Asif Youssuff

What's Going on with r/Firefox? Reddit? What's Next?

Many Reddit communities (sub-reddits) have shut down this Monday, r/firefox is one of them. Are you out of the loop?

If you want to learn a bit more, and want to know about how r/firefox is responding (I am a moderator), read on.

You may have noticed starting over the past weekend that you were unable to access r/firefox.

Screenshot of Firefox on Reddit and a message stating: This community has shut down and will not grant access requests during the protest. **Please do not message asking to be added to the subreddit.** ‌ /r/firefox has gone private as part of the coordinated protest against Reddit's exorbitant new API changes, and unprofessional response to the community's concerns regarding 3rd party apps, mod tools, and accessibility options that will be impacted by this decision. More information:
Screenshot of the r/firefox blackout

As summarized by the post referenced in the “blackout” message, Reddit has recently introduced some changes regarding third party access to its data via Reddit’s API.

I had blogged about this previously with regards to Reddit’s sale of user generated content to LLM vendors, but the moderators protesting the recent actions are far more concerned about moderator tools, access to third party mobile clients, and accessibility issues in Reddit’s clients.

As a result, a huge number of Reddit’s moderators coordinated a blackout in order to force action from Reddit management.

48-hour vs. Indefinite

Initially, most sub-reddits planned on a 48-hour blackout. As it became increasingly clear to moderators that Reddit wasn’t making any meaningful concessions on on the timing or amount of API price changes, moderators have begun discussing whether an indefinite blackout makes more sense, in order to make it harder for Reddit to simply wait out the blackout.

The top moderator on r/firefox asked about what the moderators thought – I added my two cents:

This is the way I see it:

Reddit will let mod teams play games for a day or two, so that they feel “heard”. They will release some perfunctory reprieve (not that it will matter, as Apollo, et al have already announced cancellations) on the API fees for smaller players.

Once they label that reprieve as a capitulation (you won guys, we good here?), they will begin taking actions (messaging) larger sub-reddit mod teams if they have not reopened. Uncooperative mod teams will be removed.

So my feeling is that we don’t really have a choice in the matter. Stay closed and we will likely be forced open (under new moderation). Stay open and help reddit.

I vote for staying closed to get the best that we can get from reddit - even if the moderation team is different, it won’t matter, because the users who are here will likely be comfortable with that.

The other moderators agree, and at least provisionally, r/firefox is shut down indefinitely - until the demands are met, or until Reddit removes the current moderation team.

What’s Next?

I don’t really know what is next for Reddit. I have used Reddit for many years - ever since my friend Chase showed it to me 17 years ago in college. I even co-founded a web startup similar to it (that’s where this domain comes from!). In recent years, my focus has been around fostering community with Firefox users on r/firefox, rather than doing much contribution elsewhere on the site.

My ultimate prediction is that Reddit will survive this disruption to its workings. Yes, Reddit may have worse moderation overall, but the vast majority of people who are lurkers will be totally fine with how Reddit will change as moderators and some people (especially those who accessed Reddit on mobile) leave.

Still, there’s still a Reddit-shaped hole in many people’s browsing patterns, and people are going to be looking to fill it.

I have a Tildes account and am playing with it, but there is no way that the slow growth that that site promotes could be a real replacement for r/firefox.

Lemmy and Kbin are the platforms that seem to be getting the most interest right now, so I am looking more closely at those.

Yesterday, I saw that Jerry Bell (who runs the large Mastodon instance is now running Lemmy and Kbin instances.

@bh11235 I have good news! is running lemmy, and is running kbin and we control them both

Jerry Bell

I’ve provisionally set up a magazine on Jerry’s Kbin instance. You can visit it at:

I’m hoping that I made a decent bet (based on a prior track record of stability), and due to federation, it might not matter too much where the group is hosted. Time will tell, I suppose.

If you want to chat with some of the crew at r/firefox, we have a Matrix chat that I’d love for you to join!

Feel free to give me feedback on this post on Kbin. You can also message me on Mastodon.

This project is maintained by yoasif