What It's Actually Like to Be a Reddit Moderator

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What It's Actually Like to Be a Reddit Moderator

By Adrian Nita Published 1 day ago

It's easy to find a description of what subrreddit mods do. But here's a first-hand description of what being a Reddit moderator is actually like...

Reddit app on phone

When you think of Reddit, you might picture a website full of memes and funny videos. But there's a lot more to Reddit than meets the eye. In fact, Reddit is one of the most popular websites in the world, with millions of users and billions of page views every month.

And behind the scenes of every subreddit, there are moderators. These are the people who keep the subreddit running smoothly and make sure that the content is up to snuff.

So what's it actually like to be a Reddit moderator?

What Being a Reddit Moderator Is Actually Like

Well, I'm glad you asked. For starters, the job is a lot of work and can often be frustrating. But at the same time, it's also incredibly rewarding—being able to shape and influence an entire community is a huge responsibility but also very cool.

In short, being a Reddit moderator is a lot like herding cats. But it's also one of the most unique and interesting jobs you can have.

Here is what I've learned as a Reddit moderator...

1. Moderating Isn't as Easy as It Looks

photo of subreddit barista

I'm the moderator for r/barista, a subreddit for baristas and coffee professionals with over 70,000 subscribers. And trust me, it's not as easy as it looks.

There are a lot of moving parts to moderating a subreddit. From dealing with trolls and spammers to managing the community rules and keeping the conversation flowing, there's a lot to keep track of. And that's not to mention the fact that you're constantly juggling competing demands—from users who want more moderation to those who think you're being too strict.

But at the end of the day, it's all worth it when you see the community come together and build something special. That feeling is what keeps me coming back every day.

I'm glad that the r/barista community is a supportive and positive place for coffee professionals to connect and learn from each other. But it's not always easy getting there.

2. You Need to Be Prepared for the Worst

reddit mod reports

Being a moderator also means being prepared for the worst. Because no matter how well you moderate, there will always be those who try to ruin it for everyone else.

Trolls, spammers, and scams are all too common on Reddit. And while there are tools in place to help deal with them, they're often not enough.

So as a moderator, you always have to be on your toes, ready to deal with any problems that come up. That means learning how to respond quickly and effectively, no matter what situation you're faced with.

And be prepared. A lot of reports will come in from users who are upset about something, from people being trolls without realizing it to those who are deliberately trying to cause problems. It's your job to figure out if there is actually a problem or if they're just overreacting. From really weird questions to users who are just trying to stir up drama, you'll see it all as a moderator.

3. You Have to Be Willing to Make Tough Decisions

Speaking of tough situations, moderating a subreddit also means making tough decisions. And some of those can lead to heated debates among your fellow moderators.

For example, how strict should we be with the rules? Should we allow certain topics or types of content in our community? Should we ban certain users?

These are tough questions to answer, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. But as a moderator, you have to be prepared to make the best decision for your community, even if it means making people angry.

4. You Need to Be Able to Handle Criticism

young child crying

Of course, making tough decisions also means being prepared to face criticism. Whether it's users who disagree with you or fellow moderators who want to push their own agenda, moderating a subreddit can get pretty political.

And that means learning how to stay cool under pressure and handling any criticism that comes your way. Because ultimately, the only thing that matters is what's best for the community – even if people don't always like it.

In the subreddit, people ask for advice on how to improve their coffee skills. But sometimes, they don't like the answer they get.

Besides trolling and flaming, I also see a lot of people get upset when someone gives them tough love or honest feedback. It's not easy to tell someone that their coffee or skill isn't up to par, but sometimes, it's necessary. Usually, these comments get reported to me, and I have to take action.

But should you delete the honest comments? Or should you let them stand? Either way, you're going to upset someone. It's a tough call to make, but as a moderator, you have to do what's best for the community, even if it means making some people angry.

5. You Have to Be Willing to Learn on the Job

Reddit user question

Becoming a moderator isn't just about making tough decisions, either. It often also means learning on the job and figuring things out as you go along.

So, in addition to dealing with trolls and spam, you also need to master the intricacies of Reddit itself—from managing subreddits to using the various moderator tools.

And that can be a lot to handle, especially at first. But luckily, there's a great community of users out there who are always willing to help out and contact the subreddit moderator when there's a problem.

There are plenty of tools and customizations that you add make to your subreddit, but it takes time to learn all of them. And the same goes for managing a community. You need to experiment and find what works best for you.

6. Dealing With Trolls Is Part of the Job

Reddit banned users

But while there are plenty of helpful tools and resources at a moderator's disposal, sometimes it's not enough. Because at the end of the day, trolls are going to do what they do best—try to ruin the experience for everyone else.

And dealing with them can be one of the hardest parts of being a Reddit moderator. Those who are determined to create trouble will find a way, no matter what steps you take.

That's why it's so important to stay calm and focused in the face of adversity—because if you don't, your entire community could be at risk.

With plenty of AutoModerator scripts, I can take care of most of the trolling and spamming. But sometimes, innocent users get caught in the crossfire.

7. You Need to Be Able to Take a Break

Moderating a subreddit can be a full-time job. And while it can be incredibly rewarding, it's also important to remember that it's not all fun and games.

There will be times when the trolls get to you, the pressure gets too much, or you just need a break from it all. And that's perfectly okay.

In fact, it's essential. Because if you burn out, you won't be able to do your job properly. And that's not good for you or your community.

So if you ever feel like you're in over your head, don't be afraid to take a break and recover from burnout. Your community will understand—and they'll be there when you're ready to come back.

8. You Have to Be Passionate About Your Community

cappuccino with heart

Last but not least, being a Reddit moderator requires a lot of passion. Because at the end of the day, moderating a subreddit is all about making it the best place it can be.

It's about creating a safe and welcoming space for users to share their thoughts and experiences. It's about giving them a voice and a platform to be heard.

And it's about making sure that everyone feels like they belong. So if you're not passionate about your community, then moderating a subreddit is probably not the right job for you.

But if you are—if you believe in the power of Reddit and what it can do—then there's no better feeling in the world.

Moderating Is About More Than Just Content

At the end of the day, moderating a subreddit takes more than just content moderation skills. It's also about building relationships and managing the community as a whole.

And that means learning how to communicate effectively, make decisions collaboratively, and keep the conversation flowing.

In other words, being a moderator is about much more than just deleting comments or banning users. It's about creating a positive and welcoming environment for everyone.

So if you're thinking about becoming a moderator, remember that it's not just about the technical skills—it's about being a good community leader, too.

About The Author

Adrian Nita (47 Articles Published)

Adrian is a enthusiastic writer, great steak cook, ex-professional procrastinator and expert embarrassing dancer.

More From Adrian Nita

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