>An early version of the new design, which we saw during our interview, looks similar to Facebook’s News Feed or Twitter’s Timeline: A never-ending feed of content broken up into “cards” with more visuals to lure people into the conversations hidden underneath.
>“We want Reddit to be more visually appealing,” he explained, “so when new users come to Reddit they have a better sense of what’s there, what it’s for.”
I fear this major re-design will be a mistake. HN is designed similarly to Reddit and if HN ever tried to do a major re-design, I think I would visit it less. I keep coming back to it because of its stories, comments, and its simplicity and minimalism. It has good content and is very easy to use and navigate.
A common failing is trying to make the design more shiny and pretty while decreasing functionality, dumbing the site down, adding bloat, and slowing the site down to a crawl.
I really hope Reddit does not go down this road, because they really have a good thing going now. It would be a real shame to ruin it.
Depends on your definition of "better".
Facebook has done several redesigns that the audience has groaned about and here we are 1 billion users later. TechCrunch did a large redesign several years, and here we are, still reading TC articles. The list goes on and on...
That's debatable (albeit for reasons other than design)
They changed owners shortly after and it's still a running joke years later.
Every brand that has a large enough following will run into pitchforks for large redesigns - a lot of people are fans for something.
If you want to do this successfully, take a slice from Facebooks playbook. Their site looks nothing like 10 years ago, yet they somehow did all those radical UI changes gradually over years, always one step at a time, (mostly) listening to their user base inbetween.
I remember being really annoyed at one of the changes in about 2008. Looking at the timeline of Facebook, it was probably the rearrangement of the site into tabs (and then into something like the current layout 2 years later). I think that it's telling that I remember being annoyed at the time (and a bunch of other times, after other changes) than I remember what those changes were. Sometimes it's hard to remember exactly what it was like in the early days. So, I went looking and also found a Cnet slideshow illustrating the different looks of the site over the years 
That is false, "running into a pitchfork" is the better, and least likely outcome.
Very often things develop like this: user logs in, can't find the usual button, and abandons the website - a la Mozilla forefox redesign fiasco that halved their userbase in a single month.
Another famous case is Akamai - at around 2013 they had a relatively insignifican't redesign, yet a single button was moved. They did not realize that they quietly bled users for over a year until they got serious and researched the matter. They failed to understand that a double digit portion of their users were non-tech staff like marketing boys who were taught to work in a manner like "move mouse over red rectangle, and push the button"
What I like about reddit and HN (more so) is the minimal, fast, low overhead experience. It's like the original slashdot.
I hate the new animated, ad heavy slow web.
(I somehow triggered a wrong keyboard layout while typing. I tried to find all typos, but probably didn't get them all)
If you look at the new reddit profiles beta, you will see that it checks all these boxes.
Seriously? How about Google.com? Google Maps? Gmail? Apple.com? CNN? Uber? Surely you must believe at least some of those made the site better...
The only major Google Maps redesign was from the original boxy low-fi design to the modern pan & zoom gestural design with overlays. The redesigns after that were mostly incremental and rarely affected the general look and feel of the site. There have been a number of design changes recently to unify it with the mobile app and some would argue those weren't always for the better (much like YouTube where it sometimes feels like the UX is getting worse every time).
Google.com always was fairly minimalist to begin with and that never changed much except for additions like the cards added to the mobile site to bring it in line with Chrome for Android. Again, whether these additions are good or not is heavily disputed.
GMail is yet another case of a site that never underwent a significant redesign but merely iterations on the same look and feel.
I can't say anything on CNN or Uber because I don't frequent them sufficiently to have observed any redesign other than Uber's confused rebranding earlier last year.
The way the new design for Reddit is being described reminds me of the Digg redesign. If you don't remember Digg: Digg was essentially pretty much like Reddit, the biggest differentiator was the community. Digg completely redesigned the site because it was failing hard. Digg today is irrelevant and what little community there was has left before the redesign largely been displaced by the redesign (and refocussing).
Changing aspects of a design that are so strongly part of its look and feel (or it's "DNA" if you insist on being poetical) is extremely risky and extremely easy to do badly. It's especially dangerous if you apparently only do it because you want something new/prettier.
HN and Craigslist don't look ancient because of a lack of effort, they look that way because the designs work and there's not much to be gained from changing it.
Any large, sudden redesign is heavily disputed - that much is obvious, and for good reason, since it changes habits. Maps itself goes through continuous redesign, but each modification is "incremental" as you call it. The end result is fairly drastically changed if you look many years back, but well.... I guess it only had incremental redesign, all along the way.
I guess what I'm saying is that if reddit launches one big-bang "completely new reddit" - yeah, I agree, it's very likely to fail. But if they incrementally change it to something else, and backtrack on the bad decisions - few people will notice the radical change, they'll just remember the many small ones.
Reddit going through a redesign will almost certainly create a competitor that people will flock to.
There would have to be something out there that does what Reddit does, and be ready if people bolt.
Google.com has only ever had tiny tweaks, yet if you read the recent HN comment thread on Instant Search it's enough to show that even these small changes were significant regressions.
Apple.com, as has been mentioned, is a different case.
The rest have pretty categorically disimproved with each iteration. I doubt many would disagree here.
It did evolve, and yes, Google constantly experiments with/ tweaks it, as a matter of fact. I never claimed that sudden radical changes are a good idea - they are very risky, at the very least. And generate dissatisfaction even when done right.
> The rest have pretty categorically disimproved with each iteration. I doubt many would disagree here.
What? That's crazy. Both gmail and google maps have radically improved over their original versions. You're of course free to disagree, since these sorts of things are subjective; but I'm confident that you won't find a majority of users to share that opinion.
Another good example of this is a car forum called AudiWorld after Internet Brands took it over. Initially, it ran on a super minimalistic forum script that loaded incredibly quickly and worked well for the community. It was certainly ugly yes, but it's what the members liked and had gotten used to.
Then IB came in, converted the whole site to vBulletin on a whim and pretty much killed the community there and then. The members revolted, people left the community in droves and a successor with the old software sprung up immediately to get the refugees from the site. 
One poorly thought out move to 'redesign' the site nearly killed a large forum and ended up creating one of its more popular competitors in the process. It's like a mini version of what happened with Digg, except possibly even worse.
