A few thoughts about the blackout and the future development of the Fediverse.

It started as an answer to a comment, but then I figured it might be worth a post on it's own.

So here you go:

  1. The blackout was not noticeable in terms of engagement. There were plenty of threads that still got tens of thousands of upvotes, so the frontpage didn't look more empty than before. There were just some missing subs and an occasional reference to the blackout on the subs that were closed. The impact was much, much smaller than people here and over at lemmy suggest. Of course your personal frontpage is a lot more empty if you subscribed to the subs that are part of the blackout. It's absolutely not the case for /all though.
    Additionally, the blackout trackers are confusing. They show how many subs went black in relation to a total amount. Many people, me included, at first thought the total was the actual total amount of active subs, while in reality it was only the subs that pledged to close down. Reddit has up to 140,000 active subs, so in fact not even 5% closed.
    The attempt to show that reddit is generally uninteresting without a certain part of mods and users failed.

  2. The API/3PA changes affect like 5-10% of users, so for most this isn't even a problem. I was really surprised when I found out about that number yesterday, because i thought it would be more like 20-30% for whatever reason. Every time there is a discussion about 3PAs that fact is omitted, so that the problem seems larger than it is. Why should the overwhelming majority that doesn't use 3PAs care about that topic?

  3. The company doesn't consist of total morons. The user base of reddit is known to have a certain amount of people who are able to organize a protest network (think back to the net neutrality protest). They knew this was going to happen and it was already priced in. They stay on their path because reddit will be more profitable than before. They are losing troublemakers (aka people who want to have a say in their company policies aka us) with this move and will probably gain a multitude of new users with whatever they are aiming for. Everyone is asking why they have 2000 employees. Well, a bunch of them are surely hired in the marketing department. I assume they studied that shit and know exactly what they are doing. They certainly have business psychologists, marketing experts, data scientists.

To reword what I'm trying to say here: Instagram et al aren't that huge because they do what the users want, but because the companies know how to shape a service to cater to the majority of people. Reddit will do the same. In capitalism, going public is the logical step for a company to scale with their amount of clients. Catering to shareholders is inseparable from that, so rationalization is inevitable. The users who recognize that seem to be a minority. This minority is moving to the fediverse now, which, to put it in a more optimistic light, is kind of a win-win situation.

  1. I'm starting to care less about all that. I reflected about my reddit usage and figured that I mostly subscribed to smaller communities anyways. I rarely commented in subs that regularly got more than 1000 upvotes for their contributions. Having hundreds of comments under a post gets annoying fast, because you'll be having a hard time being part of a conversation and there is no way to find out if the thing you wanted to say wasn't already said anyways.

Posting was already starting to get annoying in medium-sized subs. I asked a question about fungus gnats in my plant pots, specifically pointing out that I want to use chemicals and not nematodes. Guess what? About 30 people recommended nematodes anyways. I don't want this low quality spam, so I'd rather have a smaller community where people read before posting and not comment for the sake of commenting. I'm also okay with the Fediverse having multiple communities about identical topics. The mycology subs on reddit where flooded with ID requests of the same mushrooms multiple times a day, so people cared rarely to help identifying, because of course there is no incentive to write the same thing multiple times a day. Having that phenomenon spread out between multiple communities will take the load of a single community and their mods to handle these low effort posts. Yes, having really small communities is shit because nothing happens and it gets a self-enforcing effect until everyone leaves. Having huge communities sucks because of the reasons I named. Medium-size are the best. A few thousand subscribers, a few threads a day, a few dozen comments per thread. That's my personal optimum for the communities I want to interact with.

  1. I don't think the Fediverse will grow rapidly and I don't think it needs to. We saw the rapid growth of mastodon after apartheid clyde took over twitter. The rapid shrinking of the active userbase a few weeks after was seen as a proof of its failure. But why is hardly anyone talking about the fact that the userbase three-folded compared to before? Sounds like a huge success to me, something any for-profit company would dream of. The same will happen to "reddit alternative"-services. We saw an influx of users in the last days (I was part of that), we will see another influx around July 1st and when old.reddit is shut down. Surely some decline here and there, but most probably constant growth when looking at a larger timescale the more the idea spreads and the more content is generated.

The shittification of for-profit platforms will continue indefinitely, users will always be driven away from them. Services come and go, there will be new trends, older concepts will be seen as outdated. It has always been like this, it will happen to services on the fediverse, too. But the fediverse as a general structure has huge potential, because it's a perfect base to adapt to these changes. The widespread confusion about how it works will sort itself out by more and more people understanding it and explaining it to their peers. It had to be done with internet/email 20 to 30 years ago, it still has to be done with things like 2FA. I'm a tech-savvy person and still find a lot of functions on the Instagram app unnecessarily confusing, but its one of the most used apps worldwide. Confusion will not stop people from joining a cool thing.

