Tag: reddit

Altright and alternativeright banned from Reddit for being nazis

2AB69A4600000578-0-image-m-43_1437472684410Social media site Reddit has banned two of the largest far-right “subreddits” groups for being a little too like Nazi brown shirts

Altright and alternativeright are no more after they broke one of the few rules of Reddit –– don’t be a Nazi.

The subreddits have been used in the organisation of America’s resurgent neofascist movement but the groups became a centre for “doxing” which is sharing other people’s personal data so that they can be harassed.

In a statement, Reddit said it aims to be a “welcoming, open platform all by trusting our users to maintain an environment that cultivates genuine conversation and adheres to our content policy.

“We are very clear in our site terms of service that posting of personal information can get users banned from Reddit and we ask our communities not to post content that harasses or invites harassment. We have banned r/altright due to repeated violations of the terms of our content policy. There is no single solution to these issues and we are actively engaging with the Reddit community to improve everyone’s experience.”

Reddit did not make it explicit which content infringed its rules, but it is believed to be attempts to dox the protestor who punched a white nationalist during a TV interview at Donald Trump’s inauguration.

However, one Reddit moderator claimed that the section was becoming too popular and the Jewish conspiracy had to shut it down as a threat.

“It’s clear that Reddit banned us because we were becoming very popular and spreading inconvenient truths about who’s ruining our country and robbing our children of a future,” the moderator said.

Well if you had not tried acting like brown shirts you might still be broadcasting. Doxing is one of Reddit’s few red lines when it comes to site-wide offences. Inciting violence, or threatening, harassing or bullying people was banned on the site even before Reddit instituted rules on kiddie porn.

 

Reddit finally to crack down on Trump trolls

Donald-Trump-funny

The social notworking site Reddit is finally going to crack down on Orangemen carrying out online harassment campaigns against those who fail to support Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump.

The problem has been ongoing for a while based around a collection of trolls who inhabit a couple of groups dedicated to Trump the biggest being r/The_Donald. The attacks are often racist, sexist and bullying, but Reddit has been attempting to negotiate treaties with the main participants. After all the site is supposed to be about free speech.

However, all that changed when the trolls, empowered by their election win, decided to attack the Reddit Chief Executive Steve Huffman. Suddenly the gloves are coming off.

Huffman said that Reddit’s content policy prohibits harassment, but that it had not been adequately enforced.

“Personal message harassment is the most cut and dry. Right now we are in an interesting position where my inbox is full of them, it’s easy to start with me.”

Reddit will also  monitor user reports, add greater filtering capacity, and be more proactive role in policing its platform rather than relying on community moderators.

Last week, Reddit banned Pizzagate, a community devoted to a conspiracy theory, with no evidence to back it up, that links Clinton to a pedophile ring at a Washington, DC pizza parlour.

Reddit has a more permissive attitude than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to what it allows on its site, but r/The_Donald users frequently crossed a line, Huffman said, including by trying to manipulate voting to ensure their posts appear on prominent Reddit pages.

Reddit has stepped up its efforts to combat abuse on the site over the past year, creating what it called an “anti-evil” team of engineers dedicated to fighting harassment.

“The fact I was saying that combating harassment was important and then letting that openly happen to me, the CEO, there’s a disconnect there,” Huffman said.

In the past, Reddit has worked with moderators of communities to try to enforce its rules.

With r/The_Donald in particular, “we haven’t found that to be particularly effective. We might see flashes of success, but things kind of revert,” Huffman said.

Huffman said he had been asked by many Reddit users “to ban r/The_Donald outright, but he had rejected that idea, because “if there is anything about this election that we have learned, it is that there are communities that feel alienated and just want to be heard, and Reddit has always been a place where those voices can be heard”.

 

 

Clever programmer did nothing for six years

1fd8edac-8027-46da-b052-0ce9ff022a1bA clever programmer who automated his own job and did nothing work related for six years is somewhat disappointed to find himself fired.

The bloke FiletOfFish1066 was moaning on Reddit that he had been fired. The “story” was that for six full years did nothing except play League of Legends, browse Reddit, work out in a gym, and basically do whatever he felt like. He was paid $95,000 per year by the company that did not know what he was doing.

In the first eight months of his software testing quality assurance job, he wrote code, which automated all of the programming tasks.

“From around six years ago up until now, I have done nothing at work. I am not joking. For 40 hours each week I go to work, play League of Legends in my office, browse reddit, and do whatever I feel like. In the past 6 years I have maybe done 50 hours of real work. So basically nothing. And nobody really cared. The tests were all running successfully. I shit you not, I had no friends or anything at work either, so nobody ever talked to me except my boss and occasionally the devs for the software I was testing.”