Thomas Jefferson said: "Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper." Google already has all the news indexed; why it is choosing to provide less surface area over which to sell its ads is something that makes absolutely no sense.
Company press releases are a gold mine of information. These used to be so prominent in news.google.com; they are completely gone. Multiple pages of results. Gone. All so the already-digested news can belch all over cell phones.
I see it as an attack on our democracy. Basically, censorship. But apparently they don't care.
Redesigns like this make me wish more designers thought in terms of a toggle option for users who don't want the slick and shiny. Seems like such an obvious, idiot-proof solution to pissing off your users en masse.
The problem with a unified design language is you end up with the lowest common denominator for vastly different products. Material works great for Google Now, somewhat okay for Google Maps, pretty meh for GMail and terribly for YouTube. But that's just, like, my opinion, man.
It's absurdly wasteful in terms of space on desktop applications. So many uselessly gigantic buttons with no effort to describe what they do other than an icon.
Luckily for me, I spend > 75% of my time on Reddit on my phone, so it won't really affect me for the most part.
I seriously can't tell what's going on at reddit -- are they embracing their Digg-ness?
When you want to grow beyond that, you have to appeal to a larger, broader, different segment - though hopefully a superset, not (too) disjoint.
For me, reddit is much less interesting than it used to be (HN also). Perhaps, if they alter it to become more like it was? e.g. subreddits partially achieved this.
If I watch a single video from any kind of niche genre, suddenly half the recommended videos for every video are from that genre. I watched one of those helmet cam videos from a cyclist today, now youtube seems to think I'm infatuated with them. It has become slower and more bloated every time they redesign it as well.
That, and trying to make it behave like more successful (read, profitable) sites, even if the purpose/audience is totally different.
That is, "well if it works for FB it should work for us".
Disclaimer, I have the UID 10 on SoylentNews.
What's the "reddit" that everyone will migrate to when they change the UX?
"We want free speech! Everyone move to our alternative venue where we promote free speech! [...] Wow, there's some truly hateful content on here, how did that happen?"
* Most people don't actually need free speech because in large their ideas are popular, tame, uncontroversial, and respect the established order.
* We are quick to define ideas that disagree with popular opinion as hateful which drives those that hold them to the fringe. Only the loudest and angriest will have so little to lose socially that they'll dare speak in public (i.e. the top and bottom of the social ladder).
* By in large we like to be surrounded by people that think like we do and believe the same things we do. This leads to partitioning the internet into disjoint communities and social bubbles so strong that, despite being almost 148 million people in the US, a common sentiment is 'I don't understand the issue, I've never met someone in person who opposes gay marriage'.
- What are you supposed to do with people who think it's unfair that men can be tricked in impregnating a woman and sued for child support ? Is this sexism ?
- What are you supposed to do with people who feel unsafe in a specific neighborhood because of the great concentration of immigrants there ? Is this "muslims are bad" ?
- Is someone against surrogacy a "gays are bad" people ? Or is this legitimate concern ?
- What about people who use IQ per country studies ? Is this racial hate speech ?
And for these examples, we have people who deeply consider all these as "bad", and harangue us mods as people who leave hate speech, yada yada.
Where do facts stop and propaganda start, where does a fast generalization ends and real, systematic hate for a whole group of individuals begin (over a common denominator considered "bad" by PC, because no one will ever harass you or call you hateful if you think people who wear fur are douchebags) ?
And by doing so, you don't allow any discussion, private or not to be made around these questions, as they are directly flagged as "good vs bad" and arguments are an expression of the hate, and not legitimate questions. Which I don't think is good, but that's my own opinion.
Obviously that begs the question of what "abusive" recourse to race/IQ studies would be. And again, I don't have to define the concept precisely to illustrate that research is routinely abused. For instance: if one makes simplified pronouncements about the genetic inferiority of black people and then adds a cite to J. Philippe Rushton, you're abusing the research in order to make hateful arguments about black people. Secondary and tertiary sources arguing the intellectual inferiority of other races based on work like Rushton's is, in fact, the modern equivalent of Der Stürmer articles.
People are mainly talking about places like /r/coontown or /r/fatpeoplehate. While I'm sure there are some people annoyed at discussions about people "who think it's unfair that men can be tricked in impregnating a woman and sued for child support", I would argue the vast majority have no problem with those discussions as long as they are argued honestly.
People not often say "black people are bad, gays are bad, muslims are bad, women are bad"
I have a hard time believing you actually think this is true...
You'll note the examples of OP were about people of color/muslims/women/gays, not fat people... So I don't think I'm being dishonest there.
>I would argue the vast majority have no problem with those discussions as long as they are argued honestly.
I did mention that I am a moderator on a national sub (150,000 users), and these examples are sadly not made up. We have some people who are adamant about those things and constantly bother us. Maybe they're trolling, in any case they are constanly saying how much our community stinks, is racist, homophobic, yada yada (this community being, as indicated many times by surveys, mostly made of young leftists men).
One user even regularily sends compilations of the "most disgusting comments" which are absolutely not sulfurous, and another has a sub dedicated to it.
It's probably a minority, but a rather vocal one. And you can't say things that are not 100% favorable to these topics without having people saying how anti-X you are.
So yeah I probably read OP's comment in the light of what I see everyday in our modqueue. Which is people calling out others for things which I definitely don't read as "x is bad". Honestly, you'd be surprised.
And most of all, in my experience, people who call out others and think it's a legitimate attitude are not the most pragmatic ones on these topics.
The problem is that neither the "unrestricted free speech" nor the "absolute safe space" models scale. Nor, ultimately, promote their putative goals.
I wouldn't use Voat for other reasons, but that's just me.
I think it's important to be able to discuss taboo topics to find those important nuggets. From my perspective it's not totally crazy to have complete free speech platforms to pursue that goal, but it's probably better done in private among trusted friends, where it has been established that you are not generally assholes, than on a semi-public platform, where you will drown in a torrent of shit brought on by the mass of contrarian assholes who will inevitably flock to the platform.
It's analogous to Peter Thiel and Paul Graham's argument that most successful startups will look like bad ideas at the outset. (http://www.businessinsider.com/this-venn-diagram-shows-why-s...)
