Reddit launches live chatrooms in beta

Avatar By Le Williams | 2 years ago

Social news aggregation platform Reddit today expands beyond its very limited closed beta by launching live chatrooms for a restricted number of subreddits.

The feature enables moderators to create channels for discussing topics that are as broad or specific as desired. As a user, the new interface will contain familiarities as the modern chat app, such as Discord or Slack.

Chat channels are organized under their individual subreddits, sticker-like graphics, and notifications when there are new messages.

The chat rooms are designed as a supplement to already active subreddits, not a standalone community, therefore it is similar to a Reddit thread unfolding in real time.

On the Reddit blog, u/thunderemoji writes about why Reddit is optimistic that chat rooms won’t just be another trolling tool. “I was initially afraid that most people would bring out the pitchforks and… unkind words. I was pleasantly surprised to find that most people are actually quite nice. The nature of real-time, direct chat seems to be especially disarming. Even when people initially lash out in frustration or to troll, I found that if you talk to them and show them you’re a regular human like them, they almost always chill out.”

The Reddit user further adds, “Beyond just chilling out, people who are initially harsh or skeptical of new things will actually often change their minds. Sometimes they get so excited that they start to show up in unexpected places defending the thing they once strongly opposed in a way that feels more authentic than anything I could say.”

Notably, moderators add chat rooms. “If a subreddit’s mods don’t think they can handle the additional moderation, they don’t have to activate the feature,” notes Jon Figas of Engadget.

Reddit explains that the company “made moderation features a major priority for our roadmap early in the process” so that mods would have plenty of tools at their disposal. Those tools include an opt-in process, auto-banning users from chat who are banned from a subreddit, “kick” tools that suspend a user for 1 minutes 1 hour, 1 day or 3 days, the ability to lock a room and freeze all activity, rate limits and more.