r/WatchRedditDie and the politics of reddit’s bans and quarantines

The subreddit r/WatchRedditDie was founded in 2015 after reddit started implementing anti-harassment policies, and positions itself as a “fire alarm for reddit” meant to voyeuristically watch reddit’s impending (symbolic) death. As conversations around platform governance, moderation, and the role of platforms in controlling hate speech become more complex, r/WatchRedditDie and its affiliated subreddits are dedicated in maintaining a version of reddit tolerant of any and all speech, excluding other more vulnerable users from fully participating on the platform. r/WatchReditDie users advocate for no interference in their activities on the platform—meaning that although they rely on the reddit infrastructure to sustain their community, they aim to self-govern to uphold a libertarian and often manipulated interpretation of free expression. Responding to reddit’s evolving policies, they find community with one another by positioning the platform itself as their main antagonist. Through the social worlds framework, I examine the r/WatchRedditDie community’s responses to platform change, bringing up new questions about the possibility of shared governance between platform and user, as well as participatory culture’s promises and perils.

Tags: Forums, Reddit, Social Media, subreddit