Human-Machine Collaboration for Content Regulation: The Case of Reddit Automoderator

Sociotechnical process
Automod role
Control versus effort tradeoff.

Shagun Jhaver, Iris Birman, Eric Gilbert, and Amy Bruckman (2019), “Human-Machine Collaboration for Content Regulation: The Case of Reddit Automoderator,” ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. (TOCHI) 26, 5, Article 31 (September 2019), 35 pages. DOI: 10.1145/3338243

Media coverage


What one may say on the internet is increasingly controlled by a mix of automated programs, and decisions made by paid and volunteer human moderators. On the popular social media site Reddit, moderators heavily rely on a configurable, automated program called ‘Automoderator’ (or ‘Automod’). How do moderators use Automod? What advantages and challenges does the use of Automod present? We participated as Reddit moderators for over a year, and conducted interviews with 16 moderators to understand the use of Automod in the context of the sociotechnical system of Reddit. Our findings suggest a need for audit tools to help tune the performance of automated mechanisms, a repository for sharing tools, and improving the division of labor between human and machine decision making. We offer insights that are relevant to multiple stakeholders — creators of platforms, designers of automated regulation systems, scholars of platform governance, and content moderators.

BibTeX citation

	author = {Jhaver, Shagun and Birman, Iris and Gilbert, Eric and Bruckman, Amy},
	title = {Human-Machine Collaboration for Content Regulation: The Case of Reddit Automoderator},
	year = {2019},
	issue_date = {September 2019},
	publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
	address = {New York, NY, USA},
	volume = {26},
	number = {5},
	issn = {1073-0516},
	url = {},
	doi = {10.1145/3338243},
	journal = {ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact.},
	month = jul,
	articleno = {31},
	numpages = {35}