of guttural racism found on these subreddits isn’t just part of an ongoing intellectual debate within the marketplace of ideas. It’s vile hate speech, and it gives white supremacists a safe haven to congregate online. It seems that Huffman finally got the message, and banned these subreddits once and for all.
According to the latest comment policy update:
Today we are releasing an update to our Content Policy. Our goal was to consolidate the various rules and policies that have accumulated over the years into a single set of guidelines we can point to.
Thank you to all of you who provided feedback throughout this process. Your thoughts and opinions were invaluable. This is not the last time our policies will change, of course. They will continue to evolve along with Reddit itself.
Our policies are not changing dramatically from what we have had in the past. One new concept is Quarantining a community, which entails applying a set of restrictions to a community so its content will only be viewable to those who explicitly opt in. We will Quarantine communities whose content would be considered extremely offensive to the average redditor.
Today, in addition to applying Quarantines, we are banning a handful of communities that exist solely to annoy other redditors, prevent us from improving Reddit, and generally make Reddit worse for everyone else. Our most important policy over the last ten years has been to allow just about anything so long as it does not prevent others from enjoying Reddit for what it is: the best place online to have truly authentic conversations.
I believe these policies strike the right balance.
When asked, specifically, which Reddit communities got the ax under the updated policy, Huffman responded:
Today we removed communities dedicated to animated [child pornography] and a handful of other communities that violate the spirit of the policy by making Reddit worse for everyone else: /r/CoonTown, /r/WatchNiggersDie, /r/bestofcoontown,/r/koontown, /r/CoonTownMods, /r/CoonTownMeta.
And nothing of value was lost. Still, you would be mistaken if you thought white supremacist websites were banned from Reddit altogether. The aforementioned subreddits may have been identified as the worst of the worst, but other white supremacist subreddits are still alive and kicking — for now, anyway.
Over at /r/WhiteRights, folks are already feeling the impact of this policy change, lamenting the loss of their precious “free speech.” User “Ghostofjudgesmails” wrote, “Now you see it, now you don’t. The thought police have spoken.” “Reddit is done. It used to be for free speech, and now it isn’t. It is as simple as that,” wrote another redditor who calls himself “illStudyTomorrow.” “It’s done. We should all be finding a better alternative, right now. Free speech Reddit is gone, and there’s no use in whining about it. Let’s move on, this place is done.” “Ghostofjudgesmails” wrote back, “It’s honestly scary to me that a descenting [sic] opinion is not allowed.”
According to “WhitePride_WorldWide” the policy change was due to the fact that “Steve Huffman (guessing originally Hoffman) is a Jew” whose “business partner is Adam Goldstein.” The pair have also been “on Jewish bussiness news a few times”, naturally.
When someone broke the news that another subreddit, /r/BlackCrime, had been quarantined, /r/WhiteRights members collectively lost their shit. “Reddit is now a nigger, in that it doesn’t provide value, and doesn’t keep it’s word for longer than five minutes,” wrote one. “The one thing that united humanity: hatred of niggers. And they banned it. Thank you for setting back human progress, Plebbit,” whined another.
There was also talk of abandoning Reddit altogether. Like cockroaches when the lights are suddenly turned on, /r/WhiteRights members and ex-members of /r/CoonTown appear to be crawling to Voat, which The Washington Post described as “a Reddit knockoff…based in Switzerland.” Of course, if more and more websites follow this model, there will be fewer and fewer places for these losers to infest, until these bastions of online racism are stamped out once and for all. Good riddance.