What just happened? Reddit’s attempt to strike while the iron is hot backfired in this instance. Rather than fully vet the chat room feature with a beta test among a large subset of communities with an opt-in clause, the platform rushed the feature to market and ticked off a lot of users / mods in the process.
It took roughly 24 hours for Reddit to rethink its latest move and ultimately roll back the new chat room feature it debuted earlier this week.
In a statement issued to The Verge, Reddit confirmed that it has indeed disabled the Start Chatting feature in order to reassess its rollout plan and evolve the product to meet the needs of its community. The spokesperson added that issues and concerns voiced by users and moderators over the last 24 hours led to the decision.
In announcing the new feature, Alex Le, Reddit’s VP of product and community, said many users – including some that don’t always share feedback in comment threads – were using the feature and enjoying it. “My humble request is that you please try the feature out and consider the potential it has to help like-minded people connect with one another,” he added.
Le said in a subsequent update that they moved too quickly to bring the update to general availability. They also weren’t clear enough with regard to how chats would be moderated and which communities would be excluded due to abuse potential.
Le promised to share more details about the misstep soon but for now, all you really need to know is that the feature has been rolled back 100 percent.