Making it more user-friendly
In an age of communication where subtlety and tact are going by the wayside, PR endeavors are likewise seeing an increase in use. Though one might expect this paradigm shift of Subway or REI, an unlikely participant has emerged: Reddit.
Pick your battles
As most of you probably know, Reddit has a reputation for turning into a bit of a battlezone in the click of a button–provided, of course, said “click of a button” launches a controversial topic or comment. Since Reddit’s reputation is largely contingent on the notion that anybody can voice their opinion freely, however, these small wars can quickly escalate past good-natured joshing into the realm of harassment, with little in the way of recourse.
Recently, however–through the addition of tools geared toward blocking unwanted attention–Reddit has been able to make its platform much more user-friendly while simultaneously preserving that which makes Reddit…well, Reddit.
The all-powerful “block user” tool
“Believe it or not, we’ve actually had a ‘block user’ feature in a basic form for quite a while,” Reddit admin KeyserSosa pointed out in the announcement on Wednesday. Though the initial tool was meant for private messaging, Reddit developers saw the potential for expansion and ran with it.
Using the “block user” tool results in the afflicted user’s profile, comments–past, present, and future–and any other form of communication being stricken from the blocker’s sight. It’s a clean, simple, comprehensive response to potential cyber bullying or general harassment, and little in the way of active PR is needed.
Power to the people
This is genius concept because, since their platform capitalizes on free speech, Reddit admins have to walk an incredibly fine line between allowing discussion and facilitating harassment. With the addition of the “block user” tool, however, it seems that Reddit is passing the agency over who is heard and who is silenced to the individuals to whom it matters most–right where it should be.
Of course, Reddit is an ever-changing machine.
“These are just our first steps toward improving the experience of using Reddit…we’re looking forward to announcing many more,” was KeyserSosa’s closing statement. While you consider how Reddit’s handling of harassment and discourse may apply to your company, keep an eye on any further changes they make–in a bizarre twist of irony, Reddit may be setting the standard for diplomacy in the coming months.