Many years ago I was a mildly active Wikipedian, a hobby I discontinued once I didn't have as much idle stare-at-internet time once I began grad school. Oh, and because most of the other people actively involved were horrible.

That is unfair. I don't honestly think they are terrible people, but something about the anonymity of the internet combined with high opinions of their own intelligence brings out the absolute worst once they gather in the same (electronic) place. These days Wikipedia has taken on a life of its own and has become bigger than anyone could have imagined back in the day. Now, vote-up sites like MetaFilter and, more recently, Reddit are getting the most attention, probably because voting things up and down is quicker and more definitive than endlessly debating things in Wikipedia forums.

One of the most irritating things about these sites is the tendency of the fan bases to be overwhelmingly composed of people like…me. White males with a lot of education. And we're pretty annoying, especially when protected by the anonymity and distance provided by the internet. So people can really be dicks in these forums, and there is plenty of groupthink on display.

Regular readers know that, sometimes to a fault, I am not the type to go around shouting "Sexism!" But my god, these things are sexist. Really obviously. In a way and to an extent that the amount of willful ignorance required to pretend it isn't there is staggering. Another blogger took the time to compile a perfect example for the skeptical.

A male Redditor posted a picture of himself lying in a bed with the comment, "This is me the being dope sick when i quit heroin. 6 months and counting of being clean." The post was up-voted by other users 1150 times, and here are the first five comments, also in order of votes received:

1. Congratulations man. Thats no easy feat. Heroin has taken many a life. Good to see somone beat it
2. "6 months and counting of being clean Datestamp 3/16/11" Was there a relapse in there?
3. I know that look. I’ve made it myself…I am consumed with respect and admiration for you. keep going.
4. Awesome job! I have 4.5 months clean. Just remember: that’s the last time you have to be dopesick. Ever.
5. I don’t know you, but I love you for staying clean. It gives me hope for my brother.

Aww! Look how nice and supportive people can be, even in an environment where people are usually pretty heartless.

More recently, a different, female user posted a picture of herself with the comment: "Been clean from heroin for 2 months and this is me today". After receiving about half as many up-votes as the male's post, here are the top five comments:

1. I've never done heroin, here is a picture of a pair of old shoes.
2. Reddit just upvoted some girl's mirror shot to the front page Holy fuck, guys
3. I've been clean from heroin for 24 years, nobody upvotes my mirror pics.
4. I don't get it. This is just a picture of a person. What is interesting about this picture?
5. 9 outta 10 would bang. With protection.

Go ahead, attempt to explain how this stark difference has nothing to with gender. I could use the giggles.

Here's the kicker. While the second post itself received less than half the up-votes of the first (male) one, the asshole comments on the woman's post received more up-votes (2200+ for the #1 comment) than either the post itself (650) or the first post (1150). So users appeared far more interested in being a dick to the woman for posting a picture of herself (Reddit Law states that this is attention-seeking behavior when women do it) than in either of the posts themselves.

Just another day on the internet. Move along, there's nothing to see here.

58 thoughts on “HIVE MIND”

  • The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    The rationalizations and excuse-making on the Skepchick thread are also wonderful.

  • Monkey Business says:

    I've long since stopped trying to defend Reddit's latent misogynism. It's there, it's particularly nasty, and it turns more than a few threads and subreddits into utter cesspools.

    However, Reddit is a reflection of society. The fact that those kind of sentiments aren't immediately condemned and downvoted is because while we may pay lip service to the idea of gender equality, we're not there, not by a long shot. The same is true for racism and sexuality, as well as most of the other ills we like to sweep under our collective rug.

    The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging that it exists. We have a problem with gender, race, and sexuality, among many, many others.

  • W/o having to look. Would the female in question be consider physically unattractive? Ie the stereotypical "heroin skank"?

    Yup thought so.

    Hey, how about Angelina's boobs….

  • Wow. "Heroin skank"
    You're not a total fucking asshole at all, are you?
    (Hint: I'm just kidding. You're an awful human being).

  • DBP. Uh ever consider that I'm drawing the parallel that if the person in question was physically attractive, then maybe, just maybe everyone would be wetting themselves w/ kudos and cu'pie dolls for her. Didn't think so cause you're an f-wit. Just kidding, you could only ever hope to achieve idiot status.

