3D print communities are migrating due to the Reddit controversy.
If you’re a user of Reddit, you’ll know there are not only busy 3D print communities discussing new ideas, but countless other communities focused on every conceivable topic area. It’s been a good place to find information about basically anything.
However, there has been considerable controversy at Reddit in recent weeks. It seems that the site is taking a cue from Twitter, which has undergone very significant changes after the management change. That site has become strongly focused on making money, and as a result has greatly disturbed many of its communities. For a good description of what’s really going on with Twitter and similar services, read this great piece.
Personally, I no longer post on Twitter, and have moved to Mastodon, a similar service that’s based on networking protocols and is not — and cannot — be transformed into a money-seeking enterprise as centralized services can. (If you’re interested in joining Mastodon, I encourage you to do so, and there’s a terrific site that can get you started: Spread Mastodon.)
Fabbaloo months ago launched a Mastodon service where you can easily find and follow all our content. Strangely, we’ve found Mastodon provides far more engagement with the community than Twitter, even though we have well over 20,000 Twitter followers and vastly less on Mastodon. You can find us here on Mastodon.
The “Twitter Migration” was one thing, but now it seems something similar is emerging over at Reddit.
Reddit recently announced some policy changes that echo some of the Twitter moves. One that irked the Reddit community the most was the effective elimination of third party applications, which many prolific Reddit contributors use due to the poor state of the official app.
A massive protest took place at Reddit earlier this week, and some of the communities are still protesting by marking their areas (called “subreddits” in Reddit terminology) private. The volunteers moderating all these subreddits are unpaid, and Reddit benefits from having them perform enormous amounts of work to keep the site tidy and effective.
Having managed several volunteer organizations, I can see Reddit making a catastrophic mistake here. In a normal business, employees generally stay because they are compensated. But in a volunteer operation, people stay because they WANT TO. In other words, if you make life uncomfortable or difficult for volunteers, they will leave because they can. Any volunteer-powered organization absolutely must treat the volunteers with great respect or they will be lost.
That seems to be happening with Reddit.
Now I’ve learned that one of the major subreddits, r/FunctionalPrint, is leaving Reddit. An announcement indicates that the community has left Reddit permanently, and has set up shop on Kbin. This community focused on posts showcasing — you guessed it — functional prints, and there were always many interesting models presented.
Kbin is an open source tool that provides Reddit-like functions, but is decentralized and thus not under corporate control like Reddit. There are actually two Reddit-like alternatives, Kbin and Lemmy.
Don’t worry that there are two, because they are both part of what’s called the “Fediverse”. These systems are interoperable: you can post, follow and interact with content regardless of which system it came from. In fact, Mastodon is also part of the Fediverse, and you can follow content from there, too. It’s quite magical to see this information flowing freely between services.
It’s not clear whether the FunctionalPrint community will thrive on Kbin, but they’re giving it a try.
What isn’t really in doubt is the Fediverse concept, which I believe will slowly grow over time as people realize it’s simply a far better way to share content.