It’s possible that those of you who are active on other subreddits may have read about the changes in pricing that Reddit has recently released for its API – the system apps use to get and send data from and to Reddit. But for those of you who haven’t, here’s a summary. On May 31, 2023, Reddit announced they were raising the price to make calls to their API from being free to a level that will kill every third party app on Reddit, from Apollo, to Dystopia, to Reddit for Blind, to Luna for Reddit, to BaconReader,. Even if you don’t use any of those apps, this is a step toward killing other ways of customizing Reddit, such as the use of the old.reddit.com desktop interface. This doesn’t only impact your ability to access Reddit in a fluid, customizable, and efficient way; many of us on the mod team are also blind, and we depend on those third party apps to make sure that this community remains a safe, fun, and productive place. Unfortunately, new Reddit, and the official Reddit apps, just don’t provide us with the levels of accessibility we need in order to continue effectively running this community. As well, the Transcribers of Reddit, the many dedicated folks who volunteer to transcribe and describe thousands and thousands of images on Reddit, may also be unable to operate.
One of our moderators, u/itsthejoker, has had multiple hour-long calls with various Reddit employees. However, as of the current time, our concerns have gone unheard, and Reddit remains firm. That’s why the moderation team of r/blind now feels that we have no choice but to take further action.
The Subreddit Blackout
Those of us who are blind are no strangers to the need for collective action. From the protests that resulted in the ADA passing in the United States, to world-wide protests driving forward accessibility of some of the Internet’s largest websites, collective action is a step our community has taken in the past, often with some success. It is with a heavy heart that we come to you now, and say that it’s time to bring this tool out of the toolbox once more.
In solidarity with thousands of other subreddits who are impacted by this change, we will be shutting down the /r/blind subreddit for 48 hours from June 12th to June 14th. You will not be able to read or make posts during that time. Our Discord server will remain open, and we invite anyone who would like to interact with the /r/blind community to join us there. If you’re not part of the /r/blind Discord server yet, you can join via the following link: https://discord.com/invite/5kMEv7Sq9y
How you can help
While this issue has a profound impact on those of us who are blind and visually impaired, as with so many issues of accessibility and inclusivity, it impacts far more than just us. If you’d like to get involved, you can find out what you can do to help at r/Save3rdPartyApps– or, if you moderate a subreddit, its sister sub r/ModCoord. You can also join the Reddit-Blackout channel in the /r/blind Discord, where we will have resources you can use to contact media and other organizations, and keep everyone up to date with our on-going efforts in this matter.
What comes next?
If this change to the Reddit API is not reversed, we are not convinced that we will be able to continue running the r/blind subreddit. However, that doesn’t mean the end of this wonderful, passionate, curious, helpful, and amazing community of folks. We are continuing to explore our options, and create back-up plans. We all want to remain on Reddit. Let’s do what we can to make that a reality! But if it turns out we can’t, we want to reassure you that this isn’t the end of our community. So let’s focus on doing everything we can to make those possible back-up plans unnecessary.
The r/blind mod team