r/TechSupport WAS Dark

Last Updated 2023-06-19

If you found your way to this page, then r/TechSupport WAS AT SOME POINT set as private. You probably have a lot of questions. We will try our best to answer them all here.

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Table of Contents
  1. What is going on?
  2. What does this have to do with third-party reddit applications and why is everyone screaming about them dying because of Reddit?
  3. Why are people mentioning that it will harm those that require accessible websites?
  4. What about NSFW content?
  5. Why would the moderators of a subreddit for tech support care about all of this? How does this affect you?
  6. Why would you do this to us?
  7. How can we, the users, help?
  8. YOU are important to r/TechSupport and we couldn’t do this without YOU
  9. Participating Subreddits
    1. Live Counter of Subreddits Going Dark, Twitch reddark_247
  10. Protest Information
    1. Announcements
  11. Blackout and Reddit API in the Media
  12. Resources and Further Reading
    1. From Reddit
    2. Thoughts from Other Subreddit Moderators
    3. 3PA Developer Announcements on the Situation

What is going on?

On April 8, 2023 Reddit announced they would begin charging for usage of their API effective June 19, 2023. In the announcement, Reddit expressed their concern with the “expansive access to data” acquired through their API and how they “have an obligation to [their] communities to be responsible stewards of this content.”

As the moderators of a technical support subreddit, we could not agree more. Currently, data from Reddit is utilized freely to train Large Language Models (LLM), which are the base for AI technologies such as ChatGPT. As you may imagine, this can become problematic very quickly for a multitude of reasons. However, there are also many benefits to LLMs. Even Reddit’s engineers have pointed out machine learning is very beneficial to Reddit.

So then what’s the big deal? We agree with Reddit for the most part, right? Well, here’s where things get tricky: Reddit’s changes to their API, with regard to cost and usage, introduced several issues that would drastically change how most users use Reddit. They have stated that their goal is to make these updates with as little disruption as possible. However, if the relevations over the past few days have been any indication, this will not be the case.

Over the years Reddit has picked up the particularly annoying habit of failing to follow through with their promises. From promises of building new tools for moderators to promising to give more visibility when users follow you, Reddit has either, at best, barely followed through with their promise or, at worst, completely missed the mark on what they promised.

What does this have to do with third-party reddit applications and why is everyone screaming about them dying because of Reddit?

I’m sure you all have heard of the various third-party mobile applications. To name a few…

  • Apollo
  • Narwhal
  • Joey
  • Reddit is Fun
  • BaconReader
  • Sync
  • Relay
  • RedReader
  • Boost
  • Infinity
  • Pager
  • ReddPlanet
  • Slide

Maybe you use one of them daily. Perhaps it is the only way you browse Reddit. Many of them offer insane customization to tailor your Reddit experience to exactly what you want.

These third-party applications (3PAs) rely heavily on Reddit’s API. Many of the developers work alone on their applications as a labor of love to the Reddit community. Most only charge a small fee for pro versions of their application.

To put it simply, Reddit gave developers of these applications very little time to prepare. Most developers learned around the end of May what the cost would be. Considering the changes to cost would go into effect on July 1st, giving approximately 30 days to prepare by optimizing the applications to possibly minimize costs and setting up models for possible subscriptions to help with costs is ridiculous.

And what was Reddit’s response?

In his recent disaster of an AMA when asked why the timeline of charging for the API was so strict, u/spez responded,

I acknowledge it was a tight timeline. For what it’s worth, we are continuing to chat with many of the developers who still want to work with us”.

They do not care if they made it difficult for 3PAs. They have no desire to remedy the situation to allow 3PAs to properly prepare nor to lower costs. Unfortunately, this has put several developers in a rough spot. Many have already announced they will be shutting down their applications come June 30th.

We can go on and on about this, but we are not the developers and cannot give the proper perspective on the issue. So, we have compiled a list of developers describing the issue from their perspectives. We urge you to take the time to read through their posts, once their subreddits are up if they are participating in the blackout.

If anything, please read through the post made by Apollo’s developer, Christian, as he gives a very well thought out and detailed explanation on why he has been forced to shut down Apollo.

Why are people mentioning that it will harm those that require accessible websites?

There is no way to put this mildly, so we’ll just come out with it. Reddit’s lack of accessibility on their almost 18 year old website is disgraceful. The fact that they have not implemented anything for accessibility in their official mobile app is inexcusable. Their lack of care towards the concerns raised by the r/blind moderators and community is disgusting.

u/spez stated in his recent AMA,

We are working with RedReader and Dystopia to make sure they have access and will continue to work with others. We’ll review requests to ensure that the app is non-commercial and focused on accessibility needs. Approved apps can use the Data API for free. For our own apps, there is no excuse. We will do better”.

Reddit is very aware of how awful their site is for those requiring accessibility. It took outrage from the Reddit community for them to admit they were wrong. And now, as we see from his statement, they are offloading the responsibility to 3PAs, while giving very little guidance on how a 3PA will qualify for free usage of the API.

