So this month something unexpected happened...
After about 8 years of using Reddit, my access to post on Reddit disappeared, and nothing I tried would bring it back. There is no valid technical support line on Reddit and most other social sites beyond reading text, especially for the free ones, and I kind of understand why, although when you've invested a lot of time into them, you kind of feel like they won't simply delete your membership overnight. Because of the rise of racism, sexism, and of course political controversy, many social sites and apps have taken steps to limit harmful posts and users, including banning people outright like, ehem... our last President, and I get that, that has nothing to do with my accounts in regards to this story. The post I made had nothing to do with anything controversial at all really... I shared a HipHop music post from my subreddit to r/hiphopheads for the first time ever, and then got permanently banned... From the entire site... Forever.
For those that don't know, Reddit is a web site that used to allow anyone to post pretty much anything in the right place, and then you (as a user) can somewhat anonymously comment on posts and vote posts up or down based on agreement with the post or disdain for it. There are numerous YouTube videos and tutorials available if you need to catch up, so I won't go further in detailing what Reddit is beyond that... The front page of reddit is intended to display the most "up voted" content from many many "Subreddits" which Reddit.Com hosts. Think of reddit as one massive bulletin board, and subreddits as sub-forums that are based on specific topics, or based around specific types of content. One of the most useful aspects of reddit was that it was one of the last few places to be able to view unfiltered, yet somewhat organized content on almost any subject you could imagine, without most of the intrusive ads and other quirkiness that other social media sites presented. You could also more easily control what you wanted and didn't want to see on Reddit through the ability to vote posts upward and downward, and save posts to your profile. For me now, it's all gone... I was banned (including an unrelated account) site-wide for posting my own music to the wrong subreddit.
The hardest part of navigating how to post on reddit was that every subreddit was created and run by individuals, most of whom are not affiliated with, not accountable to, nor trained or paid by Reddit as a corporation. This rather vague hierarchical business setup creates a mysterious "cloud of authority" when things go wrong there. There aren't universal standards and very few rules on how to manage subreddits, which have also been getting many people that don't break serious rules banned.
I originally decided to run my own subreddit after many years of using the site (https://www.reddit.com/r/ruffandtuff/), and it was pretty easy to set up based on my primary user account... Much easier than setting up a new Facebook profile in my opinion, but I've never in even more years been banned or even reported on FaceBook though, so there's that... Over my years of using Reddit, and because I was building a profile and around 50k worth of "Reddit Karma", I realize it was pretty much essential to register another account for when I had to make sensitive posts or when I had the need to make sure my identity would not be compromised (doxing), as pretty much everyone else in-the-know does on that site... I also figured that would be a good back-up move in case my main account ever got lost. It is painful to view Reddit without some kind of user account in place, especially when you are not logged in and forget to not click on the upvote or downvote buttons. Now my 2 accounts are both gone because of the action on one. Apparently an automated bot banned me, and upon messaging moderators I simply received a boilerplate "ban upheld" message that let me know they didn't read mine... Because both of my accounts were closed, my reddit sub is orphaned... just sitting there... Just like a motherless child at a desolate bus station... *sniff* :P I will carry on though, with proper counselling and by figuring out how to ban them from my Google search results and Chrome Browser... Oh, wait, I can't seem to find those settings... hrmmm...
I'm not a toxic nor harmful personality on any social site, apparently now the bar for being banned is now raised higher... I work regularly as a content creator, and I publish music and videos to YouTube and many other social sites, and then would usually link to them on Reddit to reach viewers and listeners beyond the limits of platforms, and I found somewhat good feedback when the planets aligned with people that dig for music like mine. I had started my subreddit, and worked daily to build a quite impressive (to me at least) collection of music videos on my subreddit, and as a practice added mine whenever I created new content.
Reddit has a feature called "Cross Posting" which you can use to share a post across subreddits, however the tool does not warn you about rules on each subreddit you may submit to, and boy lemme tell you... each subreddit, especially the more popular ones can have wildly varying and often confusing rules. Many subreddits now have rules against individuals posting their own work, meaning that they can only share work made by other musicians in my case, so I had a hard time navigating that, while also trying to share my own work as a major frustration.
