Reddit is a huge community made up of thousands upon thousands of subreddits, and given that the website often claims the (self-given) title of being “the front page of the internet”, drawing around 110 million unique visits last month alone. So when something rocks that community, it can make a pretty big wave for its users and those who rely on those communities as a source of traffic and / or as a source of entertainment.
Out of the default subreddits there are but a few dozen default subreddits, this honour is bestowed on the best and most popular sections of the site, meaning that you’re automatically subscribed when you open a new account, or that the content from that sub is shown in the front page news feed for users who are not logged in, casual visitors if you will. However, due to recent actions of the moderators, Reddit.com have stepped in and removed /r/technology from the list of default subreddits. A similar action was taken against /r/politics a while back and visitor figures plummeted and any sites linked there also saw a big reduction in traffic, so this is a pretty big deal given that /r/technology is one of the most popular subs around.
Some of the moderators of the sub were using software to filter our keywords and remove stories, a common thing on many websites and especially on Reddit, but it’s the lack of transparency on the matter that raised some eyebrows. The AutoModerator bot was culling any content that contained the words anti-piracy, SOPA, NSA, Snowden, Bitcoin, CEO and more, meaning huge amounts of content were being filtered away, despite the obvious technology related nature of the topics.
“The mods directly responsible for this system are no longer part of the team and the new team is committed to maintaining a transparent style of moderation.” said Pharnaces_II, one of the subs community moderators.
“If you (/r/technology) can manage to look past your petty squabbles, add new moderators (there needs to be a significant increase in active mods), and function as a team we might consider adding you back.” added Reddit in relation to the banning.
The tool has been tweaked, the configuration page has been made publicly viewable and most of the moderators have been given the boot, with the ones remaining posting “We messed up, and we are sorry”. Unfortunately the whole situation seems too little too late and the community has been dealt a massive blow by the owners of Reddit. It’s going to take a lot of effort to repair.
Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.