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Sunsetting Secret Santa and Reddit Gifts (reddit.com)
120 points by flankstaek 12 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 156 comments

Maybe I'm not the typical user, but to me reddit seems to be losing sight of why people use the site. They're killing aspects of the community that people actually care about. In the meantime, most of the site's new features seem to be centered around avatars and selling cosmetic microtransactions.

I can't blame them too much for trying to monetize, but I wish their strategies were more inclusive of the way I use reddit

At least they have still kept old.reddit.com around, which thankfully doesn't have most of the new bullshit. The day they kill that is the day reddit will be truly dead.

This was some comfort years ago, but these days, the vast majority of reddit users are mobile and new-reddit, whose UX's favor more meme/video mindless scrolling and throwaway comments. So while the old reddit experience is there in looks it feels more hollow nowadays. You go into a common interest subreddit and where 8 years ago you might have found interesting discussions now it's all memes, inspiration photos, etc.

I am convinced even had Reddit kept the old design, it would still suck now, because any site focused on a universal demographic will inevitably get most people coming in on mobile, and mobile inherently discourages longform text and encourages images.

I find that for various special-interest, hobbyist forums, you need some kind of friction to prevent low-effort posters from taking over, and ensure more people are participating from desktop/laptops. I have gone back some phpBB fora I have neglected after Reddit's ascent, and while there are fewer people around and they skew older, I am amazed at how substantial and competent discussions are compared to their subreddit counterparts.

>mobile inherently discourages longform text and encourages images

As I read on a site on with no images or video and entirely in the form of thoughtful responses via mobile device.

HN, as its name indicates, do not aim at a universal demographic. The demographic it does cater to is also very likely to use a keyboard heavily during the day, and so retains some good habits of longform discourse even when contributing via mobile.

Right so then the bad habits are not tied to mobile but is rather a cousin issue. Most people use mobile and, independently, longform discourse does not have mass appeal.

That is not designed for mobile and does not have a mobile app.

I don’t want to argue, just maybe help you expand your horizons a bit. I am 85,000 words into my novel with almost all of those written on my IPhone using Scriviner. I like to sit in my backyard and actually purchased a big comfy writing chair recently.

After my last laptop broke I simply decided I didn’t need another one. Like most people on this site I have a beast of a desktop computer I write code on all day and then like to get away from to write my novel.

I’ve been able to maintain 2k words per day with some 5k days when I am really jiving with the scene I am writing. All from my iPhone. Times they are a changing.

You are an outlier, writing a novel from a phone keyboard (and, of course, writing a novel at all). The general public that Reddit targets does not invest the same energy in longform text from their phones. The device you see as a means to relax and focus on your novel, for most Reddit users is a more cumbersome means of expression, and moreover most of them are operating within an app that encourages inane content.

There was interesting study [0] about typing speed on mobile devices, which they say approaches physical keyboard typing (37k participants). If you have some time to kill, I wonder what your typing speed is [1]. Mine is near the mean.

0. https://userinterfaces.aalto.fi/typing37k/

1. https://typingtest.aalto.fi/

Friction is a feature, so few people seem to get that.

And you find people talking about new features in a way that is totally foreign to you because old reddit doesn't support them. I don't know whats someone's profile says or what their profile picture is.

I've used reddit since around 2008 and I actually prefer the redesign (customized to not show the annoying "cards" subreddit view, and with the editor default changed from "fancy" to Markdown).

I find the avatars extremely obnoxious and wish I could disable those. But besides that, it does look a bit better to me.

They are trying so hard not to have that Digg moment but we'll see if it succeeds when they sunset old.reddit.com...

There needs to be a replacement if they are going to have a diff moment. I’m open to hearing about alternatives.

Didn't they nerf old reddit interface? I ditched my account not too long ago after seeing a sudden increase in blank posts on old reddit which when viewed on new reddit would feature images or video.

I ran into the same thing. It turns out that if you turn on the "auto-expand media previews" option in your user preferences, the content shows up as expected.

I reported this as a bug about a year ago and never got a response.

Ironically, i read your comment and now i keep getting a cookie banner on old.reddit.com cant cannot be remomved, and redirecets to new.reddit.com instead.

