"Why is this subreddit private?" or why some large subreddits are protesting the censorship of discussions about a reddit admin's ties to pedophilia.
As usual the comments there are a complete dumpster fire.
Well deservedly so don't you think? This was handled so incredibly bad by reddit than nothing else was to be expected.
It was handled incredibly poorly by Reddit, but that doesn't justify conspiracy theories and hateful rhetoric.
Yea fully agree with you. There are a lot of people who seem to think Reddit deliberately hired and protected a pedophile or just taking the opportunity to be transphobic. I think announcement threads ought to be way more moderated than they are, especially with a topic like this.
You're absolutely right and I'm sad that it doesn't surprise me anymore.
I saw this at the top of SubredditDrama yesterday.
It was very odd to me because that thread, no doubt one of the first to really bring attention to this issue, was OBVIOUSLY being brigaded by disingenuous concern trolls. I know those guys love to seize any opportunity to use "free speech" to poison the well on Reddit but it was remarkable how much of the entire discussion there seemed to be dominated by obvious trolls.
We've basically shut down my subreddit because of the level of toxic brigading going on throughout Reddit now. From other recent discussions I've seen, we're far from the only ones facing these issues.
The trap is thinking you can figure out what's going on by reading what other people are saying online, without some trusted person doing a proper investigation, interviewing everyone involved, and reporting what they find to the rest of us.
Many people will try to get you to jump to a conclusion based on evidence that could be faked or taken out of context.
Fortunately, we don't actually need to know what happened.
I can't help but feel the trap is to even start reading about this.
She's been fired. No other actionable items, as requested by the protesting subs, listed.
The individual in question:
Outlining the ousting from Green Pary: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/aimee-challenor-father-rape-election-agent-green-party-investigation-a8725701.html
Ousting from Lib Dems (archive because the site is down): https://web.archive.org/web/20210324061951/https://coventryobserver.co.uk/news/exclusive-transgender-activist-aimee-challenor-no-longer-in-coventry-lib-dem-post-amid-investigation-into-safeguarding-complaints/
Warning, substack link to a transphobe POS, highly recommend not reading the content, but leaving the link here as it has the screenshots and links to back up claims made elsewhere.
Lots-o-background and screenshots: https://grahamlinehan.substack.com/p/something-rotten-at-the-heart-of
Best to take that Graham Linehan article with a grain of salt since he's a vocal transphobe.
Not that that discredits any of the previously existing claims or the way Reddit has handled the entire situation.
Yeah, I'm not considering his statements (the opening of the post is enough proof that he's a POS), just screenshots that seem to be regularly removed from the reddit posts I've come across and I wasn't going to rehost them and provide context.
Started reading the Substack link and by about 3 sentences in, it was already extremely offensive. Then I read the URL and realized Graham Linehan wrote it. He's nothing if not a consistently bigoted asshole.
I'm confused as to what the actual accusations are here. Does anyone have a link to a succinct description? All of the ones you linked to are cagey about what the issue is because they don't want to get banned.
To sum it up:
There's a person called Aimee Challenor, she was a member of the Green Party in the UK for a few years, and was a candidate for Coventry South. Her father was being investigated and possibly already arrested for raping and torturing a 10-year old girl in the attic of their home, and then she hired him as a campaign manager for her campaign under a nickname. Then the father got sentenced to 22 years in prison for the -- you know.
She gets kicked out of the Green Party, joins the Liberal Democrats, who kicks her out after a year when someone finds tweets from her partner admitting to having sexual fantasies involving children.
For some reasonReddit hired her as an admin (she was previously a moderator on subs such as r/LGBT), and now whenever anyone says her name on Reddit, the staff swoops in and deletes the message, bans the person, etc. And that gets you to the present situation where subreddits are going private in response to the admin actions.
There are two side notes to this:
I saw a lot of #2 in the r/OutOfTheLoop threads yesterday, and from what I could tell the original post that was deleted and started a lot of this was very TERFy. It made me concerned that this whole thing was another "Gamergate" situation, where bad actors leapt on a legitimate issue (or at least an issue that had the appearance of legitimacy in that case) and used it as cover for attacks against vulnerable people, and as a recruiting tool for extremist ideologies. It's very much in the playbook.
