Why Crypto Communities Support Reddit Moderators’ Protest
Reddit, known as the “front page of the internet,” is currently facing turmoil as its moderators and communities join forces in protest against planned changes to the site’s data access policy. This unlikely alliance between Reddit’s vast cryptocurrency communities and its moderators has caught the attention of many.
Reddit Moderators Protest Against API Changes
Reddit has become a popular social media platform with numerous diverse subreddits moderated by volunteers. This democratic governance model represents the freedom ethos of the internet, but it now faces potential threats.
The protests started on June 12 and peaked between June 12 and June 14 when over 7,000 subreddits went private. The issue at hand is Reddit’s decision to charge third-party developers for access to its Application Programming Interface (API).
Developers like Christian Selig, the creator of Apollo, claim that the new scheme would require them to pay $12,000 for every 50 million API requests. This means that Selig’s popular third-party browsing app could cost over $20 million annually. Many developers see this as the end of third-party apps accessing the platform’s data for free.
“You’re potentially looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills I would get from Reddit for people that I couldn’t make a single more dollar off of because they already paid my old operating costs. And that’s where it gets really tricky,” affirmed Selig.
Furthermore, the removal of third-party applications raises concerns about accessibility features. Many moderators with disabilities heavily rely on these features, and Reddit has assured that it will enhance its native accessibility functions. However, some moderators are not satisfied with this assurance.
“A multibillion-dollar corporation forcing disabled people (including the profoundly disabled) to simply ‘learn new tools,’ and to stop using the accessibility tools they’re used to – the tools they depend on – to access/moderate the communities they depend on – is cruel,” wrote PotRoastPotato.
Crypto Subreddits Join the Protests in Solidarity
One of the main driving forces behind Reddit’s decision is the potential value of its data for generative AI. However, developers argue that this decision will lead to the demise of third-party apps, which has resulted in the mass protest by subreddit moderators.
Interestingly, crypto-centric subreddits such as r/cryptocurrency, r/bitcoin, and r/ethereum have joined the blackout in solidarity. These subreddits have either gone private or become read-only, alongside approximately 7,000 other communities.
Not all crypto-related subreddits participated in the blackout, though. Subreddits like r/altcoin, r/NFT, and r/dogecoin remained fully online, providing a platform for crypto enthusiasts to continue their discussions.
The blackout has caused a shift in online discourse, with many Reddit users moving to Twitter and decentralized alternatives like Bluesky and Nostr. Discord’s social messaging platform has also seen increased activity, with many crypto enthusiasts and NFT projects finding a home there. For example, the Discord server r/CryptoCurrency has experienced a significant influx of users during the Reddit blackout.
Reddit API Changes Go Live on July 1
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has responded to the backlash by considering changes to the site’s content moderator removal policy. The goal is to allow regular users to vote out moderators if their decisions are unpopular.
“If you’re a politician or a business owner, you are accountable to your constituents. So a politician needs to be elected, and a business owner can be fired by its shareholders. And I think, on Reddit, the analogy is closer to the landed gentry: The people who get there first get to stay there and pass it down to their descendants, and that is not democratic,” said Huffman.
However, his remarks have been met with skepticism. Some see them as a threat, as evidenced by a statement from the moderators of r/gaming.
“Our entire community is supporting us against this change. It feels good to be able to have the power to say: ‘We will not continue to moderate our communities if you push these changes through.’ If it’s almost the entire website, would they destroy what they’ve built up in all these communities, just to push through this highly unpopular change that both the mods and users of Reddit are overwhelmingly against?,” said one Reddit moderator.
Despite the ongoing debate, Reddit has released a full roadmap of the upcoming changes, titled “Accessibility Updates to Mod Tools: Part 1.” These changes are set to begin on July 1. The company has also promised to share another update on June 30.
- How mods access Moderation tools (by July 1)
- ModQueue (view, action posts, and comments, filter and sort content, add removal reasons, and bulk action items) (by July 1)
- ModMail (inbox, read, reply to messages, create new mail, private mod note) (by July 1)
- User Settings (manage mods, approved users, muted users, banned users) (by July 1)
- Community Settings (late July)
- Ban Evasion Settings (late July)
- Additional User Settings (late July)
- Remaining mod surfaces (August)
As the battle between Reddit and its moderators continues, there is a heated debate surrounding third-party apps and AI within its ecosystem. The support from crypto communities emphasizes Reddit’s importance as a space for critical cryptocurrency discussions.
Following the Trust Project guidelines, this feature article presents opinions and perspectives from industry experts or individuals. BeInCrypto is dedicated to transparent reporting, but the views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of BeInCrypto or its staff. Readers should verify information independently and consult with a professional before making decisions based on this content.
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