Goodbye Reddit

Goodbye Reddit

Today I used the Bulk Delete Reddit Posts & Comments History Chrome extension (and happily paid the $8 for full version and support the developer) to delete every single post and comment on my 17-year-old Reddit account before submitting the account for deletion. I went through the trouble to delete everything prior to deleting the account because Reddit makes it quite clear that deleting an account only "disassociates" the account from the content (convenient for them). I also know their TOS allow them at any time to magically undelete everything if they so choose, but it's better than nothing.

I didn't want to do this. While I'm no power user, I used Reddit daily for much of that 17 years. It was a source of a lot of great community for me. As I watched the Chrome extension do it's job scrolling through and doing all the deletions for me I could see parts of my own personal history play out on that site. Subreddits devoted to Makerbot and more generally 3D printing, WordPress, weight loss, Bitcoin, Spartan Races, Fredericksburg, UMW, it was a trip to watch it all fly across the screen before disappearing. I'm almost glad I didn't get sucked into really archiving or digging into that content, I'd rather leave it more ephemeral. I know it's the right choice but unlike leaving Twitter, this one hurt.

Why am I doing this? This article in The Verge not only provides a good overview but you can see from the comments by Reddit's CEO and cofounder that he's clearly taking pages out of Elon Musk's playbook on how to run a great service into the ground.

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman isn’t backing down: our full interview
“The blackouts are not representative of the greater Reddit community.”

The developer of the Reddit application Apollo has been very vocal (along with lots of evidence including phone recordings) about how much Reddit has lied about this process and even thrown that developer under the bus. I don't have a dog in the API fight, I used the regular Reddit app for iOS, I used the main website without modifications. Their decision did not affect me. This protest is more how it affects others. The inability to build ontop of Reddit's API and forcing existing applications to pay insane amounts of money or be shut down affects a lot of accessibility plugins necessary for blind users to be able to use the website at all.

How Reddit’s announced changes affects blind users
Reddit is restricting the use of third-party apps. More than 8,000 subreddit communities shut down in protest — including r/Blind, which says the change will reduce accessibility.

So yeah, this is all a bummer and I had hopes that someone with some authority at Reddit HQ or on their board would see the light before the timeline ran out but it seems clear at this point the company is singularly focused on attempting to turn a massive profit and attempt for a public IPO. I lied in my feedback when closing my account, I actually don't wish them luck. I hope they fail spectacularly and become another bulletpoint in a growing list of ego-driven decisions that (dare I dream) gave the old web a much needed kickstart.

So I've put renewed attention on my RSS Reader (and found a new to me great one I'll be blogging about soon) and doing a lot more blogging myself. Rather than invest in a new wolf in sheeps clothing in the form of a different service (and honestly Reddit does not have much comparable competition) it seems obvious that the place free of the politics and motivations of profit-driven corporations is right here on the blog. And I'm good with that.