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Led by Ellen Pao, Reddit Takes Action to Curb Harassment

Reddit is not moving to police user behavior, but rather to better respond to complaints.

Vjeran Pavic

Ellen Pao became a leading public crusader in the battle against gender discrimination by bringing her former employer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to a very public, but ultimately unsuccessful, trial earlier this year. Now she is bringing some of that crusade home to Reddit, where she is interim CEO. The site today announced a new policy meant to curb harassment.

While Reddit contains many very different people and communities among some 200 million visitors, it is well known for being a free-speech haven for posts about “creep shots,” Gamergate and nude photograph leaks. By the way, all three of those prominent examples involve hostility to women, and the majority of Reddit’s visitors are male.

The new policy would push back specifically on attacks against individuals by giving Reddit users multiple means to contact the site’s administrators to report bad behavior. It’s not specific to gender harassment. And Reddit is not moving to police user behavior, but rather to better respond to complaints.

In a blog post, Pao and other Reddit leaders said the changes would “have no immediately noticeable impact on more than 99.99 percent of our users,” and would help address the concerns of members of the Reddit community who say they do not like the site’s inclusion of “hate and offensive content.” The Reddit community is responding to the announcement of the changes here.

A New York Times story about the changes didn’t mention Pao’s gender discrimination lawsuit, but it quoted her as saying, “We don’t think this behavior represents what Reddit is.”

This article originally appeared on

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