A very common thread in online discussion is the slippery slope. So many people in online communities seem confused by the difference between hateful behaviour and free speech. This is especially relevant now in the days of Reddit being in turmoil over the banning of several racist subreddits.
So many of Reddit’s users seem appalled by the fact that Ellen Pao wishes to ban racist and offensive subreddits that mostly exist to harrass people. What suprises me is how many people oppose this with the argument that it’s an enroachment on the free speech of all the users on reddit.
Flash news: Free speech does not mean the right to harrass.
You can’t use free speech as an argument to send hateful messages to people, or make racist comments in the case of a privataly owned space like Reddit. Reddit is free to set it’s agenda. It’s not the UN and does not need to treat everybody exactly alike. They can have standards, and one such standard can be that people can’t be too mean to eachother.
Of course, then the argument is:
Sure today they ban racist things, but
tomorrow it will be people who like Episode I.
Any sane person is able to tell if a something is over the line to being
hateful. Rules are not absolute, just as we have judges to decide where the
line between an insult and defamation. Reddit’s moderators are perfectly
capable of being able to tell the difference between
You’re just a stupid
I disagree, Episode IV is clearly superior.
My point is, the rules does not need to be exact and precise. If Reddit has a rule that bans hateful subreddits, it will be clear that /r/fatpeoplehate is over the line, and Reddit can then become a more welcoming place for everybody. (except for the haters)