So, I guess I got you until the half of my post and you thought I would only be ranting about the situation. But its the opposite: as a matter of fact I'm firmly on the optimistic site of things :)

cura,

Could you provide the source for "The API/3PA changes affect like 5-10% of users"?

gonzo0815,
Gull,

Everyone who downloads the official app (like because they are blocked from viewing many threads on mobile) and then leaves it in disgust and never uses it again counts as a "download." That is very far from indicating what percentage of users are affected.

demonicbullet,

Yeah based on my lazy math its between 8-10% of mobile users on Android.

Corrected my math a bit more.

Voyajer,
Voyajer avatar

It also counts me as a download because you must download an app to give it a rating.

Nivekk,
Nivekk avatar

Even if this were true, 3rd party moderator tools are going away as well, and that affects everyone. I've heard it said that it's basically impossible to moderate a big subreddit without 3rd party tools. If so, those communities will rot, and Reddit is unlikely to respond fast enough with improved tools.

The real migration will come later, and more gradually. This was really more of a good trial run.

jeebus,
jeebus avatar

These last three days have been a lot more calm for me. I think social media in great quantities is bad. The normies that will continue using reddit are the ones that probably use Instagram as well. I am definitely not one of those. So reddit making this change was its final gift to me after 15 years of teachable moments.

PopOfAfrica,

I really think a lot of us are starting to realize how unhealthy reddit was for us. This is just a much more friendly and less overwhelming community.

Hello from Lemmy, btw

Sabata11792,
Sabata11792 avatar

I've realized after leaving all I been doing on reddit was doom scrolling and regurgitating in jokes.

Fulthi,

Years of opening threads and all of the top comments are just the same 10 jokes over and over drained the life out of me.

lavender,
lavender avatar

I just posted a thread describing similar concerns. I only went for niche places such as 3d sculpting and emulation devices, but still it was nice to once in a while come across things outside of my bubble of interests.

What I mostly worry about is the bar of entry for the fediverse being too high for the casual user, the majority of which would fill such less niche boards with interesting and regular content. We live in a 'push button, get dopamine' era of content, and the fediverse seems more complicated than that.

gonzo0815,

'push button, get dopamine'

I thought so, too at first. But for every account i make somewhere I already need email confirmation and/or 2FA, so registering is far from "click button" -> "start" and seemingly the majority manages to make that work.

The only thing slightly complicated about the fediverse is the fact that there are interconnected instances with different services. But since we are in an early phase anyways, things will figure themselves out in the next months. I think it's going to be like this: there will be communities for all kinds of stuff and all of them will get through a certain development. In a few months or even years, there might be just a single-digit number of, let's say, football communities left, because the well-managed ones grew and attracted more users while others died down. If I want to talk about football, I can join the server with a known community without even thinking about the fediverse. But when I do, I will immediately be able to access the rest of it. Honestly, it was the same with reddit for a lot of users. A lot of people joined just for their hobby and learned about the diversity over time.

LunarLoony,
LunarLoony avatar

On the other hand, I've been on my fair share of sites that only need an email address to open an account - they don't ask for anything else, and you're straight in. Can't think of any examples off the top of my head, typically, but they do exist. It's weird.

runningfromreddit,

Can you please tell me what I'm responding to so I can create one also? By that I mean - on reddit there was a "selfpost" or "text post" - a top level comment with a subject but without an external link.

That appears to be what I am responding to here. But when I try to create one, my options are to add a Link, Article, Post, Photo, or Video. I would think I want to do a post, but that takes me to the microblogging tab, and that doesn't look like what I'm trying to do.

How do I do a "selfpost" in reddit terms please?

gonzo0815,

I just used article, seems to work :)

runningfromreddit,

Thanks!

9Volt,
9Volt avatar

This is a great post that resonates with me.

While I’ve come to terms with accepting that a mass migration from Reddit to Kbin, Lemmy, etc. may not happen any time soon, I do appreciate learning about these new communities and am looking forward to helping them grow :)

KnittingTrekker,
KnittingTrekker avatar

Honestly, I was thinking about making a post about the exact same thing, but I am glad you beat me to it because you are obviously much more informed and articulated than I would have been!

I agree, Reddit will go on and make money, but it will be a much different place, more like Facebook or Instagram, in that it will be full of ads and less specific information. It will cease to be a niche space and become another, more generalized social for a more generalized public.

In short: we, aka the people who migrated, simply are not their intended target anymore

FreeBooteR69,
FreeBooteR69 avatar

It was never about the 3rd party tools for me, i only ever used Reddit in browser. No, it's about the inshitification of everything online. I was actually delighted when this little protest started because i knew it would help the Fediverse. Everything is about data mining and manipulating the users. Trust me, there are going to be more mass migrations away from Reddit and Twitter, and other online resources as the inshitification of all online resources intensifies.

Timwi,
Timwi avatar

Although I did use a 3rd-party app (RIF), I agree with you. I had heard about the Fediverse for some time but have never had the impetus to actually browse around and take a look until Reddit declared imminent enshittification.

VulcanSphere,
VulcanSphere avatar

This is a well-written post.

The wind of change has arrived, towards Fediverse favour.

Otome-chan,
Otome-chan avatar

Good thread and I was gonna comment something insightful up until I read "when old.reddit is shut down".... old reddit is being shut down? The day that happens is probably the day I stop using reddit entirely lol.

