This is a fascinating way to follow the Reddit Dark Campaign

Due to the API changes, a lot of subreddits are going dark for at least 48 hours. This is pretty remarkable.


Eh, they’ve ‘gone dark’ before.

Seeing some of the justifications for and against doing so, I’ve seen quite a lot of bashing on forums. Like some sort of superiority complex.

But we well know that for some communities, Reddit just didn’t work. And that’s before getting into issues like anything on a platform like Reddit, being that platform’s content.

tl:dr: Their protest won’t achieve anything.

You’re probably right, but at least they managed to bring the site down for a few hours.

We’ll have to see. A lot of the heavy hitters are going dark indefinitely, like r/Videos for instance.

Digg once thought the users didn’t matter as well. Myspace? It can go down, it just probably won’t. But it won’t be the same either. I know I am not going back.

I mean, Reddit could just quietly ban the moderators and open such sub-Reddits up if they really wanted to.

This has been annoying, considering reddit had been my main researching source for user experience of devices. A lot of valuable information can be lost.

It’s sad that traditional forums had been closing down to be replaced by things like discord or titok, which are terrible places to share information with their login walled, fast paced nature that just sink all the important information in endless chattering. Or the fact that one random user has full power over the place that many people sharing information at ( discord server owner, reddit mod etc). Just one click from them and all information are flushed down to the void.

I have seen case of someone claimed a sub reddit name of a popular topic, people look up that topic and started talking in that subreddit, the user number grow and the mod started abusing his power, banning people who disagree with them or discussing the topic that wasn’t their personal preference. The users got feed up and made a new subreddit, but the name of their subreddit is harder to search because they can’t make something with the same name, so new user who is interested in the topic always join the first subreddit with the terrible mod first. The terrible mod then made a bot that automatically ban everyone who joined the second subreddit from joining their subreddit, forcing them to leave the second subreddit if they want to join their subreddit which had a much bigger population thanks to the early claimed name.


That could lead to more backlash.


And Reddit runs almost entirely on users freely volunteering their time and effort. So if they leave, then what is left?

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Regarding the motivation for the API pricing change:


But companies that “crawl” Reddit for data and “don’t return any of that value” to users will have to pay up,” Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman told The Times.

“The Reddit corpus of data is really valuable,” he reiterated. “More than any other place on the internet, Reddit is a home for authentic conversation. There’s a lot of stuff on the site that you’d only ever say in therapy, or AA, or never at all … But we don’t need to give all of that value to some of the largest companies in the world for free.”

But that data is not wholly owned by Reddit. If I understand correctly, the copyright for community generated content still lies with the users, but the Reddit TOS grants it a license to “use, copy, modify, adapt, prepare derivative works”.

So if Reddit is concerned about “returning value” to the users in face of AI companies, those users should be at least be a part of the negotiation, if not a beneficiary of increased royalties too. Or am I missing something?


They should, but the chances of disparate users even bothering to try and claim some of the profit it very small, and any success even less so.

The community has shown remarkable organization imo, both in securing support from mods and issuing a list of demands (no royalty-share currently):

Maybe someone more versed in contract law can comment, is there is a tacit agreement here?

I.e. Reddit financially benefits off user-generated content in exchange for providing an efficient medium for online discussion and safe-guarding user data.

However, the new API changes disrupt the users’ ability to access their data and interferes with online discussion, breaking their role as host and custodian.

So are the users within rights to issue a legal challenge?

The protest seems to be slowly ending. Currently that page shows:

5192 /8829 subreddits are currently dark.

It was up above the 8000 mark late Monday IIRC. I wonder what if any effect it will have? For me, it made me aware of the time wasted browsing Reddit & watching random YouTube videos and I installed an app to limit what parts of each site are visible to me. What I don’t see can’t tempt me, or something like that. So far so good. I haven’t fallen off the wagon on either site so far and probably won’t. There are plenty of other interesting things for me to do. Reddit and YouTube were simply the most convenient time wasters.

TLDR: Reddit lost me as a result except for the few subscribed subreddits that aren’t duplicated elsewhere. For what that’s worth (I know, they don’t give a flying fig about my usage.)

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I was definitely a heavy Reddit user who won’t be going back. There was a way to do this in which the company didn’t alienate all of its users, but every single response by the CEO to what’s happening is just the exact wrong move.

Even just something as simple as “you know what, we respect the third-party developer ecosystem, we’re going to take a few months to make sure we get this change absolutely right for all involved” would have avoided the vast majority of the controversy even if they proceeded with the changes as-is a few months later. Instead it’s just lies, gaslighting, and doublespeak.

What this whole thing has revealed though is what a problem it’s been having all of these individual niche content sources centralized into Reddit. There’s obviously a darker side of the Reddit communities, and I get the stereotypes about those types of users.

But it’s also ended up as the only place to discuss tons of small niches. The content you can get there in many cases just can’t be found elsewhere anymore. To give an example out of many, one of the subreddits I’ve been following a ton in recent months is /r/bikeboston in order to get updates on a new local commuting path (that just last weekend finally opened at least). There’s maybe 4000 people who care about that sort of stuff, but it’s the 4000 most informed people you’re going to find on the topic. There just aren’t many places like that anymore. I mean… if it wasn’t for the efforts of a few dedicated community members here, it’s where we’d all end up after the TechnologyGuide thing too.

Even for popular topics, it can sometimes be the easiest way to get answers. Like StackOverflow or Quora on hyperdrive. There’s been a few articles lately pointing out that for technical support or game tips or things like that, people would search Reddit on Google. With most of those being broken links now, it’s disappointing the way things are ending up.

Seems likely what will happen is they’ll remove the current mods and replace them with others who will open things up. I can’t imagine that going well though.


Considering it was supposed to be a 2-day thing originally until the AMA and all of the CEO’s awful interviews caused the user base to get even more combative, I don’t really take that as a sign of it ending. I’d be more inclined to think that any of those 5000ish who continued past the 2-day mark are in it for the long haul.

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The saga continues:

It all seems like a storm in a teacup and localised drama.

People should have read the Reddit T&Cs before they got so invested in it. It’s a company, not a social project.

For what it’s worth, most of the sub-reddits I go to, don’t really care about all this, at least enough to consider moving. They’re fine with/have accepted that they are using someone else’s platform for ‘free’. Sure, the mediocre website and app design isn’t great, but the content is still there.

And many of the sub-reddits are problematic or at least echo chambers. You think the world was literally falling apart right now if you read some of them.

This has been my experience as well. The subs I read frequently are still up and never went dark. There were fewer cat pictures now that I think of it, so I guess a lot of the cat subs went dark? Oh well. I’m there for interesting conversations on topics of interest to me, anonymously. Facebook is a minefield of people I actually know and will probably offend, as well as the need to keep a professional face making it so I can’t say anything about anything that might be even remotely contentious or contravertial.

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The battle gets uglier:

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Apparently, they quickly reversed course:

(Verge commenter Preoptranscentaur)

Mod of r/mildlyinteresting checking in. They’ve reinstated and unsuspended us. 0 communication. Not quite sure what they’re playing at, but thanks for picking up the story and very likely forcing their hand.


I just still can’t believe how bad Reddit the company is handling this. The majority of the fuss could have been avoided a thousand different ways if they communicated better. Instead, every single action they take seems to be pouring more gasoline on the fire.