Hey, Reddit, we know you like being all free-speechy over there, and that you took forever to close down forums like r/creepshots and then winked and nodded when it re-emerged as “candid fashion police” (haha, close-up pictures of boobs and asses, only with the pretense of mocking the fashion sense of the unsuspecting, non-consenting women — IT IS SATIRE SO IT’S AUTOMAGICALLY NOT CREEPY NOW!), all in the name of letting people just be people and letting a thousand flowers bloom, even if they reek like Sumatran Corpse Flowers.
So we should not be too surprised, we suppose, that Reddit hosts a subreddit for racist fuckbags — pardon us, “white nationalists” — called “r/n*****s.” What does surprise us, just a little bit, is the almost sympathetic tone of this Daily Dot story about how members of r/n*****s have been “targeted” by Reddit administrators; we’re also a bit surprised that Salon found the story compelling enough to repost so it could reach a larger audience. Poor oppressed racists being treated unkindly by a private company? Way to go, private company! Sounds to us like Reddit is exercising its precious First Amendment freedom of association to decide what it wants to host and to regulate the behavior of the people posting on their site. Almost like a mommyblog we know that does not allow comments!
The actual nature of the kerfuffle is almost too inside-basebally to go into much detail about; in essence, Reddit appears to be censoring posts by users of r/n*****s by
systematically targeting and shadowbanning them, a practice in which an account is still active on the site but any submission or comments remain invisible to other users.
(We don’t care, we still think Shadowban was one of the awesomest secondary characters in Lord of the Rings.) Now, it’s probably also worth noting that the racist fucknuggets are not actually being targeted because they are racist fucknuggets: They are being censored because they have been doing what Reddit considers Bad Internet Things like invading other subreddits and down-voting all the posts (which may sound familiar to some Wonketteers who remember the days when we had downvotes here) or directly linking to posts in other subreddits, and so on. So really, this kerfuffle isn’t even so much about “free speech” as about whateverthefuck counts as “due process” in the running of a gigantic website with millions of users, some of whom are racist sphincterbrains.
Are the Nazi douchelumps being punished as a group or targeted for violations that other groups are allowed to get away with? Maybe; the moderator of r/n*****s, who goes by username “ChuckSpears” (GET IT?????), told Daily Dot reporter Fidel Martinez,
“The rules are left vague so they can say you broke them at any time…There’s absolutely no consistency to how they enforce them and they have different rules for different people.”
Poor thing. Martinez notes that this is, once again, not a matter of gummint oppression, but a private company saying who gets to play on its swingset:
For better or worse, when Reddit’s admins decide you’re a bad apple, there’s very little you can do to convince them otherwise. You’re on their turf, and they can kick you out whenever they feel like it.
For the most part, other Reddit users have been less concerned about the White Power Rangers’ travails; consider this reaction to ChuckSpears’ plaintive cries about this gross violation of his civil rights in r/SubredditDrama:
“First they came for the paedophiles, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a paedophile,” snarked Miss_Gender, alluding to pastor Martin Niemöller’s overused statement about the Nazis’ rise to power.
“Then they came for the doxxers, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a doxxer. Then they came for the racists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a racist. Then it was a bit better actually, and nobody missed the ones they’d come for.”
Miss_Gender, please feel free to come join us here at Wonkette any time you’d like.