Exploring Reddit’s Impact on Protesting Subreddits
Reddit has moved to the next stage of its countermeasures to end the ongoing API pricing protests in the app. The platform is now taking control of the biggest subreddit still holding out, which had been restricting access in response to changes in Reddit.
The Verge reports that Reddit has now taken control of r/malefashionadvice by expelling its previous volunteer moderators to re-open the community to outside users.
r/malefashionadvice, which has over 5 million members, is now seeking new volunteer moderators with this note pinned to the group’s top.
The post was pinned by the user’ Mod Code of Conduct.’ It is the account that Reddit has used to take over a range of protesting subreddits.
Moderators are constantly protesting the platform’s API changes. It has priced several popular third-party apps out of the market.
Reddit has been threatening to take over communities that failed to re-open and allow users and advertisers back in. It further promotes heightened tensions between its moderators and app management.
It has prompted several users to launch new communities on Discord instead. It could have greatly impacted Reddit usage, as many of its most passionate users shift to other platforms to continue their groups.
It feels like a line has now been crossed, and it is unclear if or how the platform will be able to return to the attributes it was founded upon.
Reddit is built on its community more than any other social media platform, with volunteer moderators managing subreddits based on their passion for each other.
They want to keep things running smoothly and align with every group’s rules and focus.
For a long time, the approach of Reddit has been the envy of other platforms, with up and down votes highlighting the best content, as voted by users.
It is as opposed to algorithmically amplifying the most engaging content and unpaid moderates overseeing that feed and keeping things on the right track.
The risk, of course, is that it will leave Reddit heavily reliant on volunteer labor. It might not be sustainable, but it has been for the app’s 18 years.
But now, we are at a crossroads in many respects, where Reddit will need to re-examine this approach and potentially consider a new way forward.
Sure, most subreddits are back up and running. Still, the fact that Reddit is now holding the threat of replacement over any moderates not complying with its rules significantly alters the dynamic and could forever change Reddit.
Is that a bad thing? Maybe not. Reddit may want to force a change as part of its push to launch an IPO with its reliance on volunteers.
It looms as a concern for investors. Now it can establish more definitive controls to lessen this concern.
It could also align with its broader moves to remove offensive subreddits and institute more control over activity in the app.
But it could also kill off Reddit’s magic in terms of that community ethos. The fraternal comradeship made it feel like a massive group hangout, unlike an AI system pumping out what it thinks you will like.
It is going to be a big shift. Now we have to wait for the next stage of the app.
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