r/Atheism Gets Kicked off Reddit’s Default Front Page

If that headline makes no sense, here’s the luddite version:

Reddit is a website that gets *tons* of hits.

Reddit is made up of thousands of “subreddits” that focus on different things.

If any random person visits Reddit, they see popular posts from the most popular subreddits.

Reddit Atheism (r/atheism) was one of those subreddits for the past few years.

That meant popular atheism-related stories were seen by who-knows-how-many people who would never have clicked on or cared about those stories otherwise. It also meant that anyone who signed up for a free Reddit account would be automatically subscribed to r/atheism. They would have to click “unsubscribe” to not see those stories.

That default option led r/atheism to become one of the most popular subreddits on the site with more than 2,000,000 members, most of whom (I suspect) aren’t even atheists.

Today, Reddit announced that r/atheism would no longer be a default subreddit for new members and casual visitors (and neither will r/politics):

We know many of you will wonder what happened to /r/politics and /r/atheism and why they were removed from the default set. We could give you a canned corporate answer or a diplomatic answer that is carefully crafted for the situation. But since this is reddit, we’re going to try things a bit differently and give you the real answer: they just weren’t up to snuff. Now, don’t get us wrong, there still ARE good parts about them. Overall, they just haven’t continued to grow and evolve like the other subreddits we’ve decided to add.

Part of the problem is undoubtedly the internal chaos r/atheism went through last month when one of the moderators was booted and users rebelled against the new changes. The impact of that overhaul is still being felt, with actual stories often getting downvoted by some users just out of spite.

I would argue the subreddit used to be full of more quality links when it was added to the default list… but those are admittedly harder to find now. This is not censorship, by the way — anyone can still subscribe to any of the atheism subreddits. Honestly, it’s probably a smart move by the Reddit admins even though it hampers getting atheist stories to larger audiences (and means less traffic for me personally).

BuzzFeed’s John Herrman welcomes the changes and holds a view that I’m sure many people share:

Reddit’s atheism forum has become the internet’ de facto gathering place for young militant atheists, which, I mean, have you ever met a young militant atheist? The kind of kid who, fresh off a heady afternoon watching Richard Dawkins videos, is just super pumped to humiliate his Christian aunt next time she posts about church on Facebook? /r/atheism is that, times a million. (Or, times 2,174,577, to be exact.) When people talk about disliking “Redditors,” they’re often just talking about this.

Both of these sections were large enough, and historically important enough to the site’s users, that they remained in the front-page mix for almost everyone. But they’re both animated by the idea that being technically right about your primary point, or being able to point to evidence of hypocrisy in your opponent, entitles you to say whatever you want, however you want, and to be respected for it.

In demoting them, Reddit has done its casual users a service, and slapped some of its most annoying — and often, dedicated — users on the wrist

Not surprisingly, I take a slightly different view of the channel, which is that it was a place that was full of annoying jerks and (literally) new atheists who were only now discovering all the problems with religion… but also people who found value in the channel and positively contributed to the discussions. It’s a place where some people saw an opportunity to (anonymously) talk about coming out to their families, learn what they could do to fight church/state separation battles, and support fellow atheists. The support for Damon Fowler came through r/atheism’s broad reach as did much of Jessica Ahlquist‘s.

It’s arguable that r/atheism has caused more people to question or lose their faith than any books written by the New Atheists, any statements made by non-religious celebrities, any blog posts or podcasts, and even any tragedy. By being taken off the default list, we’re less able to reach people who may not even know that questioning their faith is an option.

What’s fortunate is that r/atheism is still one of the largest subreddits on the site — it just won’t be adding new members as quickly as it used it. Hell, it’ll probably be relatively stagnant from now on. Maybe that’s a good thing. It’s a chance for the channel’s moderators to take a look at their practices and figure out what they need to do to make the site more useful to more people, outside of the glare of the rest of Reddit.

Hopefully, it means better quality on r/atheism. It’s the biggest and best forum for discussing atheism we have right now and it’d be awful to see it fall even further than it already has.

