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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Don’t Fall For This Trick Used by Hotel Booking Sites
iStock
iStock

Hotel booking sites can be useful tools when comparing prices, locations, and amenities, but some services use deceptive tactics to get you to click “book.”

A new report spotted by Travel + Leisure determined that those “one room left” alerts you sometimes see while perusing hotels can’t always be trusted. Led by the UK-based Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the eight-month investigation concluded that many sites use “pressure selling” to create a false sense of urgency in hopes that customers will book a room more quickly than usual. Similar notices about how many people are looking at a particular room or how long a deal will last are some of the other tactics travel booking websites employed.

The CMA also found that some discount claims had either expired or weren’t relevant to the customer’s search criteria, and hidden fees—like the much-maligned "resort fees"—are sometimes tacked on at the end of the booking process. (To be fair, many hotels are also guilty of this practice.)

The report didn’t drop any company names, but the consumer agency said it warned the sites that legal action would be taken if their concerns weren't addressed. The companies could be breaking consumer protection law, the CMA notes.

“Booking sites can make it so much easier to choose your holiday, but only if people are able to trust them,” Andrea Coscelli, the CMA's chief executive, said in a statement. “Holidaymakers must feel sure they’re getting the deal they expected … It’s also important that no one feels pressured by misleading statements into making a booking.”

Still, booking sites remain a convenient option, so if you decide to use one, just take your time and be cognizant that some of the claims you're seeing may not be entirely truthful.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

The Internet Archive's Billions of Web Pages Inspired a New Art Exhibition

The Internet Archive, a digital library based out of San Francisco, contains books, movies, music, and roughly 332 billion web pages saved from internet history. The nonprofit's collection is an invaluable tool for researchers, but for the past two years, it has also provided some inspiration to artists. As Fast Company reports, the Internet Archive’s 2018 artist in residence exhibition opens in San Francisco on Saturday, July 14.

For its second annual visual arts residency, the Internet Archive invited artists Chris Sollars, Taravat Talepasand, and Mieke Marple to refer to its web archive (a.k.a. the Wayback Machine) as well as its media archive while building a body of work over the course of a year.

Marple, an artist from Palo Alto, California, created a series of illustrations based on a Facebook quiz titled “What Abomination from the Garden of Earthly Delights Are You?” She found images that inspired the project's visual style from books in the archive's library.

San Francisco artist Chris Sollars built a multimedia exhibition meant to evoke the Bay Area in the 1960s. It includes retro screen savers, literature on psychedelic drugs, and live recordings of the Grateful Dead.

The third artist, Taravat Talepasand, the daughter of Iranian immigrants, was born in the U.S. during the Iranian Revolution. She used the archive to build a mini archive containing magazines, propaganda, and posters from pre-revolutionary Iran. From that, she drew inspiration to make an accompanying series of paintings and drawings.

After launching July 14, the exhibition will be available to view at 1275 Minnesota Street, Suite 105, in San Francisco through August 11. If you're looking for inspiration of your own, artists and non-artists alike can search the Internet Archive for rare materials anytime for free.

[h/t Fast Company]

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