The Daily Grind: What do you think about Reddit’s new toxicity policy in relation to gaming?

    
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Yesterday, Reddit went on a tear banning 2000 of the most toxic subs across the platform and instituting a new content policy and enforcement plan that bars “communities and users that promote hate based on identity or vulnerability.” The worst offenders swept up in the wave were political in nature, but gaming subs are subject to it too. The news comes on the heels of YouTube’s and Twitch’s major crackdowns on problematic and toxic streamers – both in gaming and in politics – as well as major advertisers’ decision to pull out of advertising on Facebook following its own lukewarm toxicity stances.

Worth pointing out here is that Reddit has performed these purges of awful subs before, and in fact, scientists even studied what happened next, which might not be what you suspect: When Reddit forcibly closed several gross boards in 2015, the ban still worked for Reddit itself, according to the paper on the efficacy of those specific bans.

“Working from over 100M Reddit posts and comments, we generate hate speech lexicons to examine variations in hate speech usage via causal inference methods. We find that the ban worked for Reddit. More accounts than expected discontinued using the site; those that stayed drastically decreased their hate speech usage—by at least 80%. Though many subreddits saw an influx of [banned subs’] ‘migrants,’ those subreddits saw no significant changes in hate speech usage. In other words, other subreddits did not inherit the problem. We conclude by reflecting on the apparent success of the ban, discussing implications for online moderation, Reddit and internet communities more broadly.”

The authors posit that easy alternatives didn’t exist or were also quickly stamped out before they could gain traction, while more borderline-awful subs cleaned up their act in the hopes of not being next on the chopping block. In other words, deplatforming can work. The downside is that some of those users and groups reformed outside of Reddit as Reddit effectively made the users “someone else’s problem” and did not by itself stamp out the problem everywhere. But it likely drove the most awful users to “darker corners of the internet,” from which it’s much harder to infect regular users with said toxicity.

What do you think about Reddit’s new toxicity policy as it pertains to gaming subs?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Ashfyn Ninegold

People create society whenever there’s more than one person proximate to another. It’s just the way people are. This is an observable phenomenon whenever people who don’t know each other come together; they will, within a few hours, sort themselves out, laying claim to the roles they want and ceding roles they don’t to others. Classes, small tour vacations, weekend workshops, world chat, big weddings, etc. People creating society is always happening.

Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, all have their own society, rules understood, places assigned. Influencer, for example. So, it’s simple. When the rules change, members of the society either abide by them or leave, forfeiting their positions and having to start over elsewhere. If their position has been completely removed, Funny Asshole, for instance, then they have to seek a new one. Adapt or stop posting.

People are very adaptable, even if we have to learn the same lessons over and over again (yes, Virginia, character matters; leadership skills matter). Gamers talking about gaming will continue without much of a pause.

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Sorenthaz

Lol they didn’t even get rid of some of the more blatantly problematic/questionable subreddits. A lot of it was just a PR/political move for the most part. Like r/the_donald had been dead for a few months after Reddit admins removed roughly half of the moderators and tried to force the remaining mods to bring in new Reddit-approved mods. Instead they simply put the sub on lockdown and moved over to a new site that’s being expanded as a platform for other discussion boards, and they had several months to advertise it.

So what do I think about it in regards to gaming subs? Nothing really is going to change. Not like folks used gaming subs to be toxic or racist outside of maybe some weird fringe subs.

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HawkeWar

I personally don’t think they can put the Genie back in the bottle, and of course there will be scandals over validity of bannings ….but at least they are pseudo trying.

[BRAND]

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Rndomuser

What do I think? I do not care much about those subreddits which were banned. I did not go to subreddits filled with people who spread hatred towards specific race or gender or had political discussions and I was not exposed to those since I only read subreddits which I favorited. There were always plenty of subreddits with active moderators and policies against this content and nothing has changed in them and I doubt that anything will – there will still be occasional trolls who will post hatred in them but this is why subreddits have moderators.

I just hope the whole “ban subreddit because others won’t like it even though nobody forces them to visit it” will not go overboard and administrators of Reddit will not start doing things like “let’s ban subreddits with nudity because someone does not like looking at or does not like possibility of their children looking at it even though they are never forced to look at it if they don’t visit those” or “let’s ban the subreddits which discuss gambling” or any other kind of activity which does not promote hatred but which someone may still dislike for some reason.

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Bryan Correll

Reddit has always been a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

Did you make this Bryan?

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Bryan Correll

Partly. I just put on the mask and quote.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

Awesome:) I couldnt find it in the wilds of the web.

/schlagsalute for your original content

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Utakata

Me too! <3

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

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Bryan Correll

Woohoo! Praise from Caesar!

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Schlag Sweetleaf

:)

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Covynant001
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Covynant001

You are all amateurs
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Bryan Correll

That guy’s just jealous of Schlag’s nose.

