Reddit is melting down before our eyes. Its CEO is engaging in wilder and wilder tactics to try to subvert the protests that began last week. Some subreddits have seen their moderation teams replaced or entirely removed, meaning that even when the dust settles, those subs will not be what they once were. And many redditors are striking out on their own, moving to different servers and platforms to try to continue the communities that started on the beleaguered social network.
(A quick refresher on what the protests are all about: Reddit recently proposed changes to its API, to take effect July 1. With the change, third-party apps like Apollo and Rif will effectively cease to exist, having been priced out; tools that moderators use to run their subreddits were threatened, but Reddit has since made concessions that at least some mods are ok with; and Reddit continues to appear clueless about accessibility, meaning that subs such as r/Blind may be impossible to moderate after the changes take effect. For more background, here is our explainer from the day the blackout began.)
There is no website or app that does exactly what Reddit does. There used to be one that was close — Digg — but many users who were unhappy with that site ended up moving to Reddit in 2010. Digg has changed enough in the years since that a migration in the opposite direction is no longer really possible.
So, Reddit users who want to go elsewhere have been exploring other options. Here are a few of the standout possibilities.
Lemmy is a discussion platform where users can post links or other content, and people can discuss that content in threads. In that respect, it’s a lot like Reddit.
But unlike Reddit, it’s federated. That means you can join any Lemmy server and be able to talk to other Lemmy servers. It’s like email: You can be @gmail.com and still communicate with somebody at @hotmail.com. Or to put it another way: Lemmy is to Reddit as Mastodon is to Twitter.
Lemmy has communities like Reddit does, but they start with “c/” instead of “r/”. For example, Reddit has r/simpleliving, and Lemmy has c/simpleliving. You have to know the server a community is on (it’s lemmy.ml/c/simpleliving, not lemmy.world/simpleliving), so if your favourite subreddit is one that has chosen to migrate to lemmy, find out where everybody said they are going, and follow that link.
Lemmy does not have upvote and downvote buttons, and there are far fewer users than on Reddit — so it’s kind of quiet over there right now. At least one third-part Reddit app, Sync, will become a Lemmy client instead of a Reddit client once the Reddit API changes take effect.
How to sign up for Lemmy: Go to join-lemmy.org and choose a server. Any server will do.
Kbin is another federated discussion server — basically the same idea as Lemmy, but it also supports Mastodon-style microblogging. Much of what we said above about Lemmy is true of Kbin, too.
Instead of subreddits or “communities,” the equivalent on Kbin is “magazines.” Kbin is considered to be in beta, and like Lemmy, it’s not very crowded yet.
How to sign up for Kbin: Go to kbin.pub, click Instances, and choose a server.
Tildes is another website trying to be the new Reddit. It’s still in an invite-only alpha stage, so you’ll need to ask somebody for an invite.
Tildes is not federated, so there’s only one place to sign up. And it has yet another name for its communities: They are, of course, tildes. (A tilde is the “~” character, and in the old old Internet, a lot of personal web pages had a tilde at the start of their names, a continuation of an even earlier tradition.) On Tildes.net, each tilde can have tags, so there is ~health and it contains the tag “fitness.”
How to sign up for Tildes: Find someone who has a tildes account, and ask for an invite.
Discord is nothing like Reddit: it’s a chat app, similar to Slack (or, for the Olds among us, IRC). But many Reddit communities had already spun off Discord servers for folks who wanted to chat casually among themselves, and so during the blackout, those communities leaned more heavily on their Discords.
Looking for a Discord to replace your favourite subreddit isn’t so much about recreating what was lost, as it is about following the people you’re used to talking to. Each Discord community is private — many are invite-only — and they decide for themselves who to let in and how the server is run.
How to sign up for Discord: Find an invite from the community you want to join. For Discords associated with a subreddit, there is usually a link in the sidebar or in a post somewhere on the sub.
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