Reddit is finally mounting a war against trolls

Reddit has finally made a move against trolls, releasing plans that it hopes will “curb harassment” on the site.

On Thursday, the site announced in a blog post that it was clamping down on harassment by allowing users to report any instances to moderators, who are able to remove content or ban users from the site.

The policy update provides a definition of what constitutes harassment:

Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2) fear for their safety or the safety of those around them.

Reddit users can report a negative private message, post, or comment — and the user behind it — using Reddit’s internal messaging system or at [email protected]

The site has made several changes in the last few months to clean up the online space. In February, Reddit banned revenge porn.

“Revenge porn didn’t exist in 2005. Smartphones didn’t really exist in 2005,” said Alexis Ohanian, executive chairman of Reddit, of the decision at the time. “We’re taking the standards we had 10 years ago and bringing them to speed in 2015.”

This latest change was prompted by a survey of 15,000 “redditors,” which found that negative responses to comments prevent others from sharing their opinions. In the blog post announcing the changes, Reddit says that the biggest reason users do not recommend the site to friends “is because they want to avoid exposing friends to hate and offencive content.”

Trolling may have stopped Reddit’s user base from expanding beyond the 200 million users it currently boasts, and prevented some brands from advertising on the site, the New York Times reports. After a $US50 million (£32 million) round of funding in October, the company is trying to build a bigger, more serious business.

One thing moderators won’t be doing is actively policing the site for harassment. Reddit users will be responsible for reporting it themselves, perhaps to placate those users who have enjoyed a lack of interference from the company so far.

“This change will have no immediately noticeable impact on more than 99.99% of our users,” the company said. “It is specifically designed to prevent attacks against people, not ideas.”

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