I don't remember where I read in 1997 that being gay is 'okay' and normal - but that was a major revelation for a geeky teen in a notoriously homophobic and close-minded country (no more suicide attempts for me, yay). Co-incidentally that led me to work hard on improving my English, as all information was in it.
And my improved English led me to start my own website - the only website that changed my life and I still remember all the details of it (even though it is no longer online). It was dedicated to my hobby project - the project that led a foreign company to hire me and relocate me to a Western country. Which triggered a chain of events that brought me to the UK, to a much happier and fuller life than I ever hoped to have.
And finally, I don't remember where I read an article describing the author's struggle with an eating disorder, but I realised that I'm going through exactly the same thing and that I need help. It improved my life dramatically, pretty much kept me alive - but I don't remember what or where it was...
For one thing, it made me realize how similar people all over the world are. No matter how specific a post is, chances are really high that someone else will chime in and echo the feeling/experience that has been expressed. In short, the positive message is: You're not alone!
For another thing, it is (despite the horrible search function) relatively easy to discover communities that discuss the same topics from different angles. For instance, when it comes to international news that affect country A and B you can read the comments in r/a and /b and thus gain a deeper understanding of the issue.
For me, it made me realize how similar redditors all over the world are.. =)
Australia and New Zealand have always been close allies. We only complain about each other in jest.
If anything I believe that Reddit have shown me that people across the world are much more diverse than I would have imagined. Similar in many many ways, but with vastly different priorities and problems. In the more niche subreddits people communicate extremely well, despite their differences, simply because they share a common interest.
I go there daily, but I almost never find anything interesting I haven't first seen elsewhere. It's a neat place to waste time, but even on small obscure subreddit, the content just isn't there anymore.
I guess you could say it changed a lot of lives, by becoming "the front page of the internet", but wasn't it negatively? I mean, the sense of community there used to be on sub-cultural forums and irc is lost on Reddit, and anything intelligent drowns in the vast ocean of mediocreness.
/r/StopDrinking also helped me help my friend regain control of his life. /r/fitness helped me regain my health.
Then there's /r/randomkindness, /r/bestof, /r/askreddit and /r/cscareerquestions.
But I'm happy that it's working for you.
While I have no data to back this up, I would say that the larger a community becomes, the lower the tolerance and quality become. Perhaps because the number of things people have in common shrinks as you add people.
There are 1 billion+ Indians and 330m+ Americans. I'm sure some hate each other and some love each other. If you think America generally as a whole dislikes Indians, perhaps you can explain why they have the highest average incomes of any ethnic group in the US, own most of the hotels, and lead several Fortune500 companies.
This is probably the third thread I've randomly come across in two days where Indians are whining about their supposed reputations abroad. Keep it up and it'll become true!
But occasionally you'd find the person who'd be a snob and judge you from the skin. Then you'd say something and they'd be like "where are you from". "I'm from here". "No no, wheeeeere are you from?". "From Africa". "Where are your grand parents from?
>I specifically go look for the bad news.
I've found myself doing that too. It is kind of creepy. I'll hit up /r/worldnews thinking, "Which reef is dying? Who is today's terror target?" It's really screwed up, but I think we're wired to crave that drama, even though real people with damaged lives are at the end of those blue links. Maybe we need to be more intentional about browsing those subreddits which we know collect the day's misery.
HN is the new reddit for me.
Given how Reddit has changed over the years, I wonder if I'd have that same experience if I were several years younger, just discovering the site today.
I used to try and give people's thoughts and opinions weight, but at some point I just couldn't muster up the mental energy anymore.
So much information, generally well written, and a good level of detail on many pages. I've used the "Random Page" link a few times.
Just this morning I read "Apollo 8", since I heard samples from the radio broadcast in a song last night.
After living in US for a year or two, was very interesting to discover alternative view on "typical" lifestyle.
While I don't agree with all his recommendation, I did buy cheap small car :)
The one I can recommend the most is learning to write down and track your finances manually (i.e., without Mint). I'm a lazy bum, so I stop doing it after a few months every time I start, but when you hit a strain of bad luck that drains all your savings you will be happy as hell to have these skills navigate you through the storm. I'd say without these skills I would be insolvent right now, which is worse in my country than the US, afaik.
It also varies from individual to individual; their savings, their finances, where they are in their career.
Often when we think "wow, that's life changing!" it's actually a strong emotional response of surprise. It is really helpful when it happens because the content provided demands it. It helps us to learn faster and stay motivated to the end of the content. But sometimes it's not the content itself, but the presentation. And just like Coka Cola may taste exciting when you haven't been drinking any sugary drink for years, the presentation itself may be the only thing exciting about it. It creates the emotional response by artificially triggering our buttons, but not because it really has some valuable lesson.
I really need to remind myself of that before I start to dive in. Hope it helps some others to filter the real content from the sugar water as well.
Unfortunately, eventually it led me far enough that I found an xss vuln and upon reporting it they shut down the ability to comment/post/pm at all. So now it just sits there frozen in time.
I eventually scraped the site (some 2GB of posts) and rebuilt the site from scratch with pyramid/sqlalchemy/postgres. I offered it up for use, but didn't get much traction. Still, that was a very fun project. Interesting how the site was still sending me down the rabbit hole all those years later.
If you or your family have any sort of medical issue, that's the best place to get high-quality, reliable medical information, especially in the "systematic reviews" section - which is basically journal quality summarization of the relevant research.
EDIT: to get the maximum benefit, you'll probably need to use Libgen together.
Makes me think of flash cartoon sites as well from the time: Joe Cartoon , Spumco (JohnK, Goddamn George Liquor Program), etc. Made many people see that you could get animation and web comics/entertainment to anyone with this tech, many shows to this day still use Flash/Animate or now most use Toon Boom.
I'm surprised that Khan Academy isn't listed anywhere. Their videos were incredibly helpful when I was in college.
Reddit's /r/diy got me to learn a lot about electronics. The extremely detailed guides which led to something that could ACTUALLY BE USEFUL was a very good motivator.
/r/StopDrinking was also a lot of help for me (to help a friend). I owe a lot to the community there for helping my friend take control of his life again.
/r/fitness also helped me reach a healthy weight and lifestyle after I had a recent health scare.
/r/randomkindness helps me feel good by doing good for others.
/r/cscareerquestions helped me get a great job and taught me a lot about programming (/r/programming and language specific subs) and career.
Humans of New York:
This photoblog by Bradon Stanton was instrumental in helping me develop a much more open mindset about people and eventually led me to volunteer for the UNICEF after they covered a young girl directly impacted by UNICEF. The European Refuge Crisis was a similarly transforming moment for me.
Toastmasters International: This is kind of like Alchoholics Anonymous for people who haven't given a public presentation before.
Countless TED talks also helped shape my thinking and gave me perspective.
Since a lot of the HN populace doesn't like Reddit I wanted to clear it up that the key to using it productively is to follow only subreddits that fill a niche in your life. And prefer subreddits which have more text posts than link posts. Discussion with a wide variety of people is one of reddit's key strengths. As an example, I usually discuss and read comments about foreign policies on multiple country subreddits so that I can get an idea of how it impacts other countries and what the people are concerned about in the other places.
and of course
I am sure I forgot a few.
Coursera and edx can be great too, but potential time-sucks if you don't manage your interests carefully.
Was a big one for me. Along with Wikipedia, it's what I think of when I want to believe that maybe the internet wasn't such a bad idea after all.