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Reddit’s seppuku

Reddit’s recent API pricing scandal and ensuing protests have made me think once more about openness and decentralization on the web, a topic I’ve written about before. TLDR: when you create content on the web, whoever is hosting that content owns it.

Some platforms really lean into the locked ecosystem approach, hoping to maximize the lock-in effect by restricting content to members. Discord is the worst of it. As a voice chat system, it’s fine, but as a “community hub” like a lot of people use it? None of the stuff you post on there is visible when not logged in. It is completely closed off. Other platforms like Facebook and Twitter give you annoying popups and make your life a living hell when browsing anonymously, but Discord takes the cake.

That’s why I am so saddened by the recent Reddit kerfluffle. Reddit was the exception to the rule: a social network with almost no lock-in. By default, everything is public and indexable, like the old discussion forum software like phpBB and vBulletin. Remember those? Reddit basically made the public discussion forum format relevant again. The big difference is that it is centralized, with all the pros and cons that come with that.

I always feared their inevitable cash grab, because I never understood the business model; speculation can only go so far. It seems that we finally reached the breaking point, and all good things must end. I’ll probably still lurk on Reddit after the protests end and the subs I’m interested in come back. But it’ll never be the same; I was an Apollo user, and the price hike killed the app. I just found out there is a Mastodon Québec instance; maybe it’s time to give that a go…