Reddit Threatens to Remove Moderators From Subreddits Continuing Apollo-Related Blackouts

As some subreddits continue blackouts to protest Reddit's plans to charge high prices for its API, Reddit has informed the moderators of those subreddits that it has plans to replace resistant moderation teams to keep spaces "open and accessible to users."

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In a comment shared by r/Apple moderator @aaronp613, Reddit cited its Moderator Code of Conduct and said that it has a duty to keep communities "relied upon by thousands or even millions of users" operational. Mods who do not agree to reopen subreddits that have gone private will be removed.

If a moderator team unanimously decides to stop moderating, we will invite new, active moderators to keep these spaces open and accessible to users. If there is no consensus, but at least one mod wants to keep the community going, we will respect their decisions and remove those who no longer want to moderate from the mod team.

Between Monday and Wednesday of this week, the majority of popular subreddits on the Reddit site participated in a "blackout" and went private or stopped allowing new posts to be made in order to protest planned API changes that will cause the shutdown of popular third-party Reddit apps like Apollo.

The move was aimed at pushing Reddit to enact fairer pricing for developers and to give developers more time to adopt the API changes, but Reddit opted to wait out the protests rather than make adjustments.

As a result, some subreddits such as r/Apple made the decision to continue the blackout indefinitely, which means millions of Reddit users no longer have access to those communities. It seems Reddit plans to forcibly end further blackouts by removing entire moderation teams that are participating.

On Monday, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said that the blackouts had not caused "any significant revenue impact so far" and that while there was a "lot of noise" amid the planned two-day protest, it would "pass." In an interview with The Verge today, Huffman further said that Reddit's API was "never designed to support third-party apps" and that the apps don't add much value to the site. Reddit created its API for "tools, bots and enhancements to Reddit," according to Huffman.

Huffman confirmed that the blackouts have made no change to Reddit's API pricing plan. "That's our business decision, and we're not undoing that business decision," said Huffman. Huffman said in the interview that Reddit will not force communities to reopen, which contradicts the messaging that moderators are receiving.

Reddit also just published a blog post with "key facts" about the API updates. In the post, Reddit says that "dissent, debate, and discussions are foundational parts of Reddit," and that it respects the right of its community to protest, so long as mods follow the Moderator Code of Conduct. The Moderator Code of Conduct is what Reddit is citing in messaging to moderators about moderation teams being removed from closed communities.

Moderators and Reddit users are unhappy with Reddit's decision to charge an unreasonable amount for its API, and for the short 30-day timeline that third-party developers have been given to adopt the new API fees.

Apollo developer Christian Selig determined that adopting the API would cost him $20 million per year, leading him to decide to shut down his app on June 30, a day before Reddit begins charging. As of July 1, there will be few if any third-party apps for viewing Reddit content, pushing Reddit users to either the Reddit website or the Reddit app.

Tags: Apollo, Reddit

Top Rated Comments

STOCK411 Avatar
15 weeks ago
Lets note here these are UNPAID moderators, who are modding these subs on their own time for nothing in return...

Who the hell you going to replace them with?

Steve is making a running for worst tech CEO with Elon
Score: 200 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
15 weeks ago
A friendly reminder for everyone! :rolleyes:

Attachment Image
Score: 157 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Scubadiver Avatar
15 weeks ago
Reddit is Digg_ing its own grave.
Score: 123 Votes (Like | Disagree)
STOCK411 Avatar
15 weeks ago
Also, for someone who claims these "blackouts" are not affecting Reddits bottom line, he sure is acting like its making a big impact on their $$$//
Score: 119 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
15 weeks ago
I don't think Reddit CEO knows exactly what he wants anymore. He's taking Reddit down to the grave! Sad!
Score: 114 Votes (Like | Disagree)
matthew12 Avatar
15 weeks ago
Yeah... If he does this, that's probably the death of Reddit. In case anyone doesn't know, the moderators of most subreddits are almost always unpaid volunteers who just care about their community. This'll end badly either way.
Score: 102 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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