r/modhelp Mar 08 '20 Wholesome Hugz All-Seeing Upvote Bless Up (Pro) Silver Gold Platinum Helpful 'MURICA

Tips & Tricks 10 important points of community-building advice for new mods!

330 Upvotes

Consider this post to be both a supplement and sequel to my original post, 10 frequently-asked questions by new mods, answered!

The subject of this post expands on question #10 in the original and is meant to help explain to new moderators what moderation and building a new subreddit up from scratch entails. This is organized into ten points roughly listed in the chronological order of the process of building a new subreddit.

I will also include links to the excellent community resource r/ModGuide as well as the official Reddit Mod help center with each point.


1. Don't use mobile to moderate.

You cannot effectively moderate a subreddit just by using Reddit's mobile app or site. It's just not possible as of March 2020, and most of those tools won't come until much later this year. The vast majority of customization tools are completely absent from the site, and you cannot easily update things like the subreddit CSS (for Old Reddit) or AutoModerator from the mobile site. If you cannot or refuse to use a regular computer for moderating, I do not think moderating a subreddit is for you.

You may use the app to keep an eye on new posts and comments as they come into your subreddit, and remove them or approve them as you see fit, or submit new content to it - the app is good for that. But that should be done after you've already properly set up the basics of your subreddit's design and its aesthetic.

Once your subreddit gets more popular, you should also look into installing the Toolbox extension (r/toolbox), which contains a wealth of tools to help moderators, including bulk actions, macros, removal reasons, user notes, and more. It is almost impossible to find a subreddit of moderate size or larger that doesn't use Toolbox - it is that essential to Reddit moderators.

2. Make your subreddit look good.

Let me use the metaphor of a party: creating a new subreddit and asking people to come join it, is like sending a party invitation out to the people of this site. But if people go to the party location and all they find is a bare, empty room with drab grey walls and a single lightbulb, no one is going to want to stay! Thus customizing your subreddit is like decorating for a party - you want people to feel that the event is on-theme, and it's fun to stay.

So, customize your subreddit (on desktop, of course)! Use all the tools that are available to you. Create an icon and header that match the stated interest of the subreddit, add text telling new members what it is all about, and make it feel unique and special.

3. Seed content! No one wants to post in an empty subreddit.

Let me continue with the metaphor of the party. Let's say this time you've put decorations and streamers up in the formerly empty room and it looks pretty good! But when the people you invited show up, they notice the room is empty - there's no one there at all! You, the host, aren't even there - but you left a simple sign on the door saying "Welcome! Please stay and have fun!" How many people do you think will actually stay?

That's effectively what an empty subreddit, devoid of posts, appears to new subscribers. Very few people want to be the first, or the only person posting in a subreddit, especially if the creator of the subreddit can't even be bothered to participate in their own community. As the creator of a subreddit, you must seed content, and seed content regularly.

Make posts every day / every other day that are relevant to the topic of your subreddit so people know it's an active place and that they feel welcome to post. You can also choose to cross-post relevant content from other subreddits into your own subreddit. In my experience a subreddit usually gets to 300-400 subscribers before you start seeing people other than the mods regularly posting stuff.

4. Set up post / user flairs.

As your subreddit receives more and more posts, it may be useful at some point to create post flairs, which are essentially categories for posts. For example, if your subreddit is about a game, you could have post flairs which are for "Gameplay", "Fanart", "Bugs", etc. Members can click on the post flairs and instantly see all posts related to that category.

On the other hand, user flairs are more like the little status messages in WhatsApp, Discord, etc. - they're small snippets of information that the user chooses to reflect something of themselves. There are many different ways to use them:

  • Language learning subreddits often use them to indicate languages / skill levels of users.
  • Fan subreddits of media (games/film/TV shows) usually have user flairs of major or popular characters in them.
  • Location subreddits of countries, states, etc. usually use them to indicate where a user is from or represents.
  • Many subreddits for political candidates use user flairs to indicate donor status/amounts.

Think about works best for your community and customize accordingly.

