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Reddit holds the secret to fixing Facebook (bbc.co.uk)
61 points by edward 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 76 comments

> In fact, I'd go as far as to say Reddit provides a model for how to create a more interesting, fairer web. A model that doesn't drag down other publishers in the process.

No, instead it drags down users who don't follow the hivemind and bolsters power hungry mods who set the narrative. Reddit, and it's system, is in my opinion the very opposite of fixing anything, unless you think echo chambers are good thing.

> With Reddit, though, it's right there on the homepage. As I write this, the top item on the site - about a person conquering drug addiction - is there because 49,600 people felt it worth my attention.

And a number of posts you don't see because they're either removed or because the algorithm holds them back. Also, the upvotes you see are not how many people have upvoted that post... That number is much different.

> Under Reddit's upvote/downvote system, clickbait headlines often sink quickly, while long, descriptive titles, leading to genuinely insightful information, thrive.

How much time has this author spend on reddit? Clickbait is upvoted just as easily, as long as it goes along with what the hivemind thinks on that moment. And long descriptive titles do indeed thrive - because almost no one reads the article and most discussions that follow are bases solely on the title of the article.

Sigh so much wrong with the article, so much wishful thinking towards reddit..

If this article was 5-10 years ago, I would have agreed with most of it, but as it stands you are absolutely correct.

The Reddit algorithm now is incredibly opaque with constant tinkerings that make me think the "voting" is more of a placebo button on the front page. In recent memory, there were a few incidents of /r/The_Donald fully populating the front page, all with 0 upvote scores, which came off suspiciously as if they were deeply messing with the voting system.

Where it used to be a platform where you could be assured there would be minimal censorship, it is now commonplace to "shadowban" users who go against the narrative and the rules are arbitrarily enforced to ban subreddits. (Check out /r/shitredditsays for a subreddit that constantly breaks site rules but still stands unopposed)

Reddit is obviously striving for constantly more advertising friendly platform and it has been demonstrated multiple times upvotes are easily bought and advertisers are constantly sneaking in posts disguised as users to do their "viral marketing"

No, author, Reddit is moving right towards the direction of Facebook rapidly. It is only a matter of time before they begin to lock out content behind a login page, you can already see the transition today.

>there were a few incidents of /r/The_Donald fully populating the front page, all with 0 upvote scores, which came off suspiciously as if they were deeply messing with the voting system.

You know that reddit doesn't actually show you vote counts, right?

What I meant was that the numbered score they had next to every post was 0, which is incredibly atypical for that to show up on the front page.

And yes, Reddit removed the ability to see the number of upvotes/downvotes on any item a few years back. Just another way for them to obfuscate the actual results of a post.

Wasn't this when they were trying to ban /r/the_donald outright from /r/all? I feel like they were trying to penalize the "real" score but somehow kept that the same and accidentally set the "fake" score to zero instead.

> It is only a matter of time before they begin to lock out content behind a login page, you can already see the transition today.

They're already doing that, it started a few months ago. It seems to be an A/B test, so if you're lucky it might not be applied to you yet, but it looks like this: https://i.redd.it/4lrxutwazc701.png

Yeah, he really hasn't seen the darkside to Reddit has he? And it can get really dark.

I deleted an account I had there a while back and started again, with a very different set of subreddits, switching from fun to serious sub-reddits. It's like a totally different website.

I shudder to think what a racist or misogynist's reddit looks like.

I tried that with Facebook and was surprised at how different the experience was, before they pigeonholed me and I started getting content and suggestions similar to my original account.

Help me ObiWan Kenonbi, you’re my only hope. What’s a good list of serious subreddits? I’ve found a small handful, but there are surprisingly few I could find that had genuinely compelling content or commentary.

/r/DrugNerds, /r/TrueFilm, /r/MachineLearning, /r/SecurityAnalysis, /r/options, /r/CryptoTechnology

As you can see, they're all very targeted to specific interests. However, I'd also be interested in learning about other good subreddits regardless of their focus. Which ones did you or anyone else find?

