Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Reddit confirms $300M Series D led by China’s Tencent at $3B value (techcrunch.com)
274 points by theBashShell 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 283 comments

Tencent has a meaningful ownership of American youth.

12% Snap 7.5% Spotify 40% Epic Games 100% Riot Games 100% Supercell 5% Reddit

Hollywood has also been moving in this direction, with a lot of Chinese investment in the studios, and blockbusters adding special scenes with Chinese actors and locations.

What does it mean for America when it's no longer the owner or creator of culture? It's historically one of our largest (and most important) exports. I'm not sure if that claim to fame is a net positive for the world, but the changing of this guard will certainly have a local impact.

I'm just not yet totally sure what it means, broadly.

TikTok is fully Chinese-owned as well, and is probably the most used app by teenagers today.

Is that true? Wasn't aware that it had a significant hold in US society. Thought Instagram and Snapchat still dominated quick engagement.

Yes, it's big and growing quickly. The structure of kids memeing kids (who are told to do so by the TikTok AI and marketing team) plays well and spreads quickly.

I agree, apps like these and previously musically (sp?) are extremely shallow and promote narcissistic traits in gullible teenagers. Glad I was not a teen in 2019.

musically is TikTok. They rebranded.

I thought they were competitors?

There were plenty of other mechanisms whenever you were in high school to promote "narcissistic traits in gullible teenagers," a sentence which is probably the most "old man yells at clouds" thing I've heard in a week.

Please don't cross into incivility.

Let me clarify : I did not say this was the "only' thing that distracts teens. Your passive aggressive statement shows that you're having a bad day and want to be rude just for the sake of it. Good day.

Personal attacks aren't ok here, even when another comment crosses into incivility. In order for HN to be the kind of forum we're hoping for, it's necessary that we all have the patience to wait out the first surge of anger that comes up when somebody posts something unfair. Believe me I know it's not easy.


Thank you, I tried to be as civil as possible when typing out my reply. Still I appreciate you chiming in.

>Believe me I know it's not easy.

IKR! Seeing rude comments like that outta nowhere really grinds gears. Please let me know if you have banned me :)

We haven't banned you. Unless there's evidence of past abuse, we don't ban people before giving them a couple of hopefully-polite requests.

> What does it mean for America when it's no longer the owner or creator of culture?

That premise is no more valid today with China than it was at the height of Japan-takes-over-the-world mania.

Japan via Sony accumulated a large ownership position in US music. Sony acquired Columbia Pictures in 1989 for $3.4 billion, a huge deal at the time. Nintendo and Sega took over US video gaming from Atari. What did it mean? Nothing as it turns out.

It's very different this time. Japan was under the American umbrella of influence when it was supposedly going to take over. China is a rival and a resource-rich nuclear super power with orders of magnitude more leverage and a very different set of cultural norms and behaviors.

I don't think it will go the way it did with Japan.

Japan had a larger GDP per capita than the US from 1987 until 2000.

Inflation adjusted their GDP was nearly as large in 1995 as China's is today. They did that with 1/11th the population. China will never accomplish something that dramatic economically.

Japan held a lot more influence over the US at the time precisely because we were allies. China will never be allowed to acquire large numbers of important US companies (and vice versa), because we're unlikely to ever be allies. Japan's holdings of the US national debt back then as a % were also far greater than China's position is today.

In 1991, it was Japanese billionaires dominating the global richest 50 list. Taikichiro Mori and Yoshiaki Tsutsumi were the two richest people in the world, at $15b and $14b. That's nothing like what is occurring today, American billionaires are dominant.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was the Japanese corporate giants that ruled the global economy. Today it's American corporate giants by a large margin. China's giants mostly can't leave their own borders and never will. The regressive command economy straight-jacket - mixed with political doctrine-based restraints - that their companies are permanently ruled by, won't allow it.

China's leverage today is not orders of magnitude greater than Japan at its economic peak. Asia as an example was far poorer across the board in 1985-1995 than it is today, Japan towered over Asia economically in a way China never will. In 1985, South Korea's GDP per capita was 20% that of Japan; China was 2.5% that of Japan; and so on.

China does not seem to be at its peak yet. It can't be compared to Japan at its peak.

You should consider writing dialogue for Reagan-era action movie satires about muscle-bound heroes bravely fighting the red menace.

"China will never accomplish something that dramatic economically."

What China's accomplished in reducing extreme poverty, given their starting point under the Mao regime, is nothing short of miraculous. It has far wider reaching lessons for developing countries than Japan's post-war boom does.

"China's giants mostly can't leave their own borders and never will. The regressive command economy straight-jacket..."

When you have a billion + people, it makes sense to focus on that market first. Anyway, the US wouldn't be warning partners about Huawei if their equipment wasn't a key part of most nations' telecom infrastructure already.

I tend to agree. "It will be like last time!" doesn't pan out when viewing history. The only constant is the shift in power dynamics.

That's a bit of a supremacist take, no offense.

Maybe rather than complaining about it, we should actually build things?

Maybe we should pay a schoolteacher more than 1/4 what an advertising optimizer makes?

No offense taken, but curious how you see it as supremacist.

Not you specifically but more the thread.

We sell everything to the highest bidder, buy from the cheapest supplier, but then when it's a Chinese company investing it's suddenly a cultural crisis?

If a German company was buying part of Reddit, would it be the same cultural crisis?

No because we respect Germany more than China, for obvious reasons. China's conduct in business, treatment of its own people, politics and history should raise enough red flags.

Hell, China's flag is literally red.

No, because Germany is also a democracy supporting almost identical views on freedom of expression.

OK, I"m a German investor with a board seat, and I insist that Reddit block subs featuring Holocaust denial and neo-Nazi content from appearing for users with German IP addresses. We still good?

Is that a cultural fact about them?

The difference is that China has an expressly anti-democratic ideology, and its government has so far been enthusiastic about weaponizing the private sector to further its influence. That's a terrifying thing when combined with ownership over American companies, especially media companies.

Good insight, this is the fact as I known

Japan is a democracy with basic rights like freedom of speech. China is currently an extremely censorship heavy totalitarian state. It doesn't seem unreasonable to be concerned about such a repressive state gaining increasing influence over our media via these types of investments.

China is fighting a cultural war, as they have so often stated, and shown in Xingjang.

I've been thinking a lot about this since writing the parent comment two days ago. I wrote a post [0] that expands on how China uses investment to control American culture.

Appreciate the great conversation had in this thread, as it helped inform my thinking.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19166794

Look not the movie business. Even more investment.

> What does it mean for America when it's no longer the owner or creator of culture?

A broader perspective on the world

Also a big chunk of Kik.

Also note in the 1980's the Japanese were buying up a lot of Hollywood.

It sounds like you're conflating entertainment with culture.

I’m not sure we have culture anymore that isn’t entertainment.

Cuisine, fashion, religion, basic attitudes, lines of acceptable thought, how to behave as an individual, how to behave in a group, how to behave as a leader, how to behave as a subordinate, acceptable vices, social progress… plenty more I can think of, the majority of them not entertainment.

In the US alone, this can very wildly between cities, counties, states, etc. What it means to be American in Idaho is something quite different to what it means to be American in Hawaii.

I'll grant you the rest, but I disagree about these two:

> Cuisine, fashion,

Cuisine seems to be universalized in the west. Everyone eats the same stuff, driven mostly by availability and cost. Regional cuisines seems to me 90% scam fed to tourists, 10% something you might find yourself enjoying on a holiday. Fashion, similarly, is almost in lock-step everywhere around the western world; everyone wears the same stuff, and regional clothing is something again fed to tourists, and sometimes seen during festivities.

> Cuisine seems to be universalized in the west

Far from it. I think you take a narrow view of what cuisine is. It's not just foods; it's preparation methods, it's how you eat them, it's where you get them, it's the cultural significance placed upon them, it's the stereotypes associated with them, it's

It's not just food cooked at home nor restaurant food; it's fast food, it's the localised version of what should be American once it hits foreign shores, it's the Americanised version of what should be foreign once it hits American shores, it's the localised version of the Americanised version of the foreign thing.

It's the snacks that you eat, it's the soda you drink, it's the choice of flavours, it's the stereotypes associated with those — the very idea that Mountain Dew goes with Doritos, the very fact that Mountain Dew is sufficiently in peoples' consciousness instead of another drink.

Examples to follow:

> Everyone eats the same stuff

I really doubt Americans know what a meat pie, in the New Zealand sense, is, the significance of them to a typical New Zealand childhood, or the knowledge that there's nothing quite as tasty as getting one from a petrol station. Even if they are acquainted with putting beef mince and chunks of cheddar cheese inside a flaky pastry, I doubt it occurs to any to consider it a handheld snack. I'm sure a French person is more likely to reach for a Croque Monsieur any day.

