Tech & Science

Reddit Quarantines a New Wave of Subreddits, Including CringeAnarchy and WatchPeopleDie

On Thursday, more than 20 controversial subreddits were put under quarantine by site administrators. According to the Reddit post announcing the wave, a quarantine is given to communities “average redditors may find highly offensive or upsetting.” These subs host no ads, so Reddit generates no revenue off toxic content. People can still access a quarantined sub, but a prompt warns them about content on the sub. If a sub’s moderators believe that it has changed its controversial ways, they can appeal the quarantine.

"As of September 27, we have revised our existing quarantine policy to improve consistency in its application, as well as to add a comprehensive appeals process,” a Reddit spokesperson told Newsweek. “Quarantine shields users from accidentally viewing content that may be offensive or upsetting by requiring them to explicitly opt-in. We will continue to evolve our site-wide policies, enforcement tools, and community support resources to ensure that Reddit is a welcoming place for all users."

The subs placed under quarantine ranged from the outright gruesome to offensively deplorable. The largest subreddit put under quarantine was r/watchpeopledie, which amassed more than 400,000 subscribers before being annexed. It showed exactly what you’d think: gory images and videos of real-life deaths. There were also anti-Semitic subs like r/whitenationalism and r/fragilejewishredditor, as well as subs against gay marriage like r/againstgaymarriage. These subs are still allowed to exist in Reddit but will only appear for those who actively look for them. If you currently use the Reddit search bar for any of these subs, none will come out. You have to have the URL or link in order to access them. The full list has been cataloged  r/reclassified on Reddit.

reddit What you see when you click on Reddit’s link for r/911truth. Reddit

Reddit administrator landoflobsters went into a bit more detail as to why a subreddit would be quarantined rather than banned. “In evaluating a subreddit for a possible quarantine, we consider what it is dedicated to overall,” the admin wrote. “That is, a few off-color comments do not warrant a quarantine, nor do heated conversations or even controversial themes overall. Instead, quarantine is intended for subreddits that are explicitly dedicated to things like racism or anti-Semitism, misogyny, hoaxes, gore/extreme morbidity, and other extreme communities that may have received multiple warnings from us and have not made efforts at change.”

When asked why r/the_donald, a controversial pro-Trump subreddit known to safe-house Russian propaganda, was allowed to continue to exist, landoflobsters said administrators “evaluate each community on its own merits.... There have always been claims we should ban T_D and as always, we’ll continue to hold each community accountable for complying with our site-wide policies,” reported The Verge.

Amid the racist, xenophobic and hate-filled subreddits, only one is dedicated to a single individual — Paul “Ice Poseidon” Denino. The controversial streamer and his Purple Army fanbase saw their subreddit, r/Ice_Poseidon, added to the quarantine. With more than 100,000 subscribers (before the quarantine), the sub has been a constant source of drama surrounding Denino’s life and YouTube stream. The sub was popular enough to hit Reddit’s front page, r/all, potentially attracting users who may not even be aware of Denino but who relish a forum that spams Pepe the Frog, shares homophobic and/or anti-Semitic memes, and doxes people they disagree with.   

R/Ice_Poseidon has even turned against its namesake. One of the sub’s longest-standing feuds is with Denino’s on-and-off-again girlfriend, Caroline Burt. The sub calls her “alien” and “leech,” blaming her for Denino’s increasingly stale content. Denino faked a breakup, and when users found out they used his own sub against him.

In a stream yesterday, Denino seemed outright defeated by the sub’s quarantine. Staring at his phone for more than 10 minutes, barely saying a word, the streamer appeared slumped and distraught. The complicated relationship between the sub and the streamer meant they both needed each other to thrive. When Denino’s clips were banned from r/LiveStreamFails in early 2018, his views took a massive nose dive. Without a fan base constantly sharing and posting his controversial antics, Denino struggles to grow. No doubt, this is the goal of Reddit’s quarantine for all the subs affected.

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