Popular subreddits plan to extend API protests indefinitely

Moderators emphasized the need for sustained action after Reddit CEO Steve Huffman reportedly dismissed the blackouts’ impact.

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Moderators from popular Reddit communities say they plan to extend their blackout protests indefinitely. Many of the subreddits protesting the company’s API changes were initially scheduled to participate only from Monday to Wednesday this week. But the vow to extend the demonstration came after CEO Steve Huffman reportedly sent a memo to staff saying Reddit would “get through it” while opining that “like all blowups on Reddit, this one will pass as well.” In response to Huffman doubling down, a user wrote, “Let them fuck around and find out.”

Moderators from well-trafficked subreddits, including r/awww, r/music, r/videos, r/futurology, r/apple and r/NBA (among many others) chimed in to commit to an indefinite protest. The blackout is in response to Reddit taking a page from Elon Musk’s Twitter playbook, hiking API prices to astronomical levels ahead of its planned IPO. The move essentially kills all third-party Reddit clients — including the popular Apollo iOS app — leaving Reddit’s own app as users’ only option. In a moderators' thread (spotted by The Verge) promoting the extension, u/SpicyThunder335 described Reddit’s app as “widely regarded as poor quality, not [accessible], and very difficult to use for moderation.”

Volunteer mods responded to the proposed extension with enthusiasm. For example, u/britinsb commented, “The 48 hours was just the ‘proof of concept.’ The fact [Huffman] is so dismissive of coordinated action by 20,000+ mods and 10,000 subreddits just shows how badly out of touch he is. Now for the real pain.”

Meanwhile, u/strolls suggested taking more drastic measures. “I've been thinking that maybe we should stop moderating — remove only NSFW images, but allow spammers and shitposters to turn Reddit to trash.” When another user pointed out that Reddit could use that as justification for removing those mods and replacing them with lackeys, a now-deleted user replied, “Let them do it then honestly. They currently have roughly 30k mods protesting that have been doing free labor for them [for] decades, keeping these subreddits usable. It's not that simple and will only further affect the site's image with any possible IPO attempt. Twitter fucked around with their paid staff and dropped to a third of pre-purchase valuation. Reddit can learn as well.”

In the same thread, u/SpicyThunder335 suggested common-sense measures for communities with a more urgent need to stay online. “For example, r/StopDrinking represents a valuable resource for communities in need, and the urgency of getting the news of the ongoing war out to r/Ukraine obviously outweighs any of these concerns.” They suggested subtler protests for those forums, including a stickied announcement or weekly gesture of support.