So, That Latest Reddit Thing

The regularly excellent ReplyAll podcast has a good roundup of the current drama over at Reddit. Useful if you don’t know what a Reddit is. Equally useful if you do know what a Reddit is but tend to avoid it because of its Redditness.

If you want to read more, here’s a collection of the least confusing articles about Reddit.

TL;DR: Reddit is a valuable online property because it can direct vast amounts of traffic. This value is based on the work of unpaid Redditors who act as taste makers. A surprisingly large number of these taste makers also happen to be quite awful people. Whether they’re genuinely awful or just being ironically awful is immaterial. What is at issue is that for Reddit to monetise it’s traffic-directing ability and appeal to wary advertisers it has to clean up the nastiness that frequently spills onto its front page. (Of course, removing all the illegal and distasteful material up there would be ideal but hey, baby steps.) Any attempt to do this is met with user and moderator revolts and outrage. In order to sort this out Reddit would need to pay for some professional fumigation and ongoing community management. Thus far it has shown little inclination to do so.