Reddit’s r/wallstreetbets just had too much of a good thing.
As traffic to the subreddit hit an all-time Wednesday, things started to head south on the back end. According to someone familiar with the situation, key moderator tools simply stopped working sometime in the afternoon.
“Mods haven’t been able to do some moderation activities since around 6pm (eastern),” they noted.
Modmail, a system which lets subreddit moderators communicate with other redditors, went down. What’s more, r/wallstreetbets moderators lost the ability to ban users (including spammers). These problems were immediately followed by r/wallstreetbets moving to an invite-only subreddit — perhaps in a desperate effort to stem the tide of incoming new users.
When asked what they thought might be the cause of the errors, the person familiar with the matter pointed to “extremely high traffic and posting volumes.”
When reached for comment, a Reddit spokesperson confirmed the company did not ban r/wallstreetbets, but did not respond to our requests regarding the failing moderator tools.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, a visit to r/wallstreetbets now comes with the following message.
“We are experiencing technical difficulties based on unprecedented scale as a result of the newfound interest in WSB. We are unable to ensure Reddit’s content policy and the WSB rules are enforceable without a technology platform that can support automation of this enforcement.”
Notably, a lack of moderation — more specifically, allegedly “continuing to allow hateful and discriminatory content after repeated warnings” — is supposedly what caused Discord to ban the server associated with r/wallstreetbets on Wednesday.
The surge in traffic to r/wallstreetbets follows a (so far) successful effort by the subreddit to drive up the price of GameStop stock in an effort to squeeze hedge fund investors who shorted it. In doing so, the subreddit became the talk of the internet.
As of the last count from subredditstats, r/wallstreetbets had around 2 million subscribers. That number had jumped to 3.5 million shortly before the subreddit was made private.
Popularity, it would seem, has its price.