Brits put completely different condiments on fish and chips than New Zealanders do. We wouldn't dream of combining that dish with vinegar and mushy peas, and they wouldn't dream of putting it with tomato sauce. Neither of us, on the other hand, would dream of putting it in a basket; that's much more American, since the rest of the world is content with old newspapers for wrapping. My South African husband tells me they don't always fillet the fish over there; on the other hand, coming to New Zealand nearly twenty years ago was the first time he'd seen batter on a sausage with a stick shoved up the bottom, what we call "hot dogs" but Americans call "corn dogs".

By the way, it's "takeaways" for us, not "take out". It seems like it's only a word, but it actually carries a different connotation as to what constitutes as food suitable for going out to eat and bring home; it's never quite right unless it's a Chinese family yelling sweetly to each other in Cantonese, a combination of traditional and Americanised 'Chinese' food jumbled up on a menu that is ultimately ignored in favour of the $20 fish and chip special. If we do go to the big fast food chains, we certainly don't have biscuits with our KFC (because they don't sell those), nor does our Maccas (that's McDonald's to most of you) offer poutine like they do in Canada, chicken wings like they do in Asia, and nor will anybody outside of New Zealand ever quite know what a Georgie Pie is — something so near and dear to New Zealanders of a certain age's hearts, to dismiss it as yet another fast food item is to spit in the aforementioned poutine in front of a Quebecker.

Even American candy is different when it hits different regions. I've not seen a local offering that tastes of whatever 'Blue Raspberry' is supposed to be, but it seems to be that every candy has a blue raspberry flavour in the States. A friend of mine is sending candies that taste of cinnamon, something that would seem completely foreign outside of a speciality store here. Even then, I keep saying 'candy'; I should be using the local lingo, they're lollies.

Our Coke is much less sweet than in America, so we use it for different things, different occasions. We mix it with raspberry-flavoured fizzy drink (not 'soda') to add more sweetness; we don't typically flavour things with cherry. We know what it means to "drink the Kool-Aid" but the reference is completely imported via Jonestown; no gullible person in my country is said to "drink the Raro", just as I'm sure Kia Ora or Jungle Juice is not the exclusive domain of British suicide cults.

Don't even start me on food from the American South. My friend swears up and down to me that deep-fried pickles are a thing, and I just can't see it. I hear that tea, being sweet, is "sweet tea" there and the default form of tea; the nations of the Commonwealth do put sugar in their tea sometimes, but not to the same extent. Tea is for a cloud of milk, not for twice as much sugar as in a bottle of (American) Coke!

While we're on it, biscuits are little circular discs of goodness, so are cookies, and scones are bready things. When Americans talk about chicken and biscuits, the idea just fails to parse in practically everybody else's minds.

> Fashion, similarly, is almost in lock-step everywhere around the western world

High fashion, perhaps, but that's because it's ruled by European fashion houses anyway. In businesses, sure, because business fashion is almost a sort of uniform.

Meanwhile, the style on the street, depending on the street, can be quite different. What the typical New Zealander wears in the summer might frighten a typical American. Our summer get-ups are frequently incompatible with the American "no shirt, no shoes, no service", such that we'd never get into any establishments over there were we to bring our fashion with us on holiday.

If I fail to put shoes on in a New Zealand city, the only thing people will wonder is if my feet are cold if the temperature drops below 20°C. In Australia, make that 24°C. In any other major Western nation's cities, I'm either poor, on drugs, or a complete maniac whose flouting of social conventions around decency are so flagrant that my failure to think of the children will warrant deportation! — or so goes the stereotype, which can only exist because ideas around fashion differ so much.

There's plenty yet to explore on those two topics alone that I've not covered. These things are far from universalised. In a world where an American or British tourist can get their home comforts quite easily overseas, it might seem that way; the New Zealander who simply wants the childhood favourite of a Marmite (our stuff, not the runny British gunk) sandwich on a slice of Vogel's bread whilst travelling around, we're shit out of luck; the realisation will hit us much faster than our cuisine isn't your cuisine.

For me, this will be made all too apparent when I completely fail to find a pair of jandals to make shod my offensively bare feet — only to realise I should be asking for flip-flops.

>Cuisine, fashion, religion, basic attitudes, lines of acceptable thought, how to behave as an individual, how to behave in a group, how to behave as a leader, how to behave as a subordinate, acceptable vices, social progress

Not sure if you're doing this intentionally, but these are all the things Americans definitely don't share in common or agree on, even within the same cities and states. In fact, we have never disagreed more on the subjects you listed. Largely because individuals have become increasingly atomized due to the internet age and a multitude of socioeconomic trends.

In fact, I'd posit that it's not very likely that the average american shares much with his neighbor culturally, outside of entertainment, even if they superficially seem to have a lot in common. It's more common to seek out a specific group(or faction) that you can relate to, than to form a local offline community with people physically near you.

>What it means to be American in Idaho is something quite different than what it means to be American in Hawaii

And yet there are all sorts of people in both Idaho and Hawaii. Many of whom agree on little and share almost nothing in common. I'd bet that even in a small town in Idaho very few citizens would agree with more than two of the things you listed.

In general, I'd have to agree with the person you're responding to: shared, common American culture is mostly the lowest common denominator entertainment we get through TV and Internet. For example, recognizing references from "The Office"

> Not sure if you're doing this intentionally

Don't say things like this. If you have a problem with my argumentation, then just say it; don't couch it in weasel words.

As it happens, I addressed the assertion that people are different. Of course people are different, between individuals, between cities, between regions, between states, etc. You then proceeded to refute that very point, so I'm not sure what your thesis is. Is there a vast, shared culture or not?

Well, obviously, I say there is.

The word 'culture' doesn't dictate that everybody has exactly the same mentality, a mistaken line of thought which is very sharply indicated by your assertion that people from a small Idaho town wouldn't 'agree' with more than two of the highly general potential cultural artefacts I listed. People don't 'agree' with cultural artefacts; they participate in them, their world views are informed and shaped by them; their ideas of right and wrong, correct and incorrect, acceptable and unacceptable, healthy and unhealthy, proper and perverse, are all developed by cultures of all sizes: from the micro of the family, the neighbourhood, and the city to the macro of the state or the nation.

Whether all or even the majority of Americans are adherent to the full sum of a describable "American culture" is not the question, and it was never my thesis that it was. If I made any assertion, it's that Americans, as a whole, still adhere to at least some of the tenets of some overaching American culture, something distinct enough that it could be identified by outsiders, taking an etic point of view, as unmistakably 'American' when sufficient cultural artefacts become apparent enough.

It's embedded in the language, in the way people speak, the choice of language they use, their insults, their slurs, their forbidden words, their spelling; it's embedded in the way they interact with others, the space that is kept between interlocutors, the way that strangers are treated, the relationship between a manager and his or her subordinate, and what constitutes professional courtesy; it's in the way that money is spent, the willingness to give a tip, to donate, to accept paying things at retail place, to argue when something costs too much, to seek reparation when overcharged, the wherewithal to demand to see whoever is in charge; it's embedded in manners, the use of 'please' and "thank you", the offence caused to people from other cultures who use 'please' and "thank you" in different ways, how people should address each other.

There are so many more aspects of culture that I really think you're failing to see because, from an emic point of view, as a participant of the culture, you have no clue that they even constitute your culture.

But even if you could identify them, cultural artefacts aren't items on a checklist, whereby only by ticking 80% or more of the boxes does one belong to the culture.

Think more high for it exists, it's still relatively vast, and it's deep; some Americans might only dip a toe in it, others might be positively drowned in it, and I'd be willing to say anybody who claims "people only recognise internet memes and references from 'The Office'" are more firmly in the latter camp than the former, unbeknownst to themselves.

>I'm not sure what your thesis is Is there a vast, shared culture or not?

There is not a vast shared culture outside of the lowest common denominator: popular entertainment.

>Don't say things like this. If you have a problem with my argumentation, then just say it; don't couch it in weasel words.

Humor can be cryptic online these days. I wanted to make sure you weren't making a joke that went over my head. In my view religion, social norms, etc are all over the place in this country, to the point where there's nothing unifying at all. I wasn't sure if you were sarcastically signaling that we shared the same presuppositions.

Granted, it wasn't always like this, with American culture. I'd concede if you weren't talking about the present, but we live in a multicultural country now. It's no doubt a good thing, but I think "American culture", as you described it, is an antiquated concept that died in 20th century.

