The Reddit blackout

So, this week more than 8000 subreddits pledged to go dark in protest against the announced pricing changes for the Reddit API. While not all of them actually did it, at the time of writing this there are still around 4000 subreddits are still either private or restricted.

I’m personally a very light user of Reddit, mostly sticking to r/fountainpens, the various bulletin journal ones, and now also the r/sonyalpha one. Out of these I think only r/fountainpens participated in the blackout and have now come back after a vote with, sadly, only very little participation (4.6k out of 32k).

That whole situation is just weird and too close to what we saw last year with Twitter. The main difference for me here is that Reddit actually depends on external and voluntary moderators to keep the whole platform sane. Without them, Reddit would be completely useless for most of its current users. And if moderators can no longer do their work efficiently because the authors of the apps they’re using cannot afford to maintain them anymore due to API pricing, then Reddit just hurts itself badly in the mid to long term.

OK, but that would be just a decision that could be altered eventually. What’s hard to alter, though, is the tone that Reddit’s CEO is currently using to describe they community, the moderators, and the app developers that contributed massively to what Reddit is today. Mike Masnick over at TechDirt has a great rundown of the latest statements.

I have no idea where that journey will eventually lead Reddit. Will it just be yet another Twitter or will the community still have a say? What will the community even be?