Yeah, I've been off Reddit for a while now and these types of situations are one of the reasons I left. I read through a lot of the same comments you did and I honestly don't believe any of them at face value, even the posts are suspect in my eyes. Hell, even the Wikipedia page is suspect. I expect that this issue, despite any potential developments, is going to be go to anecdata for transphobic individuals in internet discourse for a long time.
To a degree, it reminds me of the situation with Jussie Smollett. They aren't exactly comparable because Smollet was indicted for filing a false police report versus the proverbial lynch mob that Aimee Challenor is at the noose end of, but the (ongoing) Jussie Smollett investigation is used by racists to minimize or cast away the discrimination and inequity that BIPOC individuals face. Aimee Challenor, whether or not they are deserving of such treatment, is going to be used as a fulcrum by which the lever of gender equality is corrupted, hurting all transgender individuals.
I hate this entire situation and it's only going to get worse as it seeps into regular public discourse outside of Reddit.
I agree that's a concern but the best solution to this problem is just to not defend this sort of thing. Being a minority does not absolve you of criticism and Reddit needs to to be less apprehensive about this. Imagine if Reddit hired Musk and then banned criticism of him because allowing it would be condoning workplace harassment or something. It's just not a good solution.
The current, ongoing alternative to Reddit censoring this issue (which I don't think is the proper course of action) is an internet lynch mob. That's not ok. The worst part about this is that the conversation is being shifted towards Reddit's actions, while people are simultaneously accepting the accusations towards Aimee Challenor as fact. Being a minority doesn't absolve you from criticism, but being a minority also doesn't mean you speak or act for that minority and that's what's happening as a subtext here.
Furthermore her father was charged with several sex crimes, her partner sent a (few?) tweet(s). In both cases this is guilt by association, no matter how horrific the associates are. The worst thing she has been officially charged with is a "serious error of judgement" relating to bringing her father on. I don't suggest we ignore the facts, but this wreaks of guilt by association.
I mean, guilt by association is not a fallacy by necessity in my opinion. I think it is important to look at the company you keep. If one displays a pattern of associating with shitheads, then that might well mean one is a shithead. If one associates with one shithead, that does not make one a shithead.
That said, I'm talking about the matter of guilt by association here solely. Not touching the reddit/Challenor situation with a 10ft pole.
That said: I think you might be right about the alternative being a lynch mob, at least at this point. Assuming reddit admins messed around to the extent alleged, it might've been prevented beforehand because... well, Streisand's got a new mansion.
Personally, I'm going to give the challenor situation and the discussion about admin overreach a few more days in the slow cooker before I look into it. It's a mess right now.
Yeah, I'm reserving my judgement personally for a while, I just didn't want to see a lynch mob form here which is why I jumped in in the first place. As for your point about guilt by association, I'd ask you who is the arbiter of that guilty verdict? How many unsavory people must one associate with before they are considered unsavory as well? I don't think it is anybody's place to make that decision, as in my opinion guilt by association should never be tried in any court. I suspect we will have to agree to disagree on that point, though.
Oh, of course it's not a legal doctrine. I don't think that's one for the ole "agree to disagree" there. [E: to clarify: this is not meant as "I will fight you on this" but more "I think we're actually on the same page.]
I mean this for any kind of social consequences and/or social judgement. If I have to decide whether to associate with/support/... someone, but I don't know them, I might look at the company they keep. I don't want to associate with nazis, so someone who associates with one lone nazi might well be ok. Someone who associates with mostly nazis is not.
But this also ties into this entire cancelling debate. I'm not going to go into it too much, but the entire thing relies on these kinds of social judgements. And irrespective of where I find myself on any individual cancelling event, I think the system by itself is something we sometimes need, because some bad people are untouchable by other means, be they legal or e.g. financial. Sometimes you need public outrage and you need to mobilize enough protest to force the hand of the parties that can reach the bad person. That said, I find that these social consequences can often devolve into irrational lynch mobs.
Might well be the case here, come back in a few days when I carve up this slow cooked roast. Much too spicy a cut of meat to be roasted at the stake. [How's that for a rhetorical device?]
100% agree but to anyone with a functioning brain this is a bad argument. I think we need to put our faith in collective reasoning here -- if we're so worried about this negative association that we play devil's advocate for a deeply unsettling character then the people who want to make those associations got what they wanted anyways.
At the end of the day in my mind it has very little to do with the person (who based on public record should simply not have been hired for any public-facing position by any company) and more to do with Reddit's inability to screen their employees mixed with the slow-moving nature of corporate HR in dealing with this kind of thing.