***Edit***: I wanted to add that I think Reddit would have made this decision even before the internal chaos happened. The channel was already heading down a self-righteous path before the new moderators came in to try and fix the problem.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • dcat27

    it’s because of r/atheism I found this site. I’ve moved on to other subreddits like r/exchristian, etc. and am thankful for what they introduced me too

  • Sam Shore

    Fret not! r/atheism earned its spot on the front page by gaining subscribers to become one of the highest-traffic subs. That makes it pretty clear that it’s capable of gaining a large number of readers without being foisted on everyone automatically. The content will just be better.

    Remember: Most of the Jessica Ahlquist, Damon Fowler, and Doctors Without Borders activity can be attributed to users subscribed BEFORE r/atheism was a default subreddit. This is fantastic news for people who want to see the largest nonreligious forum in the internet return to quality content.

    • Michael T.

      It happened to be a high traffic sub at the time it was made a default.

      But 1.7 million of those 2 million subscribers came from it being a default.

      This is a sad day.

      • BoilerJuan

        And it was take off mainly because it STOPPED being high traffic

    • Just sayin

      The quality content disappeared after the coup. I’m sorry you didn’t appreciate the content. I enjoyed the discussions. Now memes have been jammed into self-post discussions, making me leave for /r/trueatheism. If you want good discussions, try that one or one of the many alternatives that have cropped up since the coup.

  • SattaMassagana

    Quality of posts is not objective. A picture or meme is just as likely to kick off a great conversation as a 1000 word article. The mods that usurped r/atheism killed its fun and free spirit. I invite anyone who loved the old r/atheism to check out r/atheismrebooted for a free and uncensored experience.

  • Self Absorbed Jerk

    I didn’t even know about Reddit. Thanks for the heads up. It sounds like Troll Paradise

    • rg57

      If you can avoid reading the comments, it’s not a bad place.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ trivialknot

    It’s amusing to see what you wrote before:

    The only thing that gives me pause is the possibility that if enough
    people unsubscribe from r/atheism, the channel could get knocked off of
    Reddit’s “default” list. But I don’t think most Redditors are going to
    go through the trouble of unsubscribing from the channel because of this
    change, not even the critics. So no harm done.

    You’re such an optimist! Can’t you see that the redditocalypse is coming?

  • Tainda

    I’m old. I don’t get reddit lol

    • C Peterson

      I’m not old, and I don’t get it!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Reddit is a great site and the amount of information you can learn from others is amazing but not all of the sub-reddits are great. r/spacedicks is not a place I suggest you visit.

      • Tainda

        I dunno. Spacedicks sounds kind of interesting…

        From what I have read, it kind of sounds like the old irc chat rooms.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

          Spacedicks cannot be described, it has to be seen to understand it and reddit is nothing like an old irc chat room.

          • Tainda

            I don’t mean like a chat room. I’m not techie stupid just reddit stupid lol

            I mean the room themes and content sound kind of like it. Douchebaggery abounded

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

              Some of the IAmA (ask me anythings) have been amazing. When the Boston bombing happened I was able to get live updates and information from people on the ground.

              There are just as many great sub-reddits as there are bad ones.

              • Tainda

                Oh I’m sure of that!

    • Miss_Beara

      You are not alone. I don’t get it either. I looked on reddit once and I felt like an old lady who has to be told how to use the internet from an 10 year old.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        What was so confusing about reddit? It is pretty straight forward on how things work.

        • J-Rex

          I can’t deal with the lack of graphic design. Any time I’ve tried to go on there, I feel like I’m being attacked with words that stretch the length of the screen. To someone who’s new, it’s hard to tell how it’s organized.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

            I have a 23″ monitor so I’m not sure what you are talking about there. Anyway you can take a screen shot and post it so I can see what you are referring to?

            • J-Rex

              I find this hard to look at.
              Not that there might not be some interesting things on the site, but this sort of layout is very difficult to concentrate on.

        • rg57

          It’s a place where simply using the up/down vote buttons can get you banned, and you won’t even know it.

          That right there is confusing.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

            I’ve used the up/down vote buttons daily for the past two years and I’ve not been banned but I don’t go around down voting things for the fun of it either.

