Reddit has revised its policy to make tackling abuse easier. An administrator has posted the new rules earlier today, saying that the "limitation" of earlier policies had reduced their effectiveness. These new changes broaden the definition of threats, intimidation and bullying and enable bystanders (not just victims) to report violations of the rules. Just like previous changes, this gives Reddit more room to monitor its platform, but it also creates confusion for users of the large and sometimes chaotic forum.
As manager Landoflobsters draws up, Reddit earlier Harassment defined as "systematic and / or continued" behavior that made people fear for their "real" security. Now Reddit prohibits "anything that works to keep someone out of the conversation through intimidation or abuse, online or disabled." That includes "threatening someone, targeting abuse on a person or group, following them on the site, encouraging others to do something about these actions, or otherwise in a way that would discourage a reasonable person from participating in Reddit."
This policy applies to entire subreddits, not just individual users, and it appears to have resulted in the banning of multiple subredits. That list contains r / Braincels, an important forum for the malicious hate of women incel movement, currently in the news after the US military speculated that members were possibly focused on impressions from the movie prankster. “We have made various updates to our site bullying policy. This explicitly includes banning content or behavior that threatens, harasses, or intimidates groups of people. Users and subreddits engaged in such behavior are banned, "says a spokesperson The edge.
Reddit will also use "some improved machine learning tools" to sort reports of abuse, but it will not automatically scan content or ban people; it is theoretically only to ensure that the most urgent reports are given priority. In general, "we hope that today's changes will help us make better use of human user reports," writes Landoflobsters. Taking bystander reports is also part of that process, because it should better spread the harassment reporting process.
Many Reddit users responded with a number of multi-year questions about moderation. One user asked if the rules would apply to a subreddit that monitors hate groups, because it demonstrably tries to dispel Bigdit's bigots. Another noted that fake trolling reports can be used to take someone offline. A few people asked if Reddit would ban r / The_Donald, a pro-Trump subreddit that was quarantined earlier this year to encourage violent threats.
According to the Reddit post, today's changes are intended to prevent users from abiding by the letter of anti-harassment rules but breaking their minds. As Reddit acknowledges, that will inevitably create ambiguity, so their effectiveness will depend on how well managers handle each difficult issue.