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Former Reddit exec intros a friendlier message board alternative

Imzy is counting on smarter community features to keep out the trolls.

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Reddit earned its reputation as the "front page of the internet" thanks to its sheer diversity of topics and deep community. However, the message board also has its dark side: while its almost-anything-goes attitude is great for freedom of expression, it has also led to vicious abuse and harassment by people who only occasionally face consequences for their actions. Former Reddit VP Dan McComas thinks there's a better way, though. He recently started Imzy, a board that tries to preserve the community while eliminating the vitriol. Much of it comes down to preventing the hit-and-run posting that sometimes sours Reddit and other online communities.

For one, you're encouraged to join a few communities from the get-go. You're not as likely to stumble upon a community at random, then. Also, you can only create one username for each community, which should (hopefully) reduce the chances that one person will create multiple accounts to cause havoc. Moderators in those groups will largely set their own rules, but a tip-based revenue model could give mods an incentive to run a tight ship.

Imzy is currently invitation-only, and the New York Times cautions that there's a large backlog of people waiting to get in. However, its biggest challenge may simply be convincing people that there's a need to leave Reddit for a safer equivalent. Reddit itself has more tools to help you fight abuse. And alternative message boards frequently exist because their founders think the originals are too safe -- just look at 8chan and Voat, both of which pride themselves on their lack of filters. Imzy will have to show that there's a clear advantage to keeping things clean (such as the celebrity partnership it has with Lena Dunham) if it wants a sizable following.

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