30 votes

Moderators of Reddit, tell us about your experiences in fostering quality discussion and content (or failures to do so)

Since the moderator community here is quite large, I figure we would have quite alot of interesting perspectives over here in Tildes. Feel free to chip in even if you're not a moderator, or god forbid, moderate such subs as T_D. Having a range of perspectives is, as always, the most valuable aspect of any discussion.

Here are some baseline questions to get you started:-

  • Did your subreddit take strict measures to maintain quality ala r/AskHistorians, or was it a karmic free-for-all like r/aww?

  • Do you think the model was an appropriate fit for your sub? Was it successful?

  • What were the challenges faced in trying to maintain a certain quality standard (or not maintaining one at all)?

  • Will any of the lessons learnt on Reddit be applicable here in Tildes?

35 comments

  1. [21]
    nacho Link
    The biggest issue facing large communities in my experience, is the lack of people who want to moderate them, and the abuse those mods face leading them to quit. That leaves a less than ideal...

    The biggest issue facing large communities in my experience, is the lack of people who want to moderate them, and the abuse those mods face leading them to quit.

    That leaves a less than ideal group of people moderating the largest communities. They're the only ones who put up with the abuse.

    A lot of people with real skills (like programming automod in creative ways to limit false-positives while weeding out junk, or policy for making good rules or decisions, say) duck out because they've got skills that they can put to other use without all the abuse.

    I think a lot of people underestimate how vastly more terrible reddit would be without the tremendous volume of filth mods and their scripts remove. Especially the subreddits with bad reputations as it is.

    Reddit has a hate, discrimination and civility problem. All the other English-language large social media sites have rules against the most vile stuff. Reddit does not. That means all those folks group up on reddit. It's become the core, vile demographic that chases away others. They're pervasive in all subreddits, from pictures of cute animals to the most controversial communities. Everywhere.

    24 votes
    1. deadaluspark (edited ) Link Parent
      This is all very true. I mod /r/media_criticism, which originally was supposed to be a place to discuss Marshall McLuhan or Guy Debord, but its been flooded by partisan jerks, half of which spend...

      This is all very true.

      I mod /r/media_criticism, which originally was supposed to be a place to discuss Marshall McLuhan or Guy Debord, but its been flooded by partisan jerks, half of which spend all their time claiming our sub is just an extension of /r/the_dumbfuck, despite all three active mods leaning heavily leftist, and the other half spends their time accusing us of pushing "cultural Marxism."

      As a mod, you get shit on from all sides, all the time.

      13 votes
    2. [5]
      Tenlock Link Parent
      Would anonymous moderating solve this? Meaning, the identity of mods would be hidden from users. Their actions would still be logged and visible for transparency, but the names would only be...

      The biggest issue facing large communities in my experience is [...] the abuse mods face leading them to quit.

      Would anonymous moderating solve this? Meaning, the identity of mods would be hidden from users. Their actions would still be logged and visible for transparency, but the names would only be visible to Deimos and possibly other mods. Admittedly I haven't thought this through at all so I'm sure there are holes to poke...

      Edit: This might also cut down on power-seeking mods to some degree. There isn't much glory in anonymous modding, so it'd mainly draw users who simply want to help the site.

      9 votes
      1. [4]
        Kiloku Link Parent
        I've seen subreddits with accounts named like "SubredditMod", which would be a way to anonymously moderate. OTOH, this can result in transparency problems, at least on Reddit, since the moderation...

        I've seen subreddits with accounts named like "SubredditMod", which would be a way to anonymously moderate. OTOH, this can result in transparency problems, at least on Reddit, since the moderation log isn't public

        3 votes
        1. [4]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [2]
            Tenlock Link Parent
            It wouldn't be 100% anonymous. Deimos and the other mods would know.

            Their actions would still be logged and visible for transparency, but the names would only be visible to Deimos and possibly other mods.

            It wouldn't be 100% anonymous. Deimos and the other mods would know.

            4 votes
            1. z3r0f14m3 Link Parent
              Not only that but if there was shady practices going on then you could see that a lot of posts had been removed about a specific thing rather than just the post to another community some time...

              Not only that but if there was shady practices going on then you could see that a lot of posts had been removed about a specific thing rather than just the post to another community some time later claiming they were removed without proof.

