Reddit’s been on its own “front page of the internet” lately. Yesterday, after weeks of turmoil, its CEO, Ellen Pao, stepped down after the always-very-vocal Reddit community more or less revolted following a popular employee’s recent firing. In her exit post, Pao said the ugly side of Reddit made her “doubt humanity.” It’s a tough crowd—which is exactly why Voat is the perfect new home for them.
Initially launched as WhoaVerse in 2014, Voat is practically a Reddit clone (though it’s “subverse” rather than “subreddit,” FYI), and it’s welcoming abandoning Redditors with open arms. In the last 30 days, Voat has seen nearly 2 million unique visitors and almost 30 million page views, with its biggest driver of new visitors being Reddit itself, according to Alexa ranking data. Compare those figures to the 138,717 unique visitors and 1.8 million page views of the month before.
In its About section, Voat’s co-founders Atif Colo and Justin Chastain, both students at University of Zurich in Switzerland, lay out their dedication to avoiding unnecessary censorship, an issue that became, and continues to be, a major—and growing—problem with the Reddit community and the reason often cited for many of its users’ exit.
“No legal subject in this universe should be out of bounds,“ reads the promise. "Our aim is to build a site that serves the needs and wants of our users; one that strives for quality over quantity, and doesn’t pander to the lowest common denominator in return for traffic.”
“We are also very careful with introducing major changes as we have learned from mistakes made by other similar platforms where changes were disastrous,” Colo told MarketWatch. “We are listening to what our users are requesting, they are an endless pool of ideas.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the next few months will go with the increasing shift and if Reddit’s problems will ultimately become Voat’s too. The challenge with “anything goes” is that any new rule seems like the first step down the slope.