Reddit’s biggest beauty community was thrown into suspended chaos after all of its moderators banned themselves — stopping anyone else from making new posts.
The subreddit, r/MakeupAddiction, has more than 1 million subscribers. It’s bigger than any other cosmetics community on the site, and is one of the biggest beauty communities on the internet.
There are eight moderators who run the subreddit, and they’re currently under intense criticism by the community for the way they’re handling a controversy that stemmed from incorrectly banning a single user over an apparent misunderstanding of the company’s rules regarding user privacy. It snowballed into a stalemate where no one has been able to make a new post in r/MakeUpAddiction since the ban begun on Tuesday morning.
“Hundreds of thousands of people are involved in that community, and a handful of people decided to shut it down because they couldn’t be mature and apologize for what was originally a relatively small mistake,” Katy, the user at the center of the controversy, told INSIDER in a Reddit message. “Instead, they deflected and blamed, and ultimately decided that they care more about their power than the community that they are supposed to be supporting.”
It all began with a fake selfie
On Saturday, user anne-of-avonlea posted what they said was a selfie of themselves. User kbuoy, whose real name is Katy, pointed out that the same user posted selfies of completely different people in the past, indicating that all the selfies were fake.
The subreddit’s moderators banned Katy from r/MakeupAddiction for 14 days, saying that she broke Reddit’s terms of service and subreddit-specific rules by “digging through a user’s post history.” When Katy appealed the decision, pointing out that Reddit’s terms of service has no such rule, the moderators likened her comment about anne-of-avonlea’s post history to privacy violation and harassment— even as they thanked her for pointing out that anne-of-avonlea broke the rules by posting fake selfies.
“Looking through someone’s post history is a readily-available feature on Reddit, so I knew that that wasn’t true,” Katy, who declined to give her last name, told INSIDER.
Katy complained about the moderators on another subreddit, r/muacirclejerk, a community that makes fun of r/MakeupAddiction.
At that point, one of the moderators, ComingUpMilhouse responded in the r/MakeUpAddiction subreddit, accusing Katy of “name calling,” using “antisocial language,” and impersonating moderators.
Thousands of users upvoted the dozens of replies ComingUpMilhouse received, pointing out that there was no evidence in Katy’s post history that she was anything but polite.
“I honestly just posted my frustrations in r/muacirclejerk to vent my frustrations, and I was not expecting anything to happen. It was not my intention to incite a riot,” Katy told INSIDER. “All of this could have been avoided if the mods would have just unbanned me on the first day. Instead, they upheld my ban (the reasoning for which changed several times) and made false accusations against me that were easily disproved with screenshots.”
The controversy attracted more attention on Reddit when user BlazingKitsune’s put together a rundown of the controversy in the r/SubredditDrama subreddit, a subreddit dedicated to talking about drama in other subreddits.
The moderators handled the controversy by banning themselves
On Sunday, the fallout began. Users debated how moderators handled the whole situation in a sprawling r/MakeupAddiction thread, mostly criticizing them for how they handled Katy’s ban.
On Monday night, ComingUpMilhouse resigned as a moderator from the subreddit. The moderators also jointly began another discussion in the subreddit, where they said they had no evidence that Katy made comments that violated subreddit rules or Reddit’s terms of service.
An hour later, all of the moderators banned themselves for mishandling the whole affair.
But because there’s no one to moderate new posts, they also stopped allowing anyone from making new posts or comments. The moderators didn’t specify the length of their self-imposed ban.
“A lot has happened this week and the mods are going to ban themselves for a time due to some bad handling in the sub on our part,” one moderator, fairydustandunicorns, wrote in an announcement post. “Unfortunately, that means we cannot allow posts or comments.”
But before that, the moderators unbanned Katy, asking her for a “fresh start moving forward.”
“Thank you all for the best and most dramatic few days of my life. It’s been a pleasure,” Katy wrote in a r/muacirclejerk post announcing the end of her ban.
People are mocking the moderators for the self-ban
Over in the r/muacirclejerk subreddit, people are in disbelief over the self-imposed r/MakeupAddiction moderator ban. They’ve been mocking the moderators with memes.
One user made a parody of the whole thing with a clip from VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Many people are shocked that one person’s controversy could cause such chaos in a massive community.
Most people are just astonished that the moderators handled the issue by banning themselves, of all things.
Since the moderators banned themselves Monday night, there haven’t been any new posts in r/MakeupAddiction from users. The only new post is from a moderator bot, announcing a thread that no one else can respond to.
Katy told INSIDER she’s stunned at how the whole thing turned out. Even though she was unbanned, she already unsubscribed from the subreddit and is encouraging people to join a new one, r/MakeupLounge. She’s also still waiting for an apology.
“I am dumbfounded as to why the moderators of a subreddit with over one million subscribers went out of their way to slander me and sabotage their own subreddit over an issue like this,” Katy told INSIDER. “The mods would clearly rather watch the whole thing burn than act like adults and admit that they were wrong.”