An Important New Truth probably looks stupid at first, otherwise someone else would have figured it out already.
> I will never understand this romanticising of free speech on private platforms. Why would a service that cares about its members _ever_ implement free speech policies? That's just asking for assholes. If anything, popular services should have _more_ filtering and removal of asshole users.
Realistically, we need moderation based on community standards the same way the US handles obscenity. (i.e. A jury of users declare content unfit and boot it with a very substantial majority being required)
"Heavy filtering" tends to result in being an asshole or creating an echo chamber. Both are undesirable.
"Google searches for “how to commit suicide” increased 26% following the release of "13 Reasons Why", a Netflix series about a girl who commits suicide."
Something that is societal/political rather than science.
Some people prefer having an open marketplace of ideas, where they can be challenged, and come across opinions and ideas that they wouldn't otherwise in real life.
If you advertise being a place of COMPLETE free speech (Like Voat), you're gonna get assholes that think free speech means having a place to be an asshole.
Places like 4chan are fairly popular, even if the discourse is often mean. Sometimes things can be so mean that it is simply ridiculous, and therefore funny, and therefore not really insulting or offensive.
But reddit did implement free speech policies. It defended free speech for many years.
> That's just asking for assholes.
Or open discourse.
> If anything, popular services should have _more_ filtering and removal of asshole users.
What's an asshole to you? Atheists? Muslims? Environmentalists? Trump supporters? Hillary supporters?
Who gets to decide who an "asshole" is?
> Or open discourse
I think you're being naive.
Certainly, most people will agree that open discourse should be allowed. Even if people disagree, they should be able to discuss their points of view.
But there are plenty of assholes out there that abuse "free speech". There's a difference between defending a controversial point of view and telling people to kill themselves and simply slinging slurs and insults.
Generally, reddit tries to allow free speech while keeping out the assholes, whereas Voat let the assholes have free reign.
Yes. That's why free speech was created. To protect the "abusers". This is something you learn in your first year of college. At least I did. As my jewish philosophy professor said, free speech rights that doesn't protect neo-nazi speech is worthless. Think about it? What use is free speech rights if it doesn't protect "offensive speech". We wouldn't need it if free speech only protected "acceptable speech".
> There's a difference between defending a controversial point of view and telling people to kill themselves and simply slinging slurs and insults.
Not really. If you believe in free speech. If you were correct, atheists who insult the religious would be banned. The civil rights movement that insulted racists would have been banned.
> Generally, reddit tries to allow free speech while keeping out the assholes
It really doesn't. Reddit is an openly hyperliberal free speech.
> whereas Voat let the assholes have free reign.
Absolutely. Voat is where the rightist assholes reign free. Reddit is where the leftist assholes reign free.
That is the problem you get when you don't have free speech. You get echo chambers.
The only people who defend reddit are the hyperliberal people with an agenda. Just like voat is filled with hyperconservatives.
If you don't like voat, you really shouldn't like reddit either. They are fundamentally, the same kind of anti-free speech madness. Unless you have a bias and a hatred for free speech.
This is the issue with a lot of pro free speech websites, or a a lot of 'alternatives' to popular platforms in general.
Unless the more popular site completely jumps the shark, only the more extreme users (read, those angry with the old service) move over. So the site gets more extreme due to them being the only ones represented, and hence attracts more extreme users as a result. Repeat ad infinitum, until the new site is filled with people who are so far to one extreme of the political spectrum that it actively puts off a lot of more moderate potential users.
The only way Voat can get out of this is if it can draw in people who aren't interested in Trump, GamerGate or fringe politics.
More than that though, Voat doesn't seem to have any significant funding or even team behind it, so even if people do end up flocking to a site primarily known for its ardent bigotry, it's unlikely Voat can withstand a large spike in its traffic and scale to even a fraction of Reddit-level.
Reddit has been an interesting exercise in shaping online communities, and the zeitgeist has changed in response. Where extremist views were originally approached on the basis of maximum tolerance, the resulting loss of more mainstream users (and the extremist domination of even unrelated subreddits), has shifted away from it. My suspicion is that mainstream users will gravitate towards forums that have a heavier moderating hand.
An interesting question is if this will cause a general return to more independent, freestanding online communities (as opposed to Reddit's model of centralizing a vast number of topics under one roof).
Watching that little civil war was entertaining.
Instead of subreddits, you follow users and tags. When you upvote posts, you share them with whoever follows you.
It's sort of like a community web of trust. It works really well.
I'm not really sure how that would work in a site where the conversations are focused around specific users.
1. Things are democratic overall. You tend to follow people that share things that you like. You see what they post AND what they "upvote". Whenever someone votes on something, it also shares to their followers. Combined with some weighting on how popular a post is, and how recently it has been touched by someone else, this effectively means that you get a list of posts relevant to your interests, sorted by popularity. Any one person leaving would have negligible impact on your feed's content.
2. You also follow topic tags.
I don't really use them so I can't do a good review.
I had some more bookmarked but can't find them at the moment.
lobster at_sign laro DOT se
For some reason I can't reply to am1988 but maybe he's right, I don't know.
I miss the early days of Digg before people starting getting concerned about their points and front page drama started.
What 'broke' looks like for a business like Reddit is a question about generating revenue rather than design (though the two things are intrinsically linked). If the company can't make money with the current design then it has to change.
The management just seems to "miss the point" so often. The best AMAs in the early years were by a vacuum cleaner repair technician, not a movie star.
AFAIK Reddit has never been cash flow positive.
I believe allowing them would open a floodgate and start a race for reputation.
And I kinda disagree with your assertion that this site lacks intellectuals. There seem to be intellectuals from very diverse backgrounds (doctors, lawyers, even farmers). Sure, the discussion may not be as intellectual as, say, r/AskHistorians, but its still more intellectual than most other forums.
Sure there's groupthink in HN as in any other forum, but HN is more open to different ideas than any other forum that I have known since the days of Usenet in late 1980s.
I just wish someone could come up with a new Usenet (<rant>instead of a dozen of open-source copies of damn Twitter</rant>). Something that doesn't depend on a company or a couple of individuals. In similar vein to what happens for the Twitter copies I ranted about, but for long, threaded discussions in Reddit/HN/Usenet style. Oh, and Reddit lacks proper hierarchies, so the discovery of subreddits is pretty bad. So, yes, more like Usenet.
