Why Reddit is banning links from Reason.com

Reason.com links are not currently welcome at Reddit.

Reached by telephone, Reddit General Manager Erik Martin confirms the ban; he said “most of” the site’s previously reported bans, which snagged domains like Atlantic.com and Businessweek.com, had been lifted. “Those bans were for a week or two at most,” Martin said, noting that Reddit had been in touch with Reason and that “we still have more investigating to do.”

Reddit bans sites “after a long period of coordinated spam activity from that domain, and often after admins contact the domain in question,” Reddit user MrDubious, who seems to know a lot about the site’s anti-spam activities, writes. “For a while, Reason.com spam reports were showing up daily.”

On the phone, Reason.com Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie said Reddit is consistently one of Reason’s “top 3 or 4 traffic referrers.” Reddit, he said, “has been the site that puts stuff through the roof. When a piece goes big on Reddit it goes gigantic on Reason.”

Gillespie said he’d been in touch with Martin and talked about what might have gotten his site marked as spam. “We had a couple of people, including myself, who would link to Reason stuff” when they thought they had something that would click with Redditors, he said. “We’d sent notes to people on staff saying, ‘We just posted this; vote it up.’ I told him that we will cease doing that.”

Reddit’s libertarian and politics sections are especially fertile ground for Reason pieces, Gillespie said. “We weren’t trying to rig the system or anything, we were just trying to get our stuff to an audience that would be interested in it.”

Gillespie praised Reddit’s libertarian base: It’s “I hesitate to say it, one of the most attractive audiences; they’re good looking, they smell clean.”

Related: A journalist’s quick guide to Reddit, the next thing you have to learn

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  • http://twitter.com/PinellasLIBclub Libertarian Club

    Thanks for the article. Unfortunately other libertarian sites have been blocked arbitrarily as well. Many are uspet when purportedly open sites have hidden agendas or appear so. For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://www.Libertarian-International.org ….

  • David

    Ok, but did they ban the accounts a prior to banning the whole domain and then see continued abuse, or did they ban all the accounts plus the domain simultaneously? Banning user accounts only impacts that user, but banning a whole domain across the entire site should be taken much more seriously (and Reddit claims they do take it seriously) since it affects all users of the site.

  • http://www.facebook.com/imtheirwebguy Chris Jenkins

    All of the accounts directly linked to the spamming were banned, including Nick Gillespie’s original account.

  • David

    Reddit admins have also commented that prior to a domain ban they try to contact the owners of the domain. That apparently didn’t happen prior to this ban since Reason was unaware of the investigation prior to the ban. I’ve emailed Reason several times myself using their public/generic email address and have gotten timely responses.

  • David

    If that was true (and I read that as well so we’ll assume it is), why didn’t Reddit follow its actual stated policy of banning their accounts?

    “A voting clique is a group of people who send links to their submissions
    around via message, IM, or any other means, with the expectation of ‘you guys vote for my stuff and I’ll vote for yours.’

    “Cheating will result in your account being banned. Don’t do it.”

    Did Reddit ban the accounts of Reason staff? At least one staff member at Reason posted on the various submissions about the domain ban and didn’t indicate that he’s had an account banned or known anyone else at Reason who had their account banned. That could have happened, but it would seem to be something worth mentioning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/imtheirwebguy Chris Jenkins

    As Gillespie noted, there was a coordinated upvote effort involving about 20 of the Reason staff, which is in violation of Reddit’s TOS. Ever since the debacle with TheAtlantic.com, Reddit’s admins have paid more attention to concerted upvotes from within the same domain. I believe the current investigation is based on Nick reaching out to Erich Martin and asking to be reinstated; there was no question regarding the original violations.

  • David

    If they still have more investigating to do, then why did they ban Reason? That makes no sense. Is the policy to ban first and ask questions later?