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Fark redesign is now live (2007) (fark.com)
432 points by MrThoughtful 5 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 466 comments

I was the creator of the OG Popurls which at the time was the #1 traffic driver for Reddit and Digg; and also created Twidroid the very first Android Twitter client which became one of the reasons for shutting down 3rd party apps after its acquisition. Since I'm a sucker for anything old-school Web, I've been working on a Digg 1.0 rehash for a while now so if any of you wants to beta test let me know.

Today is the day to launch a public beta!

From Usenet to Slashdot/Fark to Digg to Reddit I'm ready for what comes next. I'd like to test if you need testers. bold.cat3322@fastmail.com

Since you were much closer to it than a bit of google would reveal, can I ask you— what killed Digg?

User hostile redesigns that ultimately (after several redesigns) alienated users.

Not unlike what's happening to Reddit these days.

Speaking of old school web, I once got on the front page of Digg with a mock-up of what Digg would have looked like in the 90s. Sadly that seems to have been lost in the sands of time.

I would be happy to give a look through it, email in my bio.

I dig that sort of thing, someone did something similar with classic MySpace: https://spacehey.com/. We just need Bebo back and we're sorted ;)

Hang on ... you left off geocities. The internet is not complete without it.

I will see you in a week when I emerge from experiencing all that has to offer.

I'll take it for a spin.

I'd love to see that--jbudde@a2tech.us

I like that you could use swear words by paying for it.

> You can purchase FarkUnits for $10 for 100 FUs, or you can get a discount if you purchase in bulk.

> Using it is easy. If you type a word with "fuck" or "shit" in your comment, a new button will pop up that says "Add Comment using SwearJar - 20FUs." Just click or tap that and those words won't be filtered to the customary 'fark' or 'shiat.'

This implies that the website is really called fuck.com (but censored), which is certainly … a choice.

But wasn’t that obvious? Fark is a cleaner, sillier way of saying f*ck.

What the fark are you talking about? ;)

This reminds me of how "Rooster Teeth" is a more polite phrasing of "cock bite"; a phrase which was used in their first online content.

Drew has commented on the origins of fark.com. Basically, he was drunk and looking for a funny name. Fark.com come was available.

So, basically, a "here, hold my beer" domain name.

that's so obvious? Even as an American

Maybe if you're British. :-) Or maybe I'm just one of today's lucky 10,000.

I preferred Something Awful's payment system, where you could pay to publicly shame other users for poor behavior

That was beautiful. You could also pay to troll.

I recall one person posting a photoshopped picture of a woman who had two sets of eyes, "this picture gives me the creeps every time I see it, what are pictures that unsettle you?" Not much later their avatar had been changed to that exact photo, with text like, "I am so sorry."

The extra smart thing was making users pay to undo it so it could go back and forth as long as users had money to spend and an axe to grind. Though making a source of revenue proportional to the level of drama may had some negative impact on toxicity. And yet still somehow less toxic than places like 4chan?

Reminds me of the dialogue in the movie Johnny Dangerously which made it past censors because many of the lines were spoken with very thick accents. For example, 'you fargin ice-awhole' ...

A classic "Whale oil beef hooked" moment.

That was 16 years ago, and it's going along just fine.

I don't think it ever held a really dominant position. It was never famous or well known. It seems content to have a loyalish fan base who either see ads or pay to remove them. That seems to pay to keep it alive and a smallish staff to keep it running, and it doesn't seem to desire any more than that.

The comments right from the beginning of that thread are sarcastic about how everyone else seems to act as if the world has ended at every redesign. It's hardly user hostile. It just gives enough for a decent conversation on news items that rarely merit more than a few laughs and sarcastic comments. They keep it light with aggressive moderation, and that seems to suit the people who fund it. And it doesn't have any aspirations higher than that.

Fark was pretty well known back in the day. Certainly not /. levels of famous but online people of a certain age all seem to remember the name.

I paid for fark for a while back then, even organised a couple of London fark get togethers in the mid 00s.

It was great fun at the time, but I guess I got bored with the format and the snark and at some point life moved on. I don't remember site design being part of it...

>I don't think it ever held a really dominant position. It was never famous or well known.

Calling one of the most visited sites on the internet in the early 2000s “not dominant” is odd.

Why is it that companies go towards bad UX when they start ramping up profits? Download size is one thing, but ignoring that, how is it that they thought the new (Reddit) website was a good idea? Sure it's mobile friendly, but it's barely useable on mobile and desktop? For example: why do I have to constantly click read more?

This seems to be a common thing with all kinds of companies, Digg, Facebook, many others. It's not like you can't build ads into the current site, right? Tracking can be easily built-in these days. Sure it'll decrease initial download speeds, but the UX won't be as terrible as what they keep coming up with.

Not based on anything I can verify, but my feeling is that when a company gets to a certain size and becomes high profile, it will attract certain types of employees as well. The more high profile, the more a UI/UX department will want to put their stamp on it. Instead of looking at what would make the product more user friendly and accessible, they'll be attracted to the shiny new things that they can do, simply because they can. The little nuances that are present in the old are allowed to fester until all of them combined lead to a general view that the whole thing is crap. Instead of doing small incremental improvements, they'll convince everybody (up to c-level) that a complete overhaul is the only way to move forward. This usually tends to happen in an echo chamber, where everybody who doesn't have the same vision of grandeur is excluded as part of the conversation. That, combined with business goals around profitability, is a dangerous thing to happen, and from my experience usually ends up in tears.

But hey, I like boring things ;-)

But a complete revamp doesn't necessarily mean bad UI/UX. It just means something different. It can be done in an equally good or better way. In comparison, the Reddit UI was just horrendous. It's barely usable. Without old.reddit or 3rd party apps, I would have probably stopped using Reddit by now due to how horrendous it is to use.

I'm guessing it's because UX as a field has gone from focusing on usability and aesthetics to darkpatterns in the service of commercialization.

It used to be somewhat difficult to track a reader's progress solely from the browser's scrollbar. Not impossible, but it wasn't something the average code-camp newbie could figure out. So sticking a stupid "Read More" button on the page was the default solution.

That still seems to be the solution for a whole lot of websites, even though the Intersection Observer API now exists.

I don't get it.

Later in life of these social media websites governed by a profit oriented company, the new metric becomes engagement (Ka-ching! $$). It does not matter to them, how the UX suffers ... until it starts to matter. But by then it might be too late.

Reddit management seem to be living in a bubble (as corporate managers often do). Inside the Reddit bubble, disgruntled users are a vocal minority who don't matter, Reddit -- not its users -- created the content that keeps the eyeballs coming back, apps are more convenient than websites, we own the user experience, we are leaving money on the table if we don't mine and sell more personal information, we have no competition, our barrier to entry is infinitely high, and our IPO will be the greatest IPO ever.

Either that or they know all the above is bullshit and they're just hoping they can cash out with FU money before the ship sinks.

IMO, I certainly think it is the goal, I think they are trying to invent a projected revenue stream, increasing ad track through 1st party views, and layoffs are all about looking more valuable for IPO.

None of it seems to increase value to current users, invite new users, or actually grow the business.

The re-design didn't kill fark.com, it was the attack on its users, which started with the "crackdown on misogyny" which meant cracking down on anything negative against women and then has expanded from there. The re-design and this were the one-two punch on that community. Since then, it has been a shell of itself.

You can argue about the merits of those changes, but it is those changes that changed the community, practically fatally so.

I think this also marked the death of the early 2000s internet culture, which had been formed on places like fark.

User redesigns are the main killers of websites. Consider the following examples: Digg, MySpace, Reddit, Slashdot, Facebook, Dropbox, and Typeform. These projects, among others, ultimately failed due to a misconception that they had a design problem or a desire to keep their design department occupied. Instead of following a clear vision, these projects were sacrificed in an attempt to please all users.

HN should refrain from undergoing any major redesigns and instead focus on making minor adjustments. It is worth noting that some HN users frequently suggest redesigns, believing that it would improve the forum. However, I must emphasize that if HN were to heed all user suggestions, it would risk becoming a desolate space within a few months.

In support of this notion, one could say that a Volvo is akin to a Porsche designed by a committee.

Redesigns don't happen for the sake of redesign. I don't know about Typeform, but in other cases - and especially for Facebook, Reddit and Dropbox - redesign always servers to deliver the next level of monetization squeeze/user abuse. The redesign may be most tangible thing to complain about, so it gets the lion share of attention, but in my experience is, when people complain that something about the new redesign is "stupid", they fail to realize it's the opposite - its intentional. It's meant to force a particular way of using the service.

Attention economy makes money by friction. It's like putting water wheels on a river - as long as you don't dam it completely, you can extract just a little more value by stuffing yet another wheel downstream, until the flow is close to stopping dead.

Dropbox redesign just downgraded the good UX they had in favor of hipster design style.

Do you mean the website uglification around when they launched "Dropbox Paper" or whatever that thing was called, or the earlier redesign towards toy-like appearance, that happened around the time they also dropped the Public folder? Because that last bit - dropping the Public folder - was when Dropbox lost a good chunk of its value to end users.

The design was not the sole factor contributing to the decline of the product company. The removal of the public folder and other product decisions significantly expedited the company's decline.

Slashdot attempted a redesign, but there was a revolt (the slashcott) where everybody refused to discuss anything except for their dislike of the redesign, and - after a week or so - the site relented and didn't go ahead with the change.

The real cause of the decline of slashdot, in my opinion, was the corporate buyout and departure of CmdrTaco, Hemos, and the rest.

For what it's worth, the site is still going, there's usually at least 1 story with >100 comments on the first page, at least when I've taken a look.

I remember that too, in the end they re-styled a bit more and still produced the opposite effect.

> HN should refrain from undergoing any major redesigns and instead focus on making minor adjustments.

I think HN should stay exactly the way it is. I know we all hate things like clicking for more comments at the bottom of popular posts, but this is like an antibody for the kind of user who wouldn't stop with that suggestion.

The key difference is HN doesn't sell ads, so there's no incentive to "improve" anything. I hope this stays true forever.

It's hard to take you comment serious when you categorise Facebook and Dropbox as failed projects.

Dropbox went from good user experience and design style to bizarre current-thing design style back then. It backfired so bad people fleed from the platform. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15393684

I think they were indeed being sarcastic or satirical.

Anyone else remember the great Digg exodus? It’s wild watching Reddit quickly following the footsteps. Steve Huffman (aka Spez) let his true colors shine, with (IPO) dollar signs in his eyes.

One of the major differences is that there’s no clear alternative.

Digg and Reddit had a lot of overlap in what they were trying to do immediately prior to Digg’s redesign. Reddit was an obvious place to go if you preferred Digg up until that point.

Now what’s the clear alternative to Reddit? Discord is probably the closest just from a UX perspective and I expect to be finding stuff there that I used to find on Reddit in the near future; but it’s not as close as Digg and Reddit were, and a lot of the people that made Reddit into what it was have an issue with Discord’s walled off nature.

How is Discord even a closest alternative? Everything is on its own "server" and conversations happen in real-time, not async like Reddit.

I hate Discord for killing classic forums and therefore robbing us of good searchable niche content.

Not sure how Discord killed forums, they are more like IRC which had existed for a long time alongside forums.

There's a worrying number of instances where people managing a foss project using taking their GitHub issue tracker, discussion boards, or some other public forum / discussion board and deciding to lock it and direct users to a discord guild because it's "easier". Or new communities that start up exclusively on discord but would be better served by alternatives.

Except it's not easier, there was an instance where a community had been using a discord channel as a file sharing platform for mods. An administrator was doing some housekeeping of the channels and accidentally deleted the entire chat history (which is easier to do than it sounds), and so irrevocably deleted all of the uploaded files, some of which were never recovered.

I'm pretty sure Digg, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, et. al. killed off classic forums. Discord and Slack and killed off IRC [though by and large, most will tell you that rumors of its demise is greatly exaggerated].

Depends on the server, and the channel on the server. Depending on the channel, you might get a handful of posts a week while the #general channel might be a non-stop firehose (at least on the more social Discords).

As to how it’s the closest alternative, mainly in that the atomic unit around which Discord is organized like Reddit is the community. On Reddit it’s subreddits and on Discord it is servers and it has gotten complex enough that for server owners Discord is slowly becoming a build your own social network toolbox.

Instead of the sidebar, each channel has pins. You can have an arbitrary number of channels for different topics, and you can even have forum channels where at the root level of the channel are forum topics. Once you’re in a server, searching it is trivial to see what people have said in Subject X in community Y, although this isn’t as good as say, searching all of Reddit is and you have to find a decent community to be able to search it.

Also a lot of subreddits are already running a Discord server on the side with the same or a similar mod team and have been for years. Doesn’t quite resolve Discord’s server discoverability issue, but Reddit doesn’t make the worst springboard for figuring out Discord either. If you support any Patreons or have similar memberships elsewhere, there’s a decent shot you already have access to a number of private members-only Discords which has kind of been my springboard into actually using my Discord account this past year.

But you know, it is very different. I don’t think it’s nearly as perfect an analogue to Reddit as Reddit was to Digg for Digg users, but it’s probably the closest to what Reddit already is.

Search is useless in a Discord server, especially one sufficiently busy enough. You cannot tell at a glance whether a keyword uttered at a specific moment in time is a crapshoot or not. You may have just a single person asking saying the word/phrase, or you may stumble upon whole conversations.

Threads are "ok" but still more ephemeral than a reddit thread.

I'm aware there are subs running discords on the side... and it's just on the side. I've had occasion to visit a few, and most of the time (from my own experience), they are just rehashing discussions already had on reddit and there is usually a channel or two that reposts links to reddit. It's great if you already spend the majority of time in Discord but I don't. I don't have time to sit in a discord and wait to have interesting discussions.

Earlier today, I was met with someone getting upset at me trying to have a discussion; editing prior comments because I called them out on something they had said [snide comments about people being asexual] and blocking me because "I don't fight on Discord".

All that said, I'm willing to give Discord a try here and there- but my prior experiences don't instill a huge amount of faith or hope in me. Until I find a Discord community that provides an analogue to normal discussion, which may never happen.

I can't imagine having to explain things to someone in real-time or helping them with programming issues. I imagine the vast majority of help channels cater to people coming off beginners' tutorials. Many of which can be covered with a simple search through Reddit or Stack Overflow.

To be honest I think the problem for Reddit may be that no one really needs a direct alternative. For me it’s good at one thing which is reviews and in depth educational content on some of the more niche subs. For community though, people can use discord, for content consumption, people seem to be using tik tok, for political flame wars you have Twitter.

I don’t see a bright future for Reddit. A lot of the broad appeal back when I used it more was that it surfaced the best stuff from all over the internet so I didn’t have to sift through all the boring stuff but funny enough now the only time my little sister and her hip friends see Reddit posts is when the best ones have been turned into a tik tok. I doubt this is going to kill Reddit but honestly I think it’s been fighting a losing battle for a while now. I have a feeling its indirect competitors will keep getting better at providing the value reddit does over time in their own way and leave reddit with very little left to offer.

