Discord Surges: Users and Moderators Alike Rise Up Against Controversial Changes In Reddit
By: Benjamin He
I’ve never understood how naming social media sites work. Of course, I also don’t know why people say cheese when taking a picture of each other, but that isn’t relevant right now. What is relevant, however, is that I have to figure out this whole Reddit thing.
Is Reddit just a misspelled version of ‘Read-it?’ Is it a reference to ‘Read-it?’ Did whoever name it just really like the color red? And of course, what is the meaning of yet another civil war on the web?
For those who don’t know what Reddit is, it’s one of the many, many social media platforms out there. Specifically classified as an internet content-sharing platform, Reddit is a hot-spot for people of all ages to discuss and share controversies, recent news, and memes that may-or-may-not-be very offensive to certain people in harmony, all while rolling in the tides of chaos as people argue.
Reddit is…unique. Other popular social media platforms mostly involve photo and video sharing, Reddit is mostly for people to share their opinions and thoughts. There’s also their upvoting and downvoting system for shaming people, and their pseudonymity system to protect yourself from getting shamed in real life, and its very own team of moderators…to shame and protect you from shame. Reddit consists of thousands of subreddits, each it’s own community dedicated to anything from sharing experiences of specific illnesses, to sharing pictures of birds with arms.
It’s quite significant to some people for the sole purpose of entertainment, but others use Reddit to gain access to real time information, personal growth, or seek support and community for serious issues.
Or it was, anyway.
Recently, there’s been a lot of tension in the users and the moderators.
The moderators had rebelled first. New changes had been implemented, and just two weeks ago, moderator Bucky — who goes by “BuckRowdy” on Reddit and who asked that his full name not be used to prevent online harassment, along with others, revolted because of a change.
Reddit had just introduced changes that sharply increased its fees for independent developers who build apps using the company’s data.
Unfortunately, the updates made it so that many third-party developers couldn’t afford that a handful who build tools for Reddit’s moderators had to shut down or significantly alter their apps. In protest, Bucky and some other mods shut down hundreds of forums, making Reddit completely unusable for many of its users.
Bucky stated that the changes, to him, felt demoralizing. “I take all this abuse for you, and keep your website clean, and this is how you repay us?”
After closing down the forums, statistics show that users spent 16 percent less time on the site.
Currently, the company has raised more than $1.3 billion and is valued at more than $10 billion, and Steve Huffman, the CEO, has been trying to turn it from a rough-and-tumble internet message board into a full-fledged social media business by adding executives and strengthening its advertising capabilities.
Many Reddit users, or Redditors, were outraged that Mr. Huffman had seemingly turned a beloved community into a money-making machine. They rebelled, falling alongside moderators to close forums, posting phonography so the sites would read 18+, and being as annoying as possible.
“For better or for worse, this is a very uniquely Reddit moment,” Mr. Huffman said. “This could only happen on Reddit.”