Reddit users now have better blocking tools for dealing with harassment.
The new “block user” feature was announced Wednesday and its the latest measure Reddit has implemented to change its reputation as a cesspool for harassment.
Although Reddit has had a “block user” feature for quite some time, the old tool only applied to private messages. The new tool will allow users to block others from replies and comments, too.
When viewing a reply in your inbox, users can now click the “Block User” button. This will remove replies, comments, messages and posts from that user from your view.
There are some exceptions. Admins who are logged in will still see all messages and replies. Additionally, if you are a moderator, you will still see content from blocked users on any subreddits you moderate.
Reddit engineer Christopher Slowe (known as KeyserSosa on the site) says that “the idea for mods was that since there’s already a way to ban users from subreddits if the whole mod team agrees, we didn’t want to create a situation where all of the mods independently block the user creating a trolly unmoderated troublemaker running around causing unseen havoc.”
Moving towards maturity
The new block tools – which mimic Twitter tools in some ways— don’t actually prevent users from replying to a tweet. They don’t display those replies to the user, however.
The move comes nearly a year after Reddit embarked on controversial changes to its site, which led to the banning of many offensive and abusive subreddits.
That change last June – which was a big move for a company that has always advocated for free speech in its communities – was met with pushback from outspoken Reddit users.
The new block tools will likely face a similar response, although early feedback seems more positive.
Like Twitter, Reddit faces challenges of supporting freedom of expression without making its platform unfriendly and toxic for some of its users.