Former reddit mod interviewed – details of admin/mod relations, “unofficial” power structure, and threats of child pornography accusations

listen to 9:30 for the next 2 minutes if you don’t want to listen to the whole thing

10:30 – “I was told if I released this I would be marked as someone who was helping in the distribution of child pornography on Reddit.”

The guy made a firefox/chrome addon that would encrypt PMs, modmails, and even image posts, and that was the response of the admins.


There are multiple “levels” of mods, unofficially, depending on the size of the subreddits they moderate and the goals they have as a moderator. The “higher” mods have frequent interactions with admins, via IRC. Admins will ignore doxxing and harassment of mods who do not follow the instructions of admins, i.e. what content is removed from their subreddits.

The mods who are not in the “special circle” are not going to know the circle exists, so if asked about “secret” meetings with admins, they’re going to deny them.

The mods who have “free reign” over their subreddits are those who share common goals with the admins. If you have a goal of something the admins don’t particularly care for (such as /r/netsec, encrypted communication, etc.) , then the admins will helicopter over the subreddit, watching for content that might get popular, to shut it down quickly.

Obviously, admins can remove any content at any time from any subreddit, however mods can view a list of any deletions done by admins. The guy in the recording claims content removed by admins from his subreddit(s) did not show up there, so it is evidently not functioning, either intentionally or otherwise.

Going back to the private IRC chats, there are multiple “tiers” of private IRC rooms and servers. It’s all about making the mods feel as though giving information up the ladder will get them something – more respect, more access to “private” chats, etc.

Some insight from /r/conspiracy mod /u/AssuredlyAThrowAway:

Note that the mod who was interviewed and “fired” wrote this about us.

And when he opens his soundcloud interview talking about a mod threatening to sue reddit I’m pretty sure he was referencing our good friend bipolarbear.

For the most though, the way the hierarchy is described is correct.

Keep in mind that there are some mods who have lived and worked IRL with Ohanian and Erik Martin; they’re the inner circle. Mot likely working for their PR firm, Antique Jetpack.

Then there are some mods who have been around for so long that they’re let in on some of the “secrets”.

Then there are other groups of mods who have also been around for a while, but don’t get to be privy to the “secrets”.

The most important thing for the mod inner/outer circles is secrecy. They hate leaks and they don’t associate with anyone who values community input. There is 100% an “us vs them mentality” amoung those type of mods.

There are some groups of power mods who oppose the agenda of the admins and inner circle mods, but they are always 1 step away from being ousted. The /r/technology situation was an example of the inner mod types (agentlame and davidreiss) battling with the outsider mod types (q, maxwell, anu). There is one admin, in particular, who will remain nameless, who’se job is basically keeping track of these various mod factions and making sure the admin friendly groups stay in control.

Don’t even get me started on people like VA and PIMA, boh of whom turned on the insider mods and paid a very high price for it.

People call the internal politics of the reddit meta high school like; but it’s really a lot more intense than that moniker would lead one to believe.

So all in all, take xaviermendel’s comments and perspective with a grain of salt, but he does have some good insight.
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