On June 12, Reddit’s r/anime community will be unavailable for at least forty-eight hours to protest Reddit’s expected pricing changes to API access. Home to at least 7.3 million users, r/anime has been the central pillar of anime discussion on Reddit since the subreddit’s creation in January 2008.
In a post on June 8, the moderators of r/anime promised a blackout in solidarity with (at the time of writing), 2,952 other subreddits, including five of the largest communities that boast over 30 million users each. The decision to join the blackout was made after a public vote in the community.
An API is an “application programming interface”—a crucial piece of software that allows anyone with the right access to build software tools. For Reddit, this means third-party (unofficial) applications that provide bespoke experiences tailored to their users, or software tooling that allows community moderators to better perform their roles.
Community moderators are protesting Reddit’s proposed API pricing changes, due to come into effect on July 1, which would see many third-party app developers completely priced out of the market. The developer of Apollo, Christian Selig, said that Reddit’s new pricepoint would cost $20 million (USD) a year. On his own community page, Selig wrote, “I don’t see how this pricing is anything based in reality or remotely reasonable.”
Other third-party developers have also weighed in, with Narwhal’s developer promising their app would be “dead in 30 days” due to the pricing changes. Moderators on the popular historian community, r/AskHistorians, elaborated on the downstream effects of third-party apps being impacted, highlighting that third-party apps “offer the most robust mod tools” while noting that the official Reddit app for iOS and Android is also considered inaccessible for the visually impaired.
During the API protests, r/anime, along with thousands of other communities, will be unavailable. The moderators of r/anime have yet to decide whether they’ll return following the blackout. Anime Corner, including Anime Corner News and our Seiyuu Corner, has always been graciously accepted by the r/anime userbase; for the sake of all Redditors and especially our r/anime fans, we sincerely hope that Reddit will reconsider its approach to third-party apps and API management.
Cover Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash