I’m being disappeared on Reddit, can anyone help or know what’s going on?

Hi all,

I’ve been trying to figure out what’s been happening to my Reddit account for weeks (it’s actually several month now). I can’t get a non-automated response from their support team.

I created a Twitter thread about it hoping they will see it:


My Reddit profile:

It’s totally fine when I login, but when I’m logged out, the profile shows as ‘undefined’, and from the internet archive the site responds that user doesn’t even exist.

Does anyone have an idea why my account might be being disappeared?


  1. 2

    Looking at your activity here on IH, I'm honestly not surprised. Just in the past month, you've submitted posts linking to your own blog nineteen times, in most cases it's the entire purpose of your post and you even explicitly asked people for upvotes on an HN post (which is a flagrant violation of their rules).

    If you've acted even remotely similarly on Reddit, you're shadow-banned for violating their rules. This means you're banned but they make it look like you're not when you're logged in. It's an anti-spammer technique.

    IH is particularly lenient with regards to self-promotion, but other forums generally aren't. If you're actually a regularly contributing to a community and people get to know you, a bit of self-promotion is okay and even supported! But on the flip side, very, very few forums will welcome you if you treat them primarily as a marketing channel.

    If you continue on that path, you may find yourself banned from HN and other non-IH forums as well. It looks like dang already gave you some great advice and it applies a lot more broadly than just to HN.

    1. 1

      Thanks for your response @alchemist.

      Sorry if my answer seems a bit scattered, it’s not the easiest topic to discuss.

      There are a few different issues so I’ve divided my answer into a few sections and used bullet points because it’s a bit easier to structure my thoughts that way:

      On the possibility that I was shadow banned:

      • I contacted Reddit support on 2020/11/15 for the first time, the issue had already been occurring before that for a while, I have a reply email from them
      • I started posting to Reddit 36 days ago (according to my profile messages)
      • [UPDATE - I just noticed my very first post was 51 days ago, 36 days since I first posted the newsletter]
      • So if I was shadow banned, it dates from before I ever posted anything

      On respecting community guidelines:

      • I received a warning from /r/javascript on one of my first posts
      • I read and I modified the way I posted based on their policy
      • Each subreddit has different rules so it’s not obvious what the rules actually are
      • /r/javascript self posts are allowed but you have to link directly to the article - it says “post the project directly” - which I started doing
      • I didn’t receive any other warning from any other subreddit

      On asking for an upvote:

      • I did ask for an upvote on IH, after reading - an article that said getting 1-2 upvotes was the best way to maximise your chances of getting to the front page
      • Honestly it seemed to me that people regularly did this and it was no big deal
      • On Twitter people are constantly asking for traffic and upvotes to their own stuff
      • That was the perception I had, looks like that was incorrect in this case
      • Dang from HN did give me some good advice on that
      • I also had a pleasant interaction with the mods via email

      On self promotion:

      • I don’t see it as just self promotion, though there is an element of that for sure
      • In the newsletter I put in a few links to my own blog posts but it’s 90-95% links from around the web - here’s the latest edition so you can judge for yourself
      • I think there is a lot of value for others in the links I send out
      • I keep links to my stuff separate from the collection of links from around the web, so it’s easy to skip that if it doesn’t interest you
      • I put in many hours each week reading lots of articles and manually creating the linkblog and newsletter
      • I really like the HN community and would like to contribute my links but they have no API and don’t want auto posts
      • So the only way to contribute is to double up the work I already do, that’s not realistic for me
      • Posting 1 link each week was the least spammy thing I could do, and still contribute
      • I’m happy that IH is more tolerant, that’s probably the reason I post and comment a lot more often here
      • I’m still trying to get a sense of what’s “okay”, but the constant worry of getting banned for making 1 mistake is narly
      • I’m trying to do it “the right way”, but I’m not perfect

      What’s the best way to share my links and not offend people?

      1. 1

        I can't see your reddit history due to the issue, but the general guideline given to mods is to look for a 10-1 ratio. If someone's posts link to their own blog or things more than 1 out of 10 times, that's a red flag.

        If 90% of your submissions to useful things not related to you and you regularly contribute on threads started by others in ways that aren't self-promotional, you'll probably be fine on most subreddits as long as you give the guidelines a quick glance.