              2 votes
          2. musicotic Link Parent
            That was my first thought. A lot of mods do their abuse behind the scenes & it's often only found out by the victims and/or other moderators. /u/demmian, /r/asktransgender mods, etc

            That was my first thought. A lot of mods do their abuse behind the scenes & it's often only found out by the victims and/or other moderators. /u/demmian, /r/asktransgender mods, etc

            1 vote
    3. [11]
      starchturrets Link Parent
      I've always heard of the pervasive hate on reddit, and in some cases, I can see it with help from r/againsthatesubreddits, but could you please give me some examples of vile comments on pictures...

      I've always heard of the pervasive hate on reddit, and in some cases, I can see it with help from r/againsthatesubreddits, but could you please give me some examples of vile comments on pictures of cute animals? Is hate also rampant in r/pics and r/aww?

      (Forgive my ignorance.)

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        Diet_Coke Link Parent
        I don't know about r/pics or r/aww but I've seen some racist shit posted in r/showerbeer when a biracial couple posted. I reported it and messaged the mods and they did nothing. The comment had a...

        I don't know about r/pics or r/aww but I've seen some racist shit posted in r/showerbeer when a biracial couple posted. I reported it and messaged the mods and they did nothing. The comment had a positive karma score and only one or two people bothered to say anything to the user who made it.

        I was told in my local subreddit that because I believed the women when several women accused a local bar owner of assaulting them with the same MO, and would not go to that bar anymore, that I was essentially in a lynch mob. You'd think they were constitutional scholars with how much they love waxing lyrical on the phrase 'innocent until proven guilty'. The same folks thought it was within the bounds of civil discussion to suggest running over BLM protesters during a highway blockade. Or countless other racist posts and 'jokes'.

        14 votes
        1. [2]
          z3r0f14m3 Link Parent
          Not sure if this breaks rules or not but mind posting a link to the comment? I browse shower beer because I like boobs and beers and have not really seen anything that would raise an eyebrow. That...

          Not sure if this breaks rules or not but mind posting a link to the comment? I browse shower beer because I like boobs and beers and have not really seen anything that would raise an eyebrow. That sub just doesnt seem like something that might be infiltrated to post hate speach and if they are willingly ignoring such things I will join with you in reporting the shit out of things like that.

          I can see them setting their automod and really focusing on negative statements towards the body types and forgetting that there is a minority that hates minorities lol.

          Also, I browse my local subreddit and it is not representative of my area at all. Most of the posts are by one or two guys that focus on the worst parts of town and its a small battle that happens via PMs for the most part. I prefer to argue independently so they dont feel like I am ganging up on them.

          1 vote
          1. Diet_Coke Link Parent
            I'd send you a link, but it's been a while. That's why I mentioned it though, showerbeer is a pretty light and frothy subreddit. The mods don't really do anything, except Signal_Drop who they seem...

            I'd send you a link, but it's been a while. That's why I mentioned it though, showerbeer is a pretty light and frothy subreddit. The mods don't really do anything, except Signal_Drop who they seem to have brought on to clean up the creepy gw style comments.

            1 vote
      2. [5]
        39hp Link Parent
        They’ve been taken down now, but I’ve seen instances where a sub will decide to flood r/aww with photos of Hitler’s dog with a title like, “She loved my grandpa so much.” r/oldschoolcool would...

        They’ve been taken down now, but I’ve seen instances where a sub will decide to flood r/aww with photos of Hitler’s dog with a title like, “She loved my grandpa so much.” r/oldschoolcool would occasionally get flooded with photos of Idi Amin with titles like, “My grandpa who fought the system,” or Eva Braun with, “My great aunt being cool af.”

        Not hate per se, but the lowest grade of trolling that fills otherwise sincere subs with trash.

        7 votes
        1. [4]
          PopeRigby Link Parent
          Hitler had a dog? That makes me kind of sad. That's really too bad such an evil person would have a dog.

          Hitler had a dog? That makes me kind of sad. That's really too bad such an evil person would have a dog.

