Today’s Solutions: January 26, 2022

All too often, the premise of anonymity is abused by Internet users. Nearly anywhere you go on the web is susceptible to Internet trolls, and behind the mask of anonymity, some feel inclined to say things they would never say in person. But then there’s Reddit, the so-called “front page of the Internet”.

Reddit is the most anonymous site in the world, and yet, it has birthed a community of digital vigilantes who have perfected the art of checks and balances. If you’re not familiar with Reddit, it’s basically home to hundreds of thousands of chatrooms where people can write about specific topics that range from anything like Brutalist architecture to vegan cooking. So, what makes Reddits moderation so effective?

Every subreddit (chatroom) has a set of specific guidelines that are a tier below Reddit’s own policies, which apply across the board. Moderators on a subreddit dedicated to makeup, for example, decided the forum was for sharing new looks and getting feedback without harassment. Interestingly, users who comment on the photos without some feedback or specific comment about the look—but rather type a comment about how pretty the person in the photo is—get downvoted. That means their comment carries less weight and can even be voted down into the negatives, which hides the comment altogether.

Comments that are way off-topic or downright mean are simply removed by the moderators, which is highly impressive in the makeup community considering there are only 10 content moderators for the 1.6 million members subscribed to the subreddit. Bots take care of quite a bit of the moderating on Reddit, but the core of the work is done by humans who diligently enforce community guidelines to keep Reddit a safe space.

Reddit’s community of digital vigilantes is a beacon of light when it comes to moderating the sometimes-brutal Internet sphere. For a deep look into how Reddit perfected the art of moderation, take a look right here.

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