If they’re getting regular death threats, don’t they deserve to be paid?
Should Reddit pay its volunteer moderators? The thought had not really occurred to me until last week, when I joined a call with CEO Steve Huffman and his general counsel, Benjamin Lee. The executives were briefing me and some other reporters about a significant expansion of the site’s content moderation policies, which were unveiled on Monday and resulted in the removal of 2,000 subreddits, including the notorious forum for hate speech The_Donald.
Reddit’s content moderation scheme differs sharply from the Facebook News Feed or the Twitter timeline. Instead of applying one set of rules for the entire user base, Reddit sets a “floor” of rules that no one can violate but allows individual forums (called subreddits) to raise the “ceiling.” (I wrote about this approach here last month.) This helps create a collective context for discussions, and allows users who have similar values to come together in a shared space online. It’s why I can go to my favorite subreddit, which covers the world of professional wrestling, and find an incredible assortment of relevant stories, pictures, and discussions every day. But it also works only because of the moderators who volunteer to enforce a subreddit’s rules from floor to ceiling — and those moderators are totally unpaid.