Reddit requires moderators to remove NSFW tags, or else

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Many communities on Reddit have used the NSFW (Not Safe For Work) designation in some form to protest Reddit’s new API pricing, which forced apps like Apollo and rif is fun to be shut down from Reddit, as well as a recent pattern by behaviour towards its unpaid volunteer moderators whom they consider ‘threatening’. Subreddits, including r/PICS And r/militaryhad made the NSFW move, citing language from Reddit websites to justify the change.

The moderators of the r/military community said they switched their label to NSFW because “military content has a chance to be violent content” and argued that “this subreddit should have been NSFW already, but we never had it until recently.” thought of changing it,” according to a public message on Thursday.

Mods fear that if they are removed it could put their communities at risk

However, Reddit has sent messages to those subreddits’ mods telling them to “immediately correct” their NSFW labeling, claiming that any community “wasn’t considered NSFW in the past, and they wouldn’t be among us current policy.” If the prompt is not corrected, any moderators involved in that decision will be removed. Those mods may be “subject to additional actions,” such as losing the ability to join future moderator teams.

Going NSFW sets up an age gate and means the subreddit is not suitable for advertisingcausing friction for users and potentially impacting Reddit’s ability to monetize the channel.

As of Thursday night, r/PICS had dropped the NSFW designation along with r/military.

In an email to The edge, a moderator on the military subreddit said the mods decided to revert the NSFW designation because the community is a helpful resource for veterans going through mental crises. The mod said that if Reddit removed the team, it could put the community at risk.

Reddit did not immediately respond to a request for comment. For an earlier story, spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt said that “moderators falsely flagging a community as NSFW is a violation of both our Content Policy And Moderator Code of Conduct.”

Here’s the post from Reddit, as shared by the r/PICS moderators:

This is a final warning against inaccurately labeling your community as NSFW, which violates Rule 2 of the Mod Code of Conduct. Your subreddit has not historically been considered NSFW and would not be under our current policy.

Please correct the NSFW labels on your subreddit immediately. Failure to do so will result in action being taken in your moderator team by the end of this week. This means that moderators involved in this activity will be removed from this mod team. Moderators may also be subject to additional actions, for example losing the ability to join mod teams in the future.

Finally, if you suddenly start posting or endorsing content containing sexually explicit content for your community to warrant the NSFW label, we will immediately remove and permanently suspend moderators who participated in this action.

Line 2 in the Moderator Code of Conduct says moderators should “set appropriate and reasonable expectations.” Last month, Reddit admin account ModCodeofConduct said it’s “not acceptable” to switch from safe for work to NSFW in protest, and a few communities changed back after feeling pressure from Reddit.

In the case of r/PICS, it switched to focusing entirely on posts about comedian John Oliver after a community vote, and on Monday the moderators switched it to NSFW because they felt the subreddit’s content violated a Reddit wiki page titled “Reddit Content Policy”. That page defines NSFW as the following: “Content that contains nudity, pornography, or profanity, which a reasonable viewer may not want to see in a public or formal setting such as a workplace, should be tagged as NSFW.”

However, in screenshots of messages between r/PICS and Reddit seen by The edgeReddit said the wiki page is out of date (last edit was four years ago) and pointed to another page, also titled Reddit Content Policy, which does not define rules for NSFW. Rule #6 is perhaps the closest: “Make sure people have predictable experiences on Reddit by properly labeling content and communities, especially content that is graphic, sexually explicit, or offensive.”

On r/PICS, the rules explicitly state that “no explicit pornography or gore” is allowed, and from what I’ve seen, posts in the community abide by that rule. Also r/PICS on Wednesdays argued that “the visible marking of r/PICS as NSFW is vital to set reasonable expectations.”

“Reddit’s actions are comparable to those of the most dystopian companies in Night City.”

The moderators of r/cyberpunkgame made a post on Wednesday about a post from Reddit regarding the community’s NSFW designation, so I asked if they had received this new post as well. “We didn’t get that message, but we support the communities that did,” the moderators wrote to me in a Reddit DM. “This is a worrying development, and something that hits close to home Cyberpunk fans. Reddit’s actions are comparable to those of the most dystopian companies in Night City.”