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Reddit traffic doubles in less than a year, to 2 billion monthly pageviews (reddit.com)
251 points by raldi on Jan 5, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 159 comments

I'll admit to being one of the latecomers to reddit in the last year. I use to avoid reddit like the plague, because I thought reddit was just www.reddit.com (the main page) which the few times I visited was filled with random assortment of stuff I didn't care about.

Later, I discovered the true essence of reddit, sub-reddits. Things like r/loseit, r/fitness, r/gamedev, r/<things I actually care about>. Now I'm hooked--I visit the sub reddits multiple times every day. I no longer subscribe to the main reddit feed.

So, for things in store for 2012, you absolutely must focus on "help new users better understand the way reddit works".

In addition, if I were in charge of reddit for a day, I'd get rid of the reddit main page aggregation and instead replace it with a word cloud and the heading "Pick a topic that interests you to visit that sub-reddit for valuable discussion and content". Because, on the whole, the main reddit feed devalues the entire site with slop.

edit: removed misleading line.

One huge problem, though, is that shit (specifically racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fat shaming, ableism – oh, I guess that list really isn’t all that specific) tends to crop up everywhere. It’s a very reddity kind of shit.

Encountering blatant (and highly visible because upvoted) sexism (for example) in such harmless sounding subreddits as /r/soccer or /r/minecraft really kills all my fun. There are a few nicely moderated places, though, so not all hope is lost (and /r/soccer is at least usually devoid of shit).

I think politcorrectness is the ultimate kind of bigotry of them all. Just like kids growing up in sterile environments start to have all kinds of allergies PC is already starting to show similar effects. Sterility screws up the immune system of our body, PC screws up immune system of our minds. The worst part is it does not help to fight those issues, on the contrary — it just discourages even think about those issues. And there is huge difference between joking about some particular subset of humanity and actually disliking that subset. Then there are people who just get "offended" by everything — those should really get their heads examined. They most likely don't even know why something offends them. Just because it is "offensive". Why is it offensive? Who knows. Some picture of naked tits offends you? Really? What absolutely amazes me, that showing people being killed, heads exploding, limbs ripped off is ok and not harmful. But god forbid someones dick will be visible for a fraction of the second—that's a major scandal. Don't you think it is weird, that depiction of people killing people is wildly advertised and easily accessible, while depiction of people making love is almost (and in some places truly) outlawed?

Well, if you subscribe to a solipsist, intent-is-everything idea of morality, then it makes sense to believe that the mere act of saying that women are hysterical bitches who need to get back in the kitchen, doesn't make you a misogynist. But that isn't the point.

Entertain this notion; words mean things, whether you like it or not. Your conscious state of mind is completely irrelevant to anyone but yourself. When people roll their eyes at your unfunny racist jokes, it's not necessarily because they think you're racist; it's because you're saying racist things.

So, why is it offensive to say black people are criminals who love KFC and watermelons? Well, maybe you should ask a black person, because you certainly wouldn't know. But be sure to use "offensive" in scare-quotes to hammer home the point that you Just-Don't-Get-What-The-Fuss-Is-All-About. Remember also to point out that most people are too stupid/crazy to understand why AIDS jokes which may include a synonym of the word "faggot", can be offensive to homosexuals. Because hey, it's just a word after all. There couldn't possibly be any societal, cultural, or historical contexts behind words, right?

And then you blab on about sexual taboos like it has any real bearing on anything. But really what could anyone expect from someone who thinks that the attempt to use more inclusive language in public discourse amounts to "the ultimate kind of bigotry of them all".

See? That’s the kind of shit I’m talking about.

Crap like that runs rampant on Reddit.

Conflating the notion of people being offended by nakedness in certain images and people reacting to offensive statements is not helping your case. It's a pretty good strawman to get past people not paying much attention to your block of text, but it lets everyone else know that your post is intellectually dishonest. I suggest saving this stuff for Red... er, Digg?

So, just a brief insight into the way I think, which I believe will add to the discussion.

When someone complains about "political correctness", the first thing I do is figure out if "LA LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" would be a good substitution.

It's not a universal replacement, but it works a surprising amount of the time.

Do you feel the moderation over there is enough though, even on the "nicely moderated places" that you mention?

Compared to other communities where admins/mods delete users' comments to a much higher frequency relative to Reddit and freely edit or move unfitting submissions & comments, I've always felt the lack of moderation on Reddit for the most part has been the reason for attracting trolls and users making hateful comments.

And the thing is, Reddit looks to be a very hard place to moderate as large number of Redditors seem to become very mad when heavy moderation happens (seeing from the large # of "I thought this site was all about freedom of speech"-type comments when r/jailbait got banned few months back).

When the lack of moderation attracts all those characters who post "shit", filtering via voting just becomes useless as you mention in your other comment.

It's all about establishing ground rules. /r/askscience is the posterchild of this - they have 250k+ subscribers, and the discussion is still interesting, thought provoking, and on topic. Other subreddits, like /r/gaming, have devolved into nothing more than image macros and meme posts. The difference is 100% the ground rules that are set, and then the moderators sticking to those ground rules.

If I were in control of Reddit for a day, I'd create a "How to Build Community" packet for to give to new moderators. Often they're just promoted for being good members of the community - but that doesn't mean they know how to run or grow a good one.

The whole 'free speech/minimal moderation/no-censorship' is one of the core reason Reddit 'scales'. Unlike most sites, there's no sign out front saying you can't post there. No matter how terrible you are, someone will agree with you, and if you find the right sub-sub-sub-reddit, everyone will agree with you.

