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.
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).
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".
Crap like that runs rampant on Reddit.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 think I have to expand on that.
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.
Second, it’s indistinguishable from what a racist would say. There is no subversion.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
I would say that is a very internet kind of thing... just avoid those places where it becomes too much.
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?
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.
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.
What kind of idiot are you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Frankly, it's too much work to find the good ones.
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.
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  
Most popular comment and criticism on HN:
1. User tumblr.
2. You're done.
Scumbag programmer: Titles post "Blogging for Hackers".
Writes the whole thing in Ruby.
Edit: Whoops - looks like those Ruby rockstars woke up.
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).
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.
Hopefully it'll stay that well. Childish and one line comments seem to stay away, which is absolutely fantastic.
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).
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.
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:
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.
Seriously, folks, read Clay Shirky. The man knows what he's talking about.
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.
We don't make enough money to sustain ourselves.
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.
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?
References: http://blog.reddit.com/2010/10/fun-in-sidebar.html and http://www.reddit.com/r/blog/comments/dqse4/fun_in_the_sideb...
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
If they can make money off ads, what makes you think reddit can't?
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)
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).
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.
I suspect CN still doesn't really know what to do with it other than sit back and not screw it 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.
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)
Strangely, Something Awful is actually a great model for a community. A great case-study in how to keep a community from imploding.
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:
Reddit's user community has never been stronger, but the platform is in serious disrepair.
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'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.
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 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. :)
Regarding below questions about the business side of Reddit, see the previous conversation here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2966628
Are we allowed to ask how/if they're making money?
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.
It all depends on where you go, and I strongly disagree that finding those places is difficult.
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.
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.
I'm also in the "embarrassed mentioning Reddit" camp, but I do like AskScience and anything like that.
That being said, making an account is suprisingly easy and has its benefits.
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.
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.
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).
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.
r/picsofdeadkids (yes, it's what it advertises)
Basically, everything moderated by violentacrez: http://code.reddit.com/wiki/help/faqs/violentacrez