Report: Reddit admins are forcing moderators to reopen subreddits to the public

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 18, 2023

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.

Closing Words

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.

Now You: do you use Reddit?

Report: Reddit admins are forcing moderators to reopen subreddits to the public
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Report: Reddit admins are forcing moderators to reopen subreddits to the public
Reddit administrators have asked moderators of private subreddits to change the status to public or face removal of moderator status.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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