          1 vote
          1. OptimalBasis Link Parent

            Homer: I want to tell you about the most wonderful place in the world: Doggie Heaven. In Doggie Heaven, there are mountains of bones, and you can't turn around without sniffing another dog's butt! And all the best dogs are there, Old Yeller, and about eight Lassies.
            Bart: Is there a Doggie Hell?
            Homer: Well... of course, there couldn't be a heaven if there weren't a hell.
            Bart: Who's in there?
            Homer: Oh, uh... Hitler's dog... and that dog Nixon had, what's his name, um, Chester...
            Lisa: Checkers.
            Homer: Yeah! One of the Lassies is in there, too. The mean one! The one who mauled Timmy!

            4 votes
      3. [2]
        musicotic Link Parent
        /r/Jokes constantly has jokes about transgender & nonbinary people.

        /r/Jokes constantly has jokes about transgender & nonbinary people.

        5 votes
        1. z3r0f14m3 Link Parent
          I am not saying you are wrong. I just want you to post the most recent. I browse my FP quite a bit and havent seen that much. Im outing myself quite a bit to the guy that invited me to this site...

          I am not saying you are wrong. I just want you to post the most recent. I browse my FP quite a bit and havent seen that much. Im outing myself quite a bit to the guy that invited me to this site by saying I am Bi and I havent seen shit that seems anti LGBT within the jokes that make the FP.

          If you have something that has lasted more than a couple hours than I will join your fight. In my exp so far though /r/jokes has been /r/dadjokes for far too damn long.

          EDIT: Not sure if asking for posts from another site is against the rules. I said that in a recent post as well. Just saying this right now in case its against the rules and I am burning bridges.

          1 vote
    4. [2]
      Barskie Link Parent
      It's interesting to draw parallels in your argument to Tildes. This site, by its very nature (if it ever goes big), will require strict moderation to maintain the stated goal of high quality...

      It's interesting to draw parallels in your argument to Tildes. This site, by its very nature (if it ever goes big), will require strict moderation to maintain the stated goal of high quality discussion. At the same time, the limited number of tildes means that each tilde will be a large community on it's own, almost akin to the default subs of reddit.

      These are two key factors you mentioned above that would cause skilled moderators to leave their position. In your opinion, will Tildes face similar issues with moderation?

      5 votes
      1. IfaqYurmama Link Parent
        Tildes will definitely face issues scaling up, I'm curious how it will be tackled and how much room moderators of "autonomous" Tildes will have for "developing" their communites. If the reddit...

        Tildes will definitely face issues scaling up, I'm curious how it will be tackled and how much room moderators of "autonomous" Tildes will have for "developing" their communites. If the reddit side-wide rules were enforced by the admins it would be a great model, if the theory could be carried over into practice on Tildes it would be the best way to go imo.

        4 votes
    5. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      Yep. I moderated /r/AskHistorians for about 9 months before I burned out from the abuse and quit. Happily, the mods there took me back when I crawled back 6 months later, after destressing and...

      the abuse those mods face leading them to quit.

      Yep. I moderated /r/AskHistorians for about 9 months before I burned out from the abuse and quit.

      Happily, the mods there took me back when I crawled back 6 months later, after destressing and learning how to distance myself a bit more from internet abuse.

      But you have to develop a very thick skin if you want to moderate a large or high-profile subreddit. You become a target for some very nasty people.

      3 votes
  2. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. Batcow Link Parent
      I feel like that rule would yeild a lot of false positives if applied blindly. There's a lot of power hungry people out there but there's also a lot of good people who probably just want to help out.

      I feel like that rule would yeild a lot of false positives if applied blindly. There's a lot of power hungry people out there but there's also a lot of good people who probably just want to help out.

      6 votes
  3. clerical_terrors Link
    I only saw a relatively small segment of the larger Reddit moderation community, so I'm coming from a limited degree of understanding. But these are some of my own feelings on the matter, for what...

