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Reddit's user uprising against China because Tencent will invest in the platform (china-underground.com)
245 points by subsonico 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 326 comments

Reddit has long been plagued with censorship. The CEO edited the post of a user because they criticized him or something. I can't believe how quickly that's been forgotten.

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 edited the post of a user because they criticized him or something. I can't believe how quickly that's been forgotten.

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.

It wasn't just censorship in the traditional sense, Huffman changed someone else's content that was posted. What an insane and unbelievably poor decision by the CEO of a major company.

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?

>but the injustice

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

When you run a large platform like Reddit, millions of users are trusting you with some basic and fundamental extensions of speech. Huffman violating that trust by editing another's speech crosses a major line.

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?

>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.

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."

>When you run a large platform like Reddit, millions of users are trusting you with some basic and fundamental extensions of speech.

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.

The protection of speech is the reason you are being banned. Each subreddit has an acceptable policy and posting against that could get you booted. The good news is you can start your own with your own rules.

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.

>The protection of speech is the reason you are being banned.

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.

Yes, you're right, but this is something the moderators of the subreddit decide, not the admins of reddit.

I see your point, but it's bad for Reddit, too. Can their users (and consumers of their ads) trust that posts aren't being doctored?

It's bad for reddit, but it isn't some kind of injustice against speech.

>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.

But the next post you read could be the 2nd-in-a-billion(s). I could see this behavior from a "mod" who had such capability or a rogue employee with database access, but the CEO personally??

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?

A vast majority don't post, don't track a single user from one thread to another, and don't even both voting. Why would they care if the post is being doctored? Or the comments, for that matter?

It’s justified outrage. I’m assuming you think because reddit is a “silly” website that it’s okay for this kind of behavior. But it’s really not, because there’s a lot of serious discussion that takes place and the CEO doing something like calls into question the integrity of the content.

I don't agree that just because some content is in Reddit's database that they "own" it, but let's set that aside for a moment.

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.

>If content generation or interaction, the core of Reddit's business, is being manipulated, who bears responsibility to correct it?

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.

No one if it is a flawed product the market will decide. Each user gets value feom reddit if they stop they will stop visiting.

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.

Trained professionals, experts in manipulation and deception, wielding big data analytics vs single normal person who’s supposed to learn and if he can’t, well, too bad, the market decided he’s a fish. Sounds perfectly fair.

> the drama it caused is way overblown

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).

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.

Talking shit about people behind their back is not abuse. At most it can be libel/slander, of which none of your examples qualify. She's also not a particularly worthy example, given her meltdown at that tennis tournament, for which tons of people tried to made ideological excuses (herself included) and which involved her actually being abusive to the ref's face.

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.

Interesting comments, but I'm not sure what it has to do with my post.

Maybe because this was not the way he marketed his platform in the first place? Or, well, not marketed, but, let's say, allowed widespread perception of.

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

> If the admins can edit comments without any indication to the users...

I feel like this is possible on every website ever made.

But in how many cases has a CEO of a multi-million-user site done it themselves, off the cuff? It means there's no oversight. Oversight isn't expected if you're using Joe Schmoe's 2 person game forum. It's expected at Reddit.

No one tell this guy about Fark. It's always unclear which propagandists are the ones blowing this out of proportion.

CEO asks underlings for access to production servers, for whatever reason.

How many are going to say no?

Who would say yes?

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.

Did regulators come knocking? If so, I wasn’t aware of that and it isn’t mention in the write ups I’ve seen.

SOX compliance is about financial systems, not about some random discussion forum.

It's very much about access to production data, in addition to financial systems.

> I feel like this is possible on every website ever made.

Idea: Reddit, but the comments are a blockchain.

What if someone drops a comment with a link to child porn?

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.

Bits are bits are bits

Don’t need that, just signed messages.

This is another way of saying that the power to edit other people's posts is pretty darn scary. Which it is. But other than one vivid demonstration, it seems it's potential, not actual? A violation of trust, but not repeated?

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?

Perhaps the problem in that case is the government overstepping it's responsibilities.

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.

That moderators can edit posts on Reddit throws into question the validity of state actors using it as evidence to arrest people but doesn't make it any more dangerous than it was from the start.

