Freshly leaked chat logs from moderators at Reddit are showcasing instances of abuse of power and disregard for user-oriented systems in place at the site. Reddit had already been under fire in the past for removing users and content in heavy-handed actions, shadowbanning users and deleting tens of thousands of comments at the drop of a hat. Revelations from the recently-released chat logs reveal that some mods are in the habit of maintaining some very anti-user rule sets. Mods have gone as far as actively working to incite controversy and infighting amongst users of certain subreddits and ban criticism of management.

This stands in contrast to what Reddit is supposedly centered around: a website that lets users vote up or down content that they like or dislike, thus choosing what content they would like to see. Moderators are there to help organize and ensure the board runs smoothly. Increasingly, the subreddits on the site have turned into fiefdoms, walled up parcels of digital acreage ruled by the moderators who are working against the systems in place for the peasant user class. The chat logs from the moderator chat room highlight how anti-user some moderators have become.

These logs show a pattern of disregard on the site for its users, the lifeblood of a social platform like Reddit. More worrying is that the moderator who leaked these logs did so in an effort to protect himself from the harassment and threats he received for questioning this behaviour. These are all from a section of chat logs that span from May 2014 to February 2015 that were released by a former Reddit moderator, Xavier Mendel.


 Here we have an excerpt that punches a hole into the whole outside perception of what Reddit is about. The idea of users voting up content is funny to some of these mods, enough so to be an inside joke to the moderator chat room.


 Apparently Reddit is akin to Whose Line Is It Anyway? where the rules are made up and the votes don’t matter. You can see here what happens when one moderator posts his own content. Just delete submissions that come after it! Got to get it to the top somehow right?


That’s not very nice, but you could at least ask about what happened. Right? I would think that there would be questions about what occurred—issues about possible censorship maybe (given that the subreddit in the example above is r/news and that could have sensitive topics one would imagine). What happens when users question deletions?



I could understand the need for this if a post and its comments were getting really out of hand, but we have seen from past events that this sort of thing can happen on a massive scale. Moderators in some subreddits have actually put in place code to auto-block certain websites and people, including game developer Daniel Vávra.


So the users sit around and get laughed at, having become ineffective on a site built around the idea of them being the power behind what content they want. What do some of the mods do in their spare time at this point? They sometimes work with others to leak the private moderator mail (modmail) of other subreddit boards to incite drama.



They will also work to undermine the reputation of other subreddits using sockpuppet accounts to manipulate the perception of those areas. It makes you wonder how often false posts like this occur:



Reddit is a site that supposedly gives users a say in what they want to see and it has become influential over the years. I cannot express how disappointed I would be if I ran this site and had moderators that abused their powers, trolled their users, and organized their shenanigans in a chat meant for running the moderation of the site. If the folks who run Reddit are not ashamed of the actions of these mods, then I seriously question whether this site has its users best interests in mind.


If the votes don’t matter and the staff seems to hate you, why would you go?

Full text of the chat logs can be found here:

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Josh Bray
Josh has worked in IT for over 15 years. Graduated Broadcasting school in 2012 with a focus on A/V production. Amateur photographer with a passion to make things work... by any means necessary. Editor-in-Chief and do-er of tech things at SuperNerdLand