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Reddit valued at $6B on a $250M round (reuters.com)
235 points by mathattack 8 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 411 comments



Reddit is an intentionally designed dopamine machine with some areas of usefulness. There are pockets of great, high signal communities on Reddit that have not been unbundled. Discovery, however, is a mess.

Some examples of some great subs:

- HomeImprorvement is great for repair advice

- Keto was helpful in my weight loss journey

- Posture for, well, fixing my posture

I've also bought and sold various digital and physical goods through HardwareSwap, GameSale, SteamGameSwap, and others. One of Reddit's strengths is being able to tie a username to a post history across many interests, which has given me enough confidence signals in buying and selling things on there. I'm sure fraud happens, but I have personally not (yet) been affected by it when transacting on the platform.

But the main, core "Reddit experience" as algorithmically produced by r/Popular is a complete dumpster fire. It's the noise of the entire internet, jam packed into a webpage. So many low quality posts and comments that encapsulate all the negatives about "internet culture". There's no room for thoughtful discussion and discourse on the majority of the site, just shitposting and low rung commentary.

Because of that, having a productive/net positive Reddit experience comes with a high barrier to entry in knowing which communities to pay attention to and which time sinks to avoid.


Reddit is a company that made people moderate their content for free.

You don't need to know sub names to get some use of it. I append "reddit" to probably 1/3 of my search engine queries. Especially useful when looking for product recommendations.


My favorite reddit search result story: I asked a question once on Reddit, got no answer, figured it out on my own, then added my solution to the thread because I've been saved countless times by the guy that does that on the internet and I wanted to pay it forward. A couple years later, I have the same problem and remember solving it but don't remember how, search it and find my own answer.

This distils down basically every quality of reddit you need to know.


Unless it's a non-tech issue, I'd recommend Stack Exchange for those types of things.

The issue with Reddit is that they lock all threads over a year old which makes them a poor mechanism to keep updated answers to questions.


Locking it in a year is better than locking it right away.


This must be what time travel feels like.


I have more or less the same story, but then about DejaNews.


I did exactly that on stackoverflow


This just works because Google is at a more advanced stage of decay into content farm dystopia than Reddit is.


Maybe. But content on reddit has better provenance data than content on the web in general; reddit has found a version of identity that strikes the right balance. You can take an arbitrary comment and be able to tell with reasonable confidence whether there's an at least somewhat "real" user behind it, in a way that you just can't for a random blog or a product review anywhere else.


That's what the marketers want you to think


your phrasing makes it sound like a conspiracy, but its really not.

Going on various social media platforms to decide on a purchase has already been an established pattern for more then 10 years. That's more then enough time for even the biggest corporations to act on.

Do keep in mind that the influencing agency doesn't actually have to write comments. Machine Learning is super good in determining if a given comment is about [topic], and wherever its a [positive] or [negative] comment.

I'm sure people already know that there are a lot of agencies around which sell you votes on relevant platforms, so any given company can - for peanuts(!) - just upvote positive 'real' comments and downvote the same for the competitors products etc.

There is very little you can 'trust' on the internet, as its just too profitable to spread propaganda through it. there have been several people that publicly admitted that their whole job was to derail critical conversations on various platforms. So even if you put in time and produce a quality comment... there are people who get paid just to write comments to make it look like misinformation.


True. I never want to look at articles directly from google because they're always full of bullshit with a low ratio of signal to noise.


Up votes make all the difference. They are relatively transparent while Google's PageRank isn't.


That doesn't really matter because both pagerank and upvotes are easily gamed.


Not Google, Internet.


I disagree with this sentiment.

The accuracy of Google's search results have gotten worse as time goes on. Once upon a time I could search for a specific system error code and get only results that contained that code. Now however, I am lucky if the search term I am looking for is on the same page, even after I add or try all the Search Modifiers.

Yes, the internet has gotten worse. Far more noise then signal. But if I search for: "Error: 98yuasdvfnbi89yt7" I expect to find that within the results. Even if there are 0 results, that is valid feedback too.


If you actually include the quotes in your search term, you'll get the results you want, including zero results if there are no exact matches. Either of the following search terms will work:

"Error: 98yuasdvfnbi89yt7"

Error "98yuasdvfnbi89yt7"

In both cases, that search will currently return one page, this one.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Error+%2298yuasdvfnbi89yt7%2...

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22Error%3A+98yuasdvfnbi89yt...


>looking for product recommendations

This is the trick I use too; but I found the result still isn't great enough for a few reasons.

1. People seem have a tendency to recommend products/brands that are niche or "in minority". Like some obscure ones that scratch particular itch for that user (and often expensive and hard to find). This is totally fine on its own, but you want to have the big picture (i.e. learn about the most popular ones) first when researching a new product.

2. The number of the answers is often so low (and most would have 1 digit upvotes) that it's very hard to judge when there is conflicting info.

3. People often just list the brand/name, without much more information.

4. you can't even sure if these answers are genuine (instead of marketing/soft advertisement).

Still, probably much better than anything else that can be easily found in general search.


I've found that reddit tends to get pretty cargo culty around particular products/brands, like Sony mirrorless and the Olympus mju II for cameras, Denon DJ equipment, or Starting Strength for weightlifting. So many recommendations basically follow the form "I'm new to this hobby and bought one of these a week ago, I swear it's the best thing ever"


I noticed a cycle with headphones on Reddit:

  - A headphone is released which is not flawless, but offers great value.
  - The headphone is recommended on Reddit.
  - Demand for the headphone goes up.
  - The price of the headphone increases.
  - The headphone is no longer a good value, but is still recommended.
  - This continues until either a well-reputed user points out the poor value or a new headphone with great value is released.


> - The headphone is recommended on Reddit.

This is not a coincidence, I'm guessing Reddit is around 1/3 astroturfing to 2/3 legitimate discussion. I don't fault people for doing it, but I'm not going to pretend that Reddit is some pristine haven for genuine reviews.

HN is just as exploitable, but at least the ratio of informative content is higher, and the concerted marketing efforts are better disguised.


In any kind of subreddit about a category of products, they are all very sure that anything that's not expensive is awful. But what would real customers be doing replying to posts I'm a subreddit like that? Probably not a great place to compare things


Lol.

Reminds me how I once asked what's a good EU online shop for running gear on the running subreddit, and the top recommended post was about a premium priced boutique european manufacturer of clothes for "plus sized" runners...


Starting strength - absolutely. It’s fine and served me well, but it isn’t the bible of building strength. There are several books worth reading, different schools of thought, but somehow SS always comes out on top on Reddit.


It’s good if you keep in mind who the typical redditor is and if you would take advice from that type of person in real life. One notable example was when I was trying to do some research on cars. The type of things generally recommended seemed almost tailor made for young men at a certain stage of their life (ie budget/sporty/manual/etc). Sure I love that stuff too, but just take a look around in the real world, and it’s pretty clear that the recommendations you’re getting are super limited in scope.


It’s an echo chamber too. On /r/investing people parrot “time in the market beats timing the market”, while this may be true for most, I read a post the other day where someone wrote “I really want to buy the dip but I know that would be childish”. While it may be riskier than the strategy they parrot it’s hardly “childish”.

On /r/personalfinance people say you must payoff a 2% mortgage before you can consider investing. Advice on there is hit or miss because of herd mentality

There’s also entire subs dedicated to illegal activity like sharing pirated content or sourcing scheduled substances, or discussing conspiracy theories or discussing violence, and Apple is ok with this while shutting down other apps like parlor which arguably didn’t do anything different


I agree with all of the above but there are two good dynamics.

For small niche subreddits where you only get a few answers it seems less likely that those are advertisements (and user history is often telling)

And on bigger subs, it's much harder to manipulate the answer unless your product is already pretty decent and you're just fighting over some market spot. In other words, obviously bad products won't be able to advertise this way because of negative comments, but some covert brand building certainly can be done.


> In other words, obviously bad products won't be able to advertise this way because of negative comments

Negative comments can be downvoted and it's not a secret that you can buy reddit accounts and that there are lots of bots. A comment only needs what, 5 downvotes before it's automatically minimized by the default view? You're not seeing those comments unless you're digging, the same way you would on Amazon or anywhere else.


Reddit is great for knowing what products to buy if you want upper middle class status symbols. If you're looking to spend money with little regard for efficiency of the dollar (i.e. buying someone a gift) it's fine. If you are accountable to yourself or others it is far from ideal.


One upvote on Reddit is worth 1,000 5 star reviews, for now at least.


unfortunately, I have found this increasingly less useful as marketers catch on.


I’ve wondered about this. Can you tell when it’s a marketer?


Perfect example I found the other day... the main post is clearly a bot, and all the replies are bots pretending to be users too.

Reddit USED to be amazing for finding recommendations for products/services but these days it’s just another bot-filled and paid-content dumping ground like the Google search results.

https://www.reddit.com/user/amily95/comments/fkm1rn/how_to_c...