  • Whenever I see sexism of the Reddit variety, my diagnosis is as follows:

    "…OK, so clearly, women don't treat you the way in which you think you are entitled to be treated by them, and you're angry about this, and you feel that it is only fair, since they are not living up to their part of this bargain that only exists inside your own head, that you treat them like shit. I get that; I do. I don't like it or approve of it, but there's a certain infantile, selfish logic to it.

    "But have you considered–and just hear me out on this one–that maybe you're not being treated that way because you've done nothing to deserve it other than to exist? Go to the gym, be good at your job, read a book and really think about it afterwards, keep up on current events–both cultural and political–and develop thoughtful opinions on both. Do all that, and engage with the world and the people in it with attention and interest. I assure you, you will begin to be treated by women–and by men–in a way that will make you a much happier fellow.

    "Earn your happiness, and know that being hateful in a vengeful way that earns you high-fives from other embittered do-nothings will never–and I mean never–made a woman like you more. And maybe stay off of Reddit for awhile. Again, read a book, take a walk, and get used to the habit of quiet thought."

    Nobody ever upvotes me when I make this suggestion, for some reason.

  • @JD: Bwahahaha!! You want people to wha…?? ;)

    Yeah. I saw something like that in a comment on deviant art.
    The photographer had models who were in highly charged poses — and nothing to be left to the imagination at that.

    A commentor said: "Where do you find such nasty, dirty girls?"
    The photographer: "They're not nasty or dirty. They're very wonderful people."

    My thought was, and that's your problem right there. Who'd want to be anywhere near someone who thinks of them as less than meat.

  • I'm going to date myself here, but I think part of the explanation for the whole MRA-Nice Guy-fedora-misyogynist problem is that you have a generation which, as long as it can remember, grew up with the internet. I'm at the end of Generation X, so the internet was non-existent in my childhood and for the first few years it was pretty shitty(I didn't even have it in my home until 1997, and then off and on). So when people like me have problems, we might seek out people with similar problems, but we also take what we can get, meaning we end up getting advice from a lot of different people and perspectives. It doesn't always help, but what is the alternative?

    The alternative today consists of things like Reddit or 4chan, where people like nice guys whine to the world about their problems and then suddenly thousands of these people come together to whine in unison. They create an echo chamber and eventually any inclination that their problems with women might be their own fault are stamped out. Women are to blame- feminists, MATRIARCHY! Call something sexist and they pounce on you while at the same time totally proving your point about their misogyny.

    Anyway, that's all for my pop psychology, but I would like to add one more question to ask these folks, similar to what J Dryden presented. I simply ask them, are they truly happy as MRAs. Does all this anger and venting actually help them? Do they actually have any belief that this will make their life better? You see, I, and I suspect many of us here, was once a "nice guy." It took years to break that sense of entitlement, and I'm not sure if I would have had I spent time whining with fellow nice guys about getting "friendzoned." I had to do it on my own, and the reason I sometimes treat with nice guys online is because I want to be the helpful voice that I never had. So if you run into guys like that online somewhere, ask them where they think this whole "nice guy" routine is going, and whether joining this idiotic Mens' rights movement is going to solve their problems.

  • Note to self: remember irony is lost on Americans.

    Zombie: obvs missed the quotes around said offensive term. The primacy of beauty, and how women who are "beautiful" are paid attention to, whilst someone who is unattractive is dismissed. Ie the connection to Angelia.

    Is that clear enough?

    As to why I have no desire for reddit? I really have no interest in reading comments from stupid people.

  • Xynzee: there seems to be something wrong with your theory, because if you look at the photo that was posted, I don't think she'd be considered physically unattractive.

  • People want "their" places.

    For educated white American 30-something males, " their" privileged life with an adoring and obedient wife, a couple of above average kids, dinner on the table and flowers in the garden when they get home from work.

    Just what they were led to expect.

    and if it isn't working out, then what?

  • Xynzee will now, of course, reevaluate the premises that led to the conclusion "she must be hideous or sick-looking, because Reddit would never downvote a pretty girl".

    Bonus points for noticing that the other popular counterargument is "she didn't look sick enough / she was too vain / she drew attention to herself rather than her sickness", i.e., she looked too good.

