In my previous post about self-promotion on Reddit I made a mistake of not taking some site-wide rules in account. To be honest, I didn’t really know about 10% guideline then and ignoring that very gray area, after a couple recent stir ups in certain subreddits, seems to be a really risky thing to do.
If you haven’t already, read all site-wide self-promo guidelines of Reddit. There are a couple of important points I failed to mention before. My bad. I will update my original article, but I’d like to shine more light on that 10% thing, since there are quite a few aspects of it, which worry me and should worry you a lot.
But lets warm up with a pretty straightforward rule first:
You should not just start submitting your links – it will be unwelcome and may be removed as spam, or your account will be banned as spam.
Quite clear, isn’t it? Don’t jump in with a fresh account and start blasting your blog URL everywhere. That might upset spam bots and subreddit moderators. Get to know the place, check the other gamedev posts, leave some feedback, submit your cat picture to /r/aww. Some subreddits have a comment or link karma requirements, before you can post [self-promo] there and the best way to get karma is posting decent content. Check the “new” or “rising” tabs in a subreddits which relate to your interests and you might find a thread to be valuable in!
Now, I can understand if you don’t want to spend a lot of time in another social media website and, if you’re anything like me, you might not have anything valuable to submit, except for stuff you’re working on. Which makes the next part a lot trickier.
You should submit from a variety of sources (a general rule of thumb is 10% or less of your links should be your own site), talk to people in the comments (and not just on your own links), and generally be a good member of the community.
Now, this is a such a huge mess that I don’t really know where to start. The more I read about it, the less clear it becomes, who and how is actually enforcing it and it seems that even admins of the site are a bit confused about it, since there are too many gray areas to count. I’ll just leave a list of speculations and hope it makes gives you enough information to keep Reddit account safe.
- It’s safer to assume that domain checking is automated at some level
- Usually, it’s subreddit moderator checking your submissions & reporting rule-breakers to admins
- Subreddit moderators can follow or ignore this guideline, so you should always check rules of specific subreddit before posting
- Posting a self-promo in a self post and not linking directly, while less engaging, is the safe thing to do
- It’s safer to assume that your comments and being a good member of the community might not have enough leverage for the lack of submission variety in the eyes of moderators
- You are not completely safe in self-promo subreddits and even in your own subreddit
- Moderators of larger subreddits might be pushed by admins to enforce spam preventions
What is shadowban?
Well, it’s something you get for violating rules! It’s the shadiest ban of all bans, since you won’t know that you’re banned and will be able to use site as you’d do usually, posting interesting threads & insightful comments. Only no one will see them, thus making you feel crushing loneliness and quickly lose confidence. Just like in real life! One symptom from which you can diagnose if someone has shadowban is visiting user’s profile and checking if it shows his submissions or an error page.
Sometimes a better kind of moderators will notify you that you were shadow banned, but if you feel like you’re shouting in to the void, you can check your account status here.
How do I post about my project and stay safe?
Very carefully! It’s easy to get overly excited about upcoming release of your game and get in to a bit of trouble. Unfortunately, avoiding that trouble will require much more time than most of us could and would want to sacrifice, but keep in mind that getting active & known in Reddit (at least in gamedev/gaming communities) is not a bad investment. And, hopefully, it will get easier in the future… when we all become rich and famous for our awesome games and won’t need to promote them anymore!
- Be as active as you can, leave feedback for other developers fighting the same battle and help out in threads where you can
- Avoid conflicts with moderators. They might seem unreasonable, but the report button is under their finger.
- Find a community which is relevant to your interests and try to submit content there to keep your post variety up
- Liven up smaller gamedev subreddits, which has softer rules, with content you can find suitable for them
- If possible, keep your game title out of the submission if it’s not vital
- Do not submit one thread after another. Add some comments in between, it’ll make your profile page look much better
- If you want to submit the same link twice, it might be better to cross-link (submit a link of other Reddit thread)
- Link directly to Imgur, Giphy.com or Youtube, instead of blog post, which contains a single image or video
- Writing this makes me uneasy & fake, but you might look like a better community member if, instead information about your year long project, you’d post some funny cat pictures
Hopefully, this post will be of some use to you and maybe even save an account or two. A lot of these are my opinion and relatively safe speculations, so you’re welcome to correct me and add anything from your own experience in the comments.