DISPLACED DISCUSSION: THE IMPLICATIONS OF REDDIT QUARANTINE AND THE MOVEMENT OF THEREDPILL TO SELF-HOSTING
Keywords:Reddit, Red Pill, Quarantine, Free Speech, Moderation
Reddit.com is a social media site with huge volumes and varieties of content, both hosted on their platform, and imported from other providers. It is also a place of counterpublic community action. Sub-Reddits like r/the_donald, and r/theredpill expound, in turn, alt-right and anti-feminist views. Along with various posts, links, and outside content, the communities support millions of words of user discussion. These communities are policed, at least in part, by their exposure to the community at large, and push-back from other people and groups to their content. When a community sees that its action on a site like Reddit is limited, and perceives that its ideas and ideologies are being silenced, what happens? This paper uses data from a digital ethnography of r/TheRedPill, a sub-community of Reddit dedicated to “discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men.” The community was quarantined by Reddit in September of 2018, and since that time has engaged in regular discussion about the movement of community discussion and forums away from Reddit to their own hosting site www.trp.red. Beyond simply allowing versus limiting speech, the case of r/TheRedPill provides an opportunity to engage in a discussion about whether progressive sanction is the right way to manage the intersection of counterpublic views with the needs of tech firms. This paper hopes to further that discussion using a community that is less generally associated with hate speech, and can therefore exist on the margins of acceptability.