    Come on–I dare you to look at that and conclude that there's anything at all that a woman wanting to do the same thing the guy did–share a story of her recovery from addiction–can do to please the Reddit fanbase. (Hint: the problem's not the woman. The problem's the Redditors.)

  • The problem with this argument and a lot of other arguments is that you can't go on a case-by-case basis with Reddit posts. It's too big and too easy to introduce a mob mentality to the content posted and the amount of trolling that exists.

    It's easy to find one example and use that as the 'conclusive evidence' that Reddit is sexist. Reddit is a lot of things and misogynistic is one of them, but a variable not introduced is trolling, which is by far more prevalent than sexism.

    Her picture got trolled. That same picture somewhere outside of /r/pics probably would have received a lot more positive comments, as pictures of females usually receive anywhere outside of the very generic thread she posted it to.

    Crying sensitivity over one post seems like a waste of time. Show me a prolonged pattern of behavior and all the evidence to the contrary THEN write an article about it. Reddit is too diverse for two posts to define the culture. Not to mention it's scientifically insignificant to the extreme.

  • "Go ahead, attempt to explain how this stark difference has nothing to with gender."

    Regrettably, I'm compelled to take the challenge. (And I'm decidedly not a Redditor…but lay offa MeFi.)

    The guy looks "dope sick": wan, uncomfortable, listlessly laying in bed with his forearm protecting his forehead. The girl looks like she's about to head out with her friends: smiling, standing, gym bag over her shoulder, taking the picture herself. The guy looks like what I (admittedly, a white dude with education) suspect a recovering heroin addict looks like. The girl looks like a girl who wanted her selfie to be praised by the anonymasses.

    Seriously, if you're going to use anecdata, you can always generate alternative explanations. In this one, I would say it's skepticism of her story, and sympathy for his.

  • beergoggles says:

    Typical case of power and privilege never being given up willingly. It must always be agitated and fought for. Need more women (and their allies) being more visible and continually refusing to take this shit. Don't believe the people who say let the small stuff (like this example) slide, that there are bigger things to worry about. Even the small stuff matters.

  • Oh, duh, of course. They're just trolling her!

    Trolling, the internet excuse for any kind of shit behavior.

    Tip: that is not trolling. Why do we have to devalue words?

  • Drangus: The problem with this argument and a lot of other arguments is that you can't go on a case-by-case basis with Reddit posts.

    Well, there's certainly some giant heap of evidence that's indicative of something.

    No, but really, if you're not just arbitrarily raising the bar, what kind of evidence would you expect to see if there's not actually a pervasive culture of misogyny on Reddit? Do you see that evidence?

    That same picture somewhere outside of /r/pics probably would have received a lot more positive comments, as pictures of females usually receive anywhere outside of the very generic thread she posted it to.

    You know, the idea that women have it easy on the internet is the primary justification for this brand of misogyny–the cries of "attention whore!" and "white knighting!". I'm skeptical that the reason women have it bad in large subreddits is that women have it good in small subreddits.

    Also, referring to women as "females" makes you sound like a goddamned Ferengi. Seriously, man.

  • Drangus: Reddit is a lot of things and misogynistic is one of them, but a variable not introduced is trolling, which is by far more prevalent than sexism.

    How is it not obvious that it can be two things? Women get disproportionately trolled and harassed because of misogyny.

    This is like saying "oh, no, they didn't beat you up because they hate gay people; they beat you up because they're violent–they just happen to be especially violent around gay people, but they're not bigots".

  • One of the oft' mentioned top fears is public speaking. Ya know, where someone actually talks, all eyes on the speaker, talking about something, trying to hold folks attention, other humans in the room. Major anxiety producer.
    The net eliminates the scary parts. It turns out lot of people like to "talk" in public. And a lot of what is said is pretty gnarly. The whole "other side of the screen" thing.
    Lord of the flies style.
    Not that I'm partial but didn't the crowd down vote Jesus and up vote Barabbas? People can be funny that way.
    Were these Reddit creeps not born of women?

  • I've been thinking about the problem of internet assholishness for a while. I was on the internet back in 1990 or so (my college had a special system for handling LISTSERV's), and I don't think Reddit's sexism is a new thing.

    How are the Redditors any different from the people protesting against civil rights in the 1950's? They're all insular assholes, after all.

