September 8th, 2014

Happy Sithrak Witnesses

First World Problems

On the one hand, it's kind of cool to be able to use phrases like, "the CEO of Reddit, who I went to college with." I'm totally at that point in my career - not that I knew Yishan particularly well, and he may not remember me even slightly.

On the other hand, it seems to be kind of a rough week to be name-dropping him.

I'm... mixed on his response. I would have had a lot more respect for a response like, "we believe we can be a haven for amazing generosity, political dissidence against oppressive regimes and weird social experiments only because we're trusted to regulate almost nothing" a lot more than a combination of moralizing with espousing Reddit's own complete lack of moral principles.

I have a strong, strong belief in the need for high-anonymity spaces where things can go specifically unregulated. Like, even with all the problems they cause, and those problems are numerous and serious. Political dissent isn't guaranteed positive, nor are most similar activities. Not everybody who wants to overthrow the current world order is doing it out of the goodness of their heart.

But to phrase it as a moral imperative, even when that is true, is just stupid. You could play up the benefits (there are many.) You could talk about things you're doing to help prevent the actual law-breaking (he did, a bit.) You could talk about how Reddit-the-company isn't capable of fully distinguishing between the good and bad cases, and that would set a horrible precedent and would eventually be tragedy (yup.)

But the moralizing tone is just going to come off badly no matter how you do it.

And I'm not even gonna start on "we behave this way because we're a government, not a corporation," with the deep undercurrent of techno-libertarianism that implies. You can read into that one without my help.