>If I made any assertion, it's that Americans, as a whole, still adhere to at least some of the tenets of some overaching American culture, something distinct enough that it could be identified by outsiders, taking an etic point of view, as unmistakably 'American'

Outside of pop culture, I really don't know anything that would be "unmistakably 'American'" other than being a consumer/unit of GDP that speaks English (as a second language in my case) in a certain geographic area. It's possible I just haven't experienced what you're talking about. I live in downtown Miami, not a white suburb of California, but I have traveled around our country quite a bit.

>It's embedded in the language, in the way people speak, the choice of language they use, their insults, their slurs, their forbidden words, their spelling; it's embedded in the way they interact with others, the space that is kept between interlocutors, the way that strangers are treated, the relationship between a manager and his or her subordinate, and what constitutes professional courtesy; it's in the way that money is spent

This is just capitalism and English. See above.

>what constitutes professional courtesy; it's in the way that money is spent, the willingness to give a tip, to donate, to accept paying things at retail place, to argue when something costs too much, to seek reparation when overcharged, the wherewithal to demand to see whoever is in charge; it's embedded in manners, the use of 'please' and "thank you", the offence caused to people from other cultures who use 'please' and "thank you" in different ways, how people should address each other.

This all varies quite a bit among hispanic, whites, asians, and african americans. No cohesion here.

>There are so many more aspects of culture that I really think you're failing to see because, from an emic point of view, as a participant of the culture, you have no clue that they even constitute your culture.

Maybe, but I think we grew up in demographically different "Americas".

> We live in a multicultural country now

Makes no difference. That simply means the widespread culture is evolving.

> I think "American culture", as you described it, is an antiquated concept that died in the 20th century

You're free to think what you like, but that doesn't make you any more correct. Again, culture isn't static; why are your ideas about it?

> This is just capitalism

Nope. There are plenty of capitalist nations around the world, all with completely different ideas about what's worth spending more for, what constitutes a good deal, whether it's worth demanding to see the manager, etc.

By way of example: haggling, for instance, is very much _not_ a thing in my country. It's seen as incredibly rude. Ditto for tipping, it's not expected by the staff and patrons don't expect to give one. Paying by cash, seen in my country as a bit old fashioned and fuddy-duddy; on the other hand, paying by credit card is a little bizarre. In America, the opposite or something close to it is true; at the very least, the social acceptability of such actions differs to an appreciable extent. Those are examples of cultural artefacts.

> and English

Again, no. Linguistic norms, politeness, courtesy, and all that sort of thing are very different amongst English-speaking countries, even the US and Canada. Yet, widespread, generalisable norms are to be found in America alone that differ from the rest of the world; I gave an example, the use of 'please' and "thank you".

People from Commonwealth countries tend to think Americans don't say 'please' or "thank you" enough; on the other hand, Americans wouldn't dream of saying "thank you" in the same places that British people might.

Anyway, try telling a sociolinguist that "the English language" is global enough to not be used differently between nations. Language is one of the strongest markers of cultural belonging, and the way that Americans, in general, use English isn't limited to trivial things like whether colour (correctly) has a 'u' in it.

> This all varies quite a bit among hispanic, whites, asians, and african americans. No cohesion here.

Again, who is talking about cohesion? You're still under the impression that culture means everybody has to be of the same mindset, as opposed to finding generalisable-yet-shared facets that are common to the largest population of a given group available.

The group in question is Americans, overall.

Again, not a checklist.

> Maybe, but I think we grew up in demographically different "Americas".

I'm not American. I'm from New Zealand. The values of America, the habits, the behaviours, the attitudes, the fashions, the foods, the tastes, the festivals, the celebrations, the commiserations, the way people interact — they are markedly different than here in New Zealand.

And yes, of course there are differences — between people grouped by race, religion, affiliation, their hometown, their current city, whatever state they're in — but the overall, generalisable cultural artefacts are what they are.

If you're only going to point out the differences between individuals or micro-groups, and ignore things at the macro level, then you're not talking about culture at all. I believe the reason is that, as hinted by your notion that "American culture" is something that has the ability to become 'outdated', you think culture is prescriptive: that to be American means ascribing to certain values, certain ideals, certain beliefs.

Yet, culture is not concrete. Culture evolves, it reforms, it absorbs: the multicultural nature of America adds to the culture, transforms it, and makes it something new — but still American.

Culture is descriptive. It is impossible for it to become 'outdated' unless the very idea of an American people is outdated; that is not one that has yet proven to have fallen by the wayside.

Additionally, American culture is exported so heavily through entertainment and literature, books, films, television, and so on, that its saturation around the world might feel like everything that was once so American is now global. I assure you, this is not the case; for our cultures, in all other nations around the world, are just as adept at taking what we like of American culture and discarding the rest, keeping our cultures ours.

The US is a very multicultural nation. That's why it expresses so many distinct cultures.

> I’m not sure we have culture anymore that isn’t entertainment.

I think that's pretty unnecessarily cynical.

It's all around you. It's in the people: their beliefs, their charity, their hopes, their parents, their children, their food, their routines, their compassion, their striving. 330 million people and dozens of major cultural sub-groups, it's extraordinarily rich.

I've been meaning to count the number of "news" articles on television that are stories about personalities versus non-personalities but I am positive the number is far too high.

Really? That's sad. Our democratic values are not motivated by entertainment as far as I can tell. Neither is our capitalist approach to the economy. Really I'm not sure what component of American culture is driven by entertainment, other than the consumer oriented nature of our economy. But in that case entertainment is just one of many products.

The president is literally an ex-host for a reality TV show.

And most Americans don’t like him.


> they are just keen to buy/cheat/steal

Nationalistic swipes are not ok on HN. Please don't post like this again.


Edit: looks like we've had to warn you about this before. We ban accounts that do this repeatedly, so can you please take the spirit of this site to heart more? Obviously we can't have people slurring other countries or peoples and have this forum remain civil and substantive.

Are you seriously considering banning someone when pointing out the obvious? This is clear censorship and not in the spirit of this forum to ban someone when they point out known transgressions or very clearly known problems.

China's IP theft isn't some conspiracy theory: https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-deploys-new-tactics-to-curb...

To say that China steals is not a fallacy or an exaggeration in the slightest.

There's a huge difference between "they are just keen to buy/cheat/steal" and, say, "intellectual property theft continues to be an issue in China". It amounts to the difference between a nationalistic flamewar and a discussion that at least has a chance of remaining thoughtful. If you can't see the difference, you might find some of these links helpful for getting a better idea of the spirit of this site:






You don't have to read all that, but we do need you not to post any more comments like you did upthread. Blowing up inflammatory territory does no one any good.

I think the cheat/steal method of describing China is becoming outdated. Cheat/steal is a viable technique to quickly catch up if you don't mind being a bad actor in a game theory setting. Then you have to surpass.

In AI they seem to be at the late stages of stealing. The top two films in the global box office last weekend were both Chinese (The Wandering Earth, $172m and Crazy Alien, $77m). Chinese blockbusters seem to just flip American tropes (The Chinese coming to save the day Rambo style).

>The only issue I can see from ownership is if they start to censor the platform.

I doubt they'll do any overt censoring (eg. "no talking about what happened at Tiananmen Square in 1989), but I wouldn't be surprised if they do subtle manipulation like silently deemphasizing anti-China content, or emphasizing anti-westnern content (eg. infighting, failure of western democracy). The latter probably would probably even good for the site (in terms of engagement) as outrage drive cilcks.

The Chinese government forced USA airlines to remove mention of the sovereign nation of Taiwan.


They also forced GAP to remove a proper map of China that accurately displays its sovereign borders off a sweater, and then, heinously, forced it to release a map that incorrectly displays Taiwan as a portion of Chinese territory through GAP marketing channels. (Incidentally, if anybody has the correct map in male's M, I'm buying, and willing to pay dearly)


China will go to overt lengths to push their lies on the world.

A great display of how one can rewrite history with enough power.

They’ve been plenty overt when someone talks about Taiwan...

Tiananmen event is really terrible

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but China is the only country outside the US with an independent tech ecosystem. To the point where they're buying pieces of Reddit, even, I heard somewhere.

Tencent, qq, weibo, Baidu, Alibaba, taobao, and I'm sick of typing but the list goes on.

It started with protectionism but pride goes before the fall as they say.

Waiting for the API to be turned off to force use of the official app. I am subscribed to lots of niche subreddits and love browsing reddit from my app of choice, but when the day comes that they force me to use the reddit app, I will abandon ship.

They won't care, because they probably make no money off of me.

They have almost made their mobile website un-usable. You have to click 3-4 buttons just to close out all of the popups. If you browse in Incognito mode, you have to close everything every time.

The original desktop site on mobile works fine for me, it’s all I’ve ever used. But it’s not the default and the redesign is unusable, so you have to configure each new browser you visit the site on. My usage has definitely dropped over the last few months due to usability alone.