    • Brian

      Surprisingly enough, it pretty much is set up EXACTLY like this: you have an OP that posts something (like Hemant and his article), and you have a slew of comments below it like this, and they have up and down vote buttons, like this, lol. So yeah…not much different at all from this page and what you are seeing now. Only difference is the content moves alot quicker, and is up or downvoted by the community.

    • Drew M.

      From a fellow old timer, Reddit has a worse signal-to-noise ratio and is filled with several orders of magnitude more idiots than Usenet. But it is almost as interesting and you don’t have to uudecode the porn.

  • BoilerJuan

    Before I started going on Reddit I was one of those catholics that just don’t care about religion. When I joined Reddit, r/atheism had just been made a default sub and it’s because of the post I saw that eventually led me first become an atheist and after that, and arguably more important it helped me to become a skeptic. Before the drama started I viewed r/atheism as the comprehensive sub for atheism. If you wanted more specialized discussions you could got to that subreddit, exchristian, trueatheism, theFacebookDelusion, AdviceAtheists, antitheism. I enjoyed the way that worked. The changes happened and I was dissapointed with the mods. I unsubed from r/atheism.

    Hemant, I don’t think the sub will get “better” content now that it’s not a default. The most active users left for r/atheismrebooted. r/atheism will remain with a lot of users but most of them will be the ones from throwaway accounts and some that just don’t care about it. The oldest post in the front page in r/atheism is older than 24 hours, the oldest post in r/atheismrebooted’s front page is 8 hours old. The new non default r/atheism is not a fun place to go. You can’t vent away the frustration caused by religious aquantances in there anymore. People hated the memes, but in the comments of some there were some of the best discussions. It’s a sad day for the atheism community of reddit, actually it`s been a sad month since this whole drama went down

    • Brian

      That seems to be the thing that most people dont understand: that YES, they did post plenty of juvenile memes, but it was the memes that offended people enough to try and argue over it…they became offended by “Scumbag God” quotes, and tried to defend their God, but found this very difficult. That has lead to quite a few “conversions” or at minimum, people reflected on exactly what they believed and seriously thought about it.

      It also helped out Reddit, since those offensive memes would pop up on the front page, and for people just browsing Reddit (not signed into an account), it actually helped force alot of people to sign up to Reddit, just so they could Unsubscribe from /r/atheism and not see those posts anymore.

      • JayJay

        Atheists have converted to different religions as much if not more than anyone religious turning atheist.

        • cat

          Nahhhh, pretty sure that didn’t happen

          • JayJay

            Yes it does happen. Atheists have converted.

            • r/deism

              More atheists have converted than religious people. The people r/atheism converts are weak in faith and not the strong religious people (i.e what nearly every atheist was beforehand when they read a few verses of The Bible, Koran and Torah and think they’re suddenly scholars but quote from evilbible.com for their arguments).

              The fact r/atheism (the biggest circlejerk on the interwebs) is being cited as the number one cause behind atheist conversion is hilarious really considering it was just full of jerks being offensive and posting “atheist summaries” of themselves with their neckbeards and fedoras while in the nude!

              Actually hold that thought. If you can’t convert through reason then convert through shock and what better way to make a man doubt an articulate god than showing off your hideous body with its neckbeard?

              Yeah but I digress, nothing good ever came from r/atheism save for some memes and memes raised in response (such as Scumbag Atheist and Dumbass Atheist).

              If anything, r/atheism has been detrimental to the cause of the atheists.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slKULc8W7lM

              • JayJay

                That video. Hahaha.

                You must post in r/circlejerk.

        • BBB

          You’re going to need to provide evidence of that. Either way, how is this is anyway relevant to who is right? If you prove you are right, all you’ll have is an argument from populism.

          • JayJay

            Evidence of what? That atheists change? That’s what humans do. Atheists are human.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    I love reddit but r/atheism has gone to complete shit. I stopped reading it months ago. It was filled with nothing but meme’s and re-post of meme’s. Now and then something of interest would get posted but most of the time the context was horrible.

    • A3Kr0n

      I had the same experience. I really tried to like r/atheism too.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        I’ve been on reddit for over 2 years and it used to be a great place but it just slowly started to go down hill. I might read something now and then if it hits the front page but I don’t read r/atheism anymore.

