The Reddit situation reminds me of the post about failing to build a billion dollar company a few days ago. Reddit is trying to make VCs happy and continue to grow the business, but a platform like Reddit is best as a less reliant on growth, but stable platform. That allows the most ideas to be shared and the most natural interaction between users. I really think there is space for a competitor, but the switching costs will be high.
The CEO changed a single post from "fuck <his username>" to "fuck <username of the moderators of the specific sub-board>" for an hour. While certainly this action was not received well, the drama it caused is way overblown and isn't evidence of being 'plagued with censorship.'
If anything it's plagued with shills from governments and corporations.
Sure, the size of Huffman's change was small and limited in scope, but the injustice that it represented combined with the incredible lack of judgment by the Chief Executive rightfully rightfully caused a loud response.
He absolutely should've been fired for it, or permanently lost DB access at a bare minimum.
> If anything it's plagued with shills from governments and corporations.
Again, accountability for that behavior ultimately rests on the executive team, no? If content generation or interaction, the core of Reddit's business, is being manipulated, who bears responsibility to correct it?
Let's chill out with the over-the-top rhetoric because few of us are paying customers of reddit and it's their database at the end of the day.
Stop manufacturing outrage please
As others have pointed out, people have gone to jail for what they write on social media and forums. If the universal expectation that a user's posted words are theirs and theirs alone breaks down, as Huffman showed us can be done, then platforms like Reddit can become much more dangerous.
> it's their database at the end of the day.
and that gives them free reign to do whatever they like to content that other people post? If Huffman decided one day that he didn't like you and retroactively edited posts on your Reddit account to make you sound like a white nationalist, that would be wrong, correct?
Reddit is more dangerous when the universal expectation is that a user's posted words are theirs and theirs alone because Huffman showed that is not necessarily the case. People believing things because they are on Reddit -- which is, again, routinely manipulated by corporations and state actors -- is a problem.
Besides, the core controversy wasn't that the CEO changed a person's post. He could do that to 99.9% of posts and it wouldn't have made a difference. It was that he changed the post after it was a top-rated comment, meaning it had be 'validated' by the crowd. A crowd that has not been vetted to be legitimate in any sense. It could have been upvoted 20k times by bots, by shills, by real people agreeing with the comment... and most likely by a mix of all these.
The point is: hand-wringing about this form of manipulation, to one post for one hour, is really missing the forest for the trees. Reddit is minefield of trust in systems with no transparency whatsoever. It shouldn't be trusted at all, and it certainly shouldn't be expected to live up to the standard of a "free speech platform."
Except that they let The_Donald and other rigid subreddits constantly ban people with opinions contrary to their group-think. Where is the speech protection there?
Let's also not forget spez and other moderators routinely get death threats. If you're going to be an asshole by saying "fuck spez" or throwing out a death threat, I'm pretty sure you give up whatever "basic and fundamental extension of speech" you think reddit guarantees you.
Going in the gardening subreddit and talking about your cat will not be looked on positively. Same as the donald with whatever viewpoint you have that doesn't lineup.
That makes no sense. You're getting banned for breaking the rules, but lets not pretend the rules were written with the spirit of speech protection in mind.
The rules exist because "we want this community with this content because reddit says we can enforce arbitrary rules in our own gardens". That can include, e.g., only having positive opinions of Trump, so we can ban all negative opinions of Trump.
>Can their users (and consumers of their ads) trust that posts aren't being doctored?
So far one post has been doctored that we know of out of millions (billions?) of posts on the site, so reasonably, yes you can.
Where does it end? What threshold must be crossed until it can't be trusted? Who knows how many times it's been done. He got caught ONCE. Who knows how many OLD posts have since been slightly altered for FUTURE visitors who weren't there to see the original?
Even if we allow that Reddit owns all content in its database absolutely, they are also making an implicit representation that what is in the database is what the user actually typed. A poll of all reddit users asking "do you expect what is shown to be what the user typed?" will come up "Yes".
I imagine the outrage felt by those reddit users is not for this violation, which is small in scope, but for the realization that reality can be changed out from under them, and the uncertainty about that power asymmetry being used against them.