Firstly, I'd like to think I have a functioning brain... secondly I am not at all playing devil's advocate. I am not defending any potential wrongdoings or doers, I am questioning this trial by public opinion. By labeling me as a devil's advocate (I'm not entirely sure if you are, to be honest), you devalue my stance without challenging its merits. I don't feel comftorable putting my faith in collective reasoning, collective reasoning is another term for court of public opinion. Finally, you are doing exactly what I commented about. By shifting the conversation to Reddit's malfeasance you give weight to the accusations against this person, I'm not here to discuss Reddit as a company.
Of course. I was meaning that anyone who wanted to imply that this person was representative of trans people is a pile of garbage. If that's the subtext we are worried about -- what is there to worry about? It's a terrible argument.
What I'm hearing (in general, not necessarily from you) is that there are bad actors who are capitalizing on this because this person is trans and that we should withhold judgement because of that. The first part of that statement is true but not the second imo.
I'm not talking about accusations here -- we're talking about someone who lived with an actual bonafide evil person while they were committing terrible crimes and then attempted to hire them after they were caught and disguising that action by using a pseudonym. Why are we defending this or deflecting at all? Just call a spade a spade.
Plenty. Arguments do not win or lose ground based on how good they are.
To be precise, a person who was raised by said actual bonafide evil person, and bonafide evil people are not usually known for their self-control. I had already heard about this case, at least a year ago, likely from the gender"critical" subs. Even back then, the words "abuse" and "grooming" came to mind. The BEP being her father also only serves to complicate the issue further, because even people with more healthy upbringings - or that just came to realize that what happened in their family was not normal - do not find detaching themselves from their parents easy.
Fair but what is the alternative? I think circling the wagons around this person does more harm to the trans community than not.
I absolutely agree that this person is likely a victim of abuse -- I'm not sure how that is supposed to change my opinion on the matter? Being a victim may explain their actions but it doesn't excuse them.
Allegedly. It's been officially denied, and AFAIK there is no actual proof of them doing that. And also AFAIK, there has only been one person allegedly banned for merely mentioning the admins name (was actually them linking to a horribly transphobic article from the spectator critical of that admin); an /r/UKPolitics mod (which was supposedly a mistake), and whose account was reinstated shortly afterwards.
And that's exactly the problem with these sort of "outrage" events, IMO. So much misinformation gets spread around by bad-faith actors (like Linehan), to push their own agenda, that it becomes almost impossible to find out the truth, or have a discussion on the issue without inadvertently helping that misinformation spread even further/faster.
There are numerous comments, screenshots, and accounts from mods in the main damage control thread: https://old.reddit.com/r/ModSupport/comments/mbqgx2/a_clarification_on_actioning_and_employee_names/
None of them that I can see really contradicts what landoflobsters says the admins response has been... and you will have to forgive me for not taking the screenshot of a mod of unpopularopinions named dramasutra2020 at face value when they claim they were temp banned for merely asking other mods to join in the protest.
An admin lying to cover their asses? SayItAin'tSo...
And attacking the source because you don't like what they mod or their name is utterly ridiculous.
Admins also just changed it so that the messages of the private subs are no longer using markdown so the link to why it's happening can't be clicked on.
A user named "dramasutra2020" lying in order to drum up drama (or simply being mistakenly banned for mass messaging a bunch of other mod teams in the middle of a drama shitstorm)? SayItAinSo...
And given the total shitshow that is rapidly spreading (even to here), it's not surprising to me that reddit HQ would take all necessary steps to try to shut this shit down until things calm down and they can have time to sort everything out. None of that speaks to malicious intent, or a desire to cover up the truth, IMO.
Feel free to take any of the other hundreds of comments by mods (just choose whichever username doesn't offend you I guess) that say they've witnessed the "anti-evil operations" censor the conversations and mentions as evidence then.
Can you point to a single instance of a reddit admin outright lying in an official statement? Because in my 14+ years on reddit I have never seen that happen. They very often (especially these days) PR sanitize their statements, can be annoyingly evasive about the intentions for new site features, and can sometimes even misunderstand an internal process when they speak about it (which they almost always admit to making a mistake about), but I have never seen one outright lie before.
Being that any and all admin distinguished comments and posts are "official statements" here's Deimos calling out their outright lie about how the outbound clicks work.