Most of your points are pretty spot on IMO, though my personal preference for communities is probably a bit more active than what you suggest. but yes i think you're 100% right.

BiggestBulb,
BiggestBulb avatar

I don't have anything to say in regards to your comment in particular, I just wanted to say I love your profile icon!

Otome-chan,
Otome-chan avatar

thanks :) I generated it using stable diffusion

gonzo0815,

The company never said anything about closing it down, but i'm pretty sure that it will happen. The process of streamlining will make the UI impossible to work at some point, so instead of patching it to make it work they are surely going to remove it completely.

Reddit released some numbers a year ago (warning: reddit link!). So it's another 4% of users using old.reddit (probably a huge overlap with 3PA users), but also 60% of moderators. I guess getting rid of it probably won't hurt them a lot.

vytah,

There are already things that were added to new reddit that cause problems with old reddit. The most obvious example is markdown incompatibilities, so comments and text submissions posted via new reddit are sometimes broken on old reddit.

Otome-chan,
Otome-chan avatar

only 4% are on old reddit? oh wow. and 60% of moderators lol yeah that makes sense. yeah I'm guessing it's the same overlap of people who use old reddit, 3pa, and are moderators. In that context, I wouldn't be surprised if they intentionally wanted the blackout and for these people to leave reddit, so that they don't have that nagging group who want reddit to be how it was before lol.

I have a feeling that reddit might drastically change soon as a result.

VulcanSphere,
VulcanSphere avatar

Can confirm, Vulcan is a moderator and mostly used old.reddit (although with new.reddit for couple occasions).

Killing old.reddit will be a huge shockwave, especially among moderators.

34,

I think old.reddit usage is so low because most interactions are on mobile anymore. I can only name two people I know who have desks with computers at them anymore.

Otome-chan,
Otome-chan avatar

Sadly true. I've actually been using kbin on my laptop these past few days. I only tried it on my phone just today and I have to say it really plays nice with mobile. I'm surprised.

Meridian_Knight,

This is exactly why I jumped ship, personally. I don’t care at all about 3PA and the monetization - matter of fact, I think it’s entirely fair for reddit to be trying to monetize given the scope of the site - but I loathe the new reddit UI and app and just… refuse to adapt. I’m the curmudgeonly old man with a stick here, proclaiming that it was better in the good old days when you might mistake the text editor for an IDE. This whole Fediverse thing is also just kind of neat - idk if it will stick around in its current form because monetization seems to be firmly in the “we’ll figure it out later” mode, but it’s near for now and has people’s attention.

Zana,

Then they should think what about these apps do people like more than our app. Maybe hire the devs to help them.

slim,

Realest take is seen thus far. A lot of migrants want Lemmy to be like Reddit, but it's not reddit. I have no doubt that a large amount of them will find their way back to Reddit after they've seen Lemmy is it's own thing.

Personally, I like Lemmy. I like the smaller community, and I like Federation. I can't wait to see what this thing grows into

Otome-chan,
Otome-chan avatar

kbin feels near identical to reddit to me in how it works, just quite a bit smaller. it's not reddit, but it gives me the things I liked from reddit. lemmy, in comparison, just feels off to me.

Timwi,
Timwi avatar

Mind me asking what exactly you find off about Lemmy? I wanted to try Lemmy but the login page appears to be broken, so I can’t use it.

Otome-chan,
Otome-chan avatar

The ui and layout. It felt like a DIY project almost. Hacker news gives me that same feel. Like it's almost a little too basic. The spacing and such as well. Idk I probably didn't give it a fair chance tbh. I also had heard about lemmy.ml's moderation issued which was also a turnoff.

Timwi,
Timwi avatar

Thanks for the summary. Great to hear some variety of opinions. I’m personally very fond of Hacker News and appreciate its basic UI. The lemmy.ml moderation stuff is of course a whole separate beast.

Pizzacheese4,

same here, I'm mostly using lemmy with jerboa til kbin gets an app for Android, then I'll switch to that. there's still a bunch of lemmy communities I'll subscribe to tho, which is one thing I like a lot about federation

Sexypink,

Same

Gull,

It's based on false premises like "everyone who ever downloaded the Reddit official app uses it forever"

Angry_Maple,

I love that I don't feel like I have to write every single comment and post in a way that is palatable for every single person who could possibly come across it.

I love that most people here seem to actually read the post or comment on here before they respond. On reddit, there were many times that people wouldn't even read up to the third sentence before trying to give a stranger random life advice on a complex and emotional situation. Other times, people would practically fabricate an entire novel based off of their personal experiences that might not have even been related to the post in question.

I love that this community seems to be more open to the grey area in between the black-and-white. For example, you might have kids or love being around kids, but you might not want to eat next to a crying baby at a very expensive restaurant. On reddit, I've literally seen people equate that to wanting to vanquish all children off the face of the earth.

I'm happy Lemmy isn't reddit.

TimberHearth,

I keep forgetting that I can see Lemmy posts on Kbin and vice versa, it’s always a nice surprise. I hedged my bets by joining both just in case but feel myself gravitating towards Kbin a bit more.

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