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Cutting down on Internet trolls, the Reddit way

Reddit.com has announced that a number of domains and organizations  have been banned from its site in order to cut down on the amount of spam and abuse, including one or two that may surprise you. Is something strange going on, or is Reddit merely cracking down on those trying to game their system?

According to a statement posted on the site’s “changelog,” Reddit has banned the following domains from “any part” of its site, “because they are spammy, malicious, or involved in cheating shenanigans”:

  • Globalpost.com
  • Echomon.co.uk
  • Funny-on-youtube.com
  • Medicalxpress.com
  • Phys.org
  • Businessweek.com
  • Theatlanticcities.com
  • Theatlanticwire.com
  • Theatlantic.com

“Attempting to submit a link to one of these domains will now fail with an informative error message,” the announcement explains.

While it’s unlikely that “Funny-on-youtube” or “Echomon” will be that missed, the inclusion of The Atlantic and Business Week on the list of forbidden sites seems surprising. The reason for that, however, may be because we haven’t been paying attention to the activities of one Jared Keller on Reddit over the last few months; as Reddit member slaterhearst, he was banned from the site last month for spam, after submitting three or four stories from The Atlantic every day to Reddit. The reason for such a high frequency wasn’t that he really loved the Atlantic, however; he was just doing his job… literally. Keller’s dayjob, you see, is associate editor and social media editor for The Atlantic magazine.

Talking to the Daily Dot after he was banned, Keller denied any intent of wrongdoing. “One of the community rules says that self-promotion isn’t forbidden but may put you on ‘thin ice.’ I tried to adhere to those standards, but as language like ‘thin ice’ suggests, there’s a lot of leeway in how one might interpret them. Reddit recently contacted The Atlantic and told us that, based on the frequency of my Atlantic submissions, they would be deactivating my personal acount,” he said. “I never had any bad intentions, but I understand and accept Reddit’s position and remain a loyal member of the Reddit community.”

Outside of the statement above, Reddit has remained silent on the situation, but it appears from the site’s actions that the redditors at large have realized the power they hold in terms of Internet traffic, and are working to ensure that said powers are being used – as Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben would say, with great responsibility.