Reddit Is Forcibly Removing Some Big Mods Over NSFW Protests


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In the wake of sitewide protests, ostensibly over some API changes but really about an increasingly corporate squeeze of a historically community-run site, some Reddit moderators have decided to hit CEO Steve Huffman in the only place it seems to hurt: the site’s wallet.

Following a disastrous round of press interviews where it became clear that mass blackouts were not changing the CEO’s mind regarding the possibility of killing third-party apps, mods from some of Reddit’s biggest communities decided to switch their subreddits over to NSFW (Not Suitable For Work.) This is a toggle normally reserved for stuff like porn and, crucially, a type of subreddit that Reddit can’t show ads on, and so can’t make money off.

Some of the communities making the switch included r/MildlyInteresting, r/TIHI (Thanks I Hate It) and r/interestingasfuck. It’s a clever move (plus it’s more legal than ransoming the company with stolen data), and one that shows the lengths mods are going to protest Huffman and his team’s actions, but it’s also one that Reddit says violates their “Content Policy and Moderator Code of Conduct”. As a result, and as The Verge report, these mods are now finding themselves “logged out of their account and locked out” by “a Reddit admin account”, and their subreddits—with millions of members—are showing up as being completely unmoderated. Those former mods have also seen their accounts suspended for seven days.

It is incredibly funny to see the lengths Huffman and his staff are going to here. They’re in such a panic about their profit margins—and more importantly in their case, potential future share value--that they’re ignoring the fact Reddit’s entire worth is built on the back of unpaid labour. The site is literally nothing without its users (providing “content”) and mods (working for free), something that’s allowed the site to become one of the biggest gaming hubs on the internet (among many other things.) And Huffman is out here worried about ad revenue, from which none of those users see a cent? He’s basically sending the message that he’d rather leave whole communities unmoderated than put up with some protests.

The internet has wrought many perils on our civilization, but the one thing it has been good for is helping publicly record just how stupid these CEOs really are.

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