Glide CMS image
Glide CMS arrow
The powerful intuitive headless CMS for busy content and editorial teams, bursting with features and sector insight. MACH architecture gives you business freedom.
Glide Go image
Glide Go arrow
Enterprise power at start-up speed. Glide Go is a pre-configured deployment of Glide CMS with hosting and front-end problems solved.
Glide Nexa image
Glide Nexa arrow
Audience authentication, entitlements, and preference management in one system designed for publishers and content businesses.
For your sector
Media & Entertainment
Built for any content to thrive, whoever it's for. Get your content out faster and do more with it.
Sports & Gaming
Bring fans closer to their passions and deliver unrivalled audience experiences wherever they are.
Tailored to the unique needs of publishing so you can fully focus on audiences and content success.
For your role
Unlock resources and budget with low-code & no-code solutions to do so much more.
Editorial & Content
Make content of higher quality quicker, and target it with pinpoint accuracy at the right audiences.
MACH architecture lets you kickstart development, leveraging vast native functionality and top-tier support.
Commercial & Marketing
Speedrun ideas into products, accelerate ROI, convert interest, and own the conversation.
Technology Partners
AWS image
Getty Images image
Getty Images
Brightcove image
Poool image
Solution Partners
Endava image
The App Lab image
The App Lab
Code Store image
Code Store
Polemic Digital image
Polemic Digital
Developer Experience
Find out more how to work with Glide headless CMS, Glide Go, and Glide Nexa identity management
Customer Support
Learn more about unrivalled customer support from team Glide
User and Technical documentation for the Glide Publishing Platform, Glide Go, and Glide Nexa
News arrow
Comment arrow
Newsletter arrow

Siding with the pitchfork mob?

Is Reddit is fighting against the stuff of its very soul? The worth that unpaid moderators and users bring to its unique offering is proving a tricky thing to tinker with.

by  Rob Corbidge
13:43, 15 June 2023
Pitchfork by Stable Diffusion

Brand loyalty is a hard-earned relationship between a business and its customers. It takes time to build, but once in place can provide a multitude of benefits to both parties. Publishers are of course mostly all striving to build and maintain such relationships, and in an industry where eyeballs (sometimes ears) are the most sought-after currency, a loyal eyeball is worth a lot.

What then of a situation that Reddit has found itself in? In attempting to once again transition to a more business-like model of operation, so that it starts to resemble other platforms that are much better at monetisation, it finds that many of its users consider themselves custodians of Reddit, not just users and certainly not customers.

So it is that Reddit finds itself in a situation where the CEO Steve Huffman has rather theatrically warned staff to be "please be mindful" of wearing Reddit gear in public. 

"Some folks are really upset, and we don't want you to be the object of their frustrations," he wrote in a leaked memo. At the time of writing, no pitchfork wielding mobs have been sighted near the company's San Francisco HQ.

Yet, as has been observed about Reddit, if people are told something is theirs often enough and for long enough, they will regard it as such.

Reddit has an unusual conundrum in that this very sense of ownership is vital to the site's well being. To explain, Reddit is split into subreddits - particular topic or interest areas, from the inane to the super-esoteric - of which it's currently estimated 140,000 are active at any particular time. Each subreddit is overseen by a moderator, or more frequently a number of moderators, depending on how active a subreddit is, or what content is being posted. They have a large degree of control.

This moderation system has been profoundly successful. Yet only because those moderators feel a sense of ownership beyond that it is likely even a paid employee would. Human-centred, human run.

So then to this recent rather poorly managed attempt to increase the cost of access to Reddit's API in order that Reddit benefits from the all Machine Learning applications mining its data  to spit out as their own work.

In short, this has put the future of a number of third party Reddit app developers in doubt who say they cannot bear the cost of such access. The reason such third-party apps exist in the first place is that Reddit didn't produce an app until 2016, and when it did such a third-rate job was done, particularly around video, that there was no incentive to shift to it. 

It turns out a lot of the people who really like, and contribute to, Reddit, really like those apps too.

Hence this week, a large number of subreddits went dark for 48 hours in protest at the move. It could all just go away of course, but in the resistance Reddit finds to such changes is also the positive element at the core of what makes it unique and an asset - that sense of ownership. 

In the leaked memo this week, Reddit CEO Huffman told staff: "There's a lot of noise with this one. Among the noisiest we've seen. Please know that our teams are on it, and like all blowups on Reddit, this one will pass as well."

It does seem like a hastily thought-through decision. For example, an addition to the API charge announcement said that accessibility apps wouldn't be charged for use - something a forward-thinking outfit such as Reddit should have foreseen as an issue.

For those of us who actually make Google search at least bearable by appending "reddit" to many of our searches - in order to find human-curated content - the struggle Reddit is having isn't really good news. Any publisher must now be alert to the relationship between their content and AI tools, and have some degree of sympathy.

Many publishers also value user generated content, and most would feel they don't get enough of it. However, in the case of Reddit, the limits of what it possible while still maintaining control are visible.

Latest articles

article listing image
The inside story of the runaway elephant in the room
arrow button
article listing image
How a picture of gold can seem worth more than the gold itself
arrow button
article listing image
Universal findings can cause local problems
arrow button

Ready to get started?

No matter where you are on your CMS journey, we're here to help. Want more info or to see Glide Publishing Platform in action? We got you.

Book a demo