        Only you and reddit admins know what percentage of your posts and comments were promoting your own properties. But 10-1 is the standard guideline.

        Posting 1 link each week was the least spammy thing I could do, and still contribute

        Is that link always to your own post? How about picking the single most interesting link of "the links you send out" and submitting that to HN?

        1. 1

          Do you have a link that describes this ‘standard 10-1 ratio’ that I can refer to?

          My most recent newsletter has:

          • 2 links to articles written by me
          • 26 links to links from around the web

          You can see for yourself.

          1. 1

            Do you have a link that describes this ‘standard 10-1 ratio’ that I can refer to?

            Take your pick: https://www.google.com/search?q=reddit+10-1+guideline

            It's not about links inside your newsletter. Every site links to other sites.

            It's about the actual URLs you post or comment to reddit. The newsletter is written by you. Do you post 9 links by others to reddit each time you post one of your newsletters?

            Both your IH and HN histories look like you almost exclusively share links to your own site/newsletter.

            1. 1

              Thanks for the link, I will check it out.

              Did you read my earlier comment?

              I want to contribute but I don’t want to double or triple the work I am already doing. Is that somehow not reasonable?

              Am I only allowed / expected to contribute in 1 place?

              Some constructive feedback would be helpful.

              I literally am trying to find a way to share many hours of my work.

              Perhaps with Reddit it’s possible if there is a way to post automatically. With HN there definitely isn’t.

              1. 1

                If you're already putting time into curating links from around the web, why not just share your favorite one from each roundup?

                Using a browser plugin, you can share a link pretty effortlessly.

                That wouldn't be self promotional since you wouldn't be sharing your own content, it wouldn't be much work at all and it would be a contribution. Assuming your curation is good, you should find your karma going up in no time.

                1. 1

                  If instead of a weekly newsletter, I coded a weekly Github repo, would you ask me to only post one of the functions?

                  1. 1

                    If that single function were more interesting and more directly valuable than the repo as a whole to the people where you're sharing it, then yes.

                    I hope this feedback in this thread has been useful.

                    1. 0

                      So unless something inside the thing is more valuable than the thing, don’t post.

                      Which boils down to don’t post since that’s an impossibility.

                      Seems a bit discriminatory to newsletters imho.

  2. 2

    Grant from Postpone for Reddit here. 👋

    This means you are shadowbanned. Reddit continues to work when you’re logged in so you don’t know you’re banned. You make posts, but no one can see them so they don’t get upvotes or comments.

    Login and post to /r/shadowban and a bot will confirm if you are shadowbanned or not.

    1. 1

      I have no idea what’s going on, the bot isn’t replying to my post, the site is blocking me from replying to any comments, the comments reply submit buttons on the page don’t do anything.

      I posted a new reply to the post but it doesn’t showup.

      Anyone got any ideas?

    2. 1

      Wow... awesome insight.

    3. 0

      Thanks I’ll try that later today

  3. 1

    Posting an update in case you are interested in the progress I am making on this.

    When I visit the suspension appeals page there is the message:

    You cannot submit an appeal
    Your account is currently neither suspended nor restricted. If you are trying to submit an appeal for another account that is suspended or restricted, please log out and log in to that account.
    For other account issues, please visit our Help Center .

    So my account isn’t suspended.

    There’s nothing in the help center that’s useful to fixing the issue.

    How do I get the account operational again?

    @alchemist @grantmcconnaughey @mattpitts_atech

    1. 1

      I’m definitely interested in following this, as I’ve never seen something like this in Reddit.

      1. 1

        I’ll include your username when I post on this thread. I’m also posting items with the prefix “Reddit Profile Saga” on my linkblog (has an RSS feed), for example yesterday.

  4. 1

    Not sure about your particular problem. However, I was not able to verify my email yesterday, despite having the verification link and clicking within seconds. I kept receiving a "bad request" error, which is not a good sign.

    1. 2

      Thanks for the reply.

      Good to know, though I suspect it’s probably a different issue, I’ve been seeing the profile issue for weeks, it’s actually more like months.

      Did your email eventually verify?

  5. 1

    This comment was deleted a year ago.

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