Assuming kethryvis was lying, as opposed to simply misinformed, seems like a remarkably uncharitable thing to do. And I highly doubt Deimos assumed that either given his wording, and mentioning another admin who could verify who was actually correct in that situation.
And I guess you'll believe the "screenshot wasn't correct" statement about using gender identity for advertising, too?
It doesn't seem unbelievable to me that they may have originally considered (or even intended) to use that data for ad targeting, then they decided against it, but accidentally used the old screenshot when making the announcement. And at some point in the future, some exec may push for that again... it may even be inevitable they do eventually use that data for ad targeting, given the subversive nature of ad revenue reliance. But again, I don't think assuming they are lying is the correct thing to do.
p.s. This will be my last reply. Feel free to have the final word if you need to though, since I am not trying to steal that; I just have no desire to continue this discussion since both our minds are clearly already made up and this is going nowhere.
Hey, it even got the listentothis mod team off their asses. That's like moving a mountain.
Thank you for the summary. My God it's like someone cooked up a controversy in a lab to be as explosively shitty as possible.
Welcome to the 2020s internet, where all the points are made up and the facts don't matter. The whole damn thing is built for this now. It's an outrage-controversy engine. We've gone over that in threads here many times. It just makes me wonder what it'll take to get non-outrage content on even footing with outrage-inducing news and internet lynch mobs. We're no closer to solving that problem.
She was previously a moderator on several LGBT subreddits including r/LGBT on her old account (now deleted). Perhaps more related to her hiring, she was the de facto head moderator for the entire RPAN community and its related subreddits. Here's her introduction as an admin a few months ago.
Damn. Did r/LGBT and any other subs she moderated make any statements on why they let her in?
She (u/bpwpb) was added to the r/LGBT moderators in September 2016, when she was 18 years old. Her father wasn't even charged with his crime until November 2016.
It's not like you're required to provide government ID and a submit to a police check to moderate subreddits.
It's not but it could be. My spouse once helped mod a (non-Reddit) forum, and they did a brief background check on her. This was just some random board a guy put up in his spare time to have discussions about dogs. It can be done if there's a will to do it.
I was briefly an /r/Politics mod. That's a Top 10 subreddit. No one was doing IRL background checks, other than going through my post and comments history (which is standard practice when bringing on mods). Maybe I gave them a brief IRL bio, but I didn't provide any actual PII.
On a major social media site that still encourages anonymity, there's no way anyway is going to submit to IRL checks. Let me put it this way: who verifies the current mods? I've helped start subreddits; who would've verified me? And even then, why should anyone trust me, just another random redditor?
The only time I've asked for and seen PII is for AMAs. For the AMAs I'm involved with, however, these people are already publicly known: politicians, officials, and journalists. It's verification rather than background check.
Speaking of AMAs, you actually have to doxx yourself to become a mod of /r/IAMA, so there's more vetting than most subs. I was there for a little while in 2016.
Why would they? It's really not hard to get a mod position in most subreddits. For the most part you simply just have to ask the current mods if they want some help, and if you're active in the community, so long as there aren't any noticeable red flags on your account, you will probably be given a position. And it's also very very unlikely any other mods knew who she really was, or what her father did when they accepted her as a mod, since it's not like there are in-depth background checks that happen beforehand.
Reddit hiring her, given her and her family's past, is another matter entirely though.
TIL. I would have thought moderation was far more centralized, particularly given this site's goals to decentralize moderation.
I wouldn't say the ultimate goal of this site is to decentralize moderation, so much as just make the pool of people who are mods larger, and ideally automate the process of mod selection (and demotion) a bit using the trust system.
And IMO the primary issue with the way reddit moderation works is not that it's centralized (admins are rather hands off in the process), the problem is that it's hierarchical, which leads to all sorts of problems when subreddit creators are shitheads, or mods go inactive for a long time but since they are still ranked "higher" than all the newer/active mods they sometimes come back and fuck shit up... both of which can cause schisms in the community.
And it happens constantly. The only way for a mod above another to be removed is by admin intervention or they delete their account. Admin intervention includes removal for being no longer active, but that requires the mods below them to make a request for the removal and the inactive mod to be completely and totally absent from the site for a period of time. No logins, no accidental opening of the app on their phone, no visiting the desktop site, nothing. Even if they haven't made a single moderator action in months or years the sub is still "theirs" and they won't be removed. Save for somehow making reddit at large (read: in mass media) look bad.
