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- I'm tired, so this won't be exhaustive, but here goes:
- First, I want to make something clear that everyone forgets when they talk about Saydrah: She's put her time in. She contributed to reddit when there was nothing to contribute to. She was one of the founding mods of Askreddit, and she gave advice and time to people who needed it. She was extremely popular and well liked, not because she submitted a lot of shit and made a name through meme delivery and playing to the crowd, but because she did the hard work of actually trying to connect with people.
- I saw all of this firsthand, and it's the main reason that I still get burned up over this, even though it's been more than a year. The mistreatment of Saydrah is more like a tradition than anything else. No one knows why, other than everyone else says she's a shill and a spammer, and that's good enough for the young pups with no time under their belt and a good solid feeling of superiority. sigh...Yeah, I care too much about this. Probably more than she does, honestly.
- Anyway, what happened was that Saydrah put down the banhammer on some guy who posted to r/pics, and sent him a nastygram PM telling him off for his posting habits. I think I remember what it was about, but since I'm not certain, I won't post speculation. There's enough hearsay involved in this story as it is. This PM was apparently an escalation of an already bitter rivalry between Saydrah and this guy, and Saydrah herself apologized for it after the fact, saying that she'd gone too far.
- The gentleman who got booted from pics took it personally, and cyberstalked Saydrah enough to find out who she was, and that she was employed as a social networking marketing specialist. Using this information, and citing the fact that she'd posted content on some of the sites that she was regularly submitting as content, it was determined that she must be gaming the system, and somehow had superuser privileges and posting rights that no one else had. Accusations flew left and right, with little more than conjecture for proof.
- This all happened on a Friday evening. That's important, because it means that the Admins had gone home, and didn't even realize the shitstorm was brewing. It was about 36 hours before there was an official reaction to the events, and by the time they were able to respond, it was too late.
- My personal belief is this: The fact that it occurred Friday night is significant. We have a confluence of crappy circumstances.
- The bulk of reddit's youngest demographic was out in force, feeding off and fueling the controversy because it was fun.
- Saydrah was caught off guard, and responded poorly, playing into the hands of those who smelled blood and wanted to take part in the witchhunt.
- Reddit has a real hardon for catching spammers in the act, and exhibits an over-the-top reaction whenever they feel like they're being gamed. Remember what happened when they doubted that poor woman had cancer? Same thing happened to Saydrah, but much worse. They tracked down her real identity and started calling her family. Her grandfather got threatening phone calls, for Christ's sake.
- Saydrah's only real sin was that she actually does work in social network marketing. But there are SEO nerds all over reddit, and why should she have to give out her resume to everyone on reddit, just because she's popular? It comes down to entitlement. A bunch of neckbeards felt like they had the right to demand that of her, despite all the time and energy she'd given the community over the years.
- By the time the admins got wind of everything, Saydrah had to cull her online identity down significantly, because of the damage it was doing to her family life. Spez posted an official response, and said on the record that the Admins had looked at behind-the-scenes statistics and found that Saydrah had been up to nothing untoward. At this point, the silence had gone on too long, though, and people started lobbing accusations at the mods, saying that they were in cahoots with Saydrah, and had given her special posting privileges, which was absurd.
- Holy hell, this got long. I'm going to wind it up now, but hopefully this gave you what you were looking for. No doubt you can sense the venom in my writing as I describe this. I spit nails when I think about the whole affair. As far as I'm concerned, Reddit stabbed a good woman right in the back, and for what? Krispykrackers demodded her from r/pics, not because she wanted to, but to appease the user mob. Saydrah then voluntarily stepped down from nearly every other modship she had, and she had many, because she was well liked and an active contributor.
- This is why I hate reddit's tendency towards mob justice. I don't trust their judgment.
- It was a minor situation that was blown completely out of proportion. She was one of the most popular redditors on here, for a time. She started /r/relationshipadvice and modded almost all of the major subreddits. Mind you, 2.5 years ago reddit was much smaller so pretty much everyone knew who she was.
- Anyways, GiantBatFart (who we currently hate, but I think we got over it) posted about how he was selling a book based on his comic The Oatmeal. Some guys whined that he was spamming (he actually worked for an SEO) and Saydrah jumped in agreeing with them. Then, along came CaptainOblivious and pulled out a freakin' ton of information about Saydrah, including some stuff about her real life. She worked for Associated Content and CaptainOblivious was basically accusing her of being a hypocrite and submitting spam. The main issue was something from her resume from a few years ago (Lord knows where he found that) where she bragged about being able to get anything on reddits front page. It got a little rough with people actually finding her real name, address, phone, place of work, etc.
