Reddit’s new setting for moderators that’s been in the works for some time has now entered beta.
Reddit calls the feature Crowd Control, though some critics may refer to it as “Echo Chamber” – designed to hide opinions expressed by newcomers from existing subscribers to a subreddit.
The stated goal is to allow moderators to limit outside opinions and comments, “minimize community interference” such as “disruption from people outside of their community” and allow them to control the way a large number of new users are allowed to communicate on a subreddit.
The way it works is by limiting exposure of comments made by newcomers or those who have in the past had “negative interactions” i.e., “negative karma in a community.” Their comments are automatically collapsed – in other words, present but unreadable until a user takes action to expand them.
This is already a feature on Reddit affecting comments with a large number of downvotes. However, with Crowd Control, users can be affected simply by being new to a subreddit or having a history of negative interaction on previous posts.
The Crowd Control setting can be turned off by moderators, or further adjusted on a scale that allows lenient, moderate, or strict enforcement.
If moderators choose to use Crowd Control, Redditors who “establish themselves in the community” will at that point have their comments displayed in the usual, immediately readable way. The company also said the new feature will be available both in Reddit’s new and old design and on the app.
Moderators are also invited to sign up for participation in the beta phase of the feature and test it in their own communities, that will begin to be added to the beta early next week.
Some of the hundreds of comments left on the post announcing the new feature welcomed it as a useful tool to defend against a practice known as “brigading” on Reddit – when subscribers from one subreddit start engaging with another negatively, in large numbers, and in an organized manner.
Others noted that the choice of words here, namely “Crowd Control,” could prove to be vague, confusing, and off-putting.