Uh-oh—massively popular link-sharing site Reddit was "basically" taken down this afternoon, according to a mod. The culprit? A thread encouraging Redditors to post the "extremely controversial things" that they "honestly believe." Yep: Redditors got so excited about a safe space for their racism and misogyny that they almost shut down the site.
We've known for a long time that Reddit has an unfortunate tendency to reflect the worst of the internet. Its popular "Men's Rights" section, about which the less said the better, seems to set the tone for the site's views on gender and sexuality; users' casually-deployed racism is something of a site in-joke; and, well, there's a whole sub-Reddit dedicated to sexualized images of adolescent girls.
So we somewhat knew what we could expect when a thread titled "What extremely controversial thing(s) do you honestly believe, but don't talk about to avoid the arguments?" appeared in the Ask Reddit section. And from the first post—"I think that on average, women are worse drivers than men... Western civilization is superior in many ways to most others"—the thread delivered! We just didn't realize that Redditors were so desperate for a place where they'd be "allowed" to post their "controversial opinions" that they'd force the site's administrators to block the thread for "basically [taking] the site down."
But apparently they were. Of course, many of the comments were the kind of "challenging opinions" Redditors flatter themselves with having: Nuclear power good! Reality TV bad! (Our favorite: "Clubbing is stupid and boring.") But just as many were a little bit less... palatable:
- Men and Women have different strengths and weaknesses... the androgenization of our culture [LOL - Ed.] does not necessarily strengthen us as a society.
- Having children isn't a right... If I paid income taxes, I'd probably lose my mind at all the poor white trash with 3-4 kids and no visible means of support.
- [P]eople from distinct gene pools often have similar behavioral characteristics that are influenced as much by genetics as by culture... That makes me a racist by definition.
- Womens studies is a silly major to choose... Possession of child pornography should probably not be punished by decades of jail time... Copying files is not the same as stealing... Facebook and other social media websites are not worth using... While I do it, Tipping waiters/waitresses is stupid and they should just be paid fair wages.
- People who make their careers on racial studies and affirmative action promotion are part of the problem; their making a living is dependent on the existence of racial conflict.
- You should be educated to a certain degree AND have a stable income before being allowed to have children.
- half the black people in my area are lazy complainers - it's especially annoying to have them complain about Mexicans who work their asses off and get no aid while the black people get wellfare, food stamps, and free housing because they keep popping out babies. Note, this is for my area, where this is common practice, I have no idea how it is in other places... most women who claim to want equal rights are full of shit; saying they can have the same jobs yet roll their eyes at stay at home dads, say that it's unfair for guys to hit girls, etc.
In the community's defense, there are Redditors out there attempting to correct, reason with, and make fun of these people. But they're losing the battle. All of those comments were among the top-voted in the thread (described as "best" by the site's algorithm). We'd love to have arranged the thread comments by "controversial" instead—as one Redditor put it, 'if you want to actually read something controversial, sort this thread by controversial. If you want to keep on with the "things we redditors believe because we're so much more enlightened than the rest of society' circlejerk, sort this thread by best"—but, well, the thread is still blocked while frenzied Redditors cool off.