Reddit thrives on drama the way a fish thrives in water, and the latest drama involves a knock-off website called Voat (pronounced like "goat").
Unlike Reddit, which is backed by Condé Nast, Voat is run by two Swiss dudes, who say they'll never "meddle" with any site content unless it's illegal in Switzerland (so no pictures of a car being washed on a Sunday).
I wondered what's proving popular at the new Internet community of choice for Reddit's exiles, so I used Voat's API on Thursday to find its most-subscribed subverses. I then subtracted from the list any subverses that had the same name as the default Reddit forums to get a better idea what communities were making the push.
The list shows that many of Reddit's popular, but no longer default, subreddits have taken root on Voat and have grown a following. It also looks like some of Reddit's more controversial communities have found a new home on Voat.
Right off the bat, there are a bunch of Voat communities that used to be on Reddit's default front page, such as bestof, politics, WTF and programming. These all used to be part of the set everyone was subscribed to by default when visiting Reddit for the first time or creating a new account. The official reason for their removal, when one's been given, was that they were not "up to snuff."
It's not too surprising to see GamerGate power center KotakuinAction has made the move in large enough numbers to show up in the top 20. After all, it's really about ethics in community moderation.
Speaking of which, banned subreddit fatpeoplehate is also there. The fat-shaming subreddit was banned in early June as part of the company's revised anti-harassment policy, which helped start this drama. It's not the only banned subreddit to seek refuge on Voat, but it's the only one with this many subscribers.
We already knew about Redditors who didn't like journalists and fat people (two points for me!) But Voat is also pioneering a whole other class of people they don't like, as seen in the popularity of Reddit-centric MeanwhileOnReddit and redditinaction. The latter has a portrait of Reddit CEO Ellen Pao depicted as China's Chairman Mao for its banner.
Popular is a relative term of course. On Thursday, when I queried the Voat API, the most popular overall subverse was news, with 38,000 subscribers. This morning, that number's closer to 44,000.
Should Reddit be worried? Well, the original r/news has 6 million subscribers, so I'd say no. They'll do just fine without a little fat people hate.