Uncanny valley all the way down.


Sometimes it's obvious - the same user posting/commenting the same link across many related subs with very low signal and no other posting or commenting activity.

Or you see the same link and comment/post text posted by many different users.

But this is just low-effort marketing. There's a lot of content that is relevant but also marketing. Burger/chicken restaurant twitter account screenshots getting posted to a default sub, for example.


as others said, it can be obvious if one account is used to share the same sentiment.

one other obvious one I've seen is when batches of similar posts for recommendations in category "X" have each received a reply, usually days/weeks after the original submission, all from different users, posted around the same time, recommending the same product


Yet they totally borked the discovery experience through search. Now you search, click a reddit link, it takes you to half a page with two comments and you have to click a new link to see the whole thing, that is after fighting away the Install the App prompt of course.


I append "-site:reddit.com" to my programming queries, if it's coming up in results, because it takes multiple clicks in their slow, user-hostile web application to expand the conversation, and there's NEVER an answer there.


That's the new, terrible interface. Replace the "www" with "old" in the URL, like "old.reddit.com". If you create an account, you can configure "old reddit" to be your default. There are also browser add-ons that will rewrite the URLs automatically. The difference is night and day.


Well, like I said, there's NEVER an answer there, so there's no reason to rewrite the URL, or create an account to make it the default.

Given the engineering effort to write the "new" site in such a user-hostile way, the refusal to backpedal on it in the face of overwhelming public negativity, and similar malfeasance on the mobile version, I have a hard time believing that they will keep the "old" version around for much longer.


This. When I'm looking for a product rec or review, looking up an experience doing something or even a health symptom, and many other things, the first attempt with Google is a dismal failure.. Does Google think we are so stupid that we don't see that paid garbage has replaced data in search results?

So reddit is added as a keyword.

How soon before the user generated content is fully under centralized control so they can go back to force-feeding in search?


Yes, discoverability of "good" subreddits is not there. But on the other hand I think Reddit get too much criticism. I find most subreddits besides the big catch-all ones like /r/pics good.

Basically all the TV shows have fun post-episode discussions and going through Game of Thrones, Black Sails or The Expanse wouldn't have been the same without Reddit for me. It becomes the group of buddies I can vent or be in awe with, when they don't share my TV show preferences at home.

Formula1 is a must for an F1 fan. Wow, I've learnt so much and the community is now part of watching F1. Pre-race chats, post-race, pre-qualification, post-qualification, haha... The behind the scenes racing drama...

MechanicalKeyboards can look over the top and elitist at first sight, until you realize they have self-distance and generally pretty relaxed (and it's very inspiring, dangerously so for my pocket...)


Actually it may be best to unsub to most of the default subs including pics because of the political noise (which /pics magically banned since the Jan 14 and may continue past the one month ban). Seriously, too many subs are so over the top flooded with managed political crap it just poisons the well. Reddit is actively managed by political groups because of its position in the internet.

the targeted subs is where its at on reddit. So my recommendation is edit your subscriptions and remove all but what you specifically came for.


I also love the TV show subs. And each of them has its own culture, too. For example, r/thesopranos is basically just a bunch of people discussing the series with quotes from The Sopranos. Makes me laugh out loud every time I read something on there.


They've actually done a lot on discoverability recently. In fact just looking at the homepage now I can see two sections devoted to surfacing rising communities.


r/formuladank for the more...edgy f1 content!

Good subs exist like you said. But even with f1, the same opinions start get upvoted, and that ends up just being noise for me. There's a definitely a sweet spot in terms of size and moderation.


The joke subs are always better on average because they are fundamentally rooted in BS so you don't have people rabidly agreeing with whatever the common trope is to show how much they fit in.


/r/formula1 has useful info, but it feels very cliquey and fanboyish.


I think that's just an accurate reflection of F1 fandom, rather than anything to do with Reddit.


Mmm. That kinda sucks. I started watching some F1 stuff last year, but the attitude on that sub has put me off a bit.


Could you not argue that HN is the same thing, just at a smaller scale? HN is essentially just a front page.

Reddit just doesn't tailor itself to one particular type of discussion like HN does. But rather the dominant topics of discussion such as /r/funny frequently dominate the front page due to popularity.

Reddit is really what you make of it and if you only subscribe to topics that interest you, it becomes a vastly different experience than what a default account would be subjected to.


In terms of features and intent HN is similar to Reddit. But HN is miles and miles ahead in the quality of discussion, moderation, and diversity of thought and opinions.


When compared to all of Reddit, sure. But not necessarily when compared to a high quality subreddit. And that is what you should be comparing HN to. HN is essentially a subreddit on a different domain.


>diversity of thought and opinions.

I don't think so, HN has a pretty specific audience. Just like reddit opinions that don't follow groupthink are often downvoted.


In political discussions on HN you usually see both sides represented and respected. That rarely happens on Reddit.


That is because H.N. has essentially only one sub board which could be called “technology”.

If the single board were about relationship advice, some identity politics subject, video games, or some pornographic theme, the quality would drop similarly.

Reddit's r/programming is, for instance, not all too bad but r/linux is a disaster, for it is quite close to identity politics.


Really impossible to compare. There are very good subreddits, even better than HN, and then there's stuff like r/The_Donald. HN is just a single community, reddit has tons.

It also just depends on your subject of interest and what tone of voice, humor, etc your are appreciative of.


r/The_Donald isn’t a thing


They built their own Reddit: https://patriots.win/


I agree only to the extent that HN only focuses generally on technology based discussions. I would also argue that Reddit has much more diverse thought and opinion, although not necessarily of high quality.

My point is that HN is lucky that it is small and focuses on a particular topic of discussion and therefore it is quality over quantity. Reddit is a beast and allows discussion around really anything that pleases people. But it is a victim of its size and really reflects problems with other social media platforms such as FB and Instagram where rigorous moderation is next to impossible at that scale at the moment.

Think of /r/Wallstreetbets as an example, a subreddit that went from around 2.5 Million subscribers to 8.8 Million subscribers in a week. How do you appropriately scale moderation to content like that.


HN is significantly better in its particular area of focus and somewhat worse in other areas. This is basically what you'd expect from a community with a narrower focus - HN hasn't done anything wrong on that front.


I would disagree on some of those. The quality of discussion is higher provided you don't mind the lack of humour. And the diversity of thoughts and opinions isn't that high because of the strict moderation. If you want true diversity of opinion, but far lower quality of discussion, 4chan is the place.


I wouldn't say miles and miles ahead. HN is consistently where Reddit was about 3 years ago.


I agree, but only to the extent that HN is really just a subreddit which focuses on technology/software engineering.

If HN grew significantly and wanted to enable more diverse conversation, it would essentially turn into a Reddit.


But how would that protect from bots if they took a meaningful interest in manipulating HN?


The minimum karma requirements to downvote goes a long way on HN. I’d say they should add a limit to upvote as well, but that might make things worse idk.


It would curb how easy it is to manufacture a popular post


>Could you not argue that HN is the same thing, just at a smaller scale? HN is essentially just a front page.

The more niche a community is the higher the bar to entry the less internet riff raff you get. The more one's past comments stick around the less inclined people are to type bullshit. Reddit is slightly better on average than 4Chan. HN is better at the extremes and on average than Reddit. But they're all crap compared to some niche forum you've never heard of where the guys who maintain diesel electric locomotives (or some other niche) hang out.


The more niche, the more the discussion is dominated by a group of die-hards, and the conversation averages a level that is difficult for newcomers. But, then, I suppose it's not any different than any other internet forum, or any actual group of people, for that matter.


Because HN is a single place, as opposed to subreddits, it's a weird mix of software developers, founders, investors, etc.

You could basically compare HN to a single subreddit.


I think of HN as the real life manifestation of the kind of discussion that would come up at a dinner party with a really, really, diverse group of people who all happen to spend most of their time in some tech-related career.


Don't forget r/askhistorians

One of the most well-moderated communities out there with clear and stringently enforced rules that cares about one topic only and allows no soap boxing, low quality comments or toxicity.


Wholeheartedly yes.

Most answers are insightful and well written and contain actual arguments (including when we simply don't know something).

Even those which are disputed contentwise are still respectful and allow real discussions to occur.

I can't imagine the effort it takes to stem the flood of memes, bullshit, toxicity and one liners. Kudos to the mods


I wish there was an archive of r/askhistorians. It looks like they nuke discussion after they get one decent sized answer. I cant seem to find older threads too.


They continuously nuke answers and comments which does not conform to their standards, regardless of whether there is a legitimate answer or not. This is why so many threads appear empty, with only "[deleted]" answers.


I'd prefer if they tagged, stop replies, and hide responses that do not meet their standards.


