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popular subreddits:

* programming

* science

Oh, how times have changed.

The 'race to the bottom' of reddit has been fascinating to watch. I think it clearly demonstrates that without moderation popular forums will necessarily devolve to lowest common denominator content. (I do, however, appreciate there are still quality subreddits).

agree, though i think its tempting to view this cynically rather than as an almost inevitable product of the circumstances. i think it was david foster wallace who made a similar point about tv, namely that it caters to the lowest common denominator because thats what we all share- you cannot have the "mass" part of mass media without doing that. we all have more deep interests, but they are disparate- so the venn diagram essentially dictates the subject matter.

For sure, but technological trends have certainly catalysed the process, at least with respect to reddit. The ubiquity of the gif, and incredibly low friction image hosting services come to mind.

They are on Hacker News now.

HN is a hivemind. Post wrongthink and you will be downvoted to oblivion. I posted a scientific paper that shows legalizing prostitution increases the volume of human trafficking and I was shit on because it goes against HN social-libertarian dogma.

So are these our choices: a hivemind or a shitstorm of trolls, griefers, and 4chan kiddies? I don't have any answers here.

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