The Moderators of Popular Subreddits Should Be Elected
I have been using Reddit for about five years now. I think it is neat. I have used it as a site to promote literature videos, I have made whole short stories into individual subreddits, I have even encouraged other people in elite NYC media positions to consider it as a valuable tool when it comes to finding and promoting interesting content.

The users of Reddit are great. The only problem is that it has grown far too big for the moderators who "squatted" on popular subreddits years ago and now wield massive, unearned influence over subjects which they do not comprehend and do not deserve to curate.

Reddit is trying to position itself as a trustworthy source of news and information, as a "democratic" source of internet crowdsourcing. Reddit creator Alexis Ohanian is running for President of the Internet right now under the platform that he is "making the world suck less." Even President Obama sat down for a reddit AMA just last month.

But power corrupts.

Case in point, here's something that happened to me today.

Last night, I came home to my neighborhood in Jackson Heights and found a huge mob gathered in the street in front of huge projectors where they were all watching the presidential debates together. I thought it was cool so I took a couple of pictures.

I shared the pictures with my Fiction Circus audience on Facebook, and the response was so positive that I shared the picture on the "politics" subreddit, a subreddit with two million subscribers and a pretty vibrant and active discussion culture.

The post was crazily successful. In a few hours, I had hundreds of upvotes. I went to work (I am working right now as a cold caller for 1199-SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, doing "get out the vote" work), and when I left, the submission had over a thousand upvotes and seemed to be gaining even more momentum.

One poster even said the picture gave them chills.

People were proud to see Jackson Heights reprented so positively. They were proud to see the democratic process in action. They were proud to see true diversity and real political interest, which is exactly what I was proud of when I stumbled onto the scene in my neighborhood. You can read all the comments yourself, because I saved the link:

But when I got home from work, the post was gone from the politics page of reddit altogether.

I was confused. I thought there had been some mistake. I sent a message to the moderators:

"Hey, why did my post get cut from the page? It seemed like people really liked it and then all of a sudden it was gone."

Here was the only response I got, from a moderator with the handle "davidreiss666":

"We don't allow pics."

I checked their policies. It says the don't allow images, but I have certainly seen pictures on the reddit politics page before. The images restriction is there to stop memes. Keep in mind, this was a HIGHLY popular post and was about to make it onto the front page of reddit itself, "THE FRONT PAGE OF THE INTERNET."

"It doesn't say that anywhere," I wrote back. "It says you don't allow "images," unless they are infographics or cartoons. How do I report you?"

"Images and pics are the same thing. And neither is wanted here. Go away."

Clearly I was dealing with someone for whom power was a neat, new drug.

"Now you are harassing me," I wrote back. "Seriously. How do I report you? I am logging this. You know I am the editor of a magazine, right? Obviously that post was wanted by a few thousand people until it was unceremoniously censored."

Instead of receiving a civil reply, the little motherfucker simply banned me from r/politics altogether. I got a message that said:

"You've been banned from posting to r/politics: Politics."

And then he sent me this:

"You are not welcome here. We have rules. If you don't follow them, we will remove the submission. You are rude, and not welcome in this subreddit anymore."

So I wrote back:

"I am writing a fun article about you. You will see it tomorrow!"

SO. In a nutshell, I posted a picture of people from my neighborhood gathered in the street to watch the presidential debates.

I posted it to r/politics.

It was a successful submission. It was a wildly successful submission. It was the most successful reddit submission I have ever contributed.

It was deleted by one lone moderator named "davidreiss666."

When I asked why, and asked for some adjudication, I was banned from the politics subreddit altogether. The moderator considered my completely understandable frustration to be "rude."

I want "davidreiss666" removed from office. I don't want to take his place, but I want him removed. If I can be summarily banned for little to no reason, then at the very lest "davidreiss666" deserves a referendum on his or her competence.

Who's with me???

Posted by miracle on Thu, 18 Oct 2012 01:04:07 -0400 -- permanent link

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