The closest thing to an archive are the weekly "Sunday Digest" posts, in which people nominate their favorite answers of the week. It's eclectic and scattershot when it comes to topic, but the answers themselves are often interesting and well constructed.


Yes but it is very frustrating they have not indexed old answers that are impossible to reach beyond a few months.


Oh the irony!


The issue with /r/askhistorians is that someone can make a well-sourced, high-quality answer, but if letters next to their name (for which you must submit verification for) don't match up well enough with the content of what you're answering, your comment is just deleted. I understand the appeal of getting answers "real" historians, but the reality is that the vast, vast majority of questions go unanswered.


Did this really happen? I thought they didn't care about credentials as long as you know your stuff, deliver a comprehensive answer and can provide sources.

Just don't cite "Hard Core History" or "Guns, Germs and Steel" as your source.


r/AskHistorians - Just what it says, but it is probably one of the best subs on the entire platform in my opinion. And I'm not even a history buff of any kind. It's just super well moderated and has clear rules that get to the heart of the purpose of the sub.

r/fantasy - I read a lot of fantasy novels. This is probably my most visited sub on all of reddit. It's great. They get a lot of fantasy authors to participate and just generally have good discussions. That said, I feel they may be having some growing pains lately as I've found a whole lot of combative discussion lately on some of the more popular authors (like Brandon Sanderson), where someone says they love that author in one post, then almost within the same day a hate post comes up that tries to counter the positive post. It's.... annoying and I sure hope the mods can figure out a good method for stopping this shit as it's super obnoxious. (People, you're free to your opinions, you don't have to tell the world if your opinion is different than someone else's. It's not a zero sum game.)

There's a lot of really good subs out there, some more useful than others, some run by idiots, some have far more effort put into them than there should be.

Edit; formatting, spelling


AskHistorians really is a great subreddit. IMO it's great because the moderators are so diligent with keeping it free from garbage (ie. memes, puns, unsubstantiated opinions, etc.).


>HomeImprorvement is great for repair advice

You mean /r/YouCantDoItCallAPro

The advice and professional subs Reddit devolve into content of "I barely know anything about this field but I can google it as needed" quality. The broader the field and the lower the barrier to "sounding like you know what you're talking about" (home improvement, personal finance, legal advice come to mind) the more this is true. There are some really small niches where this isn't yet true but they are few and far between.

Whatever subject you are intimately familiar with go look on that sub and you will see a lot of low quality crap, worthless tropes held up as gospel, lack of nuance and opinions generally below even what novices in the field put out being held in high regard. Now realize that every subject is like this. (related: Murray, Gell, Mann amnesia effect)

For all of it's faults, at least 4Chan hit you with a "everything here is bullshit and you're a fool to believe otherwise" (or something along those lines) on their home page

>Keto was helpful in my weight loss journey

>Posture for, well, fixing my posture

If /r/Keto fixed your diet and /r/Posture fixed your posture it wasn't advice you needed. You could have learned the same things reading a couple low quality wikihow articles. What you needed was psychological, a perception that the group believed those things, a way to legitimize the advice or some other veneer of legitimacy. I don't want to speculate what's going on in your head but Reddit advice is fundamentally mass market low quality drivel. Now, the world is full of small problems and the average guy doesn't need an NFL dietician to help him lose weight or a boiler engineer to design his guest bathroom plumbing, the service industry practically runs on $20 Walmart no-slip shoes, etc. etc. so mass market low quality solutions do work for a lot of people and lots of use cases (hence why they're mass market). But my point is that it's folly to put Reddit advice on a pedestal like it's good for the same reason you shouldn't look for quality philosophical debate in the youtube comments of amateur political analysts.


If wikihow articles fixed your diet and posture it wasn't advice you needed. You could have learned the same things reading a couple low quality reddit posts.


There's a sweetspot where the sub is big enough that there's activity and content of interest but not so big that it just turns into a mess of low effort upvote farming.

There's also a few different sub archetypes that have formed. For instance /r/nfl is a low effort upvote farm due to its size, but the moderators do a fantastic job of policing submissions. So if you use it as a news aggregator, it's great. Just don't read any of the discussion.


Smaller subreddits are beings dead is partially due to reddit's Hot ranking algorithmn. It is designed to have fresh posts up top on the daily [1]. Unless you switch to an alternate rating scheme (monthly top is helpful), any subreddit without hundreds of posts per week is basically dead.

Large subreddits with thousands of weekly posts have the opposite problem, where low effort posts will dominate the top if unmoderated. [1] https://medium.com/hacking-and-gonzo/how-reddit-ranking-algo...


I used to moderate /r/berlin, and it's a little bit like my internet pub. I recognise some of the users, and some of them recognise me.

/r/popular is more like the random junk bins at Aldi. Most of it is trash, but somehow you're always tempted to have a look at it.


I would say that Reddit is an intentionally designed dopamine machine with *many* areas of usefulness. Most of Reddit is pretty great.

One example, /r/formula1 is the huge engaged community that every sport wishes it had. Live race threads are as close to watching the race with a bunch of friends in the room as it gets.

Same goes for most interests: the biggest community about it is probably on Reddit, and most likely the majority of the content on its sub is pretty high quality.

I do agree it can be a chore to find these communities. Especially when their name is only tangentially related to their thing (small example, the subreddit of the 90's show "Friends" is /r/howyoudoin). Reddit definitely needs to have some way to "tag" subreddits, and search on those tags.

Finally, indeed the default Reddit experience is a sort of clickbait dopamine machine of /r/pics, /r/funny, /r/me_irl etc. One the one hand this sucks, on the other hand, it keeps the casual low effort lurker out of your high quality subreddits.


>But the main, core "Reddit experience" as algorithmically produced by r/Popular is a complete dumpster fire. It's the noise of the entire internet, jam packed into a webpage. So many low quality posts and comments that encapsulate all the negatives about "internet culture". There's no room for thoughtful discussion and discourse on the majority of the site, just shitposting and low rung commentary.

Just jumped onto the front page and found most of the posts to be politically charged, including posts from ostensibly apolitical subs like /r/science. Of course there's a market there, but they're certainly not going to grow when they're immediately alienating such a wide potential user base.

Reddit generally works for these small subs, but even those will eventually become cancerous. I don't know if it's something reddit can fix, outside of adult hobby-oriented subs, nearly every community went from something of quality to worthless after a few years.


Of course. People here automatically think 'corporations and products' when they think of marketing, but it's WAY more interesting to doctor and manipulate the literal state of the world through political propaganda, and there's a number of actors including some real big ones putting huge effort into exactly this.

Marketing cameras and boner pills pales in comparison to what can be done if you're trying to get your enemy's citizens to literally murder each other in the streets and get your geopolitical rival to fall over dead. The power of essentially mass marketing through brigading, seeding propaganda, and controlling the discourse is enormous.

That's what you're seeing: this new form of warfare, and the aftereffects of it as ordinary Redditors react to what's being put out there.

Selling products just isn't as important.


/r/science is particularly insane these days. The majority of the front page is often dominated by posts from one user, /u/mvea. Mvea is a mod and a power user with 28m karma amassed over the years.

Mvea has some pretty strong political opinions. A good chunk of the "republican=bad"-finding studies on /r/science are posted by him, as are a good chunk of the "cannabis/psychadelics=good"-finding studies. Checking out his user page today, 6 of his last 10 posts are related to Trump, conservatives, or psychoactive drugs.

If you point this out, you get banned. If you link to /u/mvea's page, you get banned. If you comment anything that's not another peer reviewed journal, including any kind of anecdote or hypothetical, your comment is deleted and you're given a "warning". I do think the rules were originally put in place with good intentions, but like many subreddits with strict rules, draconian mods end up taking it a bit too seriously and it entirely drives away the laymen.


I used to search around for various forums to post in or find answers in. Over the years, the little forums vanished and all that’s left is Reddit and a few holdouts. The only real advantage of the Reddit model is that you don’t have to read 5 pages of flame war and off topic “how is your cat these days?” to find a good comment. If the average web forum sorted posts by upvotes instead of chronologically by default (while letting a user choose their preference), I think small forums would still be a lot more common - Eg, hn, stack overflow, etc


Upvotes are dangerous (downvotes even more so): that's how your bots and troll farms control discourse. I guess it's like a sort of Faustian bargain, in order to present anything in a more curated fashion you make available the opportunity to abuse that mechanism.


Social media platforms were never built for constructive debates, Social currencies incentivizes majoritarian opinions.

If you hold a minority view and want it to be acknowledged then moving on to a platform where your view is the majoritarian opinion is the only option, Reddit facilitates it with its Subreddits.

Love Elon Musk? go to r/elonmusk

Hate Elon Musk? go to r/EnoughMuskSpam

Other social media have groups, forums and what not; Yet each subreddit is a platform by itself, tightly knit community, privileges & tools for moderation.

