Today, BuzzFeed un-deleted Joe Veix’s post making fun of BuzzFeed, which he submitted to its Community section earlier this week. The site took it down because it wasn’t “in good fun,” BuzzFeed spokesperson Ashley McCollum told Poynter Wednesday.
In a memo to BuzzFeed staffers Friday, Editor-in-chief Ben Smith wrote: “A recent decision about deleting a negative post about BuzzFeed put those two values in conflict. After thinking about it more, we updated our policy to be more permissive of negative posts — media criticism, really — as long as they are about BuzzFeed and not other community members.”
“By the old rules of Community, you’d always remove someone who is toxic and only contributing negatively, but after some thought, we’ve updated our No Haters policy with an exception to allow people who want to hate on BuzzFeed itself,” BuzzFeed Editorial Director Jack Shepherd told Poynter in an email.
I’m working on a story about BuzzFeed’s Community section. In the meantime, here’s Smith’s memo, which BuzzFeed provided to Poynter.
The internet is, you will be shocked to learn, not always a nice place; and Jack, Summer, Cates, Lili, et al have done a remarkable job in keeping our community positive and fight the general trend of commenters on sites being nasty.
But we also have a sense of humor: we tweet Onion parodies of BuzzFeed, make fun of ourselves, and don’t take ourselves too seriously.
A recent decision about deleting a negative post about BuzzFeed put those two values in conflict. After thinking about it more, we updated our policy to be more permissive of negative posts — media criticism, really — as long as they are about BuzzFeed and not other community members. (A kind of BuzzFeed version of the public editor.)
More broadly, the definition of community is itself in flux, and is something Jack, Summer, I and others are obsessing about, as the power of communities on places like Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest overshadows the older website communities. BuzzFeed’s place in that ecosystem — in being the place you go to make content that can spread in those other communities — is a big project for us this year, and something you should go bend Jack and Summers’ ears about if you have great ideas.
@joeveix Restored your post and account, updated community guidelines: no haters unless the hate is directed at BuzzFeed. Have at it…
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) July 12, 2013