You can block this banner using ublock origin: right click on it > Block element > Create

Their push for people to use the mobile app has gotten user-hostile to the point of ridiculousness. Some subreddits now just prompt you to either continue in the app or return to the homepage, there's no option to continue in the mobile browser.

I personally just gave up trying to access Reddit from my mobile browser.

I used to have "Compact Reddit Redirect"[1] on my phone browser. But it got more and more broken in the last two years.

Now, I use RedReader[2][3] on my phone which is open source and gives "an 'old' reddit feel".

It is really sad to use an app to access a website :( . I need to accept that I'm not the target audience of that website anymore...

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/compact-reddi...

[2] https://f-droid.org/en/packages/org.quantumbadger.redreader/

[3] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.quantumbad...

I gave the app about 5 minutes before the harassment to enable notifications made me uninstall.

I use Apollo on iOS, and recently discovered I can click the share button (at top right of new reddit design), and then select "Open with Apollo".

Yes, it'd be nice if I could auto-open reddit links in my client of choice, but it's like a two-or-three tap thing. I use it increasingly often.

It got too big. It's the internets default forum, it's actually a testament to the subreddit model that it actually has been able to keep growing without completely going to shit. I know there's people who think it has but there's still plenty of value in subreddits which have a defined purpose and moderate accordingly.

This is the curse of VC-funny-money-backed companies. Bribe them with a free hit or 5, and then start charging for it once you're hooked.


I think there is something to this, but I don't think it's about "orthodox leftist thought". I am by any reasonable definition a leftist. I find Reddit culture (and similar) insufferable and would not be admired there.

The average large subreddit has low quality left wing discourse, and the large conservative subreddits have low quality right wing discourse.

I thinking mentioning them by name might ruin them, but there are definitely subreddits out there with a diverse range of political views and good discussion on those topics. I think it’s impossible for large subreddits to maintain reasonable conversation about politics because of the piling-on and brigading behaviors that occur.

HN is not reddit. I wouldn't mention HN by name on reddit for fear of damaging the community. The reverse is not true.

For the same reasons that I wouldn’t mention HN on reddit, I also wouldn’t mention small high-quality subreddits in other parts of reddit, or anywhere public.

This comment was much more accurate when it said liberal. I consider myself on the left politically and I also hate it's rigorous enforcement of liberal thought. Reddit has banned and ruined leftist subs too you know.

Or maybe it's not a political thing, maybe it's the weird elitist culture they have where they think they know better and are better then everyone else.

>There's really nowhere left to hide from the rigorous enforcement of orthodox leftist thought.

Whats your thought on sites like voat that were seen as escapes but immediately turned into cesspools and then ghost towns?

Voat turned into a refuge for people on the far right who only wanted to talk politics, 100% of the time. Even if you lean towards that side of the political spectrum, it gets very tiresome.

Agreed, vote became the exact opposite of reddit, far right. Most of America is middle of the road, but online sites are very polarizing. I still wish Usenet would make a comeback.

I popped onto voat from time to time pretty much for its entire duration and I saw it become more and more of a cesspool. I think it and sites like it are a consequence of a mainstream internet culture that strictly enforces a toxic ideology on the opposite end of the spectrum. On the one hand it seems dangerous like a fringe radicalization factory of some sort. On the other hand, while it was easier to see on voat because of how shocking the language was, I don't think it was much different from the type of vitriol, hate and close mindedness one encounters daily on r/politics and other defaults.

they were giving up when in 2015 they allowed bots to push the_donald to the front page consistenly leading to a steady diet of propaganda subs and hate fueled subs.

they were and still sre just as myopic is their tainting public discourse in pursuit of social media

This sounds like "other side politics bad", more than anything else.

Reddit's top subs are basically a firehose of propaganda whenever politics are concerned. They've been polluting public discourse for some time, it's just that you only noticed when you didn't agree with said propaganda.

For an example, take a look at the murderedbyAOC subreddit. It's literally posts from one guy and used to regularly top /all.

It boggles my mind that reddit escapes the scrutiny from the media that Facebook and Twitter get when it's nearly as influential and just as full of blatant propaganda.

When you pick your own subreddits there is a case to be made that you chose to see what you see. As reddit goes further down the path of picking what hits the front page, they will get more flak.

