Reddit is finally moving against the small number of trolls that populate its community for the sole purpose to harass and bully other users. Let’s draw a distinction between the troll that is out to be a sarcastic bastard, and the bully that is actively harassing another person.
There is a difference, and it’s getting lost in our new normal of shouting at each other. Context? What the hell is that?
Reddit announced the move Thursday in a blog post:
“We’ve seen many conversations devolve into attacks against individuals.” It defined harassing behavior as “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”.
Users will be able to email Reddit and report any harassment. An employee would then evaluate the report and make a determination.
Spearheaded by interim chief executive Ellen Pao, the move comes after years of shadow bans. The site would effectively ban a user without their knowledge, letting them spin their wheels to no avail.
The move isn’t without pushback and accusations of pandering. Some are calling it censorship and demanding it be left to the moderators of the subreddit. For harassment? No, Reddit employees should make the determination,
Others are calling it a move to pander towards advertisers. If that were the case, there would be a purge of subreddits with pornography, drugs, sexism, racism, etc. I can keep going…
The site is keeping its liberal views of freedom of expression. What it isn’t going to do is let users threaten others.
Context of Trolls
There is room here to make both sides happy. Some people like to banter back and forth. If that devolves into users being sarcastic morons, whatever. As long as you keep it light, go for it. If you are attacking/threatening a user and spreading private information, that’s harassment.
It’s simple. Know your community. If you have buddies you like to be a sarcastic troll with online, go ahead. If someone is new to the community, why not get a feel for them first?
Reddit is an open platform for all. If you’re not sure of what constitutes harassing another person, stick with this adage.