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The Reddit meltdown: a long overdue wake-up call for the internet
Date written: 2023/06/17

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely heard of the so-called Reddit protests of late. Many subreddits have privated themselves in protest of recently announced API pricing changes that will essentially kill off all 3rd party applications for using Reddit. I'm not gonna get into the nitty gritty of the details or the effectiveness of fixed-date protests (it should be obvious they're not), as that's not the point of this post. What is the point is that large parts of the website are now completely inaccessible, from shitposting communities to those that many go to for valuable help and assistance, especially when the computer starts fucking up.

Because of this, many are now in panic since they can't get the valuable help they need. For Christ's sake, we all type "site:reddit.com" into Google these days just to avoid all those fake phishing websites and SEO parasites that don't actually provide any help when shit goes wrong. All I have to say to that is... it's our fault we're in this situation in the first place.

Some of you might've forgotten what it was like before the social media giants stole the largest slice of the internet pie. For pretty much anything you needed, there existed a dedicated forum or website, and you could seek such places for essentially any niche you desired. These were largely self-sustained communities with their own rules and whatnot. They weren't perfect, but things were fine. And then came MySpace, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, the likes...
Reddit promised to provide the same thing as forums, but under one giant host instead of many scattered ones all around the internet. All you had to do was register, create a so-called "subreddit", and you're off! Things looked alright for the first few years, and some would argue the site administration let things loose a bit too much (ahem r/jailbait), but things really started going downhill once one of the co-founders, Aaron Swartz, was being done dirty. This too is a bit of a long story, so I suggest you look it up elsewhere, but to keep it brief, once Swartz was out of the picture, administration and even subreddit moderation at large became more and more Draconian, and especially with 2016 onwards things only started going from bad to worse.
It's bad enough when a small forum becomes totalitarian, it's another when one of the biggest ones on the internet becomes as such, moreso when you remember that Reddit's popularity is exactly what killed all of those small forums off.

Now that Reddit's enshitification has kicked into overdrive, and users are protesting by locking large parts of the site off, people are realizing exactly what they have to lose. We never would've entered this situation in the first place had we fucked the social media giants off when it mattered. People got too used to browsing a corporatized, centralized internet, so they don't even know any better.

I admit, just like you, I have contributed to this mess. I didn't have the foresight as a teenager of what the death of the free internet would entail. My wake-up call was Discord's deteriorating quality of service and moderation over the years, which is why I overhauled Maloga Dotera into LainNet. I wanted to bring back part of the old web, as insignificant as that endeavor might now be. Only time will tell if this was for naught.

Regardless, I hope that Reddit's ongoing meltdown is at least your wake-up call. Do whatever you can to bring back the web of old, doesn't matter if it's a full-on forum and instant messaging place, or nothing more than a static website that's part of a webring. Only you, I, and all of us together can kill this Web 2.0 mess we entered in the first place.