Official] Reddit tests showing warnings before posting on highly moderated subreddits

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Update 1 (8/28/19 @ 5:05 PM EST): This experiment went live for a Reddit user, who posted a thread on the /r/ModSupport subreddit. This drew the attention of many moderators and prompted a response from a Reddit Admin. More details below.

Reddit is the most popular social news aggregation and discussion website in the world. While most Redditors prefer different third-party clients to access the website, Reddit’s own official app has continued to grow in popularity ever since its launch. The app has also gained new features over this time, with highlight features like a dark mode toggle getting widespread love and appreciation from the average user. Now, to aid both users and moderators interact and manage highly moderated subreddits, Reddit is testing out additional warnings that will appear before users post through the official app in these subreddits.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

Subreddits like /r/science and /r/history are very heavily moderated, accepting only those posts that meet their quality thresholds, while rejecting and deleting those that do not. Users who do not regularly post to these subreddits remain unaware of these submission quality thresholds. Consequently, a large number of posts from these unaware submitters gets trashed and moderators usually get notified of the action. This just leads to users who get frustrated at losing all the results of their effort, and moderators having more actions to review. Speculating on the different messages, one could be displayed before the first submission, and the other could be displayed when a user tried to resubmit after a failed submission.

It appears that the official Reddit app for Android v3.35.0 will be running an experiment that shows users a warning, directing them to read the rules before submitting a post to a subreddit. We found two different messages within the code, and these two messages also differ based on the submission removal rate of the subreddit, i.e. low, medium or high.

Posting difficulty
High post removal rate
high post removal rate
This community has a high post removal rate, please read the community rules
This community has a high post removal rate, consider selecting a similar community with a lower post removal rate
Medium post removal rate
medium post removal rate
This community has a medium post removal rate, please read the community rules
This community has a medium post removal rate, consider selecting a similar community with a lower post removal rate
low post removal rate

The button for the subreddit rules is conveniently located in the submission screen on the Reddit app, so it should be easy for users to click and read the rules before putting in misplaced efforts towards an incorrect submission. The official app has seen a steady rise in adoption, despite the existence of Reddit’s desktop site and third-party app solutions, so this change should benefit a lot of users.

Reddit
Reddit

Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.


Update 1: Official Reddit Response

Reddit user /u/Vullein070 informed the /r/ModSupport subreddit that they created an alternate account to test something out. When they attempted to make a post on an unnamed subreddit, they discovered the new pre-submission warning about post removal rates.

Reddit post removal rate warning

Credits: /u/Vullein070

This change outraged many moderators of Reddit who felt that this feature will drive users away from their communities, and to address these complaints, Reddit Admin HideHideHidden explained the company’s reasoning behind the new feature. They explain that this is a “small-scale and short-term experiment” for the company “to understand if [they] can reduce the amount of removed posts in large communities.” The Admin notes that this is “only one of the variety of tests [they’re] trying out to encourage better user behavior.” The purpose of this post removal rate warning is to reduce the amount of “low-effort content” that is submitted in “communities with stricter rule sets.” Not only that, but the feature will helps users “[find] complementary communities that are more tolerant of their content.” The Admin is actively engaging with concerned moderators in the subreddit to see how the feature can be improved.

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