The worst things that have ever happened on Reddit

A Reddit thread today recounted the moments when the vile comments on the site have had an impact on real life

Topics: Reddit, Rape Culture, rape jokes, My Little Pony, Racism,

The worst things that have ever happened on Reddit (Credit: Pressmaster via Shutterstock)

Reddit, the cavernous underbelly of the Internet, spent some time today cleansing its soul by lamenting over some of the worst things that the online community has ever produced. Misogyny, racism and borderline child pornography are always swirling about on the link-sharing site, but according to Reddit, this is some of the worst of it:

Bullying Sunil Tripathi:

Reddit attempted vigilante justice in the Boston Marathon bombing case, and instead of sitting back and letting the FBI doing their job, they created red herrings — the worst of which implicated Brown University student Sunil Tripathi, who at the time had been missing for a month. After Reddit’s unsubstantiated theory gained momentum, Tripathi’s family endured hate mail and phone calls, only to discover the 22-year-old’s lifeless body days later, on the shore of India Point Park in Providence, R.I. Reddit then issued an apology, ideally learning an important lesson: As Redditor KingWhompus noted, “Basically anytime Reddit tries to play detective. Just makes things worse.”

Bullying suicidal people:

As Redditor Namika explains, angry Redditors who hate those who enjoy “My Little Ponies” raided the thread for those who love “My Little Ponies” and are also suicidal.

a little while back /r/Bronyhate decided to raid /r/MyLittleSupportGroup and viciously insult everyone there. They posted in every thread and told the extremely depressed people to go ahead and kill themselves because they are an embarrassment to society.
TL;DR: One subreddit raided another to encourage depressed, suicidal people to kill themselves.
(In the end, Reddit admins found out and deleted the entire bronyhate subreddit, but they later reformed under a new name)

Another thread, about pregnancy, was similarly “raided” with a series of abortion pictures.

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The “Ask a Rapist” thread:

Some Redditors wanted to know why a rapist likes to rape, so much so that they invited rapists to come out and talk about it. The “Ask a Rapist” thread asked self-avowed criminals to share their motivations and explain whether they regret raping victims. It has since been redacted.

A psychologist explained why asking a rapist to open up about rape is dangerous and irresponsible:

Ever wonder what makes addicts keep using? A major factor is the craving that comes from recalling the feelings associated with the pleasurable activity or drug. Cocaine addicts, active or in recovery, who are asked to think about using cocaine have measurable brain changes precisely when they report cravings. We haven’t actually measured this in rapists, but we suspect it’s highly analogous.

Thus, the Reddit rape forum is very possibly triggering rape cravings in rapists.

It is also teaching rapists how to rape better via shared stories, the same way we teach new participants to improve in any field, by sharing our experiences.

Animal cruelty:

One Redditor posted a video of a dead squirrel, most likely killed by the original poster, as linkbait for Reddit karma.

Threatening a woman with rape after her (former) company allegedly damaged a Jeep:

The owner of a Jurassic Park-themed Jeep lent it to a company called Telltale Games, alleging that upon its return, the Jeep had been severely damaged. The owner, blaming Telltale Games, then revealed the identity of a female Telltale employee — who, it turns out, was actually a former employee, having left Telltale weeks prior. Thanks to Reddit, she then received 83 phone calls, 41 Facebook messages, and 19 emails, including rape threats.

This story has a surprisingly positive upside, though. An update from the woman on today’s thread: “This ended up being a good thing for me. I needed motivation to change my career and this was the final nudge. I graduated two weeks ago, I’m now a web developer.”

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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