Reddit has already withdrawn the new Start Chatting feature a day after its introduction. Visitors to the site complained about an unworkable chat room, and subreddit moderators said the chat rooms didn’t fit all subreddits.
Reddit introduced the Start Chatting feature on April 29 as a chat room feature. Visitors were shown the Start Chatting button on subreddits. When users clicked on that, they were placed in a “small” group chat with other visitors to that subreddit. There, according to Reddit, these visitors could talk to each other about, for example, episodes of a TV series, or meet new people to play games with. The feature should have come to about half of all subreddits this week, according to one Reddit administrator.
About 18 hours later, the administrator updated his message to say that Reddit has revoked the feature. The administrator writes that Reddit has made the feature public too hastily and that there is normally a smaller beta period before it. Why Reddit decided to skip that beta period this time around is not clear.
Another issue was a bug within the chat feature. Reddit had determined that the feature should not be available in all subreddits. However, the button also became visible in subreddits where the function had not yet been activated, “in rare cases”. Pressing the button did nothing in these subreddits. As a result, according to the administrator, it was not always clear in which subreddits the feature was or was not available.
According to the administrator, the third problem with the feature was that it was unclear who should manage the chats. That responsibility fell on Reddit’s site-wide moderators, but according to the admin, the chat was designed so that users could “misinterpret” that the subreddit moderators were responsible for the chats.
Reddit now wants to change these points. When this is done, the chat function will be made available again. It will be possible for subreddit moderators to disable chat for their subreddit if they feel such a chat feature is not appropriate for their community. In the comments, moderators of, for example, money-problem subreddits indicate that they have already been bothered by scammers and they fear that a chat function would only make their problems worse. Reddit apologizes for the mistakes made.