What’s Going On With Reddit?

If you tried to find information on Reddit over the last week, you might have had a hard time.

Thousands of subreddits — the individualized communities where people discuss dog breeds, allergies, influencers, dating, and extremely NSFW topics — have gone dark in protest of some recent changes to Reddit’s business model.

The platform recently announced it would begin charging other companies that want to access its content using an API (Application Programming Interface). Reddit announced the changes earlier this spring after the rise of generative artificial intelligence companies like OpenAI, which used Reddit’s rich trove of human conversations to train ChatGPT for free.

It wasn’t just about A.I.

Reddit’s own app is considered by many to be garbage, but there are a number of third-party apps like Apollo that make browsing more enjoyable. Up until now, those apps could access Reddit’s data for free. Once Reddit starts charging at the end of the month, Apollo has said it will close down rather than pay an estimated bill of $20 million per year.

Reddit has long been bolstered and operated by a network of unpaid moderators who keep subreddits from disintegrating into chaos. The API fee became a tipping point for those superusers, who are worried that the company is prioritizing its business over the needs and preferences of the community. Reddit’s chief executive has explicitly said he is looking into ways of weakening moderator’s power.

Many of the subreddits that went dark in protest — though notably not all — are now back online. The question that remains is what this will mean for the platform going forward.

The thing is, Redditors really love Reddit. That’s in stark contrast to platforms like TikTok, where the predominant ethos is figuring out how to harness the platform for personal profit. Redditors invest time and care into their specific communities and are quick to protect them from outside invasion. They are what makes the best parts of Reddit work.

As with all things online, Reddit has had no shortage of hatred and garbage. But if we’re talking about the ideal Reddit — the many, many subs where people come together in good faith to discuss the genuine, the scary, the supernatural and the gross — these new changes to the platform stand to ruin the very thing that ever made the platform good.

Earlier this week, Alex Pareene over at Defector wrote: “We are living through the end of the useful internet. The future is informed discussion behind locked doors, in Discords and private fora, with the public-facing web increasingly filled with detritus generated by LLMs, bearing only a stylistic resemblance to useful information.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about that.

Ultimately, Reddit needs Redditors more than Redditors need Reddit. If forced, Redditors will simply find new places and ways to ask strangers, “Am I The Asshole?”

There’s lots going on in the world right now. I don’t know about you but I really found myself over the last week in need of a good, dumb giggle. Fortunately, you guys came through when I asked for your best stories about autocorrect failures.

Your responses were so great it seemed unfair to keep them locked away in my inbox. A special shoutout to the poor readers with autocorrectable names. Marijo said they are frequently renamed “Marijuana,” and Annick said their name becomes “Annoying.” (Which is, well, annoying!)

Today we’re going to play a little game here on I.H.O. Below are seven examples of autocorrect gone awry. Try to guess what the person was trying to type. Answers and context are below.

How’d you fare with your guesses?

Joyce was just trying to wish her son’s girlfriend — who she thinks is special, not sexual, to be very clear — a happy birthday.

Jennifer’s job as a buyer for a department store entailed ordering products like placemats. Which are not to be confused with placentas.

Gillian was trying to type the word poke. “Why does it assume I would message so frequently about obscure American presidents?!”

Another name goof from Lisa, whose friend Maureen fortunately had a good sense of humor about the error.

This was Ellen’s attempts to text her kids “Love, Mom.”

Perhaps the strangest of the bunch, Deb was simply trying to type “Thanks.” Deb said: “Something about the inclusion of the period after the word ‘thanks’ seemed to trigger my phone’s innermost old-school hip-hop fan.”

Lisa’s phone was determined to foil her attempts to discuss the nudibranch, a colorful, shell-less snail.

Here’s what else is happening online this week.

Have feedback? Send me a note at [email protected].

You can also follow me on Twitter (@4evrmalone).

Callie Holtermann contributed reporting to this newsletter.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com