Subreddits Use Alternative Methods of Protest, Going Dark and Changing Content: How Reddit Communities Are Reacting to API Rule Changes

Subreddits Find Creative Ways to Protest Reddit API Rule Changes

Multiple subreddits are adopting alternative methods of protesting like publishing only one kind of post, changing the topic in focus, and days when the community turns private.

A lot of these communities took part in the Reddit blackout from June 12-14 to rally against Reddit’s API rule changes, which could effectively kill a lot of third-party apps. As the company — and its CEO Steve Huffman — decided not to make any changes, subreddits started thinking about going dark indefinitely.

However, Reddit pointed out that moderators must keep the community open. Plus, they can’t decide that their community should go dark without a public vote. The company even sent messages to moderators saying that they will be removed if they all continue to particulate in the blackout.

To get around the moderator removal action, multiple communities are running polls to decide what type of posts are allowed on the subreddit. They are also relaxing some rules — because of the changes, moderators won’t have certain tools available to them, making their job more difficult.

Some of the biggest communities like r/pics, r/aww, and r/GIF decided to post John Oliver pictures and GIFs. In a tweet, Oliver approved this move.

In the case of r/aww, the community is also allowed to post pictures of Chiijohn. r/iPhone decided to post pictures celebrating “dashing” Tim Cook.

There are some truly bizarre forms of protest as well:

  • r/Shitposting banned posts with the letter k.
  • r/Wellthatsucks is now a subreddit about vacuum cleaners.
  • r/Nofans is now a passive PC cooler subreddit.
  • r/Interestingasfuck removed a lot of all rules apart from asking members to not break site-wide rules.
  • r/Memes is allowing only Medieval / Landed Gentry memes. This is in response to Huffman’s “Landed Gentry” comment about protesting subreddits.
  • r/PokemonGo is now allowing pictures of John Oliver, Pikachu, or Spark.
  • r/Horny is now a “Christian Minecraft server.”
  • r/Steam members are posting about actual steam.
  • r/HarryPotter is now referring to Huffman as Voldemort.
  • Some subreddits such as r/Showerthoughts are determining close days for the community.

While these methods are innovative and amusing, we’ll have to see if Reddit management shows any tendency to budge. In recent interviews, Huffman vehemently defended the company’s API rule changes and said that it wants to be profitable. He also suggested that these protests were spearheaded by a “small group that’s very upset” and it didn’t have any impact on the company’s revenues. Through these public votes, communities are trying to prove that a large number of people are unhappy with the changes made by Reddit.

If you are a subreddit moderator or Reddit employee who wants to talk about the ongoing situations, you can contact the reporter at [email protected].

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