Reddit's Shadow Ban - how it works, how to fix it, and how to avoid getting one

Reddit's Shadow Ban - how it works, how to fix it, and how to avoid getting one

One of the most common punishments on Reddit is the shadow ban. I ran into it myself on a newly created account, researched quite a bit of information about it, and would like to share it with you.

Reddit, like any other digital ecosystem, has its own set of rules and punishments. In this guide, let's look at how shadow banning works, find ways to deal with it, and try to figure out how to avoid it.

What is it

Let's start with the basics. A Reddit shadow ban, also known as a "hidden ban" or "soft ban," is a covert form of moderation used by the platform to combat spam, disruptive behavior, and bots.

A shadow ban makes a user and his activity virtually invisible to the community. And it happens without his knowledge - most likely you will not receive any notifications to your mail or in your personal cabinet.

To determine that you are exactly in the shadow ban, it is quite easy - try to open your profile page, being unauthorized in reddit, or authorized in another account. In the first case, you'll see "Sorry, nobody on Reddit goes by that name. The person may have been banned or the username is incorrect". In the second case, "This account has been suspended".

With a fully locked account, you'll see "This account has been suspended" in both cases.

Go to https://www.reddit.com/appeal. If you are not banned, you will see a message before the feedback form. If there is no message, you are banned, but you can send an appeal to have the restrictions lifted.

Your posts and comments on the site are still visible to you, but no one else can see them or interact with them except administrators and moderators.

Unauthorized users, particularly search engine bots, are also unaware of the existence of your account, posts, and links - this can be bad for SEO if you're promoting a site through Reddit.

How does it work

Now that we have an idea of what a shadow ban is, let's understand its mechanism.

As a rule, this restriction is imposed automatically - Reddit's security system makes a decision based on factors unknown to us. On the site itself, there are many discussions of such a phenomenon. Especially often it began to happen with new users - you created an account a few hours ago, and immediately received a punishment.

Reddit uses a complex algorithm that analyzes user behavior in order to identify potential rule violations. We can assume that such violations include excessive self-promotion, spamming, incorrect behavior.

Features of the shadow ban mechanism:

  • Automated detection: Reddit's algorithms constantly monitor user actions such as posting frequency, content quality, and engagement.
  • Silent punishment: instead of banning an account outright, Reddit applies a shadow ban. This allows the user to continue using the platform without realizing that their actions have been restricted. This is done to combat bots that continue to use an account instead of creating a new one.
  • Invisible posts: all posts and comments made by a user under shadow banning become invisible to the Reddit community. This applies to both existing and future posts.
  • Ongoing Monitoring: Reddit continues to monitor the flagged account to determine if the user changes their behavior. If the user continues to violate the rules, further action may be taken, such as a permanent ban.

This stealthy approach serves two main purposes: it prevents disruptive users from realizing they've been banned, and it allows Reddit's moderation system to maintain order by avoiding unnecessary confrontations.

You can continue to post and comment, but it will be like talking to yourself in an empty room. Any effort to create meaningful content or participate in discussions becomes pointless.

But don't despair: there are steps you can take to remedy the effects of a shadow ban on Reddit. In the next section, we'll look at how to fix this problem.

How to fix it

Reddit suggests that the ban may have been imposed in error, or lifted if you're willing to correct your behavior. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to lift a shadow ban and regain your visibility on the platform:

Self-analysis

Start by analyzing your activity on Reddit. Determine what behaviors may have triggered a shadow ban, such as excessive self-promotion, spamming, or harassment. Admitting your mistakes is the first step to getting better. However, for a new account, it is likely that there is an error in the Reddit analyzer.

Contact Reddit's appeals service

Contact the Reddit Appeal Service by sending a request to https://www.reddit.com/appeal. Be polite and respectful. Briefly describe your situation and express your willingness to abide by Reddit's rules in the future, for example:

«Hello. My account has been shadow banned. I have not broken any rules and I respect the Reddit community. Please fix this. Thank you, have a great day!»

Expect

Reddit's support team should review your request after some time. Judging by user discussions, this process takes from 1 week to a month, but sometimes the ban is removed in 1-2 days. I think it all depends on the workload of Reddit staff.

Be patient and wait. Sending repeated requests will not yield positive results, but if you don't see any changes after 1-2 weeks, I think you can try.

Correct your behavior

Follow Reddit's content guidelines, engage in meaningful discussions, and avoid spam and disruptive behavior. Consistently follow these rules to rebuild your reputation.

How to avoid it

Prevention is often the best medicine, and the same is true for Reddit shadow bans. By following these tips and maintaining a responsible online presence, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting shadow banned:

Familiarize yourself with Reddit's rules

Before diving into Reddit, take the time to read and understand the platform's content rules. Familiarity with the rules is the foundation of your defense against a shadow ban.

Avoid excessive self-promotion

Reddit values genuine engagement and discourages users who use the platform primarily for self-promotion. Limit your promotional activity and prioritize meaningful interactions.

Don't spam

Spamming, whether it's excessive posts or repetitive content, is a surefire way to attract the attention of Reddit's shadow ban algorithm. Post thoughtfully and don't overload the community with your content.

Carefully participate in discussions

Participate in discussions with a sincere desire to contribute positively. Avoid confrontational or offensive language and respect differing opinions.

Build a positive reputation

Consistently providing valuable content and interacting respectfully with other users will help you build a positive reputation on Reddit. This can serve as a defense against shady bans.

Links

In conclusion

Figuring out the intricacies of Reddit's shadow banning system can be tricky, but it's not that hard. There doesn't seem to be much information about this phenomenon on the official site - this is probably so that bot creators don't learn their way around it too quickly.

By understanding how shadow bans work, knowing how to respond to them if they occur, and taking proactive steps to avoid them, you can continue to confidently participate in Reddit's active community.

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