The social link-sharing site Reddit has been hugely influential in driving discussions (and Web traffic) since shortly after its debut in 2005. But only recently has it infiltrated the mainstream media. Part of that exposure was due to its wildly popular “Ask Me Anything” series which hit its peak when President Obama participated in one last August.

But on the heels of perhaps its greatest triumph, Reddit now faces its biggest controversy. Earlier this month, Gawker staff writer Adrian Chen exposed the identity of one of Reddit’s most vile users, a peddler of pornography, misogyny and gore known to his fellow Reddit users (or Redditors) as Violentacrez. In retaliation, some Reddit moderators banned Gawker links from portions of the site, resulting in an Internet-wide debate over free speech, anonymity, and public shaming.

But wait, what’s Reddit again? Our video explains.

(Written and filmed by Explainer Music. Edited by Craig Newton)

Lyrics:

Reddit started in 2005

As a place to share the images and stories you like

Others get to comment on and rate your posts

You’ll be on the frontpage with enough up-votes

 

The site’s divided into what’s called subreddits

Movies, sports, technology, and politics

There are many more on all types of things

From My Little Pony to spacedicks

By 2006 they’d made a big splash

And were bought by the publisher Conde Nast

Now that Reddit and New Yorker are on the same team

They shouldn’t have subreddits with barely-clothed teens

So jailbait was banned because it got bad press

Now everyone’s on reddit even Mr. President

But just when it was on an unstoppable roll

Gawker exposed its most infamous troll

 

Michael Brutsch, always courting scandal

A peddler of porn and gore who hid behind a handle

When Gawker exposed his identity

Many subreddits banned them, how’s that for free speech?

Reddit wants to protect identities

But today, who expects anonymity?

It makes you wonder what it takes to get banned

If we post this song, will they remove us for spam?