Articles about "Reddit"

Online communities can be ‘especially good’ at helping law enforcement solve crimes

Mother Jones | Poynter

Aside from Reddit users’ attempts to help solve the Boston bombings case, online communities have had some success in cracking cases, Tim Murphy writes. Redditors have helped with some previous investigations, Murphy writes, and “the best example of what Reddit could be — if it became a bit less like Reddit, that is — is a site called”

The most high-profile example of Websleuth’s utility was the 2009 murder of Abraham Shakespeare, a Florida laborer who won $32 million in the lottery. Police speculated that Shakespeare’s financial advisor, Dee Dee Moore, might have had information about her disappearance. Websleuths began digging, prompting Moore to register for the site under an anonymous name to defend her actions. “She came back to me in an email and said I don’t know who is posting it, that wasn’t me, and I said ‘That’s funny the IP address in this email matches the number of your computer,’” recalls Tricia Griffith, who has co-owned the site since 2004. “I had a detective call me up and say this is just great.” Moore was eventually convicted.

Another example: Jalopnik readers last April identified the part of a car left behind by suspects in a murder investigation, leading Waynesboro, Va., police to an arrest. Read more


SXSW session on Reddit misses opportunity for thoughtful discussion

The South by Southwest panel, “It’s Reddit’s World; We Just Live in It,” set out to answer a tough question: “How is Reddit’s power altering Web culture — and should we celebrate it, or fear it?”

The either/or setup of the question was reflective of the divide between audience members and the panelists — Slate’s Farhad Manjoo, Skepchick’s Rebecca Watson, and Gawker’s Adrain Chen, who wrote the controversial piece about Reddit troll Michael Brutsch. The panelists seemed more fearful of Reddit than audience members were, and at times they classified Reddit users as bigoted, racist and “hyperskeptical.”

There is an “overwhelming amount of sexism and racism and any other -ism you can name” on the site, Watson told the crowd.

The panelists did highlight some positive aspects of the Reddit community, such as Redditors’ efforts to raise money for a bullied bus monitor. But their overall attitude was negative.

Participants told them as much on Twitter and during a Q&A session; they criticized the panelists for not taking a more balanced approach and for implying that Reddit is the only place online where racism and sexism live. The conversation was a reminder that there are those who embrace social media sites and those who view them with skepticism.

Skepticism can be healthy, unless it limits your ability to see a social network’s potential or causes you to generalize: “Reddit is a site for bigots and racists”; “Pinterest is for girly girls, not men“; “Twitter is a site where people announce what they had for lunch.” These generalizations make it too easy to pigeonhole and dismiss social media sites, and they can ultimately stifle innovation.

When I interviewed The New York Times’ C.J. Chivers for a story about Pinterest last year, he said: “Social media is a tool, like many others in our trade — it can be as good and as useful as we force it to be.”

Here’s a look at how the “Reddit Roast” played out: Read more


Nate Silver on Reddit: Pundits are ‘very delusional people’

Superstar blogger Nate Silver took questions on Reddit Tuesday. One user asked him whether he found sports or politics “more frustrating to analyze.” Politics, Silver replied: “Between the pundits and the partisans, you’re dealing with a lot of very delusional people.”

Another Redditor asked him how much he enjoyed “getting the ire of pundits.”

“At some point in the last few weeks of the election, I guess I decided to lean into the upside outcome a little bit in terms of pushing back at the pundits in my public appearances — as opposed to emphasizing the uncertainty in the model, as I had for most of the year,” Silver replied. Read more


Bailey: It’s the Reddit community’s job to deal with plagiarism on the site

The Reddit community has a history of reacting strongly when it feels it has been lied to or deceived. When that happens, Reddit responds quickly, sometimes in a very knee-jerk way. This from a community that, for the most part, is generally seen as very tolerant and open. …

The downside to this is that community pressure often goes too far and can cross the line into harassment, threats and other illegal behavior. To make matters worse, the community is not always right and is prone to snap judgments, leading to cases where a community accuses the wrong person of plagiarism. …

In the end, if a community considers plagiarism to be against their standards and they have the means to speak out against it, they most likely will. The challenge for community administrators is to try and find a way to channel that energy for good and to prevent it from going too far or being misguided.

Jonathan Bailey, Plagiarism Today


NYT DC bureau chief: ‘The Web has created a more responsible press, with higher standards’

David Leonhardt explains in a Reddit AMA response why the Web has been good for journalism:

Think how much easier it is for readers to point out flaws (or perceived flaws!) in a story today than in the past. You don’t have to rely on our Letters to the Editor page or our Corrections process. You can write your own blog post or get the attention of a media critic (including our public editor, a job that didn’t exist until a decade ago). Such criticism isn’t always enjoyable — and we don’t always agree with it — but there is little question that it makes us better at our jobs.

Read more

What you need to know about the Gawker-Reddit war

• Gawker’s Adrian Chen revealed one of Reddit’s biggest “trolls” is Michael Brutsch, a 49-year-old computer programmer who lives in Texas. Brutsch posted under the name “Violentacrez” and cultivated a bizarre symbiotic relationship with Reddit’s management, Chen wrote. At the same time he moderated subsections of the giant Internet community with names like “Jewmerica” and “Misogyny,” he “came to an uneasy truce” with site administrators:

For all his unpleasantness, they realized that Violentacrez was an excellent community moderator and could be counted on to keep the administrators abreast of any illegal content he came across.

