DDLC Community Rallies Against Reddit Following Deplatforming of Artist
Reddit is banning artists who feature suggestive art of characters "who appears to be a minor," and the DDLC community is worried.
It appears the administration at Reddit is taking a page out of Monika’s book. The fervent Doki Doki Literature Club — or DDLC — community is striking back at the site’s administration after the banning of a prominent fan artist. However, under that hardened image is a fandom concerned about the future of its most bustling gathering place.
For those entirely unaware of DDLC, the game is a free visual novel that made its rounds during September 2017. Bending the rules of what a visual novel is, it is truly one someone should experience for themselves — if you haven’t played it yet, I highly recommend it.
Meanwhile those who have played it have likely been bewitched by developer Team Salvato’s lovable characters. Despite being a small Steam game in a very niche genre, the DDLC subreddit has well over 111 thousand subscribers, with a steady flow of content focusing around the four principle characters of the game: Monika, Sayori, Yuri, and Natsuki.
While the community has been content sitting in their own meta corner of Reddit, everything changed when the admins
attacked banned a popular artist in the anime community, Holofan, which was allegedly a breach of Reddit policies. Within a popular anime community, Holofan posted a PG picture of Kaguya Shinomiya from manga Kaguya-sama: Love is War in a two-piece swimsuit. The post was removed and Holofan was banned from Reddit for the image.
This is a recent rule change for Reddit admins, specifically cracking down on “suggestive content involving minors or someone who appears to be a minor.” This is a fairly widespread net and, as you can imagine, dependant on the personal tastes of the admin viewing the content.
Though this doesn’t directly speak to the DDLC fandom, there are more than a few reasons why the team there is worried. In fact, worried enough that they needed to do an all-hands on deck mod alert:
It’s worth noting that this isn’t simply targeting lewd images that approach Rule 34. Those have their own dedicated subreddit and are already banned in the DDLC community that is deliberately SFW. Instead, moderaters are concerned this puts broader PG artwork in jeopardy.
Simply put, the DDLC fandom (like many anime, gaming, etc. communities) thrives on artwork and content creation. However, given that the game is, by all means, a romance title with high-school aged girls (albeit canonically 18+), Reddit’s new policy of deplatforming fan art can mean a ban at any time — especially for the select few that are heavily Team Natsuki, who is comparatively smol and less endowed than the other characters.
On the surface, the fanbase is taking the censorship in stride, lobbing jokes at the uneven policies of admins:
However, that isn’t to say that there isn’t an air of worry surrounding the situation. Many are concerned not only about their future contribution to the DDLC community, as well as the status of their accounts given their previous submissions:
What has caused the new enforcement policy from the Reddit admins? Whose to say. Many within the DDLC community point to the abundance of hate-instigating communities or groups that are a collection of video of people dying. Though perhaps the recent Chinese investment in the company by Tencent speaks to the warmer embrace of censorship and puritanical values. Certainly other gaming companies have had to make similar concessions.
If not that, it might just be the slowly spreading creep of deplatforming facing tech companies. The move is fairly reminiscent of Valve’s latest acts to pull any game that they consider “child exploitation.” Or, similarly, how Sony America is allegedly censoring games and “enforcing puritanism” in demanding the removal of game modes to fit global standards.
Obviously Reddit can make the rules of their own community — including prohibiting artwork that they find offensive. While it is disheartening, more concerning to everyone within the community is the lack of communication and slapdashed approach, especially when it concerns the future of the aging fandom. Hopefully these questions and concerns are addressed soon, given that protest communities and Change.org petitions are rallying against it.
As mentioned above, Doki Doki Literature Club! is available now for free on PC. If you haven’t played it yet and are interested, don’t look at anything online — just go ahead and download DDLC.