Moderators lead Y’town subreddit


By ADAM EARNHEARDT

acearnheardt@ysu.edu

Editor’s note: This is part two of two.

Watching over an online community requires a good, patient moderator. In the case of a Reddit group, this often means the community needs more than one moderator.

When I posted a query to the Youngstown subreddit community about this column, two local moderators were the first to reply.

Meet Zach Perkins and Zack Ziegler, two of Youngstown subreddit’s dedicated moderators. They come from slightly different backgrounds, but the one thing they have in common is their passion for Youngstown.

When asked about what keeps him interested in the community, Perkins, a senior at Cardinal Mooney High School, noted that the subreddit is one of Youngstown’s largest online communities for discussions related to the area.

What really interests him is the positive nature of those discussions.

“Even if community members have different political beliefs, they usually don’t attack each other too harshly but have civil arguments instead,” Perkins said.

Ziegler, a freelance graphic designer and Austintown-Fitch graduate, believes subreddit members do a great job of posting information about the area from a variety of sources.

“There’s content from media outlets like CNBC, the Business Journal, and of course, The Vindicator,” Ziegler said. “There’s also plenty of original content in the form of photos, memories, questions and suggestions. All of these sources can be found in one simple spot. As we grow, so will the content from areas outside the Valley.”

Some subreddit members use the community to meet other people with interests similar to their own.

“It’s a good way to meet new people,” Perkins said. “If your new to the area or just have a question, you’ll get a quick response to it on the Youngstown subreddit.”

Ziegler agrees. He also thinks it’s one of the best ways community members can help the network.

“We have plenty of residents and visitors asking for recommendations on housing, restaurants and the night life that usually result in a lot of responses,” Ziegler added. “From incoming YSU students to travelers stopping in Youngstown for the night, looking for a bite to eat, we do our best to answer their questions.”

Most moderators don’t know each other personally. They’re simply dedicated to cultivating a positive online community. So it surprised Ziegler to learn that his fellow moderator, Perkins, was a high-school senior.

“He’s very aware of the area around us and well educated on current events,” Ziegler added. “I think the rest of the [subreddit] could learn a thing or two from him.”

Zielger and Perkins want the community to grow and flourish.

“We have a weekly events post, and we encourage anyone to add to it, whether it’s a high-school play, a local band or even people looking for that extra card player,” Ziegler said.

To learn more, to join and contribute, or just read the posts, visit the Youngstown subreddit at www.reddit.com/r/youngstown.

Adam Earnheardt is chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University. Follow him on Twitter at @adamearn and on his blog at www.adamearn.com.

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