On Friday, Reddit announced that it will be making “accessibility improvements” to many moderator tools on its official mobile apps by July 1st. These improvements will include features such as the moderation queue and the ModMail messaging system on Android and iOS. The aim of these updates is to address concerns expressed by the accessibility community over how they will moderate on mobile, especially after popular apps like Apollo shut down on June 30th due to potentially expensive API pricing changes.
However, based on the replies to the announcement post, many users are still unhappy with the company’s plans. Some moderators rely on third-party apps because they feel that Reddit’s apps have “significant accessibility challenges”, and the company has been criticized for forcing disabled people to learn new tools and stop using the accessibility tools they’re used to. This has been described as cruel by some moderators, who argue that as long as there are disabled users who depend on third-party apps for accessibility features, these apps need to be preserved.
Although Reddit’s roadmap promises to improve many features, some won’t be available until late July or sometime in August. This has led to criticism from some users who argue that these delays should have been addressed earlier. Some moderators have also asked for a top-down corporate response that addresses the broader community’s concerns. The moderators of r/Blind have commended Reddit for prioritizing these features but have also expressed concerns over whether this will be contract work.
Accessibility advocates have been among the most vocal protestors of Reddit since it became clear that the future of third-party Reddit apps was in jeopardy. In response to their outcry, Reddit said earlier this month that it will exempt accessibility-focused apps from its API changes, and at least three have received that exemption: RedReader, Dystopia, and Luna. However, the API changes are also partially responsible for the planned June 30th shutdown of r/TranscribersOfReddit, a community that transcribes images, audio, and video for about 100 others.
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has promised to make accessibility changes, and in response to a comment in his AMA that criticized Reddit’s approach to accessibility, Huffman said that “for our own apps, there is no excuse” and promised that “we will do better.” However, the company didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment about whether it would make changes to its plans in response to concerns from the community in Friday’s post.
Reddit’s roadmap, titled “Accessibility Updates to Mod Tools: Part 1,” promises to improve many features, including how mods access moderation tools, ModQueue, ModMail, user settings, community settings, ban evasion settings, and additional user settings. The remaining mod surfaces will be updated in August.
Reddit has announced that it will make accessibility improvements to many moderator tools on its official mobile apps by July 1st. These updates are intended to address concerns expressed by the accessibility community over how they will moderate on mobile. However, some users are still unhappy with the company’s plans, and some moderators have asked for a top-down corporate response that addresses the broader community’s concerns. Reddit’s roadmap promises to improve many features, but some won’t be available until late July or sometime in August. The company has also promised to exempt accessibility-focused apps from its API changes.