Masters of Community with David Spinks
How Reddit Builds Trust at Scale with Evan Hamilton
January 25, 2021
This week, we have the pleasure of hearing from Evan Hamilton, the Director of Community at Reddit. Evan joined the Reddit team at a time when trust was broken between the moderators and the Reddit team. Evan rebuilt trust in the community by ensuring transparent communication with the moderators, addressing concrete issues, humanizing both the employees and the moderators, and creating small programs and teams to work directly with moderators. The community council became crucial to building trust and was created as a safe space for moderators to share feedback, challenges, questions, and insights with the executive team of Reddit. We talk about the beauty of Reddit’s pseudonymity and how users bring their true selves to the table and talk openly about their low points and experiences, finding a sense of belonging by connecting with ‘their people’. Reddit will continue growing its community programs at scale to enable and support its moderators through any challenges and questions they have. Who is this episode for?: B2C, Online, Scaling 3 key takeaways: - The steps to building community trust include communicating transparently, addressing concrete issues, humanizing everyone, and creating programs to enhance community communication and processes. - The benefit of pseudonymity in the Reddit community is that it gives people a place to be 100% themselves and share vulnerable, real experiences that they have been through. This outlet helps users find ‘their people’ and feel a sense of belonging. - Reddit scaled its large moderator community by creating a Community Council to provide information, receive feedback, and communicate effectively with moderators representing ‘subreddits’. These members would distill information from the council to their moderator teams and ensure everyone was on the same page. Notable Quotes: 1. What did you practically do to make it feel like a safe space? I think some of it is just the access. It's easy to be frustrated when you're talking to a representative, right? It's the, “I want to talk to your manager syndrome.” You feel like the person you're talking to doesn't have power and so you just try and push past them to get to their manager. By actually involving the product managers who are building these products and eventually involving our execs, it was clear that you're not going to get any higher up the chain. This is the person who's building this thing and I think that helps. Having a buffer in between can be good but can also be detrimental because people feel like this representative isn't going to go fight for me. I think the other part was just framing and priming and setting up the conversation as, ‘Hey, we're all here because we're on the same page. We want Reddit to be great. We want moderators to be a big part of that.’ 2. “What we've seen on Reddit is the benefits that pseudonymity brings and that people can really bring. They're their true selves to the table, right? I've seen amazing conversations where, you know, mothers are sharing their experiences with postpartum depression, something that they really may not feel comfortable sharing, attached to their name in a public setting.We have amazing communities for marginalized groups. We have support communities like stop drinking, where people are talking very, very honestly about their low points and because of the pseudonymity combined with a very robust safety team, making sure that regardless of what pseudonym you're using, you're behaving, people are able to be themselves and let this raw part of them loose.” Rapid fire question answers: 1. What’s your favorite book to recommend to others? “Predictably Irrational” OR “Big” 2. Who’s an up and coming community builder you think is going to do big things? Shana Sumers & Carter Gibson 3. What’s your go-to community engagement starter? Food or a bracket system 4. What is your favorite subreddit? ATBGE - Awful Taste But Great Execution 5. One metric to use for the rest of your career to measure communities? Trust Barometer. 6. Weirdest community you've been a part of? Theater (extraverted actors and introverted tech people) 7. If you’re on your death bed and you could only leave one piece of life advice behind for all the future generations, what would that advice be? Listen to People. We spend way too much time thinking about ourselves and not listening to others.

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