5. Check for related communities.

Run a search for key terms related to your subreddit on the site (https://www.reddit.com/search?q=SEARCH_TERM&sort=relevance&t=all&type=sr) and see what subreddits pop up. If the exact purpose of your subreddit has already been done you may want to consider how your subreddit can differentiate itself, or even give up on the subreddit. There's no shame in the latter; people oftentimes forget to check if a subreddit already exists before creating their own.

If you believe your subreddit is sufficiently differentiated, reach out via modmail to some of the related subreddits and ask them if you can:

  • Share sidebar links (they link to your subreddit, you link to theirs)
  • Make a post in their subreddit advertising your subreddit

Be polite, and don't be offended if the mods of their subreddits do not reply or say "no." The other moderators are under no obligation to grant your request, and quite frankly, if you're openly trying to compete with them for the same subject matter they may see no point in helping you.

6. Promote your subreddit judiciously.

Promote your subreddit, perhaps beginning with my multireddit of promotional communities. If you see relevant posts in other subs, you can also drop a link to your subreddit in the comments. Don't overdo it or spam your subreddit link on unrelated content - that's an easy way to get banned everywhere, as no one likes a spammer.

7. Don't add new moderators unless you have a good reason to.

A common mistake by new moderators is to add more moderators in the mistaken belief that the new random people that were added as mods will help them post in and grow the subreddit.

This almost never works.

Unless the new moderators share the same passion for the project as you do, they have no incentive to help you grow your subreddit. The vast majority of such moderators get added and then promptly forget about the subreddit, especially if you yourself aren't participating in your own subreddit. If the creator of the subreddit doesn't even care about their sub, why should the new mods care?

You likely do not need any additional moderators until your community gets regular traffic in the form of posts and comments, or perhaps you aren't able to be on during a particularly active time zone. At that point, my recommendation is to promote from within - ask active members if they'd like to help out as moderators, rather than going to a place like r/NeedAMod. The members of your subreddit will have more of a vested interest in the success of the community and be more familiar with its "culture" and mores.

8. Keep the subreddit active and curated.

Building a subreddit from the ground up is a marathon, not a sprint. If you have a burst of activity at the beginning and then proceed to neglect your subreddit for months at a time, it will not grow. If you allow spammers to post random stuff on your own subreddit and take weeks to remove them, people will leave because the content they see is not relevant to what they wanted when they joined in the first place. Posting content regularly will also allow your subreddit to regularly surface in people's home feeds, which helps drive visits to it in the first place.

Furthermore, if you're away from Reddit for more than 60 days at a time, and you're the only moderator, your subreddit becomes potentially requestable in r/RedditRequest by someone else who thinks they can do a better job than you at building the community. And if you're never present in your own subreddit, they have a good argument for saying so.

9. Keep it a friendly and fun place.

This should be pretty self-explanatory, for despite Reddit's reputation in the broader media, people really just want to have fun in their favorite subreddits, and generally do not engage in flame wars or vitriolic arguments. What this means is that once your subreddit gets bigger, you should keep an eye out for bad actors who make your subreddit a potentially toxic place.

To use the party metaphor again, you may have a party crasher who is going around the room telling the people having a fun time that they're stupid, ugly, and only an idiot would drink what they're having. At that point, it's your job as the host of the party to either tell them to knock it off or eject them from the event.

Same thing goes for subreddits - whenever possible, try and message a toxic user to ask them to simmer down, but if they continue, ban them, either for a period of time or permanently.

10. Ask members for feedback.

Yes, technically according to Reddit moderators have ultimate power over their subreddit, but good subreddits always have moderators who solicit feedback from members and listen to what they have to say.

You don't necessarily have to implement everything members suggest, particularly if it conflicts with your vision of how the subreddit should be run, but it's worth it to listen. You can create surveys or polls to ask people about proposed policies or rules as well.


Feel free to share tips or ideas in the comments!


r/modhelp Dec 01 '19 Wholesome Hugz Silver Gold Platinum Helpful

Tips & Tricks 10 frequently-asked questions by new mods, answered!

