Reddit's New Rewards Program in Response to Community Concerns


Reddit has recently introduced the "Mod Helper Program" as part of its efforts to support and reward moderators who provide valuable assistance to their fellow moderators. This move comes amidst a backdrop of increasing tension between Reddit and its moderators due to the discontinuation of third-party apps that were utilized by many moderators. These apps were shut down due to changes in Reddit's API pricing, prompting moderators to request improvements to the official app's moderation tools.

The new Mod Helper Program operates on a tiered system, granting trophies and flairs to moderators who offer helpful insights and advice. Reddit users accumulate karma through upvotes and awards, with karma potentially decreasing from downvotes. The program particularly recognizes moderators who receive upvotes on their comments within the r/ModSupport community.

The moderator support team announced that comment karma earned within r/ModSupport will lead to unique trophies and flairs that indicate the moderator's status as a valuable information source. The ranks range from "Helper" to "Expert Helper." This initiative parallels a similar program launched earlier in r/help, aimed at rewarding users who amass karma by assisting other users' inquiries.

In an official statement posted in r/ModSupport, Reddit administrators expressed their acknowledgment of the platform's complexity for both new and experienced moderators. They emphasized the significance of shared knowledge among moderators, highlighting that the program aims to celebrate the spirit of mutual support and collaborative learning.

Furthermore, Reddit has introduced the Modmail Answer Bot, designed to automatically provide relevant links from the Help Center in response to inquiries. If the provided articles don't address specific requests, the bot generates a ticket for human administrators to handle. This tool aims to streamline the handling of moderator requests, allowing the administrative team to focus on more intricate matters.

To enhance accessibility and availability of support resources, Reddit is integrating the moderator-specific Help Center with the site's broader Help Center.

Recent months have witnessed strained relations between Reddit and its moderators. In June, over 8,000 subreddits staged a 48-hour shutdown to protest the new API pricing, causing the CEO's comment referring to the protesters as a "minority" to stoke further backlash. The relationship tension is exemplified by Reddit's removal of moderators who refuse to reopen their subreddits, leading to the takeover of once-thriving subreddits by inexperienced users.

Criticism has been directed at Reddit's delayed rollout of moderation tools that previously existed in third-party apps. Some updates have been deemed unwieldy and inaccessible. Despite Reddit's exception for accessibility apps benefiting blind users, in-app moderation tools remain inaccessible for blind moderators. The most recent accessibility update was fraught with bugs, aggravating the situation.

The response to the peer-to-peer helper program has been mixed within the r/ModSupport community. Some users expressed concern that automated support might hinder access to help from real individuals. Others noted that the subreddit's purpose was to engage with administrators rather than fellow moderators.

While some Reddit users welcomed the Mod Helper Program, others expressed frustration with the lack of comprehensive moderation features in the official Reddit app. Moderators' requests for tools like ban evasion support and direct assistance from administrators were highlighted. Some users questioned the efficacy of the flair-based reward system, suggesting that humorous comments might disproportionately lead to the "Expert" flair.

In response, a Reddit admin stated that the product teams are actively addressing moderators' concerns and will be implementing improvements to mobile features. They emphasized their role in advocating for moderators' needs to the product teams and how automating certain tasks allows them to allocate more time to intricate issues and prioritize tool development.