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Tech community downgraded by Reddit

The row over censorship of the technology forum on the user-generated news and entertainment website Reddit has resulted in the social big hitter removing its ‘default subreddit’ status.

The step has been taken  in response to the actions of the subreddit community’s moderators to remove certain words from post’s headlines.

Explaining the response to the BBC, which comes after a report on the Daily Dot that moderators were removing such terms as ‘NSA’, ‘GCHQ’ and ‘Snowden’, the director of communications for Reddit, Victoria Taylor, said:

“…the moderation team lost focus of what they were there to do: moderate effectively. We’re giving them time to see if we feel they can work together to resolve the issue.”

It was later found that other terms, such as ‘Assange’, had been removed, with one of the community moderators admitting that this had taken place. According to the volunteer, algorithms were automatically deleting many politically sensitive issues.

It is a huge blow for the site, with the core demographic of its community members being major players in the technology blogging sphere. It could also prove a huge setback for many of the bloggers, with a significant amount of web traffic to their own sites drawn from Reddit.

By taking the community out of the default settings, the section will be effectively hidden to many unless they are logged in and have edited their personal settings adequately. Similar action taken on its politics community last year resulted in a huge drop in interaction.

An apology posted to the site said that the moderators had failed its users. Saying that the step was not malicious, the note went on to say:

“We messed up, and we are sorry.”

However, a number of community visitors are still angered by the episode, calling on the company to not give banned moderators a second chance, which it had suggested could happen, and to remove a further two moderators who have so far been retained.

Steven Morris

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