    I only saw a relatively small segment of the larger Reddit moderation community, so I'm coming from a limited degree of understanding. But these are some of my own feelings on the matter, for what it's worth:

    • At some point the amount of traffic, becomes so large that a more "personal" approach to moderation is no longer tenable. There's a deeper question buried in there about whether or not you actually want your mods to have some degree of relationship with the users but eventually the quantity of busywork simply no longer allows them to interact in the same way as before.
    • As the number of users (and as a corollary mod actions) scales transparency becomes more and more difficult, and moderation decisions more opaque. Information asymmetry between regular users, long-time users, and mods increases. Abusers prop up with more frequency and providing too much transparency allows them to skirt the rules more regularly, but too little transparency and your regular users may feel like mods and users are no longer on the same wavelength. Most of this is because a lot of users don't see the actual work being put in or the issues facing the mod team or don't know what has or hasn't been tried to resolve it, so any discussion starts out with different assumptions and theories.
    • Prolific community members do not automatically make good mods, if moderation is also a degree of community management then soft skills and willingness to consider issues critically and objectively are far more useful then any long list of quality replies or submissions.
    9 votes
  4. Algernon_Asimov Link
    This is too funny: the first subreddit I moderated was /r/AskHistorians. :) I've moderated a few different types of subreddits since then: /r/PoliticalDiscussion for a few months; /r/Australia for...

    Did your subreddit take strict measures to maintain quality ala r/AskHistorians, or was it a karmic free-for-all like r/aww?

    This is too funny: the first subreddit I moderated was /r/AskHistorians. :)

    I've moderated a few different types of subreddits since then: /r/PoliticalDiscussion for a few months; /r/Australia for a while; /r/Help for a couple of years; /r/DaystromInstitute for 5 years and counting.

    Some have had very strict moderation approaches, like AskHistorians and Daystrom. Some have been more middle-of-the-road, like Political Discussion and /r/Australia. /r/Help was a bit more lightly moderated, where the moderation consisted more of me writing AutoMod code than dealing with trouble-makers.

    I personally tend to avoid the free-for-all subreddits. I'm an activist moderator, so I would never want to be on a hands-off moderation team. I was/am a good fit at AskHistorians and Daystrom because their insistence on high-quality, in-depth, insult-free discussion aligns with my personal preferences.

    Do you think the model was an appropriate fit for your sub? Was it successful?

    Their different approaches work (mostly) for the different types of subreddits they are. I found that the political ones (Political Discussion and /r/Australia) were the worst ones to moderate - people just can't seem to hold back from making political arguments personal. Terms like "libtard" and "conservatard" were tossed around quite freely. And, then, when I moderate someone for insulting another person, they insist that it's my political bias showing through: I've been a right-wing sympathiser and a left-wing sympathiser, and a fascist and a socialist. It just depends on who I pulled up most recently.

    What were the challenges faced in trying to maintain a certain quality standard (or not maintaining one at all)?

    AskHistorians was the epitome of this. The purpose of the subreddit is right there in the name: "Ask Historians". However, some people interpreted this as "Ask anyone who ever took a high-school history class or watched a historical documentary once, and can half-remember a historical factoid." When you tell someone their uninformed, half-baked, shallow response isn't up to scratch, they get offended. They feel like they're entitled to answer a question just by virtue of having seen it.

    Then there were the people with agendas: the racists, the bigots. One of their favourite tricks was to post leading questions, and then argue with the answers. For example: "Why didn't Africa develop civilisation?" was a good Trojan horse question for racists who wanted to make their point that Africans are stupider than white people.

    Will any of the lessons learnt on Reddit be applicable here in Tildes?

    One thing I learned from comparing /r/DaystromInstitute to /r/StarTrek: start out with the standards you want to have. It's a lot harder to raise standards than to lower them. Once a certain type of culture has embedded itself, it's almost impossible to root it out. At one point, /r/StarTrek tried to impose stricter conditions on posting images because they were starting to dominate the subreddit (this is about the time that we created Daystrom). They basically had a user revolt on their hands. It was an extremely painful process to shift the subreddit from looser standards to tighter standards. Meanwhile, we never had a problem like that at Daystrom, because we'd started out with very tight standards. People knew from Day One what they were getting into. Some people who turned up later assumed they could do stuff on Daystrom that they could do elsewhere on Reddit but, by that time, the culture of Daystrom was already set in place - and these people were told quite firmly by other Daystrom members that they needed to get their act together or get out. We moderators still had our job to do, but the members supported what we did, rather than fought it.

    That's my biggest lesson: start out as you mean to go on.

    8 votes
  5. dredmorbius (edited ) Link
    In larger subs, as a user, the overwhelming drowning of signal in noise. Even well-moderated subs (AskScience, AskHistorians) see frustratingly little, and generally low-effort, interaction. As a...