Moderators cannot edit posts. An admin can, and when done with the official tool, the edit is marked, known.

What bothered people was spez editing the actual database, no timestamp, etc...

I would assume state actors would need something more than a screenshot of a Reddit post to make a case either way.

Keep in mind that now two states have proposed laws that would require inspection of the social media accounts of any potential gun purchaser.

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.

Fair enough, but have they passed and survived judicial challenges, though?

A proposed law isn't a law, after all. Anyone can propose anything.

Admins are always 100% going to be capable of editing posts on a website, after all they can just edit the database.

This "proof" they have the ability to do that somehow signaling danger is nothing short of ridiculous.

A site / business / organization gets big enough, they usually start locking down database access. Even a technical CEO shouldn’t have the ability to go into a database and edit comments on a site like reddit (specifically of its size). If they want the ability to edit a comment’s body, they should have a tool for it.

No it is not. Users need to know the conversation is coherent. Real.

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.

Again, this is always possible, its possible on HN, its possible on gmail, its possible on every single site on the internet, that is how the technology works.

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.

It's not always possible — secure audit trails can exist. The web cowboy world just doesn't care.

Its not possible to build a technical system that those building it can not themselves subvert if they so choose.

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.

And again, being possible is not the issue.

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.

This is also the same argument people make about evidence from seized hard drives, but nobody cares.

Well, making it without proof is a shallow defense.

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.

It's the incident that we know of. How many times was this done in the past without oversight and without the generic public being aware? They can literally put words in your mouth without being able to disprove it.

Even if the user got it wrong, you can't edit a user's speech and claim to be a place for free speech. Speaking incorrectly is a part of free speech.

It was an attempt at trolling by someone who should not have been trolling.

exactly. and to some of the most toxic users of Reddit who were itching for a fight.

What's messed up is the CEO had the access to do so, and was allowed to retain that access after the incident.

> drama it caused is way overblown and isn't evidence of being 'plagued with censorship.'

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"

Do you know why f spez was happening at the time?

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.

Can you imagine the reaction if a user's post on HN were edited by YC?

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.

Indeed. I think the comment editing (and immediate capitulation afterwards) was horrible, but the fact that they allowed the_donald to continue to break their own rules was way worse. They constantly would dox, harass, downvote brigade (in posts stickied by mods), and in general act entirely in bad faith. Other subreddits were banned for much, much less.

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.

reddit has harmed its own community standards immeasurably by steadfastly refusing to rein in its most problematic communities, the_donald being one of them. They've only ever dealt with issues when the chorus of negative PR becomes so much that their hand is forced, as what happened with jailbait, fatpeoplehate, and a few others.

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.

I wonder if the presence of a controversial subreddit like the_donald is good for business, increasing discussion, site traffic and thus revenue? Perhaps Reddit has a financial incentive to encourage (or at least not punish) subreddit drama.

Most probably. It's about the current US president after all, and it's the closest thing to an official forum/social network his fanbase/supporters have.

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.

T_D went to voat already back when I still used it (I gave up because they refused to add the ability to mute users), they couldn't handle it for even a week.

IMO, reddit banning t_d would create much more serious issues for them. The last thing they want is to get attention as a possible campaign financer. Even tho political choice is not a protected category and it's not illegal for reddit to ban t_d, since t_d clearly defines itself as rally sub for president, t_d mods follow rules and ban offending accounts quickly, and, most importantly, President Trump filed his campaign for 2020. with FEC almost immediately after becoming president.

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.

I think that's probably it, or at the very least part of it. TD has been a well-trafficed subreddit for a long time, and that means ad revenue.

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.

the_donald was censored too.

I find it funny that the focus is on the_donald. I use reddit a lot and there are numerous other subreddits that have pulled similar things and they've existed long before the_Donald became a thing. SRS being one of them.

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.

> I guess it'd be the instant death of the network.

Nonsense. HN moderators already act with zero accountability. This is possibly the only major site that shadowbans users as a matter of course.

That is not an edit.

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.

I highly doubt HN would see a drop in activity if a single post was edited. Especially if it’s edited to remove offensive or obviously false content.

