We’ve written about Reddit, the uber-popular (but still sort of niche) social bookmarking site and message board before: they were the first to find Julian Assange’s OKCupid profile, but have also been known to get nasty if they think you’ve done them dirty. Today they’re in a helpful mood, attempting to assist a recent mugging victim in the search for his assailant. It’s a classic story of nerds uniting to bring down a bully. Will it work?
The post, created this afternoon, is titled, “Reddit I got Jumped and left for dead. Can you help me?” Just two hours later, it has nearly 300 comments. Here’s the sad tale:
Last Thursday night I went out drinking with my roommate. Walking between bars we were jumped, robbed and left in the street bleeding. I spent all of Friday in the hospital and most of this week working from home. Today I got three or four different calls from people telling me I’m on the news. http://www.wtvr.com/news/wtvr-youtube-beating-richmond-va-20110127,0,2641041.story Apparently the guys who did it filmed it and put it on youtube. I’m looking for some Reddit magic. I sustained a pretty good concussion and have no memory of this at all. I’m looking for any information on the people who did this to me and my roommate. Even things that seem trivial such as what their t-shirts say would help. The cops have this plus a little more footage, but as of yet nothing with a decent picture of a face. Help me reddit, you’re my only hope.
Right away, Redditors got to work. Because the awful, idiot mugger posted a video of the crime on YouTube, savvy viewers have already been able to glean details about his identity. The most helpful comment so far comes from the user madzanta, who noticed an icon for “Doughman Media,” what appears to be a music production business, on the YouTube video.
From there, the user was able to track down a Facebook page, YouTube channel, email addresses and even a business address.
This sort of online vigilante justice is touchy. Quick to play judge and jury, Redditors may be overeager in their attempt to avenge a fellow user, jumping to conclusions and using circumstantial evidence. But if any bit of info these tech stars can glean help real law enforcement to track down the perpetrators of this brutal beating, then tally another point up for team Reddit. We’ll keep an eye on this one.