Needless to say he is pretty miffed he lost his job. Mostly because he has completely forgotten how to code, having relegated all that work to the computer, and now possesses no marketable skills.  He is also addicted to League of Legends and beer.

“I think once I study everything I forgot, my motivation will come back. I always liked software dev, I just was a lazy ass.” FiletofFish1066 said.

He has since deleted his account, probably reasoning that such posts will make him even less employable.

Adecco stole my personality

Multinational advertising company Adecco has found itself in the middle of a Reddit war after Turner Barr, the creator of AroundtheWorldin80Jobs.com, told the world that the firm had stolen his brand, image and web personality for use in a marketing campaign.

Barr travels the world, tries to find interesting jobs, and writes about what happens. He said that his name and web series has been the focus for his blood, sweat, tears, energy and money for almost two years.

Then he found out that multi-billion dollar a year company Adecco swiped all of that to use in a marketing campaign.

“The video for their marketing campaign was particularly creepy for me, as even my age and personality didn’t escape the level of detail spent on creating a doppelganger of him,” Barr said.

He said he has not been able to write a new post in over a month while dealing with this.

“I’m no longer even the first thing that comes up when you Google my brand name,” he said. “I’ve turned down work opportunities and put on hold any future travel job plans to deal with lawyers, long distance phone calls, corporate executives and other such nonsense.”

There is a limited number of things someone like Barr can do. After all, the company has heaps of cash and can fight off cease and desist orders.

Barr took to Reddit to tell the company behind the #80jobs campaign to #makeitright on Twitter, which it appears they have done.

If the goal of the advert was to gain good publicity it has failed dismally.

Adecco appears to have removed the video from their YouTube page, but you can see it here:

Kim Dotcom's Mega opens doors to bitcoin

Kim Dotcom has announced that his new Mega cloud storage service will accept the bitcoin currency. Dotcom has made a habit of annoying authorities and embracing an unregulated virtual currency sounds like a good way to do it.

However, much like Dotcom, bitcoin is also trying to shed its somewhat shady image, often associated with less than legal practices. Last week Reddit announced that it will accept bitcoin payments and a while ago WordPress embraced the digital currency as well.

Mega currently offers 50GB of free storage, along with several tiers for customers who need a bit more and don’t mind paying for it. The exchange rate for one bit coin is currently close to $26, or £17. This means the cheapest Mega package, priced at €9.99, will cost about half a bitcoin, according to the BBC. Users who opt for bitcoin payments will need to access BitVoucher to make the transaction.

Mega is off to a rather good start, while Reddit and WordPress are heavyweights in their own right. The fact that an increasing number of legitimate businesses are starting to accept bitcoins as payment bodes quite well for the virtual currency.

What’s more, an increasing number of merchants and even bankers are also starting to look into bitcoin. However, it is still too early to say whether it is a fad or a viable alternative to dollars and euros. 

It was recently revealed that a Bitcoin casino managed to rake in $500,000 in six months.

Bill Gates' favourite band is U2

In a verified “ask me anything” thread on Reddit, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has admitted that his favourite band is U2.

As well as pledging to continue the fight against Polio, in a revealing comment, he said: “U2 is a favorite [sic].. I keep waiting for Spinal Tap to go back on tour”.

Gates also expressed his fears of a terrorist-instigated nuclear or biological weapon holocaust, claimed he is an avid bridge player, and also loves playing tennis. He enjoys touring interesting things with his kids, such as power plants and garbage dumps.

The biggest impact of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation so far, he said, is “getting vaccines for things like diarrhea and pneumonia out which has saved millions of lives”.

Gates also said he is dedicated to improving education in the United States, though he did not answer a well-rated question from user ‘jedberg’, which read: “How would you respond to teachers who say there is no way to objectively measure teacher performance, because it is too dependent on the specific kids in the class and their socioeconomic circumstances?”

The full thread can be found here

Ortiz defends handling of Swartz case

The office of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, widely criticized over its (mis)handling of the Aaron Swartz case, is on the defensive yet again.

Ortiz’s office took a lot of flak after internet activist Swartz committed suicide earlier this month. Critics believe prosecutorial overreach contributed to Swartz’s decision to take his own life, but Ortiz’s office still maintains that it did not hound Swartz to death. Furthermore, Ortiz’s spokeswoman Christina Dilorio-Sterling now claims the Swartz case will not affect the office’s handling of other cases.

“Absolutely not. We thought the case was reasonably handled and we would not have done things differently,” she said. “We’re going to continue doing the work of the office and of following our mission.”

Dilorio-Sterling sounds rather callous given the circumstances and Swartz’s girlfriend Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman told the Boston Herald that she is saddened Ortiz is not taking the moment to reflect on the role of proportionality and judgment in the pursuit of justice.