I’ve been mulling this over this morning and in the end, I think you’re right. I keep making the Discord comparison everywhere because from a structural comparison (on Twitter you follow people, on Reddit and Discord you follow communities) it seems the obvious analogue, but honestly it might just be that Reddit can actually die and it would leave no void to be filled by anything in particular.

It's true that the lack of choices back then (other that spezzit) contributed majorly to the migration. But I also think a new paradigm entirely is needed for social media after the fiasco of all the centralized ones, decentralized social media.

Oh my god. I remember this happening, and I remember email drew about it at the time.

It really never did recover from this. I "grew up" on Fark, and lots of my early web projects were clones of it/inspired by it. Fark really was a special part of the internet, and it's sad that it fell off. I wonder if the fact that they never moved on from this design was Drew being gunshy about changing it again.

I briefly conversed with Drew on what seemed like the obvious next step of threaded conversations. He was clear that this way kept things in order for him, and didn't let stuff get bogged down.

In other words I think he's happy with it, and doesn't want it to change. The main change since then was more ads or paid accounts, which seems a fair tradeoff. Anybody who wants Reddit knows (or knew) where to find it.

I don't think this is true. The redesign was not bad and the reaction is the classic one that happens for all redesigns, good or bad. After a while people acclimatize to the new design and feel that's the original one. If you revert the redesign after that people will shout "bring back the old design!" even if that's exactly what you did.

As a longtime Reddit user, I immediately disliked the redesign but since I've been on the other side I decided it give it a month. I now deliberately dislike the redesign. I get most of my value out of reddit in the text subreddits and the conversation view in the redesign is awful. Things are highly collapsed and following a conversation requires repeated expansions. The comment count without loading more is extremely limited and when you scroll down there's an interstitial callout about the subreddit's all time popular posts. The redesign is fine for top level content in the picture/video/meme subreddits. Content emphasis aside, it feels incredibly slow. Waterfall loading and 2-300ms response times. I've spent quite a bit of time reflecting on design decisions and I think the design brief/product vision is simply opposed to my interests. I feel bad about complaining about another team's work but my complaints aren't the knee-jerk reaction you're complaining about.

The worst parts about the redesign, IMO:

- It inserts "ads" for other Reddit posts in the middle of a comment section. If you're not paying very close attention, it's easy to miss that you're literally not seeing all the comments on a post, because you have to scroll down past the "recommended reading" or whatever they call it and expand the comments below the fold.

- it often makes it impossible to see NSFW content on mobile websites without using the app, which is annoying if you click through from a Google search result on your phone. This applies to text posts too, which is all the more annoying because despite the name, the NSFW tag is used to tag more than just porn (hide spoilers for TV shows, punchlines of jokes, etc.)

I personally think reddit is an example of an actual bad redesign, so I'm not saying this is true for all redesigns. I do however think it was true for Fark, at least from how I remember it.

With that said, I don't think old.reddit is that good either unless you only want to read text-only posts, and it's pretty much unusable on mobile.

> With that said, I don't think old.reddit is that good either unless you only want to read text-only posts, and it's pretty much unusable on mobile.

Old Reddit is nearly unusable on mobile, but it's still better than the new Reddit on mobile, which is... actually quite impressive (and not in a good way).

I agree. Fark is still chugging along. How many sites has it outlived now?

And before/In parallel to Fark was SomethingAwful, which to my knowledge never did any meaningful redesigns and quasi died out because.. well i'm not even sure why, just a lot of us ended up leaving.

Though I guess there's still some skeleton userbase left. Apologies to any goons if i'm misrepresenting things.

People just got bored and left after social media was invented, because it was more interesting.

That and Lowtax and the admins were mainly interested in making the users fight each other for content (eg Helldump); Lowtax then moved onto marrying and abusing various different wives then claiming they ghosted him when they moved out in the middle of the night.

SA just never got new users to replace the ones that left or grew out of the site. Younger millennials went to Reddit and other social media. The weirder ones went on 4chan.

> i'm not even sure why

In a word? Lowtax. It's quite the wild ride (with a few dark turns, regrettably): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhjMv9nxxWk

I think part of it is that SA's current culture really doesn't care about bringing new people in. The people there are quite happy talking to themselves on what they will happily call a dead forum. People leaving over time is the natural state of any platform; they're just below replacement rate and not too fussed over it.

People tend to age out of communities like SA, and the site had no real plan or desire to acquire fresh blood.

something awful had a forum for crappy users, called Fuck Youself and Die, but eventually the trolls and shitty users grew and the site was suffering, the mod war with those users is what 4chan was born from.

4chan was not a revenge website against SA, this is some kind of narrative written by later generations of twitter journalists. A revenge forum would have the same $10 to sign up rule.

(But the SA admins did delete the 4chan thread on the day its traffic surpassed SA.)

4chan was far more weeb than troll back in the day, I think the user base (at least the ones coming from SA) was largely ADTRW users/exiles/etc

Didn't FYAD go on to play a role in "weird twitter"?

Yup. Dril is a former FYAD poster.

>It looks too spaced out

People have similar complaints with Reddit re-design (so do I). What's with making websites "prettier" instead of more usable?

People who're already used to a website will prefer a dense layout, but new users can be intimidated by the information overload.

But measuring and improving user retention is hard, and might need expensive measures like improving content quality, it's much easier to optimize onboarding new users by shuffling some stylesheets around. KPIs fulfilled, who cares about the rest.

> new users can be intimidated by the information overload

The learn to use it? There's now a reverse trend in appliances: they use to be simple, now they are quite complicated, see washing machines, yet people handle it.

Some learn it, some don't. If your only goal is to get 100% of humanity to spend as much time as possible on your website, no matter if that's good for them or not, you need to make your app addicting even to people with no attention span.

Of course. "Intuitive" is just an excuse. Software now typically relies on some form of lock-in (subscription alone is a soft form of one), so acquiring new users is a priority. Appliances... they had their simplification trend too, and now they're getting complex again because you have to use smartphone apps to control them - but all the extra confusion is worth it, as the audience is already sort of captive (approximately everyone needs a fridge and a washing machine), and the app offers a whole new dimension of lock-in and abuse. What it doesn't offer is usability, of course.

Am I the only person who is rooting for all social media to die? (Including this one)

The only reason I come here is to find interesting articles, but mostly it's nonsense editorials by extremists, "best practice" by novices, thinly veiled advertisement clickbait by companies, generic news from generic news sites, press releases, Twitter threads... That's most of what is on the front page here.

The comments section is a mess. Experts get downvoted for stating facts, know it alls beating up people for making mistakes, goody-two-shoes lecturing people for not following rules, pedantry galore, the bizarre hangups of straight white libertarian code bros, sycophants, newbies passing off nonsense as sage wisdom, and up/down votes being nearly random and mostly based on emotional response to rhetoric or whatever mirrors their opinions.

The sad truth is that if they tried to fix all these problems, there'd be like 3 comments and 7 new posts a day. To keep something popular and engaging it has to be crap and controversial.

I too am tantilised by the idea of social media, and most of the newsmedia, going out like a light overnight.

I'd happily see it take businesses whose model rely upon it with them - including this current approach to 'AI' and political campaigning.

Would it be the start of the world or the end?

> the bizarre hangups of straight white libertarian code bros

Dang. I was with you all the way until the bigotry.

Level up, dude; there are more important things to focus on.

Found the straight white libertarian code bro!

One of the interesting thing about the open source federated alternatives (like Lemmy) is that each instance can run their own version of the UI. So even if the maintainers decide to completely redesign everything, nothing is stopping instances from staying on the old design forever.

The only major downside (and the one that will ensure Lemmy doesn't gain any significant traction after this) is that its incredibly underdeveloped and nowhere near as close to being able to replace Reddit as Mastedon was for Twitter.

I would agree that that's currently true, however now there's suddenly a lot of pressure to get a viable alternative up and running at the scale necessary to absorb a critical mass of redditors.

At the time when reddit absorbed digg users after the redesign it had a fair amount of downtime as part of its growing pains, I'd expect to see the same for all the proposed alternatives in the next few months.

With how thoroughly reddit is screwing the pooch here though I think it's a matter of if and not when.

Having been through a few large community migrations ... sudden pressure is a very poor stimulus for an effective transition.

Good and viable platforms tend to already exist and be highly stable. What I witnessed most especially as Google+ shut down is that a number of options were floated and promoted. Some were largely vapourware (e.g., TBL's Solid), there were any number of opportunistic sites which emerged, and often fringe and distinctly problematic services (e.g., MeWe) were strongly advocated by a small but vocal contingent.

What is most effective is to plan ahead, communicate clearly, maintain a diverse set of online presences, and to spec out possible migrations in detail. If subreddits started making such plans, their bargaining power over Reddit would be much, much stronger.

For online presence, major online services (FB, Twitter, Instagram, and these days probably TikTok etc.), a dedicated and fully-controlled website, and an email list (or lists) would be a very good starting point.

Good discussion sites are surprisingly difficult to find, and the basic options are fairly thin pickings. Old-school forums (e.g., phpBB), blogs (Wordpress, Dreamwidth, Drupal), and several of the federated platforms are probably the strongest options. I've helped curate a selection here:


Attempting to migrate to a not-yet-developed / early-beta project ... tends not to go very well.

Isn't there also the issue of federation itself, if users have to understand federation they'll just stick to regular Reddit. Going by the principle of "don't make me think", that is

In my experience, people understand federation quite easily if you just use the e-mail analogue. Even completely non-technical folks understand that regardless of whether they are on Gmail or Outlook or iCloud mail, they can send e-mail to users of other platforms.

The email analogue doesn't really work for your every day person. They dont know, or even want to know how it works.

When people visit a Mastedon site and see something like this its an instant turn off:

> mastodon.social is part of the decentralized social network powered by Mastodon.

Nobody cares, or wants to care that its decentralized. They just want a social network. When you've got to screw around with 'picking a site' to sign up on its hassle. When you've got to mess around to find something because its on a different node, its a hassle.

As someone else said, they need to shut up and stop the key point being that its a fediverse - the average user has no idea what that means, nor should they need to.

There's also the woefully underdeveloped user experience aspect of things, and overexplaining. On the signup page for example you see this:

>With an account on this Mastodon server, you'll be able to follow any other person on the network, regardless of where their account is hosted.

I dont care. I dont need to know that, if its a given that I can talk to people on other instances then I dont need to be told.

It's got a long, long way to go before its even close to gaining critical mass.

IMHO the federation aspect needs to be completely hidden from users unless they go out of their way to search for it. 99% of users don’t care about it, and offering instance options at signup must be killing conversion. As with all FOSS projects, it’s built by developers, for developers. The project badly needs a UX person streamline things.

But they dont care about how email works. Type 'mom' in to, type message, hit send, call mom to let her know you sent an email.

Same with reddit/others. Most users dont care about how it works or what makes it special or what the tech stack is. They want content: fast, easy, not crashing and in one spot.

Mastodon grew from earlier tools (ActivityPub, GNU Social, StatusNet) dating to the early aughts.

I'd joined in 2016, kicked tyres for a bit, and increased my own usage around 2018. By the time Twitter's October Revolution arrived in 2022, the platform was sufficiently well-developed to both accommodate a substantial new influx and appeal to at least some of those new participants.

And Mastodon and the Fediverse had seen previous waves of adoption, often led by drama, dissatisfaction, or shutdowns at or of other networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.).

What tends to occur is that systems evolve and develop over time, as do the communities making use of them. It's less that there's One Big Event than there are a succession of smaller ones ... until a tipping point is reached.

Where the Fediverse is in terms of the long slow implosions of Twitter and Reddit remains to be seen, but don't discount long-simmering discontent and the emergence of new options. As a podcast noted recently: even power users of Twitter refer to the service as "Hellsite", and that's a very unstable situation. People remain out of inertia and lack of alternatives, not from some deep and abiding love of the service. Reddit increasingly seems to be in a similar place.

I run a Mastodon instance. I strongly dislike the v4 redesign, so I stick with the v3 branch for now. Unfortunately, there will be a day they stop maintaining v3, so I'll have to update to v4 if I don't want to be stuck with known security vulnerabilities. Maintaining a fork isn't an option because even a small patchset like glitch-soc takes a lot of work to keep updated.

I never used fark. Did they make a change to the structure of how users interacted with the site, or did they make a change to the UI only?

digg v4 was a disaster, but the exodus started before that when digg removed threaded comments.

Related: Wikipedia changed what pages actually looked like by moving a contents navigation bar to the left side and minimizing some other features.

It's the last UI change in a major website I can think of that didn't make me grimace.

Digg was also killed by a user-hostile redesign. Reddit was wise enough to keep its redesign indefinitely optional, at least.

When Reddit first introduced their terrible mobile site years ago, they thankfully left around the old i.reddit.com (also known as .compact) around, which I exclusively used and so didn't really care much about the horrendously user-hostile current mobile site, with its popup windows begging you to use the app. They removed it entirely a month or so ago. I now no longer use Reddit.

At least old.reddit.com still works and it's usable, more or less, on mobile.

Yeah that’s what I use

The API prices are a de facto redesign for many users because they'll have to use the less than adequate official product now.

Their mobile app is the new user-hostile redesign. I had no idea before today that they had experimented with cutting off mobile web access in favour of the app[1].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=36287411

It was impressive how quickly Digg killed itself with the terrible redesign. Back then, Reddit was mostly considered a knockoff. It actually was to a large degree, but everyone moved to it very quickly.

There was a snarky comment in the IAMA when spez said "old.reddit.com isn't going away", and the person responded with a link to spez saying the exact same thing with the exact same words about the API 6 years ago.

Google's "don't be evil" had to go away too. Capitalism can't make room for considerations such as proliferation of evil.

Google actually never officially got rid of their “don’t be evil” phrase, even if I agree with you that they are far worse at adhering to it than they used to be, and I suspect too many of their current executives have no attachment to it beyond not wanting the pointless employee morale or PR hit of actually removing it.

The reason people think it got removed is two events:

One, when Google Inc reorganized to create its Alphabet Inc corporate parent in 2015, the “Don’t be evil” motto stayed with the Google LLC subsidiary that still today handles most of what we associate with the name Google. For Alphabet, they added “Do the right thing” instead of moving “Don’t be evil” to the new top of the corporate hierarchy.

Two, in 2018 they moved Don’t be evil away from the preface of Google’s code of conduct. But they moved it to the last sentence, which is at least far more prominent than burying it in the middle, let alone removing it entirely.

I used to work for Google years ago, before all of the events I’m discussing and with no personal connection myself to those events. (Obviously I’m speaking only for myself here and not for them.) I think nowadays their level of morality as an organization is slightly better than or comparable to most other prominent tech megacorps, whereas they used to be atypically much better than that. The same deterioration has occurred in how good or bad of an employer they are - they used to be great, but now they’re slightly better than or similar to most other prominent tech megacorps. Still not worse than their peers in either morality or employee experience. But as much as “don’t be evil” is still officially there. It’s definitely far less of a corporate focus than it used to be, which I find quite sad.