    There's an echo chamber, yes, but the internet didn't create it. The Internet just made it easier for people from tribe A to see what tribe B says about them behind their backs.

    As we've discussed in other threads, people today don't know how to think. They don't know what constitutes a good argument. I think there's another important piece to this: they don't know what *purpose* an argument is supposed to serve. Ostensibly, beliefs are statements about reality, and argument is a way to make sure your beliefs are as accurate as possible. But by that standard, most people, in my experience, don't believe much of anything at all. For most people, beliefs are really just "badge beliefs," indicators of membership in a tribe, and argumentation is a form of ritualized combat with other tribes.

    Back when I was a teenaged Christian, I BELIEVED in God and the Bible, in the sense that I had constructed a worldview dependent on the idea that the Nicene Creed was true. I acted in accordance with that belief. If God exists and the Bible has a special status as a communication from God, then I concluded that the most important thing I could do was to study the Bible, obsessively.

    The funny thing is, studies show that comparatively few Christians actually read the Bible. A friend of mine teaches a class on the Bible, and he keeps running into the problem that his Christian students keep accusing him of lying about the Bible, because they've never read it, and don't really have any idea what's in there. For all that Christians claim that "faith" and "belief" are the cornerstones of their existence, they generally don't act like it. They will wave the Bible and talk about how the Bible is God's Divine Word, but that's just so that everyone will know they are a Christian. If they really *believed* it, they would actually *read* the Bible.

    Christians are divided into sub-tribes. One of them likes to preface every conversation with "I'm a Christian, but I'm not like those OTHER Christians…" That's a badge belief, too. They believe in, say, evolution because it marks them as members of the theoliberal tribe rather than the fundagelical tribe. They disavow belief in Biblical inerrancy for the same reason. But when I start to ask questions, it all falls apart. Because:

    – If Jesus was really the Messiah, then

    – the OT prophets are real prophets, and so

    – all their predictions about ancient history must have been true, but

    – actually they're demonstrably false.

    This puts them in a bind. If they believe the Nicene Creed, then that implies that the OT prophets were inerrant, but that if a problem if you want to claim to be "not like those other Christians."

    And when I raise this issue, I get two responses. In rare cases they whip out the same arguments the fundies do, and defend the inerrancy of the Bible which they had just disavowed. In most cases, they refuse to respond, or they dodge the question by telling me that my cherry-picking is distracting from the REAL truth of Christianity.

    Atheists are just as bad, in my experience. For many atheists, their badge belief is "all religions are wrong." There's actually a bumper sticker with the symbols for Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism on it, with the caption "YOU'RE ALL WRONG." When people have said that kind of thing online, I've asked them whether they actually know what those religions teach. After all, the Abrahamic religions are very different from the others. And I get a range of BS answers, which generally just attack me for daring to question the wisdom of the tribe. Predictably, they have no idea what Taoists believe, and only a cartoonish version of Buddhism. (I can't speak to their understanding of Hinduism, because I am less familiar with it.)

    Yes, the Redditors are despicably nasty, but in my experience most everyone is despicably nasty. I don't necessarily think the Redditors are all that different from Alabama Christian high school in the 1980's.

  • @grendelkhan:

    brilliant, concise rebuttal.

    Your screen name depresses me. I wish I had thought of it, so I could use it as a character in a book.

  • Grendelkhan,

    This "giant heap of evidence" was not introduced in the article or in the post. I think your addition makes the argument stronger, but this information was introduced outside of the articles/blog posts I was analyzing.

    "You know, the idea that women have it easy on the internet is the primary justification for this brand of misogyny–the cries of "attention whore!" and "white knighting!". I'm skeptical that the reason women have it bad in large subreddits is that women have it good in small subreddits."

    – I'd like to see evidence of this. I'm sure (I'm playing naive here) you'll be able to find some sort of evidence, but again, I'd like to see your interpretation backed up with evidence, which is a study in of itself.

    My introduction of 'trolling' as a variable did not rule out that misogyny could also be at play here. It was an introduction of a concept that was previously not stated, used to start debate. To be honest, your interpretation was a stretch at best. It should be noted that you're projecting at this point and making an argument where an argument doesn't exist. Though your point is fine, it doesn't contradict what I said.