    In larger subs, as a user, the overwhelming drowning of signal in noise. Even well-moderated subs (AskScience, AskHistorians) see frustratingly little, and generally low-effort, interaction.

    As a moderator of several smaller subs, generating traction and return-engagement (long-term sustained discussion) on posts, plus numerous redesign issues. Covered several times over the past 5 years or so, and with little if any improvement:

    I'm planning on moving my activity elsewhere, in process.

    7 votes
  6. IfaqYurmama Link
    The core two things I moderate against is off-topic discussion and insults. I don't remove comments as long as they're voiced in a civil way. Since people from both sides of the isle sometimes go...

    The core two things I moderate against is off-topic discussion and insults. I don't remove comments as long as they're voiced in a civil way. Since people from both sides of the isle sometimes go beyond the line I frequently get called Nazi and Commie on the same day. As for specific types of content or narrow content definitions I usually let the community decide (either via up- and downvotes or if that doesn't work via polls).

    Being that I moderate a political subreddit the hate I see is quite more extreme there than in other places but I feel like our strict rules against this at least help to tackle the issue a little bit.

    3 votes
  7. cheer Link
    I moderate a 100k+ subscriber video game subreddit. We try to promote higher quality posts by not allowing low-effort content to be posted to the subreddit. We'd monitor the /new queue to make...

    I moderate a 100k+ subscriber video game subreddit. We try to promote higher quality posts by not allowing low-effort content to be posted to the subreddit. We'd monitor the /new queue to make sure that no low-effort memes make it out alive.

    It's a weird situation though, because the game series is effectively over, which means we're sort of in a permanent "off-season" mode. There's less original discussion to have since there's no new material, and most posts are either people playing the games for the first time or fan art.

    The policies we used for moderation worked very well back when the series was more active, but over time, I've found them to be less impactful. That said, we still restrict low-effort posts and I think it does make an impact on the type of posts that people make to the subreddit.

    As for challenges, the only real challenge is making sure that I'm objective in removing things considered "low-effort." It's difficult to quantify "effort" and I'd hate for people to think their post is only allowed or not based on favoritism.

    3 votes
  8. musicotic Link
    /r/NeutralPolitics (and subsequently /r/NeutralNews) uses a very strict moderation method by removing low-effort comments and requiring sources for all statements of fact. I think that it's a very...

    /r/NeutralPolitics (and subsequently /r/NeutralNews) uses a very strict moderation method by removing low-effort comments and requiring sources for all statements of fact.

    I think that it's a very successful method in fostering high-quality content (see user feedback).

    3 votes
  9. [6]
    Torgine (edited ) Link
    /r/Steam moderator checking in. I’ll answer in order. I’d say we’re about 50/50 on that scale, we don’t allow low effort memes but we do allow “fluff” which is basically shit-posting and the likes...

    /r/Steam moderator checking in. I’ll answer in order.

    Did your subreddit take strict measures to maintain quality ala r/AskHistorians, or was it a karmic free-for-all like r/aww?

    • I’d say we’re about 50/50 on that scale, we don’t allow low effort memes but we do allow “fluff” which is basically shit-posting and the likes but just a bit higher in quality.

    Do you think the model was an appropriate fit for your sub? Was it successful?

    • Honestly, and I speak for myself, I think that it isn’t a huge success at all. Sub’s still the same as it was. Sure, no more low-effort “big guy vs one [insert adjective] boi” memes but the fluff posts are still dangerously close to being low-effort stuff.

    What were the challenges faced in trying to maintain a certain quality standard (or not maintaining one at all)?

    • Challenges... well for starters, getting people to read and adhere to the sidebar rules. The average Mod queue consists of FAQs, Support Questions and Frequently Posted Bugs though we do get scammer reports and baseless accusations here and there (people actually think that we’re offical Valve employees working Tech support).

    • Continuing from the last point. Another challenge is the nature of /r/Steam itself. It’s a subreddit for a platform, how the hell does one make, let alone hold, a high quality discussion? At least if it was say /r/TrueGaming then it’s a bit easier because unlike them, /r/Steam is too “narrow”.