But then see these, which seem to acknowledge downvote to disagree is a problem:
There is no resistance to humour. Funny comments get upvotes.
There is a resistance to unfunny comments, and most attempts at humour are just bad.
If you stomp out humour you can pretend it's exactly that.
Which had quite a lot of visibility a few years ago.
So stuff like Voat, the shut down Imzy, Hubski and Snapzu represent parts of what Reddit was, and the different aspects of the site that different communities either enjoyed or now want.
What makes you so sure of this? I would argue that this is wildly inaccurate as there will almost certainly be another platform (probably many as you look outward into the future). Imzy was poorly designed, branded and executed (internet safe space?). While their effort and aspirations were righteous, they didn't deliver something people wanted. Honestly I watched that platform since the day it launched and knew it wouldn't last. Digg is old news. I've seen others like topick.com that tanked as they weren't innovative enough. Gab.ai is gaining some traction but it's product isn't innovative and it's too political so it won't scale.
The barrier of entry isn't that high for a new social platform, it's only a matter of time before something newer, less corporate, less "reddit" comes along and gets people's attention. The same could be said for facebook, twitter, and others. No one has a monopoly on ideas.
I am not enthusiastic about the redesign at all. From what I've seen so far, it will be uninspired, blocky, and slow.
There is a preview of the direction here, on the new profiles page . This may be because I'm not logged in at the moment, but it does seem a little faster than it was when they first launched it at least, but it is still slow. As an example of the slowness that is to come, click from 'Posts' to 'Comments' and watch it blank out before loading in new content.
They "improved" something else (user reports) recently , and again the redesign is uninspired, blocky, slow, and more painful to actually use. What really gets me about reddit is that in a thread like that they get tons of (free) feedback, and don't bother responding to any of it. The admin that submitted that thread is down in the depths of those comments replying to a meme post instead of any of the feedback. Many mods are against the change, and they don't get a reply either.
-un-needed design - Reddit gets money and hires a designer, designers want to make something fresh and elegant and beautiful! Just let it be text, all the sites that people really use on the open internet are just text. Wikipedia, Craigslist, Google Search, Reddit, text!
I also really like the Reddit forum / discussion UI. It makes it very easy to see who is replying to what, and let's you easily hide or collapse away whole uninteresting side-conversations.
I fear any "Facebook-style" visual embellishments will actually make it harder to discover the underlying conversations...
I don't want a flashy link aggregator, I want bare bones design with a link/img and discussion. That's it.
Anything that tries to model its UX/design on Facebook loses my interest immediately.
"Please select the interface you want: New flashy Facebook-like mode® or Boring text mode®."
The design of reddit is one of their biggest assets. It's perfect for what the site is there to do. You can quickly and easily skim through and look at what's interesting to you. It sets them apart from the garbage design of a majority of sites out there. I don't want facebook, and I don't want digg.
This is really sad to hear.
They keep adding more things to the default mobile interface (suggestions, ads, pictures) that slow it down and make me avoid using it.
I think they don't realize how much of their community actually likes that reddit is text based. Changing to an image based platform or video based would be disappointing.
that's like visiting hacker news website from mobile instead of using Materialistic
I personally find all Reddit apps to be too opinionated and prefer the reduced mobile site + an RSS reader for smaller communities.
The old and ugly mobile website is _perfect_ (apart from some bugs). The new one is a horrible piece of garbage.
I'm looking at the Archive.org history and it's pretty telling what happened:
2004 - https://web.archive.org/web/20041214033211/http://www.digg.c... - Pretty much the same content as Slashdot, but with a cleaner UI.
2005 - https://web.archive.org/web/20050609031143/http://digg.com:8... - No significant change
2006 - https://web.archive.org/web/20060615092431/http://digg.com:8... New "Web 2.0" site design - less industry news, but still technology-centric.
2007 - https://web.archive.org/web/20070613060232/http://digg.com/ - Slight redesign, but note the addition of the Sports and Entertainment categories - but at least an article on the Double Slit experiment has six times as many diggs as a Sports Illustrated gossip piece.
2008 - https://web.archive.org/web/20080730182035/http://digg.com/ - Zero pure technology stories or industry pieces on the frontpage at all - it's all general interest - the site's content is unrecognizable from four years prior.
2009, 2010 and beyond continue this trend.
Notice the similarities with Reddit - albeit Reddit progressing at a slower pace: Despite similar ages, Digg took five years to go from niche to mainstream, Reddit's mainstream appeal came after eight or nine years.
Reddit has the advantage of making it easy to opt-out of irrelevant interest areas, but it can't keep everyone happy. HN is my go-to for news because the content is relevant even without me having to log-in, but Reddit's default homepage is no interest to me unless I login, which I'm less likely to do from a computer I don't own.
Basically Reddit is what happens when product placement ads go to the extreme
It could very well be superior, but the moment someone says "like Facebook" about any sort of newsfeed the response will essentially be "BURN THE WITCH"
To me this signals that the company has stagnated, or has grown beyond technology; it's an engineering team with no new ideas, no innovation, that's desperately trying to remain relevant in a company that is becoming less and less about the technology.
That's just my experience, but think about it. If a company has other revenue streams they can capture using new tech, how could they justify a rewrite vs. developing that new tech?
Now, maybe it's completely wrong for them and they shouldn't be — that's a totally fair assessment. I honestly don't know.
I really fear the future of Reddit, it's a website that I deeply love but I cannot see how it can be improved or made sustainable as what makes it so good is also what makes it a place where ads do not have their place.
Hacker News offers a very similar experience but I trust YC and its community. HN is a small place run by people that could recreate this website in a day, I don't see how it could ever die or change in a bad way. That's not the case of Reddit.
In any event, I find it hard to believe this won't be Digg all over again.
It just smells of executive/marketing meddling to me.
