Welcome to Reddit — The Site Where The Mods Hate You and the Votes Don’t Matter

Reddit moderators have been naughty, and recently released chat logs highlight their shenanigans and censorship



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 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

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