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In response to the growing concerns and dissatisfaction among moderators, Reddit has unveiled the “Mod Helper Program,” a fresh initiative aimed at acknowledging and rewarding moderators who provide valuable assistance to their peers. Alongside this, an upgraded moderator help center has been launched.

The decision comes amidst an escalating sense of frustration among Reddit’s moderator community. This stems from the discontinuation of third-party applications due to Reddit’s API pricing adjustments, a move that disrupted many moderators who heavily relied on these tools. In light of this, Reddit has been under pressure to enhance its native app’s moderation capabilities, which have lagged behind the functionality previously offered by now-defunct third-party apps.

Tensions between Reddit and its moderators have remained palpable. The site’s administrators have taken the controversial step of removing entire moderation teams for opting to make their subreddits private as a form of protest against the perceived exorbitant and unsustainable API pricing. This move had garnered criticism from third-party app developers.

The “Mod Helper Program” introduces a tiered system wherein actively helpful moderators will be recognized through trophies and flairs. Accumulation of karma through upvotes and awards will be the yardstick for rewards, with the focus placed on upvoted comments in the r/ModSupport subreddit.

Specifically, comment karma earned within r/ModSupport will be translated into trophies meant to “showcase your role as a valuable information source for fellow moderators,” as declared by the moderator support team. The various ranks within the program, ranging from “Helper” to “Expert Helper,” offer distinct trophies and flairs. This follows a similar approach Reddit initiated in r/help earlier this year, which honored users amassing karma by assisting other users’ queries.

In a post on r/ModSupport, Reddit administrators conveyed, “The exchange of knowledge within the Reddit mod community is a potent force, benefiting both novice and adept Mods alike. This initiative is designed to not only commend exceptionally helpful and reliable Mods but also to foster a culture of collaborative learning, where moderators readily unite to share insights.”

In tandem with the “Mod Helper Program,” Reddit has introduced the Modmail Answer Bot. This automated feature supplies pertinent links from the site’s Help Center in response to queries. Should the suggested resources prove inadequate, a human admin will step in to address the issue. This automated approach is envisioned to streamline moderator requests, allowing the admin team to concentrate on more intricate matters.

To enhance accessibility, Reddit is amalgamating the moderator-specific Help Center with the broader site-wide resource hub, guaranteeing ease of access to support materials from a centralized location.

The relationship between Reddit and its moderator community has encountered growing strains in recent times. June witnessed over 8,000 subreddits going offline for 48 hours to protest Reddit’s new API pricing, effective from July 1. CEO Steve Huffman’s portrayal of these moderators as a “minority” led this blackout was met with further resentment. Moderators, who put in countless unpaid hours into managing the platform’s communities, found this statement dismissive. Consequently, Reddit has intensified efforts to quell the unrest by deposing moderators unwilling to reopen their subreddits. This shift has sometimes resulted in inexperienced users replacing established moderators, leading to the decline of formerly thriving subreddits.

Criticism has arisen regarding Reddit’s sluggish rollout of moderation tools once offered by third-party apps. The site’s updates have been deemed awkward and inaccessible. Despite making exceptions for accessibility apps crucial to visually impaired users, the in-app moderation tools remain inaccessible for blind moderators. The most recent accessibility update was marred by bugs and introduced new complications, according to a moderator from r/blind.

The reception of the peer-to-peer helper program has been mixed within the r/ModSupport subreddit. Some users raised concerns about the potential hindrance of automated support requests in receiving assistance from actual humans. They noted that the subreddit’s primary purpose was to facilitate direct discussions between moderators and admins, not just among moderators.

MapleSurpy, a Reddit user, voiced dissatisfaction with the lack of effective moderation features in Reddit’s official app. The absence of tools to combat ban evasion and the need for direct administrative intervention in handling problematic users were raised as key concerns.

A user also pointed out that the flairs within the program might not accurately reflect helpfulness and could inadvertently promote those who add humor rather than genuine support.

An admin, in response to user feedback, acknowledged that Reddit’s product teams are addressing the concerns raised by moderators and will be introducing mobile feature improvements. They emphasized their role as conduits between moderators and product teams, facilitating the prioritization of tools and features based on moderator needs. The admin emphasized that automating certain aspects allows them to allocate more time to complex issues and compiling moderator feedback for further development.

As Reddit endeavors to restore harmony with its moderator community, these recent initiatives signal a concerted effort to engage, recognize, and address the pressing needs of those who curate the platform’s diverse array of communities.