Red reader is fantastic for mobile. Ad free and night mode looks the same as hn version with night mode.

Wouldn't that break all bots, which are sort of a staple of reddit?

I've seen Reddit degrade painfully over last 8-10 years. It was full of intelligent comments, insight and unique perspective from people all over the world. Browsing the front page and reading the comments makes me sad that instead of intellectual discourse, we have a 3 billion dollar meme making machine.

I wish to keep HN away from the masses as much as I'd like a broader perspective in the light of how things go with typical social networks. There is no lack of funny things on the internet. Even witty jokes have no place here because slowly and surely it will erode away why HN is a gem of the internet.

Reddit, like Usenet, or IRC, is just a collection of individual communities that happen to share an identity system. Expecting the (not-logged-in) Reddit front page to be “intellectual discourse” would be like expecting a random selection of Usenet posts or IRC chat-lines to be “intellectual discourse.”

Try just visiting specific Reddit communities, rather than looking askew at the entire menagerie as if there was value there.

Same goes for YouTube: just subscribe to specific channels based on out-of-band recommendations. Or for Twitter, or Netflix, or anything else. These platforms have good things; even curated collections of good things. But you won’t find them by asking the platform to show you something good.

In short: ignore recommendation systems. They are very good at surfacing content that the average “profitable” user that the business targets, wants to see. They are horrible at surfacing the “best” (e.g. highest positive impact on your life for having consumed it) content.

This is very good advice. One of my most upvoted Hacker News comments was saying that creating an account and whitelisting the subreddits you want to read is a tremendous improvement on reddit.

Funny thing to me is that it is really hard to isolate yourself in this way on Twitter. I've spent a lot of time trying to do this but politics always seems to leak through. One thing that has helped is by turning off retweets for as many people as I can.

I've a similar problem on Twitter. I don't follow anyone for their political views, so I typically unfollow as soon as I read some but it's far from an optimal solution.

I resisted setting an account up for years on Reddit, but you're absolutely right - it's the only way to effectively filter things you don't want to see.

Same with Facebook. I usually just unfollow people who frequently post political things, but at the cost of missing out on their posts about their personal lives. I wish there was a "subject" filter that I could use to filter out political posts.

Twitter has one I learned recently, but it's pretty enfeebled. It's as far as I can tell, exact matches only, which sounds fine perhaps in the design phase, but was deeply frustrating in practice. There's a new political candidate in America generating lots of buzz who has several permutations of their name (abbreviations and hyphens were my undoing here), so I ended up having to add several entries just to not hear about politics in a country I don't live in!

I put in so many things to filter out politics. Still inundated with it.

Feed idea: block posts from user unless tagged with a subject. Show users your post may not be visible unless tagged. Follow people AND subjects.

Why the pushback on a reddit account? You don't need to post or comment.

You also don't need an account if you want to whitelist with the RES extension instead:


You do need to train the Google AI to create a account, though. Reddit uses captcha

I'd happily give them $5 to prove I'm human but I won't feed Google.

Twitter is a rage machine, that’s what makes people glued to it. Twitter threads are also a waste of time.

Honestly my twitter experience became a lot better once I self imposed a rule to not follow politicians, journalists, and dedicated joke accounts. Now it's mostly fighting game community nerds and anime nerds who spend most of their -- who am I kidding, our -- time making memes and checking to see who's showing up where in terms of cons or tournaments.

You're right about the rage machine. I don't mind the threads. When you follow the right people, it is pretty fun to see how their brain thinks in real time. I love thinking out loud in front of my audience too.

Ugh this is so true about Twitter. It really does seem like the feed is filled with political retweets. Good idea about turning them off.

Does anyone know if such functionality exists to disable seeing likes?

I've turned off all retweets for exactly the reasons discussed but twitter still shows me that so and so liked some snarky thing so and si said about So and Se, Candidate from State about current affair.

If I can prune that last bit, my twitter feed just might be saved.

I think Twitter's CEO is trying find ways to break "echo chambers" on twitter. I suspect this is part of the reason we are seeing what other people have liked. I get the reasoning, and maybe it would work, except that the liked tweets are usually the most inflammatory.

Yes: create a "list" on Twitter, add the people you want to that list, and visit just that list (not the main Twitter stream/feed/timeline/whatever). The list does not show likes. (But I haven't tried combining it with disabling retweets...)

if you click the ... on the "so and so liked this tweet" and select "dont show me this", it hides that particular "liked" tweet. Do it enough, and it seems to hide them all. At least it worked for me - I only see original tweets and retweets from those i havent turned off. YMMV

Twitter’s content muring is useless in that it still shows quote Tweets if anyone you mute in your timeline. I have POTUS, Tomi Lahren, and several others blocked and muted, yet they still appear in my timeline because of the infamous “slam dunk quote tweet” phenomenon.

It’s not just hard to filter things out on Twitter; it’s downright impossible.

For us Twitter casuals, can you explain what a "slam dunk quote tweet" is?

Usually political, involves quote tweeting another person with a clever comeback in order to get RTs and likes from people who agree with you.

content muting^

thanks Autocorrect

> One of my most upvoted Hacker News comments was saying that creating an account and whitelisting the subreddits you want to read is a tremendous improvement on reddit.

I am surprised this has to be said. It's the same thing with Youtube. Unless you're signed in and have set your own preferences, you will be exposed to the dumpster fire that is mainstream internet content...high schooler humor, conspiracy garbage, superhero movie trailers, etc.

Mastodon has a better workflow for that experience. I find it difficult to find people to follow, but my browsing experience is very stress free day to day.

Try the Fediverse (Mastodon)! It's set up to be less inflammatory because the retweet equivalent doesn't allow embedding your own response. It's also easier to create an isolated island for yourself. Find an instance that aligns with your interests, or do what I'm doing and create your own!

This may be more work than some are willing to do but I took the opposite approach. I browse /r/all almost exclusively but I've got RES filtering any subreddit I don't want to see in my feed again. The list of filters gets long.

It’s kinda frustrating how recommendation systems on most of these sites are just broken. It recommends popular stuff instead of using this power to help “spread the love”, meaning you end up in a sort of monoculture of popular content.

I think it’s on tic-toc where they try to feature “new stuff” a lot more than just popular things, effectively helping along newer users. I know hello talk tries to do this too.

Popular users and content don’t need help! If these places used their power to point at more hidden gems in their content the entire system would feel healthier

It's funny that you say you think recommendation systems cause a monoculture of content. I actually think that recommenders have lead to less of a monoculture then ever seen before.

It used to be that everyone in a geographic region would read the same newspapers, watch the same news stations, and listen to the same radio stations. Causing people to mostly be exposed to all the same content. However, now with recommendation algorithms everyone gets exposed to a totally different news diet.

Yes, I have a set of subreddits that I subscribe to as well. They don't fix:

* The introduction of Reddit Gold, then the introduction of Reddit Silver - originally a joke, now a real thing

* The degredation of the UI - old.reddit.com won't last forever

* The push to mobile apps (see degredation of UI)

While I agree with general stance there is way to avoid these problems. The reason I use reddit much more than Twitter / Instagram is because there are nice open source UI-enhancement projects and clients.

> The degredation of the UI - old.reddit.com won't last forever

I pretty sure Reddit Enhancement Suite will just continue to be developed:


> The push to mobile apps (see degredation of UI)

RedReader is open source and amazingly good for mobile.


> * The introduction of Reddit Gold, then the introduction of Reddit Silver - originally a joke, now a real thing

Why is this a problem? You're not forced to use it or interact with it. It's just a way for reddit to make more money, which I have no problem with.

old.reddit.com going away is a legitimate fear that I share, though.

The day old.reddit goes away is the day I stop using reddit, period.

And I'll be sad about it. Smaller subreddits are just about the last bastion of the communities I so enjoyed in the BBS/early internet era. But the new UI is, frankly, a dark-pattern shitshow. And I don't use that term lightly.

> The day old.reddit goes away is the day I stop using reddit, period.

Me too! I'll be super happy about it, though. Will break my reddit addiction and principal time sink once and for all. The new design is just so visually disgusting to me I get a palpably negative reaction to it. So cartoony and spaced out, so much less information, even the concise views make everything look like it was obviously designed for mobile and to be like instagram. It's gross. The whole reason I read reddit is for the good discussion and comments. Part of the reason I like HN and craigslist is they're simple and not a visual overload.

Same, I read Reddit a lot on mobile with Apollo but my main usage remains on the desktop - I even pay for gold. The moment they take old.reddit away without some SERIOUS tweaking of the new UI is the moment I cancel gold and leave the site.

Shame too, because there are subreddits I love like /r/homelab.

