In a more drastic move to police its platform, Reddit announced that it is now going to penalize users who display toxic behavior in the popular online forum. The company is said to have identified a collection of misfits who will be facing a warning notice or even a permanent ban.
Steve Huffman vs. Reddit Trolls
This development is tied to the recent controversy involving Reddit's CEO Steve Huffman. He has admitted to modifying the posts of some pro-Donald Trump users who have been inundating Huffman and the bulk of Reddit moderators with insults and criticisms. This was triggered by Reddit's decision to close a subreddit devoted to discussing an unfounded conspiracy theory tying Hillary Clinton to a purported cabal of pedophiles in Washington.
Under his Reddit username, spez, Huffman first apologized about his attempt to "troll the trolls."
"It is heartbreaking to think that my actions distracted people from their family over the holiday; instigated harassment of our moderators; and may have harmed Reddit itself," Huffman said. "I honestly thought I might find some common ground with that community by meeting them on their level. It did not go as planned."
Those in the know will probably recall that the Reddit top honcho has invoked his power to change references to his user name. Huffman used the names of the moderators of r/the_donald subreddit as replacements for spez in derogatory posts. Huffman has sustained the brunt of insults from this forum.
New Reddit Policy
Invoking the opening statement of the Reddit Content Policy, which requires users to respect each other, Huffman outlined specific measures against bad behavior beyond the reliance on moderators, which the Reddit CEO declared as ineffective.
Aside from the identification of the initial toxic group to be penalized, Reddit has announced that the posts stickied on r/the_donald will be removed from its popular listing page. For many users, this is the go to section when visiting the site.
Reddit also now enabled filtering for all users for the r/all page. This means those offended by a particular Reddit community could choose to remove it from the list of posts appearing in their r/all page and it include those appearing on Reddit's app available on Android and iOS devices. A short video has been made available to explain how this feature is done.
Huffman added that if situation does not improve — meaning if Reddit trolls continue their antics — an entire community could get itself obliterated entirely as opposed to just meting out individual bans.
Naturally, the new policies have aggravated a number of users on the r/the_donald community. Some have called for a mass exodus while some want a petition calling for Huffman's ouster. Some are also trying to test the waters by posting invectives and obscenities. It is also not uncommon to find users invoking censorship while some argue how the subreddit is being singled out.
The r/the_donald community is known for its hostility toward Reddit administrators. It has launched an organized campaign in the past, comparing them to the Nazis.
Observers should expect the effect of the new Reddit policy if trolls or even an entire community begin disappearing. However, it is not yet clear if Reddit also addressed the fact that these users could still go back with different usernames.