Is It Time To Say Goodbye To Reddit?
- Adam Douglas
Reddit is a place of community for niche interests of pretty much any subject imaginable and has long ago become ingrained into one’s life as the go-to source for many topics of interest. However, in the last ten years there has been a divide between Reddit the company and Reddit’s community of users that doesn’t appear to be in alignment anymore. Is it time to say goodbye?
The users of Reddit, to me have different characteristics than similar social online services. On top of that we have to remember the age of Reddit as it was established on June 23, 2005. Times were different then, and as a result this has allowed the communities or subreddits to mature over the years. Reddit is known as place that is open nature, and diverse users that tend to be more privacy-conscious that do not like feeling manipulated by Reddit itself or brands. Users often wish to engage with intelligent viewers and participants looking for advice, answers, and social discussions. The culture and the community have allowed for fostering many great things as a result such as, image sharing, image host Imgur and RedditGfits.
Change has been occurring with Reddit on how advertising is being done that tracks the user, which is defiantly not desired by the user base. Yes, it has unfortunately become a norm amongst many online services, which is a problem in itself. This has been shown as the user base has worked hard on creating Reddit front ends or entirely new software in order to venture out on their own Reddit like service to take back control over privacy.
There is endless third party Reddit front end interfaces, and applications that can be used to access Reddit’s service. This has all been made possible of course by the wonderful user base that develop the software, but would not be possible without having access to Reddit’s API (application programming interface). The unfortunate part is it is now all in question if these third party applications can even survive due to the cost Reddit has put on using the API. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to confirm pricing as I couldn’t find an official source. I’m going by the out cry and subreddits protesting. On the surface, this seems like excessive pricing that in the end would just hurt the open nature and diverse community Reddit has become.
The service was created by a Reddit user Dan McComas, and was a user-to-user gift exchange service for Reddit users. Later RedditGifts was acquired by Reddit in August 2011. The wonderful and largest gift exchange that I know of and even participated in multiple times sadly was shutdown on January 2022.
This to me was a huge sign of Reddit not understanding its user base. As far as I understand there was a strong user base of the gift exchange. It can be understandable why Reddit itself may no longer want to own and operate RedditGifts, but why not figure out a way to hand it back over to the community in which it came from? Thankfully gift exchanges have returned due to the user base creating it once again.
It appears to me that it is no longer about community with healthy engagement by providing what the users are asking for, but rather all about the dollar. I feel that Reddit the company are not treating the community and the volunteers as valued and respected customers that they are.
Find out for yourself by reading the responses from Reddit in the news.
- Addressing the community about changes to our API - r/reddit
- Reddit CEO compares moderators to aristocracy as blackout stretches on - The Verge
- Reddit CEO Steve Huffman isn’t backing down: our full interview - The Verge
- Reddit demands moderators remove NSFW labels, or else - The Verge
- Thousands of Reddit communities remain dark as protest continues - The Verge
Here are open letters from subreddits and beyond.
- Restricting Reddit Data Access Threatens Online Safety & Public-Interest Research
Thanks to the open source movement and the wonderful dedicated developers out there, we all have an alternative if one so chooses to move away from Reddit. Here are a few that to me are quite promising.
Aether is a distributed peer-to-peer network using the stateless Aether protocol. Self-hosting is an option with it based on Go. To learn more read these two pages, How is it different from… and Aether protocol.
The decentralized social link aggregation and discussion platform is connected to the Fediverse network (ActivityPub). Can be self-hosted and is based upon Rust and TypeScript. Refer to Lemmy documentation to learn more.
Discover communities using Lemmy Explorer.
Decentralized content aggregator and microblogging platform running on the Fediverse network (ActivityPub). Can be self-hosted and is based on PHP. Refer to Kbin documentation to learn more.
Mobile application coming soon.
A self-hosted PHP based social link aggregator with voting and discussion platform. Postmill doesn’t appear decentralized by being connected to the Fediverse network or peer-to-peer distributed. Therefore, this seems to be a centralized service.
Go based link aggregator using the Fediverse network and has the option to self-host.
We are in times now that I question if Reddit is really viable and desired anymore to be run by a business that doesn’t seem to understand its own user base. A lot of what is even done by the users on Reddit is accomplished by using third party software because there is no good solution available otherwise. That in itself seems off for Reddit to not see this.
I’m sure most of us would agree that we can all understand as a company like Reddit, they need to find a way to generate revenue in order to pay the bills and to make some profit. However, let’s do this without having to sell out your own users and break the entire system that makes it all possible. It is the connection of people and openness that makes places like Reddit thrive. I only see this becoming more broken as time goes by and creating a division between people instead of fostering the growth of connections to people.
- ActivityPub, Wikipedia
- API, Wikipedia
- Data API Terms, Reddit
- Developer Terms, Reddit
- Fediverse, Wikipedia
- Imgur, Wikipedia
- More details on the Reddit saga by Baka Emmie
- Reddit Developer Interfaces, Reddit Help
- Reddit Development
- Reddit logo, SVG Repo
- Reddit, Wikipedia
- RedditGifts, Wikipedia
- Add Reddit alternative link
- Add alternative descriptions
- Add Tildes
- Add Lemmy Explorer
- Add community section
- Add news link