Reddit Wants to Grow Up. Will Its Community Let It?

For the past 11 years, Bucky has put time and effort into stewarding and guiding dozens of communities on Reddit, the sprawling internet message board.

As a “moderator” of roughly 80 different topic-based forums, Bucky — who goes by “BuckRowdy” on Reddit and who asked that his full name not be used to prevent online harassment — and others like him are essential to growing and maintaining the social media site, which is one of the internet’s biggest destinations for online discussion.

Until two weeks ago, when Bucky revolted.

Reddit had just introduced changes that sharply increased its fees for independent developers who build apps using the company’s data. Steve Huffman, Reddit’s chief executive, positioned the move partly as a way to shore up the company’s finances as it heads toward a long-awaited initial public offering.

But the changes made it so expensive for some third-party developers that a handful who build tools for Reddit’s moderators had to shut down or significantly alter their apps. In protest, Bucky and other moderators closed down hundreds of forums on the site, effectively making Reddit unusable for many of its 57 million daily visitors. At one point, the site went offline entirely.

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