Mobile app has enabled those who are from other social media platforms, those who would have never used old.reddit.com to try it out, accelerated by recent string of high profile news involving reddit.

It would be interesting to watch how reddit balances its philosophy with advertiser's interests.


>Reddit facilitates it with its Subreddits

That's only partially true. Your views and opinions must still be vetted by the admins, or you and/or your subreddit will be banned.


Not to mention the barrier of getting past the /r/popular posts rises when you use the new design or mobile app. The breath of fresh air that is old.Reddit.com won’t last much longer I’m afraid.


I've been a frequent reddit user for 10 years. I don't know if I can continue if they deprecate old.reddit.com and i.reddit.com. The new version is just so bad it's astounding.


same same.

can't help but wonder what the goal of the redesign was...


The goal is explicitly to make the web experience especially on mobile so bad that people are driven to install the app. Apparently an installed app drives engagement and can be monetized better (circumventing adblockers etc).


I've been a reddit user for over a decade and for the last few years mainly use it with the Apollo reddit client on iOS, or the rare times I log in to old.reddit.

I recently searched for discussion on a topic and ended up at the "new" web design while not logged in and was blown away by how user hostile it is. Ads disguised as content, promoted posts, gating comments through multiple hoops, unnecessary thread reloads... basically enough dark patterns to make Pinterest blush.


I’ve never spent time on r popular or the main page. If you only spend time in subs Reddit is very well designed and I think less exploitative than other social media


My issue is that you can’t serendipitously stumble upon random interesting subreddits without using the front page.


Find subreddits by similarity:

https://trevor.shinyapps.io/subalgebra/


Search a topic through multireddit and you’ll often find users collection of related subreddits on a given topic, e.g. DIY

https://old.reddit.com/user/patrick_k/m/diy/


It's a great feeling when you find out something new that you really like! I did not know this was a feature and it is pretty damn cool!


Glad you like it :)

It's a great way to keep an overview on an array of topics. I set them up for a large array of interests of mine, e.g. business (slavelabor, juststart and others), cool PC setups (battestations and unixp0rn), DIY, development, passive income, indoor gardening, cooking, ebikes, streaming tv (Plex, PlexACD, TiviMate).....

If you ever want to see the best ideas in a niche, just sort by > top > this year or all time, and you'll get great ideas and inspiration.

I just laugh when people say Reddit is rubbish, they just don't know how to curate and look properly for the gold on there.

You can also browse multireddits set up by others:

https://old.reddit.com/r/multihub/


I get a page not found error from reddit


Ah, I've set it to private.

A better way is to look through a list of public multireddits:

https://old.reddit.com/r/multihub/

Start with a topic that interests you and work from there.


Really? To me, the journey has been the other way around. Almost all of the subreddits I am subscribed to, I've stumbled upon by pure luck and coincidence. And more importantly: organically. I personally don't want recommendations, most algos are really bad


> serendipitously

You could subscribe to /r/Serendipity which posts a few posts from random subs a day.


I browsed that just now. It was very... Reddit. I don't know why I was hoping for some nice, small subs on topics I'm interested in.



recommendations work well, but that's practically the only method.


> Reddit is an intentionally designed dopamine

IDK, yes dopamine gets triggered but much less than with the typical suspects out there. I find many of reddit subs quite helpful tbh, you check them out, comment, upvote, submit and leave again.

It's just bothering that one company could monopolize the entire forum space. They did a good job but yeah, one company to rule them all isn't good.


Reddit's the one social media place I retained after deleting Twitter and Facebook, and I'm now asking why.

I think it's because it reminds me of Usenet. It's writing text posts, and typically not getting much of a reaction, and possibly some sort of direct message: a limited ability to track what I've put out there, how it went over, who responded. There's a sort of vague resistance to certain nasty brigading and abusing tactics that would otherwise really control the place, and there's a huge proliferation of little private interests right down to stuff that's by definition not controlled: if a little teeny sub is just dead it's almost definitely authentic, and not of interest to players who'd want to manipulate discourse.

Everything that's bigger and more effective at really bringing all the little meaningless folks into the discourse, is prey for propaganda use. It's the stuff like old Usenet, where there are places that are NOT IMPORTANT, which is capable of being authentic and to some extent 'real'. I guess it's a sliding scale between that and Twitter and Facebook.


I only read my favorite subreddits; never the mean 'stream' (/r/Popular etc) as it's horrible (imho). I have little feeling for that dopamine thing people have with these streams (inc instagram, facebook, etc) ; they only annoy me so I never check them. Not sure what chemical they cause for me but selfies, very bad (elevator) muzak and people either whining or lying about their lives is not working for me in any way, even (or especially?) if I know these people.


I agree about the core experience and the recommendations. I am often recommended stuff from r/news and r/politics and the topics appear interesting, but the comments are invariably shitposts. The discourse aligns superficially with my politics, but if I was so insecure in my beliefs that I needed to surround myself with a group of people who incessantly dragged caricatures of my political opponents, I’d log onto Twitter.


> intentionally designed dopamine machine

Sounds nefarious, but can't you say the same thing about say music?


That's https://www.reddit.com/r/HomeImprovement/ (you misspelled it)


r/zerowaste is a great sub too. It's about reducing your waste output.

Some bizarre subreddits I read once in a while are:

- r/CatsStandingUp: the rule #1 states "Cat. and only Cat.", and the community interpreted it as only being able to write "Cat."... So, every post and every comment says "Cat.".

- r/IMGXXXX: random videos with default names given by cameras (e.g.: DSCXXXX, IMGXXXX)


Another example of a great sub:

/r/kidneystones

sad face noises


Reddit appified USENET.


As for r/Popular alternatives, I usually stick to less-noisy sites like https://upstract.com / Metafilter.com or even Pinboard's popular section.


And fake shills from all over the globe able to target communities with a microscope of oppression? It is total insanity that the digital citizen doesn't have rights to know who is not a verified person and who could be one of million bot accounts.


>It is total insanity that the digital citizen doesn't have rights to know who is not a verified person

I would gladly trade having to manually filter through the crap for anonymity online. I think there's absolutely a niche for platforms serving (only?) verified people, but I don't think that should be the default in the way that saying it's a right for digital citizens to know implies.


Congrats to them big time. It seriously doesn't get the recognition it deserves as the most impactful social media platform.

To me, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and other social media today is less about connecting people and really about driving targeted and calculated impressions of X to audiences via a user's feed.

This is astro-turfed to feel organic and botted to death by everyone because of how much influence it has to dupe people. Almost unusable.

Even though reddit is extremely guilty of this too (just browse /r/popular not logged in for example), what I find awesome about reddit is its ability to connect people and really have group conversations on almost anything.

On a positive side, it's easily the best platform for mobilizing like-minded individuals and finding historic and well documented people's experiences about literally anything. Most my Google searches on random subjects look like this: "buying a house reddit", "best board games reddit", "high protein vegan foods reddit".


> what I find awesome about reddit is its ability to connect people and really have group conversations

I am a redditor for 7 years and that was true early on. Today it is not. You can connect and have group conversations only if you subscribe to a certain dominant political and cultural narrative, walk on egg shells, and toe a line. If you don't, you are swiftly downvoted and banned. There is no escape from this even in generic, non-political subs.

Niche small subs are often ok, but Reddit is not unique to have those.


Depends what you mean by small. I think subs with even a few hundred thousand subscribers are generally pretty good, depending on the community of course.


yeah as 14yr redditor, sigh can confirm.

Anything remotely political creates too much work for mods, who in turn ban first and ask questions later. Eggshells are sometimes not enough.


Pretty sure you've got some opinions that are also being pushed by massive, coordinated troll farms. What you're seeing is the scale of the exercise.

Maybe that tells you something about your political opinions and the nature of the folks you share them with. This sort of thing doesn't just randomly happen. If you're getting clobbered for an offhand remark, it's not about you, it's because there were 10,000 bots and trolls there before you automatedly saying the same stuff to make it seem like 'everybody is saying it'.

Then you turn up, and bam: they don't even think you're real, because you're saying the stuff a thousand bots were saying. Hard luck: I don't think there's a good answer for you, the ground is sort of salted at this point.


>certain dominant political and cultural narrative,

You mean dominant across all of reddit or dominant in that specific sub? There are plenty of subs that have a political and cultural bent quite different from the overall reddit one.


I don't get that valuation, though.

I've been on reddit for 13 years (today!) and I have never once purchased anything I've seen advertised there - because I never see anything advertised there.

I don't run ad blockers or anything.

How do they justify a $6 billion valuation?


They have a ton of active users and user data. They have the potential to be milked dry from ads.


Strange. Do you pay anything to them? I know reddit gold removes the ads. I still use old.reddit.com and I see ads on my front page when Im browsing outside my pi.hole or adblocker


They still have a huge amount of your attention...that has to be valuable somehow. Maybe only in nefarious ways.


