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The Reddits (ycombinator.com)
463 points by sandslash 63 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 759 comments

A few years ago I sent a message to spez on Reddit asking if he'd ever open source the original Lisp version of Reddit. He actually responded and said he couldn't find it, but then a while later it was indeed released. I like to think maybe I contributed to the butterfly effect of that happening.


Interesting, it has a del.icio.us scraper. I still don't understand why that site disappeared, it was great. By my recollection, Yahoo bought it and killed it.

I wish someone brought back a Delicious clone. I loved its naive Web 2.0 aesthetics.

I think it was a really nice service. Right now all similar ones I know of are unpleasant to use and get in your way.

It was really minimal and useful to find new things. One particular area where link sharing makes a lot of sense, yet existing services are not very nice, is academic papers.

I don’t really remember delicious, but what would the difference be from something like https://pinboard.in/popular/ ? I was under the impression that’s basically a clone. Was it just a different aesthetic?

Pinboard was a clone with a different business model: users actually paid for it.

Fast forward, and delicious died, only to be acquired by — you guessed it — Pinboard [1]. Because Pinboard was actually serving its paying customers, it just kept trucking along.

[1]: https://blog.pinboard.in/2017/06/pinboard_acquires_delicious...

delicious launched before Pinboard, IIRC. There were a number of such services.

try it out. del.icio.us

That's exactly what happened and made me hate Yahoo even more than I already had. The day delicious was shut down for good I lost something that I have never managed to replace. Sad times :(

It still exists.

That's really cool! Thanks for link. I guess I just never assumed that would be open sourced!

Old versions of Reddit (in Python IIRC) were open source. They just stopped updating it.

I once asked a famous biscuit (cookie) factory nearby in a smallish city that never gives tours whether I could tour the factory just as a bucket list check off and never expected to get anywhere.

They said they don't do that and will never do that unfortunately.

A couple weeks later they auctioned off tickets to the factory tours as a "special event". I felt incredibly sour from that. I felt like a little more of humanity had eroded.

You wanted something from someone for free and then felt sour that they were going to charge for it?

Are you friends with these people? Why do they owe you anything

I think the annoyance is that they weren't interested in giving tours until someone asked, and they figured out they could make a profit. Pretty reasonable to expect a ticket, even if it isn't free.

I guess the annoyance is they said never, changed their mind, and auction the ticket off.

If I were the factory owner, I would reserve a ticket for him and give a discounted price to thank for his idea.

Yeah I felt sour but I didn't really have any reason to in today's modern world. I shouldn't expect the human I talked with to actually care.

Depending on the trade secrets involved it could be a paranoid choice made in an area that rewards paranoia.

Maybe having somebody reach out for a tour was just red flaggy enough. I agree it’s weird and kind of crummy to then offer an auction up.

That's not why I felt sour. My original request even offered to pay for it.

Could you not participate in the auction?

I found out well after unfortunately. And tickets were sold pretty damn fast.

Auction? So, for charity?

Man A: "Hey B, here's a nice idea. Will you do it?"

Man B: "No. Fuck off."

Local News: "Man B wins the lottery after exploiting a free idea."

Yep, you can advocate everything is fine with this scenario. You could instead advocate for a different scenario. You know, when you talk to your kids. Or family. Or friends. Or neighbours. And they talk to their x/y/z/a/b/c. Or you could advocate for being an asshole to, what amounts to, a finite number of people. Like a pebble in the pond, causing ripples. Some are poison. Some are not. But you choose which it is.

I think the issue here is a form of main character syndrome. Where people over-value their ideas, feel entitled, and make up stories where everyone else is the asshole.

Man A thinks he is a genius, and man B never considered a tour. Man A assumes nobody else has ever asked, and they aren't the 10th person this week. Man A thinks the idea is a critical contribution, not having the knowledge, planning, giving the tour, or having a factory.

Yeah this is why I let my sour feelings go but still consider the interaction funny.

Why would I, a grown man, be let into a factory based on a bucket list idea out of nowhere? Even if it's something people would have gladly done in this corner of the world 20 years ago.

Why would they, a professional company, talk to me ever again even if I were the straw to break the camels back of "touring". haha

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Figured I'd share this since its comp info you don't normally see. A lot of people made a lot of money today. I got 150,000 options for Reddit very early after it was spun out. With today's price, that's $7.5M, but I didn't get all 4 years of vesting, the pay was below-average, and my money was tied up. During the same decade, the faangs were up 12x on average, but the pay was better, and my money would have been liquid. Reddit might not hold up for 6 months, either.

Thanks for sharing, always fascinating to see different lottery tickets.

Why didn't you take a deal with a secondary market buyer? Quid or SecFi or whatever

Regardless of what price they quote in their emails, I’ve heard that Quid will only loan you a quarter of the FMV of your shares, at 15% APR (deferred) — plus 5.5% of your shares outright, which increases annually.

