For months, Reddit has been combating complaints of a series of racist subgroups popping up on the popular social network site. After months of pressure, Reddit’s CEO finally put a stop to the venomous groups such as “Coontown” and “WatchN*ggersDie” with an updated usage policy.
On Thursday, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced the new changes that will do away with those “subreddits” filled with hateful conversations and racially insensitive imagery. In times past, it Huffman allowed these groups to stand because he felt they were a vital part of the conversation and that blocking the sites wouldn’t end racism.
Our policies are not changing dramatically from what we have had in the past. One new concept is Quarantining a community, which entails applying a set of restrictions to a community so its content will only be viewable to those who explicitly opt in. We will Quarantine communities whose content would be considered extremely offensive to the average redditor.
Today, in addition to applying Quarantines, we are banning a handful of communities that exist solely to annoy other redditors, prevent us from improving Reddit, and generally make Reddit worse for everyone else. Our most important policy over the last ten years has been to allow just about anything so long as it does not prevent others from enjoying Reddit for what it is: the best place online to have truly authentic conversations.
If Huffman’s announcement seemed especially tidy, it probably stems from the intense loyalty and fandom that exists among Reddit users and hoping to not upset that base. Also, some could argue that the change in policy isn’t truly addressing the vitriol that passes as conversation in the vast online communities.
Among the groups that were kicked off the site were communities that discussed animated child porn, the aforementioned “Coontown” and “WatchN*ggersDie” groups, “Koontown,” and “BestOfCoonTown.”