The “Coontown” Breakdown

Though I haven’t written much about it here, I’ve been following the ongoing implosion of Reddit from the sidelines. It has sort of felt inconsequential to me, perhaps because I don’t feel invested in Reddit’s success or failure.

There’s some interesting stuff that’s come out of it, though. Reddit has been another experiment in allowing virtually unlimited freedom of speech on the internet, and, with growth, it has — like Usenet and BBSes before it — turned into a place of hatred and contempt. The community there blew its chance.

Then, yesterday, a user by the name of “Audioburn” put together an analysis of the users of one of the more notorious and popular racist discussion boards, and how they cross-pollinate with other subreddits. The results are illuminating, but also confirming of what you might expect: lots of people prejudiced by race are also sexist, xenophobic, deliberately offensive, and into conspiracy theories. The second set of charts is even more comprehensive.