What if it was a user insulting a member of ycombinator, and it was edited to leave everything the same except changing the target to a mod? Principles matter, and that level of dishonesty is not acceptable.

personally I would say don’t do that again, and then get over it.

You are overstimating the community's reaction. There would be some backslash but nothing over the long term.

I think it has already happened - a user doxxed someone and that info was edited out. A note was left about the edit.

Maybe I'm wrong though, and it didn't happen here but somewhere else.

I casually browsed Reddit as a non-account user for five or six years, then used it frequently for roughly two years with an account. Then the practice of aggressive censorship and banning began, as they started to try to transform it into another giant social media business. I stopped visiting entirely as it turned into an unhinged disaster leading up to the 2016 election. I doubt I'll ever bother to return. I abandoned Imgur for a similar reason, a flood of political trash. I was happy to see Imgur now strips the vast majority of political content out of most viral, so I occasionally visit their homepage again.

Wait. Do you like the corporate censorship or not?

> I guess it'd be the instant death of the network.

You think a critical mass of HN users would band together to bring down a social media site because the company participates in censorship?

Can you imagine the reaction if a user's post on HN were edited by YC? I guess it'd be the instant death of the network.

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)

> Can you imagine the reaction if a user's post on HN were edited by YC?

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.

I would care. Deleting a post is one thing and that's fine because it's clear what was done and why, but editing a post surreptitiously is a deliberate attempt to deceive and that's not acceptable.

It was not an attempt to deceive, it was a way of visibly trolling back people who were dumb enough to libel the Reddit CEO on his own website, in extremely offensive ways. And he owned up to it very quickly after it happened.

It's a shame you are being downvoted because you are absolutely right. The myth that has been built up around this incident is ridiculous. It was essentially the same joke as those Chrome plugins that change "feminist" to "skeleton".

/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.

"Fuck /u/spez" is not libel, and is not even particularly offensive. And yes, he "owned up", but without apologizing.

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.

The entire subreddit was calling him a paedophile, this is actually mentioned in the post this thread is about, so I'm not sure how you could have missed it -https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/5ekdy9/the_admi...

It seems a bit like your feelings on this issue are stronger than your recollection.

and how did they libel him?

Forgotten? It's constantly talked about, like now

> Reddit has long been plagued with censorship.

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.

Disagree. Google isn't responsible for the content of emails, WhatsApp is not responsible for the groups using it to organize, and the monuments in D.C. aren't responsible when some folks decide to yell bigoted language.

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".

Again, though, that's what you say you want, but it's not what you want. You want moderation, you want focused discussion, you want to be free of objectionable garbage, you want high signal to noise ratio, and the proof of that is that you're having this argument on a heavily moderated discussion forum as we speak.

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 don't want the government to hold platforms accountable for user generated content.

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.

I certainly see some people saying they want unmoderated forums, but they seem to be a pretty small minority.

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?

Well, can you blame them for developing a habit of censorship when the laissez-faire approach gave them a huge problem with kiddie-porn trading, extreme racism, destructive conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism, misogyny, pro-rape communities, etc?

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.

If the hands-off approach coincides with the site's "boom years", then an alternative view is that it was, in fact, a huge benefit.

The more work I do, the more trash I generate. That doesn't make the trash the reason for my success, and doesn't earn the trash an honored central place at my table.

But it does mean that banning people for generating trash is a fucking terrible idea. If you aren't willing to bear the drawbacks of free speech then you aren't going to get the benefits of it either. Unfortunately, civil rights, like more concrete infrastructure, are a investment you can pillage in the short term and not see the consequences until later.

I think it's typical that the majority of a given public nuisance is created by a small segment of the people who contribute to the problem overall. So it seems logical to target that subset.

Everybody generates trash, but not everybody contributes equally to illegal dumping and littering.

Why come down on Reddit and not the law enforcement agencies responsible for policing kiddie porn, etc.?

> Reddit has long been plagued with censorship. The CEO edited the post of a user because they criticized him or something. I can't believe how quickly that's been forgotten.

That hasn't been forgotten.

Also, it has the wrong number of occurrences to be a persuasive data point toward the characterization "plague."

I wish Reddit could be run as a non-profit. Its benefit to society is immense.

So was Slashdot, Digg, etc.

