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Reddit.com could be one of the greatest tools of the internet. It's accomplished many great things, from funding a bone marrow transplant for a leukemia victim, to organizing toy drives for bullied kids, to keeping suicide watch. It's good stuff, with some of the greatest, kindest souls on the internet doing great, kind things. There's a place there for everyone. Unless you're an artist who has made the mistake of trying to promote themselves, in which case, go fuck yourself.
Now, full disclosure: I'm thinking that a lot of my regular readers came from reddit. And yes, I DO have regular readers: close to 1,000 unique visitors a month, in fact. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it's much better than what I was getting when I started this website o' mine a year ago. And that's just the blog. My wiki actually gets more hits, either because there are more short stories and entertaining content there or because my traffic graph is vastly underestimating how many spambots my website attracts.
I posted The Devil Still Has My Lawnmower a few months back, and attracted a huge, huge following of well-meaning people who just plain loved the story. Overnight, I got 3,000 hits, and total, it's had more than 5,000. People are STILL finding it on search engines (meaning it's spreading through word-of-mouth), and still reading it. I kinda owe that to reddit. But that doesn't make what they did to me any less uncool.
I made the mistake of posting more than two links in a row to my website (making a grand total of four links to my website under that username... ever), and BAM, I was banned by not one, but two subreddits, Humor and Funny.
I was confused... I read over the terms of service several times, it didn't say anything specific about posting links to your own website. It said it deeply discouraged spamming, but that's ridiculous. I'm not a spammer. I'm not selling snake-oil, get rich quick schemes, penis drugs or Canadian pharmacy passes. Until recently there was literally no way for me to make money from my website. No way could they construe that as "spamming."
Boy was I wrong!
Apparently any kind of self-promotion is spamming, in the warped minds of the Reddit moderators. Even if you're just an artist working pro bono (for the public good, or for free, for those non-latin enthusiasts out there), who literally has nothing to gain from extra traffic except self-esteem. Like I was. Actually, the traffic brought down my page and I had to pay to upgrade my website to the next level of bandwidth capacity on Site Ground (I highly recommend Site Ground to those looking to starting a website of their own, they're pretty rad). So it LITERALLY COST ME MONEY to post that link to The Devil Still Has My Lawnmower.
Didn't matter to the Reddit mods. Nope. I was a filthy, no good spammer. Did it matter that nearly every single comment on the thread was full of praise, encouragement, and good will? Nope. Did it matter that there was no way for me to benefit from the website at the time? Nope. I'm a spammer to them.
If any Reddit mods are about, reading my website, let me make something perfectly clear to you:
ORIGINAL CONTENT IS NOT SPAM.
People go to Reddit for original content, funny stories, anecdotes, and real things from real people. They don't go there to get advertised at. Spam is the annoying, omnipresent, and basically worthless hocking of products and services that regular people are generally not interested in in the slightest. Go check your spam folder at your email account. See that shit? Advertisement for penis pills, lotions, and all sorts of other worthless garbage. THAT'S spam. Short stories like mine are distinctly UNLIKE those things. Especially considering that it's free! I put my work out there for the world to enjoy, and I wasn't even capitalizing on it at the time. (Now I am, though, as you can see by the link on the right).
Reddit.com is lumping artists in with the worst of the worst of the internet, and that's pretty heinous and insulting.
I'm not the only one that's been burned like this. The Frogman is another online artist, though he doesn't create short stories, he creates funny pictures, comics, captions, and all the other things that you see on, well, Reddit. His website is much more popular than mine, because he's worked for it. He's a meme artist, yes, but you can't say he's not devoted. He's getting it much worse than me, though.
He was banned for the same reason: For linking to his own website. He's been banned from the Funny subreddit, but here's the kicker: People are STILL downloading his photos, comics, and other content, uploading it to their own imgur.com accounts without crediting him, and then posting links to that instead. And since being banned from a subreddit means that he ALSO can't make comments, that means that he can't actually post on the reddit and (rightly!) take credit for his work. When somebody steals his content and puts it up on their own imgur account without giving him the credit for it, all he can do is stand idly by while people enjoy his work without paying him any mind whatsoever.
So, basically, Reddit is telling The Frogman: "We want your funny original content so that people still go to our website... we just won't let you take credit for it."
That's pretty fucking cold.
According to that link I just posted for you, the moderator that The Frogman spoke with was not only a callous jackass, but actually told him that he could post links to his website, but only ten percent of the time. So he'll have to post links to OTHER websites 90% of the time, which he doesn't have time for. And even if he did, readers would have to spend their time wading through other people's garbage to get to his good stuff.
Wait a minute... making submitters put out random links, forcing other Redditors to sort through worthless junk just to separate the good from the bad? That reminds me of something...
Just can't place my finger on it.
So, all in all... what about me? A boycott would be worthless, because Reddit.com has so many millions of people using it that it wouldn't matter to them. They don't need to listen to me, but I don't need to go there either. I suppose I could also hope that the moderators of Reddit all collectively decide not to act like jerks, but asking people not to act like jerks on the internet is like asking for the moon... for breakfast.
Wait a minute, this doesn't taste like cheese AT ALL.
Maybe I just hope a moderator stumbles upon this post and sees my grievances. Maybe she or he could get the ball rolling and cause a change in Reddit's frankly absurd "spam" policy. But until then, I just won't be on Reddit until they learn the difference between creators and spammers. Honestly, I didn't think that was such a hard distinction. But that's what I get for having faith in people.
Check out the Wiki for short stories, drawings, and info about current and future projects!
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