    • viddy_well

      You must have missed Hemant’s post on this last month that he referenced. New mods, fewer memes.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/06/07/i-love-the-changes-to-reddit-atheism/

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        Didn’t miss it, I just ignored it because I stopped caring about r/atheism many months ago. If something makes the front page I will read the link but I stopped reading the comments.

    • Just sayin

      Baloney. I read the self-post feed, which was filled with rich discussions every single day, more than anyone could read (unless you spend 24/7 online).

      Now, memes are forced into self-posts, which killed discussions. Today’s /r/atheism/ is a shadow of its former self, by design of the new policies that run counter to Reddit’s basic functions.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        Again, I stopped reading r/atheism itself many months ago before the changes where made.

        • spitz

          They were talking about the r/atheism of many months ago. The one full of discussions every single day. Apparently complaining about memes and leaving the sub is easier then clicking on a button to filter them out and focus on whatever you enjoy.

  • Michael T.

    Here’s the thing though – they claim it was removed because it “failed to evolve”. We were in the midst of doing just that! Something smells fishy.

    • rg57

      Untrustworthy admins are untrustworthy. What’s fishy about that?

  • Thornnuminous

    This is my take on what /r/atheism meant and why what has happened to it is an extremely bad thing.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/atheismrebooted/comments/1h32vs/a_tribute_to_ratheismrebooted_the_people_who_made/caqrsma

    Included in that link is a timeline, compiled by another redditor, that laid how the systematic destruction of the subreddit.

    This was not an accident.

    • Thornnuminous

      *that laid out how the systematic destruction of the subreddit came about.

      I’m so tired and upset, I can’t even internet right.

  • http://fractalheretic.blogspot.com/ Fractal Heretic

    “the idea that being technically right about your primary point, or being able to point to evidence of hypocrisy in your opponent, entitles you to say whatever you want, however you want, and to be respected for it.”

    This. This is what frustrates me and sometimes makes me wonder why I associate with the atheist community. Just because you’re right, doesn’t mean you should be a dick about it. Just because free speech gives you the right to be obnoxious, doesn’t mean you should. And to then turn around and call theists trolls while simultaneously spewing insults at them, well, it makes me reluctant to call myself an atheist in public sometimes. We’ve got to do better.

    • Raising_Rlyeh

      Except you have to go the way that reddit goes sometimes to make a point. If being logical, having valid arguments, and having evidence deconverted people there would not be any religious people.

      There are religious beliefs out there that deserve to be mocked and if I find a belief deplorable I am not going to act like that belief should be respected or be considered as being a legitimate view.

      So, tell me then what is a nice and polite way to tell people who pray instead of taking their children to a doctor that they are wrong? You can only be nice for so long before the BS and insanity of the other side gets to you.

      In general what you are talking about is what pretty much every minority group has to do. They have to be “better” because just one bad example is enough for their entire group to be condemned. The gay community and the black community goes through this.

      • http://fractalheretic.blogspot.com/ Fractal Heretic

        Logic and evidence does deconvert people. Ask any ex-christian. Rudeness will often make you seem more demonic in their eyes.

        • HumboldtBlue

          Again with the attack on atheists who use language, humor, mockery and sarcasm to challenge the very real and very human harm caused by religion. Once again it’s the people who are pointing out the emperor is wearing no clothes who are the real problem, not the theists whose actions every day in every country lead to violence, oppression and ignorance.

          The next time you see a gathering of non-believers enact a law restricting a fellow human being’s right to enjoy life, control their own bodies, believe or not believe as they wish, please point it out. Atheism on Reddit is a forum where people type out words and link to articles, and yet, according to you, that makes them as dangerous and harmful as the very real world actions taken to promote and defend religion.

          • http://fractalheretic.blogspot.com/ Fractal Heretic

            Well hello Mr. Strawman! Nice of you to join us.

            • HumboldtBlue

              Nice to meet you, Sir False Equivalency

    • rg57

      Perhaps we should try burning people at the stake. That might be nicer.

    • https://www.facebook.com/TWSS.ktward ktward

      Just because you’re right, doesn’t mean you should be a dick about it.