There will be other places.

Stop enabling centralization, and promote decentralised options =D

It only has that benefit because of investment, and that investment would have never come had it been a non-profit.

that's bullshit. It could be run similar to Wikipedia.

That's not what I'm saying. Their investors wouldn't tolerate that now, so the only way that reality could exist would be if they had never taken investment. Could a Reddit that never got into HN or never attracted investment, instead relying on grants and donations like Wikipedia, be what it is today? I'm not convinced.

Perhaps this could happen though, if they came up with a reasonable fund raiser to buy out that stake? $3B is all it takes :-)


If this hypothesis where true couldn't you just build a niche Reddit clone that is run as a non-profit. People certainly would switch if it is so much better.

Reddit’s value is in the user base, not the software or style of the site.

Sure, but the argument was about what would be different if it was run or even started as a non-profit? Tencent, for example, could still become a "sponsor" and board member and try to influence everything.

This is the premise behind https://blog.tildes.net/announcing-tildes

Sadly invite only for now.

But this still needs money for development and growth. I don't see how a non-profit, magically needs less money for that.

My 8 year-old account was shadow-banned site-wide for criticizing AMC's video player on a sponsored link (they've since disabled comments on advertising posts).

Honestly, idk if the cofounder episode was big enough to warrant the attention it had gotten.

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.

The "editing comments" drama: https://redd.it/5frg1n

They have edited one of my comments after that post.

Most censorship comes from subreddit mods, not Reddit the company.

>The CEO edited the post of a user because they criticized him or something.

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.

People that won’t let that prank go have no business in any discussion about the platform. It’s a completely disingenuous argument.

The issue was that the "prank" demonstrated the amount of power the Reddit admins had over the site, and created discussion as to whether it could be abused.

> and created discussion as to whether it could be abused.

But the conversation was kicked off by it being abused. The conclusion is already there.

Of course someone has access to the actual database, no one needed a demonstration to understand that.

It was a prank, a troll on the trollingest people on the platform. That’s all.

I would say by misrepresenting the arguments of your opponents and simplifying them to the point of removing them, it is you who is making the disingenuous argument.

They changed the rules by vall8ng it harassment, so if you do the same now (write "fuck /u/modname") you get muted and then banned on reoffending.

I'd expect to get banned on any site if I went around saying "fuck <people who run this place>". Especially if I was doing it in solidarity with people making baseless pedophilia accusations. Even on 4chan, assuming they noticed me. Doesn't really feel like a cause for alarm.


Editing one post is bad, but also consider that they've become a massive safe harbor for the alt-right. Reddit admins routinely dismiss threats, quick to hide accounts from people like Elliott Rodgers, etc. They edited a the_donald post all while allowing bigotry and hate speech flourish on Reddit.

But there are also TwoXChromosomes, LateStageCapitalism, and all the niche sexual orientation subs. A lot of Reddit is pretty woke, so it's a safe harbor for quite a bit, right?

> consider that they've become a massive safe harbor for the alt-right.

I would say 95% of the website is firmly liberal. Try saying anything conservative anywhere on the platform and you'll be either:

- Banned

- Downvoted

- Shadowbanned

Seriously. I’ve read some pretty extreme right wing views around the internet and NONE of them can be found on reddit (e.g. Charles Lindbergh’s views on ecofascism) (I’m a conservationist). It’s not a right wing haven. They’ve allowed a sub for the sitting president, but censored everything else that isn’t really tame.

It's a sign of how rightward the Overton window has shifted that people could think that you have to be full-blown Stormfront before you leave the realm of "really tame". Against my own better interest I spend a significant amount of my day surfing reddit, and I claim that the current trend of right-sympathetic talking points (e.g. anti-immigrant and anti-feminist sentiment) on the front page is seeing a steady and significant rise in 2019 after falling off heavily in 2017 and remaining relatively flat in 2018. Here's a comment thread that reached the front page yesterday: https://www.reddit.com/r/worldpolitics/comments/aogcjg/opini... . You don't need a dedicated /r/nazi when it's far more effective from a propagandist standpoint to diffuse through the site to ostensibly "neutral" subreddits to shift discourse in a given direction.

Don't you mean it's not an extremist right-wing haven?

