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Reddit is reportedly considering an IPO (businessinsider.com)
53 points by artsandsci 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 43 comments

As an advertiser, I have concerns about their ad platform, and as a user, I'm terrified to think about what is in store for the future as they gear up for pleasing investors. History tells us that the soul of Reddit will not remain intact (if it is in fact even there still).

Also still to be uncovered is what role Reddit (and potentially mods/employees) played in the election. It is no secret that Reddit was HEAVILY targeted by Russia (and still is). If I were a potential investor, I'd want to be much more confident in the accuracy of their user counts and growth. There's a LOT of fake accounts there.

Also heavily targeted by several other interest parties including Media Matters. I imagine the value in Reddit at this point is in conversation "trend setting" for zeitgeist influence.

I didn't really participate in the politic threads there during the 2016 election, but everyone was accused of being a Correct the Record shill as well.

Man, Putin must be riding in on his bear and assassinating every single state employee if 'heavy targeting' gets them this result. Let's look at the top posts today on r/politics:

  - Cards Against Humanity buys plot of land on U.S./Mexico border to block border wall
  - Sessions: I Can Remember Only the Parts of 2016 That Exonerate Me
  - RNC cuts off Moore 
  - Secret Finding: 60 Russian Payments "To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016”
  - Fox News' Shepard Smith hits Trump for 'inaccurate' claims on Uranium One deal
  - Site Altered HeadlineJeff Sessions: 'Not enough evidence' for special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton 
  - Troll Smearing Roy Moore Accuser Stole Dead SEAL's Identity
  - Senate GOP to add repeal of Obamacare insurance mandate into tax bill
  - Roy Moore challenged Alabama law that protects rape victims, documents reveal
  - If Republicans believe Roy Moore’s accusers, why not Trump’s?
  - The FBI is examining why Russia transferred nearly $400,000 to its embassies 'to finance' the 'election campaign of 2016'
  - Pence NFL Stunt Cost Indianapolis Police Department $14K
Maybe Putin secretly works for David Brock.

Let's look at r/worldnews:

  - Australia's same-sex marriage postal survey: 61.6% yes, 38.4% no 
  - 'Tobacco at a cancer summit': Trump coal push savaged at climate conference: The US administration’s attempt to portray fossil fuels as vital to reducing poverty and saving US jobs is ridiculed in Bonn 
  - Russia tried to use computer game footage to prove that the U.S. is helping ISIS
  - Trudeau says he raised human rights issues with Duterte after Trump didn’t
  - Sessions changes statement about Trump campaign and Russia. “I do now recall”
  - Russia used 419 fake accounts to tweet about Brexit, data shows
  - Israeli police 'have sufficient evidence to charge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with fraud and accepting gifts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels including demanded free cigars and champagne from associates.
  - Trump Served Shark Fin Soup in Vietnam—A Delicacy Driving Sharks to Extinction: Shark finning is illegal in the U.S and regulated in 21 countries. It involves cutting the fins from live sharks for shark fin soup, and throwing the shark back into the ocean.
  - Secret Finding: 60 Russian Payments "To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016”
Man, that Putin is one effective anti-Putin machine.

If it were me, I'd be for more worried as an investor about the virtues of their founders (e.g. Ohanian sacking Victoria then backstabbing Yishan and Ellen, Huffman abusing site admin to edit user comments) etc and how it generally very much misaligns with their original grassroots pre-superPAC pro-Ralph Nader/Ron Paul/Bernie Sanders (before he turned into a Tom Perez mouthpiece) crowd that's its userbase.

r/politics isn't a great example: it's always been left-leaning, and from what I saw at the time, efforts appeared to be focused on motivating the Republican base to vote for Trump, and to drive Clinton voters to apathy or complacency. Neither of these would be achieved by trying to convince Clinton's fervent supporters on r/politics.

Plus, it's a bit of an equivocation to suggest that today's top posts can be evidence that an influence campaign a year ago didn't work - the campaign was a year ago, not today.

I used to read r/politics multiple times a day before it went south right around the time of the Democrat's California primary when the DNC nomination was sealed (on a day when no voters voted and the nomination was determined by poll calls to anonymous super delegates mind you) and the money started flowing https://www.fec.gov/data/disbursements/?two_year_transaction... (the FEC site is kinda crap so you'll have to fidget a lot with it). It's anecdotal but I don't think there are any general tone changes from today to since ~June last year.

