Hey guys, its been awhile since I created an actual blog post that wasn’t 100% dev related! But hello and this is dev related in a sense!

So today I would like to talk about something that has been bothering me, specifically in popular subreddits (such as r/gaming). This is reddit’s bizarre stigmatization and even open hostility towards self promotion. Or if I may be so bold, small creators in general.

For those who don’t know what reddit is, first have you been living under a rock your entire life? and second reddit brands itself as the following:

Reddit is a network of communities based on people’s interests. Find communities you’re interested in, and become part of an online community!”

What brought this to my attention was a recent very bad experience with the popular subreddit r/Gaming. Pictured here:

The Spark

I, just a day ago, announced the development of my new turn based strategy game, DR4X with a very bizarre mashup of genres.

You can see it here

I decided, now is as good a time as ever to use reddit, which I feel is very open to new creators (or I felt was very open to new creators, given previous experiences with subreddits such as r/roguelikes, r/dwarffortress etc (by the way shout out to all the awesome folks there!) )

I posted the announcement to 5 subreddits which I read were great for putting your game out there, so to speak, r/promote, r/unity3D, r/SelfPromote, r/indiegaming, r/gaming

It is still up in 3 of those subreddits, however, r/gaming and r/indiegaming both removed my post.

But, before that happened, my post on r/gaming was gaining traction fast, after a few minutes I was already at +13 upvotes and was on my way to the front page, then r/gaming knee capped me and took the post down, stopping me in my tracks and dashing my hopes and dreams of going viral. On r/indiegaming either the mods are just faster and took it down instantly, or no one saw the post. This means r/indiegaming wasn’t a big deal when I later found out it was removed from that subreddit as well. (Though I did message the mods today, we will see what happens.)

It turns out the reason it has been taken down on the r/gaming subreddit is that mods check a users submission history (submissions are Threads that you start in a subreddit, not comments on threads, this distinction will come up later) and are strict about (or maybe not since its clear they didn’t even look 3 pages into my history) only 10% of your submissions on all of reddit are self promotion related.

The last year or so, I’ve been using reddit a lot to promote my Roguelike RLDR and to release few other projects. Specifically on r/roguelikes, and r/promote and r/selfpromote . r/roguelikes has a pretty great self promotion rule in particular, only one self promo submission every 3 months. Its clear, its comprehensible and it doesn’t ignore all but one type of way to participate in reddit.

r/roguelikes rule

R/Gaming’s rule aswell as R/Indiegamings rules are far, far more strict:

On its face, this seems great! Very strict, but they are popular subreddits right?

Well no, remember, this counts only submissions, not comments. This means those people who participate in comments, and when they post they post OC, (original content that they themselves made) their stuff is removed a disproportionate amount of time. Instead in order to post their oc in these very strict subreddits they have to basically repost memes 9 out of 10 times so that they aren’t unduly cracked down upon, This hurts those creators who are very passionate and spend most of their free time working on their OC instead of reposting memes on reddit like the average user.

And also, after i brought this up to the mods they accused me of being a “sitewide spammer” which I am not, I participate in reddit a lot, mostly talking about dwarf fortress and roguelikes and talking about game dev.

This, unsurprisingly, very much upset me, “im no spammer” I thought, and so I looked into it. Turns out i’m not the only person who has experienced this or thought about this issue. here are just a few posts that talk about this issue.
There are many more posts about this and even memes:

An even worse problem is that , as someone pointed out to me,

These subreddits don’t go after large creators for this, nor do they gatekeep other veiled self promotional posts made by companies. So the ones that are harmed are those small creatives, those small creators who are just passionate about what they work on. Nor does this impact companies who make direct ads (because they can pay for ads) They also don’t go after those that post image OCs as much according to them. Though people complain about being warned for self promotion even in these cases, hence the memes.

credit to the informant

Here’s some testimony from another creator who experienced and took action on this issue and they put this disparity into words better than i ever could:

Counter Arguments

An argument against this is generally “but we don’t want subreddits to become just places where people constantly self promote their bad content”

And just so you know I’m not slapping a strawman, here’s some examples of this argument:

The second most common argument is that “just comment on 9 other posts” As I’ve demonstrated already, this doesn’t work, they are counting submissions, not comments.

First off, this assumes self promoted content is bad, why would you assume that? And second, people already complain about people posting junk content because of reposting the same memes over and over or the same videos over and over or the same games over and over. You can either have one or the other. The other helps reddit actually be a place where creativity can bloom and go viral, the other just hurts small creators and reduces the sites quality as a whole.

The solution

You didn’t think I was just going to whine the whole time right? No I have a solution that will remove this disparity, at least partially!

The simple solution is, ditch the 10% rule and instead have a subreddit specific rule about self promotion, for example like r/roguelikes 1 self promotional post every 3 months.

This allows small creators to spread the word, but it also doesn’t cause massive amounts of spam. See r/roguelikes for proof of the efficacy of this. The roguelike community is very open to new creators and so people actual bother creating and spreading the word. This has created a vibrant and open community full of awesome games and awesome content. What community doesnt want to do that?

Bitter recompense

To r/gamings credit they updated their rules after me and one other person brought up the issue to them, but the damage had been done.