The admins have been pretty vocal about not giving up the old design. But I only imagine for long are they willing to they keep the two interfaces up and running?

Reading through all these responses, I have to wonder if there is a business opportunity for a company that provides "best content" recommendations, targeted to your interests, on these platforms.

"But wait, why don't the platforms just do that themselves?!!" I'd argue the economic incentives for the platforms to recommend "brain-candy" lobotomizing content is too high to go against this trend, but a third party with a lot less to lose could actually do a better job at recommending more useful, thoughtful content.

Most people don't share OP opinion, after a long day of work they want to look at cat pictures. Clickbait farms earn more than traditional newspapers, for the simple fact that more people read them.

As for "best content recommendations": The problem is that everyone has a different opinion on what is good content. So the money is in figuring out what you think is good content. Advertising and Social media companies are great at this: they gather as much data on you as they can to figure out what they think you like, and they show you that.

>a third party with a lot less to lose could actually do a better job at recommending more useful, thoughtful content.

That would either cost way too much money, or cause unsustainable immigration into interesting subcultures. Probably both.

I'm always nervous that the one little corner of the internet that I still like for intelligent content is going to fall apart. It's a <1000 person subreddit, a few related slow and/or defunct blogs and a discord group.

I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member. Doubly so if a recommendation system sent me there.

Doesn’t YouTube and social media provide best content recommendations targeted to individuals interests? As far as I can tell, it’s great in theory but leads to echo chambers, people getting lynched, or living completely disconnected from reality.

Great idea in theory, and the people peddling these technologies are even convinced they’re changing the world for the better.

I’m not trying to antagonize you. Good intents lead to hell or something like that.

You are very right: the problem is that our brains are wired so that we prefer content that confirms our beliefs, we stay longer on the platform and are happier (which means advertisers make more money). Platforms have figured this out and are abusing it.

The concept is called filter bubbles and there is an old (2011) TED talk about it: https://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_b...

It's so hard to find good content though, on all those platforms.

Twitter for whatever reason takes me forever to find a good set of folks / companies to follow for a given topic... and then they go berserk too and same goes with YouTube, watch something I like for a bit and then that same person starts doing reaction videos and youtube drama stuff ....

The platforms themselves tend to skew the content over time even if you're curating.

Reddit has similar issues, some city based subs I read are regularly spammed by users from other political subs with all sorts of fake news type stuff.

I usually hangout on r/programming, r/hardware and a few other communities. Discussion is indeed better.

While Reddit is indeed what you make of it and your experience heavily depends on the subs you're visiting, these days I see a lot of subs in decline - subs that are dedicated to niche topics and used to focus on meaningful discussion increasingly turn into a sea of pictures and memes, repeatedly quoting the same inside jokes, asking the same beginners' questions and recommending the same small set of products the community seems to have decided on.

No it's not. Reddit makes it too easy for people to cross between communities and the result is everything trends toward the lowest common denominator. It's the same problem 4Chan has. No matter what you do you're hanging out in the same neighborhood as a bunch of people you probably don't want to hang out with because at the end of the day you still share a site.

Those things are great snippets of cultural discourse, though. The similarities in the things won't might find in a random sampling of Usenet, or IRC, or Reddit will undoubtedly be interesting to academics in the future.

Do you mean looking askance rather than askew?

10+ year user, I only consistently browse ~3 subreddits now. I realized it was time to move on when I was using Reddit Enhancement Suite more than Reddit itself. My subreddit filter list (so not including keyword filters, blocked users, domain filters, etc.) is currently 1,391, which translates to 2 or 3 unfiltered posts out of 25 if I browse r/all.

"Why don't you just browse your own front page instead of r/all?" I do, but Reddit decided it would be a great idea to limit the number of subreddits they display on your frontpage unless you purchase their premium membership. As a result, even though I'm subscribed to many interesting subreddits, I only see content from the largest and most active ones on my frontpage and the rest of them are hidden from me.

I started browsing r/all instead and filtering out all of the subreddits that don't interest me as a workaround to the above problem. I used to see a lot of interesting subreddits pop up on r/all, but as the site has grown real content has become drowned out by low-effort meme subreddits that multiply like rabbits, politics, and karma-farming bots that repost incessantly. Right now on the first 10 pages of r/all 15/250 posts pass my filters. I have no doubt that over the next few years this number will continue to decrease towards 0.

I disagree.

My main is a 12+ year account of reddit. I think the site is more useful than it ever has been.

I’m in a variety of subs, genres spanning many interests and have mod on several.

Sure there are accounts focused on upvotes. But not only can this be corrected, you see this on all social platforms now.

TikTok, for its youth and growth has this and that platform—though it boasts leading edge media presentation—is completely without the real and deep comment threads you find all of the time on reddit.

You find more “shitpost” content and commentators on major networks, local news and even newspapers as they attempt to keep up with what grows out of subs every day.

There is stuff discussed in subs that is incredibly serious and you won’t find talked about as openly anywhere else on the internet.

If anything the site is undervalued and growing.

> My subreddit filter list (so not including keyword filters, blocked users, domain filters, etc.) is currently 1,391, which translates to 2 or 3 unfiltered posts out of 25 if I browse r/all.

I don't understand what you mean here. It sounds as though you have a black list versus the superior option of a white list (in this case)? Surely it's better to let in what you want and ignore everything else by default versus being surprised by something you don't like and having to ban it?

It wasn't originally my intention for the filter list to become so comprehensive, but it's steadily grown over time as the content on Reddit has degraded. I've been building the filter list since it became a feature in RES. Also, while rare, I still do find new subreddits through r/all, so I prefer the "everything but B" to "only A" approach of filtering.

I wasn't even aware it was possible to have a whitelist and I'm not quite sure what you're referring to, to be honest. I'm guessing it would be easy enough to construct now that RES supports complicated custom rules, but I think at this point I'm too lazy to. It's far more convenient to be able to just hover over a post and one-click filter a subreddit from the card RES displays.

I feel qualified to chime in because this is the way I use reddit, too, with similar numbers of filtered subreddits.

There are two reasons to do it this way. The first is that you never find smaller subreddits you might like with a whitelist. The second is that reddit will not actually give you a whitelist of subreddits. It instead picks a random 50 subreddits among your subscriptions and limits itself to those. That 50 is fixed for a period of time (I don't know how long).

> The second is that reddit will not actually give you a whitelist of subreddits


You register an account, unsubscribe from everything, and then subscribe to what you want. That's a white list. I don't know what this 50 limit is you mentioned... never run into that. My "Home" screen contains posts from every sub I'm subbed too...

Maybe my information is wrong or outdated, but that's what I read.


Why not just buy a premium membership?

what is the benefit ?

Server-side filtering of /r/all is a Premium feature - or, at least, it was a Gold feature. I don't see a list of Premium features anywhere.

I think it's immoral to support that website.

Yet you use it?

Yea, but I don't view their ads or give them money. It's the same line I draw with other internet properties that I find odious. Maybe a long time ago reddit was worth supporting, but they've made too many user-hostile decisions.

I realize that giving them page views counts as 'support' when they're trying to raise money from investors. I hope that my infinitesimal effect on their monetization numbers in the opposite direction cancels it out. Who knows.

I’m a 13-year reddit user. The quality of the site going down is simply a symptom of its popularity.

Think how dumb the average joe is, then realize that 50% of the population is dumber than him.

You can still find intelligent discussion on reddit, you just have to do a lot more work filtering.

I've been using reddit for 12 years and the quality of the site has gone down considerably in just the last few years. The trolling, bots, and hate speech seem to be rampant. There has been a concerted effort for certain ideological groups to take over popular subreddits like country and city specific subreddits to push a specific agenda.

All this happens while plenty of other niche subreddits go on as usual. I'm subscribed to a bunch of subreddits with great communities.

While popularity certainly has a huge role in the downfall, Reddit was already Internet-popular years ago. I think the problem now is that Reddit is being gamed pretty hard and they don't have the means to fix it. And it's not just a technological problem, it's a social one.

Reddit has become a platform to manipulate public opinion. I have witnessed some very strange things on Reddit where I presume a company, government agency or malicious groups take over a subject and comments to steer the opinion. It’s easy to spot. Personally I treat Reddit as a place for humor and occasional insight, but mostly humor.

i saw an interesting solution to chinese "shilling" on 4chan recently, just post a bunch of words that get a site filtered automatically by the great firewall of china. like "tiananmen massacre" and the like. ofc it being 4chan i don't know how reliable that information is

I’ve seen this as well, try posting anything negative about Monsanto or Epic Systems.

