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Salon article: How did the T get in LGBT? by John Aravosis


"Clayton" creates the "Drop The T" movement


We thought you would enjoy a summary of our time on Reddit, as well as a peek behind the curtain of how Anti-Evil Operations actioned the sub prior to our demise.

A Sub Is Born

r/LGBDropTheT was created on February 21st 2019, after a hostile takeover of our prior sub r/DropTheT. A powermod account - who requests subs for the sole purpose of erasing them and/or remaking them into a space other than what was originally intended - asked for and received it, despite numerous requests from active users of the sub previously.

We grew bit-by-bit over the first several months, getting small surges when someone would post a thread on Twitter, but nothing significant until our Great BrigadeTM of the 4th of July weekend in 2019. They missed us on Memorial Day, but for whatever reason, the kiddies out of school noticed us the fateful Friday of July 5th. Their shit-posting and harassment was swift and merciless - it lasted 3 days, and spanned multiple large subs (r/traa, r/LGBT, r/Trans, and r/ainbow were the worst offenders, but several others joined in). You can see how our traffic and subscribers increased here. Mods locked the sub to Approved Submitters for just over a month while we discussed the best ways to handle these kinds of things going forward.

The thing is ... while small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, the Great BrigadeTM really put us on the map. We grew by hundreds of users in just a few days, stalker subs like r/GenderCynical began noticing us, and other subs were created strictly to harass us. Every major US holiday after that, when the kiddies would get an extended weekend, we would get brigaded again without fail.

These brigades - while painful for the mod team - just kept increasing our numbers. More and more LGB people who had never realized we existed found their way to us, and we got increasing amounts of traffic every single month ... with the exception of August 2019, but Pride fatigue plus real-life preparations to resume schooling can certainly account for that.

A Hint, A Warning

On March 25th 2020, we received our very first Anti-Evil Operations (AEO) removal. We shared about it here. To recap:

  • This is the post that AEO removed.
  • The post was nearly 2 weeks old at the time it was removed.
  • Admins did not reach out to us mods about it. Instead, I reached out to them by sending ModMail to r/ModSupport.
  • Admins said the reason for removal was because it linked trans people to pedophilia, and we should be careful about bullying/harassing behavior.
  • It was Admin crickets when I asked about bullying/harassing behavior towards us.
  • Since privacy is no longer a concern, here's my message with the Admins.

Remember, for over a year we existed, and only one single action was ever taken by Admins, despite our sub being the recipient of numerous brigades and massive amounts of report abuse. And an Admin even said our discussions are fine.

Shortly after this warning, mods locked the sub to Approved Submitters again. Not because of this ... but because COVID-19 hit the western world (where all of the mods live), and on March 31st - "Trans Day Of Visibility" - we were overwhelmed with brigading again. We kept the sub locked, much to the annoyance of many new and untrusted users, until June 13th, when our mod team was back and functioning again.

The Purge

3 months after our first AEO removal, and 2 weeks after re-opening ... on June 29th 2020, Admins announced an update to their Content Policy. Within one hour, our sub was mentioned in the thread. And then again, and again, and again. Throughout the day, r/GenderCritical, r/RightwingLGBT, and 2K other subs were deplatformed.

And then the report abuse began rolling in. Posts that were months old getting spammed with the new report reason "It's promoting hate based on identity or vulnerability". It didn't matter what was being shared, even post and comment announcements from mods were getting spammed with it.

For two days our sub was brigaded heavily, and then traffic began tapering off as users across Reddit adjusted to the new norms. The abuse did not end though, it just lightened a bit, and we stopped keeping track of how many posts and comments were being reported and how often.

MOD PRO TIP: One way of combating fatigue during a brigade is to NOT handle the ModQueue the moment something is reported, as chances are, it's going to be reported again and again and again. So we just let them repeatedly report things, and would approve or remove every few hours while continuing to check the sub's new posts and comments for rule-breaking behavior.

To get an idea of what mods were dealing with, after 4 days, we tallied up a count of how many posts/comments we approved. Remember, this is not total reports on posts/comments, this is just how many times we clicked "approve" after an hour or two had gone by.

  • Posts: under normal circumstances, we approved 5-10 posts per day. During the brigade, we approved an average of 241 posts per day.
  • Comments: under normal circumstances, we approved 30-40 comments per day. During the brigade, we approved an average of 258 comments per day.

On June 29th 2020, roughly half an hour after the Announcements thread went live, AEO removed another post in our sub - the second post ever. Again without notice or discussing anything with us mods.

Admins originally said that the new rule "does not protect groups of people who are in the majority or who promote such attacks of hate.". We were concerned that LGB would be seen as "the majority" among LGBTQ+, but figured it was mainly focused towards other movements, given the political climate. Until Admins revised it to state that it does not protect those "who try to hide their hate in bad faith claims of discrimination."

We realized "Drop The T" would be viewed as such, and our days on Reddit were numbered. So we began announcing SaidIt as our backup in every single post to get the word out to as many of you as possible.

The Day Of Reckoning

On July 10th 2020, shortly after 11:30am Pacific Time, our sub was banned.

We had 23.3K subscribers:

We were shocked by our sudden ban, but not surprised. We had been slowly preparing our sub on SaidIt for a year, knowing our day would come eventually.

This is the Announcement post from when we moved to SaidIt, including all related subs we knew about. (archive)


Reddit Admin removals

After the initial purge of wrong-think subs in June, Anti-Evil Operations became more active in ours. Content continued to be removed over the course of the next week and a half, 20 submissions in total. 10 were made prior to the content policy update - in some cases, months earlier - and the other 10 were made within 1 day of the update.

Here is the post we shared on SaidIt with the removal details noted. (archive)

Brigades and Bad Faith Users

From time-to-time, we like to share the secret juicy details of what it's like being a moderator.

Here is one such post about the general hostility we face. (archive)

revision by NutterButterFlutterStill waving into the void— view source