> Capitalism can't make room for considerations such as proliferation of evil.

People only believe in corporate slogans when they can use them to make cynical points about abandoning them, but nevertheless, these things exist:


That was legitimately interesting, thanks.

for reddit based on the current mobile behaviour on android which doesn't allow you to use mobile version and forces you to use the app it means its no longer optional

Farks discussion of today’s Reddit Blackout:


It's like I landed in 90s forum talking about stuff happening in 2023. It's a weird feeling.

Fark's biggest own goal was the Tumblr-like removal of the boobies category.

My bigger wish - why do all the current social networks desperately want do die?

"You'll get over it."

I remember this too.

Honestly I should go back and thank the mod/poster because that little splash of cold water prepared me for everything that has come after that. I think about it every now then when I run into the newer variations of that theme.

Audiences are fickle and audiences captured during a websites golden period of explosive growth steadily move away over time.

I am daily fark user for 20+ years. The site certainly is past its prime but this is just the natural lifecycle of many online communities I suspect. I wouldn't characterize it as dead. I wouldn't characterize its decline from peak popularity as caused by user-hostile actions of its owners.

I don't think fark is a useful cautionary tale in context of reddit. Probably a more useful example might be slashdot.

Fark has made changes: with its ux and its moderation policies and implementation of those policies at times, users grumbled.

It's perilous to actively antagonize your audience, to take away things from them that have genuine utility for them. A site dies when you drive away your key content creators and contributors. None of these things happened at Fark I believe.

Another useful example of a site that stepped back from the brink of mass audience exodus is onlyfans and their rolled back attempt to ban adult content.

My wife and I were both TotalFarkers from the time they introduced it until about 15 years ago when we made the switch to Reddit. The redesign was, and still is, shit. I just logged into my old account (which amazingly still works) and the interface is AWFUL. It was bad before, but its just gotten worse. The level of discourse in the threads (not a great sample, I just clicked on a few) seems not great and very few posts.

>It's perilous to actively antagonize your audience, to take away things from them that have genuine utility for them. A site dies when you drive away your key content creators and contributors. None of these things happened at Fark I believe.

While it wasn't a key point in me leaving, I switched from Fark to Reddit around the time they started cracking down on Foobies/porn because of "misogyny" and not wanting to offend advertisers.

Just wondering. If you were Reddit CEO and you were being pressured to turn it into a profitable company, how would you do it?

Profitable for IPO for profitable to survive? It's way too late now but when Spez first came in, he had insane amounts of good will.

He should've been just honest and transparent with server costs and how much Reddit Gold and ads were bringing in. They used to have a Reddit gold target.

From there, they can slowly implement API charges to make a tiny profit so they don't just lose money there or implement Reddit Gold/Premium tiers that offer way better benefits.

Give people API keys / OAuth tokens for reddit premium users that would allow use with third party apps.

Fire spez.

slowly add costs to the apis. he gave people such a short notice and the price was too much.

or better yet - make the reddit app so good....people wouldn't want to use another one.

Fire Spez. Pay the people making the good apps to actually maintain their apps and keep up with the site's improvements, so there are multiple good apps, not just one crappy one. If they need money, there are already ads on reddit, charge more for the ads!

Don't fuck over the user base! Your users are what makes a site like reddit good! Don't they know that? Trim the fat (middle-management usually). Get out of the cloud if you're hosting servers in the cloud, move things on-prem. The cloud is great for flexibility, but for cost-savings, on-prem will always win. Whoever is the upper-management that approved the whole "charge for API use" - fire that guy too.

(rant) Too many websites have had upper-management take over and immediately change things that bring the site to its knees. This happens time and time again with new management. They think that they can bring some new life and revenue into the site and in the process, they cripple the product. It happened to evernote, dropbox, tons of great, cheap/free services that "couldn't support the freemium model anymore" so they cut cheap/free access to the product and people just went somewhere else. That's exactly what's happening now. (/rant)

Fire half their employees. Seriously, what do their 2000(!) employees even do? Mod tools are a joke, moderators do it for free, and the official app pales in comparison to hobbyist ones. NFT side-projects I suppose.

I think the big problem is that they are trying to turn something which is more akin to a utility into a product that can be IPO’d.

What they used to be (simple, free, centralised forum software) doesn’t interest the market; so they’re having to try and package it as a social network.

Rightly or wrongly, the market has an understanding of how to value that and things like data collection and deployment, DAUs, mobile vs non-mobile usage (again, more about data collection), and the oh so relevant deployment of AI/ML.

It’s why, we all know, there is hate speech and such on the platform which could be handled more actively but isn’t: they need the DAUs.

It’s the big issue with “build it and they will come” type endeavours like this: you have to know you’ll do when they get there.

I want to continue reading and participating in the communities that I was using on Reddit.

Where do I go now?

I think it is time to check Fark again after a 16 year hiatus.

At the time one of the reasons for moving from Fark to Reddit was that browsing Reddit looked more "professional" - ie something you could get away with at work...

EDIT: I checked and it seems... dead

There are still a few sub sections and most articles get single digit comments.

I really thought Fark would have grown in these years. It seemed to have carved a niche for aspiring radio DJs for "news of the weird variety".

I don't understand any of this at all.

Do most Americans really believe they're entitled to free access to Reddit?

I've spent years of my life on reddit, and enjoyed most of it. For that, I'm truly grateful to spez and all the others that make it work. I 100% support them charging for the service over injecting ever more ads.

It's bizarre to me that folk are getting upset and abusive because reddit wants to charge parasitic apps for the privilege.

I don't get it.

It's a glorified bulletin board. The users are the content. The party can move somewhere else.

Except the point is that it can't. I hope they stick by their decision. I'd love to see the whiners leave for Truth Social or whatever else is on offer.

And what exactly is user-hostile there? It doesn't look beautiful to my tastes, but functionally nothing is particularly complicated to understand.

Infinite scroll, for example, makes it easy to lose your reading progress with a simple refresh/reload. Paged UIs, on the other hand, don’t have that problem.

Reddit is especially obnoxious because the sorting algorithms are extremely volatile, and if you do scroll too far, you'll never find that particular piece of content again.

Infinite scrolling in Twitter etc. is much less obnoxious.

> Infinite scrolling in Twitter etc. is much less obnoxious.

Yes, Twitter's much better on that aspect, partly because how different its design is, and partly because how they handle browsing mechanics.

I'm not even sure if it's 3PA only feature but there's option to hide all posts that you've read (or scrolled past). After finding that feature now i want it everywhere there's infinite scroll because yeah otherwise it's unusable.

That feature's way less useful when you don't read each and every post in sequential order. Also sometimes I want to go back and look at something I've already read. That makes it complicated too.

Some people still use old.reddit.com which I find superior purely because it reveals more content with fewer clicks.

I had to check what the previous design looked like: http://web.archive.org/web/20060223114105/http://www.fark.co...

I guess the new (current since 2007) design has a lot more whitespace, although not as bad as now "mobile-first" designs of the last 5 or so years. On the topic of mobile, the current fark.com doesn't have a phone-friendly design.

Seeing the original site design, which is considered "superior" by its users to the new one, makes me feel very out-of-touch with what many others consider good user experience design.

I find the original design hard to use. The post text is very small. There is no max width to the main content, which makes it difficult to keep track of where you are when text spans multiple lines. The links are on the far-side of the page from the posts/comments they relate to, without any horizontal spacing indicators, so it's very difficult to tell what lines up with what.

The only thing I like less in the redesign is that the sidebar sections are intermixed with banner ads, which makes them hard to find and get to. But overall, I found the new design a big improvement to the old one, which judging by the responses to this and the linked post, puts me in a small minority.

There's a separate mobile site that is not automatically launched: m.fark.com.

I would be curious how well redesigns go over in general, given that users are used to things working a certain way.

Reddit can replace posters with an AI that has been trained on their volunteer work. Then you need another AI that clicks on ads. No humans required.

Along the redesign matter - I do not know Frak - I realized that since UX design became a strongly self aware and proud so called profession with axioms and rulebooks the usability of the UI gone s*t, in general. Probably those are pretty s*t, but functionality wise just pure s*t. Compared to ugly but pratcical older things before made by UX unaware product developers without aesthetical sense but focusing on the function. UX is important, that is what make something usable for the purpose but somehow the more they work on it the worse it becomes. At least this is my generic observation throughout the years and decades, with little exceptions. Probably it is just a coincidence that the emergence of the UX brought useless products, I do not know. But I could annoy people around me with specifics and examples for hours, how something born useless or made useless with hard hard work with lots of efforts from a marginally or pretty usable state. When it was or could have been better. Probably the one worth to mention now is the Windows 11 that drives me away slowly but surely from the Windows Universe, despite the difficulty of the transition which becomes the less difficulty compared to using it on. Its reputation was never that good in this regard, it always been hip to criticise, I know people complained intensely about previous version that I could live with, but this one, this is a new league of ignorantly forced through renovation of ruined functionality with the only benefit that it occupies the UX folks there, keeping them in payroll.

The unfortunate thing is that there isn’t an alternative. I’d like to see Reddit die as much as the next guy but considering there doesn’t seem to be a replacement it will be difficult for people who are used to it to just drop it. I hope that this may mean a federated alternative (or basically back to the old days of phpNuke forums and the like) but I somehow doubt it.

That's because there hasn't really been a need for one. But that could change rapidly.

I think most people aren't aware that during the digg exodus there were also not that many alternatives or at least not that many alternatives people were aware of, so that played a major role because it was a very easy choice when there were not that many choices. But I also think a new technological paradigm for social media is needed entirely (decentralized).

I can't help but feel that the only answer to this is peer to peer distributed social networking.

But who has the impetus to make such a thing?


They need to do a far better job of server discoverability as well as account transfer.

Needing to click through server after server with none of them accepting new users is a discouraging experience.

Before there was FARK, or any of these Web 2.0 popular content aggregators there was The Temple of The Screaming Electron.

It has a better mobile experience than Reddit

Wow, haven't heard the "fark" name in a long time.

I understand why this has been posted, but much like ill-informed comparisons to Digg, Reddit will be fine. Reddit has a much larger and more diverse audience now, and likely a majority are exclusively using the iOS/Android apps.

I'm with you on this one. Nothing is going to really happen save a few small subs going dark permanently, but I do recall reading something a while back that said 3rd party apps accounted for 30% of traffic. I think the rest was split between the web and the first-party apps.

And before that everyone was on Usenet, and piracy killed it.

And Gamedev, Flipcode,....

This stuff comes and goes, get used to it.

"Then a user-hostile redesign killed it" is the story of anything and everything software. It would be far shorter to enumerate what hasn't been killed by a user-hostile redesign.

Could this be the ramifications of AI though? (edit: I mean, in light of StackOverflow also changing their policies recently)

Not only are the LLMs like GPT effectively doing scraping like never before, without any legal oversight, AI is also automating and causing much more pressure on those social sites.

The future is bleak, LLMs are going to destroy what little "Far West" we still had and turn all the open sites into even more walled gardens.

So far AI is just creating bullshit art, and destroying the open internet.

AIs, in particular LLM models, are not scraping the internet, that's done by traditional software.

Oh come on. You know what I mean. Companies like OpenAI are basically appropriating value created by others by feeding the so called "public" data into their LLMs. Therefore stealing content on a massive scale. You and I are not getting rewarded a single cent for all the time we spent on StackOverflow, or Reddit, or here on HN etc.

I´m looking at the big picture here.

So what I was trying to say is I can see how more and more social sites and services that have open APIs are going to rethink how they share their data seeing as all the value is being sucked dry out of them AND then repurposed as a new, privately owned product.

> doing scraping without any legal oversight

What is this supposed to mean?

What role do you think lawyers play in scraping the internet?

I am wondering, HN can spawn a few subreddit like channels maybe with Image, Video support later. HN is the best place in internet that encourages good discussions, reddit communities can vastly benefit from the familiar UI experience, good enough backend. Maybe all the mods can write a petition to create HN communities and foster the communities here. Lemmy, kbin are all fine but come on I'll take HN any day over others. Am I missing something?

Relevant historical note: That's how Reddit started. In the beginning, it was just Reddit. Not much different from HN. Then they added subreddits, and what was reddit became /r/Reddit.com until they closed it.


They probably NEED to show the investors that Reddit can make money. So it might be a win or bust moment for them.

In all cases we don't know if the user-hostile redesign was the root cause or just a symptom.

I loved Fark, especially their photoshop contests (which I recall using Paint Shop Pro for).

What exactly did they change?

They are going to charge high fees for usage of the APIs so that 3rd party clients and bots are priced out of working.

That's Reddit lol, we're talking about Fark here

OSNews was launched in 1997

Maybe /. will swoop in and the cycle will be complete.

Oh man, this makes me miss Odd Todd.

What’s with all the hyperbole? Reddit Fail?

I have a 14yo reddit account, and was a Digg user for years prior to that. While there were scandals like the HDDVD code stuff, ultimately the user-hostile Digg v4 redesign killed it for me- the day they forced it on everyone I never went back. Tonight watching all the subreddits go private is the first time I’ve ever felt like Reddit is the next to die.

If anyone from reddit corporate is reading this, understand that you’re playing with fire here. This week is critical to saving your platform.

at this point, there is only 1 way to save reddit, and it's so drastic that they wont do it because the ones who need to do it are too blind or too far away

  * fire spez
  * promise a clear committed roadmap of mod tools
  * promise to review 3rd party API pricing, and delay the current rollout
It's literally the only way that will be accepted by the 1% that keep the site running (read the Ennui engine principle)

Or they can continue their failed attempts at using chatgpt to astroturf a counter-movement, lol: https://i.imgur.com/4e9jO7P.jpg

Edit, some context: https://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/146wn9s/commen...

(spez / reddit ceo is a mod on r/programming, hence it still being up)

> it still being up

Must have gone dark in the last two hours, I guess. Clicking on your "context" link gets me:

> The moderators of r/programming have set this community to private. Only approved members can view and take part in its discussions.

The GPT astroturf fail seems like a worthy story in itself, if it could be stood up - amazing!

All major subreddits are protesting Reddit on jun 12 by going private.

Not all. Last I looked it was >50% of the top 200 (and like 3000 total)

Those numbers are usually computed by subreddits going private. More have left old content up but have blocked new posts/comments. Those have not been reflected in your numbers.

I don't know what happened with r/programming (I couldn't find the mod channel), but I just took it private, assuming the other mods just forgot about it.

Then again, it's spez's subreddit, so maybe he wants it public (in which case he can just flip it back).

Could you please update the message to "This subreddit is temporarily private as part of a joint protest to Reddit's recent API changes, which breaks third-party apps and moderation tools, effectively forcing users to use the official Reddit app." to raise awareness for the reason you took it private? That would be really helpful!

