Reddit is often considered as something of a bastion of free Internet. From fighting against SOPA, to crowdsourcing their own alternative legislation, to playing a large role in the fledgling Internet Defense League, Reddit has always been a loud proponent of an unshackled, uncensored Internet. Now, in something of a contradictory move, reddit is moving to ban several domains from being posted on the site including The Atlantic, Business Week, PhysOrg, ScienceDaily, GlobalPost, and others. These bans are not jugdment calls about the content of these sites however, but rather as punishment for behavior that Reddit has identified as spamming or cheating. Breathe easy though, they’re only temporary.
A full and growing list of the domains can be found on the new subreddit r/banneddomains which includes ban announcements, but also discussions of the sites listed. The bans are part of a greater initiative to limit spam on the site as a whole, though when the ban feature rolled out last week, only URL shorteners were affected. The site bans were probably spurred, at least in part, by the recent discovery that Atlantic editor Jared Keller was dumping articles to reddit in great volume. He wasn’t the first to be found doing so. Ideally, the ban will not only prevent sites already caught engaging in such behavior from continuing, but also discourage other sites that might be keen on the idea from trying.
This isn’t the first struggle Reddit has had with moderation. Not long ago, the “technically legal but still really creepy” subreddit r/jailbait was finally banned, despite its rather iconic status as something of a distasteful but necessary result of free Internet. The bans in this case have nothing to do with content, but rather behavior that was facilitied by the banned sites themselves, make it much more akin to account banning than censorship. Still, if you browse around r/banneddomains for a bit, you’ll see many users upset that many quality outlets have been banned while crappier ones are still allowed to slip through. Hopefully everyone involved will learn a seemingly self-evident but apparently neccessary lesson: Don’t cheat while you’re winning.
We’ve reached out to several of the banned sites for their comment. We’ll update when we hear back.
A spokesman from Bloomberg had this to say regarding Businessweek:
“Our social media policy prohibits spamming. It dictates best practices to ensure we’re using any social media sites, including Reddit, responsibly and within each individual site’s user policies.
We take this issue very seriously and are looking into it because we know Redditors like reading stories from Bloomberg Businessweek and want to make sure they have access.”
(via Daily Dot)
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