To our users, AMA guests, and friends,

You may have noticed that, in spite of our history of past protests against Reddit's poor site management, this subreddit has refrained from protesting or shutting down during the recent excitement on Reddit.

This does not imply that we think things are being managed better now. Rather, it reflects our belief that such actions will not make any significant difference this time.

Rather than come up with new words to express our concerns, I think some quotes from the NYT Editorial we wrote back in 2015 convey our thoughts very well:

Our primary concern, and reason for taking the site down temporarily, is that Reddit’s management made critical changes to a very popular website without any apparent care for how those changes might affect their biggest resource: the community and the moderators that help tend the subreddits that constitute the site. Moderators commit their time to the site to foster engaging communities.

Reddit is not our job, but we have spent thousands of hours as a team answering questions, facilitating A.M.A.s, writing policy and helping people ask questions of their heroes. We moderate from the train or bus, on breaks from work and in between classes. We check on the subreddit while standing in line at the grocery store or waiting at the D.M.V.

The secondary purpose of shutting down was to communicate to the relatively tone-deaf company leaders that the pattern of removing tools and failing to improve available tools to the community at large, not merely the moderators, was an affront to the people who use the site.

We feel strongly that this incident is more part of a reckless disregard for the company’s own business and for the work the moderators and users put into the site.

Amazing how little has changed, really.

So, what are we going to do about this? What can we change? Not much. Reddit executives have shown that they won't yield to the pressure of a protest. They've told the media that they are actively planning to remove moderators who keep subreddits shut down and have no intentions of making changes.

So, moving forward, we're going to run IAmA like your average subreddit. We will continue moderating, removing spam, and enforcing rules. Many of the current moderation team will be taking a step back, but we'll recruit people to replace them as needed.

However, effective immediately, we plan to discontinue the following activities that we performed, as volunteer moderators, that took up a huge amount of our time and effort, both from a communication and coordination standpoint and from an IT/secure operations standpoint:

  1. Active solicitation of celebrities or high profile figures to do AMAs.
  2. 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).
  3. Running and maintaining a website for scheduling of AMAs with pre-verification and proof, as well as social media promotion.
  4. Maintaining a current up-to-date sidebar calendar of scheduled AMAs, with schedule reminders for users.
  5. Sister subreddits with categorized cross-posts for easy following.
  6. Moderator confidential verification for AMAs.
  7. Running various bots, including automatic flairing of live posts

Moving forward, we'll be allowing most AMA topics, leaving proof and requests for verification up to the community, and limiting ourselves to removing rule-breaking material alone. This doesn't mean we're allowing fake AMAs explicitly, but it does mean you'll need to pay more attention.

Will this undermine most of what makes IAmA special? Probably. But Reddit leadership has all the funds they need to hire people to perform those extra tasks we formerly undertook as volunteer moderators, and we'd be happy to collaborate with them if they choose to do so.

Thanks for the ride everyone, it's been fun.


The IAmA Moderator Team (2013-2023)

Comments: 554 • Responses: 19  • Date: 

EllingtonElms439 karma

People underestimate just how much work goes into keeping a place like this tidy. They might not always agree with how it's run, but I think they'll miss it when it's gone.

All good things, I guess.

weech86 karma

I have been an active user here for over 15 years. The level of effort mods especially those on high profile subs like AMA put in is mind boggling, I wish you all were scaling back even further than you are. But I understand it’s a delicate balance: pull back too much and compromise integrity too greatly, and they are more likely to just replace you with other mods.

smacksaw25 karma

Let's say they do.

Is there an endless supply of people out there who want to responsibly moderate a subreddit?

You're going to end up with the Internet Research Agency and shills/bots/wumao running subreddits. No one else would want to do it.

IAmAMods29 karma

There really isn't unfortunately. It's not like we don't actively recruit for moderators regularly. It takes hundreds of applications to find 4-5 solid mods, then a few months to train them, then half of them give up before the end of 6 months. Repeat every 6 months since there's always people leaving due to burnout.

twelveparsnips147 karma

I liked the IAMAs 10 years ago rather than today's IAMAs. It was just regular people with interesting jobs. Who the fuck knew a vacuum cleaner expert would be so interesting?

IAmAMods184 karma

Regular people with interesting jobs still do great AMAs all the time! Unfortunately the reddit algorithm doesn't do a great job of surfacing them to frontpages anymore, but if you scroll through the subreddit you should still be able to see some good ones.

Flashwastaken68 karma

Does this mean that anyone can host an AMA without verification?

IAmAMods153 karma

No, we still ask that people follow our rules about what topics are allowed. As moderators, we won't be checking proof closely on every post ourselves like we used to, but if users report something as rule-breaking we'll still take it down.

Head_Crash60 karma

This is really how all mods should be responding to Reddit's changes. Just do the bare minimum going forward.

If Reddit wants to maintain its value it's going to have to make some concessions.

