me irl modbook
Thank you for helping us with the modding! Please let us know if you have any questions. Also you don’t have to do anything, and you can remove yourself from the mod list any time. Now lets get down to expectations:
It's not your job to make me irl good.
The only thing that’s going to make me irl good is good posting, and you don’t need to be a mod to do good posting. There’s a few things that we can do to encourage good posting, but they’re limited. The idea is to let what me irl is naturally change based on our changing audience, and not to follow our own taste.
It is your job to prevent harm.
This is harm in a general sense, and means posts that contribute to a culture that devalues and performs violence to people.
It doesn’t mean that we stop people from arguing or saying things that rile people up. We don’t expect 100% worldview cohesion, and don’t place any value on decorum or politeness.
Please keep these in mind:
To post here you don’t have to be a specific type of person, or act a certain way. You don’t have to know sj101, and you don’t need to know about a topic in depth. I believe that people naturally understand how to not be shit to other people, and all I ask is that people follow that impulse.
By keeping these things in mind, we create a community that people can be honestly excited about, without smarm or exclusivity.
We will fuck up, likely badly. Thankfully we’re only a subreddit, so I don’t lose sleep over it. However, keep this in mind, and agree to learn that you’re not always right.
Like any large community, we will encounter users threatening or suggesting suicide and suicidality. None of us are equipped to handle this kind of discussion, and is seems like wanting to die has become some kind of meme so we need to remove it even if it's clearly ironic. Do not ban for this type of posting when it's not clear it's ironic, we’re not here to punish people for how they feel. Instead, we use this boilerplate suicide prevention message:
If you feel you might be suicidal, and live in the United States, I urge you to call the Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255 or navigate to http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for a live chat and additional resources.
If it's not an emergency, but you want to know more about mental health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers information on their website https://www.nami.org/ and a free HELPLINE 800-950-6264.
If you do not live in the United States please seek out local resources. /r/SuicideWatch has a list that may cover your country:
Let me know if you need any other guidance to people who help.
This is a message not just to the poster but to anyone reading who may be thinking about this. The idea is to not impose a mindset on people for posting about these kind of things. That is largely their own business, unless they want to share. If they do, we encourage them to do so with people who are trained to help. If you want to do so, you are definitely free to talk to users in pain further. However, I do not expect anyone to.
We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about this policy and I think that, in our limited capacity as internet moderators, it does the most good.
Most of the time, these are the four things you are responsible for:
- Removing bad posts.
- Banning users who have hugely stepped over the line.
- Talking to users in modmail.
- Unbanning users who have shown an understanding of the issues with their posting.
The unbanning part is unique, so here’s an explanation:
The Ban Cycle
First of all, when you ban a user you need to make it clear to them what they did wrong. I usually use this format:
[short explanation of what they did] - [link to a post that they fucked up on]
Put this in both the note section that’s visible only to mods, and the message sent to the user.
If they wish to be unbanned, they’ll respond to this post asking what went wrong, or with some kind of excuse, or (rare and special) admitting that they fucked up. Even if it isn’t someone that you banned, take a look if you want. Here’s are the steps we usually take.
- If they don’t understand what they did, and it’s really messed up, either make fun of them or ignore them.
- If what they did wasn’t very messed up, and they don’t understand what’s going on, explain it to them. Do not quote the rules at them. Instead, just say that their behavior isn’t what we’re looking for, and that they shouldn’t do it again.
- If they understand what they did wrong and why, and at what level they messed up, take a look at their posting. Is it full of shit that we remove or ban for? If not, let them DRAW TO UNBAN.
Draw to unban is an idea that we got from AskReddit. The idea is that by making a drawing, however simple, they show that they care enough about posting here that they’re willing to put some effort in. The prompt is as follows:
How to draw a picture to be unbanned: You can draw it on paper and scan it in (or take a photo), or make it in mspaint or photoshop or something. It doesn't have to be good, it just has to show a minimum of effort. Please send us a link when you're finished!
Remember it’s not just any picture, there has to be some effort, and it can’t be something that we’d remove if it was posted to me irl. Don’t tell them this first, it’s part of the process.
As for the end pics, you may store them and treasure them, but please do not share them publically. Sometimes the poster will share them themselves, but that's up to them.
Now that we’ve gone over the cycle, lets go over the reasons to get that started in the first place:
We make decisions based on personal belief of what it means to not cause harm, not a list of rules
We have rules, but they are there to influence the behavior of users, in the limited way that we can. They are not meant to be the reason you remove a post or ban someone, and never link a user to the rules. Never listen to a user trying to lawyer their way out of a ban. In the end, we are the law.
