Reddit just announced Start Chatting, a brand new feature that allows users to join randomly generated chat rooms around a specific subreddit. According to reddit, chat usage on their platform has increased 80% since January due to the quarantine and the company wanted to create a new way for users to interact. Start Chatting will roll out to select mobile and desktop subreddits today, and other communities will benefit from the feature in the coming weeks.

The Start Chat feature is now live on reddit

“After seeing a spike in redditors using chat, we quickly created Start Chatting so that we could provide users with more intimate, real-time interactive experiences,” said Alex Le, vice president of products and community at Reddit.

How to use Reddit Start chatting

At the top of the specific subreddit you’re visiting, you’ll see a new button dedicated to Start Chat. On mobile, you will see it in the box at the top of your screen and on desktop, it will be at the top right of the community page, next to the “Join the community” button. You will also need a reddit account to participate in this new feature.

Once inside, you’ll be randomly associated with half a dozen other redditors from the same subreddit where you can start chatting. The rules for reddit and the specific sub-reddit still apply, which means you can be banned for violating the site’s terms of service by sharing material such as hate speech or inappropriate images.

These chat rooms will not be moderated by the submarine moderators, with Start Chatting having its own reporting function. You can report messages by tapping the flag icon on the desktop or by long pressing the message on the mobile. You can also block a user in a chat room, which ensures that you will never be connected with the same person again.

This new feature is interesting, combining a random AOL chat room from two decades ago with the integration of a modern internet giant. These Start Chatting community rooms could become a place for people to make friends and talk about the struggles that are going through their lives in these tough times. Chat rooms can also be a hot spot for inappropriate activity, with random users paired up with little to lose other than their reddit accounts.

If talking to strangers on Chatroulette or Omegle is a bit too personal and potentially dangerous, then Start Chatting might be a good way to give it a try. Heading over to r / teenagers and finding a bunch of like-minded edgelords might be the thing saving your sanity in all of this.