Disgruntled Redditors have decamped en masse to a Swiss-based clone of Reddit called Voat after the site’s administrators banned five subreddits for harassing behaviour.
In response to the deluge, Voat, which mimics Reddit’s design and layout (albeit using “subverses” rather than “subreddits”) was forced to ask for bitcoin donations to keep the site live.
“We are sorry to see Reddit change like this, in this way, in such an accelerated fashion. We would have never anticipated such events,” wrote Atko, Voat’s founder and chief technology officer.
“We are not ready for such a huge influx of new users and haven’t prepared for such a large and sudden increase either.”
The site, which describes itself as “a censorship-free community platform”, has since started asking for bitcoin donations to keep the servers running.
Among the subreddits banned from Reddit were “hamplanethatred” and “fatpeoplehate”, both of which were focussed on harassing and abusing overweight people, and racist forum “shitniggerssay”. Reddit’s admin staff emphasised in a statement that “we’re banning behaviour, not ideas.”
“As long as you can keep it 100% confined within the subreddit, anything within legal bounds still goes,” a spokesperson wrote. “As soon as content/discussion/‘politics’ of the subreddit extend out to other users on reddit, communities, or people on other social media platforms with the intent to harass, harangue, hassle, shame, berate, bemoan, or just plain fuck with, that’s when there’s problems. [Fatpeoplehate] et al. was apparently struggling with this part.”
Much of the opprobrium from Reddit users has been focused on the site’s chief executive, Ellen Pao, who took over the top job in November 2014. In March, the site made the first overtures towards cleaning up its