Reddit initially removed the moderators responsible for the recent protests, but later reinstated some of them

Reddit initially removed the moderators responsible for the recent protests

Reddit has suspended moderators who changed the labels of their subreddits to “Not Safe for Work” (NSFW), making them unavailable for advertisers. However, some of these moderators have now been reinstated.

In response to the recent protests on the site, Reddit began removing moderator teams that had switched the labeling of their communities to NSFW. This labeling not only applies an age gate for desktop viewers and restricts access on mobile devices to logged-in users in the Reddit app, but it also prevents ads from being displayed. This affects Reddit’s ability to monetize these subreddits, which is an important aspect of their efforts to charge apps for using the API. One example of a subreddit that went NSFW was r/MildlyInteresting, following the lead of others like r/interestingasfuck and r/TIHI (Thanks I Hate It).

In an interview, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman stated that the vast majority of Reddit users contribute and are monetized through ads or Reddit Premium, questioning the justification for subsidizing a small group that labels communities incorrectly. Reddit spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt confirmed that moderators incorrectly marking a community as NSFW violated both the Content Policy and Moderator Code of Conduct, but declined to comment on whether Reddit had removed the mods.

Following the publication of an article, a moderator from r/MildlyInteresting that the entire moderation team had been reinstated by a different administrator than the one who initially removed them. The moderator’s account, which had received a 7-day suspension, was also reversed. Another commenter identifying as an r/MildlyInteresting mod confirmed the team’s reinstatement and unsuspension.

When asked to confirm the reinstatement, Rathschmidt declined, emphasizing that he would not disclose every action Reddit takes to ensure user access to their communities. However, it remains unclear how removing an entire moderation team without communication helps users access their communities, especially considering the limitations imposed by Reddit itself.

According to a post in r/ModCoord (moderator coordination), the moderators of r/MildlyInteresting proceeded with changing the subreddit to NSFW after a user vote. However, soon after the switch, the former r/MildlyInteresting mod who wrote the post was logged out of their account and locked out. It became evident that Reddit-employed administrators were involved in the situation, leading to the removal of the entire moderation team from the subreddit before being reinstated later.

While r/MildlyInteresting regained its moderators, other subreddits that went NSFW and lost their mods on Thursday, such as r/interestingasfuck, r/TIHI, and r/ShittyLifeProTips, are currently unmoderated.

The removal of moderators represents a significant action by Reddit against these unpaid volunteers who dedicate extensive time and effort to managing these communities. Some moderators expressed concerns after receiving messages from the company last week, indicating that moderators who didn’t work to reopen their communities would be replaced. Now that this action has become a reality, it could have massive effects on these affected communities.