Dammit, Reddit! A Letter To the Rotten Monolith

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Gosh, Reddit. You had me. You had me convinced that there were redeemable parts of you, that your leadership was making you less of a cesspool, that, like literally any other group of people, you contained both decent humans and horrid man-babies who throw tantrums when anyone tries to tell them how to behave like a person. Reddit, I thought you were largely interested in getting to know me, in treating people better than you have in the past. But dammit, Reddit, I may have been wrong.

Let’s start by talking about your treatment of Ellen Pao, the CEO who resigned this week after you asked her to. First off, when she tried to inoculate you against being diaper-wearing-man-zombies, you threw a tantrum. Then, when SOMEONE ELSE fired one of your favorite employees (Victoria Taylor, who ran the extremely popular Ask Me Anything forum), you whipped that tantrum into a frenzy and began verbally attacking Pao using gendered epithets and racial slurs. Literally, Alexis Ohanian (co-founder, man) even kinda said he did that firing and you STILL crucified Ellen Pao and put together a two-hundred-thousand-person petition calling for her resignation. This is kinda like when you said you were attacking Zoe Quinn over ethics in gaming journalism, yet the journalist in question wasn’t ever attacked.

via The Frisky

Ellen Pao via The Frisky

I need to explain something to you, here. All Pao wanted to do with grow Reddit and ensure you remained an internet-influencer, ensure that you actually got profitable and continue to exist. Pao was working for your benefit. Imagine that we’re in the middle of the zombie apocalypse and you’ve been infected. Ellen Pao had the cure and was trying to inject you with it when you bit her hand off at the wrist. That’s what you just did. NO CURE FOR YOU.

Besides, are you aware of what a badass Ellen Pao is? She turned down a bunch of money and is likely appealing her loss in the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Venture Capital decision because she just plain thinks Kleiner is wrong, that they did discriminate against her. Her suit, though it did not succeed, exposed a METRIC TON OF BULLSHIT heaped upon the way the Silicon Valley dos business (with which the women who have worked there were already deeply familiar).

But I digress. Back to you, because you’re a self-centered shit-tornado. You like to pretend that “free speech” is the be all and end all of your argument, and that’s all you’re doing. But you know what? If you did some of the things you do virtually in real life, it wouldn’t be labeled as “free speech.” It would be labeled as harassment, which is not legally protected but might as well be. Do you know why your harassment would probably also be just fine in real life? Because you aren’t neutral, Reddit. You are men. You are white men. According to this awesome piece by Samantha Allen on The Daily Beast, you aren’t the front page of the internet; you are the front page of a very specific internet:

But Reddit is not an unmodified “popular online message board” so much as it is an online message board that is intensely popular among young men. It has 160 million monthly users, sure, but nearly 120 million of them are men and only about 3 million of them were alive when the Beatles played Shea stadium.

That means you are, like the young white men who make up most of your being, largely blind to anything outside your own experience and they, even though many make fun of the requests for safer spaces on college campuses, are the biggest stick-your-fingers-in-their-own-ears-when-confronted-with-anyting-outside-their-worldview-bunch out there. Unfortunately, that you are made up almost entirely of men is probably why you are the foremost community shaping the internet today. It makes me want to lick a moving fan blade.

You don’t get to point out that you were peeved that a female employee got fired and so that means the rest of your actions weren’t misogynistic—that’s not a thing. Because you are made up of more than your cro-magnon constituents; you are also made up of your board, your co-founders and your employees. So you might claim that your peeved-off-ness wasn’t misogynistic (though your response certainly was), but you also fired Victoria Taylor. And by the way, we can’t even talk about THAT divorced from all this drama, which is a damn shame because, as Feministing pointed out:

Redditors were not wrong to identify Taylor as a keystone to the site’s success. The work she did in coordinating the AMAs, keeping the uglier parts of the site at bay, and becoming part of the community herself, were all essential. Indeed, one could suggest that part of why she was so well liked was that she was one of the most visible and accessible members of Reddit’s otherwise aloof staff. This is not unusual for community moderators; swimming in the community is part of their job. What is also not unusual is that their work is dramatically undervalued and seen as expendable; they’re often the first to go when cuts are made.

