Share good ideas and conversation.   Login, Join Us, or Take a Tour!
comment by DanQ
DanQ  ·  2383 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Reddit is for boys, Pinterest is for girls

The debate about why certain online communities attract a majority of men while others attract a majority of women often seems to focus on the following:

* Debate/discussion versus chat/socialisation sites * Whether the "major topics" (think: top 10 subreddits, etc.) are male-focussed or female-focussed * Critical mass of users of a particular gender (early adopters) * Whether or not anonymity is allowed or encouraged * What controls are in place to report inappropriate content

I'd like to suggest an alternative (partial) explanation. It's not an opinion that I hold, but it's a possibility that perhaps should be considered:

Perhaps men and women are naturally inclined towards single-sex communities. This is linked to the "critical mass" idea, above, but with the additional conclusion that it is even harder to reverse the trend. If we treat services like Foursquare as outliers, we could quickly find evidence for the hypothesis that, in choosing a "space" online, men look for places where men are, and women look for places where women are.

Of course, there are exceptions: there always are. But if only 50% of men and 50% of women worked by this criteria, we'd expect to see communties with about a 75%/25% split (and, in fact, we'd probably see a variance from that because of the number and size of those communities, of course).

Is one of the things that attracts men, more than women, to Hubski, the fact that it is predominantly male, and not female?

I'm sure that a sociologist or an anthropologist can throw some weight at this, but isn't it the case that for a large amount of human history, societies have biased men to spend social time with men, and women to spend social time with women. We're getting better at it, in Western society, I think, but the historical bias is still there. Think back to your school days and whether you had more same-sex friends or opposite-sex friends: there'll be outliers, of course, but most people will say that they had more same-sex friends. Why?

It's possible that the root of the gender divide in our online communities shares the same root as that in our offline communities. Perhaps we shouldn't be asking "Why are there no women on Reddit?" and "Why are there no women on Pinterest?", and instead ask "Why are men generally inclined to socialise with other men and women with other women?"

Perhaps the answer's sociological or psychological: perhaps we're conditioned this way by millennia of historical sexism. Or perhaps it's biological? In the same way as other species have clear gender-based roles (male lions either live with many females, or completely alone, for example), maybe we humans have our own similar tendencies? But whatever the cause, it's possible that to answer the question we need to cast our nets wider than "online communities".




kleinbl00  ·  2383 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Perhaps men and women are naturally inclined towards single-sex communities.

More simply, perhaps men are drawn towards content that appeals to men and women are drawn towards content that appeals to women.

Obviously there's lots of content that appeals to both sexes but you do reach tipping points. Two years ago /r/twoxchromosomes was an interesting and thriving community of "women on the Internet" but they lost visibility when the bitchy catfights of the Reddit LGBT and SRS stole the spotlight. "women on Reddit" are now far more on a war footing, with the end result that the broader website is substantially less friendly towards women.

wiffleaxe  ·  2382 days ago  ·  link  ·  

(Disclaimer: I'm a reddit 5-year user who's interacted with you through a different account)

From my own perspective, SRS became what it is for a reason. It is very difficult maintaining a woman-focused community without SRS-style moderation tactics (although the jerk is a bit much). Go into any /r/TwoX, /r/TrollX, /r/feminism, /r/feminisms, or /r/askfeminists post, particularly one that is only a few hours old, and note the extent to which conversations and entire posts are derailed by men who want to instead discuss men's issues. The only solution I see is to remove such comments and ban repeat offenders.

I would say the "war footing" is not the fault of SRS, but of those who are deliberately trying to provoke women wherever and whenever possible, many of whom seem to come from /r/mensrights judging by the overlap of users and rate at which arguments are reposted there. I would love to be able to discuss gender issues without being constantly attacked by people who are not open to conversation in any way. That's simply not possible without SRS-style moderation policies.

kleinbl00  ·  2382 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    (Disclaimer: I'm a reddit 5-year user who's interacted with you through a different account)

How mysterious! ;-)

    From my own perspective, SRS became what it is for a reason.

Had you said "TwoX" I would have agreed with you. SRS, on the other hand, started out that way. It is not, never was, and never has been about women or feminism in any way - it's a bunch of (male) SomethingAwful goons off on a foreign adventure. They're following the Geno playbook to a T. Reddit is nothing more than this year's Second Life.

As a gentle reminder, TrollX, the feminism/feminisms bifurcation, askfeminists and the rest of the women's studies bifurcations are all post SRS, which pretty much makes my point - militarization led to radicalization, led to a total drop in discourse in favor of bomb-throwing. I say that as someone who almost brokered a tripartite non-aggression pact between TwoX, Seduction and Mensrights only to have it annihilated by the advent of SRS.

And yeah - there are people in SRS who have never been to SA. But 90/9/1: the direction, the culture, the behavior is pure false-flag SA tomfoolery. I've had that discussion in PMs with a couple of the Archangelles - maybe even you! ;-)

wiffleaxe  ·  2382 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I've had that discussion in PMs with a couple of the Archangelles - maybe even you! ;-)

Heh, I'm much more innocuous than that.

