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“Mods Are Asleep” is an expression used to indicate that a website’s moderators are currently inactive and unable to enforce the site’s rules of conduct. The phrase is often followed by a call to action for other users to post material that is typically not allowed.
The phrase is rumored to have originated on the imageboard 4chan, but an archived thread has not been found. The earliest known reference to discussion board moderators being “asleep” was posted by Sputnik Music Forums Omega Red on January 25th, 2006, when explaining why the thread had not been locked.
On August 10th, 2007, the feminist blog Feministe published an open letter to Anonymous addressing a raid against the blog. In reply to the post, user “a regular here” commented that raid threads typically occur on 4chan when “mods are asleep.” On June 16th, 2008, an anonymous 4chan user replied “mods are asleep” to a thread in the /a/ (anime & manga) board featuring a sexually explicit anime image with the phrase. On February 15th, 2009, Escapist Magazine Forums member DannyBoy451 responded to a thread by joking that users should post links to adult websites since moderators were asleep. On September 22nd, 2010, XDA Developers Forum member SamVib submitted a thread titled “mods are asleep! post cp,” which featured a link to a Google image search results page for the keywords “copy paper.”
My Little Pony Threads
On February 26, 2011, moderators on 4chan’s /b/ and /co/ boards began removing threads featuring My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic characters and banning users who posted in them. In response to the bans, ponies became the subject of “Mods Are Asleep” threads, where users encouraged each other to post images of characters from the show. The bans were eventually lifted on February 27, 2011 on the /co/ (comics &cartoons) board, and March 1, 2011 on the /b/ (random) board.
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