Reddit defines harassment, or online abuse, as:
“Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person 1) conclude that Reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or 2) fear for their safety or the safety of those around them” (Reddit Blog, 2015).
There are many forms of online abuse on Reddit, but some common forms are:
Impersonation: when a user impersonates others in a manner that is intended mislead, confuse, or deceive.
Doxxing: when a user publishes another person’s private and confidential information (e.g., credit card number, street address, or Social Security number) without consent.
Violence and Threats: when a user posts threats of violence against a person or promotes violence against a person.
Involuntary Pornography: when a user posts sexually explicit media (i.e., photos, videos, etc.) without the consent of the individual involved.
For more information on recent action Reddit has taken against harassment, see this article from the Washington Post (Dewey, 2015).
Reddit’s challenge is to balance free expression of ideas with privacy and safety on their platform. Reddit does not consider attacks on an individual’s beliefs as harassment.
What is considered non-actionable harassment?
Reddit does not consider incidents in which the parties involved are provoking one another as harassment and consequently no action is ordinarily taken.
Reddit users must agree to follow the Rules of Reddit:
- I agree to not intentionally jeopardize the health and safety of others or myself.
- I agree not to post anyone’s sensitive personal information that relates to the person’s real world or online identity.
- I agree not the encourage harm against people.
- I agree not to post any child pornography or sexually suggestive content involving minors.
- I agree to take responsibility for my speech on Reddit and be aware that my speech could lead to criminal and civil liability.
If your harasser on Reddit is breaking any of the Rules, send a harassment report to [email protected].
Reddiquette is an informal expression of the values of many redditors, as written by redditors themselves. It includes a list of Do’s and Don’t’s as guidelines for Reddit use. For the English version of the Reddiquette, click here. It is also available in Spanish, German, French, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Swedish, Ukrainian, and Dutch.
Subreddits may create their own rules and enforce them as they see fit, providing they do not violate the Rules of Reddit.
What are Reddit’s core values?
Reddit values privacy, freedom of expression, open discussion, and humanity, and recognizes that online harassment is a threat to each of these values. Reddit also has an official list of core values. They serves as guides for when Reddit makes decisions, such as when to ban a subreddit for harassment. Reddit’s core values are:
- Remember the human
- Be authentic, passionate, and empathetic.
- Treat others as you would in person, and remember we all make mistakes.
- Champion diversity.
- Default to transparency, and when you can’t be transparent, be honest.
- Give people voices
- Create a safe space to encourage participation.
- Embrace diversity of viewpoints.
- Allow freedom of expression.
- Be stewards, not dictators. The community owns itself.
- You are not required to share more than you are comfortable with.
- Having information doesn’t give you a license to use it.
- Allow people to be as anonymous as they choose, including ourselves.
- Value the candor afforded by anonymity.
- Don’t let “that’s the way it’s always been done” be a reason.
- Seek new ways to be better.
- Be willing to try new things and fail.
- But remember wheels don’t always need reinventing.
- Make all decisions within the framework of larger goals.
- It’s better to make an unpopular, deliberate decision than to make a consensus decision on a whim.
- Consciously explore options and impacts of potential paths.
- Voice disagreement; acknowledge that dissent is okay.
- Turn ideas into actions and get things done.
- Don’t be paralyzed by the status quo.
- Find the balance between perfection and progress.
- Build for the future and leave things better than you found them.
- Work is better when you’re having fun.
- Don’t take ourselves too seriously.
- Celebrate the good: recognize successes and reward accomplishments.
- There must be four subpoints to each value.
What information should I include in my harassment report?
When you submit a report to modmail or [email protected], remember to include this information, if possible:
- Explain in detail how you are being harassed. For example, you could mention:
- whether it is a first-time or continuous offense
- whether an individual or group is targeting you
- whether the speech has been dealt with in the past by moderators or Reddit’s safety team and, if so, how
- Explain how the speech violates the Rules of Reddit
- Give the harasser’s Reddit username
- Provide any evidence of harassment through screenshots, URLs, external links, or further description
Providing a detailed report will help Reddit determine the best way to protect you and respond to your situation.
Reddit tries to respond within 24 hours of a report’s submission. However, it may take up to a few days to respond, depending on the amount of traffic generated by submitted reports.
Yes, Reddit considers screenshots as an acceptable form of reporting, however Reddit needs to first ensure authenticity of these documents before significant action can be taken.
By providing direct links to where the harassment is happening Reddit is able to take more rapid action.
Good bystanders will report the harassment they see on Reddit and help make Reddit a safer platform. Bystander involvement helps to curb the harassment on Reddit and shows the victim that they are supported by the Reddit community.
Reddit responds, investigates and, if necessary, takes action on all reports of harassment. Reddit will respond when the harassment report has been processed and a decision has been reached.
However, if you feel that your report was overlooked or dealt with unfairly, Reddit encourages you to submit a follow-up report and note that you would like a second review for the reported behavior.
Reddit responds to harassment in several ways, but some common ways are:
- Post Deletion: Reddit may delete the abusive posts (comments, photos, videos, links, etc.).
- Warning: Reddit may give the harasser a warning and take further action if the abuse continues.
- Account Suspension: Reddit may choose to temporarily suspend a user’s account.
- Account Deletion: Reddit may choose to permanently delete a user’s account. This action is usually taken against repeat offenders.
Reddit offers several online resources to help combat harassment. The following organizations can be referred to, if needed:
Stalking, Abuse and Harassment
Reddit surveyed 15,000 Redditors and found the prevalence of hateful and offensive comment was the top reason people didn’t recommend Reddit to others. This compelled Reddit to revamp their policy on harassment. Earlier in 2015, Reddit banned “revenge porn,” or unauthorized nude photos, usually of women, posted by their former relationship partners (Williams, 2015). Reddit also published their first annual transparency report to share when they take down content in response to legal demands or for privacy reasons (Reddit Blog, 2015). The most recent report is available here.
In June 2015, Reddit also banned 5 subreddits based on their harassment of individuals. The most prominent banned community was “FatPeopleHate,” a forum that body-shamed people and had over 150,000 subscribers (Westlake, 2015). Reddit has taken several steps to combat harassment on their platform and continues to look for better ways to deal with this issue.
Promote ideas, protect people. (May 14 2015). Reddit Blog.
Westlake, A. (June 11 2015). Reddit institutes new anti-harassment policy, bans 5 subreddits. Slash Gear.
Wiliams, L.C. (May 15 2015). With new policy, reddit will take on harassment and personal attacks. Think Progress.
Dewey, C. (June 10 2015). These are the 5 subreddits reddit banned under its game-changing anti-harassment policy–and why it banned them. The Washington Post.