Drumcowski argues that if both subreddits were to close, others with less moderation and more lenient rules would likely surface in their place.
This quotation from the Dark Side of Reddit article intrigued me the most. At first, it struck me as common sense to remove r/cringe and r/cringepics in order to stifle the bullying and hateful comments that occur within them. However, Drumcowski’s perspective that the established rules and scores of moderators that patrol for these subreddits actually reduce bullying overall.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned so far about the Internet and social media, it’s that a lot of people are mean/bad/hateful/weird/(insert negative adjective). It seems like whether or not there’s a formal outlet for these opinions doesn’t matter; people will find a way to publish their deepest thoughts. So at least having a formal outlet to do so allows for moderation and the worst of the worst to be censored.
The case study of r/creepshots proved this:
This was the case when Reddit shut down r/creepshots, a forum for sexualized photos of unsuspecting women. A year and a half later, copycat subreddits are thriving.
I think this same perspective can be applied to many aspects of our life today, especially political/social commentary. With today’s most sensitive and controversial issues — abortion, gay rights, racial and gender inequality, etc. — there will always be differing opinions. The solution shouldn’t be to shut down all formal means of conversation, as we often do with hyper-censorship, but to continue facilitating dialogue over high profile mediums (news outlets, social media, club meetings). At least with attention those hateful or unnecessary opinions can be immediately refuted with facts and reason. Too often I think we immediately disregard opposing opinions as racist or biased or hateful, but that doesn’t really make them go away. They’re just easy trigger words to throw out when you want to avoid engaging in a dialogue.
Education and moderation will gradually help penetrate those biases.