On the one hand I get that you don't want newly added mods to be able to stage a coup d'état and just take over a sub, but the inability to fix something before it becomes a problem is frustrating.
I think it is still centralized in the sense that large cliques of power mods tend to form and power centralizes within those cliques. They often hold the top mod spots in whatever group of subreddits they moderate and (due to the heirarchy you mention) are totally unaccountable to anyone but the admins. Perhaps that's changed since I was active, but that's my observation!
Yeah, modding could definitely be really cliquey in the early days... which I experienced first-hand, and isn't necessarily a bad thing IMO (since it does have some benefits). But I honestly don't think that's really the case that mod selection is centralized under cliques anymore, since reddit is just too big for any one clique to exert much control over it now, AFAIK most mods of different subreddits barely recognize or interact with each other anymore, and the "powermods" of ye olde times (despite still being on the rolls) are rarely actually all that active these days.
The subs are largely, unless they make reddit itself look bad, unencumbered by admin involvement. Current mods, depending on permissions, can add new mods and generally add active and positive members of the community to those posts as needed.
Ah that makes more sense, I added that to my post since that's some very good context.
Thank you. I pieced together some of it from the above links (the comments mentioned her father being a pedophile) but I appreciate the extra context.
And Linehan being involved makes sense now that I know she transitioned.
Can you help me with what TERFs are?
In order to not go on a rant that just ends up with me hurling insults endlessly, I'll just drop this link which has some history: https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/9/5/20840101/terfs-radical-feminists-gender-critical
They're a type of transphobe more common in the UK that tries to present their bigotry from a feminist perspective to seem more respectable.
As per Wikipedia:
trans-exclusionary radical feminist
Whenever I get hired for a job and they run a background check I wonder what kind of stuff they're looking out for. This is certainly a good example of what employers should be looking out for.
One benefit of working in California is that all the employers are legally obligated to send you a copy of your background check after they do it.
So from that, at least for programming positions, it's mainly criminal record. Some companies checked education and prior experiences (to make sure they match your resume), but my current job didn't even check that or my education. It was nothing but criminal record.
I work in California but IIRC it's always just shown as nothing found, with no indication of what could have shown up.
Hm, perhaps it's different based on which company they use. For instance, for my last background check (obviously omitting details) it says it did
Criminal County Search
Criminal County Search
Criminal County Search (all these were different locations I've lived)
Criminal County Search
Criminal Federal Search
Criminal Federal Search
Criminal Federal Search (different States)
Criminal Federal Search (felonies)
It gives a description of each of these and then says "clear".
I think I'm pretty much done with Reddit after this whole situation. When you start removing/blocking/deleting posts and subreddits because the community doesn't like your decisions, then that's just not right. Regardless of the lack of background checks, the behavior from Reddit in general was just terrible.
Reddit is the internet's abusive ex-boyfriend - we keep coming back hoping they'll change, but they never do.
This event was the nail in the coffin for me. I've dusted off this account and now I'll try settle in here. The issue with single users able to mod hundreds of subreddits and ban anyone and dictate discussion is just way too much now.
Just so that you don't settle in under false pretenses; Tildes is operated by a single person, and he has the power to add groups, ban anyone, and determine which conversations are off limits. If those are sticking points there but not here, it'd be interesting to dig into why that is.
For many of us, it's because Deimos was the best admin reddit ever had, and still is one of the most level-headed moderators you'll ever find. He wrote reddit's automoderator long before they hired him and prevented that place from getting a lot worse a lot faster than it would have without his tools. He's also spelled out here in the docs exactly how and why things are the way they are on Tildes and sticks to that mission. He's producing open source code so anyone can create a site using it, intentionally avoiding collecting any personal information, and running on donations rather than advertisements or other forms of investment that compromise the user experience to benefit owners.
So, in other words, Tildes has the highest trust factor of any reddit alternative by a country mile.
Definitely something to think about, I haven't spent very long here in comparison to Reddit but from my earliest impressions this place seems much more laid back and respectful. Deimos also appears very respectful and open to the userbase in comparison to the frequent powertrips of the Reddit mods.
I'd rather not see Reddit's waste water spill over here.
Then hit the ignore button and filter the tag.
This is going to be a disaster, right? No matter what the issue or outcome is, we have passed the point of no return where redditors have gathered their pitchforks so the only questions are (1) what the hell happened? and (2) how ugly is this going to get? Gather ye popcorn, this one is going to be a doozy.