(Preface: Voat is a long-running Reddit alternative whose reputation as a racist cesspool is nothing new. These news may however have an effect on other Reddit alternatives, Lemmy included. I’m including these two Voat posts as Archive.today copies to put this into a context. The comments to these posts are not really worth reading because … Voat)
The site’s owner PuttitOut made an announcement (archived) about shutting down Voat on December 25th at 12 noon PST “in honor of the only True thing you will find in this world and that is Jesus Christ, the son of God, and the only way to the Father” and “in honor of the twelve disciples who spread the message of salvation to the world”.
The shutdown happens mainly because an angel investor pulled out back in March, leaving Voat without funding. Since then, PuttitOut had financed Voat out of his own pocket but ran out of money and decided to close it for good. Before that, many payment processing services stopped operating with Voat due to various reasons.
Voat’s userbase has of course taken these news heavily and it appears that they are planning to save it or move to new platform (archived). They are considering different options such as various P2P solutions, Poal, Ruqqus and Lemmy. Therefore we should be cautious if any explicitly racist Lemmy instances run by Voat refugees start popping up.
What’s my opinion on this? Nothing of value was lost, knowing how following Voat’s downfall from a “noble free speech platform” to a racist safe space was like watching a science experiment. A term called “Voatification” was coined for a reason. This will lead into a racist Whack-A-Mole as the users will go into another platform where the moderation practices are loose enough, most likely Ruqqus whose Voatification will then accelerate further.