Hm, I don't see where I can set that, sadly. I don't see a customizable message when I visit the subreddit incognito, either, just a "this is private".

Given that nobody has reverted the change, I assume they'd just forgotten to do it in the first place.

Relatedly, I tried checking my comment history on reddit now, and most of its missing (out of a few hundreds (or maybe thousands of comments) there's like ... 15 left.

So, my guess is that there's more blowing up with reddit right now than just the blackout.

I thiiink your comments from subreddits having gone private are hidden from your profile as well.

> (spez / reddit ceo is a mod on r/programming, hence it still being up)

The whole subreddit is down at the moment. I guess the other moderators disagree with the CEO?

So does this means their astroturfing bot is open to prompt injection?

> spez / reddit ceo is a mod on r/programming

How is it possible that these companies are still run like an immature dorm room shitshow? Are there no separation of duties? The CEO should not have admin access to anything (the very least for security purposes).

spez even infamously abused his admin access to edit another posters comment a while back.

Calling it a dorm room shitshow is an insult to dorm rooms everywhere.

He was correct to do this, because it was funny. Any true longtime forum poster would recognize this. (Conversely, if it wasn't funny, he should've done it differently.)

Although doing Lowtax things may lead to turning into Lowtax, which is probably bad.

I can certainly tell you it's not a serious problem, because it'd be illegal if it was. All serious problems with websites are revenue issues or legal issues.

It wasn't funny, and he didn't make any jokes. He edited "fuck spez" comments to remove spez and substitute other mods.

Fuck r/the_donald - but that's just blatant admin power misuse to deflect criticism. Very topical with all the "fuck u/spez" comments going around these days.


Admin abuse is inherently funny. It's like slapstick. It was funny on SA when the users paid to sign up in the first place, and it can only be more so when they're not even paying customers.

Should've made it a wordfilter though. Those are more participatory.

(You won't take this advice, which is why I've run a large popular internet forum before and you haven't.)

> Admin abuse is inherently funny

I think you're a very small minority in that opinion, my friend. Perhaps leadership decisions like that are why you refer to your forum in the past tense now?

You will never be able to perfectly tickle everyone's funny bone with a given joke, but most everyone agrees that the role of forums is to offer a funny experience, and a good admin will play a significant role in making that happen. One does not spend their preciously scarce free time on an Internet forum if there is nothing funny about it.

I don't usually go on forums to look for funny things. I'm there because people talk about things I'm interested in.

> One does not spend their preciously scarce free time on an Internet forum if there is nothing funny about it.

By your own metrics, HN is often a failure and you should not (or do not) spend time here.

In what way is HN failing? HN is an excellent source of humour. Even this very comment I am replying to contains a fair amount of hilarity.

Sorry, I must have misunderstood your definition of hilarity. There was a lot of discussion elsewhere about a specific type of humor. The trolling/random kind of humor.

There's nothing past tense about it, but sometimes you change jobs, you know.

I completely agree, when he did that is was pretty funny (but a little pathetic he didn't dare to ban these users or this sub, either for money or political reasons).

Users reacted poorly and "shocked" site wide somehow that an admin could exerts admin right and edit database which as a sysadmin made me laugh a lot because I get occasional similar ones from our users when we do admin stuff.

"funny but a little pathetic" fits a lot of Lowtax shenanigans very well, so it seems reasonable.

It's not funny when the victim isn't in on the joke and is distressed by it.

(Sure, the victim was (probably) a highly unsympathetic and stupid person. What justification is that? It's schoolyard-bully sociology to attack unsympathetic weirdos. Most bullies grow out of it and live with regrets. But 'spez is a fucking adult! What's he doing lurking in the worst subreddits of (his own) website, searching for prey to gaslight? What's the character of a grown-ass man who does that?)

No, whether the user is sympathetic or not isn't important, and I don't think there's anything noble about punishing users you don't like. It's just a misconception about what's important in internet forums. If you're a random free account you sometimes get nobly sacrificed (via admin abuse) for the entertainment of the masses and thus benefit society as a whole.

Basically, it's PvP. This is pretty obvious from the design; you post and people reply to you, which they mostly use to argue with you. An example of a product designed for people to be nice to each other is Discourse, which isn't much like HN or reddit.

People do have human rights, which is why I said what matters is if it's illegal or not. Putting slanderous posts under their name would be a real issue - if you think this happened go ahead and sue him - but the most common one would be doxxing: posting your IP and personal info from the admin console. Which he's probably got access to.

If you base your social conduct entirely on what's legal and illegal, you'll become a pariah very fast.

Spez is the perfect example of this. His editing of the comments cemented his reputation as corrupt and stupid, and from then on everything he communicated towards the community received a much stronger backlash than it otherwise would have, regardless of how unpopular the decision actually was.

This is confusing "the community" with "overly engaged parts of the community".

Normal reddit users don't know any inside baseball facts about the site. The normal users are those people who post the same basic "women, what's the sexiest sex you ever sexed?" questions on askreddit once a week.

Of course, their site design makes this a problem since it relies on mods, who are specifically that kind of person since they do it for free.

>>I can certainly tell you it's not a serious problem, because it'd be illegal if it was

that seems to be a very poor reasoning. If your honest contention that all things that are a problem are illegal (thus one can assume then also that you 100% agree with all laws on the books as well) seems then we have no societal problems, and the government and laws work perfectly... Thus no need to elections, or changes to those laws.

No, but certainly if you think something is a problem you should lobby to make future instances of it illegal. If you don't, it's basically not worth the time of an admin/CEO to care what you think, because they have so much else going on.

A common theme on social media is that a group of people care about something and want to ban it, but instead of changing the law, instead they self-enforce their pseudo-laws by yelling at people who violate them. Complaining about the mods being an example, another being fanartists who have a ton of rules about "sourcing your art reposts"/not tracing, another being that 2014 period where everyone went around GitHub projects trying to shame the owners for not having a code of conduct.

This might be because they're anarchists and don't want to call the figurative cops, but usually it's because they're a minority and there isn't actually popular support for it.

wow.. I dont even know really were to begin to unpack this.

So you position is that totalitarianism to the extreme is the only way? That everything, every action, every social convention, every interaction between two people should be under the purview of some law or regulation.

I am not a big fan of codes of conduct, as such I damn sure do not want the government creating a law around code of conduct. If some open source project wants to enact a stupid CoC I want the freedom to fork that project and replace with either a CoC free project or a competing one with a different CoC.

government is not empowered, nor should it be empowered to government what social media ban's, or the conduct of developers interacting with each other on a open source project

If you are upset about an interaction between a CEO of a company and a customer of the company, as in this thread, then yes that is the kind of thing we have laws for.

In the other examples there are other levels of "government" that have "regulations" that are more official than nothing that you could lobby. You could get GitHub to change the ToS to require CoC, or Twitter to ban certain kinds of things artists don't like, rather than just be personally mean to other users on the site about it.

I guess you brought it right to the point: Reddit has never grown to a company it’s „dorm room shitshow“

Recently I read Reddit has over 2000 employees. I can’t begin to imagine what they possibly do.

Isn't "reddit isn't a real company, it's a dorm room shitshow" supposed to be the appeal of reddit? A 'real company' wouldn't have a free-for-all API to allow third parties to leach their ad revenue.

> A 'real company' wouldn't have a free-for-all API to allow third parties to leach their ad revenue.

Or they might have realised that third parties are crucial to their success (they have the stats, they know what % of traffic, commenters, power users, etc. are using third-party apps) and instead added more constraints around the API, like also serving ads (like Telegram), lower rate limits for unauthenticated users, forcing oauth etc. Instead of going the nuclear path of making any third party downright unviable and thus forcing them to shutdown.

How Do You Do Fellow Kids, that allegation is clearly false.

Reddit won't die for the same reason Facebook won't... there's no real viable alternative for the majority of the users.

It might become a bit shitter, it might lose a few users who are a bit more tech savvy or from the "old days of the internet" who'll find themselves fedi or forum based alternatives but the majority will keep getting what they want out of it without a reason to move - most users probably use the official app which is rubbish compared to Apollo etc but is sufficient for them.

I'd love to see this protest actually work but the cynic in me says it won't, or if it does it'll be a slow death as the 1% leave and the content dries up which then pushes away the majority, and it'll be too slow to save it... only then might we see a viable alternative pop up, but I'm sure it won't be any of the Fedi solutions as they just fragment the communities too much even with the instances opening to each other, but we're already seeing Lemmy instances "defederate" from each other

It pains me to say it, but I think you're right. Reddit for most normies is just another app to consume memes but with comments. I don't think Reddit wants to continue focusing on comments and longer form content. The only advantage to them to keep comments is higher pageviews and ads. The niche communities are starting to go back to their own platforms or Discord.

Anecdotally, I've seen more and more comments that remind me of Facebook, a platform I deleted my account for 8 or 9 years ago. I left FB to get away from the brainrot and if Reddit is bringing in more and more of these users, I'd rather go somewhere else.

I've added Reddit.com to my Ublock list and am removing Apollo from my home screen. If Reddit doesn't turn this around, I'll be uninstalling at the end of the month. I don't have high hopes.

> The niche communities are starting to go back to their own platforms or Discord.

Ugh, hopefully not more Discord. We have already got way too much hinging on Discord.

I've seen UseNet die, so I'm not so sure. What Reddit does (and UseNet before it) is really niche. There aren't as many people on Reddit as there are on Facebook and Reddit isn't as entangled with people's 'real' life as much as social media is.

You are right with your last sentence, but reddit is anything but niche. It attracts even politicians and other celebrities, albeit typically only for Q&As. Arnold Schwarzenegger and William Shattner post there for fun with their real names, who knows how many post under pseudonyms. The beauty of reddit is that it attracts even non-technical people who share their insight in their domain (usually anonymous, so to be taken with a grain of salt - but it's usually plausible precisely because reddit is so popular).

Reddit has grown significantly the last few years, but it still has only about 50-60 million daily users, compared to Facebook's nearly 2 billion daily users.

Don't get me wrong, I like Reddit. Before it I used Usenet, which died and after Usenet I was active on forums (most of those also seem to be gone now). I really prefer those topic based social media to the other user-based social media. But I've seen enough of them die before.

I loved Usenet before the mixture of web forums and spam killed it... we need something like this again - decentralised platforms without decentralised community.

I'm with you that a site of that critical size probably won't die, not within a decade.

The same was AOL is actually not completely dead. Yahoo! is not dead, Digg isn't either, neither did MySpace. And I'd totally see Tumblr having a full come back to the front of the stage.

Another way to put it could be "dead to us" for any specific value of "us".

AOL and Yahoo had advertising revenues Reddit could only dream of.

As it stands, a huge chunk of Reddit's content is Twitter and Tiktok reposts. Older users like me enjoyed that because I didn't want to sign up for Twitter and TT. The younger app centric users that Reddit is pivoting to probably have Twitter and TT accounts. So what value is Reddit providing?

Everything you describe sounds like a positive outcome for me.

Let reddit turn into a wasteland of pun threads, office references, fake ragebait and wholesome content run by AI repost bots, as long as there's a viable alternative for the 1%.

There are viable alternatives, but the average user simply does not care. And by average user I mean someone who literally doesn't bother to use the official reddit client.

There are alternatives. Lemmy has seen incredible growth over the past two weeks.

How do you fix the problem for the average user of why the (eg) recipe group on their Lemmy instance is empty, and when/if they do learn that other instances recipe groups are different groups, how they properly follow them all, and why it is their favourite one suddenly disappeared because their instance defed'd from that instance because the other instance also carried trumpsfavouriterecipes?

I get and like the principles of the Fediverse but for the average user it's too fragmented, needs too much effort around discoverability, is confusing and promotes echo chambers in some ways worse than Reddit (in that your instance can simply cut off another instance it doesn't agree with - at least in Reddit you can find another sub all on the same instance that meets your echo chambers. Yes you can change instances but supposing that other instance doesn't carry a group you use heavily?)

IMO Lemmy's growth will halt once the more intrepid average user decides it's too complex, tells all their friends about it and goes back to Reddit.

People keep talking about having the option to take your content and move as though freedom was a prison.

Likewise, the fact that there is a community of instances that have made the choice to have a pleasant space, free of troll farms spewing endless abuse, and are taking that seriously, really seems to have upset a lot of people around here.

You can't get the_donald on Reddit either, because fascists make a room stink like farts, and only people who've been huffing their poopy-smelling breath can't see that. I think what's really upsetting for those of the trollish mindset is that while removing the_donald and other fascist subs was more about keeping the site running smoothly and just getting rid of a headache, the decision to lock out gab and truth.social and anyone else who tolerates it is strictly an aesthetic one; they are no longer outcast because they're a pain in the ass, they're outcast because they suck and the whole community agrees.

I knew in 2016 that it was just the start of a process of smartening, where people get more optics into the nature of the world and the Internet's place in it. Seven years on, The Smartening proceeds apace, finding ways to have nice things, even with armies of chaos and division trying to tell us to be angry, to rage incoherently at our neighbors, doing everything they can to bring bad feelings into our lives.

The platforms are done because there's no more free money for them to play with, and when the big machines that run on that money can't fill up with another funding round, things are already grim and only getting worse. The fediverse is doing alright.

I understood the previous remarks as suggesting problem isn’t strictly defederating the-underscore-Donald. It’s that defederation is an incredibly blunt tool, but one of the few tools available, and so you end up with some pretty obnoxious schisms.

That's exactly what I meant, thank you.

Perhaps I shouldn't have used a Trump related fake example but it could be as simple as cutting off a peer because the mod is a vegan and wants to cut off meat recipes (and cuts off the best and most populated soccer community at the same time)

Has that happened, or is that just a scenario? Cause I'd be very interested to see if vegans actually can cut out meat from mainstream mastodon.

I confess that I'm vegan-adjacent, I eat meat whenever it's put in front of me but my wife is vegan so I never have meat put in front of me and I don't miss it, but if vegans can actually create a major ideological schism in the greater federation over their specific issue, I will see that as a problem and pretty much agree that the fediverse is a fail.

That said, it's a better fail than previous fails, so the way forward is not back to the platforms regardless.

But I think the vegans are going to settle for having the right to exist like everyone else, and there are definitely already lots of radical instances I'm sure. But can they make all of mastodon ban pictures burgers on a grill?

Let's find out, actually. The experiment is already in motion.

No it's a scenario, as far as I'm aware anyway.

Ignoring the specific example used to make my point, my point was how do you avoid the problem? If PopularInstanceA decides to cut off PopularInstanceB for "reasons" you have fragmented a community with users on both instances going to be unhappy... yes they could all move and suddenly MarginalnstanceC becomes PopularInstanceC as it federates both A and B but users will get lost along the way, most will only tolerate this kind of instance changing crap once and even then how do you stop A cutting off C because they are federating B?

Yes I agree it's all just hypothetical but we're relying on the goodwill of probably unpaid enthusiast server owners to keep the Fediverse stable and that feels like a house of cards to me

> a house of cards

This is the most bewildering part of every conversation I've had so far about the fediverse, and it always comes down to this idea that because it is difficult, because it is not the easy and well-funded way that has a buyout or a powertrip at the end of it, that it's somehow bound to fail where, well, so far the platforms claim to be succeeding but let's see how they do with the interest rates as they are for another few years.

Which part of Reddit - leave out Twitter, leave out Facebook, leave out Google, leave out everything else because they only make my question harder to answer; Reddit is currently the great white hope of the Platforms. The one that everyone desperately points to as a platform done right, because the alternative - a world without big corporate daddies seeing to our needs and keeping us safe at night because Alexa is listening to us breathe, a world without the possibility of chatting up a VC capitalist doing a startup and cashing out a billionaire in a couple years - is too horrible to contemplate.

So exactly which part of Reddit, with its legions of unpaid labourers and current shenanigans, is not very obviously a house of cards that is just about to collapse right before their IPO coup-de-grace?

Reddit is "relying on the goodwill of [definitely] unpaid enthusiasts," except their goal is not to foster community and offer an alternative to the platforms, their goal is to do their IPO, collect their golden parachutes, and let the whole thing fester like the untreated infection that it is.

I will place my bet on the enthusiast server owners and the willingness of their communities to take collective responsibility to make sure that we do have an actual alternative to this bullshit before I'll ever trust another platform.

And you know, we ought to know better than to question the ability of communities of enthusiasts and weirdoes to actually make something happen without a fucking VC involved. Look at GNU(/Linux), on which the entire world runs. We got this baby, and we won't need YC to make it work. I'm sure there are folks in this forum that won't like that either - if you can't monetize it, it's worthless to them, and that's why our communities keep going up in Private Equity smoke, just like Sears.

Followed some of the links shared here, I fully agree now that the CEO should go. Earlier, he compromised the integrity of people’s speech by editing their posts: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/reddit-edit-post

I can see why they might want someone with the ability to edit posts (removing extreme TOS stuff - racism, hate speech etc). But that's probably not for the CEO and certainly shouldn't be used simply to "troll the trolls"

Also it's baffling to me that the CEO of reddit is a regular user and somehow isn't up in arms about how irritating it is to use the site.

> (removing extreme TOS stuff - racism, hate speech etc)

Why would you edit these? Deletion seems far superior, do you want people to go around editing out the racism of peoples posts? Seems absurd.

> Deletion seems far superior, do you want people to go around editing out the racism of peoples posts?

The generous argument for would be it preserves any redeeming value in the offending comment. The practical answer is he (EDIT: spez) wanted something to rail against.

Can't really see how my comments suggest I'm "rail[ing] against" something

> how my comments suggest I'm "rail[ing] against" something

Sorry, clarified. Spez wanted something to attack.

Ahhhh sure, no worries!

I'd personally hide or delete them. But I can see why someone might argue for this functionality, it's not totally absurd.

What's absurd is a CEO editing posts to troll people

I'm not sure that's right. If your website is saying I said something I didn't say then that's an issue. Sure, have the ability to remove or annotate posts that break the rules in some way but to leave a post up saying something other than what the poster wrote seems bad (and possibly even libellous) to me.

Yeah there's definitely better ways to go, but regardless the main thing is the CEO has no business being anywhere near this kind of functionality.

How palpable would the irony be if he's an old.reddit.com guy?

Better than zero chance. He addressed it in the AMA thread last week.

> P.S. old.reddit.com isn’t going anywhere

Those that should go are the users really.

> [...] who need to do it are too blind [...]

You mean, those who cannot use the official Reddit app because of lack of accessibility?

you missed the big one: kill the IPO

Much as Elon Musk has not managed to kill Twitter, despite nationwide, breathless, reporting to that effect, I don’t think that the Reddit situation is anywhere nearly as drastic as people striking would like to believe. Yes, twitter users have fled and given Mastodon a day in the sun, and the site’s constituency has undoubtedly shifted, but its dominance still seems fairly secure.

Reddit is playing with fire, this could all go horribly wrong for them. I just don’t find it likely. Reddit is really, really big. Those 1% add a lot of value to the site but without it the site is still quite valuable. 1% of users can eventually be replaced and it won’t catch fire in the meantime.

The reddit user base is largely unaware of any of this and will forever remain passive users. I’m confident spez took one look at third party app user counts and said, “worth it.” If Reddit does IPO I expect it to become only more popular. Time will tell.

Delusional people with big egos fancy themselves as visionaries

Maybe instead of this banning 3rd part Apps. They could charge all users 9.99 or 19.99 a month. Thus generate revenue for the IPO.

The problem with this approach (not just for Reddit, but for all internet content sites) is that $9.99 is a significant investment when there are other sites providing content for free. The choice the user has to make isn't "Is Reddit worth $9.99?" but more like "Is Reddit better value at $9.99 than some other website at $0.00?", and Reddit is probably never going to win in that process for the majority of people.

It's the same reason why so few people sign up to pay for YouTube or Twitter. Video content is available elsewhere. Whatever the hell Twitter content is can be found just by talking to people.

On the other side so many do pay for Spotify and Netflix because that content is locked down pretty well. You can pirate some things, but it's a pain. Paying is easier.

Reddit seems to think it has a product that has value. Like so many web content hosts before it, it's probably wrong. It probably can't work as a business unless it's showing people adverts. And the problem with that model is that people hate adverts.

Honestly, until users realise that they can't have a content host unless they pay, no sites like Reddit will survive long term.

Not to mention it’s actually the users generating the content.

Yup that's the key point a lot forget

Already survived a long time.

Surviving is not the goal.

20 dollars a month for Reddit, oh man that's a good one

You'd probably get at most 5% signing up for the paid plan so the price would have to be more than 20x what they get from a free user seeing ads. Could work if they cut down the size of the organ but that has literally never happened

Also would force the platform into a death spiral. 95% of users leaving -> massive reduction in content -> more users leave -> no more content -> reddit is gone.

As much as I wish that to be true I doubt it. A large portion of users will simply scroll through reddit and look at the latest cat videos or social media stunts. You can scrape this content without any contributors at all. All the separate communities that reddit hosts probably contribute very little to their ad revenue.

Is there any good reads wrt the blowback on cost of the API? I've only read that it costs $0.25 per 1000 calls which seems relatively cheap, but I haven't looked into how it affects use cases.

Here's a write-up from the Apollo app developer: https://www.reddit.com/r/apolloapp/comments/13ws4w3/had_a_ca...

Some key takeaways:

> Apollo made 7 billion requests last month, which would put it at about 1.7 million dollars per month, or 20 million US dollars per year. Even if I only kept subscription users, the average Apollo user uses 344 requests per day, which would cost $2.50 per month, which is over double what the subscription currently costs, so I'd be in the red every month.

> I'm deeply disappointed in this price. Reddit iterated that the price would be A) reasonable and based in reality, and B) they would not operate like Twitter. Twitter's pricing was publicly ridiculed for its obscene price of $42,000 for 50 million tweets. Reddit's is still $12,000. For reference, I pay Imgur (a site similar to Reddit in user base and media) $166 for the same 50 million API calls.

> For Apollo, the average user uses 344 requests daily, or 10.6K monthly. With the proposed API pricing, the average user in Apollo would cost $2.50, which is is 20x higher than a generous estimate of what each users brings Reddit in revenue.

There is more to it than the amount Reddit demands now. One huge issue is that it's a very sudden move.

30 days is not enough time to change apps business models (with existing paying customers in the mix). Additionally it seems reddit made promises in the beginning of this year that they wont monetize API access.

Reddit does not want to find common ground with 3rd party apps and make money with them, it wants them out of the market ASAP.

The issue even extends to non-mobile users that are afraid now that old reddit will be chopped for better monetization etc.

1000 calls isn't much when basic actions such as an upvote/downvote are an individual API call, and comments are heavily paginated.

>It's literally the only way that will be accepted by the 1% that keep the site running (read the Ennui engine principle)

What makes the activists here think that they can speak for this 1%?

I mean, personally I've been paying for a Premium membership for years now because I know good web communities need user financial support to be sustainable. So I have at least some moral right to a preference in the direction the site goes. I honestly wish they'd just done a bigger Premium beg-a-thon and see if they could meet their revenue needs that way; it's ultimately a much better model.

They don’t speak for, they give an estimation of their opinion.

As much as I would like to believe that boycotts can work, I'm just too cynical after seeing all those boycotts doing nothing.

My old.reddit.com homepage hasn't change much. Missing is r/ProgrammerHumor but r/Programming is there, alongside with r/darksky, r/wallstreetbets etc.

All the porn seems to be there too, which might actually move some numbers if gone dark.

The only sub which I care and it's gone is r/StableDiffusion

Which leads me to believe that the boycott will remove only a subset of reddit users and we are about to see how much reddit cares about that subset.

Redesigns on the other hand can kill a site. That's the only thing I've seen many times killing a website.

The list of participating subreddits[0] includes ~3/4ths of the big subreddits. 7 of the 10 subs with over 30 million members[1], 81% with 20-30 million, 77% with 10-20 million, 80% with 5-10 million, and 71% with 1-5 million

I don't think the blackout will be limited by its scope so much as by its duration

[0]https://www.reddit.com/r/ModCoord/comments/1401qw5/incomplet... [1]https://www.reddit.com/best/communities/1/

Yes, the duration is problematic. A few days blackout means no matter what we will be back, so carry on.

Don't forget the international dateline :) The 12th of June is a poorly specified target.

But I know that /r/programming has two Reddit administrators as part of the mods, so I'm not surprised they're not going dark.

r/Programming just joined the blackout. Now my homepage is mostly porn and politics.

Let's see what will happen in few days.

> But I know that /r/programming has two Reddit administrators as part of the mods, so I'm not surprised they're not going dark.

Is there anything stopping Reddit from making the CEO a mod in every major sub though?

No but they still need mods. Otherwise the quality will quickly go so far downhill that no one wants to see use it anymore.

Is finding mods something hard to do?

Theoretically no, practically yes.

You basically need people willing to donate lots of their time to read new on a specific subreddit constantly (there is a reason (in a consequentialist sense) mods tend to enforce their opinion on every post, it's cause they spend hours reading every single one already, and the kind of person willing to do that probably has some (obsessive) opinions).

There are some subreddits where you can be a mod and you get pinged and you make decision, and so you can spend your time doing other things and still help, but they are very small. And there are some tools that let you take the "and I get pinged and I make a decision" up to the larger subreddit scale, and tools which make reading new easier to do... these are the tools reddit is going to get rid of / make pay only.

So yea, it's going to be even harder to find some poor schmuck with no life willing to donate a bunch of their free time to create high quality subreddits that comply with the admin's rules (which is actually what a lot of "do whatever you want" mods end up spending most of their time dealing with). And the people they do find are going to have even stronger personal influences on subreddits than the current ones do.

Yes. Moderating a large sub is a ton of work with no compensation whatsoever.

The biggest sub I mod recently grew to ~10k users, it's German speaking, and covers a pretty niche topic. That sub alone is already a surprising amount of work, and 10k is absolutely tiny.

Automod alone removes 4-5 posts a day, and there's still quite a lot of bot generated, irrelevant, or spammy posts and comments that manage to bypass the filters. I can't imagine the amount of spam that would flow in at a subreddit hundreds of times larger than that.

For major subs, absolutely. Take /r/videos for example. What's to stop bots from uploading porn to /r/videos at breakneck pace? You need a small army of moderators to close the floodgates. It might not happen immediately, but eventually, there will be massive spam submitted to default subreddits with new moderators.

Moderation takes time and unless Reddit is going to pony up $$$ to pay mods to sweep in on short notice, then I suspect people who casually volunteer will quickly be overwhelmed.

A lot of the LLM ML communities have moved to Discord for bleeding edge development, as far as I know.

Which is a damn shame, because discord is an unsearchable walled garden.

I really, really don't hope much of reddit moves to discord, it would be a disaster for the usability of search engines.

At this point I'm seeing an accelerationist angle where having only walled gardens, disfunctional search engines (both in-app and Google) and broken apps and APIs everywhere might force people to think about those things a little.

I'm curious as to what you mean by unsearchable. I have yet to not find what I look for when I go to the search bar. The amount of ways to filter things is generally-enough for me to find what I'm looking for in the first page or two of results.

Not indexed by search engines. I don't use discord(I'm unable to make one because of their ridiculously broken sign up flow), and I don't have an account on reddit, but I still find relevant stuff on reddit all the time through google. And reddit is super useful to me for that, specifically.

Yeah, I feel like Discord is basically a more-modern version of IRC: it's not really useful for anyone who isn't already part of that channel.

Are there analogues for the subs? I would love to know these Discord channels, maybe there should be a directory for it to make the move away from reddit smoother?

Conversely, most of the active subreddits I am subscribed to have gone dark. My front page is down to a handful of different news/politics subreddits that decided not to take part.

I hope you are the kind of the user which Reddit wouldn't want to lose and reconsider the changes then.

/u/spez is a mod at /r/programming

Then why is /r/programming private right now? Not just me, multiple people reporting that.

Personally, I think it just goes to show that if you make a platform which depends on people's generosity to keep content well moderated, you should absolutely consider those generous people as your company's main resources.... and if you piss them off, as your worst enemies.

There were times like this in the past (the changes when Pao became CEO and later the censorship through quarantining of multiple subreddits came to my mind, but there were others).

I think the main reason there was no exodus similar to Digg's is not due to good policy on Reddit's side (it became increasingly worse over time) but the lack of a competitor that could quickly scale to receive a migration without going dark.

The number of users migrating from Digg to Reddit and the number of users today is quite different, but if there is a better platform that could stand this migration, Reddit could be dead in a matter of hours.

Anecdotal feeling alert: I think some people won't need an alternate. I am just letting reddit go. I don't get enough value from it to care of it exists anymore. I let Twitter go after the free speech absolutists super sensitive filter flagged me for saying I hope Microsoft burns for what a nightmare they've made their os (trying to help a non savvy user use a local account), I did the automated appeal assuming context would clear the time honored practice of telling businesses to go to hell, when it didn't I just let it go. I'm not deleting that tweet just to participate in that trash hole.

Reddit was a convenient insomniac doom scroll. It can go.

I never used Reddit the way you describe. I use it as a forum for niche interests and it’s decent for that. Similar to php based forums but it’s one login and plenty of participants.

Tech can go elsewhere. The niche interests can't. At least not as easily.

The obvious competitor for those is still Facebook, but FB's algo is actively hostile to the long-list-of-active-forums UX that makes Reddit work so well.

Using less social media is probably a good idea in general. Plus HN and lobsters can replace the technical reddit communities.

HN is way too generalist to even replace /r/programming (I'd say that only ~25% of the main page is technical stuff), not even talking about subreddits dedicated to specific technologies.

This is a good take. I’m getting nothing out of Reddit. It’s time to touch some grass.