The other aspect is that voting systems are groupthink systems. Once the userbase gets large enough, the moderation system does not function in a way that encourages debate or questions common assumptions. It seems to be a terminal problem, which nobody knows how to fix except to escape to smaller fora.

> Do you feel the moderation over there is enough though, even on the "nicely moderated places" that you mention?

There's a huge range in how hands-on moderators are, and it varies dramatically by subreddit. Some subreddits are notoriously draconian; others permit pretty much anything. I don't think it's possible to make a statement about moderation on reddit overall, across subreddits.

I don't really recognize that picture. Besides the sexism, which is an issue (but by far not exclusive to Reddit), all the rest of that shit gets downvoted into oblivion by the community at large.


I don’t think I have to expand on that.

Well, it's obvious that it is a joke. Although racially based, still a joke. Or an attempt of one.

I'm generally of the opinion that racist jokes are not as far separated from actual racism as the joke teller would like themselves to believe.

Same goes for sexism, ageism, etc etc.

I used to crack jokes about black people back in college (of the same character that ugh linked to) - I didn't think it was racism, after all I didn't actually have anything against black people, right? Then I graduated, moved to another city, and made a lot of black friends that bucked the stereotypes so dramatically that now I find the same jokes at least mildly offensive.

Racism is a spectrum, it isn't as binary as "lynch 'em" vs. "I love them", there are many shades of gray, and many places where you're subtly contributing to it by believing in, and spreading extremely damaging stereotypes.

So, what do you think of Dave Chappelle?

Well, first of all it’s a bad joke. It’s not funny. Variants of it are repeated over and over and over.

Second, it’s indistinguishable from what a racist would say. There is no subversion.

That doesn't make it not racist though, and doesn't neccesarily make people any happier to read it than if it wasn't a joke.

Politically incorrect humor does not equal racism.

It seems "politically incorrect humor" has become the new code word for "racist jokes".

It’s a joke! Like on Top Gear!

Having been active on /r/minecraft since it started and reddit from when it was pretty small. I have seen this trend play out repetitively:

1. Niche communities form with lots of quality content

2. This valuable content spurs a spike in viewership, the forum becomes anonymous and no longer a community.

3. Then the quality of content drops dramatically, especially with lots of members just adding banal thoughts or outright karma-whoring. Most content is now in the form of counterpoints which aren't counterpoints, juvenile tit-for-tat fights, massive meme infection and 2-month nostalgia posts.

4. Members who were responsible for quality rapidly abandon the subreddit and the entire subreddit begins to resemble the reddit front page. (I really have no idea how the mods stick it out.)

Unfortunately I have begun to see the same sort of thing happen to HN. HN wised up quickly however and removed visible mod-points which I always felt was responsible for the worst behaviour on reddit. (Slashdot was a bit better because the karma was rationed and the stories curated.)

Your going find that anywhere where there is a general audience, HN has it's -isms too. How is it very reddity?

Not being exposed and thus made aware of such attitudes can leave you in a bubble and not realize how good you have it. I didn't really realize how many people in the world have attitudes that belong to a 150 years ago in the developed world until I traveled to such places and saw and interacted with it with my own eyes.

The problem is that it’s everywhere and at the top. I don’t mind racism that is filtered out (i.e. either heavily downvoted or deleted by mods) all that much. That’s exactly what makes Reddit attractive: It gets filtered in a good way.

It just seems that Reddit’s filtering mechanisms are not really adept at dealing with it anymore. And Reddit’s demography (white, cis male, hetero†) adds a very special and unique slant to all of this.

† Hey, I’m all those things, too. Hanging around with only those people isn’t very fun, though.

Comments I read from reddit have a lot more gays and transgendered people than I encounter in most places in my life.

In any english website, your going to mostly encounter english (which means probably white) cis hetero people. Gays and transgendered people are %10 of the population at most, and a lot of times, they're not talking about things related to their sexuality.

That’s not really the problem. The problem is much rather that there isn’t any awareness when those people actually do talk about those topics (or feel the need to for some stupid reason or other).

> shit tends to crop up everywhere. It’s a very reddity kind of shit.

I would say that is a very internet kind of thing... just avoid those places where it becomes too much.

Well, I could care less about "racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fat shaming, ableism" etc showing up on some comments.

It's funny that the societies that really seem hangup about those, are the very societies that perpetuated them in actual life. You know, Uncle Tom's cabin, Turing's treatment, etc.

It's like how you can't publish Main Kampf or sell nazi paraphernalia in Germany. (Wow, nice of you, hypocrites, but how about NOT invading other countries and killing millions of people, several of those in camps IN THE FIRST PLACE --and then we don't care what you publish or sell).

It's also a little idiotic how and where those terms are applied. "Transhophobia", really? Because it's a mans/womans right to change sex AND not be mocked about it, right?

Now, as a progressive, young, geek person, you are probably inclined to say "hell, yeah".

But, wait, rights are not given by "god" or "nature".

Rights are given to individuals by their society, and if the society finds a "trans" person funny or weird, so be it (or try to change it socially).

Why should a society follow a philosophy of "let anyone do whatever he likes as long as it doesn't hurt someone else" and not a philosophy of "we want people in our society to be so and so and hold such and such values"?

Just because some people thing the first is better?

Well, even if it was, it's not about a society living with the better rules, it's about living with rules that society WANTS.