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.

Almost none of those things you listed are extremist right wing. Politics are way too polarized and you're proof of that.

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.

> Almost none of those things you listed are extremist right wing. Politics are way too polarized and you're proof of that.

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.

If it’s only for moderates then it’s not a right wing haven.

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.

anything right of the center is now considered extreme right wing views


>Which is not to say that I think they should be banned, mind you. I wish we all got to keep our subs and accounts...

So you're a facist who supports free speech?

More information: The CEO edited post(s) from r/theDonald which was a horrible subreddit. They ended up creating a new feature (r/popular) to get rid of that sub.

I think I'm OK with that.

Excellent. In accordance with your beliefs, let's edit your comment to replace theDonald with some subreddit that I dislike. I'm sure this is totally fine, because after all I'm confident that they're "horrible". We won't need to mark your comment as edited. This is, of course, "OK".

Editing comments to make it seem like people are saying things they didn't is basically never OK, no matter where the post was made.

s/basically//g, it might also expose them to liability. safe harbor is already in question for sites that are moderated. I imagine editing user content crosses another legal line.

I smiled on the inside when I noticed this -- people posting all kinds of content exposing China -- earlier in my r/all feed. Great effort by the community.

I initially did as well. Until I started reading all the highly upvoted racist comments about Chinese people.

(Yes, not comments about how bad the government is, rather racist comments about Chinese people.)

Protesting a site by engaging with it more. Excellent work, reddit.

are you making a reference to that Nib comic? https://thenib.com/mister-gotcha

You can always create an account and join the party.

I deleted my accounts a while back and don't regret it at all. https://archive.fo/qIDX7

I went over there to check and wow

Found a picture of Mao Zedong with someone's cum all over it. I'm dead serious.


Are there examples of companies that said “this is enough money” and stopped concentrating on having ever increasing profits every quarter to satisfy VC or stock investors? I think of this a lot lately. It seems companies don’t want to just do what they do well anymore and be satisfied with that. Can someone give me some inspiration? Companies that have such pride in their work that they aren’t constantly looking for the next thing they can take on to grow and instead just focus on being the best and most ethical at what they do? Are there examples that this business model is actually more sustainable than the one where you are constantly trying to grow to more more more?

> Are there examples of companies that said “this is enough money” and stopped concentrating on having ever increasing profits every quarter to satisfy VC or stock investors?

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.

That's a great example and a great product. We could all strive to make a product as good as Jiffy.

Off topic: I love the Jiffy Mix except last I checked it has trans fats in it. I wish they would remove that.

IIRC, trans fats were banned in the US. I don't think it works be legal for them to contain them anymore.

Partially hydrogenated oils, a major source of artificial trans fats, have been banned. Not all trans fats have been banned and they are not all artificial, they are also naturally occurring.

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).




I believe it did last time I looked at a box of it that I had in my kitchen. Maybe they removed them a little while back?

That's very possible. However, looking at 3rd party site that lists ingredients and nutritional information, Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix did not contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and listed zero grams of trans fats [0]. The site doesn't list when the information was added but the comment history goes back to 2011.

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.

[0] https://www.fooducate.com/app#!page=product&id=43DBDE62-E10F...

[1] https://www.fooducate.com/app#!page=product&id=43BFE144-E10F...

I work at a SaaS product that hasn’t taken any VC money. We have a modest staff, everyone gets paid very adequately, and we slowly are growing our business as our margin allows us to.

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.

I would love to run such a saas business. Unfortunately, we have to hire and increase revenues just to be cash flow positive and for that we have to hit the streets with our VC pitch bowls.

Imagine if you ran a company that didn't rely on outside investment.

How? I am not rich enough to pay for hiring or smart enough to be best in every aspect of a startup. I need to hire people to help me out and I can't take forever to build the business without earning anything in the meantime.

The way it's usually done is start small and focus on profitability from day one. Don't hire until you're making enough money to hire. If you can't start it by yourself or with free labor (from friends etc), well not everyone can succeed in every kind of business. You have to pick what you're good at.

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.

Hundreds, thousands even.

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.

That’s true, but do you have any examples that you can share with us? I’d be curious to read more about these companies and how they got to where they are.