I think resisting the urge to redesign over the years has been huge for the growth of Reddit. And I think even a perfect redesign will be instinctually rejected by large swaths of the community (Markos Moulitsas used to say 1/3 of the community will hate a redesign no matter what it is.) In reddit's case the potential for rejection comes not just from typical human nature reasons but from specific cultural reasons particular to reddit: its propensity for hiveminding and collective freakouts, and consolidating around a narrative.
They may be too big at this point to be undone by a redesign. But I hope the devs really, really know what they are doing.
>“We want Reddit to be more visually appealing,”
"Visually appealing" isn't the reason people visit reddit.
My main reddit account is 8+ years old (predecessor accounts long forgotten) and over the years on web-dev and UX subreddits there have been numerous user's redesigns put forward all of which have one thing in common: they all fail to grasp that simplicity is what made it popular and keeps it popular. On a 10 year old laptop PC it still works, loads fast and functions. RES (hardware depending) expands it and slows it down, but is not a necessary tool to make the experience acceptable.
I guarantee reddit is on a downward slide. But for myself, it's good it's becoming less interesting to visit because it is a time vampire, where once it was a valuable source of information.
The awful mobile app/site justifies this opinion. If there weren't alternative mobile apps then I would already have left reddit.
Here's hoping we can go with something more distributed and standards based this time so we don't have to keep jumping from ship to ship like this.
Helped that reddit was primed and ready as exactly the site the migrators were looking for. We don't quite have the same alternatives ready to go rn.
I've been a reddit user for 11 years now (and a lurker for a year before that), I think I was the first (and I think only) blogger from my country that wrote about reddit's rewrite from Lisp, I've seen the comments section implemented, the move to programming.reddit.com, the move back to sub-reddits, the exodus coming from digg, the "what has pg had for breakfast?" memes, the Ron Paul memes, the 2006 astroturfing by the Israelis, the 2008 astroturfing by the Russians, the Obama memes in 2008, I've seen it all. As such, I think that the re-design that they're talking about will be a huge mistake. It's enough that they've managed to mess with some users' profile pages which are now unusable (they now look like some sort of FB/MySpace kind of thingies), but making the first page (or the first page of any sub-reddit, for that matter) a mess like FB's front-page will just kill the product for people like me.
One thing that drives me nuts about the new profile pages is that comments are not even shown on the first page when it was the almost the ENTIRE content of the previous "profile" page. Really silly to hide it behind the 2nd tab and only cater to content submitters who are a massive minority of users (but that's obviously where the corporate money will come from...)
I vote for some type of legit upvotw downvote system backed by a legitimate crypto currency. It would stop lots of the spam, though leave it more open for financial manipulation.
Would be interesting though to see people actually making a living by being active members of the community.
As you could imagine it has a rather heavy bent towards cryptocurrency-related posts at the moment, and the pushy salesman vibe I get from nearly all the popular posts there is extremely off-putting (the monetary incentive will inevitably attract these types of people), but I think the idea has potential.
Anyway, the amounts have since slowed, but it's still a pretty active community. There are, however, quite a few schemes around some version of paying people to upvote posts, which is surprisingly allowed. Overall, it's an interesting concept but seems unsustainable over the long-term.
Eventually even HN will get too bloated and need to fracture.
I think there's a very real risk of a redesign going wrong, but it may be large enough and better enough than alternatives to weather the storm.
Necessary or not squeezing more profit out of the site is going to drive many people away I saw it we all saw it with digg and slashdot.
I can even hear "Let's try for 5% growth next year!"
Then if there is no growth the cuts begin from the bottom up to protect the executives. Be warned! First they will come for the lunchroom coffee creamers...
I fear the redesign is just a symptom of a larger widening philosophical divergence between the founders and the Ron-Paul-sympathetic user base.
I was very confused and put-off by this as well.
A small but significant of why Reddit is as big as it is is the exodus of users after Digg and FARK started monkeying with formats and generally went deaf when users freaked out.
I never did end up going back.
Sounds like Digg.com v4. We all know the rewrite and new design didn't work out, people left for Reddit and back to /. and to HN.
It's time for HN to add different channels ;)
They're going to work with mods and make sure CSS still works.
I also found CSS customization extremely valuable for the /r/syriancivilwar subreddit, where users can attach the flag of a certain faction from that war to their username: Government, Al-Nusra (or whatever they're called now), the Kurds etc. At some point a couple of years ago there were several users who had the ISIS flag attached to their username. That was an excellent way of knowing where the other party was coming from when writing down their comments.
Who wants to join me in founding the next Reddit, ready for the exodus?
I'd love it if they did. I find its minimalism too extreme, and the way they hyperlink unintuitive,
Wait, are you saying there is people reading HN without custom CSS?
Seems to be JS-heavy.
It's not quite as bad UI-wise as I thought it could be, but I'm not sure why all these sites are pushing in the direction they are.
I think the interest in static site generators and brutalist design says something...
I agree with others that Reddit will be in for a rude awakening if the performance doesn't get a lot better.
Time to startup a competitor kills reddit the same way they killed digg?
For example, release the new design on new.reddit.com and let viewers migrate over to it at their own pace.
Once you have a lot of people using the new reddit instead of the old design, you can migrate the old reddit to old.reddit.com and put the new design up as the default.
WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T GET RID OF THE CURRENT DESIGN, until you have adoption for the new design. Period. If you simply replace the old with the new, reddit is as good as dead.
Reddit pages use a ton of RAM and CPU compared to sites like HN. Some of that is understandable considering the features they strive to support, but some of it is honestly just something that can be better engineered.
I think a better approach would be to commit to their new design, and do some sort of A/B testing to hone down the new UI until it replaces the old one.
I don't think reddit will die because of the changes they propose. This is just silly. For starters, there are Google Chrome plugins to make reddit more Facebook feed-like.
I myself like the way reddit works right now and would not like it to change much. That said, Reddit the company has to move towards what will make them money. I don't have this data, but their user base might have changed in the past years. People that really enjoy infinite feeds, for example.
I'm not sure, and Digg is obviously the cautionary tail here on the "don't tick off the user-base" side, but I'd wager that to continue to grow, they need a little more mass appeal.
Reddit as an anonymous FaceBook Feed might have some real value, as both a value prop for people, and as retargeting for Marketers. Reddit knows that you browse, say, /r/atheism as a Mormon, or /r/gonewildasian as a single guy, and those are not things FaceBook may know. There is a lot of value in anonymous, on both sides.