Is there a deeper philosophical / scientific basis for the first?

It's funny that the societies that really seem hangup about those, are the very societies that perpetuated them in actual life. You know, Uncle Tom's cabin, Turing's treatment, etc.

Yes, territories that previously encouraged and allowed behaviour that they now find unacceptable are trying to stamp that attitudes and behaviour out.

Because it's a mans/womans right to change sex AND not be mocked about it, right?

Yes it is.

Yes it is.

So I take it you don't believe people have freedom of speech?

You can have freedom of speech or the freedom not to be mocked. You can't have both.

I believe in freedom of speech, of course. I do not think there is any country which recognises the right of freedom of speech which interprets it as "any and all speech is protected by this". So yes, you can believe in freedom of speech and have limitations on that speech.

Are you trolling? What do the words "freedom of speech" mean to you?

Do you know what lying under oath is? Do you know what libel is? Do you know what incitement is?

What kind of idiot are you.

"""Yes, territories that previously encouraged and allowed behaviour that they now find unacceptable are trying to stamp that attitudes and behaviour out."""

That only makes it a mix of overreacting and "too little, too late" response, that other territories see as hypocritical and/or hysterical (the latter not in the "funny" sense).

As for the hypocritical part, it's indicative that politically correctness arose somewhere where "only approximately 7% of the American population is African American, but they make up 46% of the total 2.1 million male inmates in jail or prison".

Because what really matters is not what chances a society offers to black people (that the same society dragged away from their lands and used as slaves), but how we talk, right?

"""Yes it is."""

Really? Given by who? Last time I checked, no such thing as god-given rights or natural rights exists objectively.

Because what really matters is not what chances a society offers to black people (that the same society dragged away from their lands and used as slaves), but how we talk, right?

Yes, how we/I/you/everyone talks affects what chances a black person has.

Given by who? Last time I checked, no such thing as god-given rights or natural rights exists objectively.

The people with guns and the power to lock you up and confiscate your property disagree (i.e. the police/courts/government). The vast majority of people around you recognise that these people with guns are allowed to do this (i.e. vast majority of people recognise that the government is allowed to imprison people or fine people). If you don't like it, go set up your own country.

I am a long time reddit user and am of the opinion that the "mainstream" subreddits serve as honeypots to attract disrespectful juvenile users and should be kept for that purpose. Making it easier to find the most interesting subreddits will only attract the wrong kind of people.

I'm a long time redditor as well (4 years or so) and I've found that the subreddits are really not nearly as good as they used to be. /r/programming used to feel a lot more like HN, where you'd have a lot more researchers and well known experts in various areas chiming in. Things like /r/compsci seem to be mostly cs undergrads with a fairly underdeveloped sense of what the field entails. All of more niche subreddits I subscribe to tend to be so small there's almost no conversation going on.

What reddit has become is my guilty pleasure/trashy magazine. I find I still enjoy it but not for any of the reasons I used to.

Basically Reddit is like hanging out in a bar. There may be some good, serious conversations, but most of the time it's just having fun and talking bullshit. And I'm fine with that.

To add to this, it also feels as that in most cases, for every topic that a niche subreddit (or multiple similar subreddits) covers, there usually exist better online communities dealing with the same topic elsewhere on the Web.

For example, let's say you're interested in airplanes and aviation. Relevant subreddits such as r/aviation just doesn't compare to communities like airliners.net with its sheer amount and high quality of content.

Quality of content aside, other communities in such instances also seem to have better organization, more strict moderation (although some subreddits do have very good, dedicated moderators), and certain culture that's not prevalent on Reddit (e.g. compared to some other communities that I visit, there doesn't seem to be a culture of searching before posting on Reddit, ultimately resulting in a lot of reposts), leading me to go to those places rather than the subreddits that cover the same topic.

You mean like /b/ was, by the end, supposed to act as a buffer on 4chan to keep out the new posters from the other boards while they were still adjusting to the local "etiquette"? That worked for a while, and then when that board became so bad that even new users wouldn't find any enjoyment in posting in it, they simply stopped lurking and carried over their bad habits to other boards. It spread through the whole site at an alarming rate. You can't try to separate the good content from the bad, or at least not for a long time because the bad always finds ways to spread, and I doubt the separation into "sub-reddits" instead of boards has any meaning in this case.

You do know you can unsubscribe to the main page, and the other default subscriptions, so your main page is entirely business, world news, programming, and Doctor Who, right?

I know that now. I'm saying I didn't know that then, I didn't know then, that there were even sub-reddits. It wasn't until I did discover those facts that I became a reddit frequenter.

You can also just bookmark aggregate subreddits, and visit those. Example: http://www.reddit.com/r/hacks+android+iphone+webdev+startups...

I unsubscribed from the most of the default subreddits, and my reddit life has changed. reddit doesn't seem to a big time waster anymore.

There are great subreddits that are worth checking: askscience, personalfinance, frugal, programming, and lots of that fit your interests with lower signal-to-noise ratio than the main page and the default ones.

I can't agree with askscience anymore. subreddits start their reversion to the mean once there's 50-100k users, and they become awful once they're in the default set for new users.

Frankly, it's too much work to find the good ones.

I think the parent is referring to encouraging lurkers/first-time viewers to creating an account to do just that. Reddit is something that can push a lot of people away right at the get go with it's default subs (/r/atheism & /r/politics are polarizing, /r/pics can make the site look childish, etc)

I think you are wrong on the home page change. Word clouds would be crap as the main focus of any page.

http://my.reddit.com shows just your subreddit subscriptions.

