Upvote: The thin Reddit line between spam and self-promotion

This week on Reddit, influential moderator Sollnvictus was banned for spamming the social news site.


Kevin Morris

Internet Culture

Published Mar 30, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 7:12 pm CDT

Reddit’s biggest news of the week passed off the radar for most: Ian Miles Cheong, aka SolInvictus, was banned from the site after being exposed as a spammer.

Redditor TrollingThunder exposed Cheong in a r/reporthespammers about two months ago, but Reddit admins didn’t ban him until last weekend. Cheong, editor of gaming site Gameranx, frequently promoted his own content on this site and also seemed to heavily promote content from a select few additional sites. His relationship to those companies remains murky.

No one should be surprised someone like Cheong posts his own stories to Reddit. (I occasionally post my own articles, for instance.) It’s not against the rules. What makes Cheong’s case unique is that he’d managed to push his way into a moderator role at some of Reddit’s most-trafficked communities, including r/WTF and r/politics, positions that allowed him to avoid Reddit’s spam filter entirely.

For his part, Cheong said he never broke the rules.

“I’ve never used my position as a moderator to avoid the spam filter,” he told me in an email. “Nothing I submitted was against the rules in terms of content, and the filter is in place to kill unrelated content. …

“Personally, I don’t see why it’s as big a deal as it is because voters posts on reddit become popular based on their content. If content is good, then it gets to the front page. Personally, I never used any voting rings or alternate accounts to promote my links.”


r/IAmA has long been a watering hole for attention-thirsty celebrities on promotional Internet tours. The best AMAs, however, are still most often from extraordinary or even very ordinary people.

This week the section was graced by Aleksander Gamme, a Norwegian explorer whose Cheez Doodle discovery at the South Pole may probably qualifies as the most joy-inducing video ever. We also heard from a guy who suffers from post-orgasmic illness syndrome, a rare but quite serious disease that affects men, and a guy who traveled with his “broke, single mother” to 28 countries before the age of 16.


In other news, Pi is the worst copyright offender on Earth, a redditor’s children’s book concept art is awesome, and we learned why you should sober up before passing out drunk.

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*First Published: Mar 30, 2012, 8:10 pm CDT