A tidal wave of strife plagued Reddit following the popular social media platform’s decision to charge exorbitant fees for access to its API. Now, the company wants to reward the free labor of the moderators it once antagonized.
Reddit is now launching the Mod Helper Program as a way to reward moderators who offer helpful guidance to their peers. When moderators reply to posts on r/ModSupport—a mod-only subreddit—they will receive karma, just like every other user. Through the Mod Helper Program, that karma can be redeemed for exclusive trophies and flair that lets moderators tout themselves as active members in the subreddit as well as generally valuable sources of information.
“The Mod Helper Program uses a tiering system for comment karma earned from helping answer your fellow mods to award you trophies and special flair,” wrote user CookiesNomNom in a post on r/ModSupport. “This will both recognize Mods who are particularly helpful and reliable sources of knowledge for their fellow Mods, all with the goal of celebrating your support of each other and fostering a culture in this community where mods readily collaborate and learn from one another.”
As announced in the post by CookiesNomNom, any new comment karma that a user on r/ModSupport earns will be put toward obtaining a trophy. Trophies will update once a month and will begin appearing on the moderator’s profiles in October. There are currently five tiers of trophies, one for each arbitrary level of karma you can receive—a Level 1 trophy is awarded at 100 karma, a Level 2 trophy is awarded at 250 karma, Level 3 at 500, Level 4 at 750, and Level 5 at 1,000. Trophies will also come with “Helper,” “Experienced Helper,” or “Expert Helper” flair displayed next to a user’s name on r/ModSupport depending on the level trophy they’ve earned.
This is clearly some sort of gesture of goodwill toward moderators, who were up in arms not too long ago over Reddit’s unilateral decision to charge for access to its API. In June, hundreds of subreddits across the platform announced that they would be going private. Reddit did not take kindly to its volunteer staff protesting, with CEO Steve Huffman comparing the platform’s moderators to landed gentry in an interview with NBC. Huffman also said in this interview that he may allow ordinary users to vote out moderators, whereas the current policy only allows higher-ranking moderators or Reddit staff to remove the volunteers from the position. Reddit eventually brought the hammer down on its uprising mods last month, when it kicked the moderators of r/malefashionadvice out of the subreddit after it remained private following June’s protest.