Reddit’s New Policy Changes Prohibit Attacks, Hope to Prevent Future Harassment
reddit recently announced that they’ve changed their policies to help curb the amount of harassment and personal attacks that plague the community-driven website.
In their blog post, they go over how their hands-off, open approach to rules may have ended up backfiring. This laid back attitude towards enforcement has often allowed individuals to stifle the free expression that reddit holds so dear.
Per the post:
Last month, we conducted a survey of over 15,000 redditors—these are people who are part of the reddit community—that showed negative responses to comments have made people uncomfortable contributing or even recommending reddit to others. The number one reason redditors do not recommend the site—even though they use it themselves—is because they want to avoid exposing friends to hate and offensive content.
In that very same survey, they point out that “many of the concerns about community dealt with gender or race. Females are twice as dissatisfied with reddit overall and almost twice as dissatisfied with the community.”
According to reddit, harassment is defined 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.
If you’ve spent any amount of time trawling through subreddits, then you’ve no doubt seen some of these hostile communities in action. This change in policy has only just started to take effect, and according to the admins, day-to-day operations and posting shouldn’t be affected for the vast majority of users.
This change will have no immediately noticeable impact on more than 99.99% of our users. It is specifically designed to prevent attacks against people, not ideas. It is our challenge to balance free expression of ideas with privacy and safety as we seek to maintain and improve the quality and range of discourse on reddit.
The challenge of balancing safety with free expression is something that many social media websites are only beginning to understand. Twitter has only just recently doubled down on its own anti-harassment policies, and many of the worries about keeping this balance were echoed in both of the blog posts.
It’s clear that maintaining both free expression while stamping out harassment is a bit of a Herculean task. A balance like this isn’t achieved overnight. For a lot of people, these changes come too little too late; you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.
For what it’s worth, it is indeed encouraging to see that communities like these are finally taking on the responsibility of protecting some of their most marginalized users. The hands-off approach that once flew and ruled the internet is slowly changing, and for the better.
(via The Verge)
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