Reddit is considering prohibiting types of content including spam, anything illegal, and content that incites harm towards or harasses an individual or group.

The website's CEO and co-founder, Steve Huffman, announced the proposed changes Thursday in an Ask Me Anything session that a CNET preview billed as an “online town-hall meeting.”

Reddit’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” anything-goes content policy “worked temporarily, but once people started paying attention, few liked what they found,” Huffman stated in an introductory write-up posted to kick off the session. 

Huffman came on as CEO last week following the resignation of Ellen Pao from her post as interim CEO with the site. The change in command occurred amidst controversy in the Reddit community stemming from the firing of employee Victoria Taylor, who helped coordinate AMA sessions.

Other types of content Reddit may ban are sexually suggestive content featuring minors and publication of a person’s private or confidential information. An example a subreddit, or forum, that may be prohibited was /r/rapingwomen, Huffman stated. He said the forum encourages people to commit rape. 

Additional content may be “specifically classified,” Huffman wrote in the introduction. He wrote that Reddit is considering requiring that adult content be flagged as not safe for work (NSFW). Other subreddits deemed offensive may also require new restrictions.

“Similar to NSFW, another type of content that is difficult to define, but you know it when you see it, is the content that violates a common sense of decency. This classification will require a login, must be opted into, will not appear in search results or public listings, and will generate no revenue for Reddit,” Huffman wrote, using his Reddit username, “spez.”

In the comments, Huffman stated that the racist subreddit /r/coontown, which is dominated by perverse content targeting blacks, would be reclassified under the proposed changes.

Some redditors responded to the proposed changes by asking if the new policies went far enough.

User JaseAndrews asked why Huffman said /r/coontown would be a classified subreddit under the new policy, when subreddit /r/fatpeoplehate is already banned.

Huffman responded by adding a line to his original post to clarify the proposed policy: “it's ok to say, ‘I don't like this group of people.’ It's not ok to say, ‘I'm going to kill this group of people.’ " 

In an announcement posted to Reddit Wednesday, Huffman praised the majority of Reddit communities as “wonderful, creative, funny, smart, and silly.”

“There is also a dark side, communities whose purpose is reprehensible, and we don’t have any obligation to support them. And we also believe that some communities currently on the platform should not be here at all,” he continued.

“Neither [co-founder] Alexis [Ohanian] nor I created reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen: These are very complicated issues, and we are putting a lot of thought into it.”

That assertion didn’t sit well with some Redditors, who responded to the Wednesday announcement with skepticism and frustration.

“I get it. The time is here to seize the money, get this place ready to become commercial, get some marketing dollars, and ruin it. I've been online since before many of the current users were even born, I've been through a lot and know what it takes to kill a website,” wrote user 867-53OhNein Wednesday.

Published on: Jul 16, 2015