Reddit announced that it’s updating its harassment and bullying policy in order to be more responsive to its users’ reporting.
For some time, Redditors have felt that Reddit’s policy agains bullying and harassment has been too narrow. Apart from requiring a certain behavior to be “continued” and/or “systematic” for Reddit to take action against it as harassment, the policy also “set a high bar of users fearing for their real-world safety to qualify.” Furthermore, it also wasn’t clear to users that abuse towards both individuals and groups qualified.
The above resulted in harassment and bullying cases in which no action was taken. As u/landoflobsters explained in a recent post, “this was a bad user experience” and “something that made [Reddit] feel not-great too.”
To fix this problem, Reddit is announcing changes that will shut certain people out of its conversation, when their behavior is intimidating or abusive. The changes bring tighter restrictions on bullying and harassment and updates to reporting abuse. Overall, the updated policy saw three major changes implemented.
1. Reddit’s it no longer requires abuse to be “continued” and/or “systematic”. This will allow actions to be taken by the platform more regularly – even if the abuse isn’t persistent.
2. There’s a new definition of what constitutes abuse. While the previous policy required users to report if they feared for their safety. Now, the definition is much more comprehensive.
3. Abuse can now be reported as targeting either an individual or a group. Note though, while the report button is built into individual posts, groups and users can be reported through Reddit’s online reporting system as well.
Users can expect improved reporting tools ahead as well, as the platform looks make changes to who and how the abuse can be reported. For example, previously only those on the receiving end could report it. Now, Reddit is calling for the community to initiate reports of abuse that they come across, on the platform, whether it is directed at them or not.
They also aim to deploy AI to improve the platform’s speed and efficiency of actions against abuse. Rather than detecting the abuse, or enforcing the new rules, this technology will be used to help human reviewers prioritize which the reports and their consequences.
Albeit a step in the right direction, it will be a slow rollout, as Reddit’s teams work out the kinks and ramp up their response times as a result of the new policy.
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