Look at any business in your town that you haven't read a headline for, and it is probably a private company where the CEO/founder/boss just keeps the ship upright and the staff paid.

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.

I am reading a newly published book "Company of One" that promotes a mindset of serving a smaller number of customers very well vs. growing and going for quality in everything your business does. Recommended.

I love the question you're bringing up. I truly want more companies to make this a goal.

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.

All companies are beholden to their owners. When a company owns itself, they can make different decisions than when there are investors or share holders.

A company can’t own itself. It’s employees can, but not the company.

I think what you describe is actually common, but those companies tend to stay small and local so they don't make the news.

The way it's been explained to me, a company stock that pays regular dividends is basically the company saying "you investors deserve these profits rather than us trying to reinvest it in the company and grow". An example of the exact opposite would be Amazon, who notoriously almost never makes a profit on paper.

While that's historically true about Amazon, they have switched to "profit mode" in the past few years, and their net income has grown incredibly.


That's a really good example. Thank you.

Do you mean like Buffer buying out it's investors?


"This is enough money" generally not being a thing is an inherent issue and contradiction of capitalism. Hopefully more people will realize the absolute ridiculousness and damage the idea of infinite growth the system has baked into it causes to people and nature.


DHH made a nice post about it a few years back (2015) https://medium.com/signal-v-noise/reconsider-41adf356857f

Craig’s list


Not really. Perhaps of late, but Sahil was pretty clear that they chased growth (building features that weren't core to the product) to try to get that next round of VC, and that growth stagnated; the company didn't intentionally restrict growth.



I don't think so. While they do have a feel-good narrative about space exploration, they're still focusing heavily on growth (and profits down the road). They definitely haven't said "this is enough, we don't need to grow anymore."

However they haven't apparently pivoted into weaponry.

They have a relationship with the DoD to launch national security satellites.

I am surprised no one mentioned Digg here. It was the original Reddit. Arguably its demise is attributed by inflow of VCs capital following by pivoting direction. Which resulted in community leaving for Reddit.

P.S. found this old article https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/07/13/reddit-didn...

I'm still amazed by how ill-conceived everything having to do with that redesign was, including the new design itself, the rollout plan, apparent lack of load testing, and no ability to roll back. Contrast with reddit's redesign, which was rolled out slowly and incrementally.

More recently Snap had a redesign that was received almost as poorly, but at least they executed it competently.

I mostly attribute both of those bad moves to strong founders who were convinced they knew what people really wanted.

>but at least they executed it competently.

and gave all their users to IG

They're doing fine, their Daily Active Users is higher than Twitter even.

> Digg ... was the original Reddit.

And Slashdot was the original Digg.

And the Usenet was the original Slashdot and the original social media.

Oh, and moderators were pigs and fascists even in the Usenet that was not controlled by any greedy corporation.

Any Meow War veterans here? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meow_Wars

So it goes.

I liked digg. A lot. Then v2.0 came, and I left to Reddit. A few months ago, I had a script write over all my comments, and deleted the account. Reddit is the new digg v3.0.

What’s the current alternative?

Hacker News? Twitter? Nothing? I don't know really, it seems like the best communities are also small ones. All of these sites are victims of their own success. I really enjoyed reddit when I joined many years ago, but its become a hot mess. My feed is curated to only small-ish sub-reddits and it still feels like something is missing. The whimsy of those earlier days is pretty much gone.

Not Voat.


Got an invite?

Thanks, already went through some interesting rabbit holes

rospaya 10 days ago [flagged]

Ah, so you're one of the people that makes reading older threads on reddit a pain. Hope you know you directly made my internet experience worse.

This reads as passive-aggressive and incredibly self-centered. People don’t owe you their content, and it should be understandable that someone might want to remove their posts from a site that they no longer support. If it’s the rewritten text that bothers you, that’s just the unfortunate consequence of sites that scrape reddit live.

> This reads as passive-aggressive

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.

It is pretty annoying when you find that thread with the exact knowledge to solve that exact question you've been struggling with only to find that everything has been wiped from the record. It harkens back to "BANDWIDTH EXCEEDED" messages that crippled the usefulness of old forum threads. It doesn't even benefit whoever deleted the comment, it isn't all that difficult to find a cached version of the site with the comment. If we value internet discussion as something beyond just spouting into the void, and as something useful to other people, then we wouldn't be erasing public facing comments after the fact like an anti-intellectual despot.

