Features — Reddit’s best bet for growth and sustainability

Reddit’s growth as a platform has been in a steady holding pattern. While a loud portion of redditors, and apparently most of reddit’s C-level execs, are focused on censorship and social justice, the platform really hasn’t changed much.

A lot of users are calling for reddit to better police subreddits but I say let moderators and users manage their own communities. It’s the reddit admin team’s job to make the platform better and more user-friendly.

Look at Facebook, or Twitter. New features are released constantly. Features that benefit all types of users. Not all of their upgrades are a hit, but their platforms are always improving over time.

I’m not sure what drives Reddit’s aversion to upgrade the user interface and provide new features. Maybe they fear the reactions from their hardcore userbase. Maybe they are afraid too much change could ruin the platform. Or maybe they just love Reddit the way it is.

For a platform and business that has no clear path to monetization, it seems obvious that they should be taking calculated risks in the form of new features.

Based on my personal experience (only 2 years) with reddit, here are some features I think they should consider adding.

For Users

  • A better user interface. I think a fully responsive mobile site is on the way, but the desktop version still looks horrible. Make the design better and easier for non-tech people to learn. This won’t ruin the platform for experienced users, it will just be different and they will get used to it.
  • Email notifications. You don’t have to receive them if you don’t want to.
  • Drafting. This is actually a feature I built an app for, so I’m biased. But I think it’s something that should be implemented on reddit. Note, I am not requesting a post scheduling feature (however this 3rd party app does exist — see redditlater.com)
  • Should have something about a basic tutorial/intro guide for new users. There could be a much better attempt to educate new users and make them feel welcome as beginners. A mandatory tutorial could actually be the right move here.

For Moderators

Reddit needs to make it easier for people to launch and moderate subreddits.

  • First of all, ask the moderators. Some moderators are using 10–20 different 3rd-party apps to support their activities.
  • It should be much easier to style a subreddit. There should be basic options for non-developers to change the color scheme and header photo (Twitter is a great example).
  • Subreddit mods should have the option to embed a YouTube or Vimeo video in the sidebar.
  • Again, we need better and more prominent educational material. Offer best moderation practices and strategies to grow subscribers.

For Advertisers/Brands

I want reddit to be successful and make money. Here are a few ideas…

  • Offer moderators a way to monetize their subreddit. YouTube does this very effectively. It will be known to all users if the subreddit is a monetizing subreddit or not. So their won’t be any confusion among users. All of the non-monetizing subs can still maintain their status as non-paid moderated subs.
  • Improve the subreddit creation process with business branding elements. If reddit is involved with moderating any subreddits, it should be those created by brands and advertisers.
  • Why not have a better interface for AMAs? The AMA mobile app is lightyears ahead of the desktop experience. They could also make it easier for celebs/leaders to submit AMAs.
  • Maybe reddit has it all wrong with advertising? I think the reddit team is lost on how to generate revenue. If the users hate brands and marketing so much, why not create a donation-based funded company? It works for Wikipedia.

TL;DR (Too long; Didn’t want to read my post but you still scrolled down to read this)

I’m troubled by the slowness of reddit to grow its platform and user experience. Is the reddit admin team being guided by a class of reddit loyalists who don’t want to see the platform evolve? Are they being suffocated by the media and America’s new over-reactionary culture?

I hope they don’t get too busy extinguishing hate speech and pleasing old users while their platform gets passed up by a company who cares a little bit more about advancing their product.

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