I think Reddit is kind of a brilliant failure. It's huge and impressive now, but so much more shallow and flawed than it could have been.
But take a look at this reddit, for instance: http://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/
There are deep ends to this very big pool that is reddit. Plenty of kiddy-sections, too, where the water is warm and attention spans are short.
e.g., Free endorphins! http://aww.reddit.com
Lots of tabloidy Jerry Springer show sex stuff but also lots of fascinating people too.
I think http://www.reddit.com/r/circlejerk is also great. It's a reddit dedicated to making fun of the rest of reddit. What other site has a section devoted to making fun of itself?
may be of interest to some people here.
It is a little garish in the reddit sense but, just like with pornography, aesthetic qualities aren't that relevant as long as it serves its purpose.
Maybe I'm just bitter.
This is one of the most profound things I've ever heard, and it has applications well outside of Reddit.
But yes, any large subreddit on any topic is infected with all the rage comic and meme garbage that Reddit inexplicably loves. You have to figure that the average age must be around 18-20, which becomes very tiresome if you're more than a few years older than that.
Maybe it's the sort you're using. Reddit link discussions can go on for weeks and months. You can hop in with a top of the week sort and read a good discussion, and still find active threads.
A lot of the complaints I see about reddit feel like the complaints people have jumping into Linux from Windows.
Linux isn't Windows, and reddit isn't Hacker News. Learn how to operate it, and you'll find out why people like it.
/r/coding has stricter moderation, but much much less content is posted there. People generally want to post their links where they'll garner the most karma, and cross-posting feels kinda dirty.
Sometimes I just want to go /r/aww other times, I'd like to checkout info about /r/<country> or /r/<city>. Not to mention sports like /r/hockey that has a subreddit for every team plus the overall. So I can talk about the stuff only caps fans care about and go to the main one to talk about hockey in general.
When I realized that I was wasting a lot of time on useless things on Reddit, I removed most of the default sub-reddits from my profile (Pics, WTF, funny, etc), and added dramatically smaller subreddits (AndroidDev, Seattle, Parkour).
Now my experience is useful and tailored extensively to my interests, and I don't waste time looking at funny pictures of cats.
The default setup in Reddit is based around appealing to what a large number of users want - entertainment.
But I also knew that those interests are held by only a fraction of users on the internet. I completely understood that if the reddit team wanted to turn their site into a money making endeavor, they'd have to start catering to the lowest common denominator. And hell - even the original design of the site was going to cause that: It's social news, as dictated by the user base.
All it took was time for enough non-dev types to find the site and then poof the majority of the news would be nothing like when reddit started.
But you know where reddit succeeded? Sub-reddits.
I can customize my frontpage view to be a combination of all the hot / recent content contained only by the sub-reddits that I'm a member of.
Want to improve your reddit experience? Unsubscribe from the reddit.com (main) sub-reddit.
Here's an example of what I'm subscribed to:
apple, blog, BritishTV, carlhprogramming, coding, cogsci, Cyberpunk, datasets, Favors, freegames, gadgets, gaming, geek, iphone, lego, lounge, macapps, MachineLearning, Malware, Minecraft, opendirectories, opensource, ParticlePhysics, Physics, programming, Python, redditdev, redditmakesagame, redditstories, ReverseEngineering, roguelikes, science, snackexchange, software, SomebodyMakeThis, systems, tipofmytongue, todayilearned, trackers, truereddit, worldnews
And I add new sub-reddits all the time. Because of this wonderful system, I can "turn off the stupid" and ignore the sub-reddits where the lolcats/etc. are being posted (or, if you like them, you can subscribe to /r/lolcats).
Every now and again I log out and check what the reddit.com main page looks like without an account - shake my head - then log back in again.
I still love the site. I just consider the other users a necessary evil for reddit to get the funding to keep adding new devs, features, and hardware to make it bigger and better than it ever was.
But when you do, you'll find that it is just as it was in 2006, maybe even a little better.
I still remember when subreddits were first introduced. All the users were certain this was a bad idea and that reddit should have implemented tagging instead. Now nobody mentions tagging. And most people don't remember reddit without subreddits.
