Ellen Pao’s rancorous departure from Reddit saw Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman sit down in the CEO chair. Huffman knows Reddit inside and out. He’s seen the brilliant and the brutal side by side, but trolls seem to be gaining. “We’ve seen … how unfettered free speech can make Reddit a less enjoyable place to visit, and can even cause people harm outside of Reddit,” wrote Huffman.
Huffman used to ban users whose contributions he thought were nothing but “spewing hate.” Then he decided he didn’t want the role of censor and so left Reddit users free to spew, hoping for the best. The best wasn’t always what surfaced. So Huffman is trying a new way, following the sage advice of actor Warren Beatty, who once described his personal philosophy this way: “if you’ve got something to hide, hide it.” Huffman has instituted new rules for posting on Reddit’s “public pages.” The sensible rules (if difficult to enforce) are here. But there will remain private pages where haters can spew whatever they want. Those areas will just be hidden from view.