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For the last five months, I have been an active user of Reddit. When I first got started with Reddit, I was really impressed by how much more democratic Reddit seemed to be than Digg and some of the other social media websites. As I talked to other Reddit users, I realized that I wasn’t alone in feeling this way.
As Brent Csutoras noted in a recent post, there have been a significant amount of people who have been leaving Digg and going to Reddit. The reason for these users moving to Reddit is because while Digg likes to say that they are all about their users, everyone knows that their moderators have a significant amount of control over the content that makes it to the front page (and their trend of having more control has continued to increase over time).
Unfortunately, it seems that my initial impression of Reddit may have been too good to be true. During my first three to four months on Reddit, I noticed that from time to time, my submissions would be deleted. Although the submissions didn’t break any Reddit TOS (such as being adult content), weren’t self-promotional and weren’t related to SEO (since the Reddit community is weary of any content related to search engine marketing), some of my posts seemed to be randomly deleted.
However, during the past few weeks, I have noticed that every one of my submissions has been getting deleted. The most surprising thing is that they were always deleted extremely quickly (as in ten seconds or less).
While this was quite puzzling at first, the cause of this issue has started to become more clear. As Brent explained in his post, the categories on Reddit are actually subreddits, and instead of being run by the Reddit staff, many of the most popular ones are run by a single Reddit user.
This means that these subreddits are fully controlled by a single user, and that user is allowed to play god with the submissions. While a Reddit staff member would probably have to justify why they deleted specific submissions, these users could delete submissions simply because they didn’t like another user. So, while people like to complain about Digg’s preferred treatment of power users, I think the issue of power users pales in comparison to this one.
Although this information explained why some of my links had been randomly deleted during my first three to four months on Reddit, it still didn’t explain the recent acivity. However, after doing some more investigating, I think I have found the answer, and this is where things get really interesting. If I am logged in and look at my recent submissions, I can see them all as shown by the screenshot below:
(notice that my submissions are a random mix of interesting content that isn’t self-promotional or related to SEO)
However, when I log out and visit my user page, this is what I see:
So, what does this mean? From what I can gather, this means that if a user like myself has been banned, Reddit doesn’t actually let you know that you have been banned. Instead, the site makes you think you are still an active user, but anything that you submit is autoburied. So, regardless of what you submit or how interesting it is, no one will ever have a chance to vote on it.
While I can understand why social media websites need to be able to ban users, I think it’s quite devious to trick banned users like myself into thinking that they still have an active account, when the truth is that they are nothing more than a ghost of Reddit!
While I know that I could create a new Reddit account and start over from scratch, I simply don’t know if I want to be part of a website that not only gives complete control over many of their main categories to single users (who don’t have to justify their decisions to anyone), but also feels that it is okay to trick their banned users into thinking that they are still members of the Reddit community.
I have been thinking about spending my social media time building a presence within the Mixx community (because it seems to be the most democratic option at this point), but before I do, I want to hear what you all think I should do: