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The Reddit Rebellion – Why You Need to Join #OpScorchedEarth

published - |written by Joe Peterson
A call-to-action for Reddit users to reclaim their digital autonomy

A call-to-action for Reddit users to reclaim their digital autonomy


Reddit users, it's time to assert your rights. With the platform's recent treatment of its moderators, I'm proposing Operation Scorched Earth, a collective action to delete all user content from Reddit. I've even made a handy script to help you do it. But it doesn't stop there - let's migrate to user-first platforms like Lemmy or Kbin. We've been the force behind some epic moments in digital history, so let's harness this collective power again. After all, we are the true owners of our online contributions. #OpScorchedEarth.

A call-to-action for Reddit users to reclaim their digital autonomy

Let's cut to the chase. There's a storm brewing on Reddit, and it's high time we talk about it. No cutesy introductions, no beating around the bush. This isn't just about a bunch of mods staging a protest - it's about control, autonomy, and the unspoken rules of digital ownership.

In case you have no idea what I am talking about, here's a post on Vice that will catch you up - The Reddit Protest Is a Battle for the Soul of the Human Internet

Here's the rundown: Reddit planned an API update. They frankly botched the announcement and rollout. It didn't sit well with a lot of moderators, leading to a site-wide protest, with over 8,000 subreddits effectively shutting down. Reddit's answer? Appeal (issue veiled threats) to the moderators, urge them to reopen their communities, and if necessary, remove and replace uncooperative mods.

In response, Reddit tried to assure everyone that this update doesn't affect moderator bots or control tools. They stated that these communities exist for users seeking connection and support, and that moderators are stewards, not owners.

But there's a glaring issue here. If Reddit can declare that mods don't own the communities they created, doesn't the same logic apply to the platform itself? Doesn't it follow that Reddit is not the owner of the content or the communities - they are merely the host?

And this, my friends, brings us to Operation Scorched Earth...



#OpScorchedEarth is a call-to-action for every (former)Reddit user to delete all content they've added to the platform. It's a statement that we, the users, have control over our contributions. We are not mere bystanders in the face of administrative decisions - we have agency, and it's time we use it.

Operation Scorched Earth is more than a call-to-action - it's a battle cry for all Reddit users to delete every piece of content they've added to the platform. It's a powerful reminder that we're not just bystanders in this digital theatre - we're active participants who hold the reins of our content.

This isn't about stirring up chaos; it's about asserting our rights. If Reddit can retract mod privileges, users should be able to retract their content. Simple.

To aid this personal rebellion, I've whipped up a Git Gist, a snippet of code that will help you wipe out your posts. Paste this simple script into your browser console on the old Reddit site, and you'll be able to wipe your content clean. It doesn't do anything you cannot do yourself, it just saves you hundreds or thousands of individual clicks. Does that sound like a dark pattern to anyone else?

This is NOT a petty squabble about APIs or moderator rights. It's about recognizing that the lifeblood of online communities are the people who build and nurture them - not the platforms that serve as their digital venue. As we move forward in this digital age, let's remember our collective power and the weight of our contributions.

Eager to join #OpScorchedEarth? In just a second I'll guide you through the process step-by-step.

But let's not stop there. Once we've cleared our Reddit slate, it's time to explore greener pastures. Platforms like Lemmy and Kbin offer promising alternatives that respect user autonomy and foster a sense of community. My personal favorite? Lemmy. It's federated, open source, and truly puts users first.

Swapping Reddit for Lemmy or Kbin might feel like a huge leap, but remember, we're pioneers of the digital age, capable of shaping the future of online communities. It's time we stopped feeding the insatiable Reddit beast with our free content and started investing in platforms that value our contributions.

So, are you ready to join the rebellion? Are you ready to leave Reddit in the rear-view mirror and explore new horizons? It's time we turned the tables and showed Reddit – and the world – the power of collective user action.

Was it Reddit that invented the AMA or fought for Net Neutrality or orchestrated the largest short squeeze in modern history, or got really close to trying to solve the Boston Marathon bombing? OK, that last one was a bad example, but NO, it was the users!

Operation Scorched Earth: A Guide to removing YOUR content from Reddit.

Step 1: Head to OLD Reddit and login (it's still Reddit, but the softer, gentler Reddit we fondly remember. Still smells like Orangered 😌 )

Visit https://old.reddit.com - and login

Step 2: Head to your Account page

Click your username in the top right or go to the URL directly. It will be something like https://old.reddit.com/user/YourUsername/

Step 3: Right click the page, and select Inspect (your browser may vary) to open the Development Inspector. Open the 'Console' tab.

It should look something like this, with a place to type in the bottom.


Step 4: Making magic happen.

Here's where we get down to business. Once you finish the next step, posts will be gone. Let's not kid ourselves, they will live in Reddit's servers till the end of time, or till the physical media breaks down, but it will be removed from the public site thus removing Reddit's ability to monetize it with ads.

If you want to perform any backup or save anything, now is the time.

OK, warning over. Let's scorch...

Copy the code snippet below. Just take the entire thing, and paste it into the Console window you opened, then click Enter.

The little script will dutifully go about removing each post and comment it finds.

ONE LIMITATION - The script will happily remove every post on the page, however you must refresh the page and perform this step again and again (depending on how much history you have) until you see the message "there doesn't seem to be anything here." like in my screenshot above.

Just paste, hit enter, wait, refresh. Rinse and repeat.

It should be that easy, but if you have any issues leave me a comment below and I will try to help you out.

↓ copy everything from the window below ↓

Step 5: Profit... er, no profit...

Like The Scythians against Darius the Great, or the Russians against Napoleon, or the Russians against the Nazis, or the Russians against... shit which side are we on again? Anyway, like General William Tecumseh Sherman in the American Civil War, you have now effectively employed scorched earth to route the enemy and deprive him of his most necessary supplies, content.

Congratulations Mr. Capitalism Destroyer, this Bud's for you!

Now, please spread the word on Operation Scorched Earth and encourage your friends and loved ones to excercise their agency, reclaim their digital autonomy, and push back against the monopolistic corporations profiting from our efforts and creations. Share this post. Write your own. Use #OpScorchedEarth on socials to spread the word!

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