Startups · Community

Does Reddit need to pay it's moderators?

Eleanor Carman Incoming BLP Sales Associate at LinkedIn

July 7th, 2015

Community moderated sites like Reddit and Stackoverflow rely almost solely on volunteer moderators to police things.  Is there a better model where these volunteers are compensated with dollars so that they are more aligned. In a post yesterday, Gina Bianchini (Ning, Mightybell) says that "I believe the best business model for community platforms like Reddit are those that offer moderators and the platform revenue-sharing opportunities." Is this necessary for long-term success? It's easy to say "oh they should just do this" but community is tough so I would love to hear from people who run community driven sites, work(ed) at them or have been moderators.

Roger Wu co-founder at cooperatize, native advertising platform

July 7th, 2015

I don't think money is the answer.  If you do the math (especially for good moderators, good contributors, good content creators) the actual cash is less than minimum wage.  And then motivation starts changing... instead of doing something for credit, honor, status, people start doing the math and then its not worth doing on a dollar to dollar basis.


July 7th, 2015

My company developed a "structured crowdsourcing" platform called ACQ2. We offer points and rewards to the creators of content, and revenue share from the site to the moderators. Our proof of concept site,, was so successful at producing massive amounts of high-grade content, that it got spun off as a separate company which is now at the crest of the Japanese inbound travel boom. Our rule is simple: if you want to ask regular people to do "work"-like jobs, moderation being specific and repetitive, then you have to pay them something of value, or they won't stay -- no matter how passionate they were when they started out. If the user contribution is more creative and aspirational, and in particuar not repetitive, then points will work just as well.

Robert Tillman President and CEO, RRT Partners LLC

July 7th, 2015

1. Ellen K. Pao is crazy. 2. The Reddit board members are idiots for hiring her, as it was very easy to see that she was crazy from the whole KP trial. 3. Currently, there are 208,115 people who have signed a petition for her to step down. You can see the petition here: 4. The Reddit board should fire her. When you are in a hole, stop digging. Pao will only get more unstable with time. My guess is that the problem with the moderators is just the tip of the iceberg. In hiring her, they made a politically correct decision that is biting them in the ass. If they do not correct it, it will sink Reddit.  

Amy Vernon Audience Development. Community, content & product. Prize-winning journalist & writer. Connector of people & ideas.

July 8th, 2015

They don't need to pay their moderators. If they did that, they'd have to offer it for all subreddits, and some subreddits are ... distasteful (though legal). And as someone else noted above, it changes motivations.

They need to fully support their community moderators with staff and help them manage issues that arise and schedule things when necessary and be on hand to answer any and all questions. And not fire someone with no notification to the community that person serves.