The State of Reddit

I am saddened at what I fear is the clear decline of Reddit.

A few days ago, I wrote this at Twitter when the blackout was still starting.

In response to the Reddit API charges, I've decided to block Reddit entirely. Protests are nice, but I think the best way to do so is to simply NOT use the damn thing for months, if not ever.

I've blocked it on my DNS, and even on adblock filters.

All this stuff makes me sad because Reddit isn't just a fun time sink, it's also an invaluable resource for news, reliable info and for communities to gather.

I can see myself becoming more productive, but I'll also lose a valuable avenue for knowledge. 
It sucks.

Now, the blackout has come and gone, and we’re seeing something that’s actually quite prevalent with companies and governments nowadays. The majority of the site’s visitors seem to be apathetic about the recent changes, the mods are at risk from being kicked out, and Reddit from what I can tell will return to normal.

And you know what? Yeah, I do think Reddit will get back to normal. But normal isn’t pre-API normal. The biggest casualty in all this is really community trust. I really don’t think Reddit would die overnight — instead, it’ll either die a slow death or it’ll stay running with its users being more dissatisfied than before.

I hate today’s tech companies.#

If there’s one thing I noticed with companies and governments nowadays is that people are willing to tolerate even severe negative changes as long as there’s no other alternative, and if their core purpose for using the service still works for their needs.

People will drink coffee that’s made out of shit—as long as they don’t notice that it’s made of shit and it tastes like shit.

This whole API kerfuffle, along with the “new Reddit” experience and all these garbage changes they’ve pushed to users over the years is kinda like the iPhone’s removal of the headphone jack. People absolutely hated its omission, but hey, people accepted it and it became the norm. But we’re ultimately robbed of the convenience of simply plugging wired headphones and ease of use for better earbuds, and while AirPods are a massive innovation and boon to the user experience of listening to music on the go — the majority is also doomed to Apple’s AirPods subscription fees (because yeah, you WILL replace those AirPods someday once its batteries die).

So yeah, Just like Twitter with its changes since it was acquired, to other tech companies slowly increasing prices and adding user-hostile changes, companies like Reddit will keep diluting the experience in order to maximize profit and minimize expenses.

And with the Reddit exodus, it’s not just the mobile app developers that had left for good — it’s also a sizeable chunk of reputable users like myself who have lost their trust in its owners and the platform, and have chosen to simply not use Reddit. Are we that important? Of course not. If anything, people WILL go back someday as they’ll miss the benefits of the platform.

But just like the death of the headphone jack, it’s a permanent stain to the service’s record and we’ll miss the days when you could simply download a third-party Reddit app and access Reddit very quickly and what could’ve been; compared to the official app and site’s experience today with its constant rollout of garbage and nagware.

The worst has yet to come.

2023 truly is the year of enshittification. It’s not even just a matter of monetization either, just a shittier user experience for everyone.

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