Reddit’s community for the alt right, /r/altright, unsurprisingly is a bastion of hate speech, and it appears the site’s admins are ready to do something about it, namely quarantine or ban them outright.
In the past, Reddit has banned communities like /r/coontown and quarantined places like /r/european because they flouted Reddit’s vague rules regarding hate speech. When a sub is quarantined, users can only access the community with a verified email address. The sub cannot stylize its webpage or show image thumbnails. Quarantines are a way to reduce membership of a community in the hopes they will leave Reddit altogether.
A mod of /r/altright leaked a conversation with admin Chtorrr to GotNews (alt right flamethrower Chuck Johnson’ s blog). In the conversation, the admin says that the sub must better police hate speech to avoid being under the “threat of quarantine.”
“We’re removing any racial epithets and calls for violence,” the mod told Chtorrr. “You won’t have to worry about us, we’re a subreddit of peace.”
“I am telling you that what you are doing now is not adequate and puts your community and mod team in danger,” Chtorrr replied.
While Chtorrr refused to define exactly what he means as hate speech to the mod, it’s pretty obvious /r/altright is guilty of it, even in the strictest definition of the term. And this is unlikely to change.
Take this post from a mod who wanted to explain to new users from /r/the_donald (Trump’s number one subreddit) that were coming into altright expecting a place to talk about Trump’s politics. The alt right mod wanted to make it clear the site was not a place to talk about conservative ideas, but a place for white nationalist racial discussion:
The Alt Right is a racial movement and has always been a racial movement. Race is at the very core of the alt right and there is absolutely no way to be alt right without discussing racial realism, especially from a white perspective. The mainstream media was not lying to you when they said we are full of white nationalists, racial realists, and fascists. That is what we are and we really do not give a shit about tax cuts or other policy issues.
Even the site’s rules can be interpreted as hate speech. In order to post in the sub the mods demand users read “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem.”
Not to mention the cavalcade of racist memes regularly posted to the sub.
Whether or not there is a separation between extremely racist speech and hate speech, it is unlikely Reddit admins are willing to parse the difference. The alt right subreddit will probably not be able to clean up its act, as racist speech is all they have to say.
Like the mod said in his own words, they are not interested in public policy, they are focused on white nationalist racial discussion. To continue on that course without steering into hate speech is impossible.
I give it a week before they get the boot.