Confronting the Internet’s Worst Troll, The Political Power of Reddit, and The Future of Net Neutrality

National Journal

< class="photo full">

< class="photoCredit">White House </div> < class="caption">

President Obama responds to user questions on the website reddit.

</div> </div>

The Political Landscape is a weekly podcast where we discuss the news of the day with leading experts.

Reddit. Trolling. Net Neutrality. These are obscure words to many people. On this week’s podcast, the rising political power of the first term, Reddit, an online community of tens of thousands of message forums. The dark, lurid practice that might undermine this power, trolling, the second term. And the issue the Reddit community is increasingly pushing for in Washington, Net Neutrality, the third term.

We’ll talk to the writer, Adrian Chen of Gawker, who uncovered and confronted Reddit’s most infamous troll, Violentacrez. Violentacrez is responsible for the most abhorrent message forums, or Subreddits, on Reddit. These include subreddits such as rape jokes and jailbait (pictures of underage girls in their underwear), among many others. We'll hear from Violentacrez himself in an interview he did on CNN a few days after Chen's piece was published.

We’ll also talk to John Herrman of Buzzfeed. Herrman recently followed Reddit’s co-founder, Alexis Ohanian around on an 8-day bus tour called “Internet Freedom 2012.” Ohanian gained public prominence when he played an instrumental part in galvanizing the Reddit community to protest the passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act — SOPA — which was eventually pulled from Congress. Now, Ohanian has leveraged his exposure gained from the experience to promote net neutrality, or the idea that the government should regulate internet providers to ensure that Internet consumers' access to various sites is not restricted.

Also joining us is Rebecca Rosen, an associate editor at The Atlantic. Rosen frequently contributes to the publication's technology section and often writes about these issues

Our podcast this week in three parts. In part one, we find out what Reddit and the Reddit community is all about. In part two, we confront the darker side of Reddit and understand why federal laws allow it. And in part three, we talk about the potential political power of Reddit. What, if any legislative impact could it have?

But first, the basics on Reddit. In August, the site went over 3.4 billion page views. That puts it in the realm the country’s biggest media compnay’s and on par with Hulu,, and ahead of the Drudge Report and the Washington Post.

Check out last week's episode on how Citizen's United leveled the political playing field.

Check out all episodes of The Political Landscape.

View Comments (7)