I believe that is the real key to enjoying Reddit. Communities that are laser focused. Basically doing just one thing well. When a community is too big and too general I think the quality suffers.

I was using Reddit before there were subreddits and the quality was excellent with a wide variety of topics. So rather than focus, the main problem is size. With size comes all the trolls, self-promoters and nation states all with motives other than good, honest content and discussion.

That's the general consensus on Reddit. Becoming a default sub is widely regarded as a death knell for a subreddit.

The best one are well focused, well moderated, large enough to not stagnate but without tipping over into 'lowest-common-denominator' mode.

The best one is /r/askhistorians. They delete like 95% of all comments made for being low quality or useless, but the upside is that any comment remaining is worth reading. Some people find that subreddit draconian in how it is modded, but it works in keeping the quality of the subreddit up.

If you're looking to buy things or exploring new interests in general, there are great niche subreddits. For example, when I was interested in a vacuum cleaner, /r/VacuumCleaners/ was really helpful. /r/goodyearwelt/ was a really nice niche when I was exploring high-end footwear. When I was looking for a new fitness routine, /r/bodyweightfitness/ was useful.

It's not perfect, but /r/NeutralPolitics/ is worth keeping an eye on. It's an attempt to provide a platform to share facts and debate civilly.

It depends what you're interested in. If you go for some pretty narrowly focused ones, they tend to stick to the topic.

Reddit has very dark subreddits, but:

Reddit's based in interest (subreddits) YOU can choose, not in who you know, not on who knows you and uploaded their contact.

Reddit doesn't tailor adds and content based on your purchasing history from your and your wife's credit cards

Reddit doesn't limit your browsing to only the last 10 posts.

Reddit can reset your password via one email, it never asks you to upload you picture and doesn't block you every 24 hours for no clear reason.

> Reddit has very dark subreddits,

They've been doing a bit of work on this. There were a couple of pro-anorexia subs which got banned. There was a pro-self harm sub that got banned.

Peoples definition of clickbait differs, sometimes a genuinely interesting piece of information becomes clickbait once it's been posted for 10th time. But for a lot of people it's the first time they're seeing it, so it's not clickbait to them yet.

The phrase has become meaningless. It used to be “Five ideas that saved my life. #7 will Safe yours...”

Today, on HN and elsewhere, people label any headline “clickbait” if it isn’t a neat and complete summary of the article’s content. Any suspense, or pun, or metaphor gets the dreaded monicker.

Which is actually quite a change from just 5 years or so back. At the time where google was the main source for news publishers, and not social media, headlines went through a phase of being overly descriptive. They were trying to hit all the keywords people might search for. Back then, it was quite common to bemoan the death of the creative headline.

I think the author missed the actual special trick that Reddit allows over other subs/forum systems - subreddits.

Look Reddit is transparently similar to many forums that came before it, and most of the old farts from slash dot will know this.

What major change Reddit enables is subreddit budding/splitting for forums.

Forums had a terrible problem with the noise to signal ratio- sometimes the topic (say pictures) was too broad to deal with. How the heck do moderators of a forum on pictures deal with memes? Or just cute baby pics? Or nature pics- and so on.

Well subreddits solves that - while giving you a single identity you can use to traverse all this stuff, with a relatively consistent set of functions over each subject domain.

This is a pretty major function and any large scale forum will have to enable this functionality.

Also subreddit creation is a snap.


As for everyone who is bemoaning the state of Reddit - that’s the state of any forum after it starts attract the full attention of the internet populace.

The truth is long since known. The net is generally an ugly place and assuming that the admins or mods are some how unusually responsible for this state of affairs is dismissive of reality.

I Once modded at Reddit - I’ve gone from pro free speech to defining a whole new set of rules and conditionals for working with speech online.

Free speech in the old net sense is long since gone, and it’s not implementable at scale. Trust me, we’ve tried.

At best there’s networks of ideas and forums working with or against each other.

> Free speech in the old net sense is long since gone, and it’s not implementable at scale.

