So Reddit is diving headlong into its enshitification cycle. Cory Doctrow popularized this idea which looks like this:

Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die. – Cory Doctrow

Reddit was a pretty decent place for content at one point. I’ve found it particularly useful if I’m looking for a product review since Google Search is full of crappy SEO sites that shove all good user content well below the first number of pages of search. For a few years now I’ve taken to searching <the product name> to find real users with opinions on a product. I’m not the only one that adds Reddit to search queries.

When I’m looking for a laptop, or how to fix something in Fedora, Reddit has been consistently the best place to search to find what I’m looking for.

On the other hand, Reddit has built its business model on free content labour and moderation from its user base. Now that Reddit is looking at an IPO they’re putting the screws to their users to serve their business customers and themselves.

They’re in the final steps of the enshitification cycle.

reddit has continually divested its responsibility for the content on its platform leaving volunteers to do the heavy lifting of moderating communities. Now they want to reap all the benefits of that despite implying for years that users own the platform and make the rules.

Will Reddit die? A year ago it was hard to believe that Twitter would turn into a dumpster fire so fast…and yet it has.

I’m indifferent in many ways about the death of Reddit. If it happens I’ll be fine. If it doesn’t I’ll still be fine.

Ideally, I’d love to see user forums make a comeback where all these niche communities can thrive. That might require you to start paying to be a member of the community because servers cost money and moderation takes time.

I have to wonder if Reddit could have deflected lots of this by requiring users that want to use a 3rd party client are required to be paying Reddit subscribers. Then let the API stand as it was.