Charitable subreddits add more security

Reddit’s charitable subreddits are beefing up security


Kevin Morris

Internet Culture

Published Jul 21, 2011   Updated Jun 3, 2021, 3:54 am CDT

Reddit’s charitable subreddits are beefing up their security to stem the tide of scam artists looking for handouts.

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A little over a week ago Random Acts of Pizza (RAOP), the site’s popular pizza giving collective, created an optional verification system.

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Now, moderators from that subreddit have done the same for r/assistance, the site’s original charitable home where reddiotrs routinely ask for all kinds of help, from cash donations to translations to job offers.

Redditors Rollout, a RAOP moderator, and rikbrown, the programmer who developed RAOP’s system, didn’t change much from the original.

The system works by tracking the number of times someone has requested help. That information is encrypted, and only available to the person giving help. Givers can combine that information with a quick look at the redditors comment history to get a good sense of whether the request is a scam.

But, as Rollout noted, the system isn’t perfect:

“I know this is not foolproof, but it is a damn good deterrent, and takes some work to get around. A lot of people lack the know-how to get around it.”

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Still, the immediate reaction from the r/assistance community was almost entirely postive.

“Awesome!” wrote 0hn035

“That should take care of most distractions we’ve had here. Now back to helping those who really need,” added slaterhome.

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*First Published: Jul 21, 2011, 10:26 am CDT