- Then she started being whiny about it. Then people started coming out of the woodwork with stories about how she tortured their puppies, or something. (all the while /r/circlejerk was having a field day). robingallup told this whole story about how she was banning all of his posts to /r/pics because he submitted from his own blog, instead of imgur. He countered by re-posting one of his banned submissions (a picture of a house that looked like a duck) with him standing in it holding an anti-Saydrah sign.
- karmanaut and the mods held a voting to see whether she should be de-modded for overusage of the banhammer. Naturally, everyone's blood was boiling so she had to leave.
- I spend way too much time on reddit.
-  In which robingallup is forced to show that he took the picture, and did not just find it on the internet Hijinks ensue.
-  What do?
- Well, hang on a sec. There's a fair amount of nuance to the Saydrah story that tends to get swept under the rug. Here are the facts:
- FACT: Saydrah was an employee of Associated Content. The Reddit admins were aware of this. Their assessment of the situation was that Saydrah needed to be monitored, so she was. In conversations with them, they maintain that they never saw Saydrah doing anything unethical or shady.
- FACT: Saydrah was a moderator of many subreddits in which Associated Content was posted. By all accounts, she was a diligent and hard-working moderator who kept her spam queues clean. I only have the admins' words on this (but really - if you can't take their word we're in pretty freaky territory) but again, the admins never saw her doing anything wrong and they were watching.
- FACT: The sidebar of /r/pics forbid link-spamming. Granted, /r/pics was heavily favoring raping sites in favor of blind Imgur posts at the time, but the terms of /r/pics expressly forbid hosting content and spamming /r/pics purely to generate adsense revenue.
- FACT: Robingallup was running adsense on his own site and hosting pictures there. Whether or not he was making a dime off of it remains a subject of dispute. I have no idea whatsoever. That said, the sidebar said one thing, robingallup did the other and Saydrah banned him for it.
- FACT: Saydrah had made many enemies on Reddit. I was one of them - I found her smugly grating and precociously abrasive. I had long since stopped talking to her because any discussion ended in an argument that she attempted to win at all costs. I have a life, however, and a lot of people don't. These people tried many different things to get Saydrah sunk. It wasn't until they'd managed to leverage Reddit's latent anti-mod RAEG that they met with any success.
- FACT: The Admins never acted against Saydrah because in their careful, measured analysis, she never did anything wrong. Saydrah was removed as a moderator by krispy (then not an Admin) because the controversy refused to die.
- So those are facts. How 'bout some opinions?
- OPINION: Reddit's moderation system functions by consent and it was not Saydrah's actions as a mod that got her in trouble, it was Saydrah's actions as a redditor. Saydrah really was burned as a witch. Many of us said nothing because frankly, she was annoying to many of us and we all saw our necks in the noose. As has been clearly demonstrated, there is always someone willing to incite the crowd to pick up torches and pitchforks for any reason. There is not a moderator of any subreddit who hasn't been abused and asked to step down by one or two vocal assholes who think all moderation is censorship. With Saydrah, they managed to succeed. They don't always, and this is good.
- OPINION: The lesson is not "If Saydrah can do it I can do it" but "If I got banned and Saydrah didn't, maybe Saydrah didn't do anything wrong." We've had a number of high profile redditors fuck up (MMM and Wordsauce come to mind) but come back without any difficulty. On the other hand, we've had redditors who have done nothing wrong (Saydrah and P-dub come to mind) who ended up being haunted simply because they didn't properly kow-tow to the hivemind. BritishEnglishPolice found himself in a Saydrah-style witch-hunt for doing his best as a moderator and finding his best was not enough. He's still in Reddit's good graces because he offered to step down. Saydrah, on the other hand, never did, and we burned her at the stake.
- OPINION: Those who bitch about "censorship" really don't understand democracy, freedom of speech or the Tyranny of the Majority. The vast majority of Reddit "drama" is for Redditors, by Redditors, about Redditors. The fact that the admins almost never step in should demonstrate pretty loud and clear that the actions of the individuals under attack have been judged to be harmless by the only people who know what's going on.
- So when people say "Saydrahgate" don't think about somebody gaming Reddit for profit. Think about someone in the position to game Reddit for profit who didn't but got burned at the stake anyway.
- The more people think about that, the better this place will be.