I would joke that 9gag is the natural Reddit competitor, but I also want to point out that somehow 9gag is a YC startup.

9gag is a competitor for the “shitposting” part of Reddit, but not for the serious part.

And I can’t believe it’s YC!


I think this lack of competitor is the key. When. people talk about Digg dying, that was during the Reddit vs Digg period.

Now it's Reddit vs what?

Many people love a drama so will beef this event up, but I suspect they will be back to usual soon enough. At the same time I feel Reddit should respond to this with something positive for general goodwill as there is value in that for the day there is an alternative.

While never going to actually happen, I'd find it funny if people flooded to communities.win, the forum Trump supporters setup when they were pushed off Reddit. Would be great irony.

> Now it's Reddit vs what?

For tech news, you are looking at it.

For everything else there is YouTube + comment section, stack exchange, Discord channels, …

People don’t necessarily need a “clone” replacement.

Edit: OK. What exactly is so offensive about this post?

People use Reddit in different ways. Those others site may be perfectly good substitutes for them.

If you want a “feed” you can comment on, YouTube can do that.

You want questions answered, Stack Exchange.

If you only visit small specialised tightly moderated subreddits, Discord channels will probably work just fine.

Reddit is a means to an end. There are others ways to communicate on the internet.

There’s a niche of medium lived discussions that are paced slowly and contextualized that the model of hn and reddit serve. The examples you gave don’t seem to fit.

People use Reddit in different ways. I suspect for many, those examples are perfectly good substitutes.

> Now it's Reddit vs what?

Nothing is an option. Separately from the API drama, I’ve been questioning whether Reddit is a net benefit in my life. Everyone can draw their own conclusion to that question, and I won’t try to convince anyone.

However, for myself, if I’m forced to use the official desktop or mobile app, I’m definitely not going to use Reddit at all, alternative or not.

There absolutely have been exoduses from reddit before, and many of the resulting sites still exist.

However, in general, these were driven by Reddit banning some sort of abhorrent content, so they were kinda self-limiting; few normal people would want to use a reddit clone that was 90% populated with the denizens of r/fatpeoplehate or the upskirt people or whatever other sort of horrible weirdos were impacted by reddit's bans.

This is really pretty different, in that it impacts the average user (or at least the average power user) so might potentially lead to more reasonable breakaway communities.

I deleted my 12-yr old Reddit account this past weekend. I, too, went through the Digg redesign debacle which prompted my complete shift from Digg to Reddit so many years.

What I have learned is there always is an alternative and clinging to a platform that is headed in the opposite direction you are going is not worth it. I’ll miss Reddit in the short term, but I’m done with it and have moved on.

If anyone from reddit corporate is reading this, understand that its over. This week is critical to save your personal narrative.

No matter what really happened; always tell people you are the person who invented the like button at facebook, not the one who decided to band porn on tumblr.

> ban porn on tumbler

> ban porn on imgur

> ban porn on onlyfans

Oh wait, they were actually smart enough to back-track on the last one..

> ban porn on onlyfans

Only those in posession of the sigma hussle grindset can see the true genius behind that plan.

If anyone from reddit corporate is reading this, ignore every carping user and stay laser-focused on that IPO.

Being well-liked and poor is waaay worse than being rich and hated.

Stay strong

> Being well-liked and poor is waaay worse than being rich and hated.

Only if you're an egotistical sellout.

Why yes, I am an average human being!

If this applies to you, I'm sorry to tell you that you're a worse-than-average human being.

Anyone who is actually rich knows; mo' money, mo' probelms

You know what's even worse? Being poor and hated.

Are you sure?

The problem is the business model is terrible. You need to sell ads to survive and the ads ruin the site.

I personally don't find the ads at all objectionable on the old.reddit.com site. They blend in with the other content reasonably well (so you see a Jetbrains ad when on /r/programmerhumor), don't slow down the site, either fit the flow well or hang out on the side, etc.

I find the targeting to be good enough that I look forward to the ads to a certain extent as I have found all sorts of fun products that way.

Plus, they have the Reddit gold program.

Not sure if that is enough, but does Reddit really need 2000 employees and hundreds of millions of CV money? I have a hard time estimating what it costs to run a site like Reddit.

I'm a very attached reddit user and I have no idea what they could be doing with 2000 employees. I'm honestly shocked.

The development they've done in the past 5 years could have been done with like 50-100 people, including keeping all the SRE going. Insane.

Reddit has been overwhelmed by a certain type of employee that spends more time worrying about the political opinions of their colleagues and less about excellence and productivity. Similar to twitter which turned out to be a finely tuned Rube-Goldberg machine that required hourly maintenance to keep online. Im not saying I’m smart enough to make things work well but that such people exist and they don’t/didn’t work at either twitter or Reddit.

My guess is that many marketing based sites bloat their staff and expenses to a self perpetuating and useless degree.

Wow.. Didn't know this. It sounds like something has gone wrong there. Good old greed maybe?

I don’t mind context targeted ads, they are even useful sometimes. User targeted ads are invasive and I avoid them.

Current ads at Reddit are not that bad, it is nothing like youtube which is borderline unwatchable at the moment. But for Reddit general there is like lot of astroturfing currently and if Reddit could start capturing some value from that and same time show for regular user that this is commercial/pr account would be win-win for Reddit and regular users.

I would bet money that Reddit has the highest percentage of ad blocking users. Either by way of browser extension or third party apps. They just don't have enough impressions to cover the outlandish costs associated with running the site. Combined with lax content moderation policies, advertisers see more value going with third parties that can push a viral story about a product to the homepage.

There is no one problem with Reddit, and that is the problem. They have to reboot and build Facebook 2.0 (or whatever) without a highly fickle user base turning tail and running. Rock, meet hard place.

> There is no one problem with Reddit, and that is the problem.

Actually there is one singular problem ... money.

They could accept that "reddit the product" is a 2-5bn market cap business with solid 0.5bn revenue; staff up on that basis, scale their infrastructure on that basis, M&A on that basis, set investor expectations on that basis.

Reddit hosts its own ads, so seems like it would be relatively trivial to overcome the adblockers and insert them directly into the feed server side. Sure, that will piss a few people off, but more than this?

They should not use any CSS b/c lots of blocking is just based on elements and their style.

IIRC doesn't the FCC and equivalent regulatory authorities require online ads to be clearly distinguished?

They could turn off video and image uploads and reduce server costs substantially. Remember when you couldn't directly upload a video to Reddit and everything was a link to YouTube, Vimeo, or Dailymotion?

> I would bet money that Reddit has the highest percentage of ad blocking users.

And Reddit's response is to block web browsers almost entirely (on mobile), and try to force people to use the app.

Maybe their next step will be to force use of a desktop app and disappear from the web entirely...

I would say the problem is that the user base are low value users. They're the sort of people who will do a mass protest because one for-profit company wants to charge another for-profit company money. Advertisers don't want to advertise to them, seriously. Any other company with a different user base with that amount of users and traffic would be making a billion a year easily. Probably multiple billions. But Reddit users are low value. There the sort of people if a company tries to engage with them with just be hostile. This means the amount of money Reddit can charge for ads isn't that high. Which means the companies advertising on Reddit are generally on the lower end of the scale or it's just a tiny part of a bigger ad campaign.

So if ad revenue isn't going to do it. Then it needs to be a freemium model with subscriptions. They probably get 25% of their revenue from reddit premium. That also means, charging for the API.

The problem for many of the third party apps is they've also been running a freemium model with very low overheads due to the fact Reddit has been largely funding their freemium model. They've been charging next to nothing for their premium options ($1.50 a month) and they have massive amount of very active users. They're so big that paying a reasonable per API request fee results in a massive bill. A bill they can't pay due to a freemium model and super low fees that don't pay for the freemium users. Third party apps directly compete with Reddit, therefore it's fair they pay Reddit for the resources they use as well as the lost potential of the users they did take. Those paying for premium on an app would probably pay premium on Reddit.

Then comes in the low value users, who are outraged the free toy they have wants to make a profit. "It's too much money" - funny enough Reddit users think they're worthless - was one of the main cries. "This third party app IS REDDIT" - well if they're Reddit they shouldn't need Reddit access. A userbase who resists being monetised. Either they're monetisable or they're not. If they're not the company can't survive. What the Reddit users need/want is a non-profit.

Thing is, high value users won't use a site that has no content. There's no there there any more without the userbase.

The vast majority of users on any platform are passive consumers, they are valuable only as long as they keep scrolling and viewing ads. The ultra tiny minority of users that are valuable to the platform 24/7 are the ones that consistently submit links, generate original content or post comments that bring in a lot of the passive users. The high value users will only leave when they loose the ability to upload to, and interact with, their favorite communities.

It depends. It may be easier to corral high value users into a green field, rather than have them share the field with low value users.

High value users are a completely different demographic.

Realistically, there are a large amount of people who don't care about the protests. They're going to be creating content. I wouldn't be surprised if the people most outraged are the ones who don't even comment that often.

You're not wrong: reddit probably needs to raise their income, which means monetising their users more.

The biggest issue most vocal users (including many mods and developers of third party apps like Apollo) have, is that the prices are much higher then the expections reddit set beforehand and that everything was only communicated 30 days in advance.

If reddit wanted to keep third party apps, but have them pay for the users use of reddit, they could have implemented a transition plan. Or make it work another way. Or charge a realistic amount (you yourself state reddit's users are low value, but reddits is asking for $20 million per year in missed monetisation just for Apollo's users, which is very high value).

Instead, reddit seems to approach this aggressively, signalling through their actions that they intend to kill off all third party apps. That's what the the subs going dark are protesting against. Especially since reddit's own site and app are of significant lower quality.

I'm not sure how to read your message exactly. If you mean the teenage warez leecher type who doesn't care about wider ramifications for the ecosystem, then sure, not high value. I would hesitate to put the protesters in this category wholesale.

Otherwise wealth correlates somehow with both caring about your interests, and caring about abstract causes, for different reasons and often not in the same people. This is why 1) businesses catering to affluent people are often more cautious about the cheapest tactics (even if they ultimately go for the same results), 2) there is so much public faux political idealism from companies.

They also sold awards / points / things, which seemed pretty popular for a while at least; I have no idea how much that earns them though.

But there's plenty of avenues they have for generating revenue that doesn't involve shutting down 3rd party clients, e.g. commercial promotions, signal / post / comment boosting, subscriptions for advanced / exclusive features, etc.

and when you try to rein in expenses to show less ads, the community begins to propose $10M buyouts and every refrain from reasonable optimizations of their API calls.

This references the Apollo client discussion and is wrong on many levels.

1. They are not "reining in" expenses, they are purposely pricing out 3rd-party clients (which probably has the goal to show more ads, not less)

2. The $10M buyout comments was a reasonable comment countering the statement that reddit loses $20M each year by users using Apollo. A comment which was a half-joke, as the audio recording shows clearly. In that case, buying Appolo for $10M would have been a steal and Reddit would have jumped on it. They didn't, their prior statement was probably a lie.

3. There were no suggestions for reasonable optimizations of API calls. Apollo claims they already optimized whenever possible and whenever they were asked for it, and that client was specifically not listed in an earlier discussion about ineffective API usage. Reported measurements confirm that, the official API uses more calls. Regardless, later Reddit made this accusation, showing that they are not truthful in this discussion.

Your pro-reddit position is not reasonable.

> 2. The $10M buyout comments was a reasonable comment countering the statement that reddit loses $20M each year by users using Apollo. A comment which was a half-joke, as the audio recording shows clearly. In that case, buying Appolo for $10M would have been a steal and Reddit would have jumped on it. They didn't, their prior statement was probably a lie.

If something loses me 20M$ per year and I have an option to buy it for 10M$ or kill it for 0$, I would choose the latter without much thinking. And that seems to be exactly what Reddit is doing.

And that is something that any client using a third-party platform should expect that will happen eventually.

That sounds completely reasonable - if you assume the users currently on Apollo 1) Can't be made to pay, directly with a price for the app or micropayments or indirectly via ads 2) Would move to the official app if Apollo shut down and 3) Don't bring in posts and comments with which other users engage, raising money that way.

Sounds to me that shutting it down is the one sure way to lose money, but I also don't trust that the reddit team had made that calculation properly. This all seems like a short term profit or like a power play to me.

> If something loses me 20M$ per year and I have an option to buy it for 10M$ or kill it for 0$, I would choose the latter without much thinking.

Weren’t the $20M reddit claimed they are losing, missed opportunity costs? I.e. if Apollo users wouldn‘t use Apollo but the official app, they would make that amount of money off of them. So buying that amount of revenue for $10M sounds definitely reasonable to me. If what reddit claims would be truthful that would be a guaranteed 100% ROI.

Would those users continue using Apollo after Reddit bought it and filled it with ads or would they start to slowly drift away to other clients over time?

The “without much thinking” part is likely the mistake here.

i don’t care either way, other than HN and some Mastodon i don’t really social media much anymore. Reddit could disappear tonight and it wouldn’t bother me much, but…

> A comment which was a half-joke, as the audio recording shows clearly.

…at some point people need to understand that jokes are about timing, about audience, about place, and the subjects of the joke.

again, i have no dog in the fight, but the number of times i’ve heard “it was clearly a joke” is wild. we’ve all seen people from every political corner from every walk of life proclaim “clearly that was a joke” when repeatedly it wasn’t received this way by those involved.

jokes are about timing.

all of that said, i do wish the founder of apollo well, if old.reddit wasn’t your thing apollo truly was one of the better alternatives.

slight tangent, but this is another lesson on how we inevitably screw ourselves when relying on non-open source.

if it isn’t ours, the thing is someone else’s. we have to face this. we repeatedly see the repercussions of ignoring this fact.

It's patently obvious that they're just trying to drive up ad impression numbers on the app to inflate their financials before IPO/acquisition.

Reddit is still not profitable.

Profit depends on 2 things, revenue and expenses. Reddit has tripled their headcount over the last few years so they can focus on new features like NFTs. If they were concerned about sustainable profitability, IMO they should've kept their headcount around 500 people and tried to grow revenue without totally blowing up their costs.

I wouldn't be surprised if reddit was profitable/at least broke even 8 years ago.

Reddit needs 300 people max to run, and they got like 1500.

Considering moderation and basically all community upkeep is relegated to unpaid volunteers, even 300 is a lot.

AFAIK they have never been profitable.

It's not trying to be. They only care about the value of the equity, not about profitability.

It'd pretty easy to be a profitable company with a $10 million turnover, but you're not going to be a unicorn this way. Founders and VC wants high return on their equity, and today being enormous without profitability is valued more than being reasonable and profitable.

spez's comment "We’ll continue to be profit-driven until profits arrive. Unlike some of the 3P apps, we are not profitable." suggests a real concern about not being profitable. In fact, the whole ordeal reeks of panic – a last ditch attempt to right the ship before bankruptcy sets in.

