The New York Times's Adrian Chen reports on what happens when websites rely on unpaid labor to police their communities: trouble, such as Reddit becoming useless for days as the landscape of control shifts and cracks.
The moderator class has become so detached from its mediating role at Reddit that it no longer functions as a means of creating a harmonious community, let alone a profitable business. It has become an end in itself — a sort of moderatocracy in which the underlying logic of moderation has been turned on its head. Under the watch of its moderators, Reddit has become a haven for extremists: The Southern Poverty Law Center recently called it the new ''home on the Internet'' for white supremacists, and it also functions as the central organizing point for the dubious ''men's rights'' movement. For years, a moderator with the handle Violentacrez presided over an empire of execrable content on the site, including a hugely popular subreddit that shared sexualized photos of under-age girls, and another that glorified violence against women.
Boing Boing is moderated by supernatural creatures, which complicates matters.