Today, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced a proposed change to its content policy that would lock away the worst of the worst (porn, hate speech, anything that “violates common decency”) behind a wall, making it only visible to those who log in to the site and actively seek it out.
Judging from the immediate reaction, there are three major camps. The first, and probably the majority, are curious but wary whether this will actually change anything on the site.
The second camp are people who think Huffman’s promises about keeping free speech contradicts his desire to impose rules on the community, as exemplified by this popular comment:
And then the third those who think that Reddit’s new policies are just taking the same old toxic behaviour and sweeping it under the rug without actually kicking people out:
If you have a festering sore, does requiring people to log in to see it make it heal faster? Asking for a friend.
— Matthew Panzarino (@panzer) July 16, 2015
But only one group seems to be actively celebrating: /r/coontown (we won’t link it), the racist “subreddit” community that seems to have expected to be deleted from the site — only to have Huffman single it out as a community that will be placed behind the content filter, but otherwise left untouched.
Under this new policy, so long as /r/coontown follows the rules around making sure that any bad behaviour stays behind the opt-in wall, Reddit will leave them be.
This is currently the banner image on /r/coontown:
And then there’s this comment thread on the announcement:
The “false flag attack” referred to in the second comment is a term for someone else masquerading as a member of the community and purposely breaking the rules to incite a crackdown. “SJW,” short for “social justice warrior,” is a derisive term used by communities like these for progressives and feminists.
Meanwhile, /r/rapingwomen, which is exactly what it sounds like, would be banned under these rules since it incites others to violence against women.
It’s worth noting that Reddit’s content policies, as proposed here, are still up for discussion and could change.