Ask Me Anything (AMA) has been a staple of Reddit that has contributed to the popularity of the social media platform. It produced some unique, personal and sometimes fiery interviews between public figures and people who submitted questions. The Q&A format became so popular that many people today host so-called AMAs, but the main subreddit is r/IAmA, where the likes of then-US President Barack Obama and Bill Gates have sat in the virtual hot seat. But that subreddit, which has been dubbed its own “juggernaut of a media brand,” is about to look very different and probably less reputable.
On July 1, Reddit went ahead with API pricing changes that have enraged a large and influential portion of its user base. High prices and a 30-day adjustment period caused many third-party Reddit apps to shut down and others to move to paid models that developers aren’t sure are sustainable.
The latest casualty in the Reddit battle has a major impact on one of the most famous forms of Reddit content and signals a potential trend in reddit content change.
On Saturday, the r/IAmA moderators announced that they will no longer perform these tasks:
- Actively recruit celebrities or high-profile figures to do AMAs.
Email and modmail coordination with celebrities and high profile figures and their PR teams to facilitate, educate and conduct AMAs. (We will still be available to answer questions about posting, although response time may vary).
Running and maintaining an AMAs scheduling website with pre-verification and proof as well as social media promotion.
Maintain a current, up-to-date sidebar calendar of scheduled AMAs, with schedule reminders for users.
Sister subreddits with categorized cross posts for easy following.
Moderator confidential verification for AMAs.
- Run various bots, including automatic flaring of live messages
The subreddit, which has 22.5 million subscribers at the time of writing, will still exist, but the moderators claim that most of what makes it special will be undermined.
“Going forward, we will allow most AMA topics, leave evidence and verification requests to the community, and limit ourselves to removing only rule-breaking material. This doesn’t mean we explicitly allow fake AMAs, but it does mean you pay more attention,” said the moderators.
The mods will also continue to perform minimal tasks such as keeping spam out and enforcing rules, they said. Like many other Reddit moderators Ars has spoken to, some will be relinquishing their duties and will reportedly be replaced “if necessary”.
Have enough of Reddit
The announcement of the mods marks a major transition for the subreddit known for scoring big names like Gates, Elon Musk, and Madonna. Those high-profile names and others took global headlines and Reddit visitors who weren’t previously regulars.
“This sub and, in particular, the fact that high-profile celebrities are performing here [are] often featured in articles on places like BBC News – that’s how I discovered Reddit,” read a commentary on the announcement from the r/IAmA moderators.
However, the subreddit mods are tired of the site. To illustrate Reddit’s history of ignoring users and moderators, the announcement quoted an op-ed two subreddit mods wrote for The New York Times in 2015 to explain the recent decision.
Written by mods Brian Lynch and Courtnie Swearingen, the op-ed explained the subreddit moderators’ decision to go dark for 24 hours after Reddit fired Victoria Taylor, who worked with moderators on AMAs.
The op-ed said that Reddit “made critical changes” to the site “without any apparent concern for how those changes would affect their greatest resource: the community and the moderators who help maintain the subreddits that make up the site.”