The increasing amount of dark patterns Reddit has been employing lately is concerning. (recent example: Reddit now gates content in mobile Safari to push users to the app: https://twitter.com/minimaxir/status/1086002848926593025 )
That said, it seems like the really bad dark patterns I reported 7 months ago (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17446841) no longer appear to be in place.
1. They cycle through a couple of different messages, and the buttons get switched around
2. The wording is such that you read it twice and still aren't sure which button will just take you to the damn website
I don't mind them promoting their app, but these dark patterns truely rile me
Random aside: I've long been very down on web tech, but those 3 have sort of reinvigorated my interest in web stuff.
Not Mozilla's fault
On my phone I use reddit is fun. I have no issues at all with reddit atm in terms of them fucking with my experience.
Legacy mode will be phased out as soon as it has served their purpose of smoothing over the transition.
Or, it will be allowed to die of neglect, slowly becoming less and less compatible with the site until fully unusable.
I miss old reddit, nothing else really fills the niche in a unified way.
Reddit and Facebook both have some hold for me because of niche communities that they both let me aggregate/monitor/interact with easily, without going to a myriad of websites. I really don’t want to have to do that - in some cases, I’m not even sure I can find comparable replacements.
It is interesting because it's related to what I do but different enough to be fascinating.
Folk would probably move over to something like voat.co
There will be other places for you to migrate to, as there have been for decades, if not an entire generation.
1 - https://gitlab.com/mbajur/prismo
I use Boost for Reddit (Android) and the old reddit style, and RES in my browser. I see why they are going towards the Instagram style route - people generally like what they are accustomed to; and I guess more people use Instagram than Reddit.
It's already frustrating to view v.reddit content in 3rd party apps.
The reddit community is great, but the company seems to not care about their users at all.
Isn't there a ton of data that most people don't even use many apps anymore? Or they install them once and then uninstall them or ignore them?
I hope we can move towards a web that stays in the web browser. Apps are becoming really annoying, especially for interactions you only have intermittently (I'm not a daily reddit user, but I go there every now and then, or it pops up on search).
That doesn't mean the app can't exfiltrate data (presumably data useful to advertisers) in the background.
The mobile app is a program that works for the developer.
The end result of browsers becoming more adtech-hostile and user-friendly is that more companies turn to mobile apps.
What is "several years"? This has definitely existed, say, five years ago. Not at this scale, of course, but it's not a recent invention by a long shot.
The latest Firefox release has a built in list of tracker domains to block and next release blocks auto playing video.
From a user perspective, now is probably the best time ever to be using the web.
Apple decides to start notifying on cookies or make fingerprinting harder? Poof. There goes a chunk of your ad value per user.
And who knows what any given browser vendor will do tomorrow?
Some would say "So it's like the 90s, where everyone was continually adapting as web specs were negotiated." The difference is that now there are billion+ dollar businesses directly tied to that ad revenue.
Dark patterns are defined by trying to willfully get you to do something that's counter to your own intent.
As for Clippy, it's not hard to design a straightforward auto-correction feature, which detects what you typed and suggests a useful addition or replacement. Google, Apple, etc., all have their own designs that work perfectly well. I have trouble seeing an animated 3D cartoon as anything other than "trying to willfully get me to do something counter to my own intent". That's a classic way to manipulate people.
Reddit is in good company here, notably with YouTube and Twitter.
The values people can be browbeaten, outnumbered and marginalized. Once that happens it’s hard to change back, even if you identify and remove the ringleaders.
If Reddit had 10 employees and a $5 million annual salary budget, all the employees would be very well compensated, but they wouldn't need to raise $300 million from investors or aggressively pursue ad revenue by pushing an app to avoid ad blocking.
Personally I'm not sure if running as a pseudo-nonprofit would work or not. It's possible there's a cat-and-mouse game with spammers, astroturfers, and griefers that can only be solved with large numbers of employees and high revenue. Perhaps successful online nonprofit projects like Internet Archive and Debian have only avoided this because the don't have the combination of user-generated content and a large user base that make them attractive to spammers. Or perhaps the fact Reddit has so many more users than MetaFilter is a sign sites following this model just don't get big.
