The /r/leagueoflegends Conundrum: How We Can Fix a Broken Subreddit

My thoughts on the moderator vs. community debate on /r/leagueoflegends

As League of Legends grew to the most played PC video game in the world, the League of Legends subreddit community grew alongside it to 686,748 subscribers. Several controversial decisions by moderation over the last several months led to a massive attack on the moderation team by the exorbitantly larger community. According to a front page post by moderator TheEnigmaBlade, moderators have been leaving due to harassment from the community, and they are now suggesting a moderation-free week, where no rules will be enforced, as a last-ditch effort to make the community realize that they need moderation. This article will be looking to find middle ground for the community and moderation, so the /r/leagueoflegends subreddit can move on from its civil war to actually function like a real subreddit.

What the Community Needs to Realize

First off, the community needs to realize that there are 686,748 subscribers to the subreddit, not counting users not subscribed. The /r/leagueoflegends subreddit is currently run by 22 moderators and 2 bots. This is a massively overwhelming position for moderation to be in, and they obviously cannot respond to every whim the community has as a 22 man unit. Half of these moderators are still learning. According to the moderators’ page, ten of the moderators have only been in their position for two months or less, and they are probably still learning how to judge each situation respectively.

The community also needs to respect the need for moderators to filter out unnecessary and vulgar content as well as enforce the rules of the subreddit. Otherwise, the subreddit will be run by the users with the largest pitchforks (and no one wants that).

All community members are encouraged to read the full subreddit rules that are linked to the top of the subreddit rules widget at the right side of the front page. This page fully explains some of the vague rules. It seems that many community members use the TLDR rules widget that broadly identifies the rules but forget that the full rules are there. Granted, some of the rules are hazy, and when you are confused about a rule, that is when you contact a morderator about it, not after your post is deleted because you’re mad about it.

What the Moderators Need to Realize

The largest thing that moderators need to realize is that they need to be more transparent with their decisions. A suggestion for moderators would be to link a page with the rules to the front page of the subreddit, and under each rule, provide case precedent, like a court would do. That way, you can encourage community members to read why a rule applies based on a past decision by the moderation team. I understand that moderators gave vague examples on their full subreddit rules page, but these are only scenarios, not actual situations that occurred (at least to my knowledge). The community would respect a decision if it were based on a precedent set (thank you /u/esportslaw).

A “no moderation” week, or “beach vacation,” will solve nothing. The community will shout, bicker, and take up pitchforks whether moderators are there or not. The only difference would be that when moderators returned, they would have absolutely no hold over /r/leagueoflegends whatsoever. The people that wanted the moderators to stay would turn against them for abandoning the subreddit, the Internet trolls would have a field day, and the entire subreddit would crash and burn. Internet trolls will be Internet trolls no matter if there are moderators or not. In fact, the community members against the moderators will obviously be the loudest, but there are still several thousand members of the subreddit that are perfectly fine with moderation the way it is or think it needs only a few tweaks.

I know moderation said that they hold meetings regarding rules and decisions of the subreddit on several occasions, but they obviously have not been very effective. The moderators need to get together all at once (which may be difficult with their schedules conflicting) and outline each rule and what is and is not a violation so that all moderators provide a united front on the rules and decisions. When moderators post that they “don’t really know why ____ deleted this post” or “I don’t really agree, but I see where they are coming from,” that is a major consistency issue that needs to be fixed.

One final thought is that the moderators need to stop taking the community’s insults to heart. I completely understand that the overwhelming numbers of complaints and harassment is disheartening, but moderators need to realize that there will always be loud members of the community that are against them, but that does not mean that every member of the community is.

I hope this post brings some insight to this situation, and maybe we can pull down the pitchforks and have a nice chat over tea.