    Finally, Ferengi? I had to look that up. I'm unimpressed with using Star Trek as a means of defamation. We're talking Reddit here, you'll need to try again next time with a contemporary reference.

  • I've had to stop reading the comments on many websites because they're just so nasty, not to mention vapid. And, don't get me wrong, I am not a goody-two-shoes type: I can sling invective with the best of them. It's just that I prefer to read material I can think about….and even disagree with…to comments that are the linguistic equivalent of half-of-a-peace-sign.

  • I've been reading the blog Manboobz recently. It is devoted to mocking online misogyny. Through it, I have realized the vast amount of such. This news (the OP) comes as no surprise.
    A college friend once told me, thirty years ago, that the only thing she envied about gay men was that they could get laid without dealing with straight men. Things like this help me understand that even more.

  • There are ways to test for misogyny on these forums. Bring up the topic of feminism or call a photo sexist in a forum that is not even dedicated to that. Watch how all the good-humored nice guys suddenly turn into raging assholes.

  • A really good observation. I think the crux of it is that it's in a forum that's overwhelmingly male, and I'd go so far as to say overwhelmingly males who aren't particularly socially well-adjusted. In general, I'm guessing that popular, socially-well-adjusted guys aren't the kind who spend a huge amount of time on Reddit or similar sites.

    So you're seeing what guys who don't really "get" women act like in packs when there are way too many guys and not enough women to balance out all that bullshit macho posturing. It's easily observed in real life, just as on the Internet.

    You could offset this observation by going to some overwhelmingly female site and watch women rip other women apart, or go to one of those "Get revenge on your ex by posting his photo here" sites and watch women rip men apart in their quest to do some "girl power" bonding.

  • Nothing to add on a typically great post, but I want to second Hazy Davy: Metafilter can throw intense orgies of groupthink when it wants to, but it's not an upvote site a la Reddit, the commenting community over there is as diverse as you could possibly wish, and when people display similar mindsets as the Reddit comments in the post they get absolutely destroyed.

  • The internet is hella sexist. Just like society in general.

    This, exactly. There are an infinitestimal number of sexism-free spaces online, just like there are an infinitestimal number of sexism-free spaces offline.

    Cesspits like 4Chan at least have a kind of ghastly honesty to them. Wikipedia is held up by moderately serious people as an archetype of the collaboration and co-operation made possible by the internet. As long as it doesn't matter to you if 90 per cent of the collaborating and co-operating is done by men, with all of the marginalisation of women's voices and interests that suggests, I suppose it is.

  • I'd like to see evidence of this. I'm sure (I'm playing naive here) you'll be able to find some sort of evidence, but again, I'd like to see your interpretation backed up with evidence, which is a study in of itself.

    Do you teach sixth grade, Drangus?

  • I think Hazy Davy may be onto the right idea. Reddit certainly has some horrifically sexist moments and themes, but I don't think this is one of them. The girl looks like any other cheerful college-aged girl, while the guy looks similar tothe average Reddit user pictures a herion junkie. The guy sold the story harder, so he gets the upvotes while the girl gets the skepticism. It's not necessarily that Reddit is sexist, it's that Reddit is stupid and gullible for "street cred" type stories.

    Now, chances are that neither one of them has ever touched heroin and the guy is just nursing a hangover, but that's neither here nor there.

  • All internet anonymity has ever done is expose our deepest thoughts and impulses, allowing us to articulate how we would really communicate with each other if the borders of propriety society installs are removed and no one will find us.

    In other words, we really are who we are when no one is looking, or can trace our words and actions back to us. Once you understand and come to accept that, nothing should be a surprise.

  • In contrast to Anon I think that Aslan raised a good point. It is so much easier especially for conspiracy theorists, cranks and extremists to find each other now that the internet exists. And the problem may really be that one person who used to sit in their village or suburb surrounded only by people who believe different things can now easily find an online forum and surround themselves with people who provide a community for mutual back-patting. Just think about the pro-ana community and you will see what I am talking about.

    That being said, sexism specifically is so prevalent that nobody needs to go to the internet to find a like-minded community. The only advantage the internet offers in that case is the anonymity.

    Atheists are just as bad, in my experience. For many atheists, their badge belief is "all religions are wrong."