It sounds like a horrible deal.

100% of $0 is $0. Even 25% of $7.4m is $1.8m

These shares weren’t ever worth $7.4m at FMV.

what was the 409a?

Did you really just ask for a 409a in a public forum? You do realize those are closely guarded secrets?

Did you miss the key words of LOAN and 15% APR?

You should be able to get a non-recourse loan, i.e. where you never owe more than the stock is worth. That said, Reddit was one of the more secondary-unfriendly firms, if memory serves correctly, if you didn’t have Board or senior management connections.

it's a non-recourse loan though, so if Reddit didn't IPO and you can't pay, you don't owe money you don't have.

> Reddit the site (and now app) is such a fundamentally useful thing that it's almost unkillable.

Looking forward to see how true this is. The communities I used to frequent, have maybe 20% of the activity they used to, before the API fiasco, even though they're "back online". I also stopped using reddit on the phone after my chosen reddit client was closed down (which I'm grateful for, thanks reddit).

My reddit activity probably dropped way below half compared to before, as the communities I used to be in are now shells of their former glory.

I was very late to the Reddit party and created my first account a year or two ago.

I posted a little bit and then one day had a big red banner on the top telling me that my account was suspended for violating the TOS (my posts were on a puppetry subreddit about puppets and were very "normal" posts... how I could have violated the TOS was beyond me). I immediately appealed and the suspension was lifted (without any explanation as to what caused my account to be suspended in the first place). But even though my account is able to post and do everything a non-suspended account can, there's still that red banner at the top every time I access the website telling me my account was suspended and to check my inbox messages for instructions on how to appeal.

That user experience kind of killed any desire of mine to ever use Reddit again.

I have a similarly buggy experience: My 13-year old account with zero history of problems (and incidentally 500k comment karma) was randomly shadowbanned. I used their appeal page, got a message apologizing and saying my appeal was granted...

... But it's still shadowbanned and everything I ever wrote over those years is still gone, except now the appeals page doesn't even work because it claims my account is in good standing.

So I went looking for some kind of human help or support, but another old Reddit account (a resurrected job search throwaway from 5+ years ago) got immediately killed the exact same way, the lying "granted" appeal and all!

It certainly revitalized my interest in using personal-blogging for information instead of contributing anything to Reddit's decaying ecosystem.

Rather the same here.

A month or two after my main account was banned (see my other post in this thread), I logged into a second account which I'd not logged into for months.

Upon logging in, I discovered the account was "permanently suspended", and the reason for this was, and I quote;

"Your account has been permanently suspended for ."

Maybe next time you'll think twice before you .

i thought it was only a problem if you a coke bottle!

Just a guess it was from one of the bot purges and somehow they thought you were on a phoney account.

I think Paul's right in the sense that reddit seems to thrive as a community when the smallest amount of effort is put into running it. The series of leadership horror shows that all mostly left the site alone demonstrates that.

The recent very active moves to clean the site up and prep for this IPO have had a detrimental community effect in the sense of disgruntlement, but I would wager have been excellent in making the site more palatable as a business.

Virtually none of the reddit-alternatives that all spun up in the wake of this mop job have taken off. So assuming our gut feeling is right that reddit engagement is down, then overall engagement on all reddits is down and users have entirely moved to other social media styles entirely.

There's the other angle on this, that engagement is down, but it was calculated to get rid of mostly users who cost reddit things, or are of an undesirable user population (troublesome, illegal, etc.) And what's left is mostly a user class that maximizes the monetary value that can be harvested.

There are huge and obvious areas where reddit can better monetize the site if they wished, and I would guess that it's going to happen. Reddit has a very long history of doing a bunch of different experiments with the site, and an influx of investment to properly analyze and then monetize the more successful ones is my guess as to what's going to happen. The recent drive to vacuum up and sell data to LLM companies is serendipitous icing right now.

There's also the huge opening that's happening right now with Twitter, where with a few chess moves, Reddit could very easily turn into or pick up the population of exTwitter users who find the current ownership trends so toxic they don't want to be associated with it any longer, but don't have a platform with a built in non-friends public sphere to turn to -- which is why Facebook hasn't been able to really tap into that market gap.

> And what's left is mostly a user class that maximizes the monetary value that can be harvested.

Yes, probably, but the user based changed dramatically before this. Since 2019 MAU more than doubled. I deleted my 11y old account after the last debacle. It was in the ~8th percentile of oldest accounts. That’s mind blowing, because I was by no means an early adopter.

The drop in signal-to-noise ratio has been dramatic over the years. The interesting, nerdy and quirky is drowned completely by memes, political rage bait, staged sob stories, etc. Which is fine for short term business, but also makes it replaceable. Attention brokerage is “daily fix” business, loyalty is near zero, and competition is fierce.

