Snippet: “We Work With People Who Want to Work With Us” ☇

Shared on June 16, 2023

Jay Peters for The Verge interviewing Reddit CEO Steve Huffman:

We’re perfectly willing to work with the folks who want to work with us, including figuring out what that transition period will look like. But I think a deadline forces people, us included, to negotiate that.

Huffman likes to keep reiterating this, but the whole situation is stacked against a lot of the small developers, both from an initial cost and short turnaround of less than thirty days. It’s also been untrue. Throw in accusations and insults and you’ve easily made people who want to work with you decide it’s not worth it.

We offer the API so the vast majority of our use of the uses of the API — so not these, the other 98 percent of them that make tools, bots, enhancements for Reddit — that’s what the API is for.

It was never designed to support third-party apps. We let it exist. And I should take the blame for that, because I was the guy arguing for that for a long time. But I didn’t know — and this is my fault — the extent that they were profiting off of our API. That these were not charities.

Huffman likes making this argument, too, although apps like Apollo, RIF, Sync, and others were definitely loved by power users who were generating and moderating content for Reddit for free.

Reddit’s hubris is what irks me the most—it’s fine to pivot away from third-party apps, but don’t vilify them as freeloaders when you’re also doing this to your own users. Looking up to Elon Musk’s handling of Twitter is also not great. I personally deleted all my old content and then my account last week, yet, it appears that Reddit has undeleted (intentionally or not) a lot of old content—I found some of my posts attributed to [deleted]. That’s not exactly going to win me back as a user.

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