a guest Feb 11th, 2019 58 Never
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- This is what I am interested to hear too. To everyone, what is your endgame? Because I'd really like to participate in it, to be frank.
- Let me first clear up some misunderstandings, especially about my personal motivations.
- I am not concerned about reddit (the company)'s reputation. There was a comment in yesterday's pickle thread along the lines of "Tough [..] luck, you think I care about Reddit's reputation? You certainly do, because you all want to attract more users."
- No, I don't.
- I consider, in many of these difficult situations, that there is roughly speaking a trade-off between #1) the "old-guard" of reddit (long-time users and mods), and #2) the new mainstream audience and demographics who are discovering reddit, many of whose opinions are affected by outside press. I am ready in nearly every case to make the decision in favor of #1, and that includes this case. Let me make that absolutely clear.
- Until March of this year, I was just a regular redditor, having been so for the past 6 years. I saw firsthand how the site, overshadowed by Digg and other competitors, with no attention/resources from its corporate parent, was loyal to the community who ultimately sustained it and brought it to its present day might. I will not betray that same community. When they asked me to be a candidate for the CEO position I joined so as to block other candidates who would. I am willing to accept a diminished position for reddit in the public eye, as a mainstream site, in order to nurture and grow the community that made it what it is. Gaining the not-disapproval of critical journalists won't pay the bills, but serving our loyal users and mods will.
- There's another comment elsewhere in modtalk (yeah, I'm treating this all as one big conversation) along the lines of "The new CEO is out of touch and we are all left to hang in the wind while he tries to bring Reddit the same sort of revenue that his previous employer (Facebook) enjoyed."
- My previous employer resulted in a financial windfall for me so that (speaking very frankly), I don't have to worry as much about money. I do not have, as a personal goal, turning reddit into some vastly profitable money-making machine. I am now free to fight for reddit. I do care about it becoming a powerful cultural force [for mostly good]. It's true, the company isn't fully cash-flow positive so we need revenue to be a little higher, but that's more of an incremental thing rather than cranking open the revenue spigot. A CEO who cared about that would be out selling ads to brand advertisers and would have just cracked down on distasteful subreddits so that he could sell more ads. Let me tell you, standing up for free speech and refusing to ban distasteful content is not the way to big profits - I learned that at my previous employer.
- Despite what some may think, I care very much about you, about mods. In some Clay Shirkey writings about online communities , he describes that there are two types of users, regular users and "gardeners." The gardeners are the ones who put in extra time and attention, do extra work, to make the community what it is. They deserve special consideration.
- When I said, "ban on links from the gawker network is not making reddit look so good," I was putting things delicately and trying not to criticize.
- I was not referring to reddit the company. I was not referring to me. We do monitor the press, and while this whole thing has been going on, the broader mainstream press continues to hear mostly positive stories about reddit in general.
- I was talking about you, the mods. To the extent that the press who focus on reddit understand the difference between admins and mods, the ones who do are saying "The reddit mods look like a bunch of hypocrites," and the even, "The reddit mods are defending one of their own, a child porn purveyor." When I said "reddit," I was referring to the community and in the cases where an individual press outlet was able to differentiate, the mods.
- You guys are making yourselves look bad. Not us. People seem to understand that we removed the gawker site-level ban, and as I stated above, I don't care about how we ("the company") look. I care about how you guys look, because I want you to succeed in your aims. That's why I said that, that's why I put it gently, and that's why I posted in modtalk.
- So, back to the endgame:
- Exactly what would you have us do? Ban all links to anything that include dox? What about links to links that include dox? What if a high-hitting piece from the NYT or Washington Post comes out, in every way considered by a reasonable person to be a great piece of journalism, but happens to quote or include a screenshot of a dox site? Or a link to that piece? Pretty soon we'd be banning Google. How about we ban this domain ? How well would doing that really get our message across?
- I feel the issue here is a "when the only tool you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail" problem. The only tool we have to protect ourselves is not domain banning. There's a lot of other things we can do.
- For example, outreach and well-written public statements go a long way. Bad behavior doesn't stop as a result of protests, it stops because of clear messages that are made (yes, sometimes you protest in order to get attention so that you can send the message, but in this case we - the reddit community - are high-profile enough that we could get an article in any news outlet we wanted). I think raerth's correspondence with The Guardian did far more to advance the cultural unacceptability of doxxing than the actual ban did. Upon the publication of Chen's article, or the jezebel piece, a strong joint mod statement could have been made explaining our position and decrying their actions, instead of diffuse outrage and a frantic, partial ban. The piece would have been republished and rebroadcast all over the place, and since many people consider Gawker a tabloid outlet at best, many would have been sympathetic. Now we (the community, not the company) look like hypocrites. Raerth's piece in The Guardian shifted that a bit, but we could do more. Perhaps we could give you access to our PR resources to craft a message?
- Secondly, we could implement more mod features to help moderators protect their identity while moderating. I know the company hasn't followed through on promises there much in the past, but it didn't have many resources. Now we're independent, and we have a couple more engineers, and we've got the money to hire more. We've finally gotten a bit ahead of our infrastructure/traffic issues (knock on wood). But it's not clear, exactly, what tools or feature changes would be helpful. Would you all be willing to compile a list? I saw no suggestions (well, maybe like half of one) in any of the threads from yesterday, only talk of bans and strikes. I know I'm new here, so maybe there were a bunch of suggestions from the past that I haven't dug up. So tell us.
- Thirdly: other suggestions? There is much we can try, I am sure.
- Believe me, I do have sympathy for your position. When I took this job, I knew that there was a near-100% chance that there would be headlines, forever on the internet, that would include both my name and the words "child porn" or "pedophiles." I know, yes, I get paid for it. But I voluntarily reduced my own salary so that reddit's burn rate would be lower, and I guarantee you, I do not get paid enough for this shit. I am already effectively doxxed - the world knows my name, and with enough digging, everything else. I'm doing this job for reddit.
- So, I ask you all again, will you help me do it?
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