Anti-Gay Reddit Comments on the Decline

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday Jul 10, 2014

It may not be shocking to see anti-gay language peppered throughout comments when perusing the popular social media community site Reddit but a new study by the website revealed that homophobic language is on a "sharp decline," Pink News reports.

Reddit Alerts researched data from the user-generated community news site from 2012 to 2014 and found that the frequency of comments containing the word "fag" or "faggot" was on the decline from a peak of 1.8 in every 1,000 comments to an all-time low of 0.3 in every 1,000 comments.

"We see a pretty clear trend here. Redditors seem to either be using the word less, or down voting anyone who does," the study's author said. "This might be a change in the demographics of Reddit or it might be a change of sentiment within all demographics. Either way - the changing landscape is clear. This data set isn't representative of all Redditors or subreddits - but it is representative of the community standards as a whole."

Reddit, which currently has around 15 million monthly users, does not moderate its comments but instead uses an upvoting and downvoting system, which allows users to deem what is acceptable and appropriate language.

Unsavory comments on the website may not be a shock to see as Reddit's demographic is male (59%) 25 to 34 years of age, Wikipedia notes.

Last year, "Star Trek" actor William Shatner called out Reddit over the lack of moderation, saying it allows sexism, homophobia and racism.

"I am appalled by some of the immature, horrifically racist, sexist, homophobic...posts that are just ignore," he said. "Reddit has been the first 'mainstream' site that I have been to that actually appears to allow racists and other hate mongers to congregate."

He added: "The fact that someone could come here, debase and degrade people based on race, religion, ethnicity or sexual preference because 'they have a right' to do so without worry of any kind of moderation is sending the wrong message."

Last year, EDGE published a profile on Gaybros -- a subcommunity on Reddit where gay men discuss their "straight interests," like cars, sports, video games and beer.


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