Report: Reddit admins are forcing moderators to reopen subreddits to the public
When thousands of subreddits on Reddit went dark a few days ago to protest against new API policies and pricing that would effectively destroy the majority of third-party apps for the site, Reddit's management had two options to deal with the new situation.
It could have announced that it would reevaluate the new policy so that third-party apps would continue to exist alongside the official Reddit app, or it could have doubled-down on the decision.
Reddit doubled-down on its decision, despite millions of users coming together to protest the changes. Reddit's CEO, Mike Huffman, wrote a memo to all employees claiming that the protest would fizzle out soon and that Reddit would not change its course.
When most blackouts did not stop after the first two days, Reddit decided to put pressure on moderators involved in the blackouts and on the subreddits that were set to private.
A private subreddit on Reddit can only be accessed by subscribed members. The only option to get into a group is to send private messages to a moderator of the group asking to join them.
After pressuring moderators, Reddit is now threatening to shut down some communities unless they change the visibility of the group to public.
A sticky message on /r/steam, a subreddit dedicated to Valve's Steam gaming platform, informs users that Reddit administrators asked them to reopen the subreddit or "get removed".
The moderators of the 1.88 million user subreddit made the decision to reopen the forum. They could have decided to ignore the request and face the consequences. Some users of the subreddit decided to push Steam and Steam engine related threads on the subreddit as a consequence. Most threads on /r/steam are currently about Steam as a technology and not about the gaming platform.
It appears that several other moderators of subreddits have also been contacted by Reddit, and that they too were asked to reopen or be kicked as moderators.
Moderators voiced concern over Reddit's threatening behavior on the ModCoord subreddit.
Some users of Reddit have moved to Reddit alternatives already, or are testing them at the very least. It remains to be seen if one of them is going to attract enough users to turn it into a real competitor. Lemmy seems to be one of the favorites for now.
Moderators are unpaid volunteers and they could simply walk away from the site and never look back. Reddit might fill the open spots with new volunteer moderators or even paid moderators for important groups.
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