Reddit has gone through a controversial few months, with the company’s new commitment to getting rid of third-party API integrations into Reddit causing a huge wave of backlash in the community. Reddit has created a new API Pricing Policy that will radically change the amount it costs for developers to embed their third-party tools, systems, and applications into Reddit.
One developer outlined that the pricing changes would require him to pay nearly $20 million each year to run the app. Without those costs even nearly equating to what he earns to sustain Apollo, a popular client for browsing Reddit, the application will shortly be shut down. The moderators of subreddits across the site reacted to this news with fury, organizing protests and blackouts across the website.
For many moderators, the ridiculous changes that Reddit is enforcing have been the last straw for their communities. After years of power imbalances, no rewards for their efforts, and now the usurping of the tools that many rely on for access to Reddit and for accessibility systems, moderators have had enough.
Instead of continuing with the Web 2 company that seemingly has its priorities in the wrong place, many users are moving to Web 3 apps instead. Web 3 applications like Phaver provide users with much more control and agency over the application, creating a space where moderators are rewarded for their hard work.
In this article, we’ll dive into the current issues that moderating teams find with Reddit, outline why they’re a consistent problem within Web 2, and point toward Web 3 applications as a potential solution.
What Are the Core Issues That Reddit Mods Face?
Reddit doesn’t have any core payment system. The central currency they use is called Karma, and represents internet points that have no value or purpose. Users cannot spend them or allocate them to anything, making them more of a social pursuit rather than one that actually benefits the user.
For moderators on Reddit, this isn’t a surprising fact. Many people spend hours each week moderating communities because they want to and love the community, rather than for any financial compensation. While this system has continued on as it always has, the recent API changes have caused many moderators to take a step back and reassess.
There are a number of core issues that Reddit mods face on the platform:
Lack of Real-World Motivation - Without a core currency that they receive for their work, their only motivation for moderating is the love of the subreddit. When Reddit then undervalues their work and goes against these communities, their final motivating factor is quickly extinguished.
Unstable Platform - As a Web 2 platform, any content that users post to Reddit is owned by Reddit, not those users. For moderators, this means they are actively spending their time and creativity making money for a site that has never contributed back to them.
Lack of Third-Party Apps - Reddit moderators used API integrators for everything from browsing their subreddit to including accessibility tools. Without these APIs, their jobs are more difficult – all because Reddit wanted to profit more from these free communities.
Across the board, Reddit moderators are shut down at every turn. Despite their hard work for the communities they have built, they lack financial motivation, real ownership over their hard work, and support from the site itself. With these coalescing in 2023, it’s no wonder that people are seeking an alternative solution.
How Does Web 3 Bring About the Change That Moderators Need?
Web 3 platforms use blockchain technology to provide a user-centric space where the consumer is put first. From ownership of personal data to the ability to actually own the content you create on a Web 3 platform, they cultivate an experience where the user always succeeds.
Platforms like Phaver have set out to solve all of the issues with traditional Web 2 social media sites, overcoming all of the main problems with Reddit one by one:
Currency - Web 3 applications are able to integrate cryptocurrencies and tokens into their platforms. With this, they can offer moderators the opportunity to earn real-world money for their efforts.
Ownership - As a decentralized system, every user is the owner of their own content. There are no central parties that can censor or claim ownership over user-generated content, helping moderators to take a more active claim in the communities they build.
Third-Party Integrations - Web 3 applications work in a decentralized manner, making sure that users can combined ecosystems and integrate third-party apps however they would like. This complete flexibility empowers users.
Fully decentralized Web 3 systems solve the major problems that plague the Web 2 space. For moderators on Reddit, the opportunity to be free of this constrictive system comes as a huge relief.
Web 3 offers a range of solutions for the most common problems that moderators and users alike encounter on Web 2 platforms like Reddit. After the most recent outburst of anger against Reddit due to its API changes, many users are ready to move to an entirely new system.
With how quickly development in Web 3 is occurring, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a sudden shift in interest in this area. With disgruntled users in Web 2 seeking an entirely new platform and wanting to avoid the same issues they ran into with Reddit, Web 3 is looking like a very attractive option. Over the next few years, we’ll see even more people make the jump to Web 3, moving away from the Web 2 system that has routined mistreated and improperly prioritized them.