No, the front page shows just your subscriptions. my.reddit.com hasn't been different from the front page for years.

My ignorance. Thank you.

Whatever you think of @reddit's march towards decline...this was my favorite part of the blog post...and something I hope rings with other popular sites:

Here’s a list of things we don’t (and won’t) do for traffic:

We don't get traffic through ads.

We don’t participate in any traffic trading.

We don’t email our users (unless they choose to enter an email and then forget their password).

We don’t harass users to sign up.

We don’t harass users to invite their friends.

We don’t pester you to download our app.

We don’t use slideshows and other pageview gimmicks.

We don't know anything about SEO.

We don't integrate with Facebook.

We don't even link to our Facebook or twitter accounts.

If you're one of the 3-5 sites a user goes to everyday, you have a completely different set of rules from everyone else

Reddit didn't appear out of the ether as one of those sites. They built a user base like everyone else.

Reddit didn't appear out of the ether as one of those sites. They built a user base in a manner unlike everyone else.


Poor wording on my part. What I meant is that they too had to build a user base from nothing.

As with any user-generated content website, it has a problem: amongst those many users Reddit has there are also lots of dicks that spoil the conversations for everybody.

I don't think Reddit wants to go on the path of Youtube - useful for finding out links, but with useless and rude conversations that make you mad at waisting time reading them. I think Reddit got popular because in addition to links, users had meaningful things to say about those links, but the overall quality has been constantly dropping. Reddit should try to find ways to alleviate this phenomenon.

Here's a case study from today. I submitted a link to both HN and /r/programming [1] [2]

Most popular comment and criticism on HN:

   1. User tumblr.
   2. You're done.
Most popular comment and criticism on /r/programming:

   Scumbag programmer: Titles post "Blogging for Hackers". 
   Writes the whole thing in Ruby.

   Edit: Whoops - looks like those Ruby rockstars woke up.
[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3428369

[2] http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/o3v2u/blogging_...

Unfortunately proggit has become a cesspool, a complete juxtaposition of what reddit once was. I'm not familiar nor certain of a case where this has been turned around? Is it even advantageous for Reddit to attempt to remove the dregs from their site?

It is my belief (and from personal observation) that the bad apples constitute a very loud minority. Punishing just a couple and clearly promoting your values makes a big difference.

I find it much harder to swallow the comments on reddit, at least here on HN there is a guideline which encourages comments which add to the discussion; whereas on reddit, it's a shamble of memes and novelty accounts which depending on the account handle are allowed to be rude/obnoxious/racist.

I find it easier to leave proggit/reddit behind and follow Hacker News simply due to my alignment with the guidelines and the current HN hive-mind (no memes, helpful discussions).

Reddit has a much bigger list of dos and don'ts than does HN: http://www.reddit.com/help/reddiquette

As memes are appropriate for many of the subreddits, they're obviously excluded. Still, HN is really no different than a subreddit run under the same rules.

Regarding the "decline" of Reddit: any site that gets 2 billion monthly page views is going to be wholly different from its incipient form of several years ago. Surely the users of Reddit who pine for its past have many alternatives today.

Some aspects of HN are very similar to the way reddit was four years ago. The topics covered are slightly different, but at least half of the HN main page is normally not directly startup related, and the discussion threads are almost always interesting.

Hopefully it'll stay that well. Childish and one line comments seem to stay away, which is absolutely fantastic.

> but at least half of the HN main page is normally not directly startup related

I agree with you, as HN is supposed to bring topics of interest for hackers, and there are many things other than startup world that we may be interested in. But for startup related items, the submissions are almost entirely devoted to software, computing and related services. There are very few (no?) posts related to startups in science or hardware (and we are living in times where very exciting things are happening in these areas). In my opinion, a hacker community will benefit from having a wide range of interests (I haven't seen Michael Neilsen posting here for a while).

The alternatives often seem to come in the form of communities splintering. e.g. /r/gaming, /r/gamingnews /r/games, /r/truegaming etc. The expansion and decline in quality (i.e. rage comic spam) is usually followed quite rapidly by new sub-reddits being created and communities forming with stricter areas of moderation.

I browse Reddit but don't have an account or post. I think a lot if it is trash though I love AskScience and occasionally find value in the AMA and TIL stuff. But your note on the rage comic spam made me want to post that it seems they've made some adjustments in the last year or so that prevented that 'spam' from killing the site in the same way that Digg seemed to lose relevance.

I wonder if the next challenge for them is the strong representation from r/atheism on their frontdoor? I say that as a very irreligious person who guesses that discovering their new selves is exciting for (I imagine, predominantly) American youth. But some pretty bland ra-ra makes it through and I can see that being off-putting for religious types and "this again?!" for those for whom a lack of belief is the default rather than something new and outrageous within their community.

Yes, I know people can create an account to customise their experience, but some fair percentage of their traffic is going to come from people not interested in taking their involvement to that level.

Still that is a suboptimal divide, and leaves a discovery problem. Someone will solve it and replace reddit in at least some profound ways.

Someone will solve it and replace reddit in at least some profound ways.

Doubtful. These are deep-seated patterns that have been playing out in online communities for decades, and every "oh we'll just build a new thing that won't have that problem" attempt has... had the same problems.

