One of the things Reddit is infamously known for is its laid back attitude about the trolling and harassment of its users. That is about to change, as the entertainment website is finally putting its food down with new anti-bullying rules.
The changes began back in March, when Reddit hopped on the train banning revenge porn, prompted by similar action taken by other social networks. Since then, the website’s owners continued the campaign on being more responsive about the many kinds of abuse that happen on the platform.
Next step was creating a transparency report that shows what had been banned. The new website rules were set in place as administrators started growing unhappy with the sheer amount of harassing behavior. Surveying frequent users about the issues occurring on the platform showed they felt the same.
This month, Reddit took another step in the right direction, establishing new ways in which users can report harassment or bullying, which will then be banned from the website. The problem is, though, that the official policy is still counting on users to report the cases of harassment, instead of implementing a pro-active way that automatically penalizes bullies.
Reddit took initiative in explaining harassment in specific terms, so it could be sanctioned on predefined grounds; according to the new rules, it is a series of actions aiming at tormenting or demeaning another user in a way that would make other people think that Reddit is no longer a safe platform for expressing ideas, or it would cause fear for one’s safety.
Users who feel bullied or harassed via Reddit are encouraged to file a report by either emailing [email protected] about their situation or by using Reddit’s internal messaging service.
According to Reddit, its vague and laid back approach on censoring and banning content was meant to help free speech and expression. Instead, people used the open policies to harass other people in such a way that some avoided participating in the open conversation for fear of personal safety.
Negative responses on the platform are so common, that a recent survey to which 15,000 Redditors responded showed a great majority of them feeling uneasy about contributing. Same respondents said that, in spite of the fact they are still using Reddit, they stopped recommending it to their friends. The main reason given by Redditors was the high percentage of hateful and offensive content.
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