Media outlets should have learned a lesson when Village Voice Media got caught spamming Reddit and basically had to grovel for the Mechagodzilla of link aggregation sites’ forgiveness, but they didn’t. We know this because the Daily Dot ferreted out a new spammer, no less than The Atlantic‘s social media editor, Jared Keller–a.k.a. “SlaterHearst” during his time pimping Atlantic articles to the Redditorati, a.k.a. “redditors.” Mr. Keller’s skullduggery was revealed to Daily Dot by finding him on OK Cupid, where he used the same screen name, describing himself as an “Attempted journalist” and “lover of new ideas.”
As “SlaterHearst,” Mr. Keller was a highly successful redditor until the site banned him last month:
In his year on the site, Keller became a fairly influential redditor, collecting more than 176,000 link karma and, at one time, ranking in the top 30 among all users on a site that sees 35 million unique visitors a month.
Keller relentlessly shared content from The Atlantic, frequently posting three or four articles in a single day, which, all told, added up to hundreds and probably thousands of links—so many, in fact, that clicking through 10 pages and 250 submissions worth of content takes you just three months deep into his submission history.
In a statement to the Daily Dot, Mr. Keller seemed equivocal about whether he might deserve the feared “reddit spammer” label:
As you know, one of the community rules says that self-promotion isn’t forbidden but may put you on ‘thin ice.’ I tried to adhere to those standards, but as language like ‘thin ice’ suggests, there’s a lot of leeway in how one might interpret them. Reddit recently contacted The Atlantic and told us that, based on the frequency of my Atlantic submissions, they would be deactivating my personal account. I never had any bad intentions, but I understand and accept reddit’s position and remain a loyal member of the reddit community.
The Daily Dot suggests Mr. Keller may have had help with spamming Reddit from Ian Miles Cheong, a one-time Reddit moderator who was also banned for spamming the site. Both Mr. Keller and Mr. Cheong have denied any kind of formal arrangement, Mr. Keller telling Daily Dot correspondent Kevin Morris that they “know each other casually via Twitter and that’s the extent of it.”
Checking out what’s left of “SlaterHearst’s” history on Reddit revealed a little-noted nugget of irony he submitted 3 months ago: “Can’t tell if Business Insider spammer or just really into Business Insider.”