Last week Reddit released a new feature to make it easier for people to randomly chat with like-minded individuals, and also get some needed help if necessary in this time of social distancing. Except only that’ not how it panned out as all, as the feature was disabled quite rapidly following some massive bugs that affected the entire site with one glitch in particular causing the button to appear on all subreddits.
The Verge revealed all the details surrounding the rollback of the feature which took place soon after the Start Chatting feature was introduced. With Reddit’s vice president of product and community, Alex Le, admitting the platform made several mistakes in releasing the feature to users and causing much confusion on the day:
If you dismiss the banner in 3 communities where the feature is active on desktop web or android, then the small button you’re seeing appears on all communities. But importantly, for all support communities, the button does nothing. Your users could never enter chats for this feature even in the rare case they saw the button. We are actively fixing this now. The feature is being rolled back in a matter of a few hours and the button will be removed
The new feature was supposed to only be available to certain subreddits with moderators supposedly given an opportunity to opt-out if they didn’t want it. None of which happened as the button was made available everywhere, especially making it difficult for those forums that dealt with vulnerable communities or victims of sexual assault that were now left open to being exposed to potential predators through Reddit’s lack of moderation of the feature.
Reddit is hoping to address these concerns and hopefully bring the feature back in the near future, as they believe it still offers massive potential to its userbase if used correctly.
Last Updated: May 4, 2020