I can't imagine giving $200M to a group of people who publicly say they're not focused on ensuring I get it back. Is this a VC investment or a charity?
Also, have they not achieved profitability after 10+ years because they don't know how to make enough money (i.e. ad sales team is weak), costs are too high (i.e. bad code so lots of infra or too many employees), or is it just not possible to be profitable in this space?
Worked out okay for their investors.
I think the investors' motivations are non-financial, akin to how YC invested in Quora.
Reddit might not be nearly so.
Then again Facebook initially seemed like it would have that problem but they seem to have overcome it.
And while $200M doesn't fit a design change, search engines are expensive.
b) They may have a plan towards profitability over a certain period of time that they haven't shared with you or me but that was convincing enough to potentially be a good investment (or maybe other scenarios, such as selling to an even bigger company who already can monetise... such as Google)
The concept of Reddit, which is user generated content curated by users, doesn't have a lot of need for a middleman, more of just a few moderators and admins to keep everything running smoothly. The power of the website is solely in its users and their content generation.
Unfortunately these slow changes have been eroding what was Reddit's strengths of free speech and open dialogue by turning the site into "advertisement friendly". That means killing all subreddits that could sour potential buyers and altering vote-counts to favor specific messages.
Combine this with the fact that they are supplanting viral marketing disguised as user posts (One from today even! https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/6ql2tu/made_my_deli...), allowing blatant vote manipulations (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaymcgregor/2016/12/14/how-we-b...) or allowing entire takeovers (/r/politics during election cycle - hello CTR!) and you have a bloated replica of something that used to be an amazing social powered website.
Subreddits like coontown, jailbait, fatpeoplehate & a bunch of nazi subreddits really provided valuable debate and dialogue. Voat now has all that 'dialogue' and I don't think anything of value was lost.
But complaining about CTR shows your colors when both sides spend similar amounts.
Essentially this big, beautiful design driven redesign ultimately never shipped because users spent less time on it. Certain design 'improvements' like increased padding between stories reduces density and as a result tends to reduce readership, for example. The internet as perceived by Engineers and Designers is quite different from the masses (even with Reddit's demographic differences from FB taken into account).
Reddit needs to be really careful with a redesign: data should lead the rollout efforts, not design. I think they are due for some UX improvements, perhaps around a gradual UI refresh; however, I have little faith in the product leadership at Reddit to pull this off. Huffman and crew need to be willing to can the entire redesign if user research and data come back negative.
Good design must be usable; otherwise we'd call it art.
That Facebook redesign for example, while very aesthetically pleasing it looks horrible or confusing to use:
* Search box doesn't look like an input control
* Low contrast for top right nav (how do I change to any other page?)
* Where did my groups and apps go?
* Large pictures, great for mock ups, but it just means more scrolling when 80% of
content I don't care or want to see;
I really don't want to have a picture of a high school friend's baby take up the whole screen
I think that this is a positive, morally and ethically. It's too bad.
On Reddit, however, there’s a huge amount of great content I’m unlikely to stumble upon unless I’m seeking. This makes behavior based recommendations difficult. I think a combination of curated views (software eng front, political junkie, counter culture, etc) and machine based recommendation like YouTube could do great things for reddit.
> An early version of the new design, which we saw during our interview, looks similar to Facebook’s News Feed or Twitter’s Timeline:
So they will look like Facebook. Because nothing says cool and trendy like the social site your parents and aunts and uncles use. Now nothing wrong with aunts and uncles using the site, it's just that "fresh" and "cool" aren't exactly the first things that come to mind there.
> The company has about 230 employees, up from around 140 at the beginning of the year. Huffman would like to end 2017 with around 300 full-time staff.
That sounds odd too me as well, maybe I am not versed in startup culture. Having a goal of going from 230 to 300 people seems like a pointless metric (and wasteful). It's like saying "I want to write 1000 lines of code today".
I haven't seen much mentioned about moderation and admins and how they censor and manipulate content and talk about fostering better communities and so on.
> Eventually, though, Altman and Reddit’s other investors will want their money back and then some. Huffman says there are lots of ways for Reddit to exit, none of which he’s focused on at the moment.
Well there is the answer. They are trying to sell it. "Hey, Psst! Wanna buy this cool site for $2B. It looks fresh like Facebook, and we just grew by 30% (230 to 300 employees) in the last few months. Close your eyes and imagine that hockey stick graph going up, and the value you'd be getting out of it".
On the other hand, a VC funded company I worked for (Hampton Creek) seemed like a ponzi scheme. When I quit the options strike price was so expensive I couldn't afford to pay for the options nor the taxes to "gain", the alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars in value it was "worth". What a joke. I think in the end we will see a lot of these companies are loaded with red ink and offer very little value.
I venture to say a majority of these unicorns are pump-and-dump schemes.
Your intuition seems right. I remember a time when companies used their developers to update their site without having to raise hundreds of millions of dollars.
1) Be rich/famous enough for people to pay attention to what you do
2) Pump a bunch of resources into something (company, stocks, whatever)
3) Everyone concludes there must be value, because you're investing your own cash
4) Others start investing, increasing the value further
5) You sell (dump) your stake at the new price before everyone realises they've invested in something worthless.
Say you invest $1 million in $1 shares and the extra investment/interest from others raises the share price to $1.20, you sell everything and get $200k profit for no work. Everyone else is left holding shares which turn out to be worthless.
VENTURE CAPITAL IS A "LIQUIDITY PONZI SCHEME," SAYS STEVE BLANK
And I say this as a heavy user of the site who knows exactly what kind of content formats work best on it.
You have to make something they want, and you have to engage with them in the comments section as a redditor. If they feel pandered to, it's going to backfire. I see a lot of ads on there that seem like try-hard pandering.
It's certainly more difficult to use well than most ad platforms, especially for bigger companies.
I think this is going to be a big issue. Large advertisers want reach, not hyper-targeting a tiny sub with 3,000 subscribers.
While you can certainly make something that would appeal to, say, /r/edmproduction, would a large advertiser like P&G be able to create something for default subs (that have huge reach)?
That said, our ads weren't targeted at a sub, and they worked well.