And the leftists on Reddit have adopted the same playbook but the admins don’t care to stop it. Whereas the_donald was just one offender, dozens of subreddits manage to spam the same kind of content to the front page. It’s not uncommon to see the exact same submission appear twice on r/all from subreddits like r/AOC and r/ourpresident.

Or, they co-opt subreddits like r/murderedbywords, r/facepalm, r/insanepeoplefacebook to constantly submit political messaging, usually screenshots of tweets.

I've noticed this in some non-political subreddits, having seen submissions with a political flavor (always left-leaning) get massively upvoted higher than the average usercount of that subreddit and the average upvotes for other submissions on that subreddit.

Sometimes I worry when niche subreddits get too popular, since they start getting political submissions.

At this point, only the porn subreddits are exempt.

NSFW subreddits are now removed from r/popular and r/all.

I started engaging with Reddit about 3 years ago, right on the verge of things going downhill.

So I’m not sure how much of this is normal over Reddit’s whole.

But I did notice a shift in the political boards to a mean-spirited alt-left attitude.

Whatever, politics are needlessly divisive right now.

But as I got more into other subreddits, the same attitude seems to be there too.

Make an objective statement even remotely pro-Apple in r/gaming (which I would reasonably assume to be platform-neutral)? Instant dozens of downvotes, with no replies, or if lucky, a reply calling me an Apple sheep.

Wander into a cutesy dog subreddit and someone posts a picture of a dog eating a hot dog? Too bad, that post will be downvoted to hell along with a lengthy post about the nitrate content of most hot dogs.

There’s just a weird pack mentality sweeping across boards that I would expect to be somewhat forgiving and neutral.

I think it’s missing the point to say it’s alt-left. In the Uk side of things it was always true r uk was left and r ukpolitics was right, and then there was a fascinating shift in various ways during election times. But either way the core of the issue was just that whatever the prevailing view is drives out disagreements.

Twitter is bad because bubbles form and then they collide causing fights. Reddit solves this by making the bubbles much stronger and ensuring they never collide.

I'm interested in your personal experience with r/uk vs r/ukpolitics. I've stopped reading either as to me it seemed that they both had a pretty strong auth-left bias. I felt this was more pronounced in r/uk - to the point that it was/is a continuous stream of Twitter style hot takes. Although I suspect most of the readership/commenters are edgy 16 year olds so it's probably an unfair expectation that any of the discussion would be particularly nuanced. UK based threads on HN seem far more level headed.

And then banning the bubbles that engage in wrongthink.

Honestly, I think there has been very little banning of bubbles for "wrongthink", it's mostly been banning of bubbles for "wrongbehavior".

That's not really a fair depiction though. They ban based on "wrongthink", because active disagreement of many things is considered "wrongbehavior". The end result is a reinforcement loop of the echo chamber, with a widening of what is considered "wrong"

I think it’s wrongthink or potential wrongbehavior. An example is there was a exhibitionist nsfw subreddit, and it was shut down because people kept flagging non-offending posts as nonconsensual. Even though the literal subjects would post stuff like “that’s me, it’s cool.” The sub was removed.

Tons of examples like this. It’s not that big of a deal and no major harm.

Just part of the reason I think Reddit sucks and I don’t go there.

The little serendipitous fun of the internet was all over Reddit. Now it feels like a totally lame person lames over everything.

These examples sound like the reddit hive mind, which has been there since the early days

r/gaming has always been the meme/low-quality gaming board and it's not really expected to have any serious discussion there.

r/games is the one that's actually for somewhat coherent discussion. Not suggesting it's perfect, but it's probably the one you're looking for.

I think this is a case of the “monkey ladder” type situation where people just bandwagon on and don’t know why. They just see the behavior, don’t know the cause, and emulate behavior.

I think this happens in fake internet point situations because people are more apt to get upvotes and avoid downvotes. Since thoughtful content is hard, dog piling is easy. I can get more votes by grammar nazi-equivalent for wrongthink.

/r/neoliberal was good for a bit, but it has been slipping into typical leftist content since the election.

I used to think this was purely organic and maybe there’s a chance that it is but I think it’s more likely a major shift like that has happened due to years of intentional ringleading by sock-puppets and shills who have a vested interest in managing public opinion. I think it’s inaccurate to call it “leftist,” I would call it a pro-corporate dissent-intolerant ideology.


