How long can a site continue to alienate its user base and volunteer moderators before its bull-headed CEO corrects course? Reddit may be on track to answer that question for us.
In case you haven’t heard, Reddit mods and users have been on a major strike over the last week. Thousands of subreddits (some holding tens of millions of subscribers) have either gone private or otherwise restricted access to protest the company’s recent announcement of its intention to implement some major API pricing changes.
While these changes may have internally seemed like a good idea for stakeholders, this would also force some of the largest third-party apps and services to close up shop.
The problem isn’t that Reddit made a business decision. From an executive and stakeholder’s perspective it makes all the sense in the world to steer toward increasing revenue; they realized that many generative AI services like ChatGPT are using their corpus of data and they want to be compensated. Fair enough.
What I see as the crux of the matter is that Reddit has obliterated any trust that its users, mods, and third-party devs had for them as an organization. The new pricing will have a greater negative effect on services who aren’t even using it for generative AI.
Further complicating things, Steve Huffman’s
idiotic stubborn response to the Reddit community’s protests has done nothing but dig a deeper hole for the company.
I’m not sure the company’s reputation will fully recover from this fiasco.
What Happens Now?
Ultimately, it’s anyone’s guess.
And while it may, this whole ordeal is certainly leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many of its users (myself included).
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