The Redditors who use Taylor’s gender as a shield for their own misogyny will not acknowledge that one of the structural forces that made even a phenom like Taylor expendable was the institutional sexism that undervalues emotional labour as a professional skill.

GAH! And we can barely have this conversation because of all the man-baby DRAMA and swastika-themed protests you’ve mucked about in. All we’re going to do is talk about that, and about the total turd way you treated Ellen Pao. And now you are short TWO BADASS FEMALE EMPLOYEES. The Silicon Valley is less two very important women. All because your hypocritical, split-personality manness fired one and caused another to resign. By the way, I’m not the first one to have noticed your stupidity in this matter: your former CEO, Yishan Wong, has been pretty vocal about all this. He pointed out that Alexis Ohanian totally used Pao as a scapegoat:

I’m glad redditors have started to piece together all of this. Here’s the only thing you’re missing:

It travels upstream, except when it comes from the CEO’s boss.

Alexis wasn’t some employee reporting to Pao, he was the Executive Chairman of the Board, i.e. Pao’s boss. He had different ideas for AMAs, he didn’t like Victoria’s role, and decided to fire her. Pao wasn’t able to do anything about it. In this case it shouldn’t have traveled upstream to her, it came from above her.

Then when the hate-train started up against Pao, Alexis should have been out front and center saying very clearly “Ellen Pao did not make this decision, I did.” Instead, he just sat back and let her take the heat. That’s a stunning lack of leadership and an incredibly shitty thing to do.

I actually asked that he be on the board when I joined; I used to respect Alexis Ohanian. After this, not quite so much.

Which is, by the way, a thing that happens. Companies appoint female CEOs as a strategy during times of crisis so they can fire and berate them later. It’s called the glass cliff. Don’t you feel silly for falling for it, most of Reddit? You played right into your overlords’ hands.

THAT IS NOT A BENIGN SMILE, REDDIT, IT'S THE GRIN OF THE DEMONIC. via re/Code

THAT IS NOT A BENIGN SMILE, REDDIT, IT’S THE GRIN OF THE DEMONIC. via re/Code

He also penned a letter letting you know you were totally and completely wrong to call for Pao’s resignation, especially the people who liked the free speech policy. AND GUESS WHAT? He was…well…at least partially right. New CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman did outline a new content policy on July 16th at 1pm PST, but it’s not the purge some were hoping for and others were fearing. According to The Verge:

In practice, it looks like Reddit will alternate between shutting down the worst subreddits and trying to quarantine them. In addition to existing warnings for NSFW content, there’s a new section for “content that violates a common sense of decency,” apparently a catch-all term for all the worst parts of Reddit. This will be allowed to stay up, but users will have to log in to see it, won’t appear in search results, and “will generate no revenue for Reddit.”

Huffman gave one example of the difference between incitement and violating common decency. “/r/rapingwomen will be banned. They are encouraging people to rape,” he said, of one of Reddit’s more controversial boards. But a white supremacist subreddit that doesn’t actively incite violence could stay up. That’s apparently the case with one of the site’s most infamous racist communities. “/r/coontown will be reclassified. The content there is offensive to many, but does not violate our current rules for banning.”

Doxxing, the practice of posting someone’s personal details like their address, is against the new content policy. I’m looking through Huffman’s AMA and I can’t find much on swatting, the super fucking dangerous practice of sending a SWAT team to someone’s house because you don’t like them.