    • Lastly, we seem to have different opinions of what constitutes as a “meme”, hence we are not very consistent removals wise. Some of us would let a few posts slide while the others would remove every last one of them on sight. That, coupled with “fluff” posts really muddies the whole thing up.

    Will any of the lessons learnt on Reddit be applicable here in Tildes?

    • Apart from “not being a dick”, not really though I will say this. Tildes has the scent of Reddit but it is still a different beast due to the generally higher quality of discussions. and the fact that we do not know whether Tildes is going to be fully public or gated. So experience can be transferred but it’s not going to be 1:1.
    3 votes
    1. [5]
      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      It will be fully public. It's gated for now, to keep the rate of growth manageable while there are no active moderation tools and only one admin/mod. But it will eventually be open to all.

      we do not know whether Tildes is going to be fully public or gated.

      It will be fully public. It's gated for now, to keep the rate of growth manageable while there are no active moderation tools and only one admin/mod. But it will eventually be open to all.

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        Torgine Link Parent
        Ah. Though the community is still split ain’t it?

        Ah. Though the community is still split ain’t it?

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
          I don't understand what you mean, sorry.

          I don't understand what you mean, sorry.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Torgine Link Parent
            There were discussions a while back regerding the matter where some prefers Tildes to be gated while others prefer Tildes to be open. How’s that now?

            There were discussions a while back regerding the matter where some prefers Tildes to be gated while others prefer Tildes to be open. How’s that now?

            1 vote
            1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
              Oh. I get it. Yes, some people have said they would prefer that Tildes remains gated. However, Deimos has not said that his intentions have changed, so I assume the plan is still to make Tildes...

              Oh. I get it. Yes, some people have said they would prefer that Tildes remains gated. However, Deimos has not said that his intentions have changed, so I assume the plan is still to make Tildes fully public at some future time.

              Lots of people are saying lots of things about what they want and don't want from Tildes, but it's ultimately Deimos' decision: it's his website and his vision.

              2 votes
  10. cain Link
    I have moderated /r/sports 5 years and in that time we went from 80 thousand to almost 14 million subscribers so I might be able to speak on how growth changes things like what is bound to happen...

    I have moderated /r/sports 5 years and in that time we went from 80 thousand to almost 14 million subscribers so I might be able to speak on how growth changes things like what is bound to happen to tildes

    Did your subreddit take strict measures to maintain quality like r/AskHistorians, or was it a karmic free-for-all like r/aww?

    Strict all the way, or at least we try, we do our best to remove any joke or meme posts, I'd say well over 50% of what makes it past our super strict automod to the /new page is removed by a mod anyway, we go hours without a new post that we don't delete due to being low effort. Which is pretty crazy for a sub of our size.

    Do you think the model was an appropriate fit for your sub? Was it successful?

    I think it was appropriate. I'd take one or two quality posts from our sub hitting /r/all a day over a ton of low effort meme posts and similar content like some other of the 'default' subreddits became. As far as successful I'd say mostly. One or two a week slip by because we really only have 1 or 2 active mods and I'm the most active by far currently and I have to sleep sometimes. And those posts tend to rise quickly when it's a nice, easy, low effort joke to send to the top.

    What were the challenges faced in trying to maintain a certain quality standard (or not maintaining one at all)?

    People don't like when you remove their low effort meme post that is sitting at the top of /r/all, the backlash is pretty hard because of course, all moderators are satan and literally nothing should be remove whatsoever because the votes decide what is quality, right?
    And to be honest we could handle it better, I'm sure some of you know some of the juicy drama that has come out of the /r/sports mods. I wasn't around for a few years so I missed all the drama thankfully but it is still brought up a lot. We honestly ignore 99% of the 'why did you remove my post' modmail because it is really tiring to explain over and over, so we could work on that but we won't honestly.

    Will any of the lessons learnt on Reddit be applicable here in Tildes?

    I think so, as with any user-submitted content site you reach the point that you have to remove quite a few posts and people question why, as tildes grows we all know there will be obstacles along the way as far as backlash goes when it becomes public and people will inevitably treat it as a new reddit where jokes and pictures rise to the top. There really isn't a way to prevent it, just try to foster a community big enough that knows what content is expected here so when the floodgates open it's a bit easier to deal with. Moderation in some form is going to become a huge part of tildes or it will fail.

    3 votes