Reddit faced a problem with content quality after it recently replaced some moderators. Ars Technica writes about the situation and its possible consequences.
The problem arose after Reddit announced an increase in API fees in the spring. The platform’s decision angered the subreddits, so they announced a protest. As a result, many of them went private.
In response, Reddit began to put pressure on moderators who had set their communities to private, demanding that they reopen them. Eventually, Reddit began taking control of some protest subreddits and removing their moderators. For example, this happened to the subreddit r/malefashionadvice.
Now that many moderators have been removed, the question of the quality of content on the subreddits they were in charge of has arisen. For example, questionable posts have appeared on r/canning, which publishes canning tips. This happened after Reddit removed two moderators with high educational degrees from the site in the summer. The current moderators allegedly lack experience, so they may miss dangerous advice. And this threatens human health.
“My biggest fear with all this is that someone will follow an unsafe recipe posted on the sub and get badly sick or killed by it,” said one of the former moderators anonymously.
A similar situation applies to the r/homeautomation subreddit, where you can find tips on home automation. Its former moderator is also concerned about possible dangerous misinformation, especially when it comes to electrical issues.
Instead, the new moderator of this subreddit claims to be interested in home automation. However, he believes that knowledge of the subject area is not critical for proper moderation.
“A moderator on Reddit is probably rarely an expert on the topic they’re moderating over. Instead, they’re a passionate member of the community that sees the value in sharing information between community members, and we’ll all work together to make sure someone doesn’t touch a live wire,” he said.
Meanwhile, Reddit assures that its content policy prohibits many types of harmful content and other forms of content manipulation. They also drew attention to the platform’s approach to moderation.
“…users and moderators are empowered to set and enforce the rules of their own communities, which can be even stricter than our Content Policy. Users are also empowered to “upvote” and “downvote” content, which affects how visible a piece of content becomes,” noted at Reddit.
As a reminder, the Reddit pricing protest started in June.