Happy cake day


> what I find awesome about reddit is its ability to connect people and really have group conversations on almost anything

I see Reddit at its best in niche subreddits but it is far from a place to have conversations on almost anything. The site as a whole as well as most of the biggest subs have banned various topics or lines of discussion in a bid to align to progressive left political views.


> in a bid to align to progressive left political views

Is there really this huge conspiracy by the left, or are most just tired of hate speech from the right when they want to look at funny memes?

> it is far from a place to have conversations on almost anything

Well, except for this alt-right stuff and things that are illegal, are so much else censored? I'd wager most people could find a discussion about any of their interests.


Intentional or not, the word choices in your reply are the reason why my "office politics" alert goes off whenever I visit reddit (enough that I deleted my account):

The word "conspiracy" has become a way (mostly for the media) to assign low/outgroup status to unfavorable theories. In the unlikely case where something is later proven to be true, one can always just say, "okay, but isn't it GOOD that everyone was silently cooperating?" And when it works, it's a tool to move the Overton window by painting the others as loonies.

I mean, the idea that a company worth $6B has a political strategy is hardly outlandish. You can have five people working in an office and they'll eventually start to conspire against each other, power games are human nature.

"Hate speech" and "alt-right" are similar terms that are not clearly defined, but conveniently serve the dominant discourse.

reddit's tolerance for "anyone but the bad guys" was brilliantly summarized by SSC: https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anythin...

(I agree with the sibling thread that /r/popular looks really fun today! It was a very different place throughout 2020.)


> Well, except for this alt-right stuff and things that are illegal, are so much else censored?

Yes, fanboy/"power-tripping" mods of some interest-based subreddits can be pretty bad.


But you could always just make your own community. It's done all the time.


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[flagged]


It works as well as it did on my post, where I said nothing about "both sides". And responding to criticism by calling it "'both sides are both equally bad'-rhetoric" is definitely discussing in bad faith.

I'm not talking about "both sides", my point is about reddit's hypocrisy in allowing hate speech directed at conservatives. In an alternate reality where reddit chose to ban all hate speech, the discussion would be very different.

I would post examples, but they'd probably get me banned from HN just for quoting them. And your responses are descending into flames, so I'm just going to step away.


Edit: Removing my comment as it made no sense after parent rewrote his..


> The criticisms from the left of reddit are orders of magnitude less vile and hateful

Current top article on /r/politics:

>A Majority of Americans Want Trump Convicted but Republicans Can’t Unlatch Their Lips From His Ass, +35k, 49x gilded

Ah yes, so dignified and classy.


Half of the content on r/popular is hate speech about the right. It's among the most partisan, and from one point of view, toxic, sites on the Internet, but apparently, from another point of view, that's just "funny memes".

In contrast to the Hacker News guideline "assume good faith", the attitude on reddit is more like "assume anyone who disagrees is evil".


> Half of the content on r/popular is hate speech about the right.

[Citation needed]. You don't do your point any favors by being hyperbolic. And as always, the "both sides are both equally bad"-rhetoric is just discussing in bad faith.


I was going to say my citation is r/popular itself, but it looks like there's less of it now that the election is over. During the election it was disgusting.

The toxic content is still there though, like a LeopardsAteMyFace post crowing about the death of Ron Wright, and as if to prove my point: "This thread has been locked due to extremely toxic and rude comments." Such as the current top comment "...I'm really past playing nice with even the memory of these fucks...... Rot in hell, Ron."

The discussion was too toxic even for the LeopardsAteMyFace mods, but they didn't delete it. It's still visible, and featured on r/popular. That sub (and the other we-hate-conservatives subs) are often filled with hate speech like that, and yet, unlike r/TheDonald, they haven't been quarantined.

https://www.reddit.com/r/LeopardsAteMyFace/comments/lflxdi/a...


> The toxic content is still there though, like a LeopardsAteMyFace post crowing about the death of Ron Wright, and as if to prove my point: "This thread has been locked due to extremely toxic and rude comments." Such as the top comment "...I'm really past playing nice with even the memory of these fucks...... Rot in hell, Ron."

Comment that you decided to quote contains no conservative hating just hate towards Ron, because of his behavior and others who behave in that way. Why would you even think that that was a conservative hating comment?


> Why would you even think that that was a conservative hating comment?

The hate in that comment wasn't directed only at Ron: "people like this", "these fucks". The comment doesn't specify who "these fucks" are, but the sub generally directs hate toward conservatives, so that's a reasonable assumption.

> because of his behavior and others who behave in that way

Others who behave in what way? The post I linked contains only a tweet from him criticizing the hypocrisy of allowing big stores to remain open while closing small businesses. Is that hate-worthy?

Surely not, so I assume you're referring to something else. Please be specific.


> The fact that people like this die due to covid and that you have people who "don't care until affects them" is a sad condition in this country and I'm really past playing nice with even the memory of these fucks......

That is the whole sentence of which you quoted a part earlier. That sentence clearly specifies who "these fucks" are.

> The post I linked contains only a tweet from him criticizing the hypocrisy of allowing big stores to remain open while closing small businesses. Is that hate-worthy?

Is that hate-worthy? I don't think that pointing out hypocrisy is hate-worthy but I see no criticism of hypocrisy in that tweet. There is no hypocrisy, by default, in closing some businesses and not others.

I just noticed something. Ron did the same thing you did. You left out a part of the sentence that clearly show who "these fucks" are. Ron left out what these other small business are. He included restaurants but I don't see how anybody could claim that in this situation there is hypocrisy in closing restaurants and not closing general stores.

Was that on purpose on both your accounts I don't know but lying can be hate-worthy.


I guess your interpretation is that "these fucks" refers to "people who 'don't care until affects them'"? I didn't read it that way, perhaps because I haven't seen any evidence Ron personally didn't care, and I don't think conservatives in general don't care. I believe they just also care about the business owners going bankrupt, and have more doubts about the effectiveness of lockdowns. (Justified IMO, as the worst death rates to date are in New York and New Jersey, states with Democrat governors and harsh lockdowns, but that's another discussion.)

If that's the correct interpretation, we've found the underlying conservative hate you asked about: the belief that conservatives are evil and don't care about people dying.

And suggesting I'm lying because we have different interpretations is not discussing in good faith.

As to your second point, I'm sure he left out the list because it's far too long to include in a tweet, and getting into all the specifics is too long a discussion for HN comments.

Instead I'll close by asking this: how are gun stores (ordered to close in the lockdown by Governor Newsom) more likely to spread covid than other stores that remain open?


> I guess your interpretation is that "these fucks" refers to "people who 'don't care until affects them'"? I didn't read it that way, perhaps because I haven't seen any evidence Ron personally didn't care, and I don't think conservatives in general don't care.

"These fucks", according to reddit poster, are people like Ron that call something out as safe and die from it and people that don't care about something until it affects them. The sentence clearly makes the distinction between two groups of people, those like Ron and then the other group. While Ron might have been in both groups the poster makes no attempt to affiliate Ron with the other group.

> I believe they just also care about the business owners going bankrupt, and have more doubts about the effectiveness of lockdowns. (Justified IMO, as the worst death rates to date are in New York and New Jersey, states with Democrat governors and harsh lockdowns, but that's another discussion.)

There are other ways to care about business not going bankrupt besides ignoring the pandemic. As far as your opinion goes on the effectiveness of lockdowns it is totally unjustified. Yes, New York and New Jersey have some of the worst death rates but lockdowns are not used to lower death rates of already infected but to lower the rate of infection which seems to be working since both NY and NJ are far from top on that account.

> If that's the correct interpretation, we've found the underlying conservative hate you asked about: the belief that conservatives are evil and don't care about people dying.

Even if your interpenetration was correct there still isn't any conservative hate there.

The reddit poster isn't hating on Ron because he believes that conservatives are evil, he is hating on him because of his actions. He isn't hating on people that don't care about something until it affects them because he believes conservative are evil but because those people don't care about something until it affects them.

I mean, the only reason why we are even having this disscusion is because the image contains a tweet from a republican representative. If that same tweet was made by a democrat representative, posted to leopardsatemyface and the same reddit commentator posted the same comment, word for word (lets say that the democrat is also called Ron), would you still say that that comment was hating on conservatives? Why or why not?

> And suggesting I'm lying because we have different interpretations is not discussing in good faith.

I wasn't suggesting that you are lying because we have different interpretations. At this point I really think that you are not lying but that your reading comprehension skills are lacking.

> As to your second point, I'm sure he left out the list because it's far too long to include in a tweet, and getting into all the specifics is too long a discussion for HN comments.

I doubt it. There isn't a need to list business in the first place and if one is to list business there isn't a reason to list all of them. He could have simply listed like for like business that differ in size. He couldn't do that so he simply said "small business and restaurants" so that we draw our own conclusions. My opinions is that either he is being deceptive or is incapable of logic.

