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Why Reddit's populist revolt against r/technology will fail

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Redditors at r/technology, so far the most controversial subreddit of 2014, are in open revolt and have demanded the heads of several top moderators.

R/technology readers' longstanding frustration came to a head in April, when one of them put together a list, partially confirmed by a moderator, of seemingly newsworthy terms that were secretly banned from the subreddit, like NSABitcoin, and net neutralityReddit staff acted quickly, stripping r/technology of its default subreddit status—meaning only logged in users who subscribed to it would see its posts.

The scandal also caused Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian to drop his moderator status.

Still, r/technology boasts a healthy 5 million subscribers, an enormous readership by any online standard, and in the mere span of three hours, more than 30,000 of them upvoted a demand for the resignation of four moderators: qgyh2, the "top mod," who can remove anyone underneath him; as well as anutensil; ketralnis; and the controversial maxwellhill.

But unless Reddit staff actually steps in again (and they've yet to respond to the Daily Dot's request for comment), that won’t happen. "I will not be removing them because they didn't cause the censorship at technology," qgyh2 told the Daily Dot. "Far from it, they tried their best to prevent it."

As proof, qgyh2 pointed to r/technology's once-secret automoderator, whose history is online and open for any to see. A quick perusal shows that the majority of censored words and domains came from davidreiss666, who resigned his mod status around the time his subreddit lost its default status.

Qgyh2 apologized for not seeing the problems with the subreddit earlier but refused to blame anyone for its fall from grace.

"Honestly there are no villains here," he said. "Everyone was trying to do what they thought was best."

Illustration by Jason Reed