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Even Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian is appalled by Reddit’s role in the attacks on Adria Richards

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Wow.  The vitriol directed at Adria Richards by the angry dudes of Reddit was so extreme it even had Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian feeling a bit embarrassed by the monster he helped to create. In a blog post earlier this week, Ohanian chided the

(otherwise reasonable-seeming) people I saw who were comfortable and self-righteous in calling a woman a bitch/cunt/etc from their Twitter, Hacker News, or, yes, reddit account. …

The comments (and support for them) I’ve seen over the past few days have really disappointed me …  This isn’t “political correctness,” this is you having the courage to use your words to create an environment that promotes an open exchange of ideas — not alienate people and certainly not terrorize them.

He reminded the “not-poor straight white men” who dominate the tech world that many of them were once the victims of bullies themselves.

Growing up, we typically weren’t picked first for sports, but were first on the Quake II server. Few people really understood our peculiar hobbies or how amazing it was to see “Hello, world” for the first time. Plenty of us got used to being ignored. Many of us were bullied. But what did we learn from it — empathy or hate?

We need to know the answer, because suddenly we are the cool kids. They’re making movies about us. We’re “rock stars.” Holy shit, the rest of the world is finally realizing how awesome we are. The geek has inherited the earth. And now that we’re the powerful ones, we need to remember: with great power comes great responsibility. It’s irresponsible to continue to act as though we are victims.

Now, there are more than a few problems with Ohanian’s plea for tolerance, up to and including all that self-aggrandizing crap at the end. On Buzzfeed, John Herrman describes Ohanian’s post as a “strategic response to a real problem.” As Herrman notes, the blog post

distances Ohanian from the site he helped create. Here, he is a commentator, not a leader. It’s a baldly political move: By identifying as a geek and then criticizing geek culture, he joins an ongoing conversation about tolerance in tech; but by minimizing Reddit’s role in driving the backlash against Adria Richards (its /r/mensrights community is raising money for the “vicims” of Richards), and characterizing the site’s actions as a reflection of a larger problem rather than a possible cause, Ohanian exonerates himself.

Technically, it was the Red Pill subreddit that started that laughable Feminist Victims Fund, but it’s certainly the case that Men’s Rights Redditors have been some of the loudest Adria Richards haters on the Internet.

Despite Herrman’s criticism, which I think is generally on the mark, Ohanian’s post is still quite striking. Apparently one of the architects of Reddit  is beginning not only to realize but to publicly acknowledge  just how toxic the culture on Reddit can be.

The big question now is whether or not the powers-that-be at Reddit will do anything about it.

EDITED TO ADD: In other news, the Daily Dot reports that Reddit’s new meme is just a topless woman who agrees with you.

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Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

Kitteh — tomorrow perhaps. Tonight I’m beat, g’night internet

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

Whenever. 🙂 Niters!

TomBcat
9 years ago

Yes, internet hugs are nice.
I meant it more like…dunno…if someone told me they are sorry this happened to me or something.Then I’d feel stupid. Necro’ing! I learned a new word!

Dvärghundspossen
9 years ago

And on the note of nursing — there’s this lady at my karate dojo who’s a nurse, and started karate in case one of her patients attacked her (since they had held knives on her before). I think she defused the situation by talking him down and mentioning he could attack her, or he could get his treatment. So I am seconding everyone else who said their respect for nurses. It seems like you’d have to have nerves of steel.

I’ve worked with mentally disabled people, and once this fairly big man got a bad trip on some new epilepsy medication he was trying out and ran after me throwing things and furniture. I actually had to lock myself and the rest of the inhabitants of the apartment up in a room until he calmed down.

You DO run into violent people time to time, at least if you work with the mentally disabled/mentally ill/severely demented. It hasn’t been much of this throughout my years in nursing, but there’s been a lot of heavy physical stuff. Often they send lame patients home from hospital before everything’s been properly arranged (with ceiling lifts and stuff) at their house, and even after you’ve gotten all the proper equipment, there’s just no getting around that you need some muscle to handle lame people. Fortunately, I have a back of steel, never have experienced any back trouble, but it’s really, really common. I used to take on most of the really heavy lifting, since I figured better I do this with my steel back than someone else.

Tina
Tina
9 years ago

Thanks, freemage.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago
The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

Cool!

Love your ratties, btw, they’re so cute. 🙂

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

Kitteh — thanks, they’re Ikea children’s toys 🙂

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

Good thing there’s no Ikea around here, I might be tempted! 😀

(((vv¯O¯vv))) (@blankdrug)

I think the idea is that Reddit is a platform for sharing ideas so, like the Occupy movement, there is no leader. Criticism of Ohanian’s comments as lacking leadership strikes me as dismissive of the guiding philosophy of Reddit. (Note: I’m not a member of the site myself because I rarely comment on the internet, so I could be wrong, but from my lurking, I think that’s the idea.)

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