I think a wonderful example of how Reddit can work amazingly is /r/askhistorians. They require academic sources for answers, and general expertise around all answers, at the expense of requiring heavy moderation. This does not apply for general topics (could not apply in /r/news for example), but if a community can be created around a specific topic, and that topic is amenable to this style of expertise filtering, it has been shown to work well.

I think you’re exactly on the money. Popularity + weak moderation policies. Happens to almost all communities. Eventually enough assholes show up who are accommodated that it stops being fun.

not sure why you're being downvoted, you're exactly right. if hn got a user base the size of reddit's overnight, you can be sure the quality of discussions would similarly degrade. the same is true for every social network (digital or otherwise) i've ever been a part of.

HN has gotten worse since I started visiting ~2 years ago.

That said, still some of the best comments.

I have been here rather longer than you, and not noticed a decline in the time period you’ve identified. I do note however there seems to be a tendency in all communities for people to think it declined since they started using it.

Probably the same phenomenon as when you first start a relationship or a job everything is wonderful because you just haven't had any negative reference experiences with the said entity yet. Then over time they accumulate and your view matures to one of "it's alright/not bad"

I feel like lately there's been more politics, in terms of news articles as well as comments along the lines of "boo Google" or "boo Facebook", and less new software, people announcing their personal projects with Show HN, interesting comp sci concepts, and that sort of thing.

A good example is this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19140862

I don't remember seeing that kind of politics on HN in the past.

Counterpoint: I actually enjoy non-tech discussions on HN and your observations seem to indicate that I'm not the only one.

I mean, that's true of Reddit, too; the fact that memes are more common on Reddit now is directly because more people enjoy memes.

Anyway, I don't really want to include a value judgment here; I'm just observing that it changed.

I started about 4 years ago. While I haven't really noticed much of a decline in comment quality, I think I have noticed a trend towards articles from large mainstream publications making it to the front page. Having said that, the front page as I write this is full of TechCrunch, so it is very possible this is confirmation bias ;-)

I agree

Similarly long-time HN user checking in. I think there's still a great amount of quality here, particularly posted material, but I have seen an uptick in the number of junk comments. I'm including comments that say something but are really saying nothing substantive, are blatantly reflexive, or lack depth of thought. Ad hominem and such are indeed still rare here, thankfully.

People often react negatively to change in what they hold dear. It could just be that they all started using these communities, loved the experience at that time, the experience changed, and then they feel the "community" (not their experience) "declined over time." Might just be an instance of that more general tendency.

I won’t join any club that would have me as a member.

>Think how dumb the average joe is, then realize that 50% of the population is dumber than him.

The median Joe.

You'd expect a site dedicated to software engineers to have a better grasp on how a bell curve works.

Even the median Joe in this case is relatively similar to most other Joe's because 2/3 of the population is within 1 standard deviation of intelligence.

I beg to differ that this site is dedicated only to software engineers. There are lots of marketers, designers, and other "business" types that visit - I'd wager that half of the visitors don't know how to code.

Therefore, my use of "average" is a pragmatic usage that gets the point across better, even if it's not technically correct.

This is what has happened to Stack Overflow. Especially once redditors started pointing to it.

> how dumb the median joe is

FTFY, to bring a little reddit to this thread.

I post jokes here occasionally, and often feel like my share of upvotes might be a little too biased toward joke posts or reflexive comments that would fit in a tweet.

But one of the most important things of being a successful comedian is to play to your audience. On HN, you cannot be crass. You cannot be dumb, but you can be pun. You should not be satirical, but you can be ironic, and you should know the difference. And you absolutely cannot be cruel or stereotype others -- these jokes aren't really funny anyway, despite what people think. Those comments deserve all the downvotes, and occasionally flags.

But a certain kind of joke is part of HN culture, especially those that make you think. Humor is the nexus of our expectations and reality being in conflict, and the best jokes can demolish our illusions.

This is wisdom. A life without humor is a sad life. And the best kind of humor can be thought-provoking.

Many people think humor is unwelcome here, but that just isn't true. You identified some types of humor that are very unwelcome here, along with some that can go over quite well.

A few of my highest-voted comments here have been off-the-cuff humorous remarks. But they weren't the kind you would find on some stupid Reddit pun thread.

If I could share one example to illustrate... A few years ago there was a news article that said homeowners in London were digging far underground to build multi-level basements. They would bring in a digger (like what we call a backhoe in the US) to dig out those basement levels. It would dig down and down, excavating each level.

And then, because it was too expensive to retrieve the digger, they would just have it dig out a little hole on the side and park itself there, never to be recovered.

(There were suggestions that the story may have been apocryphal, but that isn't relevant to this discussion.)

My comment was:

"These diggers are the very definition of a sunk cost."

If anyone doesn't see the humor there and how it might be the kind of humor that could be well received here, let me know. I try not to be my own Joke Explainer, but will be happy to clarify if needed. :-)

I feel this way about the internet as a whole. Just a complete obliteration of the culture.

The things that I hate the most are screenshots of other people's tweets (who cares) and "when u" with some stupid pop culture still attached. Everywhere I turn, I see this shit-tier cyber detritus. I am unable to escape it, even with endlessly tiresome filtering, list management, content blocking extensions and the like.

A long, long, long time ago, there was an absolutely delightful community called "b3ta" where people chatted and shared images (as still happens today), but there was a wonderful _culture_ to it, where it was simply socially unacceptable to post other people's content as your own, or even your own content if it wasn't really up to snuff. That seems unthinkable these days, as shameless reposting is not only the cultural norm, but the very business model for the largest web's primary attractions. And yet when I think about the delight the internet can bring, that's what I think of. I also think it's dangerous to cling to that nostalgia for the "golden era" of the internet, recognize that for the most part the great experiment has failed and to simply abandon it, or move on to the next thing with some of these bugs ironed out.

Don't make the mistake of viewing the entirety of reddit under one lens. There are many serious sub-reddits that don't tolerate meme/joke posts and focus on content value.

I'm reminded of this every time I set up a Reddit app on a new phone. I have to set my filters manually each time, and it's crazy how many garbage meme/videogame/superhero subs targeted at kids I have to block before my r/all experience goes back to normal.

Yup. I'm a 10-year reddit user. I looked at the default FP recently and it's all about memes. Stupid animaladvice stuff. Only images. If they re-design this into 9gag I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

It used to be about r/askscience, r/atheism, a lot more textual stuff. I know the best experience is in subscribing to the right subreddits, but it's quite a shame the default front page that newbies land on has become 9gag.

In my experience, the best way to do good front page is to blacklist all the crap with RES, so you might still find something new from time to time, but in general enjoy much more clean experience. This also works well in reducing time spent on the site, since the r/all pretty much stays constant during the day.

Is weird, because reddit for me is great, sometimes even more than HN and stack overflow.

However, I suscribe to rust, mechanical keyboards, how make programming languages...

I can't stress enough how helpful and interesting the /r/rust sub is to me. I have always received at least a few replies to my questions, no matter how noob or hard they are.

One of the most wholesome programming communities I've participated in.

> I wish to keep HN away from the masses as much as I'd like a broader perspective in the light of how things go with typical social networks

Agreed. I downvote ferociously on HN when I see people attempt to be funny or meme on hacker news. It'll be a sad day once people try to use HN as some sort of hacker joke thread.

I think this is just cynicism. there's an absolute fuckton of extremely intelligent, insightful, and interesting comments all over reddit.

I think sometimes seeing what you want to see takes the form of seeing what you don't want to see.

I'm going to be that guy. The Internet was better in the late 90s early 2000s.

Back then, we just had individual communities under their own web domains. That meant that you needed to have lurked on the site for a bit, understood the culture, and then make the decision to make an account and join the discussion.

Forums also had a unique look and feel, even if they were just different color themes selected from the admin panel.

With Reddit, you have individual communities, but one account gets you access to them all. So you will get people who joined a 'foreveralone' group and can now frictionlessly post on relationship subs about how women don't want nice guys like him, they want bad boys who'll abuse them.

Precisely. I can't spend five minutes on Reddit without getting frustrated. This community feel is perfect. I don't know how it's lasted as long, but kudos to the mods here.

Funny you say that about HN, for a lot of us veterans on HN, we argue the exact same thing happened to HN.

HN today has deteriorated, what used to be a liberal and open minded place to explore new ideas, it has become a self promoting (especially if you are YC fam) to a large degree, and heavy policing.

With the rise of cryptocurrency I saw a lot more shill accounts manipulating comments and such.

So many of us have left HN, maybe there's something like HN out there?

Memes and liberal circle jerking. But there are smaller subreddits that are still pretty ok.

I'm probably a luddite but the new reddit ui is downright painful to use.

...except for the post editor. It is an improvement. If they put the new editor in as an option in the old UI, I'd be quite happy.