So what to do, what to do? Some are saying that you are so rotten that you cannot be saved; that no matter what, the ugliest parts of your humanity will drag down the good. I know it sounds like I’m just straight up anti-you right now, Reddit, but I’m not. Every situation has nuance. But I’m oscillating wildly between two things —leaving you alone to rot and trying to flood you with the best of the best people on the internet. There are pros and cons to each. Better people on Reddit means a better you, Reddit, it does. Should we allow spaces to exist that are made up entirely of young white men without doing our best to place ourselves in those spaces? I can tell you one thing, I’m not deleting the Reddit account I made earlier this year. Imma use you, Reddit. Imma use you over and over and over again. I personally think leaving people in their echo chamber to cook up toxic fumes and blow them at each other isn’t the way to go—but I am a person who’s been known to loudly proclaim that I crave environments without safer spaces because I feel like that’s where I can make a larger impact. I am privileged enough that resilience doesn’t take a whole lot out of me, and in the end I understand that these people who make you up are sad neckbeards who can’t process the reason they’re alone in the world is all their fault, and that they might not be static-terrible forever. Socialization with actual women-people might actually be key to their rehabilitation; at least if I put myself into their space, they might be able to look beyond their own greasy nose-tip and lint-lined navel for a hot sec. But that’s so much to expect of the best of the best people—it’s certainly not their job and in the end such a tactic might not be successful. In fact, angry mobs of internet strangers can do a whole lot of damage, so occupying Reddit isn’t without risk.

And there’s the management to consider—I don’t exactly want to support any company that uses a glass cliff tactic, though it’s common enough that I’m sure I’d have a hard time sticking to that principle if I did my research. The reason you are so powerful is your users—giving you more free content after pulling some bullshit like this is antithetical to my belief system, and would definitely be a way of supporting your leadership. In fact, I’d much rather interact with the best of the best people where they already exist: right here on Autostraddle. I’d rather support our community, support our leadership. So what does this all mean for my personal future with you, Reddit? I don’t know, to be honest. And I don’t know what to tell the best of the best people to do about it either. So I’m just going to take it one day at a time with you, Reddit. I’ll be treating you like the frenemy in a 90’s sleepover movie. I’m watching you.

I AM WATCHING YOU LIKE WITH A MAGNIFYING GLASS THAT'S HOW CLOSE. via Shutterstock

I AM WATCHING YOU LIKE WITH A MAGNIFYING GLASS THAT’S HOW CLOSE. via Shutterstock


So tell me, queermos. How do you feel about Reddit right now?

This has been the one-hundred-thirty-seventh installment of Queer Your Tech with Fun, Autostraddle’s nerdy tech column. Not everything we cover is queer per se, but we talk about customizing this awesome technology you’ve got. Having it our way, expressing our appy selves just like we do with our identities. Here we can talk about anything from app recommendations to choosing a wireless printer to websites you have to bookmark to any other fun shit we can do with technology. Header by Rory Midhani.

Staff Writer for Autostraddle, Part-time Faculty at The New School (teaching digital storytelling), Managing Editor for Scholar & Feminist Online at Barnard Center for Research On Women. Follow me on Twitter @AEOsworth or on Instagram, also @AEOsworth.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.

51 Comments

  1. I never really used it, but now I really don’t want to use it. I think it’s time to let go of reddit and find a new platform for AMAs, cause that’s the only redeemable portion of the site anyways.

    Side note, her husband from all I have read is a fairly shady dude, and cause their family to nearly go bankrupt once.

  2. Wow, when the dots are joined that is a very ugly image, the idea of the glass cliff is absolutely chilling. I really loved this article, I may have read it in a single breath. .. just to add a little drama to go with the up tempo danger music.

  3. The recent events on Reddit have made me cringe and palm my own face. However, I will still be using Reddit. As of right now, it is the best way to engage with the myriad of communities I identify with (Bisexuals, femmes, queers, feminists, vegans, people that are trying to be frugal, people that like corgis, game of thrones super fans, atheists, people that live in Oakland, people that are looking for affordable housing in the SF Bay Area, biologists, scientists, eczema sufferers, and so on).

    I feel pretty pessimistic about this whole problem of sexism in the inter webs. I can’t imagine that a mass exodus from Reddit to another platform will really solve anything. I think the issue is not the platform, but the people using it.

  4. I left reddit after receiving rape and death threats for expressing a feminist voice that went against the hivemind. While I do see some merit in flooding good internet people into bad internet spaces, personal safety comes first. Those messages were enough for me to never look back.

