Steve Huffman, Reddit’s Co-Founder and returning CEO, held an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on the website today. He discussed potential policy changes regarding what will, and will not, be allowed on Reddit. It appears that some things may change based upon the comments posted by people who attended the AMA.
Steve Huffman, who uses the name “spez” on Reddit, started the AMA with some explanation. Part of it said: “As Reddit has grown, we’ve seen additional examples of how unfettered free speech can make Reddit a less enjoyable place to visit, and can even cause people harm outside of Reddit.”
As a result, Reddit is “considering a set of additional restrictions on what people can say on Reddit – or at least say on our public pages – in the spirit of our mission”.
I’d like to point out the part that says “Anything that harasses, bullies, or abuses an individual or group of people (these behaviors intimidate others into silence)” in order to note that a clarification has been made. A later part of the AMA says: Wording we’ve used elsewhere is this: “Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2) fear for their safety and the safety of those around them”.
I find it very interesting that Reddit might require people to opt in to seeing NSFW communities. Other types of content “will require a login, must be opted into, will not appear in search results or public listings, and will generate no revenue for Reddit”. To me, it sounds like a person who was new to Reddit would be able to easily avoid the NSFW content – and avoid the stuff that “violates a common sense of decency”. People who want to see that type of content can, if they log in to the website and intentionally opt in.
That alone could help make Reddit be a more enjoyable place to visit. Combine that with the potential change that would, essentially, hide most of the unsavory content from view – and from “search results and public listings”, and that the worst content “will generate no revenue for Reddit”.
It seems to me that hiding the worst portions of Reddit could make the website seem more enticing to people who have always considered Reddit to be a pit of the worst humanity has to offer. Maybe more people would visit Reddit after those changes have been made? It also sounds like these changes are being considered in the hopes to entice advertisers to want to post some ads on Reddit. A brand might be able to do that without associating itself with some of the more horrible things that people post on there.