Toxic Communities on Reddit

In this article I would like to talk a little bit about toxic communities on the popular social media site Reddit. Reddit if you don’t know is a forum like social media site where users sign up and can join or create sub forums or subreddits as they are called where users can post or comment in that subreddit. To be honest I was hesitant about creating an article about this issue because I believe that the best thing to do with toxic communities is to not bring attention to them first of all, but also I don’t think its my place to criticize others for their actions because to do so would be to pass judgment on them and this is something that I am against because I believe that you shouldn’t pass judgment on anyone because you are not perfect yourself and so have no right to judge or criticize others. With that said I still will be going ahead with this article because I feel like there are certain subreddits that consistently make it to the front page of reddit that promote and praise toxic behavior on the platform which I think is wrong and is worth creating an article about. This article is meant to be a call to action to Reddit because they are clearly not doing enough to stop toxic behavior on their platform. It is also meant to educate the public on why you shouldn’t judge or criticize others for what they do. I have also cut out the naming of the subreddits because I don’t want to bring any attention to these communities, but needless to say they are some of the most popular subreddits on Reddit and so it isn’t too difficult to figure out which subreddits I am referring to in this article.

I just want to define toxic behavior before I go much further into this article. I generally define toxic behavior as any behavior which is intended to cause harm to another person, for example name calling another person. I also define toxic behavior as actions which portray someone or a group in a negative light which thereby encourages others to attack and defame that person or group. Toxic behavior is also any action that promotes hate to another person. Granted this doesn’t encompass all forms of toxic behavior but is a good starting definition for this article.

On Reddit there are a number of subreddits that consistently make it to the front page of the site that quite often portray certain individuals in a bad light for some action they have taken. Often these types of post come in the form of a video/picture of a person doing something that isn’t generally acceptable and then people in the comments saying how much of a bad person that person is for doing that kind of thing. One popular subreddit for this which I will not name here which has 2.6 million members as of 30/10/21. The description of this subreddit reads “Trashy stories, trashy glamour, all things fake, plastic, and downright trashy, low-class, no-class, white trash, bimbos, and damn proud.” From the description this subreddit encourages all posts that are “trashy” and “low-class” which I argue encourages toxic behavior. This community has a pattern of a person/person’s doing something questionable/unacceptable and then the comments saying how much of a bad person that person/person’s is for doing this. I just wanted to say here that nobody either online or in person has a right to criticize another for doing something that is questionable/unacceptable no matter what they did. In doing so you essentially imply that you haven’t done anything questionable/unacceptable in your entire life – otherwise that would make you a hypocrite. Therefore, it is wrong to criticize another for something they do.

I guess at the heart of this article is my belief that you shouldn’t criticize another person or belittle them for something that they did and my belief is that these communities which are promoting hate by showing videos and images of people doing something questionable/unacceptable is really negative and promotes unhealthy minds for the people that are active in communities like these. It really saddens me to see so many people promoting hate in some way on the various subreddits and casting certain people which do something questionable/unacceptable and then encouraging others to hate on that person for doing that action. Also what exactly are the motives that someone would have in posting something that is “trashy”? I argue that one of the motives that a poster to one of these subreddits likely has is to show to others what a bad person the person in the photo/video is which implies that the poster clearly feels that he is a more ‘moral’ person than the person in their post which also implies that the poster has cast their own judgment on the person in the photo/video and deemed them a bad person. Then there is a cycle of hate towards that person in the post by the people in the comment section, but what is worse is that the most popular comments in these kinds of posts tend to be of hate towards that person in some way, which goes to show the kinds of people that are active in these sorts of communities on Reddit.

However, there are some that would argue that these posts/comments are just for fun and not to be taken seriously. I don’t think that the people that are shown in these various subreddits see it that way and see the toxic comments of hate and belittlement towards them view the whole thing as just ‘for fun’. Its not good to post comments of hate online and then believe that you are righteous in what you say because the person in that photo/video is doing something morally wrong. Hate is never a good thing.

What is even more sad about this whole thing is the people in the comments of these posts on these subreddits seem to actually enjoy this kind of content and consume it regularly. Watching this kind of content does nothing but promotes an unhealthily mind and paints a false reality that is perpetuated by the people that are active in these subreddits that the people that are commenting on these posts are the ‘righteous’ ones and that casting judgments on others is the right thing to do. It gives people the impression that the commenters of these posts are in the right in what they do in criticizing the person in the video/photo, it also encourages the belief that the right thing to do to people that are doing something that is unmoral is to cast judgment, hate and criticize them when this isn’t the correct way to behave either, because who will show you forgiveness/kindness when you do something wrong?

In conclusion, I think that the best thing to do with toxic communities that actively promote hate and toxic behavior towards others is to ignore these communities and to not bring attention to them, leave these people to their ill ways and focus on other friendlier communities that don’t promote toxic behavior. If you really want to you can try to educate the people in these communities that what they do is wrong, but to be honest I think its likely a waste of time. You will do a lot better without having to see people hold the torch of righteousness and cast their judgment onto what they consider lesser people than them. It will also help your own mental health by not being apart of these communities that promote toxic behavior and hate onto others and taking conscious action to ignore these communities on places like Reddit. Also you shouldn’t criticize others for their actions, because you set a precedent so that if you do something wrong then others will criticize you for it and because nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, it is better if you set a precedent for not criticizing others, so that when you make a mistake others won’t criticize you and won’t pass judgment.

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