This is the constant refrain from the pro-censorship crowd: "if we let people say distasteful things, they'll start thinking distasteful things!". Well, no - you have it backwards. They already think it, that's why they wrote it down. What you're trying to do instead is to make the people who believe X think that they're all alone in the world, being the only ones who believe X, which actually fails spectacularly - the people who believe X learn to speak and write in "dog whistles", and the fact that you're suppressing them in the first place helps convince them that they were actually right in the first place. Otherwise, why would you be so threatened by them?

What is this "free speech" on the net people that speak of? Has it ever existed?

With few exceptions the right to post in a forum has always been at the pleasure of the mods/sysop. In fact, the quality of discussion is usually proportional to how effectively the mods cull the off topic content and wield the ban hammer against the trolls. It has been this way since the days of the dial in BBS.

If the people who believe in X are unwelcome in a particular forum, then no one is stopping them from building their own. Maybe they don't benefit from the network effects of a Reddit, but a Reddit derives zero or even negative benefits from hosting them, so fair deal.

I don't think that is OP's point or intention. I read that as saying in the good 'ol days on a small forum someone spewing nazi rhetoric would get reported/taken care of by the community. But now that the internet is so widespread, the few people who spew nazi rhetoric can find eachother and create a decent sized group which can't be stopped as effectively. Then trolls join in and it snowballs out of control.

Reddit is much worse that Facebook. Yes, Facebook. Reddit is extremely fast to censor and hide opinions, even without the knowledge of the person silenced. Different opinions are not tolerated. Completely wrong and ignorant comments get thousands of upvotes and maintain very high visibility despite stating things that can be proven false by elementary textbooks or a single google query. There's a toxic pretend-academic mindset, based around "science" and "sources" as infallable, religious-type absolute proofs of opinions. Hundreds of the top thousand posts are covert advertisement, many with fake upvotes and comments, created by either PR companies, botnets, or Reddit's own ad services. And all that without going into the toxic environment of users mindset, corrupt moderators (yes, actually taking money from companies and scammers) and other problems.

Reddit is very close to everything wrong with the internet. And on top of that, they're trying to turn into a facebook-like abomination, because the anonymous, free-for-all nature of the past Reddit has not been proven to be profitable or controllable enough.

Reddit is trivial to get started with as it's a streamlined, modern online forum with pretty basic rules. I've tried signing up to Facebook recently, and it's very difficult to get started. There are too many things to do, too many buttons and too many questions. I feel like I'm visiting a different country and have been thrown into the middle of a foreign marketplace.

What I noticed about signing up on Facebook in 2018 is that I was immediately inundated with friend requests from Africa. I can’t imagine how that plays out for your average random older, non tech savvy American signing up for the first time.

There are many major problems with reddit,

the foremost being the abusive mods on each sub reddit who let their power delude themselves into forming a god complex, the second being the voting system where it costs nothing to down or up vote leading to extremely bigoted subreddits where those in opposition to the hivemind are quickly banned and their opinion suppressed. lets not even get started on the karama junkies who will repost anything of significance repeatedly if it means getting another 100 or 200 karma, reddit is a cesspool of spam and ignorance fueled by a failed system.

All Reddit users will disagree. I prefer to use Reddit, but he is not an example of anything right now. It is suffering as much as any other platform that offers a space for discussion. Besides being completely populated by Bots and groups that act in an orchestrated way.

Reddit and Facebook are completely different concepts. The former is a forum, the latter tries to digitize real-life friendships. The difference in MAUs might also be a hint, everything is easier at smaller scale.

As businesses, both companies are trying to hold their audience’s attention and sell that attention to advertisers.

Also, Reddit is a high traffic site, so the MAU argument doesn’t really hold water. Generously, maybe facebook’s popularity in more diverse international markets adds additional challenges?

Surprised and then not-surprised to see this discussion turn into a shitshow. I never spent much time on Reddit until relatively recently, but I think they're doing a pretty good job, and that's speaking as someone who ran an online community of a few thousand people for a while.