I agree with the origins of SRSPrime, and I'm familiar with the bifurcations. However, there are several reasons why I believe SRS isn't to blame for the anti-feminist backlash on reddit.

1. Although there is some overlap between /r/mensrights and /r/SRSsucks and /r/antiSRS, the two communities are very different and I perceive the issues that are brought up in MR to be gripes against real-life, specific events (or patterns) rather than against feminism as an idea or a strawman. Mind you, many comments in MR tend to assign blame for these injustices to feminism, but the main topics of conversation are about custody rights, false rape accusations, childhood education, or other real issues that affect men. I don't think - and this is just my idea - that most posters in MR are involved in the meta-reddit communities, nor do they necessarily think that feminism is reflected by SRS. This is in comparison to SRSsucks and AntiSRS, which are obviously created in opposition to SRS and SRS-style "feminism."

My point is that the people who comment in /r/feminism and /r/TwoX and derail discussions cross-post to MR (I check the posting history of folks who seem to be commenting in bad faith), not SRSsucks or AntiSRS. This makes me feel like it's anti-feminists, not "anti-feminist because I don't like SRS"ers that derail conversations. When I see derailing or opposing comments in those women-centric subs, they rarely say "feminism is dumb and you're all bitches," they say, most of the time, "but what about men who are also oppressed?" or questioning the veracity of viewpoints/statistics. If SRS never existed, they would still be going into women-centric subs and arguing for men's rights. MR is a big subreddit with a lot of clout. And their thought leaders - Paul Elam et al - don't give a shit about SRS. They focus on real-life issues, as do the majority of their supporters.

2. I know you insinuated a counterargument in your 90/9/1 comment, but there are 32k subscribers to SRS, not all of whom are goons, and the non-prime subs (SRSwomen, SRSmicroagressions, etc) are so innocuous that I don't think SRSers as a whole (as a userbase, not the mods) honestly believe half the shit they say. And truth be told, there's a reason people keep subscribing to SRS, and it's not because they're all from SomethingAwful.. it's because reddit has real race/gender/GSM/ableism/etc problems.

3. This is entirely anecdotal, but my partner (whom I met on reddit more than two years ago, we live together now) is vocally very anti-SRS, but he says he has never associated SRS with feminism. He's more likely to read MR than /r/feminism. And yet he sees SRS for what it is: an outlier community of angry people. Yes, it's one case, but there are people who are anti-feminists who can nonetheless distinguish the two.

4. I rarely saw SRS mentioned outside meta communities until about half a year ago. Most of reddit had no idea it existed. It's only recently (within the past 6-12 months) that people have begun referencing SRS in popular posts and comments - and even then, the vast majority of redditors have no idea that it exists or what it is.

The point of all this is that you said SRS and LGBT stole the spotlight. I think it's easy to think so when you're involved heavily in meta communities - SRD, SRDB, SRDD, SRS, SRSS, ASRS, SRDX3, SRSB, etcetc - but the ripple effect is negligible outside a core of meta-users, and the people who derail conversations in women-centric spaces would do so even if SRS had never existed, because most of them are not meta-reddit users, and their "leaders" exist in meatspace with real-life concerns.

Yes, I acknowledge that the way SRS is run now is ultimately harmful to the perception of feminism on reddit (although I understand why it is done that way). However, I think the effect it has on the other fem subs is very small, and the invasion of women's spaces would happen without it.

kleinbl00  ·  2381 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    My point is that the people who comment in /r/feminism and /r/TwoX and derail discussions cross-post to MR (I check the posting history of folks who seem to be commenting in bad faith), not SRSsucks or AntiSRS.

And my point is that they've militarized substantially since SRS came about. The isolated shaming that dominates SRS/SRD downvote squads is a new phenomenon; prior to SRS' insistence that the only appropriate way to deal with things you don't like is to mock them in a forum where nobody but you is allowed to talk, there was debate. It was rarely civil but it was, at least, a form of communication. SRS exists solely for derision.

    I don't think SRSers as a whole (as a userbase, not the mods) honestly believe half the shit they say.

Again, as I said - I don't believe they stand behind a single word they say. It's kabuki to them. Kabuki that has succeeded in substantially degrading the discourse of a website where they're ex-pats.

    I rarely saw SRS mentioned outside meta communities until about half a year ago. Most of reddit had no idea it existed.

That's because they focused their wrath on the mods and top commenters, driving many of them away and subduing the rest. You're not someone until you can google "site:somethingawful.com yourusername".

Really, our disagreement is whether Reddit sucks because SRS poisoned it or whether a poisoned Reddit led to SRS. To lay the decline of Reddit at SRS' feet is not my intention; I'm simply pointing out that they're accelerating its decline, and they're doing it by design.