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Reddit gift exchange triumphs over trolls

When you're managing the largest Secret Santa gift exchange in the world, there's always a chance you'll run into some miscreants. Good thing Reddit administrators knows how to roll with the punches.


Lauren Rae Orsini

Internet Culture

Posted on Dec 21, 2011   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 11:35 pm CDT

This year, rocketsaurus got a care package full of misogyny.

The gift she recieved from her Reddit Secret Santa was downright mean. The female redditor was shocked to find a book about why men are better than women and a pile of papers printed with trollfaces.

“I got trolled by my Secret Santa and I bet it was because of my post history here,” she wrote on Reddit’s primarily female subreddit, r/TwoXChromosomes.

However, rocketsaurus didn’t have long to worry over her gift. Within an hour, an administrator from redditgifts, the section of Reddit responsible for the gift exchange,  had banned the giver and paired rocketsaurus with a new Secret Santa.

Each year, redditgifts holds the world’s largest Secret Santa gift exchange, with over 17,000 participants last year. But the real Christmas miracle is that the entire exchange is orchestrated by just two people: Jessica Moreno (5days) and Dan McComas (kickme444.)

This year, the exchange is on pace to reach 30,000 participants. With a number that large, Secret Santa mixups–– both malicious and accidental–– are bound to happen.

A few are intentionally terrible, like when one redditor, who has a history of posting in the r/gaymers community, received nothing but a letter full of gay slurs. Others are harmless, like when one Secret Santa ended up as a no-show. But in each case, and no matter where on the enormous site the distressed receiver posts, Moreno or McComas is on it.

“I’m so sorry,” Moreno wrote to the letter reciever. “I have banned this person. S/he has been completely removed so she will also not receive anything.”

Mediabistro has compared Reddit to the Wild West for its lawlessness. However, redditgifts shows, that with a little bit of vigilance, trolls rarely win out.

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*First Published: Dec 21, 2011, 5:24 pm CST