It's not their fault Reddit UI leaves [deleted] tombstones. Reddit even makes the WTF-level UX decision to show threads and threads and threads of [deleted] comments because a mod deleted top-level comments.

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.

If there's ever been a dispute about what a comment ever said prior to an edit, that anyone who worked at reddit cared about, there's a good chance they store all comment revisions even if they didn't at first. I would be very surprised if they do not store all comment revisions.

Almost certainly these are still archived somewhere accessible, like wayback machine.


You're happy with thousands of people wanting to find something, read it and then find gaps in it? You're not screwing Tencent and Conde Nast, you're screwing the average person who now has half a picture of what happened in the comment section.

What's the point? wayback machine exists...


How would tencent owning a minor stake in reddit allow it to censor the site? Or is this outrage mostly because tencent is a Chinese firm?

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?

I'm not sure I necessarily see it either. It's not majority ownership. They can't just tell Reddit to censor.

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.

Imagine WeChat as a default Reddit login or client. It’s the cheapest user base that could rival Facebook or google to kick off a global payment platform.

And give China an unprecedented peek into educated Americans’ porn preferences, to boot. The social credit / soft pressure side is more concerning than “censorship.”

Plenty of companies with interests in China have voluntarily acceded to Chinese demands over stuff like the naming of Taiwan.

It's a bunch of edgelords posting NSFL videos of Tiananmen trying to create a self-fulfilling focus of outrage.

There was a very similar reaction years ago when Conde Nast bought reddit about how things would now be censored by the corporate overlord and the platform would be inundated by ads and sponsored posts pushed to the top just like what happened with Digg. It never happened and the outrage came to pass.

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.

At least Condé Nast is a privately held magazine publisher. Separation of church and state is already part of their DNA.

> 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 wouldn't. It was just the normal kneejerk reaction to any China related on Reddit.

If they get a seat on the board, they become a pretty loud voice in the company.

Reddit already does some of the most aggressive tracking for surveillance, censors content they don't like, uses shadow bans, is run in an authoritarian way and has a score system that shows how good of a user you are - and reddit users are afraid of China because ...?

Because relative importance is different. Comments like yours show more frequently because people get confused and can't separate different shades of gray.

"It's all the same" is the main message in modern propaganda. Consistent counternarrative is not important. Just muddle things up.

Because one is a website about cats, and one is an authoritarian nation...

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 admins will indeed not sentence you to 20 years in a labor camp for disagreeing with them politically. But that's because they can't, not because they wouldn't.

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.

The configuration of those permissible bits is exactly the difference between two cultures, no? It’s not like the US is a free speech anarchist haven either, certain speech or images land you in jail here as well. But saying it’s all the same reminds me of a quote from Dr Manhattan about how a living person and dead person have exactly the same number of atoms before and after death, what’s the big deal?

> The configuration of those permissible bits is exactly the difference between two cultures, no?

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).

Sure, laws can be changed relatively fast as well. But what's your pitch here? Is it that we're all just on a sliding scale of censorship? Or that we shouldn't censor at all and truly embody our ideal of "freedom of speech"?

My point is that reddit is set up to be run as an authoritarian system, by people who obviously believe in authoritarianism. Users who like reddit but are afraid of a company from an authoritarian state investing sounds silly to me. Similarly silly: when Google fans get scared about video cameras because it feels like surveillance.

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.

Yea I hear you, the world would be a better place if laws were passed with that in mind.

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.

Because the media says so. But they forget China increased their quality of life for the last 2 decades by producing cheap products like their iphones.

The word cheap and iPhones don't go together.

Just because iPhones are expensive compared to competing brands doesn't mean the hardware isn't vastly less expensive than it would be without China's inexpensive labor and lax environmental regulations.

They are expensive in their market - which the iPhone popularized - but even 1k for the amount of computer jammed into an iPhone is staggeringly cheap.

10 years ago 1k would get you a worse monitor... and that’s it.


Genocide requires intent.