For examples, and some interesting thoughts on the issue, start here:


Well, fundamentally, we've been designing online communities in the same (flawed) manner for decades. This is basically the recipe for reversion to the mean:

1. Allow any user to add themselves into the community; and then,

2. allow the course of discussion to be set by majority rule.

The site (or subreddit, or newsgroup, or whatever)'s focus and usefulness will gradually disintegrate as people in secondary demographics join (e.g. for programming, people interested in web design) and then tertiary demographics join who are only interested in things the secondary demographics like, and actually don't care about the original, primary focus of the community at all.

For examples of tertiary-demographic takeover, see Reddit's /r/music and /r/movies. The primary demographic wanted media discussion; the secondary demographic wanted to discuss specific pieces of media; and the tertiary demographic just wanted links to new media they hadn't heard of. (Which—for /r/music at least—when combined with the average new-Internet-user's set of "music they've heard of", the way people have a more positive association with music they've heard before, and the way democratic interest floats up the most agreeable items, the front page becomes basically "Reddit's Top-40 chart.")

Any community that avoids this will fundamentally have to avoid doing either #1 or #2.

This sounds pretty easy to avoid by moderating to keep focus and prevent drifting. "This subreddit is for media discussion only. Irrelevant links will be banned."

I think the question is whether there's any way to do this without moderation, because moderation doesn't scale. (Community-based moderation might work, if you could trust the average user to moderate right. Now you have two problems.)

This hasn't worked for reddit. It hasn't worked for any other site that's tried it.

Seriously, folks, read Clay Shirky. The man knows what he's talking about.

It has for r/askscience.

Not to take a thing away from Reddit, but there are a lot of bored people out there and they don't know that many great places on the internet. To compound that, mobile devices have created more time when you can be doing something else (i.e. between commercials, on the bus, etc.).

It's not that there aren't a lot of great websites out there, it's just that most people I know only go to 2-5 regularly. Reddit is a great site, but I know a lot of people who go there 30 minutes after they just clicked through 100 links hoping there's something new (and then when they're bored posting about it - http://www.reddit.com/search?q=blue+links). I'm not sure why, but either people can only remember a few websites, other sites suck or they can't be found.

Because Reddit is not like those other sites. I have 130 feeds in my RSS reader, 9 pages on my speed dial (including HN and other forums) and still visit Reddit every once in a while.

Here's one they forgot:

We don't make enough money to sustain ourselves.

My concern is that this stand may hurt profitability.

I don't think any of us want harassing or pestering, but have come across companies that it is a pleasure to read their email or invite friends.

They do show stupid pictures ("Instead of an ad, here's...") instead of ads that steal my attention for no reason what so ever. The sole reason I'm using adblock. I do not want to, but those damn pictures are so damn annoying that I have no choice.

How about not show anything if you are not going to show an ad? Why steal my attention and bother me for no reason at all?

Because reddit sometimes does show real ads in that space. And I think this feature was designed with 'fun' in mind -- it's lighthearted!

References: http://blog.reddit.com/2010/10/fun-in-sidebar.html and http://www.reddit.com/r/blog/comments/dqse4/fun_in_the_sideb...

What you consider "fun" and "lighthearted" I consider a waste of space and attention. Tell me how it is logically not.

Clearly you aren't their target market. The "instead of an ad, here's x" pictures have proven to be fairly popular.

Because having something "fun" and "lighthearted" in the space occasionally might drive higher cpm's when they actually sell ads for the space.

Their revenue comes from ads. They've never claimed otherwise, what makes you think they did?

The "fun" and "lighthearted" pictures are pointless and actively harmful. If you're going to show me ads, show me ads. But if you're not, don't. I'm willing to pay the price of being annoyed by advertising. The "instead of an ad" pictures generate no revenue for Reddit and they constantly waste my time and attention. They are purely a negative thing.

That's the most articulate way I can put my argument. If you still misunderstand, there's not much more that I can say.

Maybe some people actually enjoy the "instead of an ad" pictures. I absolutely hate them.

To put that in perspective, Flickr is at 1.5B. LinkedIn, 2.7B.

Edit: I'd like to go on record with a bet that by the end of the year, reddit will get more traffic than LinkedIn (which currently has a market cap in excess of $6,000,000,000).

Anyone want to bet against me?


LinkedIn's audience/traffic is far more valuable though, so I'm not sure why you added the bit about their market cap. Reddit users by and large are there for entertainment and don't click on ads. LinkedIn's users are there for work and by and large are the ads.

I don't think reddit is really trying so hard to monitize. (And given the nature of their user base, maybe it's the smartest thing to do.)

The banner ad unit on the right of reddit is almost never running a real ad. It's always an ad for a subreddit or a pretty picture. That one single spot at $1 cpm at 2b pageviews could net reddit $2mm a month. That's a lot of money to be left on the table.

$1CPM for the whole page (all the spots) would be very tough for a social news site, doubly so for one with porn and triply so for one with porn and reddit's demographic.

To put that in perspective, if Facebook were to get $1CPM they would be bringing in over $1B a month from just advertising. Facebook's revenue is about a third of that and doesn't all come from advertising (Facebook Credits and what not). It's even more bleak considering that Facebook has the ability to target advertising much better than reddit.

They can certainly make a bundle of cash, but it's a tough nut to crack.

>Facebook has the ability to target advertising much better than reddit.

I'm not sure I buy that. Reddit knows your interests due to your subreddit subscriptions, and if they wanted to scrape your comments they could easily find out a whole lot more. The fact that they don't is likely due more to their limited engineering team and a general distaste for that kind of invasiveness than due to its inherent difficulty.