But the rest of the new UI? I seriously do not get it. It't not just the look, which is a matter of taste [1]. It just does some weird things that make absolutely no sense to me.

For example, when you go to the comments for a post, it puts them in some kind of overlay window, with the post listing under it. I suppose this is great for quickly getting back to the post listing, as you just have to hit the close X up in the corner and it goes away and you are instantly back.

However, since the post list is still there while reading the comments, if you do a search within the page in the browser (well...in Firefox...I haven't tried in other browsers) it finds hits on the "hidden" post list too.

The good news is that if you open comments, and get this overlay window view, all you have to do is hit refresh. When the page refreshes it gives you a more normal comment view, without it being an overlay on the post list view. So now searching works like you'd expect.

Also, on Edge, scrolling is messed up in the overlay view. Apparently they are handling it themselves in JavaScript for some reason, and it doesn't match native browser scrolling making it feel awkward at best and hard to use at worst. So refreshing to get out of overlay mode also gets you a properly scrolling comment view.

But WHY would they have these two different ways to view comments? It makes no sense to me to have it come up one way, and then have refreshing change it to another way. (My guess is that the first way--the terrible one--is what it is supposed to be all the time, and the refresh thing is a bug).

[1] That doesn't mean I like it...the colors, fonts, styles, etc., of the post list make it hard for me to read efficiently. At first I thought maybe I was just used to the old style, and so to give it a chance I've stuck with the new UI for months and nope, not getting any better.

I use the "Old Reddit Redirect" FF add on which redirects all Reddit links to old.reddit.com which still uses the nicer old UI.

that, and apollo on iOS, and i forget that there is such a thing as the new UI at all.

You probably are, but plenty of non-luddites agree with you.

I have no idea how they rolled that out with a straight face. It's actively user-hostile. But I guess they figure people will get used to anything.

I agree. The previous UI was much better.

The new UI feels like a roomful of fresh graduates designed it.

I think my brain has linked together modern ui with slow, broken and full of tracking. I think there might be nothing really wrong with the actual UI of reddit but its all the other things that got lumped in with the redesign.

Every time I see an old looking website or program its almost a refreshing feeling that it isn't going to try to suck money and data from me.

> I think my brain has linked together modern ui with slow, broken and full of tracking.

Big +1. Also design that favors metrics. Why did they include this one thing? Why did they remove the other? They're probably pushing you to use the site in a way that increases time spent on site by xx%.

For anyone interested, I'm making an open source clone of reddit that is federated using activityPub. Everybody can host it's own server and each server can talk to eachother so you can interact with threads and comment from other servers.

The project is in very early stage, but it's usable and lind of cute.


I think there are multiple projects of this sort. Is there an effort to make sure they are all compatible with each other? Does that even make sense?

The other one similar that I know of is prismo. If they all use activityPub they will be compatible. They will also be compatible with mastodon (which is like twitter), peertube (which is like youtube) and many others.

Maybe if they get another $300M round they will be able to afford some designers to fix the abomination that the current design is.

I think a few DNS records can fix their UI, don't need 300MM for that. Just make reddit.com the same as old.reddit.com.

The mobile app UI is fantastic IMHO. List is snappy, easy to perform upvote, downvote, comment.

Their mobile app (on iOS) is pretty terrible in my opinion. I use Apollo. It's fairly priced and the developer is responsive, and it feels like an iOS app not a web app.

Maybe if it actually worked for me. I often end up receiving the 'use the mobile app' prompt on Firefox for Android, or the Reddit logo splash screen.

For a mobile friendly UI I prefer the open source app RedReader (which has a nice dual column view for wider screens). Otherwise for casual link clicking I'll just use old.reddit.com, it's snappier to load as well in my experience.

I’m done with Reddit. It was a nice ride, but now it’s officially over. They’ve been trying to turn reddit into Facebook, a personal data vacuum, but now it’s going to get ugly.

Considering the valuation, remaining as an unpaid moderator for a reddit sub, is absolutely crazy. Hopefully all the mods up and leave, nothing like letting others get rich from your free efforts.

While I think this is a little extreme, I understand fully the sentiment behind it.

It's lamentable considering how simple the site is but there exist currently, no good alternatives! I suppose we can attribute that at least partly to the Network Effect. I've been tired of it since the front-end redesign; I grew weary of the dark patterns, the constant nagging to use their app when on mobile, the fact that my back button took me to the top of the page and (most of all, in fact) the overall quality of the threads, so my usage has decreased dramatically over the last 3 months. I suspect I we are no longer longer Reddit's target audience and they will do very well going forward but it's a shame for me at least, that something I've been using for over a decade is fading into background noise.

I worked at reddit for 4 years but quit in 2016, largely because they were clearly beginning to switch from a small, fairly independent company (despite being owned by Advance/Conde) to one that was going to become completely dependent on venture capital and I knew what that would end up doing to the site (which, like you mentioned, is manifesting through the redesign, the dark patterns, and so on). They've now taken $500M in VC since I left.

A few months later, I decided to start a non-profit with the goal of building a site that would actually be able to stick to its principles and address a lot of the issues that I think are hurting online communities: https://blog.tildes.net/announcing-tildes (HN discussion of the announcement here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17103093)

It's in private alpha and is still fairly small, but it focuses on higher-quality non-fluff content and discussions, and gets several hundred posts/comments a day. If you (or anyone else) is interested in an invite, please read the blog post I linked above and send me an email at the address listed in there and I'll be happy to give you one.

I was going to mention tildes but who better to do it than you!

I have been using tildes for about 6 months so far. I love the technical side of the website. Its fast and its minimal and doesn't seem to be sucking up my data. I also love the interactions I have had while using it.

What its missing is the specialty stuff. On reddit I can find a whole community focused on one programming language. On tildes I'm lucky to see a programming post.

But this leaves me with an interesting problem, how can you have a website that has enough users to make up a group for specialty interests without it becoming big enough that it turns in to reddit. It almost seems like the only way is to have totally separate sites for every interest.

Yeah, agreed. That's mostly just due to the small userbase, and hopefully we'll be able to build up specialized communities as the site grows (and the hierarchical group system should work very well for them).

It's worth remembering that reddit didn't even have user-created subreddits until it was over two and a half years old, and only had a handful of admin-created ones before that. It takes quite a bit of growth and time to be able to support specialized communities.

This comment would have been fine without the preceding humblebrag. "Oh its so difficult dealing with massive interest from HN, but oh well I'll take the hit for your sake". Admit it, if a bunch of folks from HN join it's great for you.

It was more that I already spent about 6 hours between yesterday and today replying to emails instead of doing the things that I'd prefer to, but you're right, I wouldn't be posting if I didn't want the attention.

I'll remove that line, it was just me sighing and didn't add anything of value.

Having just tried Tilde, I think a bunch of users HN going to Tilde would probably be equivalent to a bunch of Reddit users going to HN. The quality of discussion is going to go down as the forum gets bigger.

Can you at least make it public for lurkers?

Yes, that should be happening within the next week (but it will still require an invite to register/participate).

Not to mention the fact that the site for some reason performs like shit on mobile. Never underestimate a corporate company's ability to overcomplicate/encumber a simple product to the point where it's barely usable.

They want to push you to the app.

I also decided it's as good a time as any to rip reddit out of my daily life, after using it for the better part of the last 10 years.

Between the crushing "download our tracking riddled app" / "switch to our shitty new redesign" push recently and massive amount of engineered sponsored content, instead of paid-for advertisement, there's nothing there keeping me interested. This most recent funding round is just icing on the cake.

It's only a matter of time before they go down the twitter path and outright ban third party apps.

I appear to have independently parroted your comment! I do apologise. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who feels that way though!

I quit cold turkey from ~1 hour a day in 2014 to zero and have never regretted it once.

I tried that but I get FOMO. Like I feel like I get to discover so many interesting things (news about niche games etc) because of Reddit but at the same time I also hate it.

A lot of the moderators in Reddit are powerhungry or are marketing shills. Since it satisfies their needs I don't think they mind it being not paid.

Before long, a glorious new age will dawn: the era of the Reddit influencer.

You and I both know that's not going to happen. There's no shortage of people willing to moderate subs.

My advice would be to treat it like a tool: look up what you need, ask questions when you need to, but ignore it the rest of the time.

It's not Stack Overflow; Reddit is designed to be visited daily and 'engaged' with.

That said, I do go to Reddit first when I'm looking to answer questions like HDD recommendations or things to do in my city. That's because searching Google for it will give me nothing but awful content mill blog posts stuffed with affiliate links and SEO-optimized keywords ("Best USD Hard Drives in 2019"). On Reddit you actually get the feeling that the question is trying to be answered by actual people.