  5. I have mixed feelings about Reddit. I use Reddit, but I would never recommend anyone to use it themselves. As someone who works as a professional community manager, the way Reddit handled this situation is nothing short of a complete clusterfuck. I’ve been following the drama out of professional curiosity and they’ve made so many rookie mistakes in terms of community management and it’s so surprising because their entire platform is built on the concept of community and managing communities. The community brings the content. They just provide a space for it. The magnitude of the missteps they’ve made leads me to believe that the people in power really don’t understand communities, and those who do know what they’re doing are probably fighting internal battles until they get fired or leave out of frustration. I don’t think Reddit can be a place for open discourse while still harboring the worst of the internet. It’s hypocritical. They want to keep racist subs like /r/coontown, and still say they want everyone to discuss safely and be welcome on their site? It’s ridiculous. You can’t have it both ways. I get that subs are often microcosms and very silo-ed, but to allow violently racist, misogynistic, and other vile content on the site and to just hide it away from advertisers sends a signal about what the employees and the company stands for.

  6. I have distinctly mixed feelings about reddit. On one hand, some of the niche subreddits are filled with really good people, and have been very helpful for me (/r/asktransgender, in particular, played no small role in my coming to terms with my gender identity).

    But I’ve been spending less and less time on the largest “default” subs, because the white-heterocis-male hivemind is starting to get *really* tiring.

    To be honest, nowadays, I mostly go to reddit for the lesbian and anti-gamergate subreddits- but Autostraddle is pretty similar to the former, and the latter is making noises about migrating. If that happens, I probably will, too.

  7. This is totally spot on. I mostly use Reddit for the queer/feminist subreddits but I do tend to spend too much time on r/AskReddit, and I almost always end up hating myself for it. It’s no surprise to anyone that most of the community is sexist but what really got to me was the sheer hypocrisy of their sexism. Everybody on AskReddit makes fun of “neckbeards” and r/redpill (the primary MRA subreddit) but then whenever a survivor posts about their experience there’s a barrage of replies about how rape is bad but what’s just as bad or even worse is being falsely accused of rape (which so much of Reddit seems to think is a giant epidemic). Every time Emma Sulkowicz was mentioned pretty much everyone (or at least the posters getting the most upvotes) was in agreement that she is the literal anti-Christ and should be punished for falsely accusing an innocent man.

    Then there’s the casual sexism that just always serves to remind me of just how male-dominated the site is. Whenever there’s a question like “What album would you say is perfect?” all of the top responses are albums by male artists and bands. If it’s something like “What movie will you never tire of?” almost every movie listed doesn’t pass the Bechdel test. Any question asking about favorite stand-up comedy bits is all male comedians.

    This whole ordeal just goes to prove just how hypocritical the community is when it comes to sexism. They all think they’re better than the neckbeards but the line between them is only getting smaller…

    • So true about the melding-but-not-noticing. I was having a convo with my brother about whitewashing comic book characters and he flipped, going off about “authenticity” and how “the main paying audience” (aka, young white cis-het men like himself) would be so turned off. His response to me saying it would actually be way more authentic, not to mention pretty excellent to have the viewing wishes of non-neckbeards represented: “I’m not one of those tools! I just shaved!” #Can’tShaveOffSystemicRacismSlash Misogyny

    • Speaking as a goon, SomethingAwful has grown up a lot over the past 10 years and actually has things like an active feminist community and a strong anti-GamerGate position. Yeah it’s not perfect but I’m still on it all these years later, as opposed to Reddit which I dumped after just one year of that bullshit.

      • Yeah! And most Goons seem to post and self-police along a very organically-developed moral code. Like, not perfect, but coming from a place of genuine not-wanting-to-be-an-asshole as opposed to following the rules to not get banhammered.

        It totally has a long way to go, but it’s a place I’m pretty happy lurking. I’m only sad so much is under lock and key, so I go “Voila! Your mustard stain!” and people are like “Wha….” (From the comedy gold post with the Burger King meal generator.)