    I do not need to fully understand all the details of all the hundreds of religions in the world to realize that there is no good evidence for souls, rebirth, an afterlife or gods. A half way decent education will do. And if your religion does not include any of those items we can start a discussion whether it properly fulfills the definition of "religion" for the purposes of a sentence about their wrongness.

  • Alex SL, the problem is that the atheists in question pick specific religions and say, "this is a religion, so it's wrong."

    Like, "Buddhism is a religion, so it's wrong." But Buddhists don't necessarily believe in souls, rebirth, an afterlife, or gods.

  • Doctor Rock says:

    For this atheist, my signature belief is…the lack of a belief in god. And don't tell me that I'm really an agnostic. Don't get me started on that.

  • Anon,

    It is really not that complicated: If you are right that a specific atheist you are thinking about is over-generalizing when they say that Buddhists are wrong because in reality some Buddhist sects do not believe in gods then you are at the same time wrong about your own sweeping claim "atheists are just as bad". Why? For starters because then the Buddhist you are thinking about is one of the atheists you need to include in such a statement.

    And well, there are various Buddhist sects and schools. They include people who only adhere to a fuzzy feel-good philosophy of life without any supernatural elements but they also include people who believe in a whole pantheon of gods and people who believe that one should not have compassion towards the disabled and the poor because they are justly being punished for some evil they did in the previous life.

  • A guy posts a picture of him looking like shit and gets a ton of sympathy. A girl posts a picture of her 2 months after the fact and gets jokes. How is this an example of sexism?

    You've left out the most important dimension: What's actually in the picture. A'doy!

  • @Alex SL: "pro-ana" only did the google and didn't go further. Is that saying anorexia is "good". If so. WASF!

    @Arslan: Given the shit stirrer you are, for your test, you're not throwing out Greer, Dworkin and Wolf are you? ;)

  • Believe me, I wouldn't even have to resort to material like Dworkin to provoke a shitstorm of hell from these MRA/Nice guy types. In fact, just tell a nice guy that perhaps the problem in his non-relationships is him and you'll call forth a torrent of hate.

  • @Alex SL:

    Fine, I'll rephrase.

    Most of the people I talk to on the internet are tribalists whose "beliefs" are really just badge beliefs.

    That includes most of the non-Buddhist atheists I have talked to about religion and critical thinking.

    I haven't talked to enough Buddhist atheists to be able to make a definitive statement about them, but given the way the trend is going, my hopes aren't high.

  • I'm an active Redditor, and I can't really defend it from anything you're saying. I'm appalled by a lot of the comments that turn up whenever a woman's post hits the front page.

    Misogyny isn't new, and you won't convince me it's gotten worse since the Kennedy era – just more covert, now that feminism is much more mainstream. It's a taboo for the breaking.

    I think Arslan nailed it. The internet turns passive-aggressive people into raging shock jocks who think offending people is heroic. If you've had the internet your whole life, you won't see it happening to you. A lot of young people don't see anything odd about communicating with each other like this, even if they'd never do it IRL.

    Let us recall that even the most balls-out troll on Reddit started whimpering and bargaining as soon as he caught a whiff of real gunpowder.

    Of course, I might be saying this because, if the "real world" is as full of vile scumbags and racists as Reddit and 4Chan, we are all fucked.

  • @Acer and others

    There was an interesting post on Pandagon about who posts sexist things online, based on some analysis done about the sharing of a specific Facebook joke, and the commentary that went along with it. The findings (as 'unscientific' as they are), may slightly surprise those who see online sexism as a generational thing.

  • I don't think anyone is trying to suggest that misogyny is limited to the internet or particular generations. However, there are some key differences between the misogyny we see online and that in real life. You have to realize that in real life, most of these guys are submissive nice guy types. Many of them are actually harmless and can be decent people in person, but beneath the surface lies a burning hatred which spews out on the internet. The role of the internet and these forums is that it becomes an echo chamber where these people reinforce one another's delusions until they pass a point beyond which it is difficult to help them.

    However last night I read a comment on a story about nice guys which gave me hope. Basically the guy had a friend who was a whiny nice guy and one night he had enough. He threw his friend against the wall and let him have it. They didn't talk for a while but a week later the guy had a girlfriend and when the two spoke, he admitted that he needed that treatment, and that it really changed something in him.