...While on facebook, users willingly and explicitly define their interests, dislikes, personal information, etc.

Facebook doesn't need to 'extract' that information based on browsing information (although it probably could, given the number of sites that share information or use the fb api, and the links that users share with each other) and user posts (statuses, wall posts, notes).

Facebook has far more information available than reddit, so yes, it should be able to target ads much better.

I think being part of Condé Nast makes monetization a bit weird as well. From what they've written in the past, some of the decisions were due to how Condé Nast views things internally, e.g. Reddit Gold was introduced in part just because it gave a "paying subscribers" number that made sense to a traditional media company's executives and reporting methods.

Reddit's advertising UX is horrendous, every time I use it I always have to spend an hour figuring exactly how to give them money.

Reddit doesn't discuss profitability, but note that the Cheezburger Network has been profitable since inception: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1857411

If they can make money off ads, what makes you think reddit can't?

No one said reddit lacks any revenue. Comparing LNKD's market cap to reddit based on page views is what I took exception to--they're in no way related.

I think the culture of a community can be a powerful force against earning money from ads.

Here's a sample of why Reddit may be earning less than it should: http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/mour1/4_books_f...

(disclaimer - that comment is on my own link and made me bitter unfortunately)

What makes LinkedIn's audience so valuable though?

And Plentyoffish blows Reddit out of the water on page views. MySpace had massive page views (they resisted AJAX to increase ad impressions -- similar to POF).

It's a ridiculous metric. Certain types of sites simply get large numbers of page views due to their nature and design.

Monthly uniques, repeat visits, and average time on site are a much more reasonable basis for comparing different types of sites (and even that is quite flawed).

A lot of LinkedIn's value isn't the ads (although their a revenue stream), it's the data they have. This is why they recently started offering an integration with Salesforce to offer more data on leads. Having higher quality on people and how you're connected to them in the social graph is incredibly powerful.

Reddit doesn't really have anything like that. They may be able to monetize in other ways beyond advertising, but LinkedIn is already generating revenue well beyond ads.

It wouldn't be surprising, the reddit community is growing quickly and I expect linkedin has a lower pages/visit than reddit.

Yup. Pageviews doesn't equate to market cap. LinkedIn has lot more information about its users and that info can be converted to revenue.

That's a boring bet. Betting on an extrapolation of pageview graphs isn't much fun at all.

Condé Nast had no idea what they were buying. The best decision they made, one I'm sure that was the result of the Reddit team making the case for it, was relatively hands off mgmt.

I suspect CN still doesn't really know what to do with it other than sit back and not screw it up.

If you don't actively unscrew it up, it will screw itself up.

Reddit is already in steep decline even though page-views are up. It's attracting a different crowd now. They're just one Digg-bar moment away from disaster.

Yeah, I wasn't referring to the quality problem (I'm in full agreement with you on that). I think they are in a better position that Digg at the Digg-bar point (even with low qual participation, engagement still seems deeper than Digg at that time), but the quality is decidedly Eternal September (lower, really).

This is a movie plot. Seriously. Condé Nast is the government. They are largely incompetent and mostly concerned about political infighting and palace intrigues.

The reddit team is the hodge podge group of geeks that happened to be (insert constrained environment here):

* on a cruise ship with the worlds top nuclear scientists (and a bomb!)

* touring an underground viral research facility on a school outing during which there is a "containment breach!"

* orbiting earth in an experimental space plane they built in their barn when the entire GPS sat system FAILS!

The government (condé nast) can do nothing to assist them other than sit uncomfortably on the edge of their chairs, wrinkling their expensive suits, waiting to see if our intrepid developers succeed.

Unlike a Hollywood production, however, we don't know if this plot has a happy ending. I'm rooting for our plucky team, but the clock is ticking.



(I'll leave the rest of you to imagine the movie poster)

If you don't weed out your counter-productive citizens you end up with Digg. If you do, if you keep it tight, you might be lucky enough to have a metafilter.com which after a decade is still an amazing place.

Strangely, Something Awful is actually a great model for a community. A great case-study in how to keep a community from imploding.

Hah really? Something Awful is site where everyone rehashes five-year-old in-jokes, has a weird cult-like mentality towards the rest of the internet, and makes money by repeatedly banning a small number of people over and over again. I'm a member there, and the place is clearly dying out.

I thought that too until I got an account recently. There are really some excellent subreddits hidden beneath all the memes and reposts. Places like TwoXChromosomes, Seddit, DepthHub, TheoryOfReddit, and TrueReddit really have a great deal of value and sharp minds in them. As soon as you venture off the beaten front page path of pics and funny, you get to places that approach Hacker News level of comment quality.

The challenge I see is keeping the good subreddits good. The mods spend a good deal of time beating the new redditors to each subreddit into shape. Read this for more: http://www.reddit.com/r/Psychonaut/comments/o1zjo/ban_memes_...

I've had to retreat from the over-exposed groups and into the smaller niches, but that's hardly a way to run a community. It's too fragmented and discovery is hard, with word of mouth or casual linking in the sidebar being about the only way to reasonably discover new places to explore.

Reddit's user community has never been stronger, but the platform is in serious disrepair.

Nitpick: Reddit isn't owned by CN anymore, they "moved up" and are now a direct subsidiary of their parent company, Advance Publications.

