I’m a little bit bitter. When news of my video last year broke, the story topped Reddit for at least 2 full days. Little did I know that during those two days, I was actually banned from the site because an automated spam filter decided I must be a spammer since I was focused on one topic. I say “little did I know” because when you’re banned from Reddit, they don’t tell you and everything appears as normal, but your posts aren’t visible to anyone but you. I figured it out a year later — a year’s worth of my posts there went down the memory hole.
When I figured it out and contacted Reddit’s admins about it, they fixed it and told me it was a mistake, but I got no apology and was told it could happen again. Sure enough, today I was doing an officially scheduled “Ask Me Anything” (a Reddit mainstay where people who have done something interesting are essentially interviewed by the community) to promote awareness of the public comment period now open regarding the TSA’s nude body scanners and my post was deleted, again silently. For hours I checked my computer for questions from the community to respond to before trying from another device to see that my post had been vaporized. I was told that my post was “mistakenly” deleted, but told to repost only if I didn’t include the words “We need your help.”
Reddit, your priorities are misaligned when photos of cats and AMAs with make-up artists dominate, but a civil rights advocate can only do an AMA if he doesn’t advocate. Your culture of silent bans and deletions unnecessarily make legitimate posters waste countless hours interacting with a site that will never post those interactions and making people feel like their contributions are of no value to your community. Please remove the ability of subreddit (forum) moderators to silent delete and remove the ability of the automated spam filter to silent ban. It’s worth a little more spam to avoid missing out on the contributions of your legitimate users.
Feel free to share on Reddit. 🙂