There was once an age where investors would buy in simply on the belief of unicornedness, but that ship sailed several months ago. Investors have become much more critical of tech businesses, showing substantially less interest in tech companies that aren't displaying strong fundamentals. A recent Fidelity report indicates Reddit's own valuation has dropped by 41% on that change in sentiment.

There's no reason to buy's spez's words, nor any other executives in any company for that matter, their job is to spread a narrative.

In fact, if profitability was the goal, then he should have been ousted at this point, because he's been back for 8 years now without succeeding to make the company profitable.

I don't think he is that inapt, and that his board is stupid to let him in charge despite such a failure, profitability was just never the goal. Getting the biggest possible IPO is the goal, but the timing is actually very bad for them for the reason you mention and now they're trying as hard as they can, including by creating fake subreddits with translated old content for non-English speakers (at least French and German speakers).

> I don't think he is that inapt, and that his board is stupid to let him in charge despite such a failure, profitability was just never the goal.

Just fyi, reddit rose around the same time as Facebook so it’s likely they share a similar governance model, where founders control an outsized part of the board/voting shares. Since Uber and wework semi-imploded investors are less forgiving of that sort of thing but legacy companies like Reddit likely still are run that way.

Spez sold his shares in 2006 before joining back as a CEO in 2015. He probably has equity as the CEO, but not as many as a regular founder and as such he should have much less power and control over the company than Zuck.

Why do I get the impression that this is a delusional strategy?

If one of the most visited website/app in the world with highly cacheable and free content can't be profitable the internet is doomed.

But did they try to be?

How is reddit highly cacheable? Maybe old/infrequently accessed discussions are cacheable, but the live set is too dynamic. So there probably isnt much of a win there.

The feeds are definitely not cacheable (except for maybe on a per user basis with a low ttl). Popular and all are never the same upon reload. And every user is going to have a different combination of subreddits. Those feeds have to be generated on the fly. Most of the data is too dynamic and ever-changing to cache effectively.

- Cache for unlogged users, have a less dynamic front page (let's say 10s cache), that would help a lot

- Cache of most popular topics (again, even a 10s invalidation time) would help

For the logged users you could do something more dynamic, for example, cache the front-page snippets of the main subs + add the ones for the user. And again cache that

(unless the 'new reddit' makes this harder, to which I would say - well deserved! ;) )


Also a lot of their content is not "hot" and "commentable" anymore.

Maybe forums and digital commons shouldn't be.

How do you suggest they survive long term if the continue to lose money?

Stop spending so much money developing features that are useless for adding value to the site; stop hiring devs to create new 'resume' features like counter-productive reverse-blocking and hire devs to fix modding tools. Stop spending money hosting videos and multimedia when your core value is text conversations. Don't make stupid decisions like destroying your most popular features (the AMA subreddit, the secret santa) because you are stupid. Fire your CEO who is doing all of these things.

There is no reason reddit can't be profitable if they did these things. They don't need 100,000,000 users watching videos to bring in ad revenue. They need 10,000,000 users generating good content that ends up as top google results and they can find clever ways to monetize product tie-ins, annual meetups (those were a thing in a lot of cities a while ago), events, merch, and subscriptions. It isn't rocket science. The top stockholders just have to be satisfied to be millionaires instead of billionaires.

The community is not proposing $10 million dollar buyouts. That is literally a joke that if the API has the value Reddit claims (which it doesn't) then they are defacto putting those sorts of valuations on the app.

Reddit already bought a third party app with Alien Blue, and they ruined it so badly that they had to close it down and start again. Nobody wants Reddit in charge of the third party clients, they have awful UI designers and a user hostile UX team. The whole point of a third party client is that it has to actually design a UI that it's users like, or it dies.

> refrain from reasonable optimizations of their API calls

[citation needed]

(and not from someone known for lying and editing comments made by other people using their root access)

The developer has already clarified that Apollo was not the top user of the API. It was also confirmed by a Reddit employee.


> If anyone from reddit corporate is reading this, understand that you’re playing with fire here. This week is critical to saving your platform.

I'm actually quite surprised we've not had a Verge/Techcrunch/The Information story with views from the inside yet. Reddit was always a quite leaky ship that treats staff badly. Internally there has to be some people side-eyeing and thinking that Huffman has lost the plot, especially with his AMA making the blackout worse. Morale is probably not high. Those hanging around for any kind of IPO payout probably know this is going to hit the financials of that quite badly.

If your role is anything to do with community outreach you have to know you will not be able to do your job for the next year at least - even if Reddit were to somehow tough this out, it's most engaged users and moderators now hate your guts.

Maybe journalists are waiting for the strikes to really hit and we'll see it today.

While I sincerely hope Reddit feels the pressure and goes back, they have taken a bet in a different landscape as Digg:

1. The vast majority of Reddit users (maybe not the contributors) use the native app. I myself do as well. So this api change doesn’t affect me immediately (of course it does indirectly by restricting moderation and bots).

2. I open Reddit today and it’s different but not inferior. I’d argue the real value of Reddit nowadays is in all the nice subreddits one subscribes to, and most of them are still alive and active. My friends who just started redditting last year have not even noticed the whole shebang.

It’s very possible (in fact slightly more possible than not) that Reddit will survive this mostly unscathed. I’m not betting on it but I’m a poor speculator so don’t take my word for it for sure.

>The vast majority of Reddit users (maybe not the contributors) use the native app. I myself do as well.

The idea that you'd willingly use an app with baked-in ads is insane to me, to say nothing of the fact that the official app performs very poorly and could charitably be described as "dogshit UX".

> The idea that you'd willingly use an app with baked-in ads is insane to me

Do you have any friends outside tech circles?

Any time I see friends from non-tech industry browse web on their computers I wince so hard. I can't understand how they stand it but it's normal for them. It's also normal for them to wait few secons until pages/apps load because all the crap. Those people make up 99,9% of users everywhere except select sites like HN.

I never realized how fast the web is today with no ads, esp. on mobile! I am never going back, ads are cancer for me, this is not how I roll

Ads and websites in general have been expanding to fill available space for years, so it's hard to notice how large that space has gotten. Browsing without ads is like unclipping a ball and chain.

I’ve seen the same in comment threads outside of Reddit and I think many are simply not aware or care to try the third party apps and are quite used by ads in online services at this point, so this is not by itself a factor that have them questioning their choice.

The problem is you don't have the mindset of Joe Average. It's something most of us lose as we become nerds, enthusiasts, professionals, etc. We become disconnected with the commons.

As a Joe Average, computers are an appliance and the internet is merely a service like broadcast television. Reddit is merely a channel on broadcast television like CNN or BBC, and it's natural to use Reddit to use Reddit. Do you watch something other than BBC to watch BBC?

I agree with the crowd saying that this subreddit privatisation strike will have limited effect at most. Most people don't care and aren't affected, and that's the cold reality. Reddit itself is far beyond the point of critical mass, if there are even whispers that this strike is insufficient that means it is insufficient in the grander scale.

As another bit of anecdote, I remember when Digg died. It died overnight. Literally. One day everyone was talking about and on Digg, the next day everyone wasn't. When something on the internet dies, it dies. There are no rumors or murmurs of impending death, it just dies.

You must not have been part of the Digg exodus then. Because those of us on Digg that left, we knew the change was coming. Kevin Rose had talked about it. He gave some inklings of what was coming. The user base did protest. We did threaten. When they went ahead and went through with it, we left en masse for Reddit. Kevin sold the company, and gave information about what changes were coming. The community knew, and it was pissed. The only thing holding Reddit up right now, is lack of competition. If there was another site similar out there right now, a mass exodus would be underway right now. Mastodon, lemmy, all that stuff, doesn't count. It's not a real competitor, and neither is discord.

I wasn't part of the death of Digg, no. I don't really partake in social media much, so I was merely a witness to it as I noticed the noise coming down the grapevine via avenues like Slashdot.

You also kind of backed up my point; Reddit is way above critical mass right now and unlike with Digg that mass doesn't seem to be moving out anywhere. If these strikes and demonstrations want to make a difference the actions taken need to be far more drastic.

Real world worker strikes have a potential to work because the workers are willing to put their employment on the line, an ultimatum. What's happening on Reddit right now isn't an ultimatum; users aren't putting their Redditing on the line. Two days to a few weeks of privatisation is something Reddit can weather just fine, even moreso if the subreddit itself is still readable as in the case of some.

>The problem is you don't have the mindset of Joe Average. It's something most of us lose as we become nerds, enthusiasts, professionals, etc. We become disconnected with the commons.

Oh please, becoming a principled free rider is not some sort of enlightened stance. This is just a dressed-up version of the person who pirates whatever media they feel like because, like, capitalism sucks man.

It’s mostly inertia. I use the native app too, because I had no idea there was anything better till now. It just never came up for me.

>The idea that you'd willingly use an app with baked-in ads is insane to me

Do you also boycott all movies with product placement in them?

Geez, no wonder Reddit is trying to kill third party apps..

> 2. I open Reddit today and it’s different but not inferior. I’d argue the real value of Reddit nowadays is in all the nice subreddits one subscribes to, and most of them are still alive and active. My friends who just started redditting last year have not even noticed the whole shebang.

Most of these subreddits are driven by content creators and moderators who are fully dependent on third-party apps and moderation frameworks. The consumers might not personally care about those features, but if the core members of these small communities give up, all the content will dry up.

I wish pg would call up Huffman and try to convince him that this is a bad bet regardless of whether they win.

They’ll survive. But no one will love them anymore. I was still a fan of Reddit as a platform till the moment Huffman lied about Apollo’s developer for no reason whatsoever.

That goodwill is hard to earn. And although goodwill isn’t convertible to dollars directly, it tends to affect trajectory over the long term. See freenode’s dramatic decline, among many other examples.

I thought tildes was supposedly a Reddit alternative. I guess they never caught on.

pg would tell him to push through this, get the IPO, cash out, and then leave Reddit to become an angel investor.

Plus, pg would make money off the IPO. It’s a YC company after all.

pg has enough money. It’s not his primary motive.

Oh, my sweet summer child. Rich people never have enough money and power.

That's the thing about endless ambition - it comes with eternal discontent.

Capitalist's only motive is money, everything else be damned.

I think the demographics of present day reddit are very different from the ones of the ones of Digg (pre exhodus) or Slashdot (pre Digg). Most of the people will probably never care about any drama Reddit the company inflicts on some of its power users.

For sure. I don't remember Fark, but when Digg went from being a tech-centric site to a despicable spam bucket I do remember everyone fleeing to Reddit.

Now that Reddit is trash, I guess all the serious tech people are already here... ?

Here being HN? IMHO it’s not competing with Reddit, at most with a sub or five. It’s also different to the point of just not being a replacement. Redditors are currently mostly looking at Lemmy. Not sure it’s ready for prime time either.

I wasn't familiar with Reddit when Digg sold out; I just remember the exodus, and the topics on Reddit seemed tech-centric enough. Then over time there were more and more posts showing up on the front page with titles like, "This little guy followed me home," about puppies and whatnot.

I didn't even know what subReddits were; but now that I do, I'm baffled as to where the former Digg people were posting and why I managed to see mostly their traffic for days or weeks on Reddit without making any effort to go into a tech sub.

That was the old Reddit design, so maybe there was something fundamentally different about it.

Yeah, I have a direct competitor to lemmy, and I feel like it's even less ready for an influx of users of the magnitude the reddit exodus will be.

> If anyone from reddit corporate is reading this, understand that you’re playing with fire here. This week is critical to saving your platform.

They understand. They know, but it seems they're not budging. And it's because of money; if Reddit goes public, they and all investors will instantly become multi-millionaires; if the site then goes to shit, they won't care anymore.

But they pulled this too early, and it'll affect the IPO, even whether it'll go through or not.

Lemmy and its instances could be it.

I've tried to register a Lemmy account but I can't. Many instances require you to write an essay about why you want to join, why you picked your username, etc, and then wait for approval. The Lemmy instances I found that don't do this appear to be overloaded.

Kbin.social seems to be more stable, even if it's alpha software. And it integrates with Lemmy.

I also went with kbin but I gotta say writing an essay to join someone's privately hosted service isn't a bad idea. This is what it was like when people were hosting servers on their personal phone lines.

If we want the internet to be federated, by the people, for the people yada yada, then this is what we'll have to get used to again. Big corps took it away for a while but do we really want their future?

On a related note, I tried to find an alternative to /r/nfl a few months ago, signed up for a good looking community, and am still waiting for manual admin approval apparently. It makes me wonder how many of these medium size forums are being killed by bots?

I'm a fairly heavy Reddit user and I've been musing on what I would lose if Reddit shut down. I came to the conclusion that /r/nfl and /r/knitting were far and away the leaders (and in fact otherwise it might be a net positive as I wasn't scrolling through rubbish for hours). There isn't another form of sports coverage that is as rapid and universal (I paid for The Athletic for a while and that was decent), and the knitting subreddit is constantly giving me project ideas and things to learn.

So you can join; it's just a different process you're not used to.

You can (and maybe should) host your own lemmy instance and participate in the discussions.

Good for signal, bad for scale.

Like Mastodon to Twitter? I like the idea, but it's not really taking off, is it?

As long as Reddit's powerusers are still hoping for a retraction it won't, but if Reddit keep at it, I can see the move happening, especially for the big (over 500K) subreddits.

Lemmy is falling over with less than 100k users. How are they magically going to handle 5x, 10x, 100x? The platform is maybe interesting, but the devs need to own up to the fact that they dont have a scaling story -- written in rust is not a valid answer. Instances are already deciding not to federate, theres no network-wide search, signup flows sound ridiculous (pick server and write an essay? yah no), how do i move servers and what happens when an instance disappears?

In the one of the first big Apollo threads, one of the devs was spamming Lemmy throughout the discussion as the next great reddit replacement: easy, federated, more performant than reddit. I guess he almost got 1 out of 3 correct.

This take seems short sided, at best. Because we don't have a perfect solution with zero friction to swap to, we shouldn't try? Most new tech goes through growing pains, including reddit back in the day.

It's fine to be critical, but it's important to foster an environment that encourages growth and competition. Have electric cars sucked for the last decade? Yes, but we should still invest and promote them as they offer a better future.

Twitter killed a lot of third party apps and it just grew and grew. I suspect there is a vocal minority complaining about these changes. Most sub’s are going dark for 2 days. Time will pass and Reddit will continue to have a highly active user base.

Reddit is relying heavily on the voluntary work of moderators. Without them and power users that indirectly curate the content of subreddits, the site is toast. Reddit is not dying by alienating its user base; it might be if they are alienating their power users.

They probably used all that nice volunteering work to train a moderation model by now.

Pretty sure that would kill the platform

That won't work, moderation is human-complete.

This boycott will not leave Reddit bereft of moderators or powerusers.

That vocal minority also skews heavily towards those who contribute via moderation, posting and commenting.

Twitter has a payrolled moderation team and while 3rd party apps had benefits an house app without major feature gaps.

Twitter also hasn't grown since making the change - usage has dropped (depending on measurement / estimate) 8-15% and is still dropping.