We will have to keep our fingers crossed that Reddit will follow through with creating a more accessible site as the free API for accessible 3PAs might only be temporary.

We encourage you to please read through the post by r/blind moderators on the issues they face with the loss of 3PAs with accessibility features, as well as this recent update from the r/blind moderators where, despite reddit’s promise to work with them for accessibility features, reddit instead made it impossible for moderation teams needing accessibility options to moderate their own subreddits.

What about NSFW content?

NSFW content is available everywhere on the internet. Reddit has opted to remove NSFW content from being available through their API. We realize it’s not easy to see why this could create issues, however this has caused problems in the past. We will be quoting the points made in the original post from r/ModCoord as we feel they said it best:

  • NSFW (18+) content and related subreddits are facing new restrictions, making certain content inaccessible via the API, rendering moderation via automated processes null and void.
  • The changes are likely to lead to an increase in spam, necessitating excessive human moderation or resulting in overrun communities, given the significance of mature content as a traffic driver on the platform.
  • Besides NSFW communities, these changes also affect diverse spaces like art forums, minor chat rooms, and nudist lifestyle communities, which require oversight of user activities in mature content domains.
  • While the stated reasons for these restrictions include legal compliance and enhancing content creator control, we argue that third-party apps could implement similar measures for content display.

Why would the moderators of a subreddit for tech support care about all of this? How does this affect you?

As moderators we strive to make our subreddit a welcoming, safe, and helpful place for our users. Over the years we have had to supplement our community with external sources maintained by our moderator team and a group of other volunteers. Simply put, Reddit does not offer the resources necessary for us to fully support our community.

Since 2015 Reddit admins have been promising to build and improve tools for moderators. Though Reddit has made some improvements over the years, it is far from the features offered by popular moderation tools such as toolbox.

Moderators heavily rely on 3PAs to help with everyday moderation. Frankly, it is close to impossible to moderate large subreddits without them. Losing 3PAs for moderation would make it difficult to

  • Have a set list of commands to allow any users helping others to link to approved guides
  • Identify extremely active, helpful users in the subreddit
  • Moderate anything via mobile devices
  • Quickly identify posts requiring a question to be answered
  • Quickly identify spam

This is a sentiment shared by most, if not all, moderators with subreddits participating in the blackout. Reddit’s changes to their API affects everyone. Users and moderators. Developers and their 3PAs.

On June 6th we announced we would, along with over 3000 subreddits, go dark starting June 12th in order to protest against the changes to the API. After u/spez’s AMA on June 9, 2023, we decided to private the subreddit until Reddit makes a concerted effort to reevaluate and reverse their decisions on the API changes.

Why would you do this to us?

We know this decision affects our users heavily. We understand this may anger some of you. We did not make this decision easily. As we said in our original post on the blackout, we truly believe this is in the best interest of the community.

We want to show Reddit there is power in numbers. Our moderators matter. Our users matter. Our communities matter. We have a voice. Reddit cannot continue to grow without all of us.

We want our users to know they won’t be left hanging, however. Though our subreddit will be closed, we will have our live chat open in our Discord Server, 24/7, as it always has been. Our wiki will also be available to everyone. We ask our users to please spread the word to others requiring tech support about these resources.

How can we, the users, help?

Starting June 12th, we ask if everyone can limit or completely stop their use of Reddit until the protest is over. This will help us with our protest. We want to limit traffic to the site as much as possible.

YOU are important to r/TechSupport and we couldn’t do this without YOU

We want to thank you all for supporting our subreddit every day. From the users that volunteer their time to help someone with an issue to the users asking questions for others to find the answer to in the future, we appreciate you all immensely.

– r/TechSupport Moderators

Participating Subreddits

Plain Text List Pretty List Top Subs

Live Counter of Subreddits Going Dark, Twitch reddark_247

Protest Information

r/ModCoord r/Save3rdPartyApps


June 1, 2023
June 2, 2023



What We Want



Don’t Let Reddit Kill 3rd Party Apps!

June 6, 2023
June 7, 2023
June 9, 2023
June 11, 2023



Reddit Blackout 2023 - Save 3rd Party Apps!

June 13, 2023



The Fight Continues

June 15, 2023
June 16, 2023



Reddit protest and the next steps

June 17, 2023
June 18, 2023
June 19, 2023

Blackout and Reddit API in the Media

April 18, 2023
June 1, 2023
June 3, 2023
June 5, 2023
June 6, 2023
June 7, 2023
June 8, 2023
June 9, 2023
June 10, 2023
June 11, 2023
June 12, 2023
June 13, 2023
June 14, 2023
June 15, 2023
June 16, 2023
June 17, 2023
June 18, 2023
June 19, 2023

Resources and Further Reading

From Reddit

Thoughts from Other Subreddit Moderators

3PA Developer Announcements on the Situation