There's a lot of truth to this. I'm doing everything I can to use my influence on the board of reddit, inc. to help, but the team we've got in place now has been carrying the torch brilliantly since we left.

Fairly niche perhaps, but i think Wired benefits from it. Other than the natural posting of wired articles on reddit, there have been a couple of articles in wired which originated from reddit content.

There is a lot of potential for datamining and finding trends, what is popular, what would go down well, etc, which they may well be doing too.

I love the reddit community, and I've been an active member for almost 6 years now. Congratulations to the reddit team for building a huge, diverse and successful community. However, I think that this latest stage of growth brings a lot of problems. The entire tone of reddit (in general) has become a lot more hostile during the last 1.5 years. It's what someone said about groupthink - downvoting or posting a quick, hostile reply to something you disagree with is much easier than actually articulating why you disagree. There is a lot of hating and lots of personal attacks instead of honest discussion.

I've been thinking about this for a bit. As an outsider it seems a lot like an up-scaled version of American society. Reddit used to be a relatively homogenuous group of people, but is now _very_ heterogenous, in the same way the US is. The problem is that reddit doesn't have the custom of politely avoiding contentious topics in the public space. So you end up getting mens' rights activists and militant feminists yelling at each other, Christians and atheists, racists and minorities etc.

I think this problem is only going to keep growing. Reddit has survived a long time, but this is a fundamental issue which is more about keeping an open mind and being tolerant of differences of opinion. It has more to do with societal conditioning than technology. It's a great example of what happens when you put radically different people within shouting distance of each other without traditional common courtesy to moderate things.

Like I said, I've been on Reddit for almost 6 years, but things are getting pretty bad. Almost every single time something that is considered controversial by any group is posted, there are multiple aggressive comments...which are upvoted if they are formulated in a sufficiently assertive way. The community is moving away from rational discourse, to a more traditional extroverts-first system where being loud and assuming that your opponent is wrong gets more recognition.

The entire tone of reddit (in general) has become a lot more hostile during the last 1.5 years.

On the contrary, I think the groupthink was much more obvious before they started policing the subreddits more closely in the last year. It used to be that /r/business was the most anti-business place on the web - any post that was positive about business would get instantly downvoted to oblivion, in favour of posts decrying how businesses were exploiting individuals and the government in various ways.

Then they split it up into multiple sub-sub-reddits, and now /business is actually a sensible place to read stuff about business.

I feel like that move happened a few years ago. I thought the people who still frequent reddit primarily visit the smaller higher quality subreddits that are more reminiscent of how the site used to be.

Reddit's growth has been amazing. It gets a lot of hate because of users reposting content without giving credit, but it really is an amazing site. I used to search Google endlessly for sites to get, for example, help on video games or services for video games, but now I think, "Well, I'll just check out their subreddit and see if anyone else has this problem." It's great for news and breaking stories. Sometimes I see it on reddit before I even see it breaking on Twitter.

I think Conde Nast did a good job as well in not fucking it up for the site. They let the owners do their own thing and let the site grow (an action I really wish other large companies would take when acquiring startups) instead of forcing them to put annoying ads all over or other stupid things.

However, I wish reddit would make it easier for users to find features and generally understand the site. I'm still finding useful features that have been hidden in the software.

I thank the reddit staff for their amazing work and hope that they keep it up. :)

Congrats to our local HN'er kn0thing and everybody else at Reddit. 2B is quite an achievement.

Regarding below questions about the business side of Reddit, see the previous conversation here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2966628

It would be really cool to see an architecture update post from them regarding where they are now and where they want to go. Pretty please? :)

It's still in shambles and probably serves as an example of how not to host your site. Amazon is causing me all kinds of grief lately and their AWS customer support is the worst in the industry, useless to the point of comedy.

That's incredible. Congrats!! :)

Are we allowed to ask how/if they're making money?

I'm guessing they are making money (ads & reddit gold) since they have been able to make a few hires recently.

Unfortunately the overall quality of content on reddit has really gone downhill. Even after unsubscribing to the subreddits that were the worst offenders, it's really hard to find interesting stuff with meaningful discussions. These days I'm almost embarrassed to tell people I use reddit.

Reddit is the new Digg. Groupthink on an epic scale, linkbait headlines, and hordes of people that want to feel angry about things so they can at least feel something. (Just like old media!) Now, there is some good content on there, but there's way too much crap to wade through in order to find it.

Former and active NASA engineers hang out in r/space sometimes. r/askscience is full of incredible questions and smart answers. r/science recently started enforcing stricter standards and now has plenty of amazing discussion and knowledge moving around. r/physics is the same.

It all depends on where you go, and I strongly disagree that finding those places is difficult.

This is a good point, you just have to leave the mainpageish universe completely. /r/linguistics has interesting stuff. Similarly the subreddit for creating your own language is also neat, but these are niche, small reddits. The big reddits have been taken over by group think and are difficult to read and often boring.

everybody who's been on usenet for a nontrivial amount of time has experienced exactly what you describe, several times. expecting reddit to be different is like hoping for world peace. you should instead assume that degradation of quality will naturally happen as a community forum becomes more popular and either introduce moderation or fork off a smaller forum... and both of those happen, as you noticed.

this comment may be misplaced, but i've finally entered rant mode after reading the 5th or so comment saying "reddit is popular hence degrades" and misses (or stops short of) the point that all communities degrade with increase of their popularity - every now and then somebody writes that hacker news is not what it used to be.

