In recent times, Reddit has been labeled as a kind of Internet cesspool – a place where only the most vile and disgusting individuals go. Granted, this may come from a general misunderstanding of how the website works, and with that being said, I can understand the confusion.
Today, I’d like to give just a general overview of how Reddit works. I’m not making excuses for the bad parts of Reddit – of course not – but I do want to keep you informed. The more you know, right? Oh and don’t forget to read Dave’s informative manual on Reddit too.
What’s Bad About Reddit?
Contrary to popular belief, Reddit is not a site devoted to child porn and degradation of women. That would be 4Chan, and if this was the case, I wouldn’t be using it. I’m not at all a proponent for things such as these, but I’ll admit that there are a lot of ugly things on Reddit that are pretty close to the items mentioned, such as:
GoneWild: A subreddit where users post fairly-sexualized nude pictures of themselves, desensitizing the human race to the beauty of sex and giving those who post misdirected praise.
Obnoxious Religious Debate: Militant believers and militant nonbelievers tend to duke it out on the main page of Reddit – something that should be relatively unbiased, methinks.
Exploitation of Teens: There are a few subreddits that depict teenagers in a rather sexualized way – not pornographically, but close. There is the possibility that the pictures found on these subreddits are routed through Facebook, but I will explain how these sections of Reddit are completely within themselves later on in this post.
These are just a few of the bad things about Reddit, and there are quite a few others. I’m not kidding. However, you have to understand how Reddit works before you form an opinion of it.
How Does Reddit Work?
Let’s imagine a place where the entire world is connected through computers. People are able to create pages that can be read on a screen, and other people can read them and even write on them to the people that have created them. These pages eventually become large communities of people reading and writing, and they range from discussion about cats to ramblings about faith all the way to videos of pornography. However, each person chooses to go to the page that interests them the most, so the people that go to the page about cats do not go to the page with pornography.
You may say, “Josh, we already have that – it’s the Internet!”
I say, “No, sir. It’s not the Internet that I’m describing. I’m describing Reddit.”
What amazes me is that the people who bash Reddit are actually users of the Internet – a place that is full of discussion about cats, ramblings about faith, and even videos of pornography. With that being said, Reddit is divided into communities – called subreddits – just like the Internet, so at the core, Reddit is like a miniature version of the Internet itself!
Basically, here’s what I say to a person that bashes Reddit – you wouldn’t automatically say someone looks at jailbait just because they get on the Internet, right?
Should Reddit Censor Itself?
In my opinion, Reddit should censor itself to some degree. It’s technically a private website created by individuals looking for profit, so it’s fine with me if they choose to censor items. However, the question always arises, “What kind of stuff should they censor?”
Well, for me, that’s anything to do with jailbait, and yes, there are Reddit communities devoted to this (by all technical means, they are not pornographic, but they are still disgusting). So most importantly, young children and even young teenagers do not deserve to be viewed in a sexual manner whatsoever. Furthermore, it puts a bad mark on the other users of Reddit, for other people do not understand that the site is divided up into communities, and typically, those communities do not ever see each other except for when an individual chooses to go to them.
When it comes to trivial things such as porn and religion (bet you never thought you’d see those two in the same sentence), I don’t think they should be censored. However, as someone who is adamantly against pornography in general (but prefers to use discussion rather than force to get his point across), I’d rather not see it at all.
Fortunately, there are methods to censor Reddit on your own, such as the Reddit Enhancement Suite. I use it to block anything NSFW, and I also block out keywords that float around the site. Pretty useful tool, and I recommend it to anyone.
Maybe I didn’t make a good case for Reddit, and that’s kind of hard to do when writing just a blog post. In that case, I’ll just leave this other blog post here.
What other support can you give for Reddit? What are the things about Reddit that you don’t like? What can it do to improve?