Reddit explains that the bans are being issued to sites which are "spammy, malicious, or involved in cheating shenanigans", and users that submit links to any of the sites are displayed with an error message which explains that the site has been banned. According to The Verge, Reddit general manager Erik Martin has explained that the bans will be temporary, to serve as a warning. Currently, the banned list reads as follows:
When links to those sites are posted, the message "theatlantic.com is not allowed on reddit: this domain has been banned for spamming and/or cheating" appears. While Reddit's explanation of why sites are banned includes "spamming", it's not entirely clear what that means, as the concept itself is a grey area on the site's FAQs. To shed a little more light on that, Forbes decided to speak to The Atlantic. Came the response:
"Reddit contacted us earlier this year with concerns that a member of our staff was submitting Atlantic stories in violation of Reddit's guidelines for content promotion. We took steps to address the problem. Reddit informed us Tuesday that some irregularities have recurred and that, as a result, the site is temporarily banning submissions with The Atlantic's domain. We take this issue very seriously and are looking into it further.
"We at The Atlantic remain big fans of Reddit and the kind of internet it represents."
One suspects, however, it will be a bigger fan once its domain is no longer banned. All in, it's an interesting move by Reddit, and sends out a clear message that fair play is highly valued on the website -- as, they would surely argue, it should be across the entire internet. [Reddit, Forbes, Verge]