I would posit that it is possible for Reddit to finance itself and it's operation without going as far as they are doing now.
However, that would imply forgoing possible megaprofits that VCs wants - as well as probably reducing growth in headcounts and interesting internal projects. So there are both internal and external forces pushing in the direction of more monetization.
I think Basecamp is a nice example of forgoing profit for a better product.
When the recession hits how do you plan to buffer the revenue beating you're guaranteed to take? If you had built up a cash reserve, you can absorb some or all of the hit.
Where do you plan to get a large amount of capital to make opportunistic investments in expanding what you do? Debt? If you say debt / loans, that's just admitting the necessity of the capital buffer (which is better derived from profit via operations rather than paying for debt and the associated debt interest).
What's your plan for surviving a recession or industry change or regulatory hit (which can demand immense spending on compliance adjustment) with either near 0% revenue growth or low single digit growth? That's the most common business scenario, not 30% or 50% growth every year.
What if you have the opportunity to hire N talented engineers from a failed competitor. You've got zero or very low revenue growth and hiring these talented people could very plausibly alter your trajectory. It's an opportunity to jump on. Where is your capital for that coming from?
You can apply the exact same capital outlay scenario to equipment investment / upgrade opportunities.
How do you plan to absorb any manner of business disaster?
Profit is inherently necessary so that when inevitable bad things happen, you can afford to absorb them. It's also necessary for opportunistic expansion and investment, when you see an opportunity that requires a sizable upfront capital allocation. One of the biggest differences between organizations that seize on opportunities and those that don't or can't, is having the required capital to act.
And yet, Wikimedia is a non-profit. So is Harvard. Non-profit doesn't mean you can't have a capital reserve. It only means you don't pay that capital reserve out to shareholders.
> Profit is inherently necessary so that when inevitable bad things happen, you can afford to absorb them.
Some of the longest-lasting institutions in the world are non-profit.
Is it just some or is it all? Honest question, the only very long lasting institutions I can think of are not for-profit.
There are, of course, religious institutions that are older.
Wikimedia comes to mind. They're by no means perfect, but they're the closest match I can think of.
One answer to this is it is very hard because your users would need to pay fees instead of being sucked into ads en masse by dark patterns. And who is willing to pay a monthly subscription fee for reddit?
Wikimedia just gets donations instead because they provide useful content. The majority of reddit is memes and images so people will just migrate to Instagram. A faithful rest might pay, but not enough to reach a $3bn valuation.
Why? What's the business reason? What does a native app provide the business that a mobile website doesn't?
As a result, most Silicon Valley product managers are trained to think that websites are nothing more than the top of a funnel to eventually convert low-value search engine users into high-value app users. Once you realize this, almost every stupid thing websites do suddenly makes sense. They will do almost anything possible to grow app installs even if it makes the website nearly useless.
Sure, it's terrible if you care about the web and user experience. But most PMs only stick around a company for 1-2 years and they'd rather be able to show a hockey stick graph of "high value" app user growth to get promoted or get a new job then worry about what makes for a good user experience.
Another reason is that a local app can spy on you more (track your location, for example) to collect data to sell, harass you with notification spam, and display non-blockable ads.
In the case of Sonos, it is much darker and user hostile because there is no danger of "web consumers being siphoned off by google" - you have to buy the Sonos components anyway. In this case it is all about metadata and traffic and user profiling.
e: Most likely the desktop app has seen declining usage the last decade, which is why Sonos doesn't prioritize it.
It can’t be that high anymore. All the signals seem to be that rooting is trending down. I could be wrong of course as I have no hard data.
The dev team A/B tests a bunch of options until that number goes up, and then double down on the success. They don't really care about what users actually want, they're just pushing that app number up in any way possible. Their job performance is likely based on whether or not that number increases.
Medium does this too and it's a huge danger of taking a data-first approach to user experience. A/B testing on its own isn't bad, but it's often what drives this business behavior.
A huge investment will likely make them push this type of thing even harder because now they have to prove the investment's worth.
Simple: you can’t block ads in a native App (at least not by installing an ad blocker or other methods accessible to normal users, you‘d have to modify DNS responses or similar).
I think another major reason is that if someone is seeking to amuse themselves then in a browser they're as likely to skip over to another website; whilst in an app there's a mental barrier to that. I imagine people are more likely to change and view another subreddit, rather than jump to another website altogether.
There's a censorship angle too, wherein the app operators get greater control over the message their users receive than do website operators.
Until then, not being much of a phone user at all, I'd been convinced that mobile experiences were always worse than desktop ones.
 now that I think of it, probably the same reason Twitch was pushing its desktop app.
Product reason: (potentially) better ux/design, but obviously a lot of people think they went down the wrong route
More often than not, I got redirected to App Store to re-download Reddit app, instead of launching the post in the app.
Clicking 'Signup" brings you to a single email form field screen that in no way indicates you do NOT need to provide an email.
Clicking 'Next' without entering one lets you create your username and PW without an email address.
As a marketer, I understand (but don't condone or agree with) the thinking behind some of what they've done, but as a user of over a decade, I'm nervous about the direction they've been taking the service, and this is not good news IMHO.
Hell, I'm more ready to call it an easter egg than deception.
The dark pattern is that there is zero indicator that it is actually optional and they appear to go out of their way to hide that fact. It is about being upfront with your intentions, and what you are offering users.
I guess everbody sucks on this new, modern and JS-USB-enabled (thanks again Google!) web.
Pretty much, yes.
AMP compliance gets you a better Google search placement. So, every site is going to make sure they get their AMP placement and then funnel you to something non-Google.
AMP is an absolute cancer and its adoption would probably be 0% if google didn’t forcefully shove it down everyone’s throat. (And they are very good at learning from their own history, because that totally worked with Google+.)
One big 'bootstrapping' problem is that the first to adopt a new platform are the people who are _too toxic_ for the original.
While everyone on Digg or MySpace could easily move to reddit or facebook, it is much harder for a subreddit centered around say gardening, astrophotography, headphones or a tv show to just jump to a new website. I do hope that these communities won't be lost when reddit does end up losing its charm and popularity.
Taking down an incumbent is hard, though. Might need deep pockets for a while.
Fortunately I have u-block origin so I could just add a few filters to get rid of that nonsense. It doesn't solve the terrible performance however (because apparently you need a top-of-the-line smartphone to load and display a few kB of plaintext comments).
Care to share?
> a community that is still one of the most hated
As far as I can see in the USA and in most of Europe it’s way more socially acceptable to declare to be atheists, rather than observing Christians.
I can't speak for Europe, but as of 2015, at least, about three-quarters of Americans identified as Christian. There are still large swaths of this country where being relatively outspoken about your atheism is, if not out-and-out dangerous, likely to have a negative impact on your social circles and even your career.
Remember that the HN crowd -- e.g., tech workers who by and large have pretty cosmopolitan outlooks -- is not really representative of "median America."
Also, religion comes up routinely, though perhaps not frequently, in contexts where religious belief is assumed. In an ordinary conversation about the right way to handle a situation, people will ask you, "Do you think God wants me to ______?" It's just a manner of speaking, but it forces you to either pretend belief or out yourself and face their judgment. It's only in "mixed company" where people avoid the topic.
This gets interesting when talking to theists because, if you don’t point it out, many people will hear “he has a religion, he’s one of us”. Many assume Buddha is a deity.
If you do push the point, you learn that some people’s brains short out when you tell them there is a religion with hundreds of millions of followers that doesn’t have a God. The Venn diagram in their brain of Us and Them can’t process this fact.
I read Nietzsche on my own in high school, and just felt so relieved that I wasn't alone with these thoughts and wasn't just some weirdo. The internet was nothing like it was today, chatrooms were the forum for discussion and there might have been some geocities pages devoted to atheistic belief, but it was still in the dark corners.
It amazed me when I saw that /r/atheism was a front and center thing when I first started going to reddit. It devolved over time into a version of /r/IamVerySmart, but that IMHO was an amazing outlet for those having doubts about all the crap being shoved down their throat their whole lives. It would have saved me a lot of anxiety growing up.
What happened instead was that marginalized people all over the US found out they weren’t crazy or bad. There were people who thought just like them three hours away. So they picked up and moved to the city faster than ever.
On a somewhat related note: A lot of people cite the "faces of atheism" meme/trend whatever you want to call it as being the tipping point when /r/atheism just went too far and it became cringey. I mean some of those posts were a bit cringey, but overall I think it sent a very needed message- that there are lots of people out there from all walks of life that think like you do, don't think you have to give in to the prevailing beliefs. I don't think my upbringing was that abnormal- questioning the existence of god, my parents/family would have smacked me, probably verbally but if I really pushed it they likely would have punished me. My friends all seemed to firmly believe as well but were generally tolerant, it certainly seems you could be a social pariah in more religious parts of the country. Being exposed to new ideas like this I am sure spawned some people to say to themselves I don't have to go along with all this crap, there are bigger and better things out there.
If you believe that then you're living in a bubble. Please, go outside your comfort zone and see how the rest of the population thinks. Hint: It's not what you believe.
This was a story line in HBO's Silicon Valley.
If you believe that, I don't even know where to begin.
People in the US Bible Belt get death threats if they declare their atheism.
Online isn't offline. And most people still exist more in the offline world.
In meatspace there are plenty of social communities where you will be looked down upon for being religious (if you really don't believe this, you either need to travel more or you need to keep questioning social dogmas even after you've found some place you fit in). The many more places where you'll be looked down on for being atheist does not support making one sweeping generalization - opposing flavors of intolerance do not cancel each other out!
It's similar to how the KKK is still a problem, yet we've got this new trend of oppressing free speech online. It's tough to affect the entrenched players in any game, and all too easy to attack easy targets in a simulation of fighting the good fight.
No, I'm not letting you get away with "equivalency". That kind of mental gymnastics is what allows these kinds of "talking points" to exist.
Christian churches are not taxed. Atheist non-profits are. Christian religions get "marriage" enshrined in law and get to define what "marriage" is. Atheists get their partners decisions questioned in the hospital. I can go on and on about the privileges that religion enjoys in the US.
Taking away undeserved privileges is not persecution. If you want to see persecution, go to the middle east--THAT'S what Christian persecution looks like.
The US qualifies are one of the most religious of the countries that don't qualify as theocracies. Claiming that Christians are being persecuted in the US is hogwash.
If you want to talk to me about persecution, come back after every church in the US is actually paying taxes--I won't hold my breath.
> Atheists get their partners decisions questioned in the hospital. I can go on and on about the privileges that religion enjoys in the US ... Taking away undeserved privileges is not persecution
So, you have implied that it would be progress for a traditionally-married couple to have medical decisions for their spouses questioned, in the same manner that an unlegalized gay couple does. This is the inherent problem with framing things in terms of privileges instead of rights - it implies that the way to make things equal is to tear others down, rather than supporting rights for all.
IMO, but I'm certainly not a scholar here - if you look at the actual messages of Jesus (et al), they were preaching against the oppressive power structures of their time. Their specific dogmas were then calcified and turned into their own oppressive power structure, because real understanding requires continuing vigilance.
If you're not yet to the point where you can forgive the overly religious, then I understand. But closing that door is just setting your dogma up to be a tool of the next oppressor.
Lots of people were fatigued by daily threads like this microcosm. It’s obviously important to folks in the sub, but it was many instances of people just not caring. There must be some form of directed apathy where a description is not that I care about something, but I definitely do not care enough to be aware of it. It’s not apathy as I dislike encountering it, but I am fine with its existence.
I don't know what it's like in Europe, but in the US, it's a very divisive topic. Really divisive. Like brawls in the streets divisive. Like secede-from-the-Union divisive. There's cities that will shun you for being religious, and other cities that will shun you for not being religious, sometimes even in the same state.
That's why the government shut down happened, frankly. The religious and non-religious parts of the United States literally hate each other so much that they'll act against their own interests just to hurt the other side.
For workplaces, I think that ship has sailed. But it probably won’t help you with awkward thanksgiving or high school reunion conversations yet. All the kids I know hang out with the atheists but I can’t tell if that says something about these kids or kids in general.
If only other online platforms were that honest! Imagine Google sending out misleading gmails in your name, or Facebook mining your private messages for incriminating secrets and offering to "share" them with all your friends.
There's nothing technical preventing any of these kinds of abuses, and the sooner average users understand that, the sooner we'll have support for strong legal protections to rein in big tech companies.
I do think you overestimate how trivial it would be for "management" (who? a senior PM? Sergei? Zuck?) to decide to turn off all internal security controls so individual Googlers could send emails using someone else's identity--it would likely run afoul of multiple current laws and contracts, to speak nothing of the universal, strong internal objections there'd be to that change and the high engineering cost to migrate off those systems. And I can't imagine a business landscape that would encourage any company to let individual employees do that.
There are tons of things to worry about wrt BigTechCos, but preventing and auditing rogue employees are something where their incentives align pretty strongly with the public good.
FWIW I do support stronger legal and privacy requirements (with some caveats, mostly because compliance is very expensive and potentially harmful to smaller companies).
Google's servers have the ability to send email from firstname.lastname@example.org and it comes with all the appropriate DKIM signatures to be from "me". They have some kind of auto-reply system such that their computer can automatically send "as me". They're already 90% of the way there: I think you've overestimating how big a change this would be.
I'll also say that I have little to no confidence in "strong internal objections". VW engineers built the emissions-cheating system, Facebook engineers built Beacon, Google engineers dutifully slurped up everyone's private wifi traffic. As long as management dressed it up a little bit and/or reassigned any dissenters, I'm sure they'd get a compliant team to build whatever garbage they wanted.
Obviously you think you're the good guys, and you'd never do that, but you'd be surprised how "good" people can gradually slide into really unethical behaviour. If you haven't read them I recommend https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/558867.Disciplined_Minds and https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37976541-bad-blood
The only issue to Reddit it seems was that he was caught doing it.
Why, their actions can lend plausible deniability to incriminating information in posts that have not been edited.
Might we say you are a religious athiest?
It was a very easy game.
It became a place to hate on everyone who didn't believe in atheism.
The current top comment on the current top post on /r/politics :
>David Frum said it best this morning on NPR, his call for unity isn't actually a call for unity, he's demanding that everyone to support him and his policies.
The current top comment on the current top post on /r/The_Donald :
>Schumer looked disgusting. Glasses at the end of his nose. Very disrespectful.
The politics comment might be biased but it is a least a political opinion worth discussing. The comment on The Donald is at best a childish insult and while I personally wouldn't call it "hate speech" I wouldn't be shocked if it was some form of antisemitic dog whistle. I think you are showing your own biases if you think those two subs have a similar level of discourse.
 - https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/anf6vn/trump_will...
 - https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/anf6ov/i_see_sc...
(Edit to the guy below: I'm not saying I disagree with you, just adding some context.)
I know that politicians getting criticized for their looks is just part of the equation and Trump is a big victim of that. However it is a little different when you are criticizing a Jewish person's "sniveling nose", especially in a community that is routinely accused of being hateful and antisemitic.
EDIT: This comment is being heavily downvoted, but I am not sure why. Like I said in my original post this wouldn't meet my personal definition of hate speak. However is it really outlandish to suggest that a community that has been accused of antisemitism might be signaling their antisemitism when their criticism of a Jewish person is the most stereotypical physical characteristic of the Jewish people?
This is a case of projection if there ever was one.
She's also a woman, but I don't think anyone would see that as sufficient to refute the claim that Trump is a misogynist. Not that Trump was even referred to here except as a victim of the popular act of mocking politicians appearance.
> Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem
Being a Christian Zionist, or politically pandering to Christian Zionists, isn't incompatible with anti-Semitism.
To start with, nothing I said here was directed towards Trump so Ivanka isn't relevant. Even if she was, aren't we past the whole "some of my friends are black" excuse for bigotry? Plenty of people otherize a group while thinking the people they know in that group are "one of the good ones".
The next big problem is the equating Jews with all of Israel. It is entirely possible for someone to be antisemitic and pro-Israel or anti-Israel and not antisemitic. Israel is an independent nation with its own politics and there are plenty of Jews there with any number of political ideologies. Over recent years the political climate of Israel has been skewing right (in part due to the support of the American right/Evangelicals who are pro-Israel and not necessarily pro-Jews). It is therefore natural that members of the political left in this country are reacting by distancing themselves from the political actions of Israel.
I am not going to get into a debate about Palestine, Farrakhan, or anything more political than than what I mentioned above. HN is not the place for that discussion and I don't think that discussion has any relevance to the original question of whether mocking a Jewish person's nose is potentially antisemitic.
I’m not saying something didn’t go on, but if something did happen, where did that number come from besides “anonymous source[s]”
Google realized that load times are critical 20 years ago. Facebook realized it when Google was launching G+.
They seem to be forgetting it, lately.
But Reddit is only one of those things.
Especially as the cookie is broken so that you get the pop-up every single AMP visit.
That's by design. Reddit is just another data mining company. Of course they'd rather have you on the app than the browser. Apps can gather info about you even when you're not using them.
They've been doing that for months now. Plus their mobile site is hideously slow and bloated.
Here's a tip: http://i.reddit.com. Looks old but does the job.
I'm glad they keep their old mobile interface (https://i.reddit.com) which loads instantaneous. Unfortunately some links redirect you to the new interface, which is when I just close the site.
They have also become particularly creepy and anti-privacy lately.
We should probably be cautious about using the term "dark pattern" so liberally, otherwise anything on the web that we don't like could eventually be categorized as such and the term loses its power.
Why not just load your own css and set the div to "display:none;" then?
Specifying a parameter of reddit’s specification allows me to work with them as a user to follow their parameter. If their users don’t like certain features (like nag popups) then it helps them to proactively solve this problem before their users leave.
the captcha is not completable, and when it is, the next section says the captcha signature is invalid
but you can always circumvent that with a clearnet VPN, just need to isolate its use to just reddit, that session.
my point being that with Google your complaint is valid. But on reddit case, you are just signaling that you liked one dark pattern (which probably benefited you) more than others.
I call shenanigans on the hypergrowth, where the metrics you sent me imply ~1 million pageviews per month yet there is barely any engagement or new/original content on the site itself. (and the few comments there appear to be very Voat-esque)
Semi-related, I dislike straight-up Reddit/Hacker News clones, including the UI. If Reddit/HN has enough issue to warrant a competitor by cloning the UI, that just repeats the same problem.
So notabug itself is 2% of 1 million ~ 20k pageviews.
However, snew.notabug.io is a mirror of the corresponding Reddit posts w/o censorship, which makes it not an alternative! Shenanigans identified!
But the tech has real promise and that's the story here. Of course 'alternatives' get the scoundrels first so criticizing it on that merit is a bit generic.
There's value in federated systems with a p2p overlay even if they're not attracting the money driven crowds. You can't post sci-hub links openly on reddit. You can't even discuss how to handle DRM and bypass it.
Centralized systems are always going to go through the same lifecycle after they reach a critical mass requiring real money. It's not pretty. If anyone can self-host from home or even contribute hosting by visiting with a webrtc enabled browser it benefits a lot of groups pushed out for perfectly cromulent reasons.
Notabug.io is a P2P tech using the old Reddit UI.
http://k666.kr5ddit.com/ Is a free and open source version of http://kr5ddit.com made to look like the old Scoop and function like Reddit.