  8. I never heard of reddit until week, when I read about the firing of EP in The Guardian.

    I agree with Ali that it’s hard to avoid using/buying anything from a dirty company, since so many companies engage in gross practices. But reddit seems to be admitting that its average user is an asshole. They need their assholes. Thus they maintain their user base of assholes to stay alive as a business, as described above.

    Are there no other places to get what you get from reddit?

  9. I hate/love reddit. I love and appreciate the small, queer, subreddits like r/actuallesbians(which is so different from r/lesbians which is just porn) and I like how educational and informative it is in regards to technology.

    But there is such an ugly undercurrent of racism and misogyny which is rarely confronted. The userbase loves to think of theirselves as liberal and logical, but the fact that a minority woman in power received so much hate is very telling. I hesitate to identify myself as a woman on reddit, but I don’t think I would ever, ever admit that I’m a black woman. There are so many trolls from places like r/coontown that would try to make my life miserable if I did.

    The effort to ban and quarantine hateful subreddits is comendable, but I’m not sure how much it will change the toxic culture there.

  10. I will still use reddit.

    I just really wish they’d get their shit together – the board and the people who run the site, that is. I still don’t think Ellen Pao was the greatest choice for a CEO for reddit, but the way she was treated was horrible. However, she was ALWAYS set up to take the fall for coming policy changes and that was blindingly obvious the whole time (she was always just an interim CEO). But sweet Jesus, Reddit treated her like crap because young white men are dumb and somehow didn’t realize that’s why she was there.
    However, it’s not like it requires magic to figure out that perhaps the site needs both someone who knows the finance stuff but also knows the site. Knows what’s on there, what it does and how it functions. Someone who is passionate about the dollars is great and all, but someone who also cares about mod tools would be better – the dollars should pay for something worthwhile.

    I will say this about reddit, though: There are vast spaces of reddit that are pretty great. Due to how the site is structured and used it takes a long time to get there and it’s hard to find, but I have been on the site for 7 years and it has taught me a lot. But I admit that I am currently not subscribed to anything that gets to the front page because those are the worst. I don’t have a problem with objectionable content existing on the site, but those aren’t in my opinion the problem. The problem isn’t /r/coontown because let’s be real: most people, including most young white dudes, can take a cursory look at that and realize the joke is on the people posting there because they’re a bunch of idiotic nutjobs. However, the casual racism and sexism of very large subreddits (/r/funny or the flood of anti-Semitism and anti-Islam stuff invading /r/worldnews every time something happens in the Middle East) are the things that I think make parts of the site toxic. The worst offenders are not things you’d never find without looking for them to begin with – front page communities, however, need better moderation which will not happen until the site itself gives them better tools. People don’t stumble into redpill or /r/watchpeopledie or whatever – they stumble into /r/funny or /r/news. People find /r/lgbt before /r/ainbow, you know? It’s the easiest search and the most obvious answer. The policies need to address the way the site is actually used and what a new user will come across – and who will be attracted to that stuff enough to stay a while and even contribute. Do I think /r/coontown is the thing keeping people off reddit? No, I think /r/news and /r/funny are way bigger offenders – because that’s the racism you meet first. That’s what puts you off long before you find the small communities of nutjobs.

    Basically I think a rotation of subreddits for automatic front page would be better – one day could be /r/gamers but another could be /r/girlgamers and another /r/gaymers, you know? If you offer diverse content up front diverse people will stay. Display all the good stuff, not just the lazy stuff. Shockingly, the largest communities go for the lowest common denominator, so those aren’t the most valuable if you want to change the site (excepting /r/aww obviously).

    Anyway, those are my thoughts.

    • I agree with this! I follow a lot of subreddits that are really great. They help me get bras that fit and teach me weird science facts and entertain me with obsessive Game of Throne fan theories. I don’t really follow any of the larger communities, and my personal experience has been quite pleasant.

    • Yes, this exactly – once I found r/actuallesbians and r/trollxchromosomes my reddit experience got so much better, but before that it was extremely lonely reading all the shitty misogynistic comments that get upvoted in the defaults.