Techy/young people think that they are the intended audience of Reddit.

You're not anymore. The intended audience is _bigger_. It's like how Facebook shifted from young college folks to kids, moms, grandpas, and mainly companies.

The original users of Facebook left, but Facebook still grew.

Now it's Reddit's turn to swap its original user base with a bigger target audience.

And do you think that new demographic will be willing to put in the same unpaid hours to moderate the site?

Nope. They'll just outsource this to underpaid contractors like Facebook does.

Even better, if they could leverage LLMs, they could maybe automate a large part of the initial moderation. They have already acknowledged that these models were likely trained on their data. Why not feed new posts back into it and determine about relevance (on vs off topic), attitude (compassion vs hate) or quality (written by a bot)?

There's arguably more unpaid moderators on Facebook inside groups than reddit. FB claims 10million groups while reddit says 3.4 subreddits

reddit is an order or magnitude smaller so in actually surprised the group numbers are so close which only proves the communities is a core feature of reddit

Twitter's official app and interfaces were never as user-hostile and borderline unusable as Reddit's app and redesigned web interface.

And twitter never tried to pivot its core product and kick out most of its users to chase last year's hype and be more attractive to markets that are already happy with other apps.

But it kept and incorporated Tweetdeck, for the "pro" users

Their mobile app also incorporated a lot of features and it is not a POS like the Reddit app

Twitter is not that comparable to be fair.

It is not so anonymous and real people actually depend on it. Politicans, official organisatons for communication and so on. It is harder to leave it.

Not to mention moderators.

Any source that it is growing?

The problem is a lack of alternatives. At least with Twitter there was mastodon, but that was always going to fail outside of techie circles. What is the alternative to Reddit? Years ago the idea of starting a successful social network was a venture capitalist’s dream, but I wonder if they’ve woken up to the challenges of actually managing one.

They don't care about saving their platform, they care about cashing out in the IPO. The incentives are all wrong, and show why every link-aggregator site ultimately kills itself trying to become Facebook.

no,this is for that IPO.

/s if needed

Here's my question: Can HN recover from this?

It was already getting choppy with the election and cryptocurrency generating huge emotional hellthreads. Then came Musk and Mastodon. Now it's Reddit. HN is just turning into another hub of tech outrage. This site is giving me pain to read now.

Want to see a contrast? Look at the comments on this Reddit drama and compare it against the original Digg redesign drama on HN a decade ago. There's a sharp difference in comment quality.

I think some context you might be missing is the intimate connection between Reddit and YC. Reddit is a YC story[1][2] and the founders even claim that Reddit was the first YC Company to launch[1]. As far as I understand it Reddit was one of those key early startups that Paul Graham modelled future YC around.

Further reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz, rest-in-peace, was a and highly inflential in his contribution to RSS, Creative Commons, Open Access academic publishing and pushing for an open internet generally. Maybe some see it as a stretch to point to the impact of Aarons work in todays Reddit but the history is there. His story is part of Reddit's story and YC/HN's story.

Reddit is a product of YC and HN has always followed Reddit closely.

Generally available API access has been a defining feature of many HN startups so far. This shift alone, towards a world where big tech are locking out API access and squeezing indie devs, is also of great interest to many who rely on API's for work and play.

It's a perfect storm and we're all watching closely.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPN2vmZl4kA [2] https://www.ycombinator.com/companies/reddit [3] https://www.theverge.com/2012/11/30/3709702/watch-this-reddi...

> I think some context you might be missing is the intimate connection between Reddit and YC. Reddit is a YC story[1][2] and the founders even claim that Reddit was the first YC Company to launch[1]. As far as I understand it Reddit was one of those key early startups that Paul Graham modelled future YC around.

Reddit is definitely a YC story, and so is HN. But Reddit isn't HN's story. It's one of many. Except the frontpage is filled with multiple Reddit stories with repetition of the same comments.

> Generally available API access has been a defining feature of many HN startups so far. This shift alone, towards a world where big tech are locking out API access and squeezing indie devs, is also of great interest to many who rely on API's for work and play.

> It's a perfect storm and we're all watching closely.

Sure there's nothing wrong with following closely. As you say, this is a big moment in economic models of tech. But the quality of this commentary is just bad. I feel like I'm watching my grandmother watch a soap opera on TV after a long day. Maybe this is just me, but judging by the voting happening on my comment, it's not.

> Reddit is definitely a YC story, and so is HN. But Reddit isn't HN's story. It's one of many.

HN and Reddit are deeply intertwined at multiple levels. There's a cultural connection ("this site is turning into reddit" is a decade+-old meme that just can't die). There's a historical legacy one - HN came about because pg wanted to recreate the kind of culture Reddit had in its first two years, while the latter kept evolving past niche startup/tech content. There's a technological one - Reddit started as a Lisp success story (written/prototyped in Common Lisp, subsequently rewritten in Python), HN is written in pg's own Lisp dialect, Arc.

For better or worse, Reddit is part of HN's DNA. It's not just accidental phenotype similarity (both being link aggregation/commentary boards with up/down-voting karma mechanism) - HN is Reddit's younger sibling.

> Except the frontpage is filled with multiple Reddit stories with repetition of the same comments.

This is temporary. Reddit is going through a critical moment right now, but the amount of Reddit stories should start to decay in the next couple days or weeks (unless Reddit manages to turn it into a perpetual high-intensity crisis).

I'm pretty sure for the last decade or so the main reason people read and contribute to HN is that it's not reddit.

Part of that HN is not known for the perpetual "drama" generation the reddit community is known for.

I say that as someone who left HN for reddit. And someone who mostly tries not to comment here, lest that makes HN more like reddit. HN should stay different.

> for the last decade or so the main reason people read and contribute to HN is that it's not reddit

To the extent people think or even say this explicitly, this is literally defining HN in terms of Reddit. The sign on the vector may be negative, but it still connects the two.

It will pass. A lot of HN users are Reddit users. It’s natural for there to be overlap. Let us nerds mourn the decline of our meme sanctuary & things will return to normal.

> Reddit is definitely a YC story, and so is HN. But Reddit isn't HN's story. It's one of many.

That is true, but emotional/historical connections changes how people feel about things, even though it might not be "how it ought to be". Reddit is closer to YC and therefore closer to HN, no matter how independent HN should be from YC.

That was so long ago it’s almost irrelevant. The only relevant connection is the last remaining YC founder Steve Huffman who likely is going to be heavily influenced by Sam Altman on the LLM=fresh real-time conversational data being valuable.

If stuff like GPT is going to be useful as a Q&A engine on Google/Bing it needs plenty of data feeds that are coming in quickly and fed into training. People claim some old scaped DBs of Reddit comments are enough because some OSS model trained on it but I’m skeptical that’s a serious option for Microsoft and the like.

Otherwise the HN/YC<>Reddit is pretty much just an old founding story, not one relevant to today or the culture of HN.

It's a good place to discuss these changes. Especially if your an IT entrepreneur. You can get priceless information about user attitudes to change and what they really want and not want. The level of discourse he is much better than most anywhere else, so you get well thought out opinions and arguments.

You forgot AI.


>Want to see a contrast?

The new Digg (2012) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4321773

What difference in comment quality do you mean exactly?

> OK, I fire up the site. I see 6 big pictures, 6 links to actual content and minimal navigation. A whole screen and only 6 bits of actual content? Its like a children's book. And more and more sites age going for this style. Is this the web now? The BBC Olympic site has gone this route and its awful to navigate. [0]

Wow, a comment about Digg in 2012 applies _perfectly_ to new Reddit, except I get 2 big pictures instead of 6.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4322126

> You forgot AI.

You're right, but the reason I didn't include it is that the coverage around AI isn't all emotional. There's a lot of hype behind it yes, but at it's core it's based on new products that people are excited about. But maybe I should have. A lot of them devolve into the same type of hellthread.

> What difference in comment quality do you mean exactly?

Discussion about CSS and web design features, discussions about web accessibility, and how there were just very few flippant comments. These big Reddit threads have a lot of pithy "f** Reddit" comments and lots and lots of silly (angry) jokes that make me feel like I'm on Reddit and not on HN.

On one hand, it doesn't make sense to be talking about CSS and web design when we are talking about _policy_ changes. I'm sure if you go back to when Reddit first released the new frontend, you would fine all the CSS discussions you look for.

On the other hand, lots of discussions are also happening around design and accessibility. Reddit's official app has bad design, including many dark patterns and terrible accessibility and performance. This has been discussion alongside the policy changes from day one.

Wow, it was peak "Apple, my way or the highway" mentality there. They were also expecting users to ultimately just put up with it, it doesn't seem like they expected the exodus. Calling Noscript users entitled. It really does feel like a different era. People aren't so ready to give tech companies the benefit of the doubt now.

In general the lack of separate communities, and the technical posts that take up a good portion of the front page seem to guard against that kind of Eternal September on HN. The top of the front page right now:

  1. Before Reddit and Digg, there was Fark. Then a user-hostile redesign killed it (fark.com)
  2. Why Perl?
  3. Video to Video with Stable Diffusion (Step-by-Step) – Stable Diffusion Art
  4. The Surprising Power of Documentation
  5. Intel is all-in on backside power delivery (ieee.org)
  6. Temperature-dependent RNA editing in octopus recodes the neural proteome
  7. MIDI 2.0 driver support coming with Linux 6.5
I suppose you'll know it's over when there are no more technical posts. So keep upvoting them ;).

We can always hit the emergency button labeled "please post and upvote some Erlang stories quick!". Worked well in the past.

That was back when pg still posted here and could rally the troops.

Doesn’t look like he engages much https://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=pg

Maybe dang could arrange something or it could happen organically. But that particular event was in response to an acute flood of traffic. Not some long term reduction in comment quality and Reddit-tier rage/politics.

You can’t fight floods with a small temporary dam. Nor can you moderate your way out of it entirely as every major subreddit has shown (hyper modding usually does the opposite by sanctioning a certain ‘acceptable’ set of low quality posting and fuelling meta drama).

I think that was updated to a Rust button long ago.

Nah, Rust is way too hip these days. I think a more suitable topic would be eBPF or theorem provers.

There have always been fluctuations and swings in HN's history, sometimes big swings, and those always bring these sorts of reflection. But then it fluctuates or swings its way back out.

Randomness inevitably includes sequences that seem non-random—sometimes longer than one would think possible from a random process.

If you have any ideas about how to further dampen hellthreads, I'm all ears. We can't just suppress them because that would produce an even more hellthreadish backlash.

I would like to ask a different question: Why is the site Hacker news still called Hacker news?

I've been reading Hacker news since 2008, but as things stand now, I'm afraid I won't be reading it for much longer. Why? Because for the last (at least) few years, more and more often I catch myself asking: why is "Hacker news" even called "Hacker news" anymore?

Maybe this question will sound strange to some people here, but once upon a time in the past Hacker news used to have a lot of posts that were actually interesting to hackers. Today on HN mostly topics about entrepreneurship, economy, about unscrupulous rich people who make money from the corpses of others, and for whom the audience applauds in unison here, etc., prevail. We can say that the topics about everything that real hackers have never been interested in and which is the antithesis of hackers prevail here.

Guys, I guess we know what hackers are, what kind of people they are and what actually drives them? I say this because what we read here on HN has nothing to do with it. Why did this shift in interest occur? And, wouldn't it be great if the owners of this site would admit it, be honest and rename the site to, for example, "How to become the new Elon Musk"? I think that would be quite appropriate, because this place has nothing to do with hackers anymore, so it would be fair to admit that!

What are some examples of articles that you think would be of more interest to hackers?

Where is the SNR better than HN though? Maybe lobste.rs, but there's almost no conversation. It's easier imo to ignore the stuff that I don't care about (despite regularly getting caught up in whatever dumb thing) and pick out the interesting gems, than anywhere else.

Put another way, there's a tradeoff between false positives, (hustle bro Musk story, say) and false negatives (a story that would generate good discussion not making the front page - yesterday there was one about the air India flight landing in Russia that had a bunch of political comments but also lots of interesting talk about other times planes landed on the wrong runway, taking off with one engine, etc.)

Since the cost of false negative is much higher than false positives, better to skew that way.

Just ignore every post related to this subject and you'll be fine? If some people want to discuss it just let them, there is enough space on the site after all.

Let’s hope that hacker news prevents new signups if a mass migration looks imminent. This is still a great place I hope it stays that way.

Realistically, I would say Reddit users are playing with fire.

Reddit is owned and controlled by VCS who have been finding out playground in the hopes of future profits. We all know and understand the game. They hoped they built a website where the users were assets. The Reddit users think they are assets. However, it Reddit can’t make a profit off of them. They aren’t assets they are liabilities.

Any site wanting to replace Reddit would need either someone with a sizeable amount of cash to fund it or VC money. Realistically, this is the week where we find out if Reddit users are assets or liabilities. If they’re liabilities who wants to fund a replacement?

What happens is they can’t make money off the API? I would presume cancel the IPO and make mass layoffs, cut everything to the barebones and make money that way. VCS will make their money while the site burns.

However, what will Redditors do? Go to a bunch of small communities where the group knowledge is smaller and not as good.

> Reddit users are playing with fire

The users have nothing to lose. Worst case Huffman and his owners go ahead with smashing and burning the 3rd party moderation and commenting infrastructure - they would have done that even without protests. Would Huffman ban the people who contribute and moderate the discussions and police spam for free, and hire paid mods instead? A week ago I'd have said that not even he is that boneheaded...

> The users have nothing to lose

Reddit users have Reddit to lose. A site that gives them hours of entertainment, allows them to access support groups, find out tips and tricks, get advice, and much more. It'll cost tens of millions a month to host another. Who has that?

VCs will get their money one way or another. Either they get their way with this and monetise users who previously were not monetised. Or they make profit other ways.

> and burning the 3rd party moderation

This here shows how out of touch you are with the reality of things. Third party moderation tools are staying. They're beneficial to Reddit, of course they're going to keep giving them free access.

> Third party moderation tools are staying. They're beneficial to Reddit, of course they're going to keep giving them free access.

This turns out to be much more of a mixed bag in reality. Many of the third party moderation tools are built into the third party mobile apps, which will not get free access.

In the AMA OP [0] they listed a few projects that will get free access, some moderation tools among it, but even just requiring registration for such tools will have a massive chilling effect on the existing and future ecosystem.

[0]: https://old.reddit.com/r/reddit/comments/145bram/addressing_...

Reddit isn't the only forum on the Internet. This one for example. Think about it like this, there are thousands of sites run for free by people who are passionate about certain communities or hobbies. This is what Reddit has tried to compete with, and it seems to be an uphill battle.

Reddit has for the most part won that battle. Most people create their forums on Reddit these days to get transaction from Reddit.

These smaller forums can’t compete with Reddit on the whole. Sure you have places like hbf forums, file sharing talk, etc which are better for that niche but when dealing with people wanting various communities in the same place there is no viable replacement.

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