Rick and Morty fans have found themselves divided in the past few months, split into a couple of different factions that have brought strife and animosity to the community.
During those months, various moderators in Rick and Morty’s largest subreddit have taken it upon themselves to make the sub a better place for people to hang out. A new series of rules, shared in a message from moderator Klovar, details how to keep the subreddit from becoming a trash fire fueled by Szechuan sauce memes and trollish behavior targeted at other members and the show’s female writers.
The stricter set of rules comes just a couple of months after another well-known moderator within the community, elastical_gomez, addressed some of the more abusive and harassing behavior that had occurred within the subreddit around the end of July and beginning of August; shortly following the third season’s premiere.
Klovar, who Polygon has reached out to for further comment, writes:
“Your opinion is absolutely heard and is very valuable. This is not a matter of a single rogue moderator, but is an effort by all of us to attempt to do good. This attempt for the moderators to "do good" is absolutely subjective because the mods are actual humans, but we're trying to do what's best according to the feedback we've received from the community, from our (nearly doubled since 2016) subscribers, and yes, there's a valid and respectable point to consider that we may be overstepping out boundaries in this, but we've identified a divergence in our subscribers: Those who love "s h i t p o s t s" (as I personally do) and those who follow the sub merely for the show content (all three of them [just kidding ,and WE COME IN PEACE]).”
Elastical_gomez, who claims to have worked on the show’s first season, also addressed a user who had doxxed a female writer on the show through a post in the subreddit. In his post, elastical_gomez wrote that neither they, nor the community, would stand for this kind of behavior.
While we are allowing discussion of this topic, smear campaigns against any individual will be removed. Repeated offenses will result in a temporary ban. That being said, discussing the show itself in terms of what works and what doesn't is great - I'd much rather have that happening in the subreddit vs the same quotes over and over. It's when the focus turns on the people involved that it crosses the line and becomes harmful.
The toxicity that exists among certain Rick and Morty groups isn’t unknown to its creators. Both co-creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon have spoken about about it in the past, asking fans to not let hate run rampant online. Earlier this month, Harmon sat down with Polygon to discuss the anger that runs amongst some fans.
“I know there’s toxicity among the fan base because it’s a popular show and people obsess about it,” Harmon said. “We try to outdo each season. If it was dumber, it was an accident. Maybe I got dumber! You can’t argue with somebody who says they like this season, but not that season. It’s not the same show season to season.”
Many fans complained that the show’s third season was “less funny,” which they blamed on its new female writers — leading one to be doxxed on the subreddit. The decision to spotlight characters like Summer and Beth, which Harmon said the entire group agreed upon, was also viewed by some as a negative effect of a more diverse writing team.
The idea is to return the Rick and Morty subreddit to the commentary-filled, thoughtful subreddit it was once known for, cluttered with fan art and lighthearted jokes. A return to the era before Rick and Morty’s third season became the most talked about show on television, McDonald’s gave all fans a bad name with the reintroduction of Szechuan sauce and memes directed at the show’s fans shone a negative light on the once-vibrant community.
“We've been listening to feedback and suggestions for the past 4 months, and we are truly doing what we thing might be best for the community according you all of your feedback,” Klovar wrote. “We [the mods] have aimed to NEVER stifle commentary, though I can appreciate (not you, of course) any adversity others may have to the mods 'limiting (hate- direct threats, petty arguments, cheap copypastas) speech. We're trying our best. We hope you can understand.
“If not, there are literally a half-million other voices we must consider.”