PITTSBURGH — After many shameful years working in the underworld of Reddit moderation, local pedantic jerk Martin Thurn claims to have turned over a new leaf, using his unique skills for good by editing Wikipedia pages.
“Even after I left that horrible life behind, the things I did in that, that place… they stuck with me,” said Thurn, 37, who could not say the word “Reddit” without succumbing to a wave of shame and regret. “Did I ban people for disagreeing with me? Yes. Did I give one-word answers to long, complicated questions? I am sorry to say that I did. When people asked me to take down content that was stolen from them, did I help them out? Not once. Never.”
While Thurn had no hope of erasing his past sins, he hoped to apply his uniquely shitty personality to help society, by editing obscure articles on Wikipedia.
“My past life taught me a lot about abusing a tiny amount of power to feel more valuable as a person. I don’t want to waste that experience,” said Thurn, fresh off a three-hour argument about the use of passive voice in the page about Slovenian ice dancer Evgeni Striganov. “One morning I looked at myself in the mirror and realized, the fact is that I’m a condescending asshole, and I can’t change that. All I can do is accept it and harness it for good.”
When he is not editing Wikipedia articles, Thurn also donates his time to talk to young know-it-alls, who face increased risk of falling into Reddit moderation. He speaks openly with them about his past, but there is one topic that unfailingly brings him to tears.
“These fingers, they directed so many innocent people to the rules along the sidebar. So, so many,” Thurn said, holding up his trembling hands. “I will carry them with me forever.”
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