Kind of disrespectful to the dead to use them as pawns for an argument IMO.

There are a lot of instances of the Chinese government intentionally directing food away from famine stricken areas. There was clear intent to starve out populations and political opponents.

Citation needed. Explain to me how the four pests campaign was a deliberate plot.
rjf72 10 days ago [flagged]

Can you elaborate on your statement here? The Great Leap Forward was China aiming to create a socialist state, which is inherently totalitarian. And indeed it directly lead to massive famine, deaths, and repression as these efforts generally do. China has certainly changed for the positive from this era, which is what I believe the poster you were responding to was referencing. Much of the change has been driven by completely reshaping their economic system into an [internally] free market.
rplst8 10 days ago [flagged]

They have not changed. Well, same wolf, new clothes made by sheep.

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.

I think these are separate issues (but totally valid), the great leap forward wasn't made to persecute minorities insofar as... well the result of a state planned economy. The parent is pointing out that the great leap forward wouldn't happen again because of a switch to capitalism.

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.

You are too generous concerning the Great Leap Forward. It really wasn’t some unfortunate accident. There was clear intent to eliminate large swaths of the population of China.

A reading of wikipedia seems to imply poor execution of a program designed to industrialize in a top-down C&C economy.

> 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.[9]


What would you propose would be the motivation there?

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.

pfisch 9 days ago [flagged]

A free market doesn’t prevent genocide. A state where free speech and dissent is violently oppressed is always ripe for genocidal events.

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.

Because your false equivalency is complete bullshit
luckylion 9 days ago [flagged]

But I'm not even calling anything equal. I'm merely pointing out that reddit is an authoritarian regime's wet dream already, and the users seem to be quite happy with it.

Hey, they could even get Chairman Pao back.

I think calling what's going on a "user uprising" is a wild exaggeration. This is some users who are predisposed to whinge about this sort of topic seizing the chance to do so and a bunch of other users jumping on the bandwagon.

Going through my personal feed or /r/all it seems like nothing even happened. How quickly it evaporated

There have been a number of planned exoduses from Reddit over the years (the banning of FatPeopleHate, some kind of succession crisis with the CEO, and the banning of the AMA mod, to name some off the top of my head), but none of them has actually materialized into anything.

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.

There have been a number of planned exoduses from Reddit over the years (the banning of FatPeopleHate, some kind of succession crisis with the CEO, and the banning of the AMA mod, to name some off the top of my head), but none of them has actually materialized into anything. 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 “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.

Voat wasn't made in retaliation, it was a college project for a guys C# class. It was a small community that did their own thing, but was pushed as an alternative when the FPH ban occurred. The sad part is that its features are amazing, and while the general look could be a bit better, there is some fantastic ideas put in there, and the current lead dev is dedicated to the site, even if he doesn't agree with the context.

A shame, really.

> 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?

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.

Because the destinations for these exoduses almost always turn into vile shitholes immediately. That's sort of expected though, considering those who left were vile individuals to begin with.

One thing to think about is the formation of communities, in Reddit as with other communities 1% of the users are submitted 99% of the content and probably 80% of users are literally not even commenting. I personally think that one of the key things that stops Reddit from being abandoned is that it pisses people off for fairly political reasons (free speech, hate speech etc.) and the people likely to shout "THIS IS TERRIBLE LET'S ALL LEAVE" are those who are least attached to the platform not the most. So sure, they could leave, but the site doesn't suffer when they leave.

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."

The answer is simple: community. Reddit is where the community is.

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.

Besides, people vary between not noticing, not caring, or getting involved in the drama because it's actually fun but still not really caring.

99% of Reddit couldn't tell you the name of the mentioned Reddit CEO or fired AMA manager.

As Digg found out many years ago. There is nothing stopping Reddit users from leaving. The question is which straw breaks the camel's back... and also lack of viable alternatives, a la Reddit to Digg.

Apart from the fact there is no decent reddit alternative. That is after reddit offered their entire product free with the source code and data (and the data is still offered for free...)

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.

I believe their open source copy is no longer maintained. https://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/6xh3xp/reddits...

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.

Not sure what reddit's user growth rate is these days, but remember that a large proportion of users weren't around for some of reddit's other crises.

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