• Moderators of various “subreddits,” including the site’s popular politics page, banned all Gawker media links before Chen’s article was published to protest Brutsch’s imminent unmasking. Some pointed out the irony of Redditors objecting to the personal information of a man who moderated subsections dedicated to surreptitiously taken photos of women; Reddit GM Erik Martin told Betabeat: “Moderators are free to moderate their subreddits as they see fit … They can ban all usernames that start with the letter g if they want.” Read more


Reddit politics site bans Gawker links

New Statesman | Betabeat | The Awl
Moderators on Reddit’s highly trafficked politics site r/politics have banned links from Gawker Media properties. Gawker journalist Adrian Chen is reportedly planning to expose the identity of a Reddit moderator named violentacrez who organized Reddit pages “dedicated to, respectively, sexualised pictures of under-18s and sexualised pictures of women – frequently also under-age – taken in public without their knowledge or consent,” Alex Hern writes.

“Reddit’s attitude to free speech is a complex one,” Hern writes: Read more


Why Reddit is banning links from

Reddit 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 and, 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, spam reports were showing up daily.”

On the phone, 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.” Read more


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

Reddit had a moment this week.

Sure, Reddit was already the unofficial “front page of the Internet,” the soul of all things meme, the secret sauce behind BuzzFeed’s viral posts, a breaking news curator and a Q&A forum for journalists, celebrities, newsmakers.

The Reddit alien mascot.

But then President Obama did a surprise Q&A appearance Wednesday that nearly crashed servers and drew almost 23,000 comments and questions.

Obama didn’t bestow legitimacy upon Reddit — with nearly 40 million visitors and 3.2 billion pageviews a month, it already had that. But the visit from a sitting president certainly says something about its increasingly mainstream relevance.

The Verge’s Adrianne Jeffries likens it to another watershed moment in presidential pop culture from 1994:

Remember when Bill Clinton answered the “boxers or briefs” question during an MTV “Rock the Vote” forum and young voters thought it was the coolest thing ever? Well, Reddit is the new MTV.

So it’s time for journalists to understand Reddit and the role it plays not only in culture, but in specific news events. A Virginia Tech sophomore shared live updates on Reddit “as SWAT members swept the VT campus” during a 2011 shooting. Witnesses and other Aurora residents covered the theater shooting last month.

But the tricky thing about Reddit, for newcomers, is that it’s really not like anything else out there. Here’s a basic guide.

The structure: Reddit consists of a bunch of “subreddits,” or topic sections. The most popular stuff bubbles up to the front page, but each post starts and lives on a specific subreddit. Every post, and every comment on every post, can be upvoted or downvoted by each user. Votes are how the community determines the best content, which rises to the top.

Don’t spam with your own links: This is especially tricky for journalists, who are conditioned to blasting links to their work across Twitter and Facebook. Reddit discourages users from posting self-promotional links to their own work, at least in excess. Tolerance for this varies on different subreddits, but several websites including The Atlantic and Businessweek had their links temporarily banned as punishment for that behavior. So be cautious. Ideally you’ve built enough readership and engagement around your journalism that other redditors will be posting your links on their own.

Definitions: Like many online communities, Reddit has developed its own shorthand. AMA, the type of post Obama did, stands for “Ask Me Anything.” It’s an open Q&A thread where one notable person answers questions from everyone else. TIL is short for “Today I Learned…” TIL usually precedes a specific surprising fact. Both AMAs and TILs could be occasional sources of story ideas for journalists.

Not everything there is journalism: And that’s OK. Reddit is a social news site (a play on “read it”), but its definition of “news” is much broader than what most journalists are used to. Cat pictures, memes and animated GIFs will make the front page right next to serious political or science news. Don’t make the mistake of thinking one discounts the other. There’s a lot of valuable information in the Reddit community, you just have to find the parts that are right for you.

Listen before you speak: If you’re new to Reddit, spend some time lurking and listening before you jump in and start posting. You’ll get to know the habits and customs, and some of the many, many inside jokes. Then you can flex your memeology, like Obama did yesterday with his own “Not Bad” reference.

So, get you started. But be warned, you may find it hard to stop using Reddit and get back to work.

Related: Journalists who have done AMAs include New York Magazine’s Frank Rich, Huffington Post’s Sam Stein and Washington Post’s Ezra Klein. Read more


Is Reddit the future of news or the present?

Salon | Salon | TechPresident | Marshall Kirkpatrick
Apparently, the future of news is not conferences about the future of news. The future of news is debates about Reddit.

The flashpoint for this round was Michael Barthel’s take on Mathew Ingram’s piece about how people on Reddit covered the Colorado theater shootings. Citizen journalism such as what Redditors practiced, Barthel writes, is remarkably similar to the traditional type:

A large number of people are all working on a breaking story at the same time, seeing what information others have as it comes out (monitoring the Twitter feeds of other news orgs is like reading through a Reddit thread), and using their own resources to find out new information, eventually coming collectively to some sort of coherent picture.

The problem is those people are unpaid, so they’ll likely pounce only on stories of obvious interest.

For all of their problems, one of the great values of journalistic organizations is that they have people on salary whose job it is to be aware of what’s going on in a particular area of society, every day, all the time. All the little, seemingly unimportant stuff gets covered that way, and when a big story breaks there’s someone with the expertise to put it in context. With citizen journalism, the only things that get covered are the ones with a critical mass of posters large enough to properly crowdsource the story on an amateur basis.

New York University prof Jay Rosen responds, saying Barthel’s piece is a trend story in search of a trend:

The Matt Ingram article Salon uses here to suggest that there is a wave of hype actually makes a very modest claim. It says that citizens journalists “may not replace the traditional journalism we’re used to, but they are certainly going to help.” That’s hype? That’s excess enthusiasm?

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