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Screenshot via /r/science
Screenshot via /r/science

6 Secrets of Being a Reddit Moderator

Screenshot via /r/science
Screenshot via /r/science

Liz Crocker, a Boston University graduate student in cultural anthropology, spends a lot of time on reddit. She’s one of 12 moderators for the 9.8-million subscriber /r/science, the main science subreddit. Crocker has been moderating /r/science for about a year and a half, and she also deals with the pages /r/EverythingScience/r/BadSocialScience, /r/Anthropology, and /r/AskAnthropology. She spoke to Tech Insider about what it takes to be the moderator of a major reddit page. Here are a few things we learned about the behind-the-scenes world of the site: 

1. SOMETIMES, BECOMING A MODERATOR REQUIRES A JOB APPLICATION. 

While some smaller communities just require active participation as a moderation qualification, others are more stringent. "For /r/anthropology, you have to put examples of quality comments that you’ve made, or give them some kind of background, who you are, why you want to become a moderator, how many hours per week you can dedicate," she told Tech Insider. For /r/science, you’re required to have a least a Bachelor’s degree in science. 

2. MODERATORS ARE ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NSFW COMMENTS. 

During one recent AMA, she had to delete questions lobbed at a biological anthropology professor about pubic hair and worse. Any user can flag a comment for moderation, but Crocker tries to get to the worst ones before the AMA host has to see them. 

3. THERE’S A BOT THAT SEARCHES FOR STAR WARS SPOILERS, AMONG OTHER THINGS. 

Reddit has an “automoderator” that can filter out clearly off-topic or inappropriate content. Star Wars spoilers, for instance, automatically get removed. So do links to specific domains—like porn sites and sites known for flagrant pseudoscience. 

4. MODERATORS HAVE AN ARMY OF HELPERS.  

Crocker is one of 12 full-time /r/science mods (including a lead moderator who heads the team), but there are about 900 other part-time comment moderators who keep a lookout for violations, though they can’t make changes to the site. 

5. OFTEN, MODERATORS SPEND A LOT OF TIME ON THE SITE . . .

"It’s something I do in between things, like waiting for a class or a meeting to start," she tells Tech Insider. "It’s always in the background." She does a lot of the work while on public transportation. 

6. . . . BUT THEY AREN’T PAID. 

All subreddit moderators are volunteers, and can’t accept any compensation for their work. It’s a labor of love, and moderators are able to take time away when their schedules require it. 

[h/t: Tech Insider]

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Big Questions
What Could the Repeal of Net Neutrality Mean for Internet Users?
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What could the repeal of net neutrality mean for the average American internet user?

Zouhair Belkoura:

The imminent repeal of net neutrality could have implications for Americans beyond the Internet’s stratification, increased costs to consumers, and hindered access to content for all. Net neutrality’s repeal is a threat to the Internet’s democracy—the greatest information equalizer of our time.

With net neutrality’s repeal, ISPs could be selective about the content and pricing packages they make available. Portugal is a good example of what a country looks like without net neutrality

What people may not realize is that a repeal of net neutrality would also give ISPs the ability to throttle people’s Internet traffic. Customers won’t likely have visibility into what traffic is being throttled, and it could substantially slow down people’s Internet connections.

What happens when this type of friction is introduced to the system? The Internet—the greatest collective trove of information in the world—could gradually be starved. People who experience slower Internet speeds may get frustrated and stop seeking out their favorite sites. People may also lose the ability to make choices about the content they want to see and the knowledge they seek.

Inflated pricing, less access to knowledge, and slower connections aren’t the only impact a net neutrality repeal might have. People’s personal privacy and corporations’ security may suffer, too. Many people use virtual private networks to protect their privacy. VPNs keep people’s Internet browsing activities invisible to their ISPs and others who may track them. They also help them obscure their location and encrypt online transactions to keep personal data secure. When people have the privacy that VPNs afford, they can access information freely without worrying about being watched, judged, or having their browsing activity bought and sold by third-party advertisers.

Virtual private networks are also a vital tool for businesses that want to keep their company data private and secure. Employees are often required by their employers to connect to a VPN whenever they are offsite and working remotely.

Even the best VPNs can slow down individuals' Internet connections, because they create an encrypted tunnel to protect and secure personal data. If people want to protect their personal privacy or company’s security with a VPN [they] also must contend with ISP throttling; it’s conceivable that net neutrality’s repeal could undermine people’s freedom to protect their online safety. It could also render the protection a VPN offers to individuals and companies obsolete.

Speed has always been a defining characteristic of the Internet’s accessibility and its power. Net neutrality’s repeal promises to subvert this trait. It would compromise both people's and companies’ ability to secure their personal data and keep their browsing and purchasing activities private. When people don’t have privacy, they can’t feel safe. When they don’t feel safe, they can’t live freely. That’s not a world anyone, let alone Americans, want to live in.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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This Just In
For $61, You Can Become a Co-Owner of This 13th-Century French Castle
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images

A cultural heritage restoration site recently invited people to buy a French castle for as little as $61. The only catch? You'll be co-owning it with thousands of other donors. Now thousands of shareholders are responsible for the fate of the Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers in western France, and there's still room for more people to participate.

According to Mashable, the dilapidated structure has a rich history. Since its construction in the 13th century, the castle has been invaded by foreign forces, looted, renovated, and devastated by a fire. Friends of Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers, a small foundation formed in 2016 in an effort to conserve the overgrown property, want to see the castle restored to its former glory.

Thanks to a crowdfunding collaboration with the cultural heritage restoration platform Dartagnans, the group is closer than ever to realizing its mission. More than 9000 web users have contributed €51 ($61) or more to the campaign to “adopt” Mothe-Chandeniers. Now that the original €500,000 goal has been fulfilled, the property’s new owners are responsible for deciding what to do with their purchase.

“We intend to create a dedicated platform that will allow each owner to monitor the progress of works, events, project proposals and build a real collaborative and participatory project,” the campaign page reads. “To make an abandoned ruin a collective work is the best way to protect it over time.”

Even though the initial goal has been met, Dartagnans will continue accepting funds for the project through December 25. Money collected between now and then will be used to pay for various fees related to the purchase of the site, and new donors will be added to the growing list of owners.

The shareholders will be among the first to see the cleared-out site during an initial visit next spring. The rest of the public will have to wait until it’s fully restored to see the final product.

[h/t Mashable]

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