A lot of my favorite corners of the internet are places where people obsessively talk about some fairly narrow niche, and for me assembling a stream out of such forums ends up being pretty delightful! Plumbers post plumbing in-jokes in /r/plumbing, but explain them to anyone who asks and help out the non-plumbers who wander in with questions. I never bump into the darkest corners, and I'm glad that they've been sweeping them out. Periodically I'll see a pile of [deleted]s, but generally in some thread clearly vulnerable to inappropriate comments or dumb yucks jokes.

I'll assume all the "power hungry mods" people here aren't idiots having their "that's what she said" comments and race theories deleted. Is the mod dynamic significantly different in much larger subs than I frequent? Are people frustrated at having comments deleted, or are they running afoul of some subs' (sometimes very persnickety) posting requirements?

What a weird article. Why comparing Facebook with Reddit?

"Bikes hold the secret to fixing traffic jams". Ok, sure...

The problem with Reddit is this... not sure how to fix it.

I like to play a game where I make up sort of believable 'true stories' about minor celebrities. I always make sure they are VERIFIABLE FALSE to someone who did the tiniest bit of fact checking.

Sometimes they only receive a few up votes... but a lot of times they get thousands. Eventually someone will call bullshit, but that person is just crushed by the avalanche of up votes. Lying about minor things isn't something most MODS will ban you for, or even delete your comment, so most of them still stand.

There has to be some mechanism where one person who can prove they know the truth, has more voting power than the general visitor who does not. It's just like something Sheryl Sandberg said to me at a women's leadership conference. "It takes a lot of people working together to build something great, but it only takes one asshole to fuck it up."

There's no way to do that because it relies on a naive understanding of truth.

Sometimes the celebrity themselves may have selective recall of an event - so even a statement from the subject of the rumor could be false.

Two video cameras catching the same event from different angles can imply vastly different stories.

Basically the plot of rashomon unfolds everyday and at scale.

Does the author even know how reddit works? The vote numbers you see aren't real (sidebars and faq on the site itself explain this see https://www.reddit.com/wiki/faq ) and many subs don't let you downvote unless you join them. Reddit is no panacea or utopia and has plenty of issues of its own, as pointed out by many already.

The numbers are fuzzed by generally a good indicator.

There's no way to disable downvoting on reddit. Some subs try to hide the button using custom CSS, but this doesn't affect those with custom CSS disabled sitewide, per-subreddit (with RES) or mobile users (presumably the majority of traffic).

Tangent rant: giving your sub some character with a custom banner is ok, but the ability to hide or change basic UI like the logout button or voting buttons is a huge flaw in the design of reddit.

The only reason he's saying that is because reddit has given BBC "special status" and BBC's social media team controls a bunch of subreddits.

Reddit has turned into a crazy echo chamber - a crazy echo chamber that is in line with BBC's goals.

This is hilariously ignorant.

Reddit just in the last few days banned /r/uncensorednews and /r/european for some of the most racist, xenophobic content you can find on the internet. And the admins allowed this behaviour to persist for months and years.

Or maybe they should spend some time in /r/incel or /r/kotakuinaction to find disturbing sexist and mysognistic communities that again is unparalleled amongst the rest of the internet (4chan included).

The depths of Reddit is truly an horrific and appalling place to be. And no self respecting website should ever follow what Reddit does to stop it (i.e. not very much).

Reddit has some good, but it is increasingly being overtaken by the bad.

Stormfront recruits on Reddit and works to infiltrate then control popular subreddits.

The Reddit admins only banned a couple of token websites recently because media attention was focused upon them. Once the spotlight moves elsewhere, the admins will once again go back to doing nothing.

There's also accusations that CEO Steve Huffman "/u/spez" is a white nationalist supporter. This leads some folks to say that Reddit is not cracking down on hateful content because their leadership approves of it. Spez was also caught directly modifying Reddit's production database to change comments mocking him. That's right, a C level exec had production database access and thought nothing of trolling people by directly modifying their comments.

This calls into question any legal case that has relied on Reddit comments as evidence. For instance: https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/watch-mo...

Reddit's leadership has also been denying that they have done nothing to mitigate the Russian propaganda influence on Reddit. The admins have tried to pass off a few banned accounts as "constant vigilance". This has been shockingly inadequate since the Russian influence of US elections was uncovered.

