Reddit is in full meltdown mode, and users are flocking to alternative platforms. Many of these new platforms incorporate a similar look and feel to Reddit, though differ significantly, mostly in whether they are federated and centralized. We've curated this list of the best Reddit alternatives, with a deep look at their features and whether they, too, are federated and centralized,
TIP: have some Reddit content you just can't part with? Learn how to download Reddit videos.
A quick search for Reddit alternatives will almost certainly lead you to Lemmy. It's probably the closest to Reddit in terms of look and feel, yet different from Reddit in a major way: it is decentralized. The content on Lemmy is not located on a central server and instead is maintained independently, calling multiple servers home. These servers can then connect and talk with each other.
Proponents of Lemmy will claim that the decentralized nature will prevent the sort of problems plaguing Reddit right now. Lemmy isn't as user-friendly as Reddit. Reddit is housed on a single server with subreddits, so no one person or group has absolute control of the platform.
Lemmy calls its sub-forums "instances," and they're all run on separate servers. It's not as well organized and curated when compared to Reddit. This results in users spending a lot of time just trying to find the communities they're interested in. Users may find the obtuse nature of the platform to be an obstacle.
- Decentralized – no one person can institute broad changes
- Tens of thousands of monthly users leaves much content to explore
- Lack of a streamlined experience has the potential to limit user growth
- Homepage is confusing to navigate
Good to know: we've curated a list of the best subreddits to follow.
Kbin is similar to Lemmy in that it is federated and decentralized. The Kbin platform functions as a content aggregator, like Reddit, with topics of interest that are dubbed "Magazines" and user posts referred to as "Threads." In addition to content aggregation, Kbin also allows users to engage in microblogging, similar to Twitter. These are somewhat confusingly called "Posts."
The appeal of Kbin is that it is part of the "fediverse." In theory, user content can be picked up and shared by a variety of federated platforms. But Kbin is not easy on the eyes, and user adoption may be hampered by the lack of a user-friendly interface, with no guidance from the Kbin homepage. As a result, Kbin may seem like too much for casual users who are used to the easier-to-understand structure of Reddit.
Despite these drawbacks, Kbin offers a lot of promise in its open-source nature that allows users to customize their experience. This includes being able to rearrange the interface to an individual user's preference.
- Interface can be customized
- Content is federated
- No dedicated mobile app
- User base is small
- In a very early beta testing phase
Beehaw markets itself as a social media platform, where users are encouraged to share news articles, websites and start discussions – what a lot of other social networks, including Reddit, are already doing. What sets Beehaw apart from its competition? The founding principle is civility and community, with no intolerance. The goal is for Beehaw to be a safe place online for people to come together, regardless of their politics, ethnicity, religious views, etc.
To achieve this, the Beehaw devs have stated that they have no qualms about giving users the boot if they're found to be ruffling too many feathers. Furthermore, they are firmly anti-downvoting. Their philosophy sees downvoting as serving no real purpose, with a belief that it stymies conversation between users. Beehaw is firmly rooted in basic philosophical concepts: no one is "right," and everyone deserves to be heard – unless they're trolling.
Beehaw is part of the "fediverse" and won't hesitate to de-federate if it feels another federated platform is becoming too problematic. They will essentially cut ties with that platform and its content. As of this writing, Lemmy.world has been de-federated due to Beehaw determining that they couldn't effectively moderate Lemmy.world's users.
- Has potential to be a nicer place
- Trolling is not tolerated and moderation is swift
- Concerns around censorship
- Lack of a karma system can make it difficult to find quality content
FYI: learn how to view deleted Reddit posts and comments.
A tilde is a little wavy line that is generally used to approximate a figure, such as time: ~30 minutes. The symbol has a long history in relation to technology, being used for a variety of purposes. As a social platform, Tildes was founded with an explicit purpose: to be a free, open-source, non-profit corporation with zero investors.
The founder of Tildes believes that social communities and platforms on the Web are corrupted by the pursuit of revenue growth. As a result, at some point, the nature of a traditional business model leads to an abandonment of the original principles the platform was founded on in favor of increasing revenue. Ultimately, user privacy and interactions are exploited for the financial gain of a few individuals.
Like Reddit, Tildes is a content aggregator, but it sets itself apart in two ways. First, most of the interactions on Tildes are primarily text-based, out of a desire to be a community where people exchange thoughtful ideas, instead of being a meme factory. Secondly, the commentary volume is significantly lower on Tildes: it has a much smaller user base compared to Reddit, and there is less emphasis on creating content for the sake of karma. Tildes rejects the idea of upvotes in favor of creating a platform where erudite discussion is more commonplace.
- Less emphasis on individual posters
- User base determines platform growth
- Simplistic look is not for everyone
- No karma/reputation system
- Currently, no mobile app available, and an official app is unlikely
The Squabbles platform aims to be the complete opposite of a "squabble" by combining the best parts of Reddit and Twitter. The devs behind Squabbles noticed that Reddit makes it easy to become part of a community; however, it lacks the ability to make meaningful connections with individual users. While Twitter makes it easy to follow individual users, it lacks cohesive communities. Squabbles was designed to enable users to engage in larger community discussions, while also being able to pick the brains of individual users.
Squabbles is home to various "communities," where users can subscribe. Like Reddit, these communities are varied and cater to various interests. However, even though you may be able to find a community on a niche subject, don't expect to engage in deep conversations, at least not yet. Many of the communities on Squabbles only boast a handful of subscribers. At the time of this writing, the largest Squabbles community is /s/gaming, which is home to a little over 7,000 users.
Despite the small user base, Squabbles appears to be picking up steam. The ability to follow individual users has the potential to combine the link aggregation of Reddit and the more social aspects of other platforms. At this stage, the homepage isn't as carefully curated as Reddit, which runs the risk of alienating new users.
- Variety of communities
- Dual emphasis on social aspects and link aggregation
- Mobile apps in beta and in some cases are invite only
- Small user base can make certain communities feel very quiet
- Homepage does not aggregate communities
FYI: this tutorial shows how to create your own Reddit with Teddit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are users leaving Reddit?
In a nutshell, Reddit has raised the prices for access to its Application Programming Interface (API). To put it simply, an API allows information to be sent between a user and a website or app. In the case of Reddit, the price hikes have been so high that it has essentially killed off various third-party Reddit apps. This has resulted in a user revolt. Moderators of various subreddits shut down their communities in protest. Some moderators have decided to close up shop permanently until the controversial policy changes are reversed.
How do I join a platform that is still in the alpha/beta phase?
It depends on the platform. Some platforms simply require folks who want to join a beta to sign up, while in some cases, there may be a waiting period or invitation needed.
What does it mean to be "federated"?
A social network is kind of like an exclusive club. To gain access, you need to create an account. Whatever you post can only be seen by other people with an account on that particular platform.
Alternatively, the "Fediverse" is a collection of networks. With a single account, these networks can communicate with one another. Therefore, any content you post is federated. Once one network is aware of your content, it can pass that content to other networks.
Image credit:. All screenshots by Ryan Lynch.
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