Last year, Reddit started beta testing community-based chat rooms with a limited number of users. Today, the company made the feature public and explained what it is hoping to achieve with this feature.
“When we started, we knew that most people didn’t personally know other redditors, since the core of the Reddit experience is pseudonymous sharing and discussion. So we wanted to make sure there was a place for people in the betas to test chat, give feedback, and have a bit of fun. Perhaps most importantly, we wanted to get to know people using chat and learn from them.”
Chats are currently opt-in for subreddits, which means that not every community will have one yet. Subreddit chats keep the feel of Reddit, with a minimalistic design that focuses on the content shared by users.
At the moment, chat rooms are not very active, however, I imagine that these will get more vibrant as more communities start opting into this feature. Chat will continue to roll out to new communities daily, and Reddit has promised that they will be making an effort to improve on the feature with the feedback they get.