The best one can say about Reddit's leadership is that they're very, very lazy.

This is like complaining about the internet because it contains websites that you have no obligation to ever visit.

When discussing social problems of (for example) rumour mills, propaganda from niche and large causes, and conspiracies to commit crimes, it’s missing the point spectacularly to point out we’re under no obligation to ever visit those groups — their influence affects our world regardless of out patronage.

I think it's harder to find stand-alone sites dedicated to dark topics than it is to find a group of subreddits.

Reddit streamlines the process and provides a one-stop shop reducing the barriers of entry.

It is not. In fact, OP states exactly how it is not, by saying that Reddit does very little to stop the toxicity of reddit.

Are you shielded from the "bad parts" of reddit if you don't subscribe to that type of sub-reddit? Well, maybe, unless you hit /r/all in your top navigation. It's all right there lurking under the surface. Reddit gets very dark very fast and it is factual that they don't control it nearly as well as they should.

So no, it is not like "complaining about the internet because it contains websites that you have no obligation to ever visit" because the internet has no mechanism to surface bad content on the whim of its users. All it takes on reddit to surface something terrible is coordination and hitting the upvote button.

> Reddit gets very dark very fast and it is factual that they don't control it nearly as well as they should.

It can never be factual that something should be, since what should be is subjective.

>the internet has no mechanism to surface bad content on the whim of its users.

Don't think this is true, search engines and crawlers can surface anything that users want to find.

>All it takes on reddit to surface something terrible is coordination and hitting the upvote button.

You need never see content from subreddits you are not subscribed to

The first rule if reddit is to unsubscribe from/r/all.

This is clearly coming from someone whose views generally align with the progressive/leftist/globalist reddit hivemind.

As someone very much on the other end of the spectrum, it might be interesting that everyone in my circles loathes reddit for the censorship and manipulative propaganda. I hate how well they "control" it, and I despise your euphemistic use of the term.

I am willing to have a pondered discussion about this, because it is most certainly true that we both have biased (to one side or the other) views of what they do. It can even be that neither of us is right.

I am obviously not for censorship of ideas, but reddit goes deep into the worst mankind has to offer. There's a line that each individual will draw on what is acceptable to them or not. I think that reddit often crosses that line for many people (would say most, but I don't know and am trying to avoid bias). I do think they need to stop the proliferation of racism, pedophilia and other societal maladies. You may draw different lines.

But I would love examples (and you have what appears to be a throwaway account here, so I think you can be comfortable sharing) of what you think is reddit's censorship or their manipulative propaganda. I mean this in earnest. I don't see it, but we all have different views of the world.

>I am obviously not for censorship of ideas

You are though. What's the point of including this little disclaimer if you're going to render it meaningless in your next breath?:

>I do think they need to stop the proliferation of racism, pedophilia and other societal maladies

I think they have every right to do this, but I condemn them for it.

If the ideas are so terrible, beat them with rational arguments. If you have to ban an idea, it seems inherently evident to me that the idea contains some irrefutable truth that can only be silenced, not defeated. It disgusts me the same way that critical discussion of the holocaust is punishable by imprisonment in some places, in contrast to virtually every other historical incident which we encourage fact-checking and debate and almost invariably acknowledge that there are two sides to every story.

I wonder if I could appeal to you by taking this approach... When you drive people away from relatively mainstream places like reddit, where they are exposed to alternate viewpoints even if sticking predominantly to their politically incorrect echo-chamber subs, you don't magically change their opinion. You don't make the idea go away. All you achieve is creating a persecution complex within these people, reinforcing their belief that they know some inconvenient truth, you create solidarity within that community of exiles, and you drive them into a pure echo chamber of ever-increasing radicalisation without objection.

I personally grew disillusioned with reddit after being banned from all my favourite subs for reasonably tame (and relevant) comments condemning the mass 3rd world invasion of Europe and the West, and the increasing push by socialists and Marxists to manipulate and destroy our culture. My most frequented sub I now haven't visited in, I estimate, over 18 months, because it's infuriating seeing the leftist circlejerk and knowing I'll be rate-limited or banned even if I create a throwaway to offer a reasonable and polite comment in opposition.

Instead, I spend most of my time on voat and a little on 8chan, and in the space of a couple years I've gone from libertarian race realist to full 'gas the kikes' and 'niggers ruin everything'. It's a redpill I can't unswallow now. It's a redpill I maybe never would have known if I hadn't seen subs banned, subs manipulated, inconvenient news censored, algorithms altered, etc and said fuck it, I'm out.

If they were at least honest about it, I could accept it. Perhaps it's the perverse nature of it that frustrates me the most. /r/politics is an egregious example: the name implies neutrality, when in fact it's a cesspool of anti-White, pro-globalist, leftist hysteria and propaganda.

>If you have to ban an idea, it seems inherently evident to me that the idea contains some irrefutable truth that can only be silenced, not defeated. Expecting a "rational" debate while spouting such irrational views is quite absurd. Most people, and that probably includes myself, will hold some views in high regard; convinced that are rational, whilist being just like your example pretty much a fallacy.

I find quite laughable that some jerks cry about censorship when a private company denies them access to a site, while they propose to use physical force and violence to deny access to other people to a physical place.

Reddit isn't leftist. Left-wing oriented comments and content is taked down and bashed upon. Reddit is build primarily on american neo-liberalism and whatever the clinton segment of the Democratic party supports.

It's very offensive to say this is representitive of left wing ideas. It's actually right-wing unless you compare them with literal Nazis like Breitbart-affiliated politicians.

> Reddit is build primarily on american neo-liberalism and whatever the clinton segment of the Democratic party supports.

You know you’re talking about the place where GamerGate kept rolling, various neo-Nazi / white supremacist / misogynist groups remained for years, etc. At most I’d say that Reddit is libertarian leaning due to the general preference for a hands-off free for all.

How far down the rabbithole do you need to go before your complaint about "uncensorednews" being censored is not that it happened at all, but that it took too long!?

>Disturbingly sexist

Yes, I always hear this repeated breathlessly. Then I go look at that hive of scum and villainy that is the Gamer Gate sub and find:

"The Metropolitan Police's (Greater London) Orwellian definition of "hate incident" is actually terrifying"

"[Censorship] Lauren Southern talks with Sargon about her Detainment and UK Censorship"

"[Gaming] Violent video games not welcome for Olympic esports consideration"

"London Mayor warns big tech on hate speech."

"[Related Politics] The creator of the world wide web is disappointed that huge platforms "control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared"

Point me to the omnipresent hate please. They seem pretty on point about censorship and free expression.

See, you are free to believe that it's a misogynist and hateful movement all you want, but you should at least be honest with yourself about the kind of argument you are making. Namely:

"Black Lives Matters is about looting."

I assume you don't need me to tell you why that is dumb.

(And every time this gets brought up here, some dedicated flaggers come out of the woodwork)

This is exactly why I've come to distrust the left. When I was younger, and, as Churchill would say, "had a heart", progressive causes appealed to me - who could oppose gay rights or women's rights or worker's rights? But the fact that liberals are so quick to hyperbole and so quick to dismiss any criticism - no matter how legitimate or reasonable - as prejudice, makes me suspect that deep down, they're hiding something and that they have a (not very well) hidden agenda.

You think all liberals (~30% of americans or whatever it is) have a hidden agenda?

> The depths of Reddit is truly an horrific and appalling place to be.

So are the depths of our very society.

Ever heard of a concept called "free speech"?

The problem of Reddit is the opposite, that they arbitrarily ban subreddits, like the ones you cited.

The second problem of Reddit is that whoever gets to first register a subreddit gets to arbitrarily censor it, so whoever happened to register, let's say, "javascript" first, now gets to be a dictator of JavaScript discourse, and the Reddit admins in this case, instead, do nothing in response to complaints.

The third problem is that any competitor site is going to be unsuccessful due to network effects except at attracting the banned Reddit communities, so you get a site that is full of trolls and controversial communities without balance from the rest of society.

