Remember how Reddit announced yesterday that it was introducing built-in subreddit chat rooms? Yeah, whatever.
Alex Le, vice president of product and community for Reddit, told Thursday at various comments that functionality has been “restored to 100%”. The said the platform “made several mistakes” in the feature’s release process (called “Start Chat”) and apologized for the confusion caused by the deployment. One bug, in particular, caused the button to appear on all subtitles, even if it did nothing when clicked or pressed.
âIf you remove the banner in 3 communities where the feature is active on the desktop web or on Android, the little button you see appears on all communities. But above all, for all support communities, the button does nothing. Your users would never be able to enter chats for this feature, even in the rare event that they saw the button, âLe wrote. âWe are actively resolving this problem. The feature is canceled in a few hours and the button will be removed. “
The announcement comes after a large number of Redditors protested the introduction of the “Start Chat” button in their communities. Reddit initially said the feature would roll out to around 50% of SFW subtitles to boot and that businesses “Particularly vulnerable to abuse” would not be included.
However, the subreddit moderators were not given the option to opt out and were not given the opportunity to manage chat rooms, according to their community’s rules, with the responsibility instead falling on Reddit’s own administrators. A number of moderators protested Reddit’s approach and criticized it for endangering subreddits, especially those who give voice to victims of sexual assault and other vulnerable communities, by potentially opening up chat features for trolls and those eager to commit fraud or abuse.
âAs moderators, we are unpaid volunteers who work to build a community that reflects our values ââand our vision,â wrote a moderator of r / AskHistorians in a message to Reddit admins. âIn the past, site administrators have always promised us control over the formation of this community, and despite some missteps at times, this is a promise we trusted. Obviously, we were wrong to do that, as it broke that trust in a way much worse than any other unwanted characteristic that the admins imposed on us.
A moderator of r / personalfinance and r / Debt too demand that both subreddits be removed: “We already have big problems with scammers using chat and PMs to scam people who are already in financial crisis and we can’t even get Reddit to ban these people after repeated reporting (not that it would be difficult for someone to switch accounts since it takes weeks or months for reports to be reviewed). Even our unofficial IRC chat room is better moderated than anything on Reddit.
Le said Reddit received largely positive feedback when it first tested the chat room feature. âPlease keep in mind that many users use and enjoy the feature, and these people aren’t always the ones who will share their feedback in comment threads,â Le wrote.
His comment also notes that Reddit plans to change the Start Chatting interface to make the functionality more distinct from its affiliate subreddit, and will allow moderators to remove the button from their communities.
Reddit confirmed to The edge that it has disabled the feature. âGiven the issues and concerns expressed by our users and moderators over the past 24 hours, we have made the decision to disable Start Chatting so that we can re-evaluate our deployment plan and evolve the product to meet the needs of our community, âsaid Reddit the spokesperson said.
Updated April 30 at 5:29 p.m. ET: Added confirmation and statement from Reddit on removing chat room functionality.