> Instead I'll close by asking this: how are gun stores (ordered to close in the lockdown by Governor Newsom) more likely to spread covid than other stores that remain open?

Is this a serious question or a gotcha question? No, gun stores are no more likely to spread covid than other types of stores. Why do I think this is a gotcha question? Because, AFAIK, nobody claimed that gun store are more likely to spread covid nor are gun stores closed because somebody thinks that they are. You are constructing a strawman here.


> "These fucks", according to reddit poster, are people like Ron that call something out as safe and die from it ...

Another interpretation. Clearly, the sentence is open to interpretation. My interpretation remains that in the second of two independent clauses it's quite possible for the phrase "these fucks" not to refer to the first at all.

> nor are gun stores closed because somebody thinks that they are [more likely to spread covid]

Then why are they closed? Political opportunism?

Using the excuse of a lockdown to advance unrelated political agendas is far worse than criticizing said lockdown.

> Yes, New York and New Jersey have some of the worst death rates

Yes, yes they do. And they've had lockdowns since the beginning of the epidemic, starting in NY just three days after the first in the nation and in NJ one day later.

And integrating over all that time under lockdown, they have the worst per capita death count.

And that is the most reliable statistic because it averages out most of the noise and short term trends in the daily rates, and avoids the differences in testing rate between states.


> Another interpretation. Clearly, the sentence is open to interpretation. My interpretation remains that in the second of two independent clauses it's quite possible for the phrase "these fucks" not to refer to the first at all.

While there is some room for interpretation there is no way to interpret it as conservative hating. I'm guessing that by ignoring half of my post you've come to agree.

> Then why are they closed? Political opportunism?

I cant believe that you are being serious here. No really, I can't believe it. In case that you are being serious, they are closed to reduce the attack surface of the virus.

> Yes, yes they do. And they've had lockdowns since the beginning of the epidemic, starting in NY just three days after the first in the nation and in NJ one day later.

> And integrating over all that time under lockdown, they have the worst per capita death count.

> And that is the most reliable statistic because it averages out most of the noise and short term trends in the daily rates, and avoids the differences in testing rate between states.

I already explained why this is wrong. Again, instead of quoting and addressing the whole part you quote the smallest bit and then go on your rant ignoring everything else. Judging by these few posts that you've written here I'm guessing that you are either a troll or an idiot and I have no desire to waste my time on either.


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> The level of contempt that Europeans have for Trump would just stagger you,

Don't believe what your TV tells you. There are plenty of European Trump supporters.


> crowing about the death of Ron Wright

This man spent the last few months of his life fighting against any medical, scientific response to COVID, claiming that it was a hoax.

Half a million Americans are dead - and they died in a truly horrible fashion.

What exactly do you expect the response to be?


> claiming that it was a hoax.

Did he? I found nothing on either Google or Duck for "ron wright hoax".

I know some Republicans said that, but by no means every one.


If a subreddit forbids discussion of a topic, you probably wouldn't have been able to have a good conversation about it anyway. Don't go to the biggest subs! Avoid the places that have been taken over by the most aggressive enforcers of mass culture! Reddit's great redeeming virtue is that it's big enough for groups with more liberal discussion norms to flourish, if you can find them.


Yes but downvotes are annoying and the sub threads aren’t a good place for real discussions imo. I’d take an old fashion forum any day. It’s a shame that outside of history and science fiction there aren’t too many large forums anymore as Reddit has basically replaced them all. Reddit has a serious meme problem (even on subs where they’re banned) and repetitive jokes often times derailing conversations as funny one liners get upvoted to the top (then replied to with funny one liners) as longer form posts get moved to the bottom.


European here. You must be a right-wing American because I find the site fairly right wing, myself.

I was actually shocked how long they allowed the constant threats of violence and racist abuse to percolate on the_donald, and which still exists on r/conservative.

It might be that you believe that threats of violence are protected speech, however, being a US conservative. Let me assure you that they are not, not even in the US.


Stop raising money. Each time you do that you increase the pressure on the site to make more money to earn the valuation. If the company is valued at $6B today then it probably needs to get to at least $18B valuation in two years. How? By trying to extract even more money from the users.


I couldn't agree more. We need to build companies that are sustainable and stable, it's almost as if its a lost concept - What's wrong with a profitable company with no growth? Most companies shoot themselves in the foot and die while growing.

Hey, I guess its like a forest - a tree falls down and small seedlings take up the space. Ah, the endless cycle of human struggle.


I just watched a video on Apple’s “cash problem”, with one of the video creators core point that “people expect the stock price to go up, and that can’t happen unless Apple does something with that cash and makes more with it!”.

Got me thinking: isn’t one of the core premises of investing that you’re purchasing ownership of cash flow? Is the ideal company one that it’s never profitable because it so perfectly allocated its money to never return a dime, but always to reinvest in itself? There’s a time and a place for re investment, but returning profit to investors is marginalized these days.

Apple probably doesn’t have a money problem, the culture does. Startups don’t sell growth except secondarily, they sell profit.


AAPL pays a dividend and has a substantial buyback program. Their cash problem, if you want to call it that, is that they bring in so much revenue with nice margins that it is impossible to allocate it all. So they return some value back to shareholders through divvies and buybacks, spend what is reasonable on R&D, and keep cash on hand for flexibility. They don't seem that big on M&A, but that is probably a good thing (looking at Cisco for example)


It's a shame that the third way to spend the money is totally forgotten now apparently. Yes you can re-invest, give back to shareholders, but why not increase wages?


Why not the fourth way: lower prices? Or the fifth way: give it to me...


Build manufacturing plants in western countries.


No, classic companies like Coca-Cola pay dividends to their shareholders. A company can also buyback their shares.


I joined clubhouse (the audio-only app) recently and while there is a lot of VCs and marketing nonsense there taking up the app I've also found quite a few rooms full of people who are working on sustainable organizations. start.coop is one example and others just generally talking about social enterprises or how to use tech to keep businesses on a slow and steady growth.


I totally agree with you. A company with consistent profits shouldn't be seen as a bad thing.


Promote buying more "wholesome" awards to cancer related posts I guess.

Are they selling an ad free experience yet?

I'm sure they'll shut down the APIs allowing third party clients (like Apollo) soon, like Twitter did.


I know they won't care in the big picture, but if they actually do shut down the 3rd party APIs that will conclude my 10 year journey on reddit.


Good luck extricating it from your life. There’s too much utility. I’ve even come back around to Twitter after being off for 5 years. Tremendous value in having a curated list there.


> I'm sure they'll shut down the APIs allowing third party clients (like Apollo) soon

I have been nervously awaiting this day as well, but I just realized something in the context of HN.

Say reddit kicked off Apollo and all the apps... What an opportunity to make a reddit API clone & then site! Apollo alone has many loving users, some of whom would go with Christian to a new backend. Maybe all the apps would agree on one to migrate to? I wonder if this is already part of reddit's calculus when considering kicking the 3rd parties.


It's too late. Once you've raised a little, your investors want a return on investment, so you raise more, allowing (some of) them to exit without making a loss. Rinse and repeat.


They're doubling their workforce to do just that.

I'm sad for what Reddit will become in the next two years.


Reddit is going to turn into the next Facebook.


Make people stop wanting money first. ;-)


They are purposefully making Reddit absolutely terrible on mobile web browsers. They constantly try to force you to download the app, don't let you read full threads without it, etc. It seems it just constantly gets worse and worse.


The mobile web site is particularly awful. The app Apollo - https://apolloapp.io/ - is fantastic for browsing reddit if you're on an iDevice. (I have nothing to do with the apps development, just a fan), it is such an excellent experience I upgraded it to the paid version. Give it a go for a day if you can install it on your device.


Yes indeed, although the fact that third party Reddit apps are able to filter out any ads makes me wonder how long they are for this world


Twitter also once had a robust third-party app ecosystem, until they were forced to inject more and more ads to boost revenue.


The Apollo app is better than the official one.


I just use old.reddit.com instead


On mobile? It renders a desktop view and is therefore almost unusable.

i.reddit.com is the mobile equivalent, but is also terrible.


> On mobile?

try http://reddit.premii.com/ there also https://hn.premii.com/ .


Or even better for mobile browsing - i.reddit.com. Although the new functionalities are purposely not working there.


ns.reddit.com is the same as old.reddit.com, I think ... and I use the Redirector addon to make sure that I never see the new reddit.


I've found this criticism and similar are sadly the norm with most modern internet products, platforms, web apps, etc. I'm sure some of it is resistance to change, but I can't just chock all of it up to that. Most of the changes on most big internet sites over the last few years have hurt UX and been contrary to user interests. Netflix, github, YouTube, Google, reddit, Facebook, you name it, they all are constantly making decisions that inhibit rather than empower users. it's the story of the internet for at least 5 years.