> It's not Stack Overflow; Reddit is designed to be visited daily and 'engaged' with.

I don't care how it's designed. It can be used as a tool.

I used to spend hours a week on Reddit, but I've consciously made the effort to avoid it. Unless it comes up in search results, in which case I'm using it as a tool.

Its a tool covered in weird gunk and makes your hand feel dirty every time you use it. The website is slow and bloated and filled with mountains of JS and tracking

True. The new UI is a joke. I've always hated most modern website UIs, though.

Where do you find yourself spending your internet time instead?

I don't have internet time. I only go to the internet when looking for something specific or to kill time waiting for something else. Otherwise it's more important to spend it getting things done or with real people. Sitting on the internet, otherwise, is no different than clicking channels on the TV.

A lot of the replacement sites are trying to do things differently, but honestly at this point a straight clone that does nothing/only the very few most obvious things might just be what's needed, if only because the next company will get a clean(er) slate to work with.

At least the APIs mean it’s possible to have third-party open-source clients.

I remember having 3rd party Twitter and FB apps in 2011. That didn't last long.

If they ever make a change that badly affects RedReader it'll be over for me. I love that app and I have a pretty solid reddit experience with it.

Reddit was outraged when the users heard that Reddit was going to take $150M from Tencent but now there is not a single mention of it on the frontpage even after they took double the earlier reported amount.

I cannot help but think if it's the Reddit's censorship is in play here.

Or people don't mind THAT much that a Chinese company has a stake in Reddit. It is probably not going to change much, if not increase relationships between the US and China.

Or maybe the userbase democratically chose cat pictures.

At a certain point, it's our fault for having a decadent and exploitable society.

Why has Reddit needed to raise hundreds of millions long after being established?

> I cannot help but think if it's the Reddit's censorship is in play here.

For sustained outrage, it needs to be something that cuts to core of everything Reddit treasures. Take away their ability to harass and ridicule overweight people online and you will have a war on your hands.

Well there's a deep conflict of interest and no accountability...

The amount of censorship on Reddit by moderators for arbitrary reasons, completely defeats the purpose of having community-controlled content.


Arbitrary, or to secure investment

Reddit used censorship, its super effective! +++++$300,000,000

Recently I've been asking more programming help on Reddit because I get more friendly response there compared to Stackoverflow.

Where are the youth of this generation and why are they not creating the next killer platform?

Could it be that this generation of new programmers will never see their new tech invention become meaningful?

If someone creates a new idea and it takes off they either get huge offers from existing companies to buy it or those companies use their huge resources to build a bigger and better version.

In the age of the start of facebook and reddit there were no mega corps taking interest or possessing the talent in these areas.

Technology companies matured into consumer hostile mammoths, no room for small competition anymore. Build something just good enough to sell off to a big guy and move on. It would be impossible for the events leading to myspace/facebook/reddit to happen again today.

Im a CS undergrad right now and in need of a side project... I'll start right now :)

But for real, the idea of Reddit seems perfect to me its just way to popular now. Maybe a platform where you need to pass some sort of quiz created by the mods of the different communities in order to post/comment? I could see this having lots of issues though.

Also I don't really mind reddit going to shit ever since I found HN a few years ago.

> Maybe a platform where you need to pass some sort of quiz created by the mods of the different communities in order to post/comment?

FB groups have had this ability for a while. I'm in one (a meme page for a semi-popular TV show) and to keep the quality of conversation high, new members have to answer 3 questions about stuff from the show correctly to join.

Is there a good alternative to Reddit? I've been a pretty heavy user for almost a decade but they have been disappointing these past couple of years. I hate how their "principles" aren't consistent. They ban certain subreddit for certain violation while keeping others that fit the same exact category. They never provide an answer to the commuity either. Where do I go to now?! HN is my only safe haven left...

I'm still on half a dozen different forums. A few general chat ones, and a few specific to hobbies/interests.

If anything, the quality of them has gone up since most of the "I just want lulz" people went to reddit. The software is better than ever too, with Discourse and XenForo adding modern web features.

There's also a few "new reddits" like Tildes which are quite good.

No single one of the above replaces reddit as a whole, but combined I find it much more enjoyable than reddit these days.

People used to host forums dedicated too a topic. Forums are still a thing... Reddit, is just a forum of forums...

Why do we need centralized forums anyways?

Because they are a million times easier to browse when all on one site and there (usually) aren’t any worries about cross-promoting different subreddits. It also makes it a lot easier for knowledgeable people to poke their heads into a random thread and offer an opinion compared to going to another site.

Unfortunately, all of that was a lot better 10 years ago.

> It also makes it a lot easier for knowledgeable people to poke their heads into a random thread

That rarely happens in practice. Knowledgeable people's comments have to be made at the right time in a post's popularity window (< 24h) for it to have been upvoted early enough for other users to see. If you come across a thread that's even a couple of days old, on a popular sub, you won't bother commenting because you know no one will see it. Unlike a message board, new replies to an existing topic do not take it to the top of the thread list page.

It is usually the opposite situation that is true. A certain post hits the Reddit front page (usually a meme or political post), and all of a sudden the community is overwhelmed with new subscribers, who are either trolling/brigading because they don't like the content, or simply bringing down the quality of the conversation by posting more memes etc., because that's what they think the sub is about.

However, people who would create a forum for a topic were often more dedicated. Same for those that seek out such a forum. You also got a lot of different quality of content from dedicated forums. At least for technical ones from my experience.

Tildes seems to be pretty interesting. It is developed by ex-reddit employee and is non-profit and open-source. Currently, it is in invite-only alpha.



Careful about that one, though. Unless your views are orthodox for the site, you'd better enjoy walking on eggshells if you want to post there.

That's how it should be. Too many people start posting on forums without any respect for the norms of the place. That worsens the experience for everyone.

Those whose criteria include "their commitment to free speech" usually have an ax to grind about something, which would explains if they've been banned from other places before.

> That's how it should be. Too many people start posting on forums without any respect for the norms of the place. That worsens the experience for everyone.

Not really in Metafilter's case. It's norms changed under the feet of a significant fraction of its long time community members. I also wasn't talking so much about norms than a rather narrow range of orthodox opinion.

To put it in HN terms: think of it as a forum where it's orthodox to love Ayn Rand, think in Objectivist terms, and a transgression to voice anything but the most indirect critical perspective of her or her ideas. You might not realize it because there are tons of great threads about other things, but God help you if you venture the opinion that the government should increase mandatory taxes to fund assistance programs for the poor.

As a site that derives the vast majority of its value from the contribution of its users it is a shame that they didn't open at least some level of participation in this round of funding to its users.

It doesn't say if Tencent gets a board seat or not. Without a board seat the impact should be less...

If they don’t get a Board seat it would be the dumbest $300m ever spent, but if they don’t get a Board seat it means their interests are already protected and represented.

I think I read that Tencent only put in $100M of the $300M. Which means they only bought 3% of the company. That wouldn't warrant a board seat.

Tencent is part owned by Naspers, originally a local South African media company who by some accounts have played a big part in the Tencent's success Quote from Reuters Founded in 1915, Naspers has transformed itself from an apartheid-era newspaper publisher into a 1.5 trillion rand ($127 billion) multinational with private equity-style investments in e-commerce platforms that also include OLX, the biggest classified sites in India and Brazil, and Russia’s Mail.ru.

Maybe they'll use that money to finally teach their engineers some CSS media queries and build a mobile website that isn't completely trash

The only thing they're likely to be engineering is that nested div monstrosity FB uses to obfuscate sponsored posts from adblockers.

Sorry but I don’t understand some of these arguments here! Not talking about this particular case, but I saw the same arguments many times.

A lot of businesses in EU and Asia are owned or invested by US companies in many different industries. Why are people so offensive when it is other way around?

I’ve worked with Chinese! Let’s not blame all Chinese because of what their government is doing.

What we need to see is if people like /u/gallowboob get any of this funding

Who or what is that?

Marketing professional who has mastered manipulating Reddit audiences for corporate clients.

And they're getting away with it so far?

He may be the most successful shill in history... @jedberg, is it you? (although youre not greek and never stated your mom recently died...)

Go to /r/all and count how many posts are his.

FYI - a good thing to do is add a /u/ as a 'friend' on reddit, and their username will stand out in an orange box if you want to spot it easily...

Wow. That is a lot of effort being put for internet points.

That person seems to moderate a lot of communities too!

It's usually not one person. Reddit accounts with very high levels of karma (upvotes gained from popular posts) are often bought an sold to companies selling products. u/gallowboob is an example of a Reddit influencer, even if a great deal of his posts are pics/gifs of animals being cute.

/u/karmanaut was the original proving ground for this. It was known that it was a used account

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact