Reddit tells protesting mods that their communities “don’t” stay private

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By Webdesk

Reddit is pressuring moderators who have set their subreddits to private to reopen their communities this week, according to posts seen by The edge. The company has given moderators deadlines to draw up their reopening plans, but said they cannot remain closed.

The timeframes given generally indicate a deadline of sometime on Thursday afternoon. Reddit was vague on the exact fallout, but seemed to suggest it was the last warning phase.

“This community remains closed to her [millions of] members cannot continue” after the deadline, admin account (Reddit contributor) ModCodeofConduct wrote in a note to one of the largest Reddit communities that remains private.

“It won’t go on like this”

After a mod replied, ModCodeofConduct went even further. “[Millions of] members have lost full access to this community and will not remain so,” the account read. “Wanting to take the time to think about future moderation plans is fine, but it should at least be done in a ‘limited’ setting. This community will not remain private after the time we have allowed here for confirmation of plans.”

Speaking to moderators of another subreddit, ModCodeofConduct told them that “continued violation of [Rule 4 of the Moderator Code of Conduct] in the next 31 hours will result in further action.” Rule 4 of that document is ‘Be active and involved’. That subreddit has since reopened, albeit in an “archive” mode where new posts are automatically deleted.

Reddit has been urging protesting communities to reopen for weeks, telling them it would replace “inactive moderation,” “mods that destroy communities,” and “subreddit squatters” with active mods. While many subreddits have reopened as normal, some have switched from private, which prevents users from seeing posts in the community, to restricted, where content can be viewed but only certain users are allowed to post or comment.

Even if most users can’t post to a community, they can still see when they’re restricted posts (which has the added benefit of having any links from that subreddit that appear in Google’s search results actually helpful). But for the few who persist in private mode, it looks like Reddit wants to change that.

While the company said in a June 15 factsheet that it’s not “unilaterally reopening communities,” the new rhetoric could indicate that Reddit is re-evaluating that approach.

Reddit declined to comment.

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