      Precisely. Phil Plait made The Perfect Argument against the supposed merits of being a dick. Being a dick has only one reliable result to its credit: everyone knows you’re a dick.

      http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/08/17/dont-be-a-dick-part-1-the-video/

  • Mackinz

    “Not surprisingly, I take a slightly different view of the channel, which
    is that it was a place that was full of annoying jerks and (literally)
    new atheists who were only now discovering all the problems with
    religion… but also people who found value in the channel and positively
    contributed to the discussions.”

    I fulfill the last two statements. I became (deconverted?) an atheist after I found /r/atheism, and found the place to be a valueable commodity after realizing just how limited in scope atheist internet congregations really are outside of it. I even found this place from

    To this day, I read /r/atheism. Needless to say, I’ve been pissed at Jij and Tuber and all the other troll mods after they came in and stomped on our subreddit, stamping out the quality discussions held in the comments sections of many a submission in order to enforce “quality” and stop “karma-whoring”…

    Now the front page is stale, filled with blog posts and news sites. Barely anything lively. The comments are pretty dead outside of the one or two submissions that past muster, and we are even getting 0 point threads on the front page.

    What a joke.

    /r/Atheism has been killed off by a bunch of assholes from some of the worst subs of all, and two possibly delusional mods who were helping moderate /r/atheism before they kicked out Skeen.

    I hate the new /r/atheism. The old one ACTUALLY WORKED.

    • Sigh

      I’ll bet the memes helped you, too. Theists are trained not to question their beliefs, and those pesky meme links once clicked are quickly consumed and not forgotten. The memes, more than anything else in the subreddit, helped deconvert people, or so a lot of people have said while sharing their deconversion stories. We just lost our best outreach tool. Blah blah blah about the memes being offensive, etc. Since when is it a crime to challenge peoples’ beliefs?

    • Hypersapien

      Skeen is the one who was killing r/atheism. The decision to remove it from the defaults had already been made before he was kicked out.

      • Mackinz

        LOL, Skeen was killing the sub?

        More like the Circlejerkers who ran rampant, and eventually became Moderators of /r/Atheism because of Jij and Tuber.

        Who cares if it was slated for un-defaulting? I’m sure if Jij and Tuber hadn’t took a dump on the sub, then it would have welcomed the change more. Too bad most of the active people on the sub left after the Jijhad.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    My only problem with r/atheism is that they are opposed to self-promotion. Atheists are creative people and we all like to promote our projects, memes, blog posts, etc. That shouldn’t be a bad thing. Good posts will be vote up and crappy posts would still be voted down. The best material will rise and the not so good material will fall. Self-promotion should be encouraged, not restricted.

  • Just sayin

    The moderator who was kicked out was none other than /r/atheism’s founder, a guy who openly, on the record, embraced the idea of an open forum policed largely by the subscribers (and it worked wonderfully for 5 years). He was kicked out in an administrative maneuver, with a ton of new policies in its wake. Amid the deletions of comment threads and comments, and alleged user bannings, alternative subreddits formed, garnering a few (10,000 to 30,000) new subscribers in the matter of 2 weeks. The atheism community on Reddit is fractured to say the least. I invite folks to check out /r/trueatheism/ and /r/atheismrebooted/.

  • Rainkitten

    I am pretty sad about r/atheism losing default. Atheists lost a huge voice today.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    I don’t use Reddit, but the BS that I am reading about that happened on the subreddit is astonishing. It sounds like they are letting the fox watch the chickens I mean who can even say with a straight face that it is a good idea to let people who hate the group and the subreddit itself mod the site? Some of the comments by the mods are also cringe worthy in my opinion. Especially when it comes to many saying that they are not ever going to admit they were wrong.

  • spitz

    I’m sure you’ll be extremely appreciative when someone decides the appropriate response to your “technically right” criticisms of religion is to call you a child and slap you on the wrist.

    Maybe r/atheism users will finally take a hint and follow the examples of Hemant Mehta and John Hermann and frame their criticisms of religion in the form of… calling religious people annoying, childish, self-righteous jerks.