Exactly, and I quite like the ui of reddit's mobile website.

I've switched over to https://teddit.net both on desktop and mobile.


I am a digg refugee and using Reddit for 12 years. Reddit has some serious lack of moderation issues and too much politics now a days. Most of the country based subreddits are hijacked by the political ideologies of just 1-2 moderators.

For example, /r/India is hijacked by the moderators with political affiliation to Congress and AAP and they ban users immediately with any opinion which doesn't fit their narrative. I have messaged the reddit admin team to change the mods and stop calling them official subreddit of India but they obviously don't care.

Too much politics may cause Reddit downfall.


agreed... for example, /r/politics is 99% democrat


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r/politics is an influencer sockpuppet botnet


r/Denmark is the same way. Absolute toxic moderation. Any dissenting opinion is deleted.


My favourite moment on /r/thenetherlands was when I asked: "To what extend do you think /r/thenetherlands is an echo chamber?". I even wrote a paragraph in which I explained what caused me to pose the question.

My post was removed for being "low effort".


>Most of the country based subreddits are hijacked by the political ideologies of just 1-2 moderators.

even city based subreddits. /r/boston's biggest right wing troll /u/mitchfromboston is known to be an alt account of one of the moderators.


not only that but there are still far right leaning moderators running subreddits like r/canada and r/vancouver

its impossible to elect moderators in a democratic fashion so we are stuck with the political bias of the people who created the subreddit first and it leads to all sorts of censorship and is a big source of misinformation.

for instance we see a single user /u/maxwellhill responsible for most of the headlines posted on r/worldnews. Many redditors and people in general can't be bothered to practice critical thinking and will gladly skim over headlines which are also optimized to get upvotes.

In addition, the over supply of awards, the availability of farmed reddit accounts for sale are all used to manipulate and trigger herd mentality.

For example the wallstreetbets and GME short squeeze that they are still waiting to happen. It's insanely easy to create these pseudo realities and brainwash people simply by gaming something as trivial as scores in a database because people simply trust numbers, doubly more so if they are awarded on reddit.

I argue that without Reddit, crypto, bitcoins, meme stocks wouldn't see its insane market prices.


Reddit is a top ten site in the US, but is valued at a fraction of its competitors. The main worry I have for reddit moving forward is how do you monetize a userbase that is HIGHLY resistant to change. They're pushing heavily into their new mobile app, which is a solid start as an ad platform, but the old crowd on reddit all came from Digg after Digg tried to change their model to support more revenue. Their users will jump ship if they push too hard / too quick. I love reddit and use it heavily, but I don't see how they become profitable without alienating their userbase.


That's such ancient history I would bet most of the kids on there now never used digg.


Eternal September continues unslowed across decades.


you're probably over estimating the percentage of redditors that are old vs new. if reddit's growing evaluation is a signal, the amount of users gained in the past couple years is much higher than the years before that. this means your average user is now more likely to just be another average internet user, not some ex-Digg user who jumped ship all those years ago or some ideological diehard who thinks reddit should be X. the average user is therefore more likely to be a mobile user and less upset about any UI changes


Digg users had an attractive alternative to run to. Reddit users don't.


That's actually not true, its just that the days of the big platform are over. It took a big company innovating to provide the value then that small dev groups are building left and right now. Those leaving reddit (and Facebook and YouTube and everything else) aren't migrating to an alternative site, they're spreading out into a diaspora. You've got software like Lemmy and Ruqqus and notabug.io and others and people are using them. There are lots of attractive alternatives, not just one.


Reddit is really not that special under the hood. Given the opportunity it can be replaced. It just suffers from people moving issue most social networks suffer.

A decentralized alternative Lemmy[1] is already quite feature complete and in many ways even better than reddit itself. It's just a bit of a ghost town and many of the instances are aimed towards and/or controlled by political/social rejects.


It just suffers from people moving issue most social networks suffer.

"just"? Reddit is the community, not code. Users aren't going to run off to Lemmy or any other site. It just isn't going to happen.


Are you saying that Digg wasn't a community?


The community came VERY close to jumping ship when a beloved low (mid?) level employee was terminated back in 2015.


But they didn't because there wasn't an alternative, as there isn't now.

The alternative site (and it has to be one site, nor multiple, topic-specific sites) has to either already be massively active when the triggering event occurs.


It stops being fun once there are more users. Decentralized solutions are the future or image boards.


yet


Digg never had individual communities on Reddit's scale. Reddit has subreddits for every obscure hobby, niche and fetish imaginable, and it's much harder to convince the users already there to jump ship.

Also, once you're logged into Reddit, the friction of exploring a new subreddit is essentially zero. Compare this with needing to sign up and email verify etc every time you want to join some random phpBB forum.


It’s different now. As one of those Digg refugees who has now been looking to ditch reddit for a long time, there just isn’t a good, obvious reddit alternative in the same way there was a good, obvious Digg alternative. The internet is too grown up, too parceled out, the big players are too dominant.


What do you look for in an ideal reddit alternative?


Reddit, but with a hivemind that agrees with my political views.


My covid side gig is a modest attempt at starting something: https://discoflip.com


I went there and thought it looked interesting, but quit after it wanted me to login to view the technology channel. Allow people to view (but read only) and it would go a long way to helping you grow I think.


Login is only required to create a channel or post. What actually happened is that #technology channel does not exist (you clicked it from a list of channel names recommended for you to create). The list right below it are the ones that exist (called recently active).

My design skills (rather lack of it) is to blame. Apologies and huge thanks for the feedback. I will improve it this week.


Nah, I think we're fucked now. The Internet is a completely different place than what it was in 2011. Any reddit alternative that springs up now is immediately populated with spammers, conspiracy nuts, identity politic types...you know the types; all the ones that reddit banned. They instantly bring the quality down which makes it unattractive to most people who want to switch. And then it gets shut down e.g. voat. Rinse and repeat.

With each passing day, the Internet looks more and more dire.


Given that /r/WallStreetBets went from ~1M to 7M subscribers over the course of a week, I'm going to say that there is strong overlap between the average Reddit user and Facebook users.


Reddit at this point is a native advertising platform (not just the "promoted" stuff; much of the content on popular subs is astroterfing/native advertising too) with some "niche" communities that are always inferior (worse information, less informed members) than the equivalent StackExchange or dedicated website and message board that's been around for decades.

It's a garbage website.


Reddit badges, btw, are a great example of native advertising. In addition to advertisers badging their native ads, I would guess that most badges on reddit are fake, either automatically awarded by the software to popular posts or given out arbitrarily by reddit staff, with the intent of giving users the impression that it's common for redditors to spend real money to "gild" or otherwise flair posts that they like, so that they might do the same (despite the fact that none of the money goes to the person who authored the post they like).

For those doubting this, remember that Reddit was bootstrapped by Spez and Alexis (by their own admission) posting stories through many sockpuppet accounts to make the early community seem larger and faster-growing than it really was.

EDIT: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/06/reddi...


> given out arbitrarily by reddit staff, with the intent of giving users the impression that it's common for redditors to spend real money to "gild" or otherwise flair posts that they like, so that they might do the same

I received for the first time yesterday, 100 credits for free from Reddit. I had to spend it within 24hrs or lose it, so I guilded the most interesting comment I read that hour.


I think that the amount of gilded awards that are ironically given to posts on r/conservative from members of r/politics largely disproves the idea that people are unwilling to spend stupid amounts of money on what amount to shiny baubles. How much that makes of their revenue however, is only known by reddit.


> ironically given to posts on r/conservative from members of r/politics

A lot of this could just be reddit staff astroterfing, but to the extent that it isn't, it (giving actual money, even small amounts, to flair reddit posts) just validates the stereotype that reddit as a platform selects for users with lower than average intelligence.


I don't believe the badges are fake. I've gotten quite a few of them, and each time, it's been from someone whose posting history makes it clear that they share a lot of ideas in common with me.


You're quite negative

If you compare it to all the current social medias, reddit seems to be fairest of them all. the admins are working quite hard to make sure things are balanced with moderators etc, but it's always a delicate balance.

It's obviously the target of astroturfers, but honestly it's a sign that reddit is actually quite a more organic network compared to others, if it's such a target.

Meanwhile, everybody knows facebook/instagram are less organic and too much oriented towards ads; reddit has much more authenticity, or at least that's how users feel.

I totally agree with your criticism, but it's not really the fault or the website, it's just impossible to prevent astroturfing, it's more of a law problem.


Kevin Rose had a pretty epic Tweet about wanting to buy Digg and bring it back to its pre-redesign phase [1]. Mark Cuban wanted in on it and I seem to remember Alexis Ohanian responded in a new tweet. I don’t feel like going through his old posts to link to it.

I’d love a return to the old. Even if its just the social web version of reruns.

