Reddit is slowly rolling out real-time chat rooms across a limited number of subreddits. Currently in beta, Reddit Chat went live in the summer of 2017 for about 7,000 Reddit users. Now, Reddit is expanding this service, keeping users locked to the website instead of conducting real-time chats on external clients like Slack, Discord, and even IRC.
“Mods need to chat in real time to not just moderate their communities, but also to collaborate and build their communities. Reddit Live contributors use chat to coordinate and surface the most important information,” Reddit states. “There are also a bunch of subreddits that are more organically social in nature, and right now they need to leave Reddit to create the experience they desire.”
Over the last year, Reddit used the feedback from its 7,000 test subjects to shape Reddit Chat to the product currently rolling out across the site. But given the service is still in beta, there is room for improvement and growth based on a wider range of feedback. To provide your input, you will see a user called u/reddit_chat_feedback at the top of your contacts list that is actually manned by a human.
Reddit members with access to the chat beta will see a Rooms tab in their Chat inbox. This section will list all room invitations, joined rooms, and a Recommended section based on subreddit subscriptions. You can also find a list of rooms here although it’s not complete given many communities may not want the traffic.
That said, you can find chat rooms for the Nintendo 64 console, Comcast’s Infinity service, Jurassic Park, and more. There are public and private rooms, the latter of which are invite-only and invisible to everyone not on the invitation list. Public rooms are accessible by all Reddit members.
Moderators can create as many chat rooms as they want. They also have the ability to kick and ban users, lock a room to prevent a flood of messages, mute specific users, remove messages, run bots, and more. Each chat room can play host to 20,000 participants and will store posted messages for 14 days. After that, all messages are deleted and unrecoverable.
Of course, there are a few community-focused rules. Keep the posts PG-13, be friendly and polite, don’t circumvent the word filter and stay on the topic at hand. Even more, don’t use posts for feedback and never take screenshots or share private chats.
Over the last year, Reddit member Ityoclys, the individual manning the feedback position, says he learned a few things about conversing with other humans in a real-time chat. Interacting with people isn’t quite so scary, he says, and if you listen and talk to people, conversations will stay relatively calm. People will also provide excellent, actionable feedback if you’re willing to listen.
“Using u/reddit_chat_feedback as a way to get to know and learn from Redditors has been fun and incredibly insightful,” Ityoclys says. “We can’t thank everyone who has talked with us and given feedback enough.”