Asif Youssuff

Reddit is Trying to Sow Division in Mod Teams. That's Because the Protest is Working

It is the weekend, and no one likes working on the weekend… but Reddit seems to have no issue making their teams do it.

A screenshot of a message from ModCodeofConduct on Reddit
Screenshot of a message from ModCodeofConduct. The message is reproduced below.


Hi everyone,

We are aware that you have chosen to close your community at this time. We are reaching out to find out if any moderators currently on the mod team would be willing to take steps to reopen the community. Subreddits exist for the benefit of the community of users who come to them for support and belonging and in the end, moderators are stewards of these spaces and in a position of trust. Your users rely on your community for information, support, entertainment, and finding connection with others who have similar interests. The ability to find and make these connections is incredibly important to many people and ensuring that active communities are able to remain stable and active (and open) is very important.

Our goal here is to work with the existing mod team to find a path forward and make sure your subreddit is usable for the community which makes its home here. If you are not able or willing to reopen and maintain the community please let us know.

Yep, the moderators of r/firefox, a relatively small subreddit at only 173k subscribers (a little over a million pageviews a month) got the dreaded note from u/ModCodeofConduct asking us to get back to work.

So your intrepid moderator team got to work – we opened Element (we’re not a Slack shop here – who am I kidding, it is Reddit, it’d be Discord), and we started hammering out a response to the ominous note. That may be where you are at right now, which is why this post is going to be quicker and dirtier than what you may usually see here.

The first response went fine. We had a pretty set idea of what we wanted to say, and we put together a skeleton pretty easily and sent it out.

Reddit’s (in its new visage of ModCodeofConduct) second response is the one that confounded us, though. We received it mere minutes after we sent our first response, which we had spent around 2 hours drafting. What did it say?

Is there anything specific you have concerns about? A lot of the communication we have done around this update has gotten lost in the shuffle or become confusing as it is spread between people by word of mouth.

Nothing unexpected. Damage control. Reddit has a one-sheeter for errant mod teams and it’s going to copy and paste some stuff to them. Mods are going to think “oh, Reddit is just misunderstood, we should reopen”.

This is actually where we stumbled. We had some copy written from other mod teams as a suggestion for our second response. We didn’t send the suggestion.

We felt that we needed to take the time to express our reasons for why we were protesting.

So we spent time discussing concerns that we had with reddit, with each other.

I actually realized as it was happening that we were being divided.

I said:

you know whats crazy? i was just saying that we were on the same page… but friends, this is TRULY stressful, and like i feel like we’re kinda breaking apart here on just writing notes

One of my fellow mods said “for sure, they’re making teams implode”.

I then suggested that we not worry too much about what we asked for - as a way to achieve unity:

i suggest this:

we dont need to remove anything

because concision is working against us reaching unity

this is a list of demands

they can do with it what they want

they will not accept them all

they may not accept any

there is no point leaving anything out


Which we generally agreed upon… until we didn’t.

Upon trying to get final approval on sending the response, we hit a snag. One of my fellow moderators had an issue with one of my concerns.

We ended up having a discussion that I had wanted to avoid.

This is scary stuff. The fact that Reddit is openly trying to promote moderators to top banana if they are willing to pledge fealty to Reddit makes being a Reddit moderator a scary job.

So is working on a weekend.

Which I was forced to do.

My tip right now is this.

Make your list of demands as long as you want. Do you think you are going to be able to make a difference when r/apple and r/pics and r/aww have had to fold in various amusing ways?

You just want to maintain the protest until one side blinks.

You don’t want it to be your side.

So put whatever you want in there.

But don’t let that stop you from responding, or to lead you to breaking up, either.

That conversation I ended up having to have with my team?

I lost it. We removed that from our list of conerns.

But we survived as a team.

Ready to fight another day.

Thousands of subreddits are down.

Reddit’s revenues are down.

John Oliver supports us.

There are options.

We can get paid. Or you can leave.

This is your moment.

Don’t let Reddit break your team apart. Do the right thing for what matters.

Have a great weekend.

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