463 Upvotes

This subreddit has become overwhelmed with the same basic questions ever since Reddit suddenly enabled the creation of subreddits via the iOS app last week. The regulars on r/modhelp have been incredibly patient in answering the same few questions over and over again but I decided to put this post together for others to easily link to as an answer instead of having to type out the same thing multiple times.

As always, moderation (esp. customization) of subreddits is best done on desktop rather than mobile, so if you have access to a computer that is highly encouraged and it will solve 90% of your problems. Reddit seems to not have ported the subreddit settings and styling tools to the mobile app and it is unlikely that they will port those tools over for a while. Moderating on desktop also allows you to use the indispensable r/toolbox extension for moderators.

Note that you don't necessarily need use a physical PC to use "desktop mode", you can use your phone's own browser, too! Go to Reddit and tap the ≡ hamburger button on the top right, then select "Desktop Site."

March 2020 Update: Reddit has ported a few basic tools over to the iOS app. Unsure if they are also on the Android one.

1. How do I change my subreddit's icon/banner [on mobile]?

If you're asking about how to change your subreddit's icon image, you can do that via desktop mode in a web browser. Go to https://www.reddit.com/r/SUBREDDIT/?styling=true in your favorite web browser and use the provided tools. The subreddit icon is usually a 256px x 256px image. The process is the same for subreddit banners.

If it's available in your app, go to Mod Tools, then Avatar. Then tap Save.

2. How do I add more moderators?

You can do this within the app. Go to your subreddit in the app, tap on the "mod shield" on the top right. Then tap "Moderators List" and the + button that appears in the top right. Enter the name of the user you want to invite.

If you are inviting users via the desktop mode, go to https://www.reddit.com/r/SUBREDDIT/about/moderators and enter their name there.

The invited user will get a message about the invite, and they have to accept the invite on their end before they show up on your moderators list.

If you're looking for more moderators and your subreddit has at least 50 subscribers and 25 posts, you may post over at r/needamod.

3. How do I add rules to my subreddit?

You can only do this via desktop mode in a web browser. Go to https://www.reddit.com/r/SUBREDDIT/about/rules and click "Add Rule" in the top right corner. You can use either the classic interface (Old Reddit) or the redesign (New Reddit).

4. How do I make my subreddit private or public?

You can do this via desktop mode in a web browser. Go to https://www.reddit.com/r/SUBREDDIT/about/edit/ and under "Type (of community)", select "public" or "private", which ever one you want. Then click "save options/changes".

  • public means that anyone can see, post, or comment on your subreddit.
  • restricted means that only approved users can post on your subreddit, but anyone can see it and comment.
  • private means that only approved users can see, post, or comment on your subreddit. Everyone else is unable to see anything more than the description (see no. 5).

To do this on mobile, go to Mod Tools, then Community type, then change the slider to the one you want, then Save.

5. How do I change my subreddit's description / its about text or its NSFW setting?

You can only do this via desktop mode in a web browser. Go to https://www.reddit.com/r/SUBREDDIT/about/edit/ and change the "(Community) description". Then click "save options/changes". You can also change the NSFW status there.

To change the description on mobile, go to Mod Tools, then Description, then Save.

To change NSFW setting on mobile, go to Mod Tools, then Community type, then tap or untap 18+ community, then Save.

6. I just created my subreddit, why does it say that there are 3/4/5/6 people online right now?

The number of users online for a subreddit is always fuzzed regardless of a subreddt's size. What that means is that you may be the only one on the subreddit but the user online count will vary by up to five users. As u/spladug says, "the idea of this was to make it harder to leak information about when individuals [are] visiting a subreddit."

7. How do I use AutoModerator to restrict new accounts / filter posts / etc?

Please read the AutoModerator introduction first to get an idea for what it can and can't do. There's also a library of common AutoModerator rules here and what you may want to implement may already be on there. If you're still lost after reading those links, try asking r/AutoModerator.

You can only change AutoModerator's configuration via desktop mode in a web browser. That configuration page is located at: https://www.reddit.com/r/SUBREDDIT/wiki/config/automoderator

8. How do I make a bot for my subreddit?

First make sure that what you want to do is not possible with AutoModerator. If what you want to do is really not possible, you can ask over at r/RequestABot but please make your request specific and do not be vague. Note that hosting a bot is usually way overkill for new subreddits, especially ones with few subscribers and posts/comments.