And PG got impatient and created HN because this feature wasn't available fast enough. :P
Anyone is allowed to squat on a subreddit and censor it to their whims. What is the result of this? You get moderators (who's name I will not mention for obvious reasons) who flood the subreddit with Haskell blog posts and bypass the Reddit spam filter. I remember seeing 4-5 Haskell stories every single day on reddit with low votes for many months.
When you try to submit your own story, you will likely get caught in Reddit's "shadow ban" spam filter where it looks like it was submitted but it never shows up in the "new" section. When you contact one of these "moderators", half of them won't respond and someone will fix it 24 hours later where it will appear on page 5, dooming it to never appear on the front page. The other mods then complain you were wasting their time because they checked it after 24 hours.
I did a little experiment where I submitted a Haskell related story. It was "shadow banned" for a mere 10 minutes (probably after one of the mods fished it out of the spam filter). Then I tried submitting other programming related news from HN, most of which never appeared. That was when I stopped participating in Reddit.
You might also be interested to know that Reddit censored the Athiesm subreddit off the front of the page so they didn't exactly grow organically.
At the time you censored the atheism subreddit, it had just about as many subscribers as the other top 10 subreddits at the time. You decided to arbitrarily change the algorithm until it seemed right to you.
"we added the ability to prevent certain reddits from appearing in the top ten"
Also, to be pedantic, it is not possible for reddit to censor anyone. Governments censor things, private entities do not.
And yes I know the metric is called "activity". It is just too suspicious that you let it rank well all these years and let it disappear from the front page just because a far smaller subreddit (by subscriber) was on the front page.
There are different subreddits for 'programming', 'compsci', and 'python' for example. For a link relevant to all three it isn't always desirable to have a giant group discussion. Similarly, there are subreddits for 'science', 'askscience', 'softscience', 'sciencepolicy', etc. All which might have articles that, if reddit had tagging, would be tagged for science. And there's like 50 different subreddits about smoking weed. All serving different communities. Or maybe they just forgot where the pot smoking subreddit was so they keep creating new ones. The point is, tags would be all inclusive.
Crossposting isn't really a problem and is often desired. You can see all discussions related to a link by clicking on the "other discussions" tab when viewing the comments.
I slightly disagree about crossposting not being a problem. On major issues that populate multiple Reddits, it gets cumbersome to see the same headline used on multiple Reddits, such as say Reddit.com/WorldNews/News. It's the only way to get around the lack of a tagging system. How does one choose which discussion to follow? It's easier for me to look at comments in one 'thread' about one incident or specific story rather than four or more, especially when the same arguments/observations are made.
On AskReddit, people post a lot of questions that should be in other subreddits but it's still upvoted anyway. Some do this because the applicable subreddit's aren't discoverable and so they don't know they exist. Others do it because AskReddit has such a vast number of subscribers more than the related sub-reddits.
With tagging, it's also easier to discover new communities/tags. How do I discover a new Reddit outside of hearing some person in the comments talk about something? With tagging it's clear as day.
This, the GoDaddy bar in the admin panel that can't be made to go away and the spammer "subscriber" I can't delete even though he's not an admin definately have cheapened the experience. And the worst part is I can't even pay to make it go away like I could with wordpress.com.
It certainly turns me off Posterous -- quite strongly. I simply cannot stand stuff like that.
We did with Yak, which has many features of Reddit plus several original ones and different positioning. Agree that hotness and un-sucky comment surfacing are the "secret sauce" of Reddit. Not quite ready to open the doors, but taking emails at http://yak.to
I don't think that's right, I think if users see how much the staff want the same things as the users, then they'll care. I'm sure the Digg staff cared about the success of Digg, but it didn't match what the users wanted so they lost interest.
...is that really a good thing?
I recently abandoned Reddit because I realized that keeping abreast of memes wasn't helping me accomplish my goals in life. Also, the illusory superiority thing gets hard to take. At least on HN it's more restricted to start-up vs. big-co and open vs MS, which I can take in stride. :-)
People post stories, but there's very little discussion.
It looks like both reddits are dead.