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.”

• Chen's article was unavailable on Reddit, which Martin told BuzzFeed's Katie Notopoulos "was a mistake on our part."

• Brutsch has lost his job.

• Whitney Phillips, who did her dissertation on trolling, makes the case that "trolls and sensationalist corporate media have more in common than the latter would care to admit."

• Chen posted a link to a link of his article on Reddit, and Redditors are taking it as an opportunity to discuss his work. "Way to ruin his life. You must feel super important and shit," writes THEsolid85.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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