“Ms. Ortiz’s office pursued a legal strategy of intimidation where they threatened Aaron with decades of time in prison for an alleged crime with no victims. That’s not justice. That’s bullying,” said Stinebrickner-Kauffman.

Swartz’s father, Robert D. Swartz, also criticized the statement, saying he believes that there has been a “grave miscarriage” of justice.

Attorney Daniel Gelb said the Swartz case illustrates how much power Ortiz has. He said the case should be a wake-up call with respect to the impact a criminal prosecution can have on defendants whose behavior does not warrant the media exposure and draconian sentencing guidelines. 

Congressman Darrell Issa ignores big questions on Reddit

Although he was not the first politician to do so, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, seemed to have set a trend when he made a 30 minute Reddit appearance to answer questions – that he could pick from. Third parties like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein also took to the website, and now Congressman Darrell Issa is the latest to try his hand at Reddit, posting a link to proposed web legislation on Tuesday.

Issa first tried to promote the Internet American Moratorium Act of 2012 on a crowdsourcing platform called Project Madison, CNN reports. The legislation seeks to keep the web safe from attempts to impose laws, rules, or regulations – for two years.

Issa had previously criticised the Stop Online Piracy Act, the much-maligned legislation which would held websites responsible for a broad definition of ‘pirated content’, handing the policing of the web over to the content industry and its powerful lobbying assets. However, as one of the thread’s most upvoted comments pointed out, Issa also voted in favour of CISPA, another largely criticised piece of legislation that made it easier to molest the open nature of the internet.

Online critiques to Issa’s post have been a mixed bag, but most people are pointing out some obvious flaws in his idea. A blanket ban, critics say, is a bad idea. The internet is a very large place, Gizmodo pointed out, and it is intrinsically linked with the day to day lives of the Western world. While Issa may have good intentions the move also stinks of a failed public relations project.

An appropriately named user, BallsOfAnger, asked: “Mr. Issa, you have yet to give a clear answer as to why you voted YES TO PASS CISPA.

“You have also not given an answer as to why you censored requests on your facebook page attempting to get you to answer to this betrayal of our trust.”To clarify, he “adressed” his CISPA vote here a few months ago. I am requesting he gives a clear answer.

“He wrote an in depth comment as to why CISPA didn’t have the same creation/effect as SOPA/PIPA. Nobody is saying it is the same as SOPA/PIPA, except that it violates our freedoms just as much (if not more).”

Although Reddit is owned by Conde Nast, which is itself owned by multibillion dollar media corporation Advance Publications, there is a sense of community on the website which invites a sense of commonality when a celebrity who otherwise would be unaccessible to the average person takes to the website.

Reddit is one of the most visited websites in the Western world, and surpassed the enormous 1 billion page view barrier in 2011. Its front page default ‘sub-Reddit’ r/IAMA has 2,305,817 subscribers at the time of writing and 1,041 registered users browsing it as well, let alone lurkers who may not have an account, outside of American peak time. If done correctly, that is a lot of good publicity.

But it is also risky – especially if you assume your audience is forgetful or stupid.

Considering Issa is trying to ride the bandwagon of internet freedom into popular politics, he doesn’t seem to ‘get it’. For those in the public eye, posting on Reddit is an alternative to corny, staged Kodak moments – like kissing a baby. However, there are not just individual pairs of eyes to worry about, perhaps reading an interview in a glossy magazine, but often millions. And those millions are prepared to voluntarily offer their active scrutiny, not content with being a passive observer or consumer, not for profit or personal gain, but for clarity. It is precisely bills like CISPA that threaten to quash this collective power.

For politicians who want to avoid answering difficult questions, opening yourself up to crowdsourced intelligence can and does leave people exposed. Obscuring an answer or glossing over the tricky stuff does not work, and, although in this format, the poster can choose which question to respond to, steering or controlling the conversation is ill advised. A phenomenon called the Streisand Effect asserts that, the more someone tries to suppress or ignore a single issue online, the more it is focused on. Generally, it is true.

Just ask Woody Harrellson, who inadvertently became a meme when he refused to talk about anything other than his upcoming film

Issa, in this case, has thoroughly Ramparted himself.

Obama's campaign trail leads directly to Reddit

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, took to social website Reddit last night to post a thread in IAMA – where people expect Redditors to ask them anything. Considering Reddit’s enormous user base, largely of a liberal web-savvy constitution, the move was a PR hit despite Obama refusing to tackle many of the trickier questions.

