Target: Reddit CEO Ellen Pao
Goal: Applaud new anti-harassment policy implemented by Reddit to combat online abuse.
Popular Internet forum Reddit will now protect users from extensive harassment and bullying with its new anti-harassment policy. Online abuse has been a frequent and growing problem on Reddit to the point that many people, whether they’ve ever been on the website or not, have felt physically threatened by its users. Marginalized groups such as people of color, women, and LGBTQ persons are especially likely to become targets.
Online harassment, especially when it’s well-organized by dedicated “trolls,” has led to people being driven from their homes out of fear, getting threatening mail and phone calls when their personal information is published, and has resulted in people losing their jobs due to lies and doctored photos. Tragically, some have even committed suicide after being harassed in this way.
Reddit has long upheld a policy of “free speech” by allowing its users to say just about anything to others, no matter how cruel. However, the threat of extensive harassment has caused many vulnerable people to fear expressing certain opinions on the website (or anywhere else on the Internet) because they know of the possibility of being targeted by Reddit-based harassers. Thankfully, the owners of Reddit have finally acknowledged and addressed the fact that this fear restricts free speech and have therefore decided to make their website a safer space for everyone.
Sign this petition to thank the owners of Reddit for listening to the voices of the marginalized and abused users of their website and taking action to end the culture of fear that has emerged there.
Dear Ms. Pao,
I’m writing to express my approval of Reddit’s new anti-harassment policy that aims to protect people–especially marginalized persons like women and people of color–from bullies rather than protecting bullies from consequences. For too long, Reddit has been a haven for abusive people who get together to systematically harass, threaten, and intimidate people who express views they don’t like. This, as you seem to now realize, created a culture of fear that makes freedom of speech impossible.
Thank you for standing up for vulnerable people who simply want to discuss the issues facing them in peace. This is especially important for LGBTQ individuals who may not be able to talk about these things among offline friends and family members and who need a safe outlet. This new policy will assure people everywhere that your website is headed in the right direction and can once again become the bastion of free speech that it aspires to be.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Eva Blue