Tired of Protests, Reddit Threatens Moderators

Given the choice to reopen private subreddits or lose their roles, some get creative
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2023 9:45 AM CDT
Despite Reddit's Threats, User Protest Lives On
The Reddit app icon is seen on a smartphone, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in Marple Township, Pa.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

A Reddit community protest initially expected to last 48 hours has now stretched beyond two weeks and Reddit has had enough. It's sending out notices to moderators of subreddits that went private in protest of new charges for third-party developers, likely to shutter many, by threatening to remove them from their roles unless they reopen their subs. More than 8,000 subreddits went private earlier this month as part of the protest, per the Verge. Most of those have since reopened. But 2,292 holdout communities remained as of Thursday, per Quartz. Moderators of those communities, some with millions of members, say Reddit hasn't responded to their concerns.

Following a similar move at Twitter, Reddit is starting to charge for API access at what Quartz describes as "sky-high prices." One developer says it will charge $12,000 per 50 million requests. A request includes a post, a comment, an upvote—basically "everything you do on Reddit," per Quartz. Apollo, a popular third-party app, says it makes 7 billion requests per month. Under the change, those requests will cost $20 million per year. Users are pushing for Reddit to walk back the changes, announced weeks ago and to go into effect Saturday, or give apps more time to comply. Reddit counters that switching subreddits to private is a violation of the Moderator Code of Conduct.

"This is a courtesy notice to let you know that you will lose moderator status in the community by end of week," reads a standard message sent to protesting moderators, per the Verge. Given the threat, some moderators have reopened their subs, but in a way that ensures the protest lives on. Moderators of r/firefox, traditionally focused on the Mozilla web browser, said that "until the reddit admins appropriately reply to our concerns, the only new submissions allowed" would be about red pandas, also known as fire foxes. In a similar move, users voted to have all posts on the popular subreddits r/pics, r/gifs, r/aww, and r/videos center on Last Week Tonight host John Oliver, per Quartz. (More Reddit stories.)

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