Reddit tightens antibullying rules and bans 'incel' group

Thirteen communities have been banned so far.

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Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
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Shelby Brown
2 min read
In this photo illustration the Reddit logo is seen displayed

Reddit cracked down on its abuse policies. 

SOPA Images/Getty Images

Reddit is clarifying its policy against bullying and harassment, posting new rules on Monday about the prohibited behavior. The changes, according to the administrator, Landoflobsters, were made due to user feedback and meant to make stopping abuse easier. 

The new policy specifies that "being annoying, downvoting, or disagreeing" with another user isn't harassment. The policy defines harassment as "menacing someone, directing abuse at a person or group, following them around the site, encouraging others to do any of these actions, or otherwise behaving in a way that would discourage a reasonable person from participating on Reddit." 

Some users in the comments questioned how well the new rules would work. Landoflobsters said that subreddits in question would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

Landoflobsters said Reddit's old policy required unwanted behavior to be "continued" and/or "systematic" for admins to take action. This definition, according to the admin, made it difficult to identify and squash harassment directed toward groups and individuals. The admin said Reddit would now take into account reports from bystanders, not just victims of abuse. Landoflobsters said all final decisions about removing content and users will be made my humans, not machines.  

"Reddit is a place for conversation. Thus, behavior whose core effect is to shut people out of that conversation through intimidation or abuse has no place on our platform," Landoflobsters wrote. 

One user verified on Monday that 13 communities had been banned after the new policy went into effect. One banned group listed was r/Braincels. The community, which classifies themselves as "incels," made news after the US Army speculated that members might target upcoming film screenings of Joker, Gizmodo reported. 

The Reddit community is the latest attention that edgy film has garnered. As the film's release draws near, theater chains are banning masks and face paint for moviegoers. Warner Bros. also released a statement on Sept. 24 after families of victims killed in the 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, expressed concern regarding the content of the film, urging the company to fight gun violence

Watch this: Joker character coming to life in final trailer