A lot of the quality degradation stems from the mistaken idea that everyone has something of value to contribute. They don't. Discussion often involves a handful of quality posts, and then a bunch of "I agree"'s clogging it up. Posts that don't add to the discussion should be moderated, or, at the very least, targeted for downvotes.

Of course, it'd be tough to gain traction with users who believe their karma score matters. Better to hide it from them completely and indicate scores in another way.

Metafilter is an interesting counter-example to the rule that communities degrade over time: it was a total shitshow for a while in the early 2000s, and then repaired itself.

r/pics did a pretty good job of fixing itself up, as well. It used to be total crap, but now is actually mostly cool pictures.

Is there a way to create a customised frontdoor without having an account? I remember reading something about chaining subreddits in a URL, but never gave it a shot.

I'm also in the "embarrassed mentioning Reddit" camp, but I do like AskScience and anything like that.

You can do exactly what you described by chaining subreddits in the url. Just go to reddit.com/r/sub1+sub2+sub3...

That being said, making an account is suprisingly easy and has its benefits.

The best you can do is bookmark the link with all of them chained. To construct a custom frontpage, just take the subreddit names and join them together with a '+'

Example: http://reddit.com/r/fitness+programming+iama

  Groupthink on an epic scale, linkbait headlines, and hordes 
  of people that want to feel angry about things so they can 
  at least feel something. (Just like old media!) Now, there 
  is some good content on there, but there's way too much 
  crap to wade through in order to find it.
So... it's exactly like the internet?

Unfortunately the degradation of community and content is one of the issues that is associated with scale. I personally think reddit has done a much better job at staying off the decline than digg did. I'll be interested to see how things progress as their traffic numbers continue (presumably) to rise.

Is there a consensus about what caused the decline of Digg? I thought it had a lot to do with the redesign that couldn't be reverted, but I don't like to peddle hearsay and assumptions like it's the truth, especially since I never used Digg.

I know they suffered a big drop when it came out that they were manually curating the links on their front page. I don't remember the details, but that's what did it for me.

IIRC the redesign was the final straw for many users and caused the mass-exodus. I think the functionality of subreddits and the ability to completely ignore the "mainstream content" if you so wish has been the main feature that has helped reddit stop the decline.

Subreddits are what will keep Reddit strong. Even though Reddit has tons of members, subreddits make it feel much smaller and personal.

There is few good reddits with good/decent moderation (deleting silly memes and off topic comments, /r/AskScience , /r/fitness and /r/DepthHub/ comes to mind).

Was money the problem before for hiring or the lack of support from the parent company (Conde Nast)? I don't know if they suddenly made more money and as a result were able to hire.

Edit: http://blog.reddit.com/2010/11/thank-you-mr-nast-may-we-have...

Unless they are lying, the impression I got was that the issue was money, and that things like Gold Members directly impacted their ability to hire.

In July 2010, some yutz who used to work there said that Conde Nast likes to "allocate resources proportionate to revenue."


Exactly my point. The issue was revenue (and, of course, the parent company). But, with more revenue, came more support.


I know, I know, "things were better back in the day", but the Reddification of Reddit has really accelerated over the past year and a bit. Between rage comics, advice animals, and the Atheism subreddit, the default front page is a very different place than it was a year(?) ago.

There is still a lot of value in the smaller subreddits, and that's really Reddit's saving grace. As a whole, however, the site is pretty cringe-worthy.

The reddit admins have made a policy out of basically never intervening on the site - how ever egregious the transgressions are - so the inmates have slowly taken over the asylum.

There's also something to be learnt about this on HN. :)

I think reddit as more of a platform than a community at this point aside from the hivemind and reddit memes going on there. I'm sure it's still an interesting place to create your own subreddit, if you have the time to moderate it (although you can't IP nor e-mail ban people from it).

Well, they did shutdown r/jailbait for "threatening the structural integrity of the greater reddit community."

They shut it down because it had child porn. Not "very young girls", but literally de jure child porn.

It always did, and it always got deleted and the people were banned. The problem wasn't just the content, but the fact that some people took over the mods in a "coup" and were trying to fuck it up. Of course the CP wasn't deleted and they had to act.

They still could've deleted just the CP and restored the mods, but considering they had already moved to r/teen_girls, that probably wouldn't make much sense.

Yes, how many of those eyeball visits produce revenue, and does the company have actual earnings (profits)?

Reddit has sponsored links paid by CPM so all eyeballs account for some revenue. I don't have any info on profit but between the ads, reddit gold and schwag i'd guess they're in the black.

i guess so too, but not by a huge margin. reddit must be on the very top of visitors/sysadmins ranking.

The most surprising figure to me is that 65% traffic is from the United States. I think for a lot of the biggest sites, that number is much lower and going down.

I admit that it's hard to measure this in an absolute way (and I agree pageviews is a flawed metric), but I submit that in two years, reddit will be as popular as Twitter is now.

I sorta wish the title added the (YCXX) tag (which was YC05 IIRC ?)

I guess this answers my question to how badly reddit crushed digg.

Could this have something to do with the quality being halved?

No wonder the comment section now competes with YouTube for most inane on the net.

was getting tired of digg in the past, esp when its boss sometimes was shown as the headline there for no reason... nice to see reddit is making it.

One of their sub sites uses the "f" bomb, not a very professional way to operate a company.

One? I suppose you are aware of /r/gonewild for starters



r/picsofdeadkids (yes, it's what it advertises)




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