  • Many of them are actually harmless and can be decent people in person, but beneath the surface lies a burning hatred which spews out on the internet.

    Harmless to you, maybe. There's no sexism milquetoast enough to not be harshing some sister's mellow.

  • I'm not defending the commenters on either of the posts, but comparing two posts 9 months apart is a little disingenuous. As an avid redditor from 2010 to till about 6 months ago, things change quickly there. The mentality about people posting their heroin stories may have changed. I'm not saying this is correct, but _could_ be part of the reason.

    The "hive-mind" (hate that term) was part of the reason i quit going to the site. That collective mind slowly deteriorated to the lowest common denominator and I found myself not learning anything from the comments, but finding them mostly dumb and awful. Also it just turned into just images and feel good stories about grandparents and other nonsense. Finding smaller subreddits helped, but even those just got too big for their own good.

  • @Monkay Business:

    I've long since stopped trying to defend Reddit's latent misogynism.

    Since when is it "latent"?

    And le sigh. The comments sections almost anywhere are tendentious; Reddit's border on toxic. I mean, how bad are some of the commenters here? And this is probably the second-best commenter community I've seen (after Brad Delong's).

  • @Arslan: "Believe me, I wouldn't even have to resort to material like Dworkin to provoke a shitstorm of hell from these MRA/Nice guy types. In fact, just tell a nice guy that perhaps the problem in his non-relationships is him and you'll call forth a torrent of hate."

    Ah! You're telling people that they need to take responsibility for themselves and change.

    It's for this and a combination of reasons from above that I hate porn. I find that it brings out the worst in me. That this nice guy becomes more like what Elle describes or that commentor I described earlier.

    This all dissipates when I get out there and make a life for myself, address my fears about connecting with women, and learn new things about life and myself.

  • Doctor Rock says:

    Oh god you all reminded me of the "help I'm a nice guy but my female friends only treat me like a friend they don't spread their legs and suck my dick bitch moan bitch moan." That sense of entitlement makes me ashamed to have a Y chromosome.

  • I spend a lot of time and energy being irritated by Reddit's particular brand of misogyny and sexism (not to mention r/MensRights, r/TheRedPill, etc), and I spend far more time and energy being part of the community on Metafilter, so I really have to jump in and protest here – Metafilter is nothing like Reddit in its sexual politics, nor is it an "upvoting site". There are issues within the community dynamic and problems of groupthink, as there are with any community, but it's moderated by a full time paid staff of moderators, and you're much more likely to see people angry for having their shitty racist/sexist/whatever comments deleted than you are to see any sort of "fuck this bitch" / "I'd hit that" commentary. All posts and comments submitted by members appear chronologically, unthreaded, and all the admins and mods have repeated resisted requests from the community for anything resembling an upvoting mechanism. If you think Metafilter doesn't have the pedants that Wikipedia does that endlessly debates things to death often to the detriment of the community, you really haven't spent any amount of time on Metafilter. (I mean that as a compliment to both Metafilter and Wikipedia.)

    Metafilter as a community has undergone a lot of painful growth when it comes to confronting its own sexism – and you see see the archives of this in the navelgazy part of the site. It's imperfect and people are still dicks about certain things and they don't always get it right with progressive gender politics issues, but they do consider themselves one cohesive community, and they try really hard to be better. The active userbase is maybe no more than 20K users, and the regulars are much smaller. It's a pretty intimate group, and the reason so many long term members have persisted for 14+ years on the site. It's really upsetting to me (a pretty typically angry feminist that is often disappointed with Metafilter) to have MeFi lumped together with a site that takes pride in its misogyny and repeated trampling of anything resembling consent and boundaries.

  • "vote-up sites like MetaFilter"

    Citation needed! Seriously, have you ever been to Metafilter? Because if so, please point out the "up-vote" feature on the site; apparently I've been missing it all these years.

    God knows the peculiar culture of MetaFilter–particulary the 'intense orgies of groupthink' mentioned above—are worthy of many "rants" (ugh), but let's keep our criticism within the realm of, you know, actual facts.

    Otherwise, it might undermine the entire argument of this piece and lead your readers to suspect that your falling out with Wikipedia had far more to do with the sort of sloppy research evidenced here than with any ideological differences. And we'd hate for that to happen.

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