9. How do I delete my subreddit?

It is not possible to delete a subredit. As the page says, even if you leave as a mod it will continue to exist and be available for new moderators to take over via request in r/redditrequest. If you want to get rid of it, consider r/adoptareddit. If you just don't want people to see it anymore, make it private and stay as a mod (see question #4).

10. How do I get more people to visit my subreddit / grow it?

The official help center has some useful tips on how to grow your subreddit, and there's also a guide from r/modclub here.

Here's a custom feed with 60 other subreddits where you can promote your subreddit. Be sure to read their rules, if any, first..

Here are some other tips from community members (lightly edited for clarity):

u/One_Giant_Nostril (Link, Link):

  • Fill-up the first page or two with top-quality posts before revealing its existence to r/newreddits.
  • You have to fill-up the first page or two with top-quality content. I don't mean submit something every day, I'm saying submit some thing of best quality, whether it takes 3-4-5 days between posts.
    • The first page or two are key. You want visitors to instantly see what kind of stuff is not only considered acceptable to your subscribers but what quality of stuff is upvoted.
  • Use r/AutoModerator and learn about its various uses.
  • Create a piece of header art that represents your subreddit and upload it via your subreddit settings.

u/versitas_x61 (Link):

  1. Network with smaller subs and advertise as much as possible in similar subs. You can just mention your sub casually in comment section as well.
  2. Focus on gathering regulars. The sub I was working with took off after regulars started to generate contents everyday. Before that, you have to generate content on your own.
  3. Crossposts tend to get people a lot. My sub sees a sudden growth when someone posts an article that has been posted in other subreddits as well.

u/Madbrad200 (Link):

  1. Find related subreddits (You can do so by going here and entering a keyword. If you mod a book subreddit, typing "books" or "literature" is a good idea) and ask the moderators (Politely and professionally. Avoid being spammy) if they'd like to have a sidebar/wiki/sticky link swap (The latter two only if applicable). You could try asking if it'll be okay to make a post promoting it.
  2. Crosspost to subs, preferably related, assuming the mods are okay with it. When posted, I advise adding a worthwhile comment that includes the link to your subreddit, so as to make it easier for mobile users.
  3. See this list of promotional subs and post to them. To get a free official ad, try r/subredditads. To buy an official ad, see this page.
  4. Make sure the description is rather descriptive to help it come up in Reddit searches.
  5. Reach out to people you think could be interested in viewing the sub. Don't be spammy about this.

Please do not expect that your subreddit will just automatically grow and attract subscribers without any effort on your part. Most subreddits are grown through their creators'/moderators' labors of love and they have put a lot of work into making their communities successful.

Useful Links

Useful Subreddits

Please also see this subreddit's sidebar for a list of useful subreddits that may better fit your needs.

  • r/RedesignHelp - for help with customizing the look of your subreddit.
  • r/modguide - a collection of searchable and indexed posts on topics covering all aspects of moderation.
  • r/redditlogos - request a custom logo.
  • r/Bot - a place to share bots and scripts that help moderators with their tasks.

r/modhelp 2h ago

General My sub disappeared

2 Upvotes

I had a sub r/readnevillegoddard that now shows as not existing and my posts are all gone from it. Yet, the name isn’t available as a new sub, as if it does still exist.

For context, it’s just a sub for discussing a new thought movement / mystical author (Neville Godddard). I hadn’t promoted it a lot, and I was the only member thus far.

I logged in today and still have a mod queue, but no sub to mod…

What happened and how I can get it back and recover my posts?

Edit - when I clicked on my sub link above, it says it’s banned??? Huh?


r/modhelp 13h ago

Tools Comment on posts via unmoderated page without being redirected to the post's page?

7 Upvotes

Hii, I tried to search for this but results would always be about unmoderated comments instead.

I was wondering if there is anyone to comment on posts from the unmoderated posts page? It would be amazing if I could easily interact with posts while I go through approving them, but currently I need to open each post's page and then add the comment and then go back to the unmoderated posts page.

