Reddit is testing a real-time chat function that will eventually replace the old-fashioned PM system. This means that Reddit will soon have chat functionality like any modern social media platform out there.
According to a new report from Mashable, the chat feature is still in beta, with developers currently focused on one-to-one chat. Reddit hopes to roll out the feature to users early next year, with features like group chat coming in a future update.
In a statement, Reddit product manager Jason Lee said:
“We don’t want to replace the PM system and accidentally forget specific use cases.”
Moderators of various subreddits have been turning to services like Slack and Discord to help foster the community outside of specific posts. They’ve done so for a good reason, since it is a lot easier to foster community members in ways that Reddit’s post structure doesn’t allow for.
Redditors on the r/beta thread have expressed reservations about the chat, insofar as spam is concerned. They point out that there would need to be an invitation system in place, assuming a subreddit can have its own chat in future. Without this, every chat would be highly prone to spam and inappropriate comments.
Assuming it doesn’t turn into a complete free-for-all, the new chat functionality could be a great way to grow communities within Reddit itself.