Reddit announced that it is testing Discord-like chat channels with select subreddits as it aims to provide more avenues for community members to interact with each other. This is a significant move for the social network as it moves away from its traditional asynchronous commenting system.
The company is starting the test with 25 volunteer subreddits, although it didn’t reveal which ones. It specified that participating communities have less than 100,000 members. Channels will be persistent on the community navigation bar so members can revisit them frequently.
In the past, Reddit has tried out different ways for live interactions such as Clubhouse clone Reddit Talk and Live Chat posts within a community. However, the company discontinued its community chat rooms feature in 2020.
This time around, Reddit has learned from its previous chat products and plans to give more control to moderators. The new feature will have a dedicated channel for moderators to chat about managing the subreddit. They will be able to decide whether or not to enable this feature for the community. Additionally, moderators will have tools to manage the chat queue and moderate reported messages in a conversation.
The social network plans to introduce more features for channels including threading, pinned messages, user mentions with push notifications, and messaging editing for the sender in the future. Reddit is also accepting applications from moderators of subreddits who want to try out the chat channels feature for their community.
A number of communities on Reddit rely on external real-time chat servers like Telegram, Discord, or IRC to facilitate conversations between members. The introduction of channels might incentivize communities to stay on the platform more.
When users pushed back on the post announcing channels, a moderator said that the company is launching this experiment to provide more ways for community members to converse with each other. The social network loves its asynchronous text-based communities, and it wants to provide options for communities that like to interact in different ways or that have sub-groups that like to interact differently.
In conclusion, the introduction of chat channels is a significant move for Reddit, and it will be interesting to see how the experiment progresses. It’s clear that the company is looking for ways to give more control to moderators and provide new ways for community members to interact with each other.