r/Whatcouldgowrong 9d ago All-Seeing Upvote Awesome Answer

WCGW Approved Killing off Reddit Apps, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

1.5k Upvotes

10 years ago, I created /r/whatcouldgowrong - a lighthearted GIF-sharing subreddit that illustrates why a dumb idea will lead to a dumb consequence. It was made after seeing a funny GIF of a man hopping into a shopping cart and rolling down a hill only to tumble in the way we all knew was coming. This page has been around for 10 years, and we have seen a lot of changes take place on the site which impact the quality of service for users and moderators - some good, some bad. Reddit's latest corporate decision is metaphorically the equivalent of hopping into a shopping cart and drifting down a steep hill - and therefore deserves to be stickied at the top of the sub.

With the help of our subreddit posters and moderators, the page grew - it now receives a quarter of a billion page views per year. Contrary to how the page began (in which there wasn't much upkeep to do), to manage a page of this size (and keep it advertiser-friendly for Reddit) requires good moderation tools - tools that allow moderators to quickly and efficiently sort and filter posts.

Many of the best tools for moderating that we have found comes in the form of third-party apps (not created by Reddit). My personal choice is Apollo by Christian Selig, on which you might be reading this post right now. However, Reddit's decision to raise the price for access to its API means that third-party apps might need to pay millions of dollars to Reddit or shut down. Reddit's decision to raise the price for access to its API also means that some of the best tools moderators have to keep content appropriate for each subreddit will no longer exist - which will not only impact moderators but the experience of Reddit's users.

For those who don't know, Reddit moderators do not receive income or monetization from subreddits they create or the views they provide - this is a voluntary position. For larger subreddits, this means that the task of filtering rule-breaking posts, banning spammers, and also ensuring NSFW content doesn't show up on your phone when you're at work, is about to become much more difficult for us to do. What takes 3 seconds to do in Apollo takes 30 seconds to do in Reddit's official app. I imagine moderators will not be increasing the time they spend moderating by 10x. Additionally, the plethora of 10/10-level abusive messages that moderators receive for doing their job (even on a lighthearted and noncontroversial sub such as this one) certainly makes spending 10 times the amount of time moderating not worth it for many - but this is besides the point.

As stated by Apollo developer:

Why is the pricing so high? It would cost me a comical $20 million dollars a year to keep my app running as-is, an app that like many third-party apps, have many moderators that depend on it.

I'm not sure if you understand how important third party apps are to the Reddit ecosystem. Not only do they provide an opportunity for folks who don't like the official app to be able to still use Reddit on-the-go, but many of the moderators who serve as the backbone of the entire site rely on third-party apps to do their job.

As a number, Apollo currently has over 7000 moderators of subreddits with over 20K subscribers who use Apollo, from r/Pics, to r/AskReddit, to r/Apple, to r/IAmA, etc. It would be easy to imagine that combined with other third-party apps across iOS and Android that well over 10,000 of the top subreddits use third-party apps to moderate and keep their community operating.

This is equivalent to going to a construction site and taking away all the workers' favorite tools, only to replace them with different, corporate-mandated ones. Except the construction workers are also building your houses for free.

Why infuriate so many people and communities?

-/u/iamthatis

If you are a Reddit user or moderator that will be impacted by third-party apps shutting down, please share your opinion on how the experience of using Reddit and moderating Reddit will change for you in light of these recent developments.

Hopefully, Reddit reverses its idea because I am not sure many posts on /r/whatcouldgowrong can top it.

Related articles:

MacRumors

Android Authority

TechCrunch

9to5Mac


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