Who said it needs to be corrected? Is the Reddit CEO in the business of killing golden geese? 'Post edit' scandal notwithstanding?
Reddit profits from a combination of true believers, sophisticated attention merchants, and fly-by-night lurkers who keep the ad execs convinced that clicks equal purchases.
They don't seem to be at risk of losing any of these.
You are being manipulated everywhere. From constant talk to your doctor in drug ads to learn this series of facts and opinions in school to vote for me because I represent you. You are responsible for filtering and learning.
People have been arrested because of Reddit posts they made. If the admins can edit comments without any indication to the users... They can falsely accuse you of a crime. They can also identify you and ban you specially if you do or say things not in alignment with the founders of Reddit(criticizing Serina Williams got a subreddit banned recently).
Sincere question: Was it actually criticism of Serena Williams ("she exhibited poor behavior", "she's lost a step", "her fashion sense sucks", etc) or was it abuse ("she's a man", "she's an ugly pig", etc)?
Banning because of the former is unacceptable, but I see no reason why we would expect her husband to permit the latter on his platform.
What it is is rich and powerful people using their influence to step on the little guy, and that behavior trickling down in a bizarre quest for faux-vindication by petty commissars. The kind of person who wants to be a Reddit mod on a big subreddit is not your average Joe. If they're not outright getting paid under the table by interested actors, they're doing it for the power trip.
Although I must confess I'm no expert on Reddit. After all, real men discuss Serena on 4chan and post gun videos on Pornhub /s
I feel like this is possible on every website ever made.
How many are going to say no?
If the company is public, all of this is covered under SOX compliance or other regulations. If you're truly going to get fired by the CEO for not complying, better that than be the one thrown under the bus when the SEC (or other gov body) comes knocking.
Idea: Reddit, but the comments are a blockchain.
Don't get me wrong, as much as I support the idea of no censorship, there's always a need for a janitor to clean somebody's graffiti on the wall. In an online world, those janitors tend to abuse their power though.
What could anyone do about it, other than promising not to do it again? I guess there could be some kind of certificate transparency thing? Other people could make copies of messages and verify that they haven't changed?
I firmly believe people should be held responsible for what they say and do but there has to be freedom to say things that are offensive or scary or there's no protection for any speech.
What bothered people was spez editing the actual database, no timestamp, etc...
There's zero specification in either law around oversight into or appeal of any decision to disallow a gun purchase on the basis of what the reviewer finds.
A proposed law isn't a law, after all. Anyone can propose anything.
This "proof" they have the ability to do that somehow signaling danger is nothing short of ridiculous.
Reddit is not always casual chat.
There is hide, delete and edit with a clear history for all involved.
Touching the database changes the record of reality without leaving history of it happening.
The database edit is what drove the spez controversy.
This isn't some kind of dark secret backdoor spez built into the reddit codebase. Immature and stupid action maybe, but some kind of scary sentinel of how admin power can be uniquely abused at reddit, it isn't.
The argument here isn't if he should have did it, he obviously shouldn't have. The argument is about how incredibly overdone the outrage over the specific circumstances is.
Of course it is possible.
That it was done, and why is a big issue.
And it did not need to be done, nor that way.
A direct edit can make sense, and when it does, there is also every reason to communicate why.
The why of what spez did is a significant contributor to the controversy. Lack of a record and no communication, until forced is another significant contributor.
People do care. And this is a basic trust problem inherent to computing.
Ever notice how there is often redundancy and history present?
This is why.
Another place this shows up is electronic voting. Lack of personally identifiable records leave people in a position of forced trust, unable to know the record is accurate.
Motive plays a role here.
Spez had a childish, bigger dick type ego motive. Untrustworthy.
The same exact thing done to protect someone, and done with rational communication would be far less controversial.
As for the hard drive, the defense must speak to motive and it must be compelling, or we are all likely to trust the person doing that necessary work.
Your comparison is germane, but too simple, in my view.
Maybe "plagued" doesn't apply but that was an important event, at least because it showed that it wasn't just a theoretical possibility and but something that has happened already. So now imagine if there is a court case and content posted on Reddit is used as evidence, I can see an argument being made "it can't be relied one as it could have been edited just like that one time by the CEO himself"
and on the drama end of things
> former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao weighed in on the thread with her own criticisms of the current CEO. "I would have immediately fired anyone who did [what Huffman did]," Pao wrote.
I guess it'd be the instant death of the network.
That this action a) happened on Reddit + b) was mostly/quickly forgotten says a lot about the different demographics.
Audiences who largely come for cat pictures and political snark don't have to worry about CEOs breaking the 4th wall.
I've been a Redditor for 9+ years and I still am one. But today's Reddit isn't the one I signed up for.
Either they wanted their advertising money or were simply supportive of their platform/actions, but eventually it was enough for me to leave Reddit entirely.
The people attracted to those communities don't just stay in them; they spread out and infect the rest of the site as well with 4chan-style shitposting, trolling, and bigotry.
If Reddit banned it, then they'd likely drive said users to a competitor (like Voat) and divert all that media attention from Reddit to said competitor in the process.
Banning t_d could be construed as political speech, and a form of political donation. And reddit most definitely doesn't want legal inquiries of that kind, I bet they have a lot of dirty laundry there - did you guys forget how "cleanly" /r/politics switched overnight (literally) from bernie central to hillary propaganda?
They most definitely want to ban it, as demonstrated in leaked logs from private admin chat some time ago, but they do not dare.
Around the time of the comment-editing fiasco I remember a couple of other subreddits' mods saying the admins were quite friendly to the TD mods on the Reddit mod discourse. I wouldn't be surprised, considering the behavior they constantly got away with.
You also have places like ChapoTrapHouse that openly called for brigading of the Libertarian subreddit while the admins were paying close attention to the sub. Nothing happens, of course.
Nonsense. HN moderators already act with zero accountability. This is possibly the only major site that shadowbans users as a matter of course.
And of course! It is their house. Play nice, or see the impact. And they do have accountability. Users are here because it makes sense. Should that change, so will users do something else.
Nothing out of the ordinary there.
Maybe I'm wrong though, and it didn't happen here but somewhere else.
You think a critical mass of HN users would band together to bring down a social media site because the company participates in censorship?
No. It's moderated and we love it that way. I might even have been shadowbanned and I still love it. Moderation rocks!
(Not being sarcastic btw. I really do like HN moderation)
If the user's post was about the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and included baseless, highly offensive libel of the YC folks? Yeah, I don't think many people here would care. Especially since most users here understand that a website's comment database can be edited arbitrarily, it's not nearly as unthinkable as you assume. Don't like it, get your own website.
/u/spez's main mistake was pushing it as an actual change to the comments database. If he'd forced a CSS change or whatever this overblown censorship/deception narrative would never have arisen.
EDIT: So actually on https://www.reddit.com/comments/5frg1n he did actually say that he was sorry and he wouldn't do it again. That's interesting, because I have a very strong memory of that not being the case. Weird. Either there was an initial acknowledgement that didn't have any sort of apology, or I missed something. I still stand by my minimization of the thing to which he reacted.
It seems a bit like your feelings on this issue are stronger than your recollection.
All forums are "plagued" in that way, though. This one too. Everyone who wants to run such a service has a personal idea of what expression is appropriate within the vision of the site and which ones aren't welcome. And everyone has personal sensitivities and makes moderation mistakes, too.
Honestly if reddit has failed, it's been in the opposite direction. They've been too lax with moderation and had to make rapid and disruptive course corrections when people point out the garbage they've been tolerating.
You have a first amendment right to express your opinions to anyone you want, but you don't have a right to do it on someone else's moderated forum.
There needs to be room for public spaces to just be venues. Service providers should be able to just be service providers.
There should be limits, but they should mostly align with legal limits and they should be enforce by law enforcement officers accountable to the public primarily by observing public posts or through warrants and subpoenas.
There should additionally be norms about, broadly, what counts as disruptive behavior, but it needs to be agnostic about content.
I don't really care if it is hard to make 100 billion dollars because there are too many trolls or because the content doesn't align with "corporate values".
There's no lack of "true" free speech opportunity on the internet. Sites like stormfront and 4chan remain a thing. Don't pretend like that's what we all want from Reddit, is all I'm saying.
I want private organizations to choose between being objective platforms like libraries or subjective organizations with a voice like The Washington Post. And I want norms, not laws, to enforce that distinction.
I don't want jerks interrupting my conversations with spam, but that's a very different matter than censoring people's thoughts because I don't agree or have unpleasant emotions when exposed to them.
I think HN is overmoderated, for what it's worth. It used to be more interesting but its habit of dinging threads with lots of discussion has a habit of filtering out important discussion in addition to heated discussion.
I definitely don't hold HN accountable for what random people post here.
It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what kind of moderation you are looking for. Have you found a forum that is aligned with that?
They tried the hands-off approach and it failed spectacularly. The site spent its boom years with basically negligible community-management while it spent its efforts doing damage-control on its overwhelmed servers.
Everybody generates trash, but not everybody contributes equally to illegal dumping and littering.
That hasn't been forgotten.
Also, it has the wrong number of occurrences to be a persuasive data point toward the characterization "plague."
There will be other places.
Stop enabling centralization, and promote decentralised options =D
Perhaps this could happen though, if they came up with a reasonable fund raiser to buy out that stake? $3B is all it takes :-)
Sadly invite only for now.
Reddit has traditionally allowed for users to criticize the admins/founders to their hearts fill. This was one isolated incident, among a 1000 similar comments.
Now, the sudden disappearance of some highly voted posts is something I find more interesting. That, and tolerating subreddits that routinely break the site's rules.
No the user was/is apart of a radical political group that was harassing the admins and other users on a private website, essentially abusing the platform.
Spare me the claims of censorship. We can't even get rid of subreddits that sexualize minors or even safe havens for beastiality.
Free speech has become a thought terminating cliche.
But the conversation was kicked off by it being abused. The conclusion is already there.
It was a prank, a troll on the trollingest people on the platform. That’s all.
I would say 95% of the website is firmly liberal. Try saying anything conservative anywhere on the platform and you'll be either:
I've seen plenty of ant-left, anti-feminist, anti-liberal, anti-democracy, right wing conspiracy stuff on Reddit, and of course mainstream conservative and right-wing political content.
But I don't necessarily think it's censorship to draw a line in the sand where extremism is concerned. Or if it is, then it's censhorship employed for reasons other than mere politics.
I think it's important to differentiate because the narrative here, as it's often employed, has been to describe social media as censoring "conservative" content en masse, on the premise that social media is engaging in an organized leftist conspiracy of censorship, which itself is an extension of the conspiracy theory that all mainstream media is owned and run by leftist/globalist/DNC operatives pushing a political agenda.
I think that's a misrepresentation of what actually happening, or what the motives actually are.
I'm not even sure what you mean by anti-feminist but I'll guess "hate women and their rights", which I'll say leftists are guilty of disrespecting and sending threats to conservative women with "incorrect opinions".
And anti-democracy is a funny point to bring up because a lot of far leftists from reddit are very pro communist and hate democracy.
On top of all this, you lump in anti-left and anti-liberal with your other categories of "evil", making anti-right and anti-conservative the good guys. Your bias is showing, and you're alienating political moderates in the center. This is why people are not voting the way you want them to.
As is you immediately making it personal, but I disagree. As is mentioned elsewhere, "extremist" is a relative term. Plenty of people would consider what I listed to be pretty extremist... but had you made a good faith attempt to read my comment, you would have seen that the premise of it was to point out that there is an entire spectrum of "right wing" content allowed on Reddit, from the mainstream to the fringe.
>I'm not even sure what you mean by anti-feminist but I'll guess "hate women and their rights", which I'll say leftists are guilty of disrespecting and sending threats to conservative women with "incorrect opinions".
Incels, redpillers, mens' rights advocates, etc. And you're correct that this exists on the left, but given that I never claimed it existed exclusively on the right, only that it existed on the right, I don't know what the purpose of the equivocation here is.
>On top of all this, you lump in anti-left and anti-liberal with your other categories of "evil", making anti-right and anti-conservative the good guys.
Who are you quoting here? I never mentioned evil. I never made a moral value judgement at all in my comment.
But... anti-left and anti-liberal would by definition be right-wing. I don't know why that seems to to be controversial to you, as you clearly fall into that category yourself.
>Your bias is showing, and you're alienating political moderates in the center. This is why people are not voting the way you want them to.
Oh.... I see. You're not actually responding to me, you're responding to the strawman.
Fair enough, you do you then.
And extremism is subjective. You could say America is extremist capitalist. Sure we don’t burn books or kill dissidents, but we kill millions through unhealthy food, we have millions addicted to painkillers, porn, social media, and many spend half of their adult lives in a room typing on a computer. All permissible because it’s good for a profit. I’d call that extreme.
Whether you agree with an extreme view doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be allowed to talk about it. Some views that are extreme to you are not extreme to me.
So you're a facist who supports free speech?
I think I'm OK with that.
(Yes, not comments about how bad the government is, rather racist comments about Chinese people.)
Found a picture of Mao Zedong with someone's cum all over it. I'm dead serious.
Yes, except they're most often private companies and not publicly traded. Many of these inspirational companies are family owned and operated. Eventually, however, someone will get in charge of the company who isn't satisfied with "good enough" and they'll take the company public or accept investors and choose to place profit over concerns like customer satisfaction and employee well being. In other words, eventually someone will decide, "My pocket book is more important than the community I live in."
If you want inspiration, look at the Chelsea Milling Company, makers of Jiffy mix. It's nearly 90 years old, has approximately 65 percent of the pre-mixed cornbread market in the United States, and has never had a marketing department and does not advertise.
Jiffy corn muffin mix doesn't contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and contains zero grams of trans fats per serving (I have seen it claimed that products may have less than 0.5 grams per serving and round down to zero).
They do also have a page for a Jiffy Baking Mix (no corn, sounds similar to Bisquick) that did contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, enough for one gram trans fats per serving.
It’s not glamorous, it’s not explosive, but it does create a great work life balance. I have little fear of losing my job because we’re running out of funding, or having to build something we don’t believe in to appease shareholders.
I don’t even describe it as an internet startup to people, I describe it as an internet small business.
Another way is to start small in your spare time focusing on a need that's so close to you that even if you never made a dime you would still get benefit from it. That way you can grow slowly until the business makes enough that you can quit your day job and focus on growth.
You don't have to be the best at anything, as long as you're good enough at everything. I can't think of any business that has the best employees for every aspect of their business. Lots of companies get by on just "good enough" for most of their non-core business tasks, and good enough is good enough for that. You only need the best at your core business, which you should be if you're the one starting the business.
They don't show up on HN, they aren't doing anything glamorous or cutting edge. Just small to mid-size businesses building and selling products that people use.
If you haven't found any, it's because you haven't looked in the right places.
One of my friends growing up had a family business like this, it was a company that, from what I gleamed, just melted different grades of steel and rolled it back up according to customer specifications. His grandpa started it, and his dad runs the day to day. It has a staff of maybe 50 people in the whole factory so everyone knows each others family pretty well.
A couple I can think of are MailChimp and possibly Atlassian.
I believe VC funding is mostly a trap for companies that, while it supplies and can incubate startups, ultimately just leads to more greed and never satiated investors. They'll just keep moving the line of target growth until the company is driven to the ground or, hopefully, it buys itself out of the shackles.
Maybe I simply haven't read too many stories of companies doing the latter.
P.S. found this old article https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/07/13/reddit-didn...
More recently Snap had a redesign that was received almost as poorly, but at least they executed it competently.
and gave all their users to IG
And Slashdot was the original Digg.
Oh, and moderators were pigs and fascists even in the Usenet that was not controlled by any greedy corporation.
Any Meow War veterans here?
To be fair it is, it was written in the heat of the moment.
> and incredibly self-centered
I don't agree. The commenter or anyone else who participated in the comments isn't an island. Threads now have holes and they read like puzzles with every 10th piece thrown out because the user decided to be self-centered.
You are completely correct, they don't owe me or reddit anything, but that doesn't mean that their act of disobedience, protest or grudge didn't leave collateral victims.
Imagine people re-writing or deleting their comments or answers on Stack Exchange. Sure, we aren't owed anything but it hurts thousands of people who click on it, and the website owner very little.
I've used scripts like it a few times. What I thought was clever was that some of them edit the comment before deleting it. It's trivial to have a is_deleted=true flag, but far less likely to store comment revisions.
I mean, censorship only works if you have the government backing you, are people legitimately fear the US government is going to bow down to a Chinese company?
On the other hand, you could see it as a conflict of interest. If Reddit thinks they want an additional round of investment later, they might be tempted to do things to ingratiate themselves.
Also, people are just very touchy right now about foreign powers trying to influence American public opinion on social media. It already happened once. It's not just a hypothetical risk.
And give China an unprecedented peek into educated Americans’ porn preferences, to boot. The social credit / soft pressure side is more concerning than “censorship.”
As an aside: how does reddit look like a good investment for tencent? The size of the site alone? I bet 9/10 reddit users use an adblocker, and even top top comments and posts from massive subreddits might only be guilded a couple times.
> how does reddit look like a good investment for tencent? The size of the site alone?
Good question. It's either user count, betting than an IPO is soon, a bet that it can have Facebook-level appeal (and ad targeting), or dumb money that's tired of sitting on the sidelines. Not sure if I buy any of those stories.
"It's all the same" is the main message in modern propaganda. Consistent counternarrative is not important. Just muddle things up.
I’m relatively certain that the reddit admins are not going to jail me as a pawn in a political game, or as a punishment for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nor will they ban me from traveling by plane as a punishment for having low karma.
Reddit would fit perfectly well into the Chinese internet. Just tweak the "permissible opinions" a bit and off you go, the rest can remain unchanged.
Sure. And that can be changed in an instant. Just put "Tiananmen Square", "Tibet" etc on your black list and the site can operate the exact same way it does today. Most users won't even notice ("it's a site to share cat pictures, why would I talk about politics"), others will not care ("oh well, those guys probably deserved it") and the rest will move to voat (or start something new, I don't know how well Chinese critics and racists mix).
My gut feeling is that it's a reaction to propaganda (for lack of a better word; I'm not suggesting that there's a concerted effort). China has been associated with a surveillance state, and mentioning China or large chinese companies will send people into a frenzy because they don't want a police state. That their favorite website runs on the same ideology, that they are constantly under surveillance by corporations and their own government: ignored.
As for "laws can be changed": that's why I'm a fan of only implementing things that you feel comfortable giving control over to your worst political enemy.
I do think some degree of tooling will be necessary to screen content on a site like reddit to remain compliant with US laws. If that begins the slippery slope then I don't think there's an escape.
10 years ago 1k would get you a worse monitor... and that’s it.
Kind of disrespectful to the dead to use them as pawns for an argument IMO.
They persecute religious groups, Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist alike. They control their laborers, harvest organs from prisoners, and they've been occupying Tibet since 1949 and actively pursue families that send their children to Buddhist schools.
You're saying the persecution of minorities hasn't changed, which is a different topic. Capitalist economies can still persecute minorities. That requires a different level of regard for human rights that doesn't exist there.
> Mao Zedong was so inspired by the slogan that China put forward its own objective: to catch up with and surpass the UK in 15 years.
> Comrade Khrushchev has told us, the Soviet Union 15 years later will surpass the United States of America. I can also say, 15 years later, we may catch up with or exceed the UK.
I think there's every indication that the Great Leap Forward was intended to turn China into a socialist society which would eventually become a communist one (in accordance with Marx with home the Chinese Communist Party were heavily influenced by) where ultimately not only would no man would ever go without again, but also greatly increasing the overall production of China. Mao certainly realized there would be casualties in the process of transformation, but I see no reason to believe those were the goal. There's far easier and less disruptive ways to kill massive numbers of people than to try to transform a nation to socialism.
These systems are invariably well intended but fail to appropriately consider how big a factor the destruction of motivation is. 'Produce a bunch and you can get filthy rich.' tends to be a much better motivation than 'Produce a bunch and give it away to the state, or else the state will hurt you.'
