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Reddit Introduces Block User Feature To Help Users Fight Harassment, Trolls And Spam

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Reddit implements an improved block user feature, giving the users an effective way to completely steer clear of spam, trolling and harassment.

By "improved," that means users on the online community website already have a block option – since 2011, at the very least, but it was only limited to private messages.

This time around, it's now applicable to comment replies, filtering out all the target's posts, messages, comments and even their profile itself, which are manageable on a user's preferences page. The only thing that remains the same is that the recipient won't be notified about the block. Of course, users are still encouraged to report any form of abuse instead of just blocking it outright.

Reddit cofounder Christopher Slowe announced the news, pointing out how the website's open nature cuts both ways.

"Reddit is a place where virtually anyone can voice, ask about or change their views on a wide range of topics, share personal, intimate feelings, or post cat pictures. This leads to great communities and deep meaningful discussions. But, sometimes this very openness can lead to less awesome stuff like spam, trolling, and worse, harassment," he says.

On an interesting note, Slowe seems to have returned to Reddit just this January, leaving his chief scientist position at Hipmunk.

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian also mentioned how difficult it is to carry out a major change like this on the website, as it was initially designed to let users take care of any issue themselves.

"People, generally, do not like change. We have to do what is best for Reddit over all," he tells The New York Times.

Nevertheless, this is a step the founders think should be taken to prevent abuse from spreading on the community-based website, improving everyone's overall user experience.

This comes a little cold on the heels of when Reddit rolled out an updated harassment policy back in May last year, one of the website's earlier measures to handle the troll situation.

At any rate, this new block feature on Reddit will give the users more control of what they want or don't want to see.

Photo: Eva Blue | Flickr

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