In a recent post, the moderators of Reddit’s IAmA community announced that they will no longer be involved in seeking and organizing ask me anything (AMA) discussions with celebrities and well-known individuals. These AMAs have become a distinctive feature of Reddit, allowing regular users to engage with notable figures and ask them questions they might not have the opportunity to ask otherwise. The AMAs often provide intriguing insights and personal anecdotes, even though the individuals being featured often have some self-promotional intent. Occasionally, the entertainment comes from witnessing how AMAs take unexpected turns.
With over 22 million subscribers, the r/IAmA subreddit offers a potentially large audience for those seeking to promote their work or engage in discussions with the Reddit community. However, now that the moderators will no longer actively collaborate with notable individuals and their teams, it will be more challenging to verify the authenticity of the featured person during an AMA.
According to the post, the unpaid volunteer moderators have immediately ceased the following activities:
Active solicitation of celebrities or high profile figures to do AMAs.
Email and modmail coordination with celebrities and high profile figures and their PR teams to facilitate, educate, and operate AMAs. (We will still be available to answer questions about posting, though response time may vary).
Running and maintaining a website for scheduling of AMAs with pre-verification and proof, as well as social media promotion.
Maintaining a current up-to-date sidebar calendar of scheduled AMAs, with schedule reminders for users.
Sister subreddits with categorized cross-posts for easy following.
Moderator confidential verification for AMAs.
Running various bots, including automatic flairing of live posts
The moderators explained that going forward, they will allow most AMA topics, leaving it up to the community to verify and request proof, while their role will be limited to removing rule-breaking content. They clarified that this doesn’t explicitly mean they will allow fake AMAs, but users will need to be more attentive to ensure authenticity.
The lead moderator of the community mentioned a significant change: they are retiring their IT infrastructure and bots, including a website used for scheduling AMAs and submitting verification information, which is now offline. The decision to take down the website was primarily due to a lack of interest from team members with the technical skills needed to maintain it.
According to the moderator, they informed Reddit about this outcome on June 1st, mentioning it as a likely result. This message, however, did not receive a response.
The moderators referred to a 2015 New York Times op-ed they wrote when they temporarily shut down the community in protest of Reddit’s firing of Victoria Taylor, who played a crucial role in assisting with celebrity AMAs. The op-ed expressed concerns about management’s changes without considering the impact on the community and the moderators who contribute their time to fostering engaging communities.
The moderators clarified that their decision to step back was not influenced by recent protests against Reddit’s new paid API pricing and treatment of moderators who made their communities private. They stated that they do not believe these actions will significantly improve the situation.
The moderators acknowledged that their change in approach may negatively affect the community, but they emphasized that Reddit’s leadership has the necessary resources to hire people for the tasks they were previously undertaking as volunteer moderators. They expressed willingness to collaborate with Reddit if the company chooses to do so.