As an interesting aside the current PM of China, Xi Jinping, has very intimate ties to all of this. His father was a very high ranking party member in Mao's China. But as is also often the case in these systems, favor is rapidly won or lost. His father was disgraced and imprisoned. Xi himself was arrested as a youth for deserting his state-designed job / role in life and sent to dig ditches at a camp where was housed in a cave with a single blanket as his bed -- living that way for some seven years until he was able to join the communist party (after intially being rejected some 8 times) which set him on the path to today.
There is no real legal system to contest illegal detention and state sanctioned murder in China. It is not a country ruled by law.
I’m not saying democracy is some cure all, but the worst and largest genocides by far take place under totalitarian regimes.
Just because China kind of sort of has a free market that doesn’t absolve it of the human rights abuses that are rampant in the country.
Read about what Mao did. Xi could do the same and no one would be able to stop him.
Hey, they could even get Chairman Pao back.
My question is - What is preventing this? Is it just a matter of getting enough critical mass onto the new platform? Or is there some other logistical or engineering challenge that I'm not considering?
The way that Reddit is structured seems like it would be very vulnerable to a coordinated attempt to move users. In my experience, most subreddits have a heavily skewed distribution where a handful of users post most of the content, especially for the long-tail hobby and region-specific subreddits.
Intuitively, it feels like there are probably clusters of Reddit users who are subscribed to largely overlapping sets of subreddits, and who derive most of their utility from content generated by the same small-ish set of power users.
Depending on the terms of the investment, I wonder if some of these users might become very amenable to a migration to a new platform.
A quick aside. For those unfamiliar with Tencent, the Chinese government essentially has direct access to, and control over, all communication on Tencent's platforms. Nothing about the company in particular, its just part of doing business as a media company in China. But the fact of the matter is that you can be jailed for things you say in private group chats, and any chat can be arbitrarily censored, with no notification to the sender or recipient that the message was caught in a filter.
The “exodus” happened, it just turned out that the people who left were in fact, massive dicks. They made Voat, which is mostly dead, and where it isn’t dead, it’s a roaring dumpster fire. I guess the major issue is that a lot of the people who make a lot of noise about “free speech” aren’t really sincere, they just want a place to spew. Well, now they have it, but since they only have each other to spew all over, it’s a mess.
The people who contribute something rather than just bitching and cursing at everyone obviously didn’t want to join the worst aspects of their community in an “exodus” either. I’ve just learned to be very suspicious of free speech arguments that exist only in the abstract; it’s often a cover for antisocial assholes. People with genuine grievances, as opposed to them being the grievance, tend to lead with specific and defensible examples; the assholes just make a lot of noise and abstract slippery slopes that never materialize.
Having said all of that, if someone misses Coontown or FatPeopleHate, Voat exists. Of course since those communities existed to troll people, and those people being trolled didn’t follow them, it’s a bit moribund.
A shame, really.
I think there are a few factors:
1) Is there a similar site already out there that's ready to take thee exodus? Voat doesn't count.
2) Nothing political can effectively drive a migration, because politics are too fragmented. If people are tuned into any issues at all, they're probably only tuned in to one or two, and each issue only has a minority of people tuned into it.
Reddit's smart enough to avoid political positions that are so widely reviled that they could drive an exodus.
3) Regressions in functionality that affect everyone, or a critical set of users, could drive an exodus, I think. But only as long as #1 can be answered in the affirmative.
If you start to see changes that negatively effect the people driving content and those people losing interest, then that's a much more reliable sign that Reddit is going to suffer. That's really what killed Digg.
What I'm looking forward to see is when Reddit inevitably has to drive revenue to justify this VC capital and the smug quote from Ohanian comes back:
>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."
Digg presumably had more traffic at some point but it was always a voteable link dump with a comment section. It was never really a community.
99% of Reddit couldn't tell you the name of the mentioned Reddit CEO or fired AMA manager.
If there was going to be an alternative, it would be here by now.
People just don't care that much, contrary to what you may believe.
But a code base is not an alternative, an alternative is an actual community with a similar focus. You could potentially build it on Reddit's code base if you wanted... but you have to build that somehow. Network effects prevent that from forming and from people leaving existing communities.