Reddit banned a group of WallStreetBets moderators after they attempted a coup
- WallStreetBets' moderators staged an attempted coup on Wednesday to kick out dissenting mods.
- Two waves of bans hit the WallStreetBets mods, one from themselves and one from Reddit.
- Some old moderators have been reinstated but the future of the sub remains unclear.
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WallStreetsBets, a forum on Reddit that recently made headlines for boosting unlikely stock picks like Gamestop, has exploded in popularity over the past two weeks. This week, it experienced a virtual coup among moderators of the subreddit that resulted in multiple waves of bans from WallStreetBets and Reddit itself.
On Thursday morning, a moderator who goes by zjz, claimed that the group of moderators who oversee WallStreetBets had split over a potential movie deal following the subreddit's viral fame, creating a power struggle between two groups.
Moderators oversee control of individual subreddits like WallStreetBets and make sure the sub is following Reddit's rules by removing spam and posts that break the community guidelines.
Writing in a post titled "/r/wallstreetbets will die soon unless the admins save us" the longtime moderator "begged for help" after he said he was being "taken hostage by the top moderators." According to zjz, moderators who hadn't been active on the WallStreetBets recently came back and took over, creating press email addresses and "scrambling to get paid from some movie deal." The post was quickly removed from the sub, alongside many comments criticising the new moderators.
According to a report from the New York Times, moderators of WallStreetBets had been discussing "landing a movie deal" and figuring out what their "cut" is in a conversation on Discord, a chat app. These mods had booted out anyone in their inner circle who questioned the deal and wanted the sub to remain fairly true to its original message of buying stocks with a "YOLO" mentality, such as zjz. The ousted moderators were not only against the movie deal, they also believed that the sudden influx of new users could lead to a sudden shift in subreddit culture, changing what made WSB initially unique.
"This was our clubhouse with all our friends where we let loose and were honest about being in it for the money, but not being in it to sell each other anything," zjz told the NY Times over email.
R/WallStreetBetsTest, a sub created nine months ago by zjz, has become the new hub for these ousted mods and the place to discuss the drama that transpired.
Shortly after zjz's removal, fellow mod jamsi announced that they had been removed as well. Claiming to have over 14 years of experience as a moderator on the platform, they offered their assistance to help deal with the volume of traffic and posts only a week ago. In that seven-day period, they claim to have moderated "an average of 1,500 posts and comments per day."
??Big drama going down in WallStreetBets right now??: Retired old mods have come out of inactivity and kicked the current mods out now that there's movie deals/media attn. Everyone is rallying in the test subreddit that the "active" mods still control https://t.co/6HqqiUhDgI— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) February 4, 2021
"I was confused, annoyed and sad trying to understand what had happened," jamsi wrote.
Over the next day, other WallStreetBet moderators like notmikjaash and bawse1 left their duties or were kicked out by the current administration. A petition was posted, asking Reddit administrators to step in and reinstate the old team that has pulled in nearly 9,000 upvotes.
On Thursday evening, the WallStreetBets moderators who attempted the coup were removed by Reddit for breaking the platform's guidelines. At Reddit, a hands-off approach is usually saved for moderators, with the company rarely stepping in and forcefully clearing away those in charge of their subreddits. During all of this, WallStreetBetsTest went private, going public again early on Friday morning.
Reddit's "Moderator Guidelines for Healthy Communities" require a "stable and active team of moderators" and "association to a brand" and it's unclear if the new wave of mods were able to adhere to these rules.
In total, six moderators had turned over by Friday, including turdled, who had personally banned jamsi. Seven of WallStreetBet's older moderators were reinstated so that the sub could go back to some level of normalcy.
"Matters are now returning to normalcy and the original mods are taking back control," jamsi wrote in a post on WallStreetBetsTest. "This is a good first step in healing for this community that we care so much about."
Mod upheaval on WallStreetBets has happened before. In April of 2020, founder of the sub Jaime Rogozinski was forcefully removed as a moderator from the sub after he pushed a "Wall Street Bet Championship" event where he may have had a stake in its sponsorship and success. Rogozinski recently sold the rights to his life story to entertainment company RatPac Entertainment according to the Wall Street Journal.