Reddit is publicly extending an olive branch to the moderator community, which it has largely infuriated over the past few weeks. In a post Wednesday, a Reddit employee detailed outreach efforts by the company, including new weekly comment sessions, that it hopes can help mend ties with the social media platform and the more than 50,000 volunteer mods it supports. But as you might expect, mods remain skeptical.
The extension of an olive branch
A Reddit admin who goes by Go_JasonWaterfalls on the site and claims the title of Reddit’s VP of Community (Ars tried to confirm the identity of /u/Go_JasonWaterfalls, but Reddit spokesman Tim Rathschmidt declined to confirm the employee’s identity by name) recently admitted changing various hours of broken work and several thousand hours. API pricing protest forms on the site – and Reddit – which has responded to said protests by kicking several protesting moderators from their posts. The company has also offered controversial interviews with CEO Steve Huffman. Reddit also reportedly forced some subreddits that moderators labeled “not safe for work” as a form of protest (claiming they had taken member polls in advance) back to “safe for work” and threatened to forcefully reopen subreddit that had gone private in protest.
“So we’ve all been spending time on Reddit lately,” wrote Go_JasonWaterfalls. “And I’m here to acknowledge that, to acknowledge that our relationship has been tested, and to start the ‘now what?’ conversation.”
Noting that “Reddit’s role is to facilitate” and to give mods a platform they “can rely on,” including the necessary tools and resources, Go_JasonWaterfalls emphasized the need for “consistent, comprehensive, and direct communication” with mods before detailing on-the-ground efforts like the Weekly Mod Feedback Sessions.
The sessions will take place every Tuesday and Thursday through October and “continue in the future as valid,” the Reddit administrator said. Redditors must fill out an interest form to participate. Reddit can easily remove those who have inactive accounts or who it deems to be currently in violation of Reddit’s mod or content policies.
Go_JasonWaterfalls said that Reddit will share notes from comment sessions on the r/modnews subreddit.
Go_JasonWaterfalls also highlighted the Mod Council and Reddit Partner Communities programs, the upcoming monthly meeting for the Accessibility Feedback Group, and upcoming in-person events in the US, Brazil, Canada, England, France, and India.
Mods have low expectations
Meanwhile, modders, traumatized by the tumultuous past two months, have very low expectations of Reddit’s efforts. Ars spoke to some who have already participated in similar efforts, such as feedback sessions or the Mod Council, and claimed mixed results about Reddit making actual moves in response to mod criticism and suggestions.
“Reddit’s mod council in particular has been one where they’ll yo-yo whether or not they listen to moderators. Sometimes they listen, most of the time they don’t,” Alyssa Videlock, a mod for multiple subreddits, including big ones like r/tumblr and r/lgbt, told Ars.
Reddit is refusing to budge on nearly every mod request, which has included things like more accessible API pricing or more time to adjust to the new pricing for apps they rate, and an exception wider for applications used by users (including mods) with accessibility needs. Removing disturbing mods from Reddit has also helped erode the trust of the Reddit community.