Reddit's Solution to the Stress of Moderating 2020 Is a First-Come First-Served Mindfulness App Subscription

Illustration for article titled Reddits Solution to the Stress of Moderating 2020 Is a First-Come First-Served Mindfulness App Subscription
Screenshot: Reddit (Other)

It’s been a very hard year, for a lot of reasons. If you’re one of the thousands of unpaid moderators of Reddit, you’ve likely had to deal with misinformation, harassment, conspiracy theories, hate speech: all the stuff that makes being online an intolerable nightmare. By means of showing gratitude, the site appears to be offering an unknown number of one-year subscriptions to... mindfulness and meditation app Calm, according to a private message Gizmodo received.

Advertisement

The subscriptions are being framed as a reward in lieu of the site’s annual (at least for the past two years) Moderator Roadshow, a sort of roving meet-and-greet that usually involves t-shirts and other swag. Like every other event on this cursed planet where more than a handful of people gather in a single room, the Roadshow was cancelled, but “we still wanted to send something to moderators, to show how enormously grateful we are for you. (And as a small reminder that there are real people at Reddit behind the usernames who are thinking of you and thankful for everything you’ve contributed to our site,)” a message from site admin u/bluepinkblack reads:

So, Reddit would like to humbly and modestly send you a small token of appreciation: a one-year Calm subscription—an app for everyday meditation, intended to promote mindfulness, reduce stress, ease anxiety, and more. (Note: This is not a tech-y promotional freebie or sponsorship; we’re gifting this to you because Reddit wouldn’t be Reddit without you, and we care about your health and well-being.)

Advertisement

As an aside, Reddit recently banned, among some 2,000 other communities, r/the_donald, a pro-Trump subreddit which Gizmodo reported—and I can’t stress this enough—nearly four year ago had been openly flaunting site rules and making threats of violence. This about-face came seemingly only after the site’s current CEO, Steve Huffman, was trashed by former interrem CEO Ellen Pao on Twitter, and his co-founder and friend Alexis Ohanian publicly resigned from his seat on the company’s board as a statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests.

Despite working on this replacement to the Roadshow for “the last few months,” it seems Reddit wasn’t able to rally enough funds—or a good enough bulk discount from Calm—to gift the app to all of its mods though, because as the announcement notes, (emphasis ours) “subscriptions will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis to verified moderators. Once we run out of subscriptions, you will no longer be able to sign up.”

Research into the app’s efficacy for sleep, happiness, or whatever “mindfulness” means has largely been provided in small trials, and paid for by the Calm itself; my own research into novelty commemorative t-shirts instead suggests they’re pretty great to wear to the gym or to bed. Anyway, if you think working for free to wrangle millions of people and make money for someone else might be stressing you out, you’d better hurry up while supplies last. Better hope next year isn’t even worse.

Advertisement

The private message is reproduced in full below (minus the link to the form, for obvious reasons). We’ve reached out to Reddit for comment and will update if we hear back.

A few months ago, we were planning to meet many of you—right around now-ish, and throughout this year—as part of our annual Moderator “Thank You” Roadshows, where we travel to different locations to say thank you in person to mods across the world. We had to cancel those due to coronavirus, but decided we still wanted to send something to moderators, to show how enormously grateful we are for you. (And as a small reminder that there are real people at Reddit behind the usernames who are thinking of you and thankful for everything you’ve contributed to our site.) We’ve spent the last few months getting this in place.

2020 has been a challenging year to moderate, with rapidly evolving changes in the world that affect our communities (and users) in different ways, and lots of extra stress and anxiety abounding from having to shelter in place.

So, Reddit would like to humbly and modestly send you a small token of appreciation: a one-year Calm subscription—an app for everyday meditation, intended to promote mindfulness, reduce stress, ease anxiety, and more. (Note: This is not a tech-y promotional freebie or sponsorship; we’re gifting this to you because Reddit wouldn’t be Reddit without you, and we care about your health and well-being.)

Some housekeeping: If you would like to sign up, please fill out your information by following this link. Subscriptions will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis to verified moderators. Once we run out of subscriptions, you will no longer be able to sign up. Please note, to sign up you’ll need to share your name, email, Reddit username, and the communities you moderate. Your name and email will be sent to Calm and used for the sole purpose of sending you this gift. Your information will be deleted after all memberships are distributed (unless you sign up for the membership, of course). Your information will not be shared or used for any other purpose. One more note—this is a private message directly to you, so if you’re interested, sign up now before we announce publicly to all moderators later this week.

On behalf of everyone at Reddit, thank you for your ongoing engagement as a moderator for your community. Reddit moderators are the lifeblood that enables our communities to thrive, especially during these difficult and uncertain times. Thank you for being there for your community, now and throughout the year.

All the best (and hoping we get to meet at a roadshow when this is all over), The Admins

Advertisement

Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION