Reddit has published a set of guidelines, dubbed “Pressiquette” for journalists that use the site. The company advises writers to message the original poster of a story or photo for permission before sourcing a post for an article.

Here’s the paragraph in question:

Respect the community when sourcing content.

If you see an interesting story or photo on reddit, message the redditor who shared the piece to ask for their permission prior to using it in an article or list, ask how they would like it to be attributed, and provide them a deadline before you move on to another story. Please respect redditors who may wish to stay anonymous, or to not be featured in an article.

While the rule certainly makes sense for original content on Reddit, it’s not clear whether this applies to all types of content. Do journalists need to contact AMA authors when writing about their responses? Also, are these rules mere suggestions, or do they constitute legal terms of service that journalists implicitly agree to when visiting the site?  One writer has pointed out the apparent one-sidedness of having to ask permission to post from Reddit while redditors don’t need to ask permission from others sources to post to Reddit.

The guidelines, if followed, will have a big impact on sites that are generating viral list content scraped from Reddit. Now, instead of just including a tiny link to the original Reddit posts, writers that are scraping ideas from Reddit will be obliged to contact each poster about their content.

Reddit also asks journalists to check for permission when using original images from Reddit, though you’ll have to do your own search to find out whether it’s original.

The rest of the rules remind writers to engage with Reddit as part of a community rather than using it just for self-promotion. If you’re asking your co-workers to upvote your articles, Reddit counts that as vote cheating. Failure to comply can get your whole site banned from Reddit indefinitely.

Reddit has become an increasingly common source for articles on the Web, so it’s natural that it would outline norms for writers to abide by. Understanding the rules for specific sub-reddits and the community at large can be confusing for journalists who don’t spend a lot of time on the site, so this is a helpful start at helping the two parties understand each other.

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