Free speech doesn't imply that anybody else has to publish your speech. You still have free speech even if the newspaper won't publish your comments.

While true, this is also the kind of thinking that gets you populist leaders like Donald Trump. You can drive out the opinions of everybody you disagree with, everywhere, while chanting that "you have free speech, just not here!", but as long as we hang on to the concept of representative democracy, those people are still participating in the political process, and they're bound to remember that the ballot box is the only place that they're permitted to express unapproved viewpoints.

How on earth is encouraging people to express views that, followed through, would result in direct harm to people, supposed to prevent those views from being put into policy or resulting in hate crime? The actual problem isn't that they're expressing those views - it's that they have them in the first place. Consider solving that, rather than rushing to the aid of people who'd rather have me dead.

To be fair to reddit, they're doomed either way. A lot of the subreddits that have been banned haven't been banned because of their content but because they were involved in doxing people. Some examples include /r/incels and /r/altright. There are subreddits remaining that most people would consider distasteful and maybe even bannable like /r/watchpeopledie that stay because they follow the rules. I agree with your points though.

But doxxing is free speech and should be encouraged by anyone who runs a website with a comment form, of course. /s

tl;dr: Reddit's "secret" to fix Facebook is the ability to downvote stuff. Because Facebook only measures engagement and doesn't care if users like it or not. Reddit (or downvoting in general) provides a better filter.

The article ends awkwardly with something that makes no sense at all:

> On the same day that Mr Huffman appeared at SXSW, the web's inventor - Sir Tim Berners-Lee - published a letter.

> "What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms," he wrote.

> Reddit has the power to help reverse this trend.

By centralizing discussions on a single website? Odd.

Even with the downvoting option of Reddit, I found implementations like StackOverflow’s to be more interesting (at S.O., “down” doesn’t remove as many points as “up” adds, and it costs the downvoter personal points to do it).

The SO model seems tricky to generalize. I like that downvoting has a cost but for political topics that’s vulnerable to sock puppets & trolls unless there’s a very healthy karma threshold.

Do we really need to put an idiotic comment at -150 points to make a point though ?

I was thinking more about the situation where a bunch of accounts are registered and upvote each other into prominence or coordinate downvotes. That can have a pronounced effect on community norms and many communities don’t have enough genuine participants with spare time to stay on top of even minor troll infestations much less a GamerGate, Russian political operation, etc.

>"What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms," he wrote.

>Reddit has the power to help reverse this trend.

Odd that they completely missed the point of this, Reddit is a major part of the consolidation of the internet. Reddit pretty much killed independent forum and community websites.

In my experience, Facebook has replaced more independent online communities than reddit.

The problem with downvoting is you then wind up with one-minded users where diversity of opinions and interests aren't allowed.

Down voting on a real name network is going to be problematic, unless Facebook keeps down votes secret and uses them to decide where in the news feed to place posts...

As the author points out that at least Reddit shunts you out of the website when yoU find an interesting link.

Facebook wants you to react as long as you react within its walled garden.

this recently appeared on HN and New Yorker article makes an interesting (though bit long) read on how Reddit manages its network behind the scenes:


HAHAHAHA no. Reddit is not a good model for much of anything.

To start with, they're solving a much simpler problem. A large percentage of their claimed 1.6B users per month are pure drive-bys - outsiders who followed one link one time and then left quickly. That's not the same as two billion users actively posting and interacting with content. Also, their data model is simpler. Even a hundred thousand subreddits are easy to model and manage compared to the "social graph" which is unique for each user.

Even with that smaller scale and simpler model, they're not even trying to address some of the interesting problems such as privacy. You post something to a subreddit and it's visible or not - even to those casual visitors - according to the subreddit's settings. You don't get individual control of each post's visibility, which is essential for many people to control which sides of themselves they show to which groups of friends.

Reddit is shouting in one of many town squares, and can be nothing else. Facebook can also be used that way, but for many it's more importantly a way to have more private interactions. Reddit doesn't even try to solve the interesting problems, so it could hardly be considered a model for solving them.

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