Community versus Corporation

If you still haven’t heard about it, Reddit community and moderators are protesting because of the social network’s new policy and price change that threatens third-party and individual developers.

Reddit’s my favorite social network. Well it’s flawed and I don’t use it for many reasons such as privacy concerns, centralization, corporate control, etc. but the idea behind it and the communities and people who are active on it make it one of the greatest social networks of all time.

As much as I like Reddit, I believe the corporation behind it makes it fundamentally impossible to build a real community-powered and people-driven network. Reddit’s benefits and decisions over their policies are based and focused on development of the corporation and financial factors while the communities focus on their interests such as building relationships with one another and producing and sharing better material with each other.

To protest the recent API prices Reddit has set many moderators have made their subreddits private. In the first few hours of the protest it made huge inconveniences for the social network. Reddit was reported down partially and many people had trouble accessing it.

Some moderators participating in the protest received messages from the company saying to reopen their subreddits or be removed from their positions. Many large subreddits have reopened out of fear that their mod teams will be forcibly replaced. However, many continued the protest in another ways, most notably being focused on John Oliver and posting only about him. That is hilarious and surprisingly clever.

Reddit tries to be community-driven. Meaning that you don’t follow people there but you follow or join subreddits (or communities) of your interest. Then you can see the people (who have the same interest of yours) posting in those communities. The idea is amazing but the interference of the company in how communities are working and how the communities who build the network (Reddit social) and make it possible are acting make it impossible for the network to be truly a community.

A corporation taking advantage of people’s desire to be active in their favorite communities, that’s what Reddit is currently. I would offer a decentralized free software alternative for Reddit, called Lemmy, but I know that may not suite many people and it certainly won’t be a good answer to all the work that has been done over the years by the amazing communities of Reddit, but that may be a good start.