Neither Alexis nor I created reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen.
Looking past the fact that those things are intrinsically connected, I can't understand why anyone is concerned about free speech on Reddit when it has yet to succeed at facilitating the "open and honest discussion" its founders apparently wanted. With its favoritist voting system turning every discussion into a popularity contest and inconsistent moderation based on feelings and biases rather than a set of unambiguous rules, Reddit has never been anything more than an echo chamber for dedicated users to be able to stifle opposing views and bully users who dare to express them.
Regardless of what content its administration decides to allow or support, or whatever policy changes they may or may not make, Reddit's users inherently oppose free speech themselves by simply using the site as intended. To suddenly rally and act like you care about free speech is unabashed hypocrisy; you should never have been using Reddit in the first place.
Trying to apply the usual "do it yourself" attitude is probably why accessibility is a problem in the first place, especially since we're talking about a portion of users who legitimately can't do it for themselves. Programming for accessibility takes particular expertise and paying careful attention to the requirements I mentioned before. On top of that, if different developers and communities go off and do their own thing without striving for any real standards beyond the bare minimum requirements, it would surely be a nightmare for users who do need those features to go from one program to the next.
I certainly get that developers have limits, but putting accessibility features on the same chopping block as anything else based on user percentages is very short-sighted and the kind of cold, corporate-like response one might expect from Microsoft or Apple (ironic, then, that they readily provide those features). I'd hate to be the director who has to tell a vision-impaired user she isn't important enough or that there aren't enough of her kind to waste time and resources catering to.
It's less the ease of which you can get around the restrictions, more the fact that the restrictions exist in the first place and the public perception that they are necessary. Do you want your neighbors fingering you as a potential psychopath ready to snap and go on a mass murdering spree just because you had the sheer audacity to feel like you can do what you want with your 3D printer?
Really, all it's going to take is one news story about some nut who shot someone and just happened to have a 3D printer in his house - even if the gun he used has no 3D printed parts, the mere association is going to be enough to induce widespread fear. The media knows that blaming video games for violence doesn't resonate with people anymore, but 3D printers being such a new and exotic technology would make it a far more effective boogeyman if they decide to do so.
It is definitely distressing that the way a large portion of the global population is being exposed to 3D printing is with this "printable gun" scare. Now instead of seeing it for the fantastic technology that it is and spending creative energy finding beneficial uses for it, a lot of people won't be able to see it as anything but a dangerous device that needs to be heavily regulated for the sake of public safety. 3D printers should be something everyone will have in their own home within a decade, not something people will need a permit to use. Don't get caught buying extended magazines for your filament, or you might be put on a watchlist.
I'm usually the one calling foul when corporations use the "regulation stifles innovation" excuse, so having the tables flipped with this situation is vexing, to say the least.
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