It is extremely important for all marketers to fully understand the role of moderators on Reddit. Moderators can kill your ability to participate in their community and they can also help you gain attention with their subscribers. Because of this we always respect the moderators and aim to build positive relationships with them.
Recently, we were fortunate it enough to get in touch with Reddit moderator /u/noeatnosleep who, at the time of this interview, moderates over 60 subreddits. We asked him some questions about his experience as a moderator and his responses provided valuable insight into the mind of a moderator and what they do to keep Reddit clean.
Interview with /u/noeatnosleep
Q: How did you get started moderating on Reddit?
A: I started moderating a few years ago in a very small subreddit named /r/BitcoinBeg. /u/allthefoxes took a chance on me, and I’ve never looked back!
Q: What subreddits do you currently moderate? How many hours per week do you spend moderating?
A: I moderate 60-some odd public subreddits. I probably spend 30 to 40 hours a week moderating, maintaining my Reddit-focused website (noeatnosleep.me), and working as an admin on a Reddit IRC network (snoonet.org). As far as recognizable names, I moderate 4 default subreddits and some larger subreddits: /r/politics, /r/history, /r/gadgets, /r/Futurology, /r/listentothis, /r/battlestations, /r/motorcycles, /r/subredditoftheday, and /r/texas.
Q: What do you like about moderating?
A: I only moderate communities I’m interested in. You’ll notice a theme through my subs; sociopolitical discussion, motorcycles, and tech. As far as what I specifically enjoy about the job; I really enjoy being a gardener and cleaning out the bad weeds and bugs in subreddits that I’m passionate about. Getting rid of trolls and spam is a joy for me. When I’m finished for the day I can stand back and admire the clean and functioning subreddit, something a lot of people take for granted. I consider moderating a glorified janitor’s job, and there is a unique pride that janitors have.
Q: What do you dislike about moderating? Or what parts of the job do you wish you could automate?
A: Well, I do automate a lot of what I don’t like to do. I have various bots and scripts that work as traps and/or alarms in various situations. These are almost always tied to some sort of manual approval and verification. Most of these tools are home-made, but Reddit does supply a little of this.
Q: What common mistakes do you see other moderators making?
A: Becoming personally heated and/or unprofessional when users goad them. Users will pick and pick at you. At some point you have to decide that this is a job and you are not going to let it get to you.
Q: What can redditors do to make your job as a moderator easier?
A: USE THE REPORT BUTTON AND MODMAIL! Please, if you notice something fishy or downright wrong, hit the report button and send a modmail. If you see users breaking rules, do either/or. Those tools are a HUGE help to moderators, and every user on Reddit has access to them!
Q: Reddit AMAs have become a popular marketing strategy. What are the most common mistakes you see users making with their AMAs?
A: Being overly blatant about marketing. I’ve seen people include a link to the thing they’re promoting in every response. This is bad form and will get you lots of bad exposure here. Also: Consistently bringing the conversation back to whatever you’re promoting. If you’re doing an AMA, it means exactly that. ASK ME ANYTHING. Lots of users will be curious about many aspects of you and/or your projects, at very least, humor them.
Q: What advice do you have for someone that wants to do an AMA?
A: Realize that this is community involvement and not a billboard you’re paying for. You’re going to get marketing value out of this, but please, please, please, engage the community and make them love you. It’s best for the community and your marketing scheme. Also, message the moderators and ask questions if you’re not sure about anything. EasyAMA.co has just about all the information you could need to post an AMA, but some subreddit moderators may have additional requests or information.
Q: Besides AMAs, what successful ways have you seen companies engage and contribute value to the communities you moderate?
A: Giveaways. Giveaways that aren’t tied to something specific. Enter your name on a google form and you could win! You get exposure, people love free stuff, and you’re not harassing someone to retweet you. (Note: It is against the rules to do a giveaway in /r/IAmA, always check the subreddit’s rules before submitting an AMA)
Q: What do you want redditors to know about moderating that they probably are not aware of?
A: Almost all of us are normal people with normal jobs and normal thoughts. I work 60 hours a week and moderate in the cracks between working. My job is somewhat reactive so I have lots of time, but a lot of moderators only have a few hours per day to devote to the subreddit. Be nice to them and be patient and they’re very likely to be accomodating.
Q: What positive and negative effects has moderating had on your life?
A: It has given me new eyes to see what being a customer service rep is like. All of those people you call on the phone? Yeah, that’s what it’s like being a moderator most of the time. You often answer the same questions over and over and get screamed at by people who don’t understand the rules… you sit there thinking ‘Man, I’m just doing my job. The rules are right there on the sidebar!’ and it can weigh on you after a while. Side note: Don’t try to use your mod position to impress women. It doesn’t work. I haven’t tried it, but I’ve seen the aftermath. 😉
Thanks to /u/noeatnosleep for answering our questions and giving us insight into what it is like to be a Reddit moderator. He has a great listing of Reddit tools on his website that we encourage you to check out at noeatnosleep.me/tools.