One of the clauses in the contract (viewable here) is that the signatory agrees to adhere to it for three years after its termination, meaning the contact would still be in effect after the moderator steps down.
A Reddit user who recently joined the moderation team told the Daily Dot that, after joining the team, he was asked to sign the legal document. While it was made clear this wasn’t mandatory, he added that he was told most of the moderators had signed it and he felt peer pressure to follow suit as a result.
The moderator also shared a screenshot of a post, made by fellow mod “adagiosummoner,” in a private subreddit for r/leagueoflegends moderators Directing people to the NDA, the post claimed that signing the agreement would give you access to a Skype “room” with Riot employees to be kept informed about server issues and to make sure “we can keep teh[sic] community updated.”
The post concludes: “This is COMPLETELY optional! You do not have to do this if you do not want to. It is just a side thing we have going on to help the community.”
The person who was approving the NDAs and in charge of the Skype room for direct communication between Riot staff and moderators is Jordon Triggs, a former moderator for the subreddit. Triggs left the moderation team in an official capacity after accepting a position at Riot. Triggs is also still in control of the subreddit’s IRC channels.
In a statement to the Daily Dot, a Riot Games spokesperson confirmed the existence of the private Skype room and the NDAs, saying the contracts were designed to protect players and keep conversations about security private.
Here is Riot’s statement in full:
“It takes a community to create a healthy live service for League of Legends, so we have a channel with mods where they can report emergency issues: from players threatening to harm themselves or others, to service outages that can be directed to the team with little delay. The NDAs are in place so we can protect player privacy and have meaningful conversations around security. Riot has a clear internal policy that Reddit is a channel for players by players and we are guests there.”
In a bid to keep the site impartial and free from corporate influence, the site restricts moderators from forming agreements with outside entities. “You may not enter into any form of agreement on behalf of reddit, or the subreddit which you moderate, without our written approval,” the Reddit user agreement reads.
Reddit did not initially respond to request to comment on this article. However, in a statement on Reddit, the site’s community manager, Kristine Fasnacht, said the agreement did not violate the site’s rules:
There is no rule on reddit that prevents moderators to signing an NDA in order to speak with gaming studios. The rule is that they are not to accept monetary compensation for moderator actions, which is not what’s being done here. They are also not signing anything on behalf of reddit, rather they’re agreeing not to disclose confidential information that they might be given as individuals, which is the purpose of an NDA.
Moderators of other esports-related subreddits said they have signed no similar agreements with developers.
“Since 2010 there has been nothing said between Blizzard and the moderation team to merit an NDA,” a StarCraft 2 moderator told the Daily Dot. “The extent of our conversations is to ask them if they are having an event, make a survival guide for that event or ask if there are any beta keys for giveaways.
“None of us have a direct line to Blizzard, via Skype/IRC/the pro forums or anything else.”
Moderators for the Dota 2 subreddit likewise said that they had signed no agreements with Valve. “We have never been asked to sign any NDA to the best of my knowledge. Even the core tester mod did not sign an NDA. So none of us have ever been asked to sign an NDA by Valve.”
Update March 28, 6:40pm CT: This story has been updated to include Reddit’s statement on the NDA and the site’s terms of service.
Disclaimer: The author of this story was banned from the League of Legends subreddit shortly before this article’s publication.
Illustration by Max Fleishman