There's a distinct shift in the tone of r/politics. There's a pre-DNC nomination / pre-CTR, pro-Jill Stein, pro-Gary Johnson, pro-Bernie Sanders, anti-Hillary, no-body-cares-about-any-Republicans-because-they're-irrelevant, Democrats-still-nominally-should-represent-working-labor, generally pro grassroots anti hegemonic aristocracy sentiment. A single dimensional left-right axis does huge disservice to clear political discourse but I guess you can say Reddit used to still be representative of the general coastal progressive crowd and it's left-leaning. That is, economically more left-socialistic than a center-right Obama, socially more progressive than a left-leaning Obama, very right-conservative than a very left-interventionist Obama foreign policy, very left-high-social-mobility vs a right-establishment Obama's balance of power.

Then there's a hard shift to a pro-Hillary/establishment or you're a sexist/racist/bigot/redneck/Russian spy/religious zealot/white/rural/non college educated strawman dichotomy. I definitely wouldn't say r/politics is left-leaning. See how far you'll get if you want to talk about leftist topics like DAPL opposition, Yemen bombing opposition, Keith Ellison support, Tulsi Gabbard support, single payer support, military budget increase opposition etc.

> efforts appeared to be focused on motivating the Republican base to vote for Trump, and to drive Clinton voters to apathy or complacency. Neither of these would be achieved by trying to convince Clinton's fervent supporters on r/politics.

Sounds like you're referring to something other than r/politics. What are you referring to?

Please keep in mind that a large part of the election interference from Russia focused on dividing the left. While there was obviously some of that already happening, a big part of the efforts did in fact focus on trying to split the vote of the Left and push people to Bernie/Stein/etc. The efforts don't have to have been purely pro-Trump to have been effective.

> Please keep in mind that a large part of the election interference from Russia focused on dividing the left.

No, 100% of it focussed on dividing and weakening America, guaranteeing that whoever won would be in a weaker position from which to counter Russian geopolitical efforts.

I don't disagree, but when we delve into specific tactics, it has been confirmed by the intelligence community that one approach they took was trying to sow dissent among the left by splitting the voter base and trying to suppress voter turnout for Hillary.

Assume I temporarily freeze all other thoughts and fully accept that there was such a thing as 'election interference from Russia focused on dividing the left', that would be them tossing out their one in a lifetime chance to get a massive foot-gun against their interest instead.

More than any high level official, Clinton has a sparkling track record of financial pliability towards Russian interest. A 0.5 million speech for Bill Clinton to a Russian bank was pretty much all it took for 20% of US uranium assets. With insiders like Tony Podesta, a Clinton presidency is like a Russian wet dream. Even Clinton campaign's internal self assessment of their own candidate's relative strengths and weaknesses highlighted her being pretty much a Russian agent as being one of her top vulnerabilities as a candidate.

Clinton has her share of hawkish tendencies but only to countries that are principled and didn't bribe her. Unlike the Republicans that are the original neocons and empire builders, Clinton wasn't ideological. Weapons, chemicals, anything was for everyone, Algeria, Egypt, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda, anything was for grabs for cheap.

Another Republican would have been far more damaging for the Russians whereas a Clinton presidency would have been an extremely rare opportunity.

You only partially quoted me. I said a "large part of their interference," not all of it as your quote implies.

It has been confirmed by the intelligence community that a general theme of the interference was that they wanted to ruin Hillary specifically. I suggest you get up to speed on the official findings that have been declassified and released.[1]

I also suggest you read up on the Uranium One situation[2] as what you are portraying is very different from what the facts say, and follow a debunked narrative. In fact, in his Wednesday testimony this week, AG Sessions indicated it did not currently merit a special prosecutor due to lack of evidence.[3]

If you'd like to continue this debate and making claims, I request that you back them up with credible sources.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/politics/the-inte...

[2] https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/14/hillary-clinton-ur...

[3] http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essenti...

I see stuff like this mentioned all the time. But never saw anything that was more than speculation. Is there any truth to that I could read about?

In other news, water is wet. Of course they're considering an IPO eventually; they took $200m in funding just a few months back. I suspect people upvoting the article didn't actually read it, or else they would have seen the quote from Steve saying "the time frame is pretty far out".

Short of the year right there. Reddit's revenue model makes Twitter look like a cash cow.

> Reddit's (PRE-IPO) revenue model makes Twitter look like a cash cow.

> > Reddit's (POST-IPO) revenue model will make it the most profitable company in the world....

> > > Reddit's (POST - IPO) revenue model is LOOT CRATES.

