We think in the long term moderation is likely the most important aspect of this instance and key to ensuring this community stays a nice place. Moderation is a tricky subject and something that we don’t think any platform on the internet has managed to figure out.

Rather than try to summarize our current philosophy on moderation we’d like to focus on some issues we’ve seen (some of which we may not have an answer to yet).

As many Beeple are refugees from Reddit, some of the problems we’re about to outline are likely problems you’ve seen with moderation.

On Power Mods

Reddit has an issue with a certain type of individual being drawn towards moderation and a subset of them really ‘succeeding’ in the accumulation of moderator power. Some people like to refer to some of the most prolific individuals who moderate on the website as part of ‘the cabal’. Some of these individuals are deeply emotionally invested in the platform in unhealthy ways or are seeking validation through their wielding of power and some of these individuals misuse it due to these factors. Some are also simply fairly regular humans who were around at the right time and place or otherwise social in the right way and ended up in their position. We’ve seen more drama than we really care to remember or waste mental bandwidth on. What’s important here, however, is that there’s a social component to this. These ‘cabals’ form because groups naturally occur and synthesize around power. This is true with nearly any community of a certain size, be it your local chapter of an international institution, your government, a meetup group, a convention you like to attend, or any other large gathering of individuals. Checks and balances of various sorts can and should be wielded to help prevent the slow corruption of power but we don’t think this is a problem we’ve managed to universally solve or that any solution doesn’t have both pros and cons. The community needs to decide what tradeoffs are appropriate for it.

Most communities self-police in some manner based on seniority. People who’ve been in a community for a long time are often seen as wise and elevated to places of power. Our elders often know a community extremely well. They can help provide context for the various factions within a community, synthesize the diverse opinions those factions represent, and can offer measured responses on the most likely outcomes or best solutions. However these elders are not infallible and any community needs to adapt to the changes building in said community from its amorphous organization and reorganization. People join and leave throughout a community’s existence. Fresh ideas and new viewpoints can carry a community to new heights and bring important changes. New blood breeds needed innovation and helps to center oppressed or unrepresented voices. There needs to be a balance between the old and the new to keep both sides in appropriate check. If you focus the too much on the opinion of elders, you end up with issues of seniority and cliquey behavior. If you focus too much on the new voices, you risk the community splintering or imploding on itself from a lack of stability or trying to cater to too many conflicting voices at once.

On Solutions to Power Mods

Solutions to ensure fair moderation often center the voices of the individuals in each community and give them the authority to govern themselves. We want this community to be able to govern itself at multiple levels. However self-governance is difficult.


Often people like to point to elections as a way to self-govern. Without even naming some of the issues with elections, we’re sure most of you can look at existing elected governmental officials in nearly any country and easily identify at least one person who highlights issues with this process. By its very nature, an election often becomes a popularity contest, rife for abuse in a plethora of ways that humans with good social skills often use to their advantage.


Sortition (appointment by lot) may offset some of these problems but also has its pros and cons. Perhaps most importantly, we don’t want to burden anyone who’s not interested in moderating with that responsibility. We think people would be well served to examine the social groups which exist in their lives which aren’t governed via direct democracy and to spend a bit of time considering what model is most appropriate in each sphere of their life.


We wouldn’t want to receive medical care from an individual which was elected by the vote of non-medical professionals. The same would be true of legal advice. We would like our moderators to be educated and skilled in moderating, and both elections and sortition don’t always center these values. Ultimately, we haven’t decided on a sustainable long-term solution to moderation, and have been choosing active members in communities which seem to embody or align with our ethos to elevate to a moderating position.

Last updated 10 Sep 2023, 13:37 -0400 . history