Liz Crocker, a Boston University graduate student in cultural anthropology, spends a lot of time on reddit. She’s one of 12 moderators for the 9.8-million subscriber /r/science, the main science subreddit. Crocker has been moderating /r/science for about a year and a half, and she also deals with the pages /r/EverythingScience, /r/BadSocialScience, /r/Anthropology, and /r/AskAnthropology. She spoke to Tech Insider about what it takes to be the moderator of a major reddit page. Here are a few things we learned about the behind-the-scenes world of the site:
1. SOMETIMES, BECOMING A MODERATOR REQUIRES A JOB APPLICATION.
While some smaller communities just require active participation as a moderation qualification, others are more stringent. "For /r/anthropology, you have to put examples of quality comments that you’ve made, or give them some kind of background, who you are, why you want to become a moderator, how many hours per week you can dedicate," she told Tech Insider. For /r/science, you’re required to have a least a Bachelor’s degree in science.
2. MODERATORS ARE ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NSFW COMMENTS.
During one recent AMA, she had to delete questions lobbed at a biological anthropology professor about pubic hair and worse. Any user can flag a comment for moderation, but Crocker tries to get to the worst ones before the AMA host has to see them.
3. THERE’S A BOT THAT SEARCHES FOR STAR WARS SPOILERS, AMONG OTHER THINGS.
Reddit has an “automoderator” that can filter out clearly off-topic or inappropriate content. Star Wars spoilers, for instance, automatically get removed. So do links to specific domains—like porn sites and sites known for flagrant pseudoscience.
4. MODERATORS HAVE AN ARMY OF HELPERS.
Crocker is one of 12 full-time /r/science mods (including a lead moderator who heads the team), but there are about 900 other part-time comment moderators who keep a lookout for violations, though they can’t make changes to the site.
5. OFTEN, MODERATORS SPEND A LOT OF TIME ON THE SITE . . .
"It’s something I do in between things, like waiting for a class or a meeting to start," she tells Tech Insider. "It’s always in the background." She does a lot of the work while on public transportation.
6. . . . BUT THEY AREN’T PAID.
All subreddit moderators are volunteers, and can’t accept any compensation for their work. It’s a labor of love, and moderators are able to take time away when their schedules require it.
[h/t: Tech Insider]