You've broken the site guidelines here. Would you please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules so we don't have to ban you again? That means thoughtful, substantive comments and curious conversation. No name-calling or personal attacks, etc.

Most of Reddit is left-of-center though, and prevailing opinions on Reddit can be pushed pretty forcefully. I don't think it's part of a broader problem of "orthodox leftist thought" but of Reddit being a place like no other for cultivating orthodoxy.

Maybe they found subreddits that were less left-leaning to either be even worse or too inactive.

Are you seriously telling me that there are not areas on Reddit where people like the OP can ... how can I put this politely ... salve themselves with the gentle, safe caress of their desired echo chamber?

I don't buy it.

Maybe not if OP, despite attributing an importance to "leftist orthodoxy" that I think is silly, does take into account factors beyond Good Side or Bad Side. I could imagine someone finding a subreddit that matches their opinions very well, then leaving it because the culture surrounding those opinions is so toxic.

> There's really nowhere left to hide from the rigorous enforcement of orthodox liberal thought.

Leftism (which is what reddit is for the most part) is definitely not orthodox liberalism, for what it’s worth. But reddit’s political discussions have rarely ever progressed past what you might hear in a 9th grade social studies class anyway. Definitely not worth engaging in. And that’s coming from someone who considers themselves a socially progressive liberal.

Good point! I’m squarely on the right in today’s climate and I think I’m more classically liberal than reddit’s authoritarian left that I had in mind when I wrote that. I suppose I meant to say “orthodox leftist thought”. It’s hard not to get turned around here in opposite world.

What does authoritarian left mean?

it means lefties, like myself, who, unlike myself, endorse authoritarianism in service to their goals. for instance many of this type today believe that if they disagree with the views of others enough, those people don’t deserve to speak.

Think soviets but for much less consequential topics (eg, being kicked out of a Facebook group by believing that only some cops are bastards, not ACAB).

It’s so banal to experience, but occurs.

Years ago I participated in this. Someone sent me a beautiful programming book, but I failed to purchase and send a gift for my recipient because I was a stupid, selfish kid. I still feel horrible about it to this day.

That alone is why people sign up for Secret Santa rematching. Your gift giver probably didn't go without because someone else was kind and stepped in. Even so, given that you feel horrible about skipping out on that obligation but can't apologise to the person you wronged, you should take that energy forward in your life and use it as a reason to do good things for others also anonymously - maybe someday, as a result, you'll be able to forgive your past self for letting that person down. I don't like to give advice, and especially not to strangers online, because it's impossible to know people and their situation well enough to give good advice. Still, in this circumstance, I think it fits - I could be completely wrong though, and I don't mean to be impertinent so please feel free to disregard if inapplicable.

I think they're highlighting the fact that the average age of Redditors has dropped very significantly, and the upcoming Reddit gift exchange would have been a disaster of no-gifts.

I'm sure enough people will read this that it will be good advice for someone of them.

Heh. Funny -- I participated in reddit secretsanta years ago, and never got anything in return. First and last secret santa from me.

It's like I got scammed by one of those indian grandma-targeting call centers, but only out of like 50 bucks instead of a few grand in iTunes cards.

I haven't thought about that in a long time.

If it's a gift like that and it fails, you should consider it charity. Probably charity to someone less well off.

Though it still sucks, and hopefully whomever got that charity can grow from it and eventually 'pay it forward'.

Which should make the change from Reddit even worse :(

Yeah, I did a few (several years ago) and got "stiffed" once.

I always just looked at it as a gift - something given freely and willingly without any demand for anything in return.

Sure, I was bummed because I love seeing what people send me, but I didn't get bent out of shape over it. I signed up because at the time I was financially stable and wanted to do something nice and fun for someone. Mission success.

A succinct explanation of why I've never participated in any online secret Santa type of thing.

My wife participated for several years. Sometimes she got good gifts, other times they were not that good. Nevertheless most of the joy we had was in giving our gifts. We tried to go out of our way and it was exciting reading the reaction of people who received them.

The best gift my wife got (she is an avid dead tree book reader) was a book she had on her list. But the secret santa bought the book and illustrated it magnificently (using the book's empty pages) before sending it to her.

That's the type of gifts you just cant price.

You do the secret Grinch thing instead?

Frankly, with the exception of people who are very close to me and actually know what I would appreciate, I don't like gift exchanges that much in the first place... Just a good way to end up with things you don't want but feel guilty about getting rid of.

That's why I always give consumable gifts - chocolate or wine or whatever.

Gift giving is not about changing a person's life forever, or shouldn't be. Its making them smile on the day. That's it. If they're entertained or please I knew what they liked or just hungry, I've succeeded and the gift has succeeded.

The beauty of being a Grinch is you don't need to hide it.

I have no birthday, and I don't celebrate gift giving holidays. I don't want any presents, and I won't reciprocate.

I do apprechiate postcards and holiday cards though, but I don't generally send them and I'll feel a little bad about that. Maybe one day, my heart will grow three sizes and I'll start sending a handful of cards.

I don't like having a birthday either, and I will sometimes give people presents, but I absolutely never want any.

This seems to cause friction though, and maybe represents some kind of personality issue. I don't know why I'm like this or what it might mean though.

For the record, I did secret Santa a couple of times. First time went to a ton of effort to send a nice, appropriate thing (House of Leaves colour hardback) and got nothing. Next time though I sent some crappy thing and received a giant box of Simpsons socks. That was actually really cool.

> This seems to cause friction though, and maybe represents some kind of personality issue. I don't know why I'm like this or what it might mean though.

Maybe I'm biased, but if expressing your non-consent of celebrating something about you that you didn't chose causes friction, that's not your personality issue. A desire to give everyone presents even if they don't want them is the personality issue.

Receiving a present creates a social obligation to deliver a present later and may also be a conflict of interest. My spouse was an elected official (board of supervisors of a tiny government agency) and it was great because I had a concrete reason to refuse gifts; anything from not close family over a tiny threshold had a reporting obligation, and anything over a not so big threshold was prohibited; nobody wanted to participate in reporting, so no gifts.

Looks like its being recreated by the first three employees at r/newsecretsanta (https://old.reddit.com/r/newsecretsanta/)

I can't help but notice that your link to New Secret Santa is under the "old" subdomain.

Any real redditor still uses old.reddit.com, the day they get rid of that, I'm guessing the same thing that happened to digg will happen.

The only reason I have a reddit account is so I can disable all the junk in preferances and not have to worry about the subdomain. My reddit basically looks like HN. Old is good, but not as good as what you can get with customization for now.

Give libreddit a shot. I recently switched from old.reddit.com and much prefer it.

It looks like a worse version of new reddit? Why would I want that?

The new Reddit web UI is literally unusable: many links simply pop a modal where the options are "go back" or "install the app".

98% of my reddit consumption is via Apollo on iOS, which is still an excellent experience.

Sadly, Apollo is spyware. :(

>Sadly, Apollo is spyware. :(

Their App Store privacy report, as well as the app developer's explicit privacy policy, directly contradicts you. Could you kindly back that up with some evidence, or is this more FUD from you?

It uploads your usage data and identifiers (presumably username) without consent, and does so via IP, leaking your city-level location to the developers.

My information is coming directly from its app store privacy label.

Your reddit username is not your identity, and it's data which reddit already has. In fact, you can use it to browse reddit without being signed in, and reddit will glean much less data from you by the use of Apollo in either case.

The developer specifically states that they perform no user-linked tracking with their app. Their monetization model also supports this conclusion.

I'm going to make a sub /r/nonewsecretsanta and claim the original secret santa was a hoax. This is the hill I die on.

I appreciate it’s a very different time, so not saying they’re comparable 1 to 1, but back in the waning days of Digg you saw Reddit suddenly growing and growing as this new and actually interesting competitor.

Is there an equivalent today?

I enjoyed using Reddit for years, then used it without (tbh) enjoying it much for probably a couple of years, and finally have almost fully disconnected. There’s no denying it has many more years worth of genuinely useful information on it, so I’ll still use it as a resource for community recommendations when searching.

However, the actual _news_/curated feed mechanic I’ve long sworn off. Is there anything new coming up atm that isn’t just a Reddit knock off?

Edit: side note, thinking about how long ago the Digg —> Reddit shift was has actually filled me with a bit of existential dread. When you stop and think, Reddit has had an incredible run as a popular platform so far.

There is a subreddit about this: r/RedditAlternatives. Trouble is, most of them end up being dominated by the alt-right/hate mobs.

Interesting that you want something that is specifically not just a reddit knock off. I actually think that a Reddit knock off focussed on discussion (say, like hacker news, but with subreddits) would do well.

This comment doesn't deserve downvotes. I've spent a considerable amount of time trying to find a good alternative without much success.

This comment isn't using these labels incorrectly - the people on most of the alternatives post blatantly anti-Semitic and/or legitimately racist content (not ambiguously or twitter-classified racism, but full-on, hard-R et al, good old fashioned racism), anti-vaxxer mobs, doxxing, calls to violence, etc.

And yes, much of the time this sort of content is the majority.

Can't someone take one for the team and set up a place to absorb all of this? It's no fun trying to hang out with someone who's grinding the same old axe every day, especially if it's some lame anti-whoever diatribe.

I don't mind people having whatever views or even irrational and harmful biases, as long as they don't shoehorn them into everything they say. I'm happy to have an interesting discussion with someone who stays on topic and says interesting things, it doesn't matter to me (right then) if I wouldn't think much of other aspects of their life. You don't have to "bring your whole self" to hn or new-reddit or wherever else.

It seems like a lot of communities have moved to discord, but thats obviously not the same.

The problem I have with discord is that it's kind of similar to facebook - content placed there is elusive, temporary, hidden, non-searchable, non-indexable, non-organized. It's why I hate FB groups and pages with passion - it's purposely designed to be non-accessible,force to ask same questions and get same answers multiple times, waste your time, such a rotten, hostile abomination...

And even though it seems basically fine now, I am not confident that Discord won't suffer a similar fate to Reddit.

"We made the difficult decision to shut down Reddit Gifts and put more focus on enhancing the user experience on Reddit"

Oh, enhancing user experience sounds good: so they'll reinstate the old reddit UI back as the default, the one that doesn't block viewing threads in a mobile browser half the time?

Stories like reddit are why I keep telling our executive staff that I am completely against a buyout. We have one angel investor and all the control we could ever hope for. Our customers love us. Why the fuck do people screw these things up? Are they that hooked on other people's money? I feel like reddit was managing to pay the bills before the series of sellouts and poor product choices...

You can only do that if you can afford it: I'm pretty sure reddit never made money and was bleeding it quite profusely. At some point you have to start making money, but reddit (and most other internet/digital companies) valued growth at all cost. Now they are probably billions in the hole and they have to look for outside investment.

You also make the strong assumption that executive staff/founders actually care about the survival of the company or the product: If they cash out at some point, they still win in the transaction.

The cycle is always predictably the same:

1. Found the company

2. Get an initial round of investment

3. make it seem valuable (i.e. growth at all cost)

4. Second investment round (people now have FOMO "this could be the next Facebook!")

5. Continue growing (by now initial investors and founders have cashed out with profit)

6. Another investment round/sell/go public.

7. After going public, people notice that you don't make any money and have no way of ever making money (think WeWork)

8. Company's stock tanks/Company goes bankrupt.

At no point in that process has the product or the company ever mattered: As long as you can make it seem like it works, you can make a profit.

This is why venture capital is almost always a red flag: The investors make money not through quality product, but through growth. They can sell a great product that nobody knows about or they can sell well marketed crap that grows fast and makes them billions. By chance one or two of these companies will survive despite this and have a lasting impact, which breeds even more hype for the next round.

I wonder if a community-owned project similar to a food cooperative could work with sites like Reddit.

Have people pay a membership fee for a share in the project. Non-members still have access but with basic ads.

I’ve been through a few online communities that tried this (netslaves, plastic) and co-op ended up being “pay me what I would like to run it.”

I remember the shutdown thread on netslaves where the owner asked for money and multiple community members offered to run it or chip in and the owner said no. They wanted the amount they wanted because they also wanted to run their other projects.

I don’t fault them as it’s their site and they can run it as they wish. But just to point out the difficulty of community projects that require money.

Even with food co-ops, there is frequently drama.

Maybe the closest would be to have some sort of online kibbutz.

I fear you are the minority, the vast majority of startups are founded and funded with the hope that there will be a large cash out for the founders and investors at some point.

Yeah but to me the fuck up is when priorities went from this:

  1. Innovate and make nice things
  2. Get paid tons of money
to this:

  1. Get paid tons of money
  2. Innovate and make nice things

In my opinion, you will grow wealthy faster if you focus on product over money.

The thing I find weird is that they essentially paid money to degrade the user experience to the extent that large parts of previously OK functionality don't work anymore, and subreddit mods typically advise people to use the 'old' UI.

I mean, the new UI is not to my taste, but it is also just really buggy, slow, and full of things that straightforwardly don't work (videos, search, etc).

Now, I'm not an MBA, but I don't really get how you make money by paying developers to degrade your service.

Reddit is actively trying to reduce the average age of their userbase. The mobile app, and forcing kids to install the mobile app, is a big part of that effort.

Getting teenagers in high school addicted to Reddit is a huge part of their strategy, and it's very evident in the way the front page content has shifted in the last decade.

The bigger issue is that while a lot of older users remain in the niche subs, I find that there aren't great alternatives to Reddit for threaded sub-specific commentary.

There are actually a fair number if you go looking, in my opinion Lemmy seems to be the best alternative these days and seems to get at least a bit of traffic.

My guess would be that newer users that decide to stay move to the app on mobile where they can't have an ad blocker

My system-wide adblocker works fine on the mobile app. I just hate having a dedicated app with related permissions/notifications to manage just to access a website.

A bit late but what do you use as an adblocker and does it require rooting your device ?

That's the trouble I've encountered when trying to install one.

But when they add a new feature to the new Reddit, they don't backport it to old/ns.reddit.com (surveys being one example and there was at least another one other that I can't think of right now).

Yes, but they will probably sunset it one day with an announcement like this one.

I wonder what their analytics are on the amount of people who use old.reddit.com vs not. My guess is that once it hits a certain low threshold they'll decide to get rid of it. That will be a sad day.

I also fear they will pull what Twitter did and severely limit their API which will essentially kill third party apps and everyone will have to use their official apps.

Older users all use old.reddit, which isn't the audience they want to see growth with, but acknowledge that it's a lot of tech/niche sub mods that use it - so I suspect they'll leave it for a very long time.

Reddit has access to the stats - and I’m sure they know just exactly how much of the content is posted from old.reddit - and they know if they cut it off they lose that content.

I don't mind the new UY but what I don't understand is how after all this time basic functionality of the site still doesn't work. Like, at least once a week you get logged out and can't log in or you click on a subreddit or a post and it won't load the content. I just don't understand how this is still going on and they are putting resources into avatar microtransactions and the live streaming. Does anyone use the live streaming stuff on reddit?

I realize that it’s not the most important issue given the current state of the world but I really wish the tech community would stop using the word “sunset” to replace the universally understood word “end”

Ohhh Silicon Valley and your corporate euphemisms. What does it achieve now? Does it soften the blow for those who loved the service? Is this some kind of cover-your-ass thing legal advises them to practice?

I think I first saw the usage of this term either from Yahoo (wrt either GeoCities or Flickr) or Google (wrt Reader). Definitely around that era. IIRC it was on some company roadmap presentation that basically say "These services are scheduled to be sunset by <date>". Heck I even think those slides were leaked and not officially presented.

I like to think the first audience to encounter this usage of the word was similarly perplexed. "When you say 'sunset' you mean 'termination', right? What about the teams assigned to them?"

"'Termination'? Oh goodness, no. When we say 'sunset' we mean we leave them alone to naturally drive into a beautiful sunset."

No less perplexed, they put emphasis on their second question. "What about the teams then?"

With the cadence of a well-rehearsed actor, the facilitator responds, "Hey, sunsets. Very peaceful, very relaxing---who doesn't want those? You won't get that from staring at your computer screen all day!"

I think sunset is potentially useful in that it denotes a gradual change, rather than an immediate or abrupt cut-off.

Only makes sense in that context though.

We use the term archive at our company. Mostly because there have been many cases where we take things out of the archive and continued support then commercialization.