Big companies are so entrenched in their over-engineered ways that they develop very low expectations about productivity.
I mean, if you look at Facebook; does anything actually change? No, it looks pretty much the same as last year - 5000 Facebook engineers working on it full time for a year and there is no noticeable, meaningful improvement.
I don't know if these big tech companies are hiring all these unnecessary software developers out of duty, for competitive advantage (just draining the talent pool) or what else but it definitely looks like a bubble.
However there is always backend work that needs to be done: security updates, bug fixes, updating frameworks to work with newer tech, automation / pipelining improvements (since they are working on such a large scale), etc. And that's not even mentioning the business side of things like ads, moderation, etc.
I think a more natural move would be to IPO. Since Steve Huffman stated that monetization is not a top priority, it won't be happening anytime soon.
Fun fact : they sold reddit in it's infancy and then later regained control. That sale didn't end well. Even if they do find a more savvy buyer like FB/Google , reduced founder control in a community driven website can't be a good thing. Having spent billions to acquire reddit, the new owner will likely begin to turn it into an advertising machine which has the potential to alienate the core userbase. On reddit, the core userbase is everything.
An IPO would end up like snapchat. Without solid $$$ growth, wall street will eat reddit for lunch. Much better to do sell it to Google / Facebook or the media companies.
There is absolutely no way whatsapp would been able to fetch it's valuation if it went IPO.
This one of those largely company things where bosses assert their authority and power in the organization based on the head count under them. So in many companies people hire extensively even if they absolutely don't have to.
The more people you have under you, the more you are considered powerful.
Every manager is encouraged to increase the number of people they manage. Managers in turn get disproportionate rewards compared to developers (such as offices -- not even the most senior ranking developers get offices, but the lowest ranking managers do), so developers are encouraged to go into management. Before long, the company is bloated with highly paid managers managing managers, top-skill developers no longer developing, and the supposed dual technical track is hardly anything except a bullet point on some other manager's resume.
> That sounds odd too me as well, maybe I am not versed in startup culture. Having a goal of going from 230 to 300 people seems like a pointless metric (and wasteful). It's like saying "I want to write 1000 lines of code today".
I understand this criticism but I think the intent behind their statement is different from the intent you're reading into it.
It sounds like you think they're using it as some kind of empire building management metric (I might be wrong). ie. 300 people and well be a great company! As you say that'd be pretty stupid and so I doubt that. Here's my guess: the headcount number is by product of a broader growth plan. ie. We need to get to X revenues, or scale to X users, or build Y products in Z months which means we need to hire X engineers, Y marketers, Z salespeople in a certain time frame.. add all that up and that means we need 300 people by the end of 2017.
The reason it gets boiled down to 300 is two-fold: 1) It's just hard to get a journalist to be interested in that kind of considered detail & much easier for journalists to remember that one number 2) It's actually still a good signal in an ultra-competitive hiring market. ("you bet we're hiring!, we have lot's of jobs openings! didn't you here we're looking for 100's of people, come and help build that site that you already spend half day on")
300 as a management metric = no sense;
300 as by product of growth plan, headline grabbing takeaway, beacon to potential talent = better.
Its the ol model I see time and time again. Site pulls in users by being generally awesome and doing things like not advertising, not censoring, etc. Then the site grows. Businesses start astroturfing because they can't advertise. Then the company slowly starts walking back on everything that made it special, for example, advertising, all while rapidly expanding the personell while hardly doing anything to improve the site for users. Aaaand right when advertising dollars are the best, try to capitalize or take public, followed by a big sale/buyout, and finally within finite time users feel betrayed and it withers and dies, but not until a competitor starts where they did, and usually follows the same path.
I stopped participating in reddit about the time sockpuppetry really started killing my favorite sub's, and personally I think the first and most greiveous mistake was moving away from text only.
The problem as it stands is none of the competitors stand out. I think hn is best, but scope is limited, /. does something's interesting but failed and lost its user base. Voat is too much of a reddit clone, and I just don't get the appeal of steemit etc.
Personally, we need to sit down and figure a better way to measure user worth. Right now I am leaning to a Slashdot style moderation/tagging system, along with a limited input per user at varying thresholds. Something that really interests be is automating logical maps of comments too.
this sounds risky for a couple reasons. I hope this is a bit hyperbolic and they are only referring to the frontend. But anyway: rewriting everything from scratch is a monumental undertaking and can delay other important enhancements. Rewriting everything partially contributed to Netscape falling behind its competitors and eventually to its irrelevance. The other reason it is risky is that maybe the site's simple and functional design is what made them so successful in the first place?
I would also suggest using Privacy Badger from EFF.
> DNT is a nice idea, but without buy-in from the entire ecosystem, its impact is limited. In place of DNT, we're adding in new, more granular privacy controls that give you control over how Reddit uses any data we collect about you.
What does it hurt to keep supporting it? It's actually pretty ironic: "DNT doesn't have total support across ecosystems, so we stopped supporting it".
 http://preferences-mgr.truste.com/ (one of many such opt-outs)
It will be a real shame if they start gunking it up with trackers - many news sites are basically unusable without ad blocking.
Will they be opt-out? You betcha! Still, at least they exist...
1. People may forget, but Reddit was a (the?) major winner in the Digg exodus.
2. I don't think Digg every got the subreddit style discussion boards down. I think the reddit "homepage experience" vs. the typical subreddit experience to be very different. Should be interesting to see which way they slide for the redesign.
3. The influx of new capital and the focus on the redesign sort of telegraphs that they want to grow reddit, which is a very large but idiosyncratic community.
If they do it right, the change will be very transparent and very incremental, ala the ebay background color change .
Should be an interesting thing to watch!
I.e., Reddit was doing something right, and Digg was shrinking. The Digg redesign fiasco accelerated both trends.
> It’s going on a hiring spree
> redesigning its website
For no reason other than giving the unnecessary people from the hiring spree something to do.
> Huffman would like to end 2017 with around 300 full-time staff
The current number of 230 employees is already about ten times too many. What the hell do they need the additional staff for?
> The company is also not profitable.
Doesn't need to be because it could be run by ten people living off of donations.
Sure, could they do it? Absolutely. But I'd bet a large sum on money that they'd do so poorly.
