Voat

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Voat Inc.
Voat-logo.png
Web address voat.co[1]
Commercial? Yes
Registration Optional (required to submit, comment, or vote)
Available in English
Written in C#
Alexa rank
Increase 10,406 (January 2017)[2]
Current status Online

Voat Inc /ˈvt/ is a news aggregator and social networking service where registered community members can submit content such as text posts and direct links. Registered users can then vote for these submissions. After accumulating 100 of these "upvotes" on original comments posted, users can begin voting against submissions and comments. Voting is commonly called "voating" by users. Content entries are organized by areas of interest called "subverses."

Site

Voat is "aesthetically and functionally similar to Reddit".[3][4][5] The website is a collection of entries submitted by its registered users to themed categories called subverses, in what is essentially a bulletin board system. However, the two websites do have differences.[6] Voat is written in the C# programming language, while Reddit is written in Python.[7][8] Another difference between the two sites is a limit on how many subverses a single user may moderate. Reddit, while limiting possible "default subreddits" may be moderated to four, there is no limit on non-default subreddits.[9] Voat, however, limits the number of subverses a single user can moderate to 10.[10] Another moderation difference is the distinction between levels of moderators. A user can be "L1", who is the "owner" of the subverse and has more power than the lower, "L2" moderators. The option to have "L3" moderators also exists, though current site programming makes no distinction between L2 and L3. Voat also has a night-mode, which swaps its standard white design for a darker one; is mobile-friendly; limits users' voting powers until they accrue a certain amount of "upvoats"; has user profiles, which display user statistics; and disallows blatant advertising.[11]

The name "Voat" is a play on the verb vote.[8] The site's mascot is a goat.[12] The website uses the Colombian top level domain .co which was registered in November 2014.[13]

History

Founded in April 2014 as WhoaVerse, the website was initially a hobby project by a BSc student, Atif Colo (known on Voat as @Atko), who was later joined by Justin Chastain (known as @PuttItOut).[14][15] The website has been labelled as an alternative to Reddit with a focus on freedom of expression.[5][12][16] In December 2014, WhoaVerse changed its name to Voat for ease of use.[17]

In February, 2015, following accusations of censorship on Reddit, Voat claimed that they had seen a “large influx” of new users, most of them from Reddit.[18]

In early June, 2015, after Reddit banned five of its subreddits for harassment—the largest of which had around 150,000 subscribers[19][20]—many users of Reddit began to create accounts on Voat.[21] The influx of new participants temporarily overloaded the site, causing downtime.[22][23] During this time, Voat had both its web hosting and PayPal accounts closed without warning.[14][24][25][26] Its German web host cited "politically incorrect" content on the site[25][27][28] and distrust of Voat as the cause;[7][29] publications noted that Germany has strict rules for hosting services.[7][30] The website continued to accept donations in Bitcoin,[12] and was able to continue functioning, as it had moved to a different hosting provider.[31] The website continued to experience downtime due to an ongoing distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack, rendering the 700,000 unique visitors unable to access the site.[6]

In early July 2015, following the dismissal of a popular administrator on Reddit, another influx of Reddit members registered with Voat,[32] leading to traffic which again caused Voat to experience downtime.[33][34][35] The developers of the website were subsequently approached by venture capitalists interested in investing in the project.[12]

Also in July, Voat, alongside Wikileaks, was subject to a Bitcoin "dust" attack and more DDoS attacks. The Bitcoin attack slowed payment processing to the websites.[36] The DDoS attack, launched July 12, was unsuccessful due to Cloudflare services, although it had the side effect of rendering third-party Voat apps incapable of functioning.[37][38]

In August 2015, Voat became incorporated in the United States. Co-founder Atif Colo explained in a post announcing the incorporation that this was because "U.S. law by far beats every other candidate country we’ve researched."[39][40]

In December 2016, Voat became a refuge for "Pizzagate" discussion after the Pizzagate subreddit was banned from Reddit.[41]

In January 2017, Atif Colo resigned as CEO of Voat, citing a lack of time available to devote to the site, was replaced it Justin Chastain, who remains the CEO and operator of the site.[42]

In May 2017, a site announcement was made releasing the text of an email purporting to be from a hacking group, giving the site 24 hours to pay a ransom in bitcoin or face a DDoS attack. The ransom was not paid, and no such DDoS occurred.[43]

Controversies

Voat’s Germany-based web hosting service, Host Europe (a precursor to Webfusion), shut down the service in 2015 and alleged Voat "was publicizing incitement of people, as well as abusive, insulting and youth-endangering content" as well as "illegal right-wing extremist content".[44] Voat also had payments frozen by Paypal because of alleged “certain sexually oriented materials or services”.[45] Voat has been accused of allowing users to create and maintain specific forums for the express purpose of doxing, as well as for illegally sharing copyright-protected material.[46]

