Reddit Bans The Atlantic, Businessweek In Anti-Spam Crusade
June 13, 2012
Getting journalists to share the content they produce is a high priority for companies like Facebook and Twitter. Reddit sees it more as a nuisance.
The news-sharing community has started banning websites whose articles are frequently posted to its forums in ways the site considers spam-like. On the preliminary list of banned domains are businessweek.com, theatlantic.com and sciencedaily.com. Users attempting to submit links to pages on those domains are denied.
The Atlantic has come under scrutiny from Reddit before, with one of its editors being banned for posting large numbers of articles under a pseudonym.
But you don’t have to resort to questionable tactics to run afoul of the Conde Nast-owned site’s stringent guidelines and unforgiving folkways. Its forums can be a forbidding place to newcomers used to the anything-goes ethic of other social media gathering places. Posting too frequently, posting multiple articles from the same site, posting stories other uses ignore or dislike — all of these things can quickly land a “Redditor” in dutch.
Here’s how Reddit itself defines spam in its FAQ (h/t Alex Knapp):
It’s a gray area, but some rules of thumb:
- It’s not strictly forbidden to submit a link to a site that you own or otherwise benefit from in some way, but you should sort of consider yourself on thin ice. So please pay careful attention to the rest of these bullet points.
- If you spend more time submitting to reddit than reading it, you’re almost certainly a spammer.
- If your contribution to Reddit consists mostly of submitting links to a site(s) that you own or otherwise benefit from in some way, and additionally if you do not participate in discussion, or reply to peoples questions, regardless of how many upvotes your submissions get, you are a spammer.
- If people historically downvote your links or ones similar to yours, and you feel the need to keep submitting them anyway, they’re probably spam.
- If people historically upvote your links or ones like them — and we’re talking about real people here, not sockpuppets or people you asked to go vote for you — congratulations! It’s almost certainly not spam. But we’re serious about the “not people you asked to go vote for you” part.
- If nobody’s submitted a link like yours before, give it a shot. But don’t flood the new queue; submit one or two times and see what happens.
Reddit’s aggressive discouragement of unwanted sharing sets it apart from other social platforms, which more often take the soft-power approach to encouraging desirable content sharing. Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr have all hired editors or producers whose job is to serve as liaisons to the journalism world.
Just this week, Twitter hired Mark S. Luckie, previously social media editor at the Washington Post, to be its creative content manager for journalism. I emailed Luckie to ask what, exactly, his new role will entail. Here’s what he said:
I’ll be developing new strategies and best practices for journalists using Twitter and coming up with creative ways of using the platform. I’ll be working with journalists and newsrooms to ensure they are using Twitter in a way that works best for them and their content plans and really broadening the scope of social journalism. There will be a lot of evangelizing but mostly working from my experience as a digital journalist to ensure everyone is using Twitter in a way that goes beyond hashtags and takes it to the next level. Spokespersons for The Atlantic and Businessweek weren’t immediately able to comment but promised to shortly. I’ll update this post when they do.
Update: From an Atlantic spokesperson:
Reddit contacted us earlier this year with concerns that a member of our staff was submitting Atlantic stories in violation of Reddit’s guidelines for content promotion. We took steps to address the problem. Reddit informed us Tuesday that some irregularities have recurred and that, as a result, the site is temporarily banning submissions with The Atlantic’s domain. We take this issue very seriously and are looking into it further.
We at The Atlantic remain big fans of Reddit and the kind of Internet it represents.
Our social media policy prohibits spamming. It dictates best practices to ensure we’re using any social media sites, including Reddit, responsibly and within each individual site’s user policies.