Also it's important to note that whether you like it or not Reddit is and always has been a business. Being profitable isn't the most important thing right now for reasons, but somehow i doubt investors would be ok with them just punting on the issue forever. They rightly expect a return.
I don't need Secret Santa and no support. What kind of trust do you mean?
... basic web site with a hundred thousand communities, gigabytes of images uploaded daily, millions of votes a day, 1.5 billion pageviews a month...
Also, reddit is a business, not just a website. They don't only hire engineers.
Thats kinda simplistic. Setting aside the fact that reddit is much more complicated than it appears at first glance...
I don't care how simple the site is, being the number 5 most visited site in the US, kinda comes with some SRE and infrastructure challenges.
Reddit is not a basic web site though. It doesn't have static content. Almost every page is dynamically generated for each logged in user, of which there are hundreds of millions. That is the total opposite of 'basic'.
Reddit used to be a place I could go to see topics re: Science, Tech, the Internet, and gadgets. It was the network where my friends weren't - and that felt cool like I was a part of an exclusive club. Things like the April fools pranks: Place/Chat/Button - those are what make Reddit special.
Now all my friends are on Reddit and we send each other links - which is also nice. But I miss the exclusivity and with the loss of it comes a dilution of content to meet the lowest common denominator of entertainment transmissions.
Reddit was a lot more authentic before it started functioning as a community group (ie: "redditors").
What Alexa top ten site have you run off a crew barely large enough to field a softball game?
> Doesn't need to be because it could be run by ten people living off of donations.
really? really?? how so?
The "reddit hug of death" is a term that was coined because of how much traffic a front page hit could deliver - to the point where it crashed the server or over-exceeded bandwidth capacity for sites.
The issue is that I don't see a lot of potential where investing money into Reddit that helps the users, only the advertisers, which makes their announcements seem extremely patronizing as they try to convince Reddit users why it is better for them.
Isn't that what reddit gold is?
Not sure why this UX concept needs to be applied to every kind of interface nowadays.
I think Reddit's current interface could be updated visually without changing its simplicity.
The reasons I left Digg for Reddit were the information density and the ease of rapid browsing. Eliminating those in favor of "cards" is incredibly short-sighted.
It sounds like they're rewriting the whole front end. Why would they want to spend time and effort doing that and then, in addition to continually tweaking/adding to it, also maintaining a legacy interface?
Customization can help prevent a short-term backlash from the most engaged users, but whatever they choose as the default is what they will live or die by.
Breaking the API will take away essential functionality from a very wide range of communities, moderators and users alike. Can they do a complete front- and back-end rewrite and still maintain a backwards-compatible API? If not, I am out, because a rewrite is simply way too much work.
As founder run sites with income to sustain the site it works but the moment founders become 'distant' and obsessed with commercial objectives the site sort of loses its focus and there is a slow decline.
Reddit only took off because it as seen an low key non-commercial alternative to the 'over commercial' Digg. Now it doesn't have that feel anymore and this can only end badly.
Even HN is not a profit making site, but delivers value to ycombinator outside of that.
start your engines, reddit will do what so many user-driven content sites have done - light themselves on fire. slashdot, digg, they never learn.
yes, the network effect is a huge moat. but then you actively alienate your users and then it goes FAST.
good luck to the aspiring entrepreneurs going after this opportunity.
don't even need a strong business plan, not like you can make any real money - but you'll get funding for years to come :)
These sorts of massive Internet community-curated stores of information would in an ideal world be community supported as well, like Wikipedia. And they also wouldn't (in an ideal world) be under threat of changing radically or disappearing entirely at any moment.
Maybe we need something like the UK's television tax. An Internet tax that pays for public service sites with no advertising and no corporate interest. Add that to the TODO list after world peace.
> You chose to grow with venture capital and you’ve no doubt (I hope) taken some money off the table in your Series C round. I say this because this new version of digg reeks of VC meddling. It’s cobbling together features from more popular sites and departing from the core of digg, which was to “give the power back to the people.”
Reddit has a lot of users but it's hard to build user profiles for targeted advertising as there's a lot of anonymity and shot posting.
Teen snapshot sites are worth more because because its real people, posting real things. That data is valuable.
I feel that if someone were to target ads to me based on the subreddits that I subscribe to, they'd be far more relevant to my interests than Facebook ads. Facebook shows me clickbait spam that my friends liked; I almost never see any interesting ads there. Reddit certainly has more advertiser friendly information than Snap does. On Snapchat, you share photos with your friends and Snap knows nothing about you other than your location. Reddit on the other hand has confirmed interests.
What is their average time-on-site statistic I wonder, i'd expect it to be much higher than most other websites.
Although I agree, Reddit desperately needs a rewrite of its backend.
I would like to point out the twitter/facebook feed style as described is difficult to replicate, because with reddit, seeing the title of the post helps contextualize it so much. Without the title, many posts become meaningless because you can't guess the subreddit that the post is from - and a meme/gif in one subreddit can mean something much different than a meme in another.
I won't be surprised at all when they alienate their userbase with a pointless redesign that adds nothing of substance.
The kinds of people that are working at Reddit now are the kinds of people who are not creative and incapable of creating something original. They are the kinds of people who join a tech company solely to ride off the coat tails of those who came before them with original ideas and substance.
Naturally, since they don't understand the original desire and intent they are not able to contribute anything new or original. So how they contribute is instead by a route redesign of something that already exists.
Redesigns are generally not about improving upon something that was there before. They are a political process for who can get control over something popular that someone already made.
However, at the same time (after thinking about it), I can see it as a necessary step.
Without a redesign it'll be hard for them to implement a way to make money. I assume, that is also how they increased the valuation; by promising increased profits.
I find Reddit one of the most valuable web sites I use, covering news and tech interests. I wish them well on the infrastructure refresh.
So they are doing same mistakes as Digg. Interesting.
Good to know they are "literally" re-writing code instead of "figuratively". Why is the adverb "literally" overused so often?
Personally, other than FB I can't think of a site I visit more often than reddit. Whether at home, on the bus or just sitting on the couch, it's the site I know I can open and find some useful content.
With the amount of engagement they have, they should be making more money.