Reddit cyberbullying —a thank you note to those who stood by me during a difficult time
Bullying, gaslighting, and a platform that appears not to care: a toxic combination for enabling hate
Crossposted from Reddit, with slight edits:
A few days ago I posted that I was leaving Reddit.
Given the eagerness with which the trolls and haters egged that decision on, I have begun to feel as if doing so would be giving into their bullying.
I was disappointed to see the eagerness with which other Redditors (including those whom I formerly considered to be digital friends of sort) bought into the lies that those sowing the hatred created and, with great determination, spread throughout the network.
Namely that my cyberbullying consisted of “being downvoted” or some users disagreeing with my posts. The truth is that both before and during the incident in question, it went a lot further than that.
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Reddit is a valuable online social community but has also become a festering hive of online hate, abuse, and…
I was also enormously encouraged by the volume of nice messages I received from concerned Redditors.
In order to not draw the attention of the trolls upon them, I will not name them. But you know who you are. And please know that I was grateful for each and every one of your supportive messages.
During the course of the past six months, I:
- Receiving a failed doxxing attempt in angry retribution for posting on the same Reddit thread from two accounts (a practice, by the way, that I do not attempt to condone or justify, but which I believe is now long in the past and which absolutely did not justify an attempted doxxing).
- Was told that I was a “sociopath”, “social deviant,” “100% full of sh*t”, a “f***king j***ckass”, “ugly AF,” “big eared”, among too many insults to list here.
- Was systematically followed around Reddit by a small handful of users. Actually just two. But their persistent downvoting was a pernicious and very determined form of bullying that ultimately sapped by spirit to continue participating here.
- Received repeated anti-Semitic abuse about my “big beak” and was told frequently to leave Reddit or “take my big beak elsewhere.”
- Was repeatedly called a “Sperg” (internet slang for ‘Aspergers). Something which a moderator of a company I formerly participated in regarded as a “lighthearted and jovial” remark that he (or she) refused to moderate (while silencing another poster’s suggestion that my abuse was motivated by anti-Semitism). Ironically, the remark was amplified on drama — one of the most notorious hate subreddits on the site — where it kicked off another round of abuse. I have now been called a “Sperg” or describes as writing “Spergout” more times than I can remember and by a large amount of Redditors. I think that this is a disgusting label that trivializes a serious developmental condition. Anybody using it as an insult should be ashamed of themselves.
- I’ve received more abuse, including more remarks about my nose, through just about every “open” digital channel I maintain. Given that I rarely receive anonymous correspondence of any kind, I believe these are all emanating from Reddit.
To those who attempted to gaslight me by telling me that I was “overreacting” to some “disagreements” or mounting an exaggerated reaction to “some downvoting”:
You possibly didn’t know some of the above details — I don’t expect anybody to be able to read minds. But if you did, and made those claims anyway, then I regard you as complicit in cyberbullying and, I’m sorry, but I don’t want anything to do with you.
I am extremely appreciative for the kind messages I have received over recent days and know that I have quite a few more friends on Reddit than I thought. Sadly, in order to not draw the attention of trolls upon themselves, they are often silent supporters. But they are out there nevertheless.
Cyberbullying is terrible.
Reddit is unfortunately full of those sharing hate.
The platform, as a whole, would be better if it were taken more seriously. And if moderators who enable it were held to higher account.
If you’d like to take a small action towards stamping out cyberbullying on Reddit, please consider signing this Change.org petition.
If you see cyberbullying, consider reaching out to show support
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Can we facilitate online anonymity’s “white hat” use-cases without making it a den full of trolls and haters?