References

  1. "voat.co Domain Overview". Retrieved November 12, 2015. 
  2. "voat.co Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved December 19, 2016. 
  3. Kamen, Matt (June 11, 2015). "Reddit in revolt over anti-harassment policy enforcement". Wired UK. Condé Nast. Retrieved June 12, 2015. 
  4. Smith, Dave (July 9, 2015). "This website has a great chance at stealing Reddit's massive online community". Business Insider. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Pullen, John Patrick (July 21, 2015). "Some Reddit Users Are Flocking to This New Site". 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Robertson, Adi (July 10, 2015). "Welcome to Voat: Reddit killer, troll haven, and the strange face of internet free speech". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Kamen, Matt (June 22, 2015). "Reddit rival Voat.co killed by hosting company". Wired UK. Condé Nast. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "About Voat - Who's the team behind this". Voat. Retrieved February 26, 2015. 
  9. "moderation - reddit.com". www.reddit.com. Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  10. "New limit implemented to prevent subverse squatting | voatdev". Voat - Solidarité. Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  11. "Is WhoaVerse just a reddit clone?". 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Poletti, Therese (July 10, 2015). "Creator of surging Reddit rival Voat: We will avoid same mistakes". MarketWatch. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved July 11, 2015. 
  13. "Voat.co Domain Metrics". 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Russon, Mary-Ann (July 13, 2015). "What is Voat, the anti-censorship alternative to Reddit that trolls have flocked to?". 
  15. "WhoaVerse is changing name | announcements". Voat - Solidarité. Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  16. Berschewsky, Tapio (June 11, 2015). "Kiusaamiseen puuttuminen aiheutti massapaon palvelusta – ja kaatoi toisen". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  17. "WhoaVerse is changing name". Voat. 
  18. Dewey, Caitlyn (February 18, 2015). "The 'Reddit exodus' is a perfect illustration of the state of free speech on the Web". Washington Post. Retrieved July 11, 2015. 
  19. Kamen, Matt (June 11, 2015). "Reddit in revolt over anti-harassment policy enforcement". Wired UK. Condé Nast. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  20. Woollacott, Emma (June 11, 2015). "Users Flock To Voat As Reddit Shuts Harassing Groups". Forbes. Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  21. Hern, Alex (June 15, 2015). "Reddit users flee to Swiss copy Voat after harassment clampdown". Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  22. Pick, Rachel (June 23, 2015). "PayPal Cuts Off Reddit Clone Voat Over 'Obscenity'". Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  23. Herman, Barbara (June 11, 2015). "What Is Voat? Reddit FatPeopleHate Ban Has Users Migrate To Unmoderated Space, Complain On Twitter". International Business Times. IBT Media. Retrieved June 12, 2015. 
  24. Dewey, Caitlin (June 23, 2015). "This is what happens when you create an online community without any rules, part 2". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 Macadangdang, Rex (June 23, 2015). "Web Host Shuts Down Reddit Clone Voat For Politically Incorrect Content". Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  26. Hern, Alex (June 22, 2015). "Reddit clone Voat dropped by web host for "political incorrect" content". Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  27. Reynaud, Florian (July 13, 2015). "Des utilisateurs de Reddit en colère s’exilent sur Voat, un concurrent incongru En savoir plus sur". Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  28. Griffin, Andrew (June 22, 2015). "Voat: Reddit clone's site shut down for hosting 'politically incorrect' content". Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  29. "Amid censorship brouhaha, Reddit clone Voat has its servers closed by hosting provider". 
  30. Warren, Christina (June 20, 2015). "Reddit-clone Voat booted by its German webhost". Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  31. "Our provider, hosteurope.de shut down our servers due to "political incorrectness"". June 20, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  32. Carson, Biz (July 2, 2015). "Reddit's popular 'ask me anything' feature is down after a key employee is gone". Business Insider. Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
  33. Kelion, Leo (July 8, 2015). "Reddit rival Voat buckles under demand". BBC. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  34. Dib, Walid (July 3, 2015). "Will Bitcoin-Friendly Voat.co Replace Reddit?". CoinTelegraph. CoinTelegraph. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  35. Truong, Kevin (July 6, 2015). "With Reddit blackout, users revolt for second time this summer". Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  36. Pearson, Jordan (July 9, 2015). "WikiLeaks Is Now a Target In the Massive Spam Attack on Bitcoin". Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  37. Roberts, Jeff John (July 13, 2015). "New Reddit rival Voat hit by DDoS attack". 
  38. Khan, Imad (July 13, 2015). "Reddit rival Voat hit with DDoS attacks". Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  39. Dewey, Caitlyn (August 6, 2015). "Contrary to the Internet crybabies, online speech in the U.S. is really free, actually". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 7, 2015. 
  40. "Voat, the student side-project is now Voat, Inc.! | announcements". Voat - Solidarité. Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  41. Rosenberg, Eli (December 7, 2016). "Roberta’s, Popular Brooklyn Restaurant, Is Pulled Into ‘Pizzagate’ Hoax". The New York Times. Retrieved December 9, 2016. 
  42. "Change of Guard! | announcements". Change of Guard. Retrieved 2017-01-30. 
  43. "Lmgtfy.com: DDoS Blackmail Ransom | announcements". Voat. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  44. Sawers, Paul (June 19, 2015). "Amid censorship brouhaha, Reddit clone Voat has its servers closed by hosting provider". Retrieved December 16, 2016. 
  45. "PayPal Cuts Off Reddit Clone Voat Over 'Obscenity'". Motherboard. VICE. June 23, 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2016. 
  46. Dewey, Caitlin (June 23, 2015). "This is what happens when you create an online community without any rules, part 2". Retrieved December 16, 2016. 

External links