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/r/MechanicalKeyboards, a Year of Changes

Large communities are difficult to appease, and even more difficult to keep organized. This year, /r/MechanicalKeyboards has undergone many significant changes.

Dryver
Published December 18, 2022
This post is part of the KBD.NEWS Advent Calendar 2022. The previous article was: Keycaps, design and free kittens by kartsims. Stay tuned and check back for more articles tomorrow!

Introduction

Large communities are difficult to appease, and even more difficult to keep organized. That’s where the moderators of r/MechanicalKeyboards come in. In the past year, the subreddit has undergone many significant changes. I go by Dryver on Reddit, and I have been a moderator of /r/MechanicalKeyboards for the past 8 years. I have seen the subreddit and hobby grow from ~10,000 members to well over 1 million. The past several years have been quite quiet for the /r/MechanicalKeyboard community, with very few changes, moderator interaction, and rules changes.

An Unorganized Mess

Around April of this year, it became clear to me that the forum had become disorganized, outdated, and unfriendly for new members of the community. The first step I took was doing an audit of the existing moderators, and removing the inactive ones. During this time, NickHeller decided to step back from moderation, as he was spending much more time in the Discord communities rather than Reddit. That left me, alone, as the sole active moderator.

I had recently accepted a position at a different company and had a few weeks off before starting my new job, so I had quite a bit of free time available. I spent some of that time drafting up some new and updated rules for the subreddit, and brainstorming ideas of how to engage the community and bring in new faces.

Towards the end of 2021, we were unfortunately forced to ban giveaways on the subreddit because it had taken over the subreddit and many people were upset at the amount of self-promotion and ads. Flash forward to June 2022, I had the idea to contact a few keyboard-related companies to see if they would be interested in participating in a Week of Giveaways. To my surprise, both companies and the community reacted very positively to the idea of limiting giveaways to small time frames throughout the year, as it didn’t clog up the front page with ads, and it still gave companies a chance to give back to the community.

Pic: Moderation: 2900+ actions by 7 mods over the course of 1 month

Moderation: 2900+ actions by 7 mods over the course of 1 month

Around the same time I announced the giveaway week, I also posted an update to the administrative side of the subreddit with a host of new and updated rules. During this time, a few moderators were removed from the sub due to inactivity, and another left on their own accord. It became very clear it would be impossible to keep up with the work the subreddit had alone. I reached out to members of the community and some older moderators and formed a new team of DrSchlock (a longstanding moderator who joined the subreddit and moderating team about a year before I did), Omnias-42 (an active member of the community and a moderator of /r/MechMarket), and myself Dryver.

The New /r/MechanicalKeyboards

With the new team formed, we were ready to give the community the updates the subreddit needed. The “Week of Giveaways” was the single most successful week the subreddit has ever had. We had over 200,000 individual entries into giveaways over the course of the week, with more than 60 vendors giving away over $10,000 worth of items to the community.

We had tremendous growth during the event, gaining nearly 10x the average subscribers per day, with over 25,000 new subscribers for the week. We reached the top 5 subreddits for comments per day during the week, breaking our record of comments per day on the subreddit by nearly 3x with over 30,000 comments on August 7th. In terms of reach, we had a massive number of pageviews during the week, with over 1,000,000 pageviews on the subreddit, and the top 10 giveaways reaching nearly 50,000,000 pageviews with over 15,000 shares.

Pic: Effect of giveaway ban, new rules and giveaway week on comments/day.

Effect of giveaway ban, new rules and giveaway week on comments/day.

Unfortunately, with more pageviews and subscribers comes more work for the moderators. The week following the “Week of Giveaways”, we were brigaded by a smaller keyboard-related subreddit, causing an influx of work for the moderators. Luckily, with the help of some Reddit admins, we were able to keep things under control. In the following few months, Omnias and DrSchlock helped recruit several more moderators to ease the workload and provide content moderators in different timezones.

Conclusion

The hard work has paid off, and the subreddit is now doing better than ever. We are consistently growing with the subreddit once again headed towards the top 200, we have an active team of 7 moderators helping out, and we are currently hosting our (now yearly) winter Week of Giveaways. The most important aspect of the subreddit is the community itself, and we are overjoyed to see it flourishing with new people joining the hobby every day.

I am currently typing on a LinWorks Whale Special (37/40) in black, with the elusive Cherry MX Tactile Grey switches, Drop’s Lord of the Rings hardcore Dwarven keycaps, and a custom cable from CableMod.

Tristan (27)

u/Dryver
LocationPhiladelphia, PA
Description/r/MechanicalKeyboards Moderator
OccupationDevops Engineer
Joined2013
Fav. switchCherry MX Tactile Grey, Buckling Spring
Other hobbiesRock Climbing, Magic the Gathering, Board Games
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Published on Sun 18th Dec 2022. Featured in KBD #108.


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