IAmAMods51 karma

I respect the mods who are actively protesting and wish them success. I just don't think it will work.

adcurtin33 karma

Didn't reddit used to have someone on their payroll that did a few of those listed activities? Was it Victoria?

IAmAMods81 karma

Victoria did a lot of it, and more recently they had another staff member who helped out a ton with AMAs. Unfortunately they were in the latest round of layoffs a few weeks ago.

Jadziyah25 karma

Thank you all so much for what you've done. Your passion and dedication to what this sub brings is abundantly clear, so this must have been an extremely difficult decision. Hopefully Reddit sees that when all of your volunteer work falls into their lap. Hopefully 🤞

IAmAMods67 karma

Unfortunately I doubt they'll care. The fact that our words from 8 years ago still ring just as true today says something about their culture and how it hasn't changed at all.

This isn't a protest to get them to change their behavior, because we don't think they're capable of changing. This is just us adapting and saying we won't do certain things that benefit them anymore.

AnExoticLlama19 karma

hey, don't you love how AMA is a registered trademark of reddit despite them putting 0 effort into the management of them and reaping all the rewards

IAmAMods15 karma

Oh yes love that.

karmanaut18 karma


IAmAMods15 karma


MyDadIsALotLizard10 karma

Why even bother removing anything? Just stop moderating.

IAmAMods8 karma

Some subreddits have tried this, but I'd prefer not to get removed entirely.

yuriydee7 karma

This is actually a very reasonable way to “protest”. Better than the other mods that hold subreddits “hostage”. All the points listed are exactly what made this specific sub more interesting (and by default reddit as well). Now there is a chance it will lose that interesting aspect without the extra work the mods used to put in for free. No more free publicity for reddit on other parts of the internet.

IAmAMods24 karma

It's not a protest - we're not expecting change. Just simple cause and effect - we're no longer interested in the additional work when the admins constantly make it harder.

almostanalcoholic3 karma

I actually think this particular sub is important enough that reddit should invest in some full time employee(s) to work just on this sub to do the things the mods have been doing.

Not doing so would be a terrible business decision.

IAmAMods7 karma

Reddit has previously employed people to interface with our team and help with the work. They've all been laid off.

almostanalcoholic2 karma

I remember the whole Victoria saga, they didn't bring in anyone after that?

IAmAMods6 karma

Never in the same role, but they did have someone who helped coordinate AMAs. She was laid off a few weeks ago.

Crimefridge2 karma

I mean...

This isn't much different from a high profile inactivity which would give them the excuse to do mod elections.

I mean, hey, stand by your principles, just as long as you know what to expect

IAmAMods13 karma

We'll still actively moderate the subreddit, enforce rules, etc, just like any other actively moderated subreddit. We're just going to stop with the extras.

trisw2 karma

Ehh- does this effectively mean this sub is going back to what it used to be - before the PR machines got a hold of it? Where we got janitors and bakers and people with multiple body parts doing ama's and got to really find interesting things out vs just movie promoting spam?

IAmAMods6 karma

Not really. Those have still been happening. The big shift you noticed was when reddit removed the default-subreddit system. Previously, that system dumped even small posts from this subreddit and others onto the front page, where they could get attention and go viral and become those fun ones you remember. Without the default system, small scale posts here are competing with thousands of other subreddits and typically get lost - only big celebrities that people have heard of have a chance to front-page.

Spoomplesplz1 karma

Fucking burn it all down if you ask me.

Stop moderating. No auto mods. Let anyone post anything all over the website and see how the admins deal with that clusterfuck.

IAmAMods6 karma

It's been tried and the admins just remove the mods and bring in people who will do the bare minimum. So we're going to save them that step and do the minimum.

MisterWoodhouse-1 karma

Given how many contractors they just laid off, maybe they don’t have the money to pay folks for the incredible work y’all have done.

IAmAMods8 karma

Must have spent it all on coding NFTs and a broken video player no one asked for.

Malphos101-4 karma

Frankly if reddit admins are telling you specifically how to do your job then you mods need to unionize and lawyer up because its not volunteer work anymore, its unpaid labor.

If reddit admins tell you that you have to moderate subs in a specific way ("you must only allow IAMA posts in the IAMA sub and you must verify their identity" for example) then they are "determining how you work" and therefore are employers, especially since they run reddit as a for profit institution.

If reddit admins want to claim certain subs as "theirs" and demand mods moderate them exactly how they want then they need to start paying you as employees and stop pretending you are volunteers.

IAmAMods2 karma

Reddit admins are not telling us how to moderate beyond basic mod code of conduct expectations, which we'll still work hard to meet.

If that changes, your information is certainly relevant.

Igottamake-29 karma

Why don’t you just get new mods willing to do what you feel whatever work is necessary that you don’t want to do anymore? You’re saying you don’t want to do it anymore and nobody else can, either.

IAmAMods19 karma

We'll be recruiting new mods soon and if we can find any with the technical skills and willingness to take on this kind of project we'll absolutely let them do so.