Two of Reddit’s largest communities, r/pics, and r/gifs, have reopened in an unexpected and humorous manner. In response to ongoing protests within the Reddit community, both subreddits now exclusively feature posts about comedian and Last Week Tonight host, John Oliver. After conducting user polls, the new rules were implemented, redirecting the focus of these communities.
The decision to revamp the subreddits was prompted by concerns that Reddit’s CEO, Steve Huffman, was prioritizing the desires of moderators over the platform’s everyday users. Thousands of subreddits had temporarily gone private to protest upcoming API changes, which would result in the closure of beloved third-party apps. However, Huffman argued that not all users supported these protests, comparing them to prolonged demonstrations that inconvenienced the majority of users.
This characterization of moderators as the “landed gentry” sparked a strong reaction from the moderators of r/pics. Seeking to align with the wishes of their community members, they decided to directly ask for input on the future direction of the subreddit. The two options presented to users were to revert to the normal format or exclusively allow pictures or GIFs featuring John Oliver. The votes were resoundingly in favor of the latter option.
Now, both r/pics and r/gifs, with their massive subscriber bases of over 30 million and 21 million respectively, are inundated with content revolving around John Oliver. The top posts in both subreddits feature images of Oliver alongside humorous captions and gestures. The comedian himself took notice and applauded the subreddits’ initiative on Twitter, fueling even more creative contributions from the community.
While some subreddits remain offline, the number of reopenings has been increasing, with over 4,000 communities back in action. Reddit has intervened in certain cases, offering assistance to process requests for the removal of top moderators hindering the reopening process. Despite Reddit’s actions, some moderators expressed concerns about the platform’s behavior and demanded their voices be heard without fear of reprisal.
The impact of these developments showcases the power of user participation and the role of moderators in shaping Reddit’s vibrant communities. As the protests continue and demands persist, the dynamic relationship between Reddit’s leadership, moderators, and users remains at the forefront.