When to remove, and when to ban
The rulez page on the wiki splits into two sections, what we remove, and what we ban for. It starts with removals in order to ease people in, but the important stuff is what we ban for:
Most people don’t need to worry about this, but we do ban for posts with language or content that is harmful. Common things we see are posts demeaning to women, people of color, religious and cultural minorities, those with disabilities, fat people, sex workers, survivors of trauma/abuse, and gender and sexual minorities. We don’t allow wiggle room for irony or reappropration, as we have no way of gaging someone's intent.
These groups are not the only ones that we’ll ban for if we see someone say something demeaning, but they’re the ones that we see people post shitty stuff about everyday. If someone really did post some anti-men thing that sounded like the SCUM Manifesto we would ban them, but this has literally never happened.
Don’t let this rule fool you, remember that we clean up posts based on if they cause harm, not because they fail some kind of social justice purity test. However, we’ve decided to not allow room for irony or reappropration. When you decide what posts to remove, do not try to gage the mindset of the poster, or who posted it, as it’s impossible to know for sure. However, when you decide if a post is ban worthy, or if you should unban for a post, do try to make that judgement. I'll go over why in a later section
These are what we remove for:
Anything NSFW, or openly sexual.
Generally if someone isn't also breaking the ban rule it’s just a remove, not a ban.
Screenshots that are mostly text, and feel contrived and performative.
This is a judgement call, but it keeps the sub from feeling stale. As I explain on the wiki:
Sometimes a screenshot feels like evidence of people passing time online, of someone doing a thing, and it works as a me irl.
A good screenshot post is something like a Yik Yak post that's just “My life is literally just wasting time between meals”, which feels like a passing thought someone had and posted. It feels natural and relatable.
A bad screenshot post is anything with a clear punchline, that feels like a performance, that has this distance that you can't connect with (example). This means twitter jokeman posts are out.
And then there’s my favorite:
Anything that actually is of you.
We concider usernames to be a part of posts. If someone's name is something that we’d normally remove, we go ahead and ban them. If they haven't been causing other trouble, add this to your ban reason and the ban message:
You are welcome back under a different username. Ignore the automated message about "using other accounts to circumvent a subreddit ban", it does not apply.
No matter what we do, our audience will be mostly white men
I’m not super happy about this, but it’s to be expected when you’re operating on reddit. It’s sad too, because me irl is better when there is a diversity of voices.
One way that I try to keep the diversity of the sub up is to adjust my tone when dealing with posters who may not be as educated, or are obviously coming from a place of reappropration. I’m more likely to remove than ban, and if I do ban them I’m more polite when I talk to them.
Often white dude posters will try to get out of a ban by saying something like “actually it’s okay because I’m _”. It’s obnoxious, but do not try to catch them in their lie. Their posts don’t suddenly become right for me irl based on who’s posting it. We shouldn’t be taking anything users say in modmail at face value in the first place.
However, we want to balance not letting people get away with that with encouraging minority voices even when they say stuff that no one else would get away with. I do change my tone when I think we’re in that kind of situation, and I hope that they understand the position we’re in as minority mods of a mostly white dude site.
It shouldn’t be easier for a well educated white man who knows how to be polite to be accepted here than a minority who doesn’t have those skills. It is, but given the tools at our disposal it’s the best we can do. I want to make this less the case.
If you don't think you’d ever unban someone, use a shadow ban.
If someone is coming here specifically to pick fights with us, or post things that go way over the line, use a shadow ban. This is an automoderator function where their posts are removed from the sub automatically, but they don't actually count as banned. This means they never receive a notification, and will be less likely to send us nasty shit. In general, save actual bans for people you would conceivably unban at some point.
To add someone to the list, click “automoderator config” in the sidebar, and then copy and paste their name into the big comma separated list that starts the config.
Only ban people who post on the sub.
We don't have any kind of policy where we ban folks who post to certain subs, or shit talk us in other threads. It does nothing but bring extra heat on us, and doesn't make the sub any better. If you feel you have to do something, shadow ban them using the automod list.
Never expect people to be on top of meta shit.
/r/meta_me_irl is was cool for getting feedback and stuff but it’s mostly useless and don’t expect anyone to read it. The about page with the rules has good stuff that gives people a proper impression of the sub, but don’t expect anyone to read it. We sticky stuff, which is the most visible thing we can do for mobile users and does have some effect, but don’t expect anyone to read it. The sidebar is short and helps explain our weird sub but don’t expect anyone to read it.
It’s good that people are naturally pretty cool or else this sub wouldn't work.
Please make sure that the password you use on reddit is different than the passwords you use on other sites.
I highly recommend that you use a tool to generate and store different passwords for every site that you use. You can get started using lastpass right now for free, and I really like 1password. There's also the open-source KeePass.
There is more to learn.
But I’m not smart enough to put it in this guide. Watch what other mods do, if you have questions ask us, and follow your heart. We picked you because you are a cool person, believe in yourself and you’ll do fine!
First posted 14 June 2015. Updated 29 May 2016.