    Surely the response would only be positive and lead to an influx of new visitors and content that reddit would be proud to display on its front page

  • link9454

    I think saying the mods were coming in to “fix the problem” is a mistake, and is not the way I see it. Having seen and read the open conversations these mods have had on reddit, it seems much more like a grab of power, and pushed me to be among the first 2000 users to unsubscribe and migrate to r/atheismrebooted which is one of the fastest growing subs thanks to the actions of u/tuber and u/jij.

    • edb3803

      “and pushed me to be among the first 2000 users to unsubscribe and migrate to r/atheismrebooted”
      Me, too.

  • amadorusa

    Hermant, you were wrong when you wrote about how you loved the changes and you are wrong again. I find it interesting that at the end of your previous post on the issue you foresaw then shrugged off the possibility that r/atheism might lose its default status. Now you argue that “hopefully” it might ne in fact a good thing for r/atheism

    Quit hoping. r/atheism has not improved since the takeover, neither in traffic nor quality. There’s been a decrease in unique visits, decrease in comments, it takes longer for the front page to recycle, and, as far as the “quality” of the page goes, too many old, repeat stories, and, in a few instances, links from hate speech sites have made it to the front page.

    I consider you an intellectually honest person, but, frankly, I’m quite dismayed that you neglect to point out the blow that this represents to atheist visibility on the internet when this was in fact one of your main arguments in your past defenses of r/atheism

    Pope-moderator /u/jij was quick to post an exchange with reddit admins showing that they had intended to demote r/atheism’s default status for a while. That does not relieve him from his responsibility in having made it easy for the admins by:
    a) driving away from the subreddit or silencing a substantial part of r/atheism’s core of active users.
    b) handing control of the subreddit to concern trolls and users who were open and vocally hostile to r/atheism

    If there were an internet award to Useful Idiot of the Year, moderators jij and tuber should be the acclaimed 2013 winners.

    I’ll leave aside other elements that I think reflect the moral quality of the new bishops of r/atheism, such as heavy handed moderation, the prohibition and banning of all meta-discussion–except supportive posts, of course, http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/1iievl/why_i_agree_with_the_removal_of_ratheism_as_a/ , etc.

    I discovered r/atheism at a rather difficult time when I was dealing with a hostile work environment, and this situation makes me very sad.

  • ListenUP

    one of the most sensationalist articles i have ever read. Patheos also benefits a huge amount from /r/atheism since the articles posted here, are specified on reddit atheism then back to here which funnels large amount of traffic.

    “with more than 2,000,000 members, most of whom (I suspect) aren’t even atheists.”

    Speak for yourself, You sound like a total tool saying that. What kind of idiot are you? To say most members aren’t atheist to an atheist subreddit is like saying most christians to a christian subreddit aren’t christian.

    Its idiots like you that keep the Taboo in the name atheism . Trying to discredit the subreddit , what a joke

    • Brian

      You obviously dont understand how Reddit works. When you sign up for a new account, you are automatically subscribed to the DEFAULT list of subreddits, including /r/atheism. You remain subscribed, regardless of your personal views or any other factor for that matter, until you physically “Unsubscribe” from it. Many of those 2 million people have simply not unsubscribed from it, so yes…many of them are NOT atheists.

  • rg57

    “This is not censorship, by the way”

    The plaintive cry of the censor-bird, echoes throughout the forest. It’s louder now, coming closer. Look, over there. Quiet, quiet now.

    Shhhh…..

  • GodlessPoutine

    r/atheismrebooted seems to be where all the action has moved.

  • Brian

    For anyone who doesnt understand the impact of this: when you Google the word “Atheism,” the reddit subforum, /r/atheism is the SECOND hit to show, right behind the Wikipedia article on atheism. Countless people have gone to it on that fact alone, and many people (teens in particular) that were struggling with “coming out” to their friends and family, used the forum to ask questions and get help. So, by removing it from Reddit’s default list, the traffic will go down, and might even drop on Google’s search results, making it more difficult for atheists needing help to find it.

  • 8DX

    The last 10 times I checked reddit, it was full of self-righteous overt sexism, racism and general ignorant bigotry. I’m willing to see how parts of it were otherwise, I’ve just never read anything of any significance on r/atheism. Google (duckduckgo) is a better source.

  • Bananas0

    The change to the default list was planned before any of the recent changes in r/atheism.

  • Intelligent Donkey

    This reminds me of the complaints about bad design on atheist billboards. Just as billboard design is irrelevant, so is the quality of r/atheism posts.

    The most important thing is visibility. Doesn’t matter what it is, memes, kittens or whatever, just get in their faces, loud and clear. Let them hate it, let them scoff and mock, but don’t let them ignore it. But now that visibility is gone, collateral damage in a frantic quest for quality.

    It’s time to improve the billboards, I suppose. Spend a shitload of money on quality design, instead of quantity. Just one single perfectly designed billboard.

  • Hypersapien

    I just want to say that the reddit admins are on the record as saying that the decision to remove r/atheism from the defaults was made before the removal of Skeen as top mod and the subsequent rule changes.

  • katarn

    I feel like one of those Luddites that doesn’t get reddit. I have tried, I head over and try and see why people are always talking about it but I just can’t tell whats happening. I just get confused. Wow I am far too young to sound like such an old crank.

  • CoboWowbo

    It seems that /r/atheism is now breaking down into smaller subreddits and losing subscribers faster than can be replenished. Good.

  • SeekerLancer

    Regardless of what you think about sites like Reddit and their seemingly useless discussions (to me they’re just commercialized versions of Chan boards with even more stupid), viral social media has been one of the best tools for getting atheists started on coming out into the open.

    I feel like the changes here are a pretty big loss, honestly.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Overall, they just haven’t continued to grow and evolve like the other subreddits we’ve decided to add.

    Hey, no problem; atheism needs to grow. We need to find new gods not to believe in.

  • logical_hare

    I love my fellow atheists. Perhaps the most prominent and useful atheist forum-thingy on the net loses a big chunk of prestige and exposure, a decision motivated by vague and suspect criteria, and community members are falling over each other to agree with how terrible it was.

    With the serious, icky, controversial subreddits banished to the netherrealm, at least now we can refocus the site on what’s really important: reposts of cat pictures and people exchanging wikipedia articles on TIL, amirite folks? All the while we’ll be secure in the knowledge that immaturity and poor quality posting have been forever banished from reddit thanks to this bold decision. What a thrilling victory for… some principle or another, I’m sure.

    Admittedly, I’m double pissed about this as both an atheist, and someone with a political science degree.

  • AnathemaMaranatha

    Wrong. Clueless. Lame. Do better.

  • Friendly_Autist

    I don’t think I can say whatever I want however I want, but I think Herrmann oversimplifies it. We do have the right to speak out minds, and people shouldn’t be hurt when their beliefs aren’t tiptoed around.

    We all know /r/atheism lost its status because the mods retooled it, to the protests of many subscribers. They took the fun out of the place, really. Maybe it’s more cerebral now, but there were already other subreddits for that, and now we’ve lost influence. Damn you, jij, if anyone here gets that.

  • http://plus.google.com/u/0/111051039748078110427/about novenator

    They celebrated removing atheism and politics with a fucking Ron Paul GIF. That’s no accident. Reddit has jumped the shark, and their dear leaders have drank the libertarian koolaid.

  • A. Nony Mous

    I’m an atheist myself and did enjoy r/atheism for the every-once-in-a-while laugh, but I don’t think it’s a good sub reddit at all, it’s full of self-righteous condescending idiots taking the piss out of anyone with a religious belief. If the sub reddit was a person, that person would mock peoples beliefs in real life even if they kept their beliefs private.

  • Daniel Brown

    This is different than what Reddit did 3 years ago to /r/atheism ?

    http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/9efxf/an_explanation_of_why_the_atheism_reddit_does_not/

  • who fuckin cares

    finally!!!!, i quit going on reddit because of all the redundancy spewing from r/atheism. Its like they became a religion of their own, set out to negatively forcefully convert everyone to their own beliefs. I know true atheist and they definitely dont let themselves become consumed by what others believe theologically. atheism’s crusaders must be pretty butthurt haha


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