Subreddit moderators have the ability to remove posts and suspend/ban people and they also do it often over personal disagreements and dislike for users posting far outside of the posted rules on their managed subreddit. That's fine for me of course, I understand the need to have standards... The problem is when a subreddit ban causes a ban from using Reddit entirely, which is exactly what happened to me, and it's also been happening to many other individuals that contribute quality and valued content to Reddit for no pay, little traction, and decreasing engagement over many years.
Social sites served as hubs for interaction for many years until they became stable, then they turned on the same people that built their roadmap (content creators). It's hard breaking ties with most of the dominant apps now because so many are embedded into them as a daily routine, yet the common thread among creators is to keep contributing to these platforms in hopes of being discovered. It wasn't until I really stepped back from my normal sharing activity that I looked at my overall statistics and noticed that many of these platforms are quickly becoming hubs for paid promotion, brigading, political division, and purely profit driven popularity. I'm profit driven too, but not interested in spending a huge advertising budget to get there. I also am not interested in creating a new dance challenge, nor in doing tutorials on making music, nor in breaking my leg while jumping off a roof to become popular... I'm a musician, and I create stuff that involves music... Not a YouTuber, Not a Redditor, Not a TikTocker or whatever name comes out of platforms next. I have always refused superfluous, costly, and "mysteriously engineered" steps added to the process by social platforms in sharing my work. If people don't get it, it just wasn't meant to be, but I enjoy a much less complicated life as a result.
As creators that supply the majority of original content and interaction to social platforms, if we all left, honestly... The experience on most of them would be like signing up to watch corporate commercials all day anyway. As a creator know your worth and stop the madness... Never rely or invest into any platform too much for success other than your own. Too many artists and original creators now are making homogenous and pandering content for likes without even building a lasting impression anyway at this point. I'm not jaded at all mind you, I'm highly motivated to create things that endure long beyond the current "clout chasing" times as we know them... Most of the musicians I have listened to consistently throughout time would probably not even have social media accounts if I think about it, the sad part is that we used to have record stores where we could dig beneath the superficial (promoted) albums.
It's becoming increasingly hard as a content creator just to be seen amidst a sea of others on Social Sites and apps, and I firmly believe that challenges and costs of doing this type of work will increase over time if I remain dependent on social sites that don't operate in a transparent and reliable manner.
I could have easily run a giant "Quit Reddit" protest or changed my IP to create a new account, but I'm just going to let it go... For the amount of time I've spent on Reddit over the years building a profile and contributing content, if they don't respect the value of it all, I can do much more somewhere better. This story is meant to serve as a message to every hard working content creator to:
1. Back your work up in multiple places - NEVER rely on a service, especially a free one to be the source of saving your work and/or personal notes.
2. Just because a site is presented as a free service, It doesn't mean that you can potentially succeed and function properly on it without spending money.
3. Nobody reads Terms Of Service agreements except for paid lawyers (after the fact). Terms of service can be changed at any time anyway because regulation is weak.
4. Most of what you see on social sites now are likely to be paid/promo ads, it's a good time to ask yourself if spending money to run an ad works properly and effectively for you instead of just running your own web site.
5. Social sites allow you to add your branding to them, but their branding is always displayed first. They also take steps to keep your audience engaged in their brand rather than yours, including presenting your content as their own.
6. If you rely heavily on your current Reddit account, take time out to know exactly what actions can get you banned site-wide, and hopefully don't do that stuff.
7. Fight for your right to party (and share & listen to things outside of paid promotion circles).
8. Reddit mgmt should probably read this, take proper ownership, and fix the issue, and probably not just delete my sub to cover this up, as I linked to it above FTR.
At least I have a lot more time for TikTok now though... Cheers!
And with the blink of an eye, my 8 year old reddit profile was completely gone...
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