I'll bet even now they are watching the EA Battlefront drama unfold and thinking to themselves "how can we get in on that PR action?"

Twitter has thousands of employees. Reddit probably has less than one hundred. I imagine Reddit has a lower operating cost than Twitter.

Reddit has almost 300 employees now, and is still hiring a lot.

This is amazing. Reddit today is pretty much the same site it was in the "Conde Nast dark ages", but with 100x the headcount and many many millions of VC money (I guess you could call that "liabilities").

So what is it that now makes it an IPO candidate presumably worth many magnitudes of what it was to Conde Nast?

Why do I have a feeling that Reddit Gold will be worth more than a share?

Reddit good is worth nothing because you cannot convert it into cash.

Unless Reddit tanks completely, their shares must still be worth something!

The source interview is available here (35 mins long): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvRZx5gmajs

The scale is impressive, but the site hasn't changed meaningfully since I started using it a long time ago. This is a sign of 1) a perfected product 2) a team that doesn't know why they're successful so is scared to change anything 3) huge technical debt or 4) poor engineering staff.

Which also reminds me that I am thinking seriously of Yishan-style CEOs and the board of directors should follow the same standard too.

Reddit is considered a social network?

What is your definition of social network?

Mine would be a system connecting multiple entities for the purpose of socializing... or something like that.

So I'd say yes, imo.

To me, Reddit is clearly an example of social media, and less clearly a social network. Compared to Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, it has much less focus on the network aspect, connecting individual users, and a much larger focus on what is being posted. On larger subreddits, most interactions are with random strangers, rather than people you have some close relation to.

That being said, I do think the ability to create small communities and organize that way could just be considered a different way of modeling connections. Rather than peer-to-peer links, you have topic groups as the primary structure.

There's definitely a spectrum, though, and I would be willing to accept it if somebody made the argument that Reddit wasn't a social network.

It's more social then Facebook to me. I get to meet new people based on intrest (sub-reddits) Facebook and LinkedIn is how you connect with people you actually know or 1 degree of separation.

Reddit exposed you to new ideas and people. Some good and mostly bad but it is much more "Social" in action.

It's not a question of whether it's social but whether it's a 'social network'. Facebook straight up tries to model a social network - you tell FB about your relationship to other people. Reddit doesn't.

Yes it is. There are social networks based on persons you know, and social networks based on interests.

There are, but reddit isn't really either.

so then Facebook and Linkedin are both networks. Reddit is social. lets not by default prepend "Social" when its just a network.

I'm not sure I follow why we shouldn't call something that is social and models a network a 'social network'.

facebook is one of the worst platforms I can think of. Trying to find anything in facebook is pretty much impossible, even your own posts. Reddit is more like digg used to be, but you can more easily filter out all the crap. I'm not sure how reddit can improve itself, unless some genius has an idea of how to expand what it offers to more people. Its more likely they will end up driving their core away with any radical changes.

>Compared to Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, it has much less focus on the network aspect, connecting individual users, and a much larger focus on what is being posted.

They are completely redesigning and rewriting the website from scratch with the objective of turning into an actual social network. Look what the new user profiles look like: https://www.reddit.com/user/spladug

Are old school style forums social networks then? Reddit to me just fits into that mold, of just a forum site. The type that have existed as far back as I have been using the internet.

Really it's Twitter with pictures. Same audience, same problems.

Microblogging platform that allows your to embed images and video. Has the same harassment, hate and political controversies that Twitter has. The only difference is community moderation, which can be seen as good or bad. It will be interesting what community moderation occurs after its a public company.


You may be reading the causality backwards. My guess is that Reddit's recent changes to policy and crackdowns on abusive communities are to avoid the kinds of controversies that would be damaging for a publicly-traded company.

With that said, it's exciting to imagine that Reddit going public might actually lead to a further crackdown on hate speech.

There is no such thing as hate speech, as something that can be objectively identified and reasoned about.

You can have free speech or you can have "hate speech."

Hate is an emotion, a label people apply to the way they feel. The way you feel is your choice. Emotions and feelings are variable and subjective.

Freedom is absolute and objective, something is free or it isn't.


it's exciting to imagine

What exactly excites you about such a scenario, from an open discourse and marketplace of ideas perspective?

I'd compare your argument to https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

I think tolerating hate speech will eventually cause all speech to become hate speech.

There is no such thing as hate speech, as something that can be objectively identified and reasoned about.

Are you sure? My country defines it in a legal sense, along with many others.


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