The biggest Reddit community that’s still private as part of the Reddit protest is now encouraging its users to congregate elsewhere: Discord and Substack.
If you currently try to visit r/malefashionadvice, which has more than 5 million subscribers, you’ll be greeted with a page that suggests you visit the community’s Discord and Substack instead. r/malefashionadvice was a great resource for fashion conversation and guides, and the Discord and Substack offer alternative homes for those resources. Specifically, the Discord lets members of the community chat amongst themselves and post about things like fits and inspiration, while the Substack hosts a lot of guides.
Screenshot by Jay Peters / The Verge
“One of the other mods writes ‘I will never go back, it’s way better on Discord,’ and that sentiment is pretty shared,” the mod, who asked to go by Zach, says in an email to The Verge. “The community does a lot better job of self-moderating, owing largely to the fact that the ratio of existing regulars to new people is currently extremely high.”
The Substack isn’t intended to “be a subscription-based thing”; instead, it was a good place to bring over the subreddit’s guides and maintain formatting, Zach says. The biggest guide, Building a Basic Wardrobe, is at more than 2,000 views that came “almost entirely from Discord.”
That said, both the Discord and Substack are far smaller than r/malefashionadvice’s subscriber base: the Discord has north of 2,000 users, while the Substack has nearly 560 subscribers.
Reddit and many of its biggest communities have been at odds due to new API pricing that forced some popular third-party apps to shut down. At the peak of the protest in the middle of June, more than 8,000 communities were private, but since then, many have opened back up, with some doing so after Reddit informed mod teams they would be removed if they didn’t reopen.
Reddit seemingly isn’t happy that r/malefashionadvice is still private. On Thursday, the subreddit’s moderators received the following message from a Reddit admin (employee) telling the team they would be replaced if they don’t reopen the community:
You are receiving this message because your community has been closed for 1+ month.
If you are interested in actively moderating this subreddit please reopen it and reply to this modmail within the next 3 days to outline your plans going forward.
If we do not hear back, we will remove your moderator status and form a new moderator team
In reply to the admin, Zach wrote that the team has been actively monitoring and addressing content in its moderation queue and moderation messaging system. Zach added that the community has only been closed for 13 days.
(In June, the subreddit reopened after being closed but only allowed posts about 1700s men’s fashion after the community voted for the change. The mods soon switched the community back to private. “After it was clear that nothing would actually be done on the admin side, we realized that a better way to make an impact would be to go private indefinitely again,” another mod, who asked to go by Walker, tells The Verge.)
Despite the message, the moderation team plans to stick around until they are removed. “We expect that we will be removed from [r/malefashionadvice] as a mod team relatively soon based on communications from the admins,” Walker wrote in a message on the Discord. “We’d like to take this time to thank everyone who has contributed so much time and effort over almost 14 years of the sub’s history.”
If Reddit installs new mods that reopen the community, Zach believes that while many people will go back, “most of the regulars probably won’t return,” he says. “Dozens of bots (and human bad actors) plague [r/malefashionadvice] on the daily, and without proper mod tools, it’ll get even harder to keep them out.”
Reddit didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
Other communities are continuing their protests in other ways. r/AccidentalRenaissance, a subreddit focused on images that look like Renaissance paintings, is now private after its moderators resigned and is encouraging people to join offshoot communities on Reddit alternatives Kbin and Lemmy. r/PICS, which only allows posts about comedian John Oliver, is asking Oliver himself to join the moderation team. (Warner Bros. Discovery didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment asking if he would.)
More than 2,000 subreddits are still dark in protest, according to the Reddark tracker.