Who actually thinks that all that padding and those stupid navbars are a good idea? On mobile my screen estate is very valuable and I don't want to waste it on unnecessary things.
Negative space would be allowing the space between items to create a division instead of the borders and shadows.
Although my assumption here is front end designers are often subjected to death by a thousand revisions from 'the suits'.
Also, reddit is different as a consumption medium, rather than news aggregator. With reddit, you consume. With HN, you peruse.
I also don't understand the redesign. The old version is way better then the new version, but I guess it just does not look flat and material enough.
That's more than I can say for many, many other things, where whether I like it or not I'm forced to have the latest design fad (flat, pastel colours, long and inefficient animations and huge, unnecessary padding nowadays) shoved down my throat.
Try this my redesign reddit. http://reddit.premii.com/ I hope reddit does something like this, and let user configure layout for each subreddit.
iPhone doesn't have a hardware back button, and most people don't know you can navigate back by swiping.
I will add tracking in http://hn.premii.com/ to see how many user uses in landscape mode vs portrait.
Hiding navbar in the landscape mode is an option.