The creator of r/KotakuInAction, a GamerGate subreddit, is speaking up about creating what he calls “one of the many cancerous growths that have infiltrated Reddit.” User David-me briefly locked the subreddit, explaining in a lengthy post that the forum has become filled with racism and sexism. “I did this,” he wrote. “Now I am undoing it. This abomination should have always been aborted.” KotakuInAction has since returned, however, thanks to a Reddit administrator.
Moderators on Reddit are unpaid volunteers who are typically given control over their own communities. In the past, this has given some members the power to revolt and even hold parts of the site hostage. Reddit’s current policies state that it may “intervene to take control of a community when it believes it in the best interest of the community or the website.” It calls this a rare occurrence but one that happens when “top moderator abandons a thriving community … When it does [happen], our goal is to keep the platform alive and vibrant, as well as to ensure your community can reach people interested in that community,” guidelines read. KotakuInAction is home to more than 96,000 members who constantly rail against “political correctness” and “SJW” ideologies, especially related to the games industry.
According to The Verge’s sister site, Polygon, “Reddit is currently focused on ensuring the subreddit is able to properly function and run with a moderation team intact … and the community team is investigating the situation further to determine next steps.” Reddit has not yet responded to The Verge’s request for comment.
Reddit’s decision to restore KiA comes just days after CEO Steve Huffman told one user that hate speech is “difficult to define.” Enforcing a total ban is “a nearly impossible precedent to uphold,” he said, and “impossible to enforce consistently.” In the past, Reddit has taken steps to shut down forums that “violate the spirit of the policy by making Reddit worse for everyone else.” KiA has managed to remain untouched during these purges, despite being a cesspool for misogyny, racism, and more masquerading as free speech.
In David-me’s post, he details how the forum steadily grew from a small community to one extending onto places like KiwiFarms and 8chan. Although he says he wanted to close the community sooner, he was “too scared of the backlash” it would prompt. “I’ve been captive my entire life and now I have the ability to make my own decisions and to correct my mistakes,” he writes. “KiA is a huge one. I think about this daily and dream about it.” The forum’s mods “are moderating over a sub that should not exist,” he adds, and that “users have created content that should not be. Topics that do not require debate. And often times molded by outside forces.”
David-me places blame on Reddit as well, writing that “they know what goes on” in the subreddit. “They know everything. So either they choose to allow it, or $$$$ makes them.”
In a KiA thread about David-me’s post, moderator Hessmix writes that David-me has since been “stripped of all permissions. Admins will be holding an investigation via their guidelines into his behavior.”