Now that you have a Reddit username and are subscribed to a few subreddits related to your business, it is time to learn how Reddit works. This article will equip you with a basic understanding of how Reddit works, how it is different from other social media platforms, and how you can avoid getting banned.
Fundamental concepts of Reddit
1. Reddit is made up of communities
Most social media platforms are based on “channels” that are controlled by a single content creator. For example, when you subscribe to a YouTube channel, there is usually a single person or company controlling and publishing that channel’s content. On Reddit, you subscribe to communities instead of channels. These communities are called “subreddits” and are dedicated to a specific topic or type of content.
We call the communities because they are places where groups of people gather around a topic, share content and interact with each other. In a Reddit community, anyone can submit content.
The important thing to keep in mind is that your success on Reddit will depend on your ability to contribute value to communities.
2. Subreddits are democratic
Whenever a new post is submitted to a subreddit, any Reddit users that are browsing the subreddit can vote the submission up or down. The posts with more upvotes rise to the top of the subreddit, and posts that receive downvotes move down.
In addition to voting, the age of content also plays a factor.
So if two submissions have the same score (score = upvotes – downvotes), the newer submission will be placed above the older one. The democratic nature of subreddits means that the communities themselves mostly determine success on Reddit. Unlike other social media platforms, there are no “influencers” with large followings that can help your content go viral.
Above are two posts submitted to /r/Marketing. We upvoted the first post, which highlights the up arrow and score in orange-red. We have downvoted the second post, which highlights the down arrow and score in periwinkle. Note that the downvoted post has a lower score and therefore appears below the upvoted one, even though it was posted more recently.
3. Each subreddit is unique
Every subreddit is different, not only in what topics are discussed but also in the types of accepted content that perform well. When you are engaging a new subreddit, it is your job to learn the community’s rules and culture. A deep understanding of the subreddit will allow you to create content that the community loves and generates positive results for your business. Breaking a subreddit rule is the quickest way to have your post removed or even trigger a ban of your account.
For example, some subreddits do not allow links from certain websites, and other subreddits require you to make your submission in the form of a question. Pay close attention to all of the subreddit rules for every subreddit you engage. The rules for a subreddit can be found in the sidebar. They will either be listed directly in the sidebar or a link to a “wiki” page where the rules are listed.
Assignment 2.1 – Choose a target subreddit
In the first article, you subscribed to three subreddits related to your business. You can view the subreddits you are subscribed to by logging into your Reddit account and clicking on the following link https://www.reddit.com/subreddits/mine/.
Take a few minutes to review the front page of each subreddit you are subscribed to. Browse the content to get a feel for the type of content that is being submitted in each community. After reviewing each subreddit, choose the one that you think is most relevant to your business and has an active community.
In the forthcoming articles, you will focus on this subreddit as you learn more about how to contribute value on Reddit and leverage your contributions. We suggest you bookmark the front page of your chosen subreddit so you can easily access it for future assignments. To complete this assignment: review each of the subreddits you are subscribed to, select one to focus on, and bookmark it so you can easily return to it for future assignments.
How banning works on Reddit
Your participation in this step-by-step guide significantly reduces your chances of getting banned; however, it is important to understand how banning works, how to avoid getting banned, and what you can do if you are banned.
The Shadow Ban
When a user is “shadow banned,” their account seems completely functional, but they are invisible to the rest of Reddit.
Reddit utilizes shadow bans primarily to deter spammers or anyone that is behaving like one. Instead of outright banning a spam account, which gives the spammer a clear signal that the account is no longer useful, a shadowban silently bans the account. It makes it harder for the spammer to detect if the account is still useful. The most likely reason for a non-spammer to be shadowbanned is for posting too many links in a short period of time. If you follow our advice, you will never be shadowbanned for posting too many links.
However, you could be shadowbanned by mistake. We are not exactly sure why accidental shadow bans happen, but sometimes an account will be shadowbanned automatically by the system even though they did nothing wrong. If you notice that your posts and comments are not receiving replies or being voted on, log out of your account and visit your user page: http://reddit.com/user/your_username_here. If you get a “page not found” error, that means your account has been shadowbanned.
If you think it was an error, you can message the administrators by visiting the contact page and clicking on the “message the admins” link https://www.reddit.com/contact/. The admins are fairly good about responding to legitimate requests to be unbanned. Still, it could take a few days before they get back to you, so be patient. Another option is to create a new account and forget about the banned account. If you are still new to Reddit and do not have much of an account history, this is the simplest option.
The Subreddit Ban
Unlike shadow bans, which are site-wide bans controlled by algorithms and the Reddit administrators, Moderators have the ability to ban users from subreddits they moderate. When you are banned from a subreddit, you will get a message from the moderator(s) that details the ban’s length and possibly the reason you were banned. Like shadow bans, a subreddit ban usually happens when a user breaks either a Redditwide rule or a subreddit-specific rule multiple times. In the picture below, you will see a sample version of a subreddit ban.
However, rules are interpreted differently, and some moderators are extremely aggressive when it comes to banning. Sometimes users are banned simply because they are expressing dissenting opinions and not actually breaking a rule. Like any type of power, it can be abused. When you receive a subreddit ban, the best thing to do is simply wait until the ban ends, especially if it has a short duration.
If you think a ban is excessively long or unwarranted, you can try messaging the moderators to apologize, admit your mistakes, and explain your side or ask questions. Chances are this will not cause a moderator to lift a ban, but they might shorten it. While unlikely, another moderator may see your case and overturn the ban.
Assignment 2.2: Learn Reddit’s policies, etiquette, and rules
A preventative strategy works best when it comes to bans. This means understanding the Reddit-wide rules and the rules of the subreddits that you participate in. For today’s assignment, read the following to brush up on Reddit’s rules and the rules of
your target subreddit:
1. Reddit’s Content Policy
3. The sidebar of your target subreddit (look for “Rules,” “FAQs,” or links to a “Wiki”)
In general, you are likely to avoid a ban if you are being a good community member and not causing trouble with dissenting content that threatens the moderators of a subreddit.
Our best advice is to take things slow. As you spend time in your target subreddit, it will become clear what behavior types are accepted. To complete this assignment: read Reddit’s Content Policy, Reddiquette, and rules of your chosen subreddit.