Reddit Updates: Oliver Subreddits are Back!, Place Expands Collaborative Canvas Once Again and more.
Reddit has introduced a roadshow schedule and answer bot to the r/ModSupport subreddit as a new flair for mods and an accessibility feedback group.
Christian Selig of Apollo app developer Christian Selig released a cute hybrid Clippy/Reddit alien wallpaper today to promote fun Apollo apps since Reddit banned third-party applications.
1. John Oliver’s subreddits are back
Following more than 2,500 Reddit communities’ collective protest against Reddit’s decision to charge for API access, many have returned with new banners: John Oliver is now revered on many subreddits like r/gifs and r/pics; even Oliver himself encouraged users on r/pics to post all John Oliver pictures they find!
But Reddit’s changes are more than intended to bring in additional traffic; they also reveal an ongoing battle between its owners and volunteer moderators – who work for free to delete spam, enforce rules, and keep the site running – and new policies introduced by Reddit. Moderators are angry over these policies and are using every tactic possible to show their displeasure with them in different creative ways.
Reddit announced on Saturday that it was adding new tools to its platform to soothe some moderators’ anger, including rolling out a more TikTok-like way of sharing content on social media and providing easier text search within images. Furthermore, they have improved video viewing experiences by expanding them across full screens with captions while they play.
Reddit is making efforts to recruit more moderators by instituting the “Mod Helper Program,” awarding users with trophies and flair in r/ModSupport, creating an answer bot, merging its Mod Help Center and primary Help Center, hosting global roadshows of moderators, as well as hosting a virtual Mod Summit to be held December 2nd.
2. r/Place is back
r/Place is back and more popular than ever online art project! Started in 2017 by Reddit employee Josh Wardle (he also created Wordle), this web art project allows registered users to edit a canvas of one million pixels by placing colored tiles every five minutes, creating everything from giant Brazil flags and exact pixel replicas of Mona Lisas to Pizza Johns that stare back into our souls.
Reddit initially announced its version of this project would debut in April, but after being delayed multiple times, it finally debuted Thursday. While Reddit has yet to reveal its theme this year, its current canvas shows a map with shaded regions representing their popularity on Reddit – showing how users can use Reddit as an organizing and coordination platform to achieve goals such as dominating regions with national flags or artworks.
Reddit users have used r/Place to celebrate and recognize their communities while airing grievances against Reddit’s CEO u/spez in recent years, often creating protest art against him with “fuck spez” written across it in big, bold letters across many corners. API changes on Reddit have dismayed many users; these frustrations have also surfaced here. Hopefully, Reddit listens to its users soon enough and reconsiders those decisions, for the community aspect makes r/Place such a unique place! Don’t miss out!
3. Narwhal 2 is in beta
Reddit’s iPhone app Narwhal 2 developer invites users to try its beta. Sign-ups are open in the r/Apple subreddit and on Narwhal 2’s website; beta features include an updated user interface design with widget functionality, a hide action bar option, and other enhancements.
Reddit recently unveiled new profiles, which allow you to choose a photo and bio, post updates to your page, and remain anonymous. Redditors on r/movies (the most extensive film subreddit) recently convened to discuss which movies feature abrupt endings due to intentionality or filmmaking constraints; regardless, the discussion was lively and enjoyable – here are a few highlights!
4. Reddit is testing a new “Official” label
Reddit’s new “Official” label aims to increase transparency and decrease impersonation on its platform. The title, similar to flairs on subreddits, appears next to usernames of specific organizations to help Redditors, moderators, and communities quickly identify these profiles and verify they are who they say they are, according to Reddit.
Reddit has taken numerous steps toward becoming a more commercial platform, recently changing its API pricing model to no longer subsidize high data usage by third-party apps. This announcement caused outrage from some developers and forced thousands of subreddits to go dark for nearly two weeks to protest the change. Reddit later announced it would exempt accessibility-focused apps from this rule change.
Reddit continues to address any new concerns that have surfaced since then. In a blog post, Reddit’s chief product officer, Rob Huffman, posted how the site will continue “encouraging moderation in all forms” while “ensuring our community remains safe and thriving.”
Reddit recently initiated several efforts to enhance its desktop user experience, such as revamping its Home Feed to display six trending communities instead of four and decreasing unnecessary space within and between post units. They have also announced an updated Mod Helper Program and help center to support moderators more directly.
The “Official” label can effectively verify users’ identities; however, this label should not confer any special privileges or protections and should not be confused with “Promoted” tags that indicate paid advertisements.
5. r/Blind is back
At a time when over 8,000 subreddits are going dark, creators of r/Blind are making plans to relaunch their community. Critics have expressed displeasure with Reddit’s changes to API pricing, which they feel could reduce accessibility; furthermore, they have demanded better communication and consultation between Reddit and disabled communities.
The r/Blind community boasts more than three million members. It includes subreddits geared specifically toward blind and visually impaired users and the r/TranscribersOfReddit, where transcription can write image descriptions. Many use Reddit to navigate social media and find it their go-to platform, with moderator Sam Proulx noting its unique cultural space: “There’s something distinct about Reddit that makes me like it more than other platforms.”
Proulx and his fellow moderators from r/Blind had decided to keep the subreddit private in protest against Reddit’s API pricing changes. Still, after receiving messages from an administrator account on its Mod Code of Conduct, they decided to open up again and urge Reddit to communicate better and consult disabled communities, clarify how API pricing exemptions are granted, compensate developers of accessibility apps with more features than its official app, as well as compensate accessibility apps with which access Reddit.
In the meantime, the r/Blind community is broadening its collaborative canvas. You can view some of this new art here, though not yet open to all users. There’s even an enormous message cursing Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, which doesn’t comply with canvas rules – though it likely won’t remain there long.
TIME’s Ben Brock Johnson spoke to several blind and visually impaired Reddit users about why they appreciate using Reddit. Watch their story on TIME.com, or listen to TIME LightBox’s podcast episode below.