Reddit: Techies discover that enforcing rules is kind of like being a government – only not

Reddit: Techies discover that enforcing rules is kind of like being a government – only not

[Ed. – Something to be said for a little philosophy and poli sci in your liberal arts education.]

Now, no one laments the death of a misogynist cesspool like /r/TheFappening. But what about communities on Instagram that have become a last refuge for young people with eating disorders? What about the sometimes-violent uprisings that organized on Twitter before overthrowing entire governments in the Middle East?

What about the recent case of James Foley, a journalist who was brutally beheaded by ISIS last month? As soon as Twitter and YouTube could react, they began suspending the accounts of anyone circulating images and video of the beheading. It was a splash of cold water to the face for many who suddenly realized that Twitter could make certain content disappear, and there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do about it.

When Reddit or Twitter make a decision about what kind of content is or isn’t acceptable, those choices affect the hundreds of millions of users who use those sites to get most of their information. Trouble is, there’s nothing we can do about it. …

From the post:

We uphold the ideal of free speech on reddit as much as possible not because we are legally bound to, but because we believe that you – the user – has the right to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, and that it is your responsibility to do so.

It’s good of Reddit to cheerlead for a more open internet, but they don’t have to uphold those standards. This is optional, and subject to their whims. Unlike a true democracy, those in charge of Reddit — along with their volunteer cohort of over 20,000 moderators — are not elected, impeachable, or publicly accountable.

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