Reddit Blackout - What does it mean, and Why it matters?

nicolaasjan

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May 29, 2023
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Reddit has yet to comment on the allegations and the validity of them. However, it would be advisable with these comments to change any passwords associated with accounts on the platform. It isn't known exactly what the content of the zipped file is at this time, and whether it is just posts or more sensitive data such as user information or passwords."
Changed password right now. 👍
 

vtqhtr413

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After threatening to do so last week, Reddit has now removed the moderators of some of the subreddits that were protesting Reddit's new API pricing scheme. Some of these subreddits have new mods in the protesters' place, while other affected subreddits have been left unmoderated. Still others, oddly, saw their moderators reinstated. Reddit claims the moves are a response to mods breaking its Moderator Code of Conduct by allowing "not safe for work" (NSFW) content in previously "safe for work" subreddits.

However, moderators who spoke to Ars Technica believe Reddit's actions are designed to silence their protests over the new fees. Various Reddit moderators reached out to Ars Technica this week, informing us that mods for r/Celebrities, r/InterestInGas#####_, r/mildlyinteresting, r/self, r/ShittyLifeProTips, and r/TIHI have been removed. Other subreddits are reportedly affected, too, including r/toyota, r/garmin, and r/IllegalLifeProTips. All of the communities recently started allowing NSFW content as a form of API pricing protest.

Reddit can't sell ads on NSFW content, and Redditors have accused the company of covertly switching some subreddits back to SFW. As of this writing, some of the subreddits whose mods were removed remain unmoderated. Other subreddits have new mods. One example, r/Celebrities, has already seen resistance from community members, claiming the new mods "don't represent" them and that these mods weren't active in the community before the protests.
 

vtqhtr413

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"User protests against Reddit's plan to charge new fees to access its content are about to enter their third week," writes Axios. 2,503 subreddits remain dark, including at least three with more than 20 million subscribers apiece, the Guardian points out, arguing that CEO Steve Huffman "may win, but the short history of the web is littered with the corpses of predecessors who alienated their fanbases." The New York Times adds that in an interview Wednesday, "Mr. Huffman said his goal had been to make Reddit better for newcomers and veteran users and to build a lasting business. "He said he regretted that developers were surprised by the company's pricing changes and wished he had been more upfront about how the changes would affect them..." Reddit is now further away from a public offering than it was last year, Mr. Huffman said, but will continue building its business. He added that the community revolt was a part of what made Reddit Reddit and said he and his team planned to continue engaging with top moderators who were upset with the changes. "For better or for worse, this is a very uniquely Reddit moment,"
 

Ink

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Over the years, Google Search queries have lost their immediate usefulness, with results often burying the right answers under sometimes outdated or often spammy content that is focused solely on driving clicks from search to generate ad revenue. As a result, many have moved to adding “Reddit” to their searches to get answers from real people. With the ongoing Reddit blackout, though, many of those searches have become inaccessible, with Google’s results leading to inaccessible pages as the communities have gone private.
9to5Google’s Take
Rather than focusing on surfacing answers from social media or tasking an AI to generate them, Google would do well to focus on making traditional search results actually helpful – those results are what made the company a household name.
Source: Report: Google pushes for better answers amid Reddit blackout, 'users don't want blue links'
 

vtqhtr413

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Reddit is pressuring moderators who have set their subreddits to private to reopen their communities this week, according to messages seen by The Verge. From the report: The company has given moderators deadlines to lay out their plans for reopening but said that they can't stay closed. The timeframes given generally indicate a deadline of sometime Thursday afternoon. Reddit was vague about the exact repercussions but seemed to suggest this was the final warning stage. "This community remaining closed to its [millions of] members cannot continue" beyond a the deadline, the admin (Reddit employee) account ModCodeofConduct wrote in a note to one of the biggest Reddit communities that's still private.

While mods have been lost and the company’s reputation with users bruised, there are signs that Reddit is already on the rebound. Some seasoned Reddit watchers see a familiar cycle taking shape. Every few years, new policies trigger rebellion that eventually subsides, sometimes after concessions by company leaders, says Ethan Zuckerman, whose Institute for Digital Public Infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has studied the social media service. “Reddit is amazingly resilient,” he says.

Amaury Trujillo, a researcher at the Institute of Informatics and Telematics in Italy, says many people claim to leave Reddit following such changes, but find its pull too strong. Many of the self-exiled come back after a while. He believes Reddit executives are betting that this latest round plays out no differently. Already in recent days, “many of the subreddits that initially joined the protests have come back to business as usual,” Trujillo says.
 

CyberTech

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News updates live

Full explanation

Reddit has informed moderators of protesting communities that are still private that they will lose their mod status by the end of the week, according to messages seen by The Verge. If a moderator tells Reddit they are interested in “actively moderating” the subreddit, the company says it will “take your request into consideration.”
Here is the full message, which we have confirmed was sent to moderators of at least two subreddits:
 

CyberTech

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1688197972009.png

After a month of outrage, protests, and unrest from the community, Reddit has finally flipped the switch to shut down some third-party apps.

Apollo, an iOS app that became a rallying point for the recent protests against Reddit’s imminent API pricing, no longer loads any content from the platform. When I open it up, all I see is a spinning wheel. Developer Christian Selig confirmed to me that Reddit is the one that turned things off, not him: “would have been nice to have been given a time,” he says in an email to The Verge.


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CyberTech

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While many subreddits remain dark after the 48-hour blackout last month, the mod team of Reddit's IAmA subreddit (aka Ask Me Anything) announced its future plans. The team wrote in a mod post that, moving forward, IAmA will run "like your average subreddit" and the volunteer mods won't take part in soliciting celebrities and high-profile figures to do AMA sessions.

This comes days after Minecraft developer Mojang said it will stop sharing official updates via Reddit. While the IAmA mod team will continue doing regular activities like moderating, spam removal, and enforcing rules, it will take a step back from the following activities in the future, "effective immediately":
  • Active solicitation of celebrities or high profile figures to do AMAs.
  • Email and modmail coordination with celebrities and high profile figures and their PR teams to facilitate, educate, and operate AMAs. (We will still be available to answer questions about posting, though response time may vary).
  • Running and maintaining a website for scheduling of AMAs with pre-verification and proof, as well as social media promotion.
  • Maintaining a current up-to-date sidebar calendar of scheduled AMAs, with schedule reminders for users.
  • Sister subreddits with categorized cross-posts for easy following.
  • Moderator confidential verification for AMAs.
  • Running various bots, including automatic flairing of live posts

Over the years, Reddit's AMA community has grown into a space frequented by many with a strong user base of 22.5 million. It has given users a chance to interact with the likes of Bill Gates, Nicolas Cage, Keanu Reeves, Barrack Obama, and more recently, Reddit's CEO Steve Huffman who addressed an AMA session about the controversial API changes.

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Ink

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Reddit officially launched the 2023 edition of its r/Place collaborative art project on Thursday morning, and it’s littered with messages protesting Reddit and Reddit’s CEO.

If you want a slower look at the evolution of the project, I updated the below gallery with many screenshots on Thursday. If you want to zoom in on an image, click on the image itself. (I’ll try to keep this updated on Friday, but no guarantees!)
 

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