It would be handy if I could do it all from the same page and was wondering if there any tools available that can enable this, on the old or new reddit design.

Thanks in advance! ♥


r/modhelp 11h ago

Answered Trying to crosspost to my sub and I'm getting error message "This community does not allow for crossposting of video posts" I have no such restriction

1 Upvotes

See subject line


r/modhelp 1d ago

Answered Is it possible to search moderation logs for actions by a moderator who was removed?

12 Upvotes

I can’t find any way to do so currently with the dropdown menu, so i’m asking here to see if y’all know


r/modhelp 9h ago

Tools How do I pin a post to the top of the sub?

0 Upvotes

I recently became a mod (first time ever modding a sub) of /r/OldSchoolNSFW and have made some new rules and want the users of the sub to notice them. I don't see a button or option to pin or highlight a post when making the post or after it's been submitted to the sub. Please help, thanks!


r/modhelp 16h ago

Answered How I can ad pic to my community footer?

2 Upvotes

I have looked everywhere but I ca not find where to ad or change my community footer - that pic on top of the screen. Thanks for helping me!


r/modhelp 1d ago

General Trying to clear spam... Nothing is being cleared anymore. :( Anyone else having this issue?

7 Upvotes

Sometimes I go through and remove a page or two of spam to get through all the spam (from a crazy influx of bots) to make sure my bot hasn't taken things down it didn't need to and... it isn't clearing anymore. :(


r/modhelp 1d ago

General Mobile Web traffic has dropped off in last couple months. Why?

7 Upvotes

Hello, all. I was looking at subreddit traffic stats and noticed that mobile web traffic has dropped off in the last few months, and that use has not been moving to other methods (i.e. that traffic is lost overall).

Any information about what is causing this? Any ideas of how to fix it?

subreddit #1 uniques by month

subreddit #2 uniques by month

Does this include i.reddit.com traffic?

Thank you


r/modhelp 1d ago

Design Can Predictions be disabled from the menu bar?

7 Upvotes

Just as the wiki is? All subs who have run Predictions tournaments seem to have it attached on its menu bar. Running some sporadic Predictions might be fun, but I'm not very fond of having it attached to the menu in a forced manner.

https://i.ibb.co/k20XRcs/Sense-t-tol.png

Cheers,


r/modhelp 1d ago

General How do I allow my subreddit to have video posts?

1 Upvotes

I think I mess a setting up, because I used to be able to upload/cross post videos. However, now I am not able to. Any ideas to fix this?


r/modhelp 1d ago

General Setup a filtering system using flair searches but it's now broken, has Reddit changed anything?

9 Upvotes

r/KansasCityChiefs chiefs mod here. I setup several searches to filter between casual topics and serious discussion, and then break those categories down by new/hot.

They were working for a long time, and we link the searches on the sidebar. However I tried it today and it didn't work.

The searches work by conjoining several flairs together.

flair_name:"analysis & news" OR flair_name:"discussion"

I can search one at a time, but for some reason using the OR operator is broken. I tested out another subreddit and it's the same way. Wasn't sure if Reddit decided to change their syntax or if something else is happening. Any way to get around this if so?


r/modhelp 1d ago

Tools The rules widget on the sidebar has vanished

7 Upvotes

https://imgur.com/a/ZiSlQoy

The rules widget has vanished completely on the sub I am modding, though the rules themselves are still there and editable. As in the image, the Rules button is dead and doesn't work. Upon trying to add a new widget, the Rules option just redirects me to main menu.

Rules are, for some reason, visible while posting.

Any ideas as to what the problem could be?

ETA: Sub is r/Cremposting, and I am using new Reddit on Desktop


r/modhelp 1d ago

General How do I add rules in my subreddit’s about page

0 Upvotes

I’ve been trying to figure it out for like ten minutes


r/modhelp 1d ago

Design We get a lot of questions that AM does not work for the app. Anyone else?

2 Upvotes

Like our AM removals, and AM messages sent to submitters are not going through, according to them.


r/modhelp 1d ago

Tools Sidebar?