[1] https://twitter.com/kevinrose/status/1347747289511563265?s=2...


Would be hilarious if eventually we just had a slow stable oscillation where Digg and Reddit continue repeatedly raising money and relaunching as “old” whatever, stealing back each others users like some slow motion pendulum or sands in a spinning hourglass..


>I’d love a return to the old

Bring back Usenet, IRC, and Listserv and get rid of everything else. Only half-joking. And yes, I'm aware those things still technically exist.


Digg was being astroturfed like hell, that's one of the reasons they wanted to redesign. Doubt it would fare well today.


Reddit essentially gets users addicted, then surrounds them with what appears to be an environment driven by a kind of democratic consensus (everyone can vote!) but which is actually very tightly curated and edited toward political and social ends. This is so sinister.

You don't get that valuable being a popular platform for link-sharing and comments. You get that valuable by wielding an appreciable amount of power over a large group of people, which Reddit unquestionably does, and then making that power known to other powerful people who have available capital. If you can't continue real growth, gather power instead, and the growth will be artificially infused into your organization instead (like YouTube).

The things Reddit's home office decides to promote to the top of the front page versus what gets insta-buried starts to make a difference in how people think. That's the true malignancy of social media: it warps minds with fictitious, intentionally curated peer pressure.

Addiction-first UX design plus frequent "thinking past the sale" on important issues (Reddit posts usually treat only one side of an issue as though it's the obvious foregone conclusion and work from there), and add a few artificially promoted user comments below, and now you have a company that is able to leverage something akin to peer pressure toward its own private ends. "Not only are you supposed to like X and Y in polite society, but all of your friends already think that. Don't you?" Facebook has been doing that for years with the fake "your friends liked the pages of Walmart and Pepsi" messages.

There needs to be an easier way to talk about how some companies wield entire generations full of hormonal young people and that they can, will, and DO use them to create social upheaval at will.

Edit: typos


I wholeheartedly agree. It's also more addictive than Facebook or Instagram, and (for me at least) it's a more negative mental experience. Probably because of all the dopamine.

I don't remember it being like this in the beginning. Not sure if it was because I wasn't hooked on it yet, or because they changed their algorithms. Also, since Trump in 2015, it went even more downhill pretty fast. I am pretty sure they intentionally made it such that you get angry at "the other side" - it was so easy to do that with Trump.


Anything designed to "increase user engagement" is actually effectively spiking emotions as much as possible. It's a much bigger problem than anyone currently realizes.


308 comments at the time of this writing, and no one has talked about the fact that -- given the relative user counts and traffic -- all of normal subs are just a legitimacy-conferring facade over the NSFW content? Reddit is the largest non-MindGeek porn site on the internet. I would guess that the revenue from this side is what makes the whole thing work.


What revenue? I'm pretty sure NSFW subs don't have ads.


I don't have any inside information, but I've always guessed that this is how Reddit makes most of its money: paid manipulation of the allegedly-organic page composition. You DON'T think that the various *hubs AREN'T paying Reddit for placement for their clips and have links to the full video?


Honestly, I have no idea how the New York Times took issue with Mindgeek over child porn on PornHub, but failed to ever mention Reddit. Reddit is the single largest child porn distributor on the Internet, and the nsfw subs are a ticking time bomb just waiting for a horrible media expose to be written. I'm sure in the meantime though they're a major driver of traffic so Reddit will act willfully ignorant.


Reminds me of Tumblr. I wonder if it'll have to do a similar crackdown if new legislations get passed.


My problem with Reddit is it's algo. The content recommendation is terribly bad. Subscribe to r/pic, r/funny and r/popular then mix these with other high quality or niche subs.

No matter how much upvote, engagement data you give their algos as to your personal preferences,, your front page will always suck. Case in point, when several high profile Twitter accounts were hacked and used to solicit bitcoins from users, none of the threads were immediately visible on their front pages.

And I discovered this borked content recommendation is worser on some platforms than others. E.g reddit front page on a browser sucks 100x compared to their official app. And 50x compared to a 3rd party app. Most of this is eerily intentional. To push you towards using their clients.


Reddit is trash. Just look at the direction it is going (eg, browse to "reddit.com" without logging in), and realise that you should not be giving this company your precious attention.

I recently had a "digital purge", and my last reddit account was one of the many things to go.


Reddit has one thing going for it. Not much competition just like Facebook. It is a hard market to break into (social media) and people just don't try. We have new startups focusing on newest hottest shit like AI driven solution to mashing potatoes. But rarely we see startup tackling good old social media. Maybe because it is high fail area while current AI fueled rush is not yet branded high fail area ?

Anyway good for them at reddit do push good numbers. I bet the covid fueled traffic also helped a lot.


clubhouse and yubo spring to mind


6 billion dollars seems cheap is my original thought but really it seems like a good amount. Reddit can't really expand a significant amount more(as evidenced by their moves into video) and the monetization is terrible(who wants to buy Reddit premium, or advertise on Reddit?)


My parents in their 60s have discovered that Reddit is a great source of research to get real humans talking about a variety of topics (basically what Quora aimed to be but never was). I strongly feel they're just getting started.


Maybe. As a long time Reddit user I’m looking for new alternatives as it’s just getting more and more meme-y, negative snark and groupthink. This wsb thing was a perfect example. If you try to do any critical thinking you’ll get banned. Just post memes and move on.


a fair amount of critical thinking does go on at WSB. a good number of people there are actually investors who just role play as a "memelord". how else do you think the gamestop shorts were found in the first place?


Lately I have been adding "reddit" to all the questions I ask google because I know some "real" person on reddit will have a relatable answer. I too feel this is untapped potential.


There is so much blogspam and SEO gaming going on now that google results are very low quality for any topic where there's money to be made.


Very good point. That is exactly why I stop visiting known network sites for answers. Especially when its topics like car repair, or home repair tips etc... It always goes to a fake SEO page with no real useful information.

So then it's either reddit or some very niche forums, but forums are hard to use.


I've been adding `site:reddit.com` to most of my searches for years, but I noticed this past year that Reddit threads rank highly on many searches even without this operator. That's huge.


I do that as well. If the Reddit search was better I’d happily start the search from there, but it does feel like a major failing on Google’s side when it can only provide me with SEO spam.


Parts (very small parts) are what Stack Overflow should be. The moderation and closing of questions (marking as duplicate or similar) on SO is so officious and malicious that it’s easy to just avoid it.

The right subs for ones level are really really helpful.


Couldn't they expand outside of the anglosphere? Basically 99% of reddit is English, unlike Facebook etc.


Is Reddit even generating a profit?

6 billion means approximately 1 dollar from every person on the planet. I struggle to see how Reddit is able to provide that much value.


Wikipedia seems to think they had revenue of $100m in 2018, so it sounds like either a LOT of this is profit or the investors are extremely optimistic that it can grow significantly.

I'm with you though. I am continually dumbfounded by the sky-high valuations for these kinds of companies. Many on HN act like it's all normal and cool, and when you cast any doubt on their valuations or suggest there may be a bubble you are treated like an out-of-the-loop normie who doesn't "get" the internet. Time will tell, I suppose.


Advertising is largely untapped on Reddit though. Forgetting about the main subreddits and meme communities and whatnot, you have captive audiences for small niches.

Say you sell bespoke bike parts or audiophile-quality headphones, there are subreddits for that. Or say /r/pcmasterrace is an opportunity for Asus, Corsair, etc.

I assume many companies are already active on Reddit, but there’s an opportunity for Reddit to better the experience for some fee

Effective advertising relies on good market segmentation and intent, and Reddit happens to do both in a non-intrusive way.


Well you also landed on the problem with this scheme: a lot of reddit communities are brand poison. Does Corsair want "master race" as part of its branding experience, even if it's meant as humor? Yeah, not so much.

This is the same pit Tumblr fell into.


Pinterest seems to have nailed this. I keep cursing myself for not investing in PINS every time they blow out earnings. The platform seems devoid of toxicity found on other socials and advertisers seem to love it.


It’s cheaper to hire a social media person to shill on smaller subs than buy adverts. Reddit is full of blatant advertising as normal posts


Advertising on Reddit is wonderful, but you need to know Reddit pretty well to use it well.


Need to know what audience to market to or how to relate to Redditors or both?


Both. JetBrains runs ad campaigns on Reddit's programming subreddits and they seem to be well run.


Its potential to be used for surveillance seems to contribute quite a bit of value here. Marked advertising and donations are red herrings. Granting access in order to create "organic" seeming sentiment molding campaigns does also seem to have some major value.


They could take a cut on account sales in a marketplace, making it safer for buyers and sellers

Instead all these networks choose pretend that accounts aren't sold and pretend that everything is organic

I guess #ad would ruin the illusion


Subscription-based subreddits?


Premium communities where mods are compensated and Reddit takes a cut.


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