There comes a time when every outsider community has to realize that they can’t define themselves entirely by inclusion without becoming part of the culture they first felt cast out from. You can’t be “not those people” while also being “for everyone.” Reddit won’t stop being Reddit by acknowledging that some content–like creepy, if technically legal photographs of minors, or the anonymity of the people taking or sharing those sorts of sleazy images–aren’t worth defending. It’s not a question of whether or not people should have a right to put those images online. It’s a question of whether or not Reddit wants to be the home for that sort of behavior.

Reddit mistakes itself as wholly representative of the internet. (A mistake compounded, for good and for ill, by its founders.) By any measure, it does not. Or does not fully. The internet is by and for everyone. The internet is even for people you may not agree with. And if the Reddit community–or its official, paid employees–decide that they want to take a stand for free (even if sleazy) expression as a reflection of the ideals they think represent the internet–and probably do!–they should also accept a more objective, nuanced, and inclusive view not just of the self-defined outcast community they have built together, but for the actual internet at large. Which means taking their lumps when another part of the internet–Gawker, in this case–criticizes them.

Reddit should not be a place where the last throes of old internet entitlement have safe harbor; it could be a place where (some of) the once outcast voices of the internet finally understand the dense, interleaved social contracts that exist in the world, fairly or unfairly, and choose to err on the side of patience, consideration of each individual as a human being, and the sort of tolerance that was not afforded to all of us evenly when we were younger.

  1. varanine reblogged this from blerchin
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