Why the change? Mark Luckie, Reddit's head of newsroom outreach, said that the company wants to forge a closer relationship with news organizations that are already writing their fair share of Reddit content.
Being able to embed the posts directly from the site gives news organizations an easier way to cite Reddit content and point readers back to discussions on the site, he said. While many journalists do link back to Reddit or grab screenshots of interesting threads comments, Luckie said that it was time to take the next step. The firm hopes this embed tool will help show off the breadth of discussions that happen among the site's 36 million users, on everything from politics and news to .gifs that end too soon.
"It's grown organically to this point," he said. "But this is better for Reddit and brings readers closer to the content itself."
Other new media and social media companies already allow posts and updates to be embedded on others' websites and blogs. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine, to name a few, encourage the practice. After all, if someone is posting something newsworthy on Facebook, that's good publicity for the company.
Reddit's branching and conversational set-up, however, offers some challenges that other companies don't face. The new embed tool address some of those difficulties. For example, it offers users the option to either post a stand-alone comment, or to include what a user is responding to along with his or her response.
As an example, here's an embedded comment from Reddit chief executive Steve Huffman from a recent discussion on what's new at Reddit:
Out of context, that comment might not make much sense, but it could also be too difficult to capture that full conversation in a screenshot.
If a comment is edited after a news site embeds it, that will be noted on the embedded post. That, in some ways, protects news sites against potentially embarrassing situations where something that's been posted online is edited after-the-fact to say something else.
The new feature comes as Reddit continues to grow and take a firmer hand in the way that posts, stories and photos posted by its users spread throughout the Web. The company last year launched its own news site, Upvoted, with its own staff of professional writers charged with scanning the site for the best and most interesting conversations and stories on Reddit.
The firm has also been working to present a better image to the general public, perhaps to combat a slew of stories that have pointed out harassment on the site. In addition to collaborating with newsrooms more closely, the site has also worked to create new guidelines and tools for users to make the site more welcoming to everyone.