Terminate, close, or shut down seems more apt than "end".

Hopefully, maybe, the community might come together and crowdsource a new Reddit Secret Santa that's run by the Reddit community rather than the Reddit admins.

That's literally how it started until they stole it. Same with reddit coins/reddit silver.

Everything of value related to reddit comes from the users. The users create the content, they organize by voting on it and creating subreddits, the users even moderate the content. Even good ideas come from the users. Reddit, meanwhile, just adds on more and more bizarre features. They have avatars now? How about a chat system that nobody uses? Want us to email you a hundred times a day? etc.

> Everything of value related to reddit comes from the users.


It's amazing how much goodwill Reddit had as just a "dumb host" for forumlike communities, before things like the comically bad single-page-app redesign and the stupid decision in the OP article.

I'm pretty sure they expect subreddit mods to also moderate the chatrooms, despite the fact that we never asked for them and don't have any tooling for that.

Yeah -- this might act as a reminder to keep it for the community, run by the community this time, instead of handing it over to Reddit who are becoming increasingly profit-driven at the expense of anything else, including their users.

Seems to be already happening at https://www.reddit.com/r/newsecretsanta/

It lost any charm it had as soon as it started having sponsors, maybe 5 years ago? I don't remember exactly.

Before that it was the community doing something fun together. After that it was just yet another advertising opportunity and I noped right out.

Dropped Reddit in general a few years ago. Much happier. I sometimes read the tech stuff that friends link but otherwise done.

I just see Reddit as a directory/RSS feed, it's great to quickly go through news articles and see what's happening. However once I get into the comments or user generated content, I quickly get annoyed and close it again.

Worst part is they don’t give any reason. Looks like it’s purely a cost cutting measure. It probably doesn’t meet their ad percentages for a sub and it probably throws a wrench into their load balancing plans as the sub only gets active in December and after that it’s dormant.

It’s a shame because this was what endeared me to Reddit among other things a long time ago. They should think of this as an investment just like Netflix throws money at content to get users. Someone over there is not making good decisions, first the new UI, definitely takes away user experience and now this.

We should do a secret Hacker News Santa.

We exchange startup pitches for condescending dismissals.

and stickers!

Ssshhhhh, you're breaking the first two rules of secret HN Santa.

I hope sama buys me a McLaren.

Replace www with old in Reddit links to bring back the old layout, as in https://old.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/nw2hs6/sunse...

Didn't the idea start on Something Awful or another site like it? Do they still run their secret Santa?

I don't think any one forum can claim to own the concept but it was certainly common on more traditional forums too.

I don't think I'd want a goon from Something Awful sending me anything - or knowing my physical address.

Between the entry fee and the liberal use of banning, I'd rather they know my address than most internet sites. I don't remember thinking the users had a particularly bad reputation either.

Maybe I don't understand - other than hosting the subreddit, what was Reddit Inc.'s involvement?

They hired the staff/volunteers from the original reddit gift exchange app to work on integrating it into reddit core, then (assuming here), laid them off and killed the project.

I participated a couple times, years ago, as a novelty when I first joined. I suspect reddit simply discovered that most users drop off after just 1 or 2 exchanges for various reasons so there isn't much of a retention bonus.

I get it.

On a much smaller scale, I was in a similar position once.

Ran a very active online community. Each year we had a big (well, for us) in-person meetup. Everybody loved it, looked forward to it, etc.

In retrospect I'm not sure it was the best use of our extremely limited people-hours.

On the plus side, the gathering/convention was great the 0.1% of our active users that made the trek each year and I believe there was a harder-to-measure positive "halo effect" from it that benefitted the community in general.

On the downside, the "staff" for this site was basically "me working part time, plus community volunteers." The site's infrastructure needed major work and I lacked time to properly market the site, etc.

TL;DR --

Given our limited resources, a LOT of necessary work went undone, in favor of this yearly event that directly benefitted only a tiny fraction of our users. I suspect Reddit just came to the same conclusion.

It makes sense. Reddit is too big for something like that.

Top comment nails it:

> So you took over someone elses project years ago, made some money off of it and then killed it. Yikes.

how they made money off it?

They had corporate sponsors. They had ads.

In addition to the other comment, they also sold an "elves" subscription program.

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