  11. I have no mixed feelings for Reddit. Fuck that platform. I don’t see anything redeemable about that website. If I want to engage in feminist discussions or find fellow-minded people, I’d rather stick to Facebook or look for specialty websites rather than pretend that occupying the same space as the worst representations of humanity is acceptable.

    Plus I hate its layout so much, it’s so ugly.

  12. I’m sad about how shitty reddit is, because there are communities I like on there and I’ve recently made good friends in a small writing sub. I run it with adblock so I can at least feel a little better about not giving them any revenue, if nothing else, and I would never have bought gold anyway.

    I will just stay in my quiet happy corner (which is admittedly mostly in a chatroom off of reddit) clicking on cat pictures and talking to my friends. -.-

  13. I am pretty invested in forums like /r/asktransgender, which are busy spaces with good discussion (albeit not without their own drama occasionally). The recent fuss has been pretty awful but policy has been moving ever so slightly in the right direction. That said, the management’s treatment of Ellen and their dishonest handling of the situation is abysmal.

    I hope they kick off the racists. Seeing thousands of self-absorbed white boys leave over freedom of speech would make my year. We shall see where this goes.

  14. I’ve never really used Reddit, and I think I’ll keep it that way. I think I took a brief look at r/actuallesbians after Ali’s previous article, but I decided that I liked ASS better.

    By the way, I definitely had to look up “neckbeards.”

  15. Reddit pretty much sums up what I meant when I said the other day that it’s legit terrifying how violently pissed off white cis-males can get on the internet. They’re pulling the free-speech card on their right to publicly fantasize about ways to kill/rape/harass women/fat people/poc/lbgt people..and they think the rest of the internet are the ones with the problem for wanting that shit shut down?
    To a degree I agree that flooding shitty spaces with good people can, in some cases, make a difference.. and on the one hand I want to hold out hope that that’s still possible with Reddit.. but I don’t know, honestly. I wouldn’t want good people to have to subject themselves to that cesspool. For my own mental health I generally tend to steer clear unless it’s something very specific, like an AMA.

  16. I feel like Reddit, as those types of communities do, is very polarizing. If you go in with no particular feelings/thoughts about a specific topic, you’ll either be convinced by the overwhelming majority or you’ll think “everybody is WRONG”. There’s not much space for debate sadly

    My brother is on Reddit a lot. I don’t know if he posts or just reads, but I see him use it and I worry. Does he buy into the #notallmen bullshit ? does he believe that false rape accusations is a thing ?

    Ten years ago when I was trying to explain that even the smallest “issue” to feminists (like trying to get the equivalent of Ms. in France because really weather I’m married or not should be nobody’s business) he replied that it was stupid and that it didn’t mean anything and that I was making up issues. Now he’s married to a WOC whose home country is becoming steadily worse dealing with women’s rights, and it’s making him see things in a different light and see that YES feminism is still much needed.

    But I wonder how much of Reddit bleeds into him…

    • I hear you on this. My brother reads reddit too and I fear that it latently hardens him to the concerns of less privileged and more vulnerable populations. Nothing I can do about it though so it just depresses me.

  17. “I am a person who’s been known to loudly proclaim that I crave environments without safer spaces because I feel like that’s where I can make a larger impact. I am privileged enough that resilience doesn’t take a whole lot out of me.” <-- kind of sums up why I work in tech. thanks for this ali. all the right amounts of pragmatism and vengeance.

  18. When I wake up in the morning I go on three sites: autostraddle, Facebook, and Reddit. I spend about a minute on my front page, which has had any subreddit that ever posted anything sexist, transphobic, or racist eliminated, before checking out my two great loves, r/relationships and r/subredditdrama.

    Relationships is great because although I assume a lot of the posts aren’t true, I like hearing vignettes from peoples lives. Subredditdrama is what keeps me on the site, as its one of the most progressive parts of Reddit, and mostly calls out the racist/sexist shit on the rest of the site. They even often call out transphobic comments, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It’s like overhearing college kids discuss the awful shit someone said in class, its nice and oddly entertaining.

    The trick with Reddit, which is what everyone else pretty much said, is to find your niche you enjoy. Some people don’t want to bother, which is legit, but for us who have been reading the site for years its a hard habit to give up.

  19. The only places I go on reddit are some queer subreddits and r/whitewater. And I like being able to connect with other trans and genderqueer/nonbinary people in some way, and reddit has a decent community and ability to interact with. And r/whitewater is nice for gear recs from perspectives other than my friends. Also, people find great boating videos/pics. And I’ve definitely learned a bit about rescues from the community discussing rescues they’ve done OR finding rescue videos and dissecting them.

  20. I use reddit occasionally (r/rats , r/bisexual and r/ADHD, mainly) and while the niche subs can be OK, I’m never able to fully forget the awfullness of the main site. The same people who post gross stuff in r/atheiss and such also use small subreddits, and outside of social justice-y subs, they don’t really get called out. I mean, r/ADHD is far from a cesspit of misogyny like most of the site, but I still choose the threads I respond in very carefully and stay strictly on topic, the jokes and OT chatter are still extremely reddity

  21. I only recently signed up for Reddit (a few months before this debacle) to talk about Life is Strange and other video games I love which are celebrated on other platforms but not analyzed or dissected. The subreddits I spend time in (GOT, LIS, and a very few others) are for the most part friendly, supportive, safe, and intellectually stimulating although you still see white cis male privilege and entitlement rear it’s ugly head. I usually speak against that entitlement in those small subs because I feel safe doing so. But I definitely knew about Reddit’s bad track record and similarly felt optimistic about it when Pao became CEO and they changed their harassment policy. After signing up, I tried to be a part of larger subs/speak up there the way I did in small fandom communities, but I found that even when I brought ‘hard facts’ they went ignored in favor of hate speech, and arguing with those people felt really unsafe emotionally for me. Since my favorite games and shows haven’t been releasing new content and all this BS has been going down with Ellen Pao and Victoria Taylor, I haven’t been back on the website. I’ve been having the same feelings of disillusionment as Ali expressed here. I think I will return when the next episode of LIS releases, but if things continue the way they’re going now even the great fandom discussions won’t be able to keep me on Reddit. There are definitely queers, women, people of color, and trans folks on Reddit whom I love speaking with and communities hosting important discussion. I wish the reasonable, empathic users of the site could influence Reddit as a company positively, but the recent steps backwards in staffing and site-wide discourse have made me think otherwise.

  22. Thank you so much for this, Ali! My close guy friends all use Reddit, and I’ve tried to talk to them a few times about why I don’t like the website, but I’ve never been able to articulate it well. They’re always quick to defend Reddit by claiming that I’m on bad subreddits or preaching at me about free speech. I can’t spend more than twenty minutes on Reddit without seeing something that enrages me. They’re already dumb because they’re in their early twenties they do not need Reddit to make them dumber.

  23. I’ve never been on Reddit (I know, I’m old) but I’m a bit trepidatious, to say the least. Lately even the comments section over at AfterEllen has gotten toxic enough to make my stomach turn — two trolls who hate bisexual people and transgender people, respectively, seem to have taken over every article — and if that’s too much for me, I doubt I could take the darker corners of Reddit.

  24. I wish reddit wasn’t such a shithole. There are amazing small communities on reddit like /r/actuallesbians, /r/asktransgender, /r/synthesizers, and /r/newzealand. Those places have been good to me, and I trust the people who run them to keep them as fairly nice places to be. But they’re floating in an ocean of bigotry, hatred, and privileged entitlement that powers reddit’s worst. And it’s worst is unimaginably horrible.

    I still think that “push button, receive community news aggregator” is a good thing to have. I wish I could trust the admins, that reddit.com was managed like some of my favorite places on it are.

    I love reddit and I hate what it’s become 🙁

  25. I stopped using Reddit after being harassed for being pro-choice… by cis men who shouldn’t really have a say in my uterus. But I’m glad there are people like you still willing to call those shitbabies out on their… well, shit, because someone seriously needs to. It’s like Lord of the Flies came to life and multiplied like its namesake.

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