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Creepy speech

22 Oct 2012

John Scalzi:

Reddit allows all those creepy subreddits because its business model is built on memberships and visits, and the dudes who visit these subreddits are almost certainly enthusiastic members and visitors. This is a perfectly valid reason, in the sense of “valid” meaning “allowing people to be creepy isn’t inherently illegal, and we make money because of it, so we’ll let it happen.” But while it makes sense that the folks at Reddit are either actively or passively allowing “we’re making money allowing creeps to get their creep on” to be muddled with “we’re standing up for the principles of free speech,” it doesn’t mean anyone else needs be confused by this.

It’s very possible that Reddit is making a lot of money from ads on the creepy subreddits and subscription revenue from creepy members, but tolerating creepy speech could also be a way to signal that they welcome free speech of all stripes, even very unpopular speech.