Introducing "Away mode" on Reddit in an effort to combat cyber bullying on moderators
If you could change anything on Reddit, what would it be and why?
Reddit has always been the top of my list when it comes to browsing interesting content through subReddits. This helps to clear my mind from work and take a break for my brain. Since Reddit has evolved into a platform which any redditor can voice their own opinions and engage in meaningful conversation, this also comes with another problem of growing abusive language, spam and harassment.
Having been in Reddit for more than a year, I always think that the moderators have been the unprotected, abused group who voluntarily helps to improve their sites' content. While coming across an article about moderators being exploited of language abuse and harassment, I deeply believe there should be some features implemented that help moderators to cope with large amount of abusive messages that are sexist, spams or threatening when moderators took actions to block the redditors who are not respectable to the subReddit rules.
But here is the catch. Even now the moderator can block the abusive redditors for 72 hours, people can just keep sending messages after the 72 hours period ended, which turned into a vicious cycle of constant firing of abusive langauge. Quoting from one of the moderators,
"Sometimes you still get people who after the 72 hours just send you another message and you mute them again and then another message, and it goes on for ages. The longest one I've seen is about a year and a half now," said Emily."
Even worse, abusive redditors can easily run into loop holes of authenticating their identities through email confirmation by setting up another account to accuse of the targeted moderators again in another thread.
This is definitely a form of cyberbullying that have posed a major risk of psychological problems to moderators who needs to deal with the intrusive and life threatening responses from the abusive redditors.
As an effort of Reddits hosting 13 events around the world to allow redditors to share their own views, I do want to propose a new feature called "Away Mode" to basically allow moderators to take a break from their current reddit's work and alleviate their stress to handle with enormous amount of abusive and angry redditors on their threads.
Basically, moderators will be shown a page of inactivity on their own page by indicated with a grey filled background on the profile, along with a line of description indicating that they would be away from the sub and not receiving any messages from other redditors. The days of being away can be set up by the respective moderators, from hours to days and months. Meanwhile, there will be a popover modal inside the app that teaches the moderators with a set of guidelines on how to protect themselves from unwanted abuse from other users and managing how to communicate better with the angry blocked redditors with better phrased lines.
Overall, the new feature "Away Mode" is crucial to protect the mental state of the moderator by giving them a break from facing a lot of stress with the side work and a way to temporarily free their minds out from the reddit platforms. This feature can be further validated by user research in the future.