0 Upvotes

I would like to add a list of links resources to a sidebar as I have seen on other subs but just can't find out how.


r/modhelp 2d ago Helpful

Answered Can someone tell me what “approved user” mean?

18 Upvotes

If I approve a user, what does it change to my community?


r/modhelp 1d ago

General regarding changing post content rules for a newly created Subreddit

1 Upvotes

Can someone guide me on how to change rules in posting content?


r/modhelp 2d ago

General Why can’t I approve posts anymore that were blocked by the Automoderator?

3 Upvotes

For the past 24 hours or so, anytime I try to approve a post that has been blocked by the Automoderator, the icon changes and immediately goes back. This has worked perfectly fine before.

It doesn’t work in the mobile app either, any attempt to approve immediately reverses.

Any idea what could be wrong or what may have changed?

Thank you!


r/modhelp 2d ago

Engagement Got my very first mod report" in a group and don't really know how to handle it. How can i use mod tools to deal with user reports, and what should i do if something escalates to violence/harassment or something else?

2 Upvotes

A question about the moderation interface, and how mod tools allow you to deal with comments.

there was a previous community in which people made violent threats


r/modhelp 2d ago

Engagement when it says "x# online"

1 Upvotes

what does this mean.

since I havent invited anyone yet, and its restricted so far...so does this mean that x # of ppl are viewing my sub?


r/modhelp 2d ago

General Vote counter not changing on posts

1 Upvotes

My subreddit is 2-days old, and I know that voting is taking place because there's a sticky post encouraging voting at the top, and it's a private subreddit where I know all of the other users. However, no post in the subreddit has above 2 votes. I also checked from a non-mod account and the issue was still there. How to fix?


r/modhelp 2d ago

Design How do I make the post flair background invisible?

7 Upvotes

I am not talking about making the background of my custom post flair invisible, but rather I'm asking how I make the flair background itself invisible?


r/modhelp 2d ago

Tips & Tricks Video uploads

0 Upvotes

Is there any reason some wouldn’t be able to post videos? In setting all uploads text links and videos says it good. But no upload tab option


r/modhelp 2d ago

General My subreddit was banned for being unmoderated and I would like to recover

3 Upvotes

I was absent for a while and my subreddit /r/nihonzera was banned as unmoderated. I'm active again and I would like to restart to use and setup a good auto-mod. I tried send on redditrequest but it won't work since I'm mod there and to request I can't be the mod.
Discord modhelp suggested me to consult more.
Is there any way I could restore my subreddit again?


r/modhelp 3d ago

Answered Automod truncating/cutting off its own comment.

9 Upvotes

Hi, We're struggling to let people know about our second of only two rules. We setup automod to comment about it when anybody posts a link, crosspost, or image. But most of the message is cut off.

A secondary but less concerning issue: Sometimes automod leaves two comments. Please clean up our stuff!

Here's what we have in automod: (well, it's formatted better than this, but the reddit post editor mangled it.)

# If post is anything but plain text, comment asking OP to followup with a good comment. So meta.

type: link submission

comment: Thanks for contributing. Please quickly followup with a good comment to foster conversation or our stickler mods will remove your post. (Rule #2) If that happens, please post again, with a high-effort comment. More info here: https://www.reddit.com/r/MicroFreak/ Thanks again for making r/MicroFreak great!

---

type: crosspost submission

comment: Thanks for contributing. Please quickly followup with a good comment to foster conversation or our stickler mods will remove your post. (Rule #2) If that happens, please post again, with a high-effort comment. More info here: https://www.reddit.com/r/MicroFreak/ Thanks again for making r/MicroFreak great!

---

type: gallery submission

comment: Thanks for contributing. Please quickly followup with a good comment to foster conversation or our stickler mods will remove your post. (Rule #2) If that happens, please post again, with a high-effort comment. More info here: https://www.reddit.com/r/MicroFreak/ Thanks again for making r/MicroFreak great!

Thanks!

E: Posted in r/AutoModerator too! https://www.reddit.com/r/AutoModerator/comments/s87efi/automod_truncatingcutting_off_its_own_comment/