William Shatner Disses Reddit on the Social Impact of Poor Moderation


We all know that Reddit is extremely controversial in its capability as a social media and collaborative space–it has had some rather unsavory events occur there. The most recent one is with William Shatner, the Canadian actor renowned for the portrayal of James T. Kirk in Star Trek, who did an IAmA on Reddit and dissed them.

Shatner has been an active Reddit user since his first “Ask Me Anything” session in January. Following the receipt of some odd, actually racist messages on the website, Shatner is criticizing the Reddit’s hands-off approach, writing that “the fact that someone could come here, debase and degrade people based on race, religion, ethnicity or sexual preference because ‘they have a right’ to do so without worry of any kind of moderation is sending the wrong message.”

This is not the first time that Reddit’s approach has been criticized. However, like most social commons, these things only represent small categories and portions of the overall site; although they’re distinctly markers of the larger culture. And Shatner’s comments are making it quite evident.

“Reddit has been the first ‘mainstream’ site that I have been to that actually appears to allow racists and other hate mongers to group, congregate, incite and spread their hatred,” he wrote.

It’s because Reddit may be following the value of free speech. That’s why it has only a few official rules, including no spam, no personal information, no cheating the system, and no suggestive or sexual content featuring minors. The so-called Reddiquette consists of suggestions about how to behave — but it’s completely up to individual community moderators to create and enforce rules.

On top of that, when ShitRedditSays (SRS) community placed Shatner’s face on a banner, he asked them to remove the banner as he was not the member of the community. All this leaves Shatner completely offended, making him say,

“All I am asking is why there are rules if they are not enforced. If censoring or disabling accounts is not an outcome of breaking the rules, then what exactly is? I do not pretend to know where the managers of Reddit wish to go with this site, but embracing that kind of culture I feel is counterproductive to where this world is heading.”

The SRS community quickly removed his image from their banner as per his request.

About Isha Suri

Isha Suri is a staff writer for SiliconANGLE covering social news and security trends. If you have a story idea or news tip, send it to @SiliconAngle on Twitter.