The decade-old team of moderators running Reddit AMAs (short for “Ask Me Anything”) are hanging up their boots and will no longer organize the popular Q&As. As protests against Reddit’s API policy changes achieved little, with third-party apps folding and dark subreddits being strong-armed back into activity, those running the r/IAmA subreddit think Reddit’s poor site management is beyond repair.
It’s not the first time the moderators leverage their influence to protest the company’s behavior. In 2015, the r/IAmA mods put the subreddit in virtual 24-hour lockdown over the firing of popular employee Victoria Taylor and wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times about the “critical changes” made “without any apparent care for how those changes might affect their biggest resource: the community and the moderators that help tend the subreddits that constitute the site.” On July 1, they wrote, “Amazing how little has changed, really” on a Reddit post announcing they were quitting.
The r/IAmA subreddit initially refrained from joining the blackout that started on June 12 to protest the API charges and other issues because the moderators didn’t think it would make any difference. “Reddit executives have shown that they won’t yield to the pressure of a protest,” they wrote on July 1. Instead, the subreddit’s moderators, who’ve been doing the job since 2013, decided that they will do the bare minimum to keep the subreddit going—removing spam and enforcing rules—but nothing more, effectively ending the Reddit AMAs as we know them.
Reddit leadership has all the funds they need to hire people to perform those extra tasks we formerly undertook as volunteer moderators, and we’d be happy to collaborate with them if they choose to do so. —r/IAmA mods
👀 Active solicitation of celebrities or high profile figures to do AMAs.
📩 Coordination with celebrities and high profile figures and their PR teams to facilitate, educate, and operate AMAs.
📝 Running and maintaining a website for scheduling of AMAs with pre-verification and proof, as well as social media promotion.
🔔 Maintaining a current up-to-date sidebar calendar of scheduled AMAs, with schedule reminders for users.
🤝 Sister subreddits with categorized cross-posts for easy following.
✅ Moderator confidential verification for AMAs.
🤖 Running various bots, including automatic flairing of live posts (akin to tagging)
AMAs not only illustrated the free labor that made Reddit the popular platform it is, but were also events unique in their format, allowing millions of users the chance to ask questions to celebrities or experts or people with life experiences worth sharing. The exchanges often elicited strange and wonderful answers from people from all walks of lives.
In an age in which celebs sanitise and curate their public statements, the AMA was the opposite. Thanks to the AMAs, we know whether or not former president Barack Obama thinks the White House beer is tasty, who Nick Jonas would pick between Batman and Superman, and what Stephen Hawking’s favourite song is. Even Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman used the format to answer questions about the controversial API changes that have enraged the community.
22.5 million: Users subscribed to R/IAmA
238,500: Upvotes on “Hello, I’m Nicolas Cage and welcome to Ask Me Anything,” Reddit’s most popular AMA post in 2022
10: Number of AMA’s Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has done. During the latest one in February this year, he answered questions around pandemic prevention, climate change, farmland, my cell phone, and more. “I love doing AMAs because the Reddit crowd as a whole is well-informed, Redditors don’t pull any punches, and good questions usually get voted up toward the top,” he wrote