At the end of the spring 2023 semester, UTD subreddit moderators clashed, causing the removal of one of its most helpful moderators, u/WillieCubed. With r/utdallas now unsafe to use, students should pay attention to the unresolved subreddit moderation issue.
r/utdallas is the largest unofficial community for UTD, boasting over 25,000 members and being in the top 5% of subreddits. This makes it an invaluable resource for students, with dozens of daily posts about schedule planning, campus events and advice. However, compared to other UTD communities, the subreddit’s moderation has never been consistent, including banning cursing to stay family-friendly in late 2019 and an automod that mistakenly removes innocent words like “scrape.”
Since 2019, complaints have shrouded the moderator team in drama. Subreddit members accused former moderator u/idip31 of unfair treatment when he removed a post showing ECSS next to “No Shower November” and then accused the poster of racism through private messages. u/idip31 stepped down from his position in November 2019. Moderator u/NomadicNom informed the head moderator of r/utdallas, u/iLikeComputers, that u/idip31 has created alternate accounts to continue causing trouble on Reddit. Still, he takes no action to prevent the alternate accounts and has even gone out of his way to maintain a relationship with u/idip31.
u/iLikeComputers has escalated these issues, leading to subreddit-wide drama. On May 1 this year, an anonymous post detailed how u/iLikeComputers abuses his power over the subreddit: in years past, u/iLikeComputers participated in the community only about once a month outside of spamming housing advertisements for his properties and illegitimately removing comments claiming he was a scammer.
Shortly after, he abused his power again by removing the most popular and active moderator, u/WillieCubed, who worked efficiently and curated post collections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though I believe this was retaliation for the anonymous post, u/iLikeComputers claimed that it was because of minor infractions. Specifically, because u/WillieCubed had accidentally used the r/utdallas moderator account when giving reasons for post removal instead of his own.
This outraged students, including the majority of commentors on the post, leading to u/WillieCubed’s response post saying he also believes u/iLikeComputers should step down. The response? A sarcastic GIF from The Wolf of Wall Street that violates his own previous family-friendly rule by using a swear. u/iLikeComputers even pinned it so you don’t have to scroll down to see his obnoxious reply.
So, what about today? u/ILikeComputers made a moderator application post five months ago, and despite receiving applicants, still has not approved any new moderators. He still spams the same housing ads word-for-word. He still doesn’t moderate the subreddit. It is clear why he supports free speech and automated moderation on the subreddit, as seen in his Reddit modmail; he wants the title of head moderator without doing the work.
On Sept. 1, u/NomadicNom, the only moderator who gave daily attention to the subreddit, stepped down. Today, there are no truly active moderators. Helpful posts, collections, flairs and moderation altogether are a thing of the past. Recently, the subreddit has seen a storm of masturbation jokes at the start of the semester and, for the past year, “Will I get into UTD?” threads, which are against the rules.
Without moderation, Reddit is not a helpful or safe place for UTD students, and the subreddit will quickly deteriorate. What if one day, pornography of Temoc is found next to articles from The Mercury? Or if the Office of Information Technology is posting next to malware links disguised as internship applications? The past year has already seen sexual jokes, unnecessary political posts and commentors trying to harass a user into dropping out. Lots of helpful information is stored on the subreddit, which even shows up in Google searches. How long until we hit a point of no return and the entire community, with all its knowledge and advice, is banned by Reddit?
In May, u/WillieCubed hosted an anonymous poll where 2,300 users voted that u/iLikeComputers should step down. I join u/WillieCubed and most of the r/utdallas community in requesting that u/iLikeComputers resign and appoint a student to take his place. Don’t trust him if he tries to save face or posts about his goals for the subreddit. Please keep being vocal. He had his chance when he said he would hire new moderators, and he lied. Until new moderators take his place, I ask that The Mercury, Student Government, student organizations and university departments stop using r/utdallas. The platform is no longer safe now that it’s led by an alumnus who doesn’t have UTD students’ best interests at heart.