Obama spent thirty minutes responding to questions before, he claims, he went for dinner with his family. Of these responses, he claimed to be sympathetic for how tough the economy is for recent graduates, detailed what he considered an answer to ending the corrupting influence of money in politics, and the most difficult decision that he had to make during his term. He claimed that surging the USA’s forces in Afghanistan was the toughest thing he had to do, and insisted the country will end the war at the end of 2014. Obama also said that the White House will be releasing the recipe for its own beer soon, and that from his first hand experience, “it is tasty”. 

With just 30 minutes to give – perhaps understandable for a man who is considered to be one of the most important in the world – he successfully came across as affable and serious with his responses, though it is perhaps easier for those of us who are used to it to detect some of the PR language and spin “going forward”.

As Reddit user darknessthatisnot noted,  replying to the question “What made you come to reddit for an AMA?”, Obama “probably has something to promote”, clearly referring to the upcoming elections later this year. Obama opening himself up to such a potentially risky format and set of questions – especially among a community that is known around the web for its humour and occasional irreverence, not to mention its enthusiasm for internet activism as well as cat pictures – seems to have paid off for his public image. The top comments now are mostly the questions which the president answered, having received enough upvotes from the community to keep them up there. 

However, the format did bring other questions to the table which much of the community also, clearly, feels are vital that he answer. 

Among questions left unanswered were users wondering just when Guantanamo Bay would be shut down. Others asked about Obama signing off drone strike killings in Pakistan, while still more urged him to reply to what they considered the “failing” war on drugs, and the legalisation of Marijuana.  Another user wondered what assurances American soldiers – who of those killed in action Obama referred to as “fallen heroes” – had that would ensure they got the appropriate care for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) upon their return. 

For example, another user, cjj, asked: “As a former constitutional law professor, can you explain how it is legal to kill an American citizen with a Predator drone without due process?”
Social media is tricky to get right, especially for incredibly prominent politicians whose actions shape history and who sit on, by the nature of their job, sensitive and top secret information. Judging by the mainstream media’s enthused reaction, him and his campaign team have at least impressed the liberal media, and plenty of Reddit users themselves appreciated the time he gave to them.

Looking at the move purely from a public relations perspective, it was a success. Obama said enough to appear he was providing reasoned and thoughtful – and, crucially, honest – answers without giving much away, on one of the world’s most popular websites. Obama’s political candour blurs the lines somewhat. Thirty minutes is hardly enough for a sufficient grilling, and, combined with his ability to pick and choose what to reply to, made sure Obama and his campaigners decided the sway of the discussion.

In fact, there are similarities between Reddit itself and what America purports to stand for: democracy. Users democratically decide what makes and breaks the site and autonomously run their own sub-sections, called subreddits. Obama offered a nod to internet freedom in a reply to one question. He said: “Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too”. Obama contended that his party will “fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody”. It is fair enough for him to offer these assurances on a personal level, but given the history of lobbyists acting on behalf of the content industry, and the brutality with which it and certain corners of the current administration has chased some of the web down, does not necessarily inspire hope.

Vikings, Celts and Yanks wage endless nuclear war in 10-year Civ 2 game

A man who has been playing the same game of Civilisation 2 for an entire decade has found that the world turns into a very nasty place.

The Civilisation 2 player, who calls himself Lycerius, told Reddit that he has been playing the same save game for 10 years and has seen that, ultimately, the world turns into a “hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation”.

Civilisation is widely considered the best god game series out there. Players can build nations, work towards new technology, battle for territory and win the game with various scenarios, including diplomatic victory and the space race.

But in case you ever wondered, if you hit the “just one more turn” button and keep playing you would find that the world gets bleaker and bleaker. 

After ten years of on and off play, Lycerius’ virtual world is now approaching the year 4000AD and is dominated by three remaining superpowers – “each competing for the scant resources left”.

More than 90 percent of the world’s population has died either from nuclear annihilation or famine caused by global warming. In his game, there is no arable land left to farm.

The three powers left, the Celts, the Vikings and the Americans have been at war for 1700 years and democracy was long abandoned.

Over the 1700-year-war, citizens hate their governments so much that they keep having guerilla uprisings. Quashing these diverts attention away from the war effort.

He wrote that in his game, peace is impossible. Every time there is a ceasefire, the Viking faction surprise attacks him – playing as the Celts – or the Americans the very next turn, often with nukes.

Civ enthusiasts piled in to help end the 1700-year-war. One suggested turning the Celtic empire into a fundamentalist dictatorship. Since, Lycerius has upload his save file to a new subreddit called ‘TheEternalWar’, where users are planning a concerted, crowdsourced effort to finally bring peace to the troubled world. Over 10,000 users have signed up already. If you want to help, the save game is here.

Perhaps MIT could help. Last year a team was working on artificial intelligence that could learn to play Civilisation by itself, and win.