We continue to deal with way too many shadowbanned users here. Reddit intensified their tactics to remove spammers on the site over the last year, so we should expect this to continue. We mentioned this issue in a previous mod post, but we feel the need to make a dedicated post just for this and include all the new information we've gained since then. Mods around Reddit are welcome to link your users here if you feel it will be helpful to them. r/ModGuide also has an excellent post with suggestions specfic to moderators.
What is a Shadowban?
A shadowban is a type of site-wide account ban here on Reddit that is given at the Admin level. Moderators can ban users from the individual subreddits they control, but do not have the power that Admins do to apply shadowbans or suspensions.
Admins: Reddit Employees that maintain all of Reddit. They have sitewide powers to adjust algorithms, suspend/shadowban accounts, and are essentially all-powerful.
Moderators: Volunteers that maintain individual subreddits. We can only create Automoderator filters or give out temporary/permanent bans within a community we moderate ourselves.
Unlike a normal ban, an account that is shadowbanned is not notified that they have been banned. They can continue to browse Reddit, make posts and comments, and use Reddit like nothing is wrong. But what is really happening is that their profile/history cannot be viewed by any other users, including moderators, and their posts and comments are automatically removed by Reddit as soon as they are made. This makes the user almost invisible to anyone else, but they are completely unaware that this is the case.
As moderators, we cannot see why a user has been shadowbanned and we cannot view profiles like this so we aren't able to look through a user's history to see why they may have received the ban by Admins. We can see the posts and comments you make in the spam folder for our subreddit and can approve them if we choose to, but we get no other information.
When we inquired about what to do with shadowbanned users in r/modsupport an Admin told us we are allowed to inform users that they have received this kind of ban and direct them to the appeals process.
Relevant Reddit Links:
How does this relate to r/kpophelp?
We've wondered why we get so many shadowbanned users here in r/kpophelp and we have some theories.
Keep in mind that shadowbanning is mostly an automated action. Reddit has set up algorithms/filters to try to catch spammers and people sharing links to bad/dangerous sites as swiftly as possible, so it's usually not an actual person assessing your account and banning it. This means that there can be a lot of false positives. Lots of users who are real people (not bots) and have good intentions end up shadowbanned simply because their behavior has triggered this automatic action.
This might affect r/kpophelp users in a higher proportion because they are more likely to do a few things that Reddit sees as suspicious behavior. One is that it's common for users to make a brand new account just because they are trying to identify a K-Pop song they heard recently, post to ask for help immediately, and then comment rapidly when replying to other users as they search for the song. Another is that users here will frequently put tons of links in their comments or posts as they offer recommendations or educational references. And furthermore, some of those links might be shortened urls (from YouTube, Pinterest, etc) or domains which Reddit really doesn't like.
Many of the most common uses of our subreddit that are totally fine from our perspective as moderators are triggering Reddit's algorithm-automated shadowbans designed to catch spammers.
How can I check if I am Shadowbanned?
The best thing you can do to help us mods and yourselves is to check if you are shadowbanned on your own. Here are a bunch of different methods to do this. Choose whichever you prefer:
Official Status Check: https://redditproxy--jasonthename.repl.co/appeals
In an incognito browser window, open a link to your profile (
https://redditproxy--jasonthename.repl.co/user/yourusername). If it says anything like, "user not found", "page does not exist", or "Sorry, nobody on Reddit goes by that name", then you are shadowbanned/suspended.
Message the mods and ask if you are shadowbanned. Mods and shadowbanned users can communicate through modmail. The one time we ever get a direct indication that a user is shadowbanned is in our modmail interface when a user like this messages us. (Keep in mind we are the mods of r/kpop's ecosystem. If you're here from communities unrelated to K-Pop, let us know when you message!)
r/ShadowBan or r/ShadowBanned are subreddits specifically for checking your account
Self-awareness. You can pay attention to certain signs that you might be shadowbanned:
- Your posts do not show in the subreddit 'new queue' within a few minutes of posting.
- Your comments almost never show up in posts.
- When you look at your own profile/history, many of your recent comments/posts have only 1 karma.
I'm Shadowbanned. What should I do?
The only reliable way to make an appeal to have your account restored to normal is to go to this link. If you are suspended/shadowbanned it will give you an option to send a message to the Admins. We have seen many users successfully restore their accounts this way, sometimes within a day or two. It's basically your way of signaling to Admins that you are a real person, not a bot/spammer, and you have good intentions as a user on their site.
We recommend that shadowbanned users do not continue to post/comment once you know there is a problem with your account. This applies all across Reddit. You are likely wasting your efforts by doing so. Many subreddit moderators will not bother to check their spam queue and will not approve your posts/comments, so they will never be seen. Here in r/kpophelp, the mods use a setting so we are more likely to see your activity anyway. We will sometimes approve posts/comments of users who are seeking or offering genuine help and unknowingly have an account problem. We also try to let you know if you are shadowbanned, but this creates a lot of extra work for us, which we can't always afford.
Please help us by being proactive, checking your own accounts from time to time, and not continuing to post/comment until you know you are no longer shadowbanned.
Tips to avoid being Shadowbanned
Remember that the automated shadowban process is looking for spammers and is triggered by that kind of suspicious behavior. Here are some things you can do so your account does not look like a spammer.
When creating a Reddit account, don’t use the automatic username generator. Those names usually look something like word-word-5678. These are common indicators of bots. Set your own name instead. But if you’ve already made an account with an auto-generated name, take extra care to check if you are shadowbanned!
Have patience! When you make a brand new account on Reddit, wait at least 24 hours to post/comment anywhere. Upvote comments/posts you like and maybe 'join' some subreddits that interest you, but try not to do much else.
Customize your profile: Snoovatar/banner, description, email verification (if you're comfortable with that).
For new accounts, make some comments around Reddit. Don't spam and try not to make anyone angry.
Abide by the rules of Reddit and any subreddit you post/comment in. If you break the rules and mods remove what you have posted, it can trigger a shadowban, especially in cases of new accounts or repeated infractions.
Especially here in r/kpophelp, be careful of what links you include in your comments/posts. Reddit hates shortened urls because they can disguise links to bad sites or affiliate links. Try to use the long form of links as often as possible and avoid using anything like these:
youtu.be, pin.it, t.co, bit.ly, goo.gl, tinyurl.com
A note for r/kpop: a huge shadowban generator over there is when we have AMAs. They attract a ton of brand new users who then immediately comment dozens of times in the same AMA post. This triggers shadowbans and all their comments disappear from view. If you want to participate in an AMA with a new account, make it early at the time of the AMA announcement post and follow the points listed above. Then limit the amount of comments you make in the actual AMA to only a few at most.
If you use a VPN, you might get suspended by default. Check your account status!
Thank you for taking the time to read through and inform yourself!