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Greaterdivinity

I knew very few of the subs that were removed, and from what I know of them (and what bits I’ve heard of some others I was unware of), this is all a good thing. All of them seem like they were repeatedly violating the rules, many had repeat warnings and slaps on the wrist, and the internet is better off letting those assholes try to find somewhere else to engage in their fuckery.

In other words, deplatforming can work.

I really hate how loosely that term is used as it tends to play into the victimhood mentality of those that complain about “deplatforming”, but I can’t argue with the results of removing these safe spaces for vile garbage.

Now I’m just watching Facebook (and their other platforms) in the hopes that more advertisers boycott them writ-large (not just FB ad spending, but Instagram etc. as well) until it starts really hurting the bottom line and the Zuck is forced to take an actual stance beyond, “I like money.”

Without getting too much into politics, if anyone aware of the “free speech platform” Parler wants to know how it’s living up to it’s name…well…it’s not, unsurprisingly : D

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A Bellow From Below

Problem is, the definition of “vile garbage” is constantly expanding to encompass more and more things. Compare reddit ten years ago, and reddit today. Heck, compare twitter ten years ago, and twitter today. The “rules” are getting more and more restrictive month by month, and they are applied retroactively.

Back when I first came to the internet (1998, yuck I’m old), much of this “vile garbage” was perfectly normal everyday stuff that worried absolutely nobody, because we all knew it was just words. Then the normies came, and on their heels, corporations and authorities, and they started treating our internet very much in the same way the second wave of American settlers was treating the Frontier: barging in and acting as if it belongs to them, stomping everything down until it becomes indistinguishable from their normie world. :P

(By the way, how is Parler living to its name? Judging from its name, I expect people are using it to talk. Which is generally considered to be a good thing… unless you’re one of those crazy chanting cultists who try to prevent people from talking to each other.

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Greaterdivinity

I mean, I remember ye-olden-days of the internet too. I was a young shitposter in those days and was probably responsible for a fair amount of that “vile garbage”, and I’ll own that shit. The internet is still just as garbage now as it was then, just in very different ways.

The “normies” came and didn’t want a cesspit of garbage (those “normies” actually more often being advertisers that financially support and sustain the sites that we have free access to), good! The internet never “belonged” to anyone to begin with, much less us trolls and shitheels that were active as hell when it was still young. There are plenty of places to still be a garbage human being nowadays on the internet, both notable sites and the infinite multitude of niche sites and places on the dark web. So if the sunlight burns, these folks can find another dark corner.

As for Parler…it’s another in the long line of conservative “free speech” social media alternatives. And it’s not living up to that name either – https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200627/23551144803/as-predicted-parler-is-banning-users-it-doesnt-like.shtml

These sites have always gone for the “free speech” angle, though it’s always been a sanitized marketing line that really means, “We will gladly host bigotry and hate on our platform because it isn’t allowed elsewhere.” Much like Gab, which became the de-facto platform for racists kicked off of Twitter until they were forced to take down content or lose their Azure cloud hosing, which sparked an internal revolt – https://qz.com/1352990/microsoft-threatens-to-take-down-gab-ai-over-hate-speech/

Because it’s never been about “free speech”, but about “their speech”, which for these sites seems to largely be bigotry and hate-speech.

And I’m glad that the definition of “vile garbage” continues to expand. Why? Because that’s been the progress of human civilization, slowly trying to improve ourselves and be better rather than forever wallowing in the muck of stupidity, hate, and ignorance.

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Utakata

It’s seems to expand in proportion to it’s vileness. That is, as it gets nastier, so too does the need to reign back in.

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Paragon Lost

Great posts GD! And this in particular…

“Because it’s never been about “free speech”, but about “their speech”, which for these sites seems to largely be bigotry and hate-speech.” Greaterdivinity”

Nailed it. :)

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Utakata

Yep. When they talk about “free speech”, they don’t really mean free speech for everyone.

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TomTurtle

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Though the platform itself still trends towards encouraging negativity with the downvote system which can easily lead to toxicity.

I’m glad MOP moved away from that crap a long time ago.

Covynant001
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Covynant001

I can’t agree, there is nothing wrong with “negativity” in conversation, that’s usually just what some people call speech not in line with their opinions.

Hateful racist garbage, pretty easy to spot, not hard to understand why it needs to be stamped out wherever it’s found, and no, you do not have a “right” to annoy me, well at least as long as I can find someone to shut you down.

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Utakata

Mr. Turtle made no mention about negativity in conversation. To which is counterintuitive to negativity in downvoting that attempts to stifle conversation all together.

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Bruno Brito

I don’t trust the reddit moderation to keep this up, but it’s a good start.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

++good

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Paragon Lost

Good deal, if everyone did this in consistent manner, our society would improve over all in my opinion.