So every time someone argues a decision is good for business, it needs to be qualified by time and risk. If you sell your house to buy Nvidia calls, is that good for your personal finance?

>Virtually none of the reddit-alternatives that all spun up in the wake of this mop job have taken off.

You forgot about random discords, which is where they went.

Underrated observation. Discord has stayed in the shadows to the wider audience but in terms of quality content and community building, from my POV it’s already surpassed Reddit’s peak. I don’t like that it’s yet another proprietary platform, and the ownership/business side is shady to say the least. But man, the product is light years ahead in almost every respect, except (importantly) discoverability.

I've been seeing talk on a few servers I moved to about what their "next move" will be when Discord pulls more BS. So they're actively thinking and talking about how to keep the community going longer term. I hope they circle back to forums. They're so much better in virtually every way and can be setup to have livechat, reddit-style posts, you name it.

That and some moved to forums. I didn't get a complete 1 for 1 of all the subreddits I used to frequent, but most of the main ones I used have moved to one of those solutions.

> undesirable user population

Above all the examples you listed: tech-savvy redditors who know how to use adblock and Old Reddit.

Reddit gets its value from the users that were affected and pissed off by the recent events. Calling the moderators who created and continued to foster communities which exist to farm content for the company 'landed gentry' and telling them that their concerns over being able to work with a broken and incomplete toolset in their terrible app were not worthy of even a good faith conversation caused an irreconcilable awareness of exactly what they meant to in the reddit equation. You don't ever want to do that -- let people who work hard to create value for you live under the illusion (and often reality) that they are doing it for themselves and for their fellow community members, and they will happily break their backs for you and praise your platform. But if you make it obvious what you really want from them, they will realize how much energy it takes to deal with all of the moderation and cultivation and when they reach that point when one too many people called them a Nazi for removing a low effort post they look in the mirror and go 'why am I doing this' and you lose them.

Sure, it works to immediately cull a lot of the 'whiners who only cause you problems' but you end up bleeding the people who do irreplaceably valuable work for you for free, and your platform becomes a cesspool of low-effort crap and you can see that happening in real time.

They killed their golden goose.

But they got their IPO and spez is gonna cash out and wash his hands of all of it and get congrats from his silicon valley buddies and go to sleep at night thinking how much those ungrateful idiots used his platform for free and didn't understand reality and how people like him needed to be rewarded for their work. All the while ignoring the fact that he is actually just a terrible businessman who, if he hadn't met Paul Graham and given free money and an idea and hadn't gotten incredibly lucky that digg imploded at exactly the right time, he would be an upper middle class suburbanite making a living wage working as a salesman for a SaaS company or something.

Yea, i stopped using it from mobile entirely when that happened. I expect them to kill `old.reddit` soon any that'll be the end of that for me. ATProto is far more interesting to me, if/when someone makes a link aggregator for them rather than the Twitter style UI of Bluesky. ActivityPub will do in a pinch, if needed. (i already tested this idea, for ~60 days with zero Reddit)

Old style interface on a development focused lemmy instance has completely replaced reddit usage for me

This is the equivalent of /r/all across the lemmy world


How's the built in censorship and cultural bias with Lemmy?

It definitely seems to lean left, from my (American) view. That might be because most of the western world would classify as left by my (American) standards?

There have been some right-wing and far-right instances, but they seem to get de-federated by the majority.

Hope that helps.

"Left" and "right" tend to decoher once you move outside a particular political space into another (e.g. one country to another). The UK right wing party introduced gay marriage, but even the most left wing part of the country (Scotland) isn't particularly progressive (e.g. majority disapproval of allowing gender self identification to 16).

Similarly, trying to judge the UK on racial issues by US standards gets quite confusing. The common British attitude towards Romani would make even the confederate flag wavers of Texas call them racists.

On the other hand, there's full support for plenty of state intervention and state support, e.g. pretty much no one says they want to abolish the NHS.

> Similarly, trying to judge the UK on racial issues by US standards gets quite confusing. The common British attitude towards Romani would make even the confederate flag wavers of Texas call them racists.

Not directly related to Romani treatment in Britain (not familiar enough with that to judge), but sometimes I wonder if the english language needs better words to distinguish between race based bigotry and culture based bigotry.

eg often I notice for a person there will be a difference in how they treat/view "acclimatised" descendants of immigrants vs new immigrants due to being ostensibly the same race but different culturally. Of course racists will still have bigotry for both groups.

> sometimes I wonder if the english language needs better words

Words like this are not bad by coincidence, they're bad because they're incredibly politically important words and thus have their meanings and connotations fought over intensely.

It doesn't matter what new word or words you try and put in place, if they relate to things people have different strong feelings on then the meanings will become messy over time.

The word I think you're searching for is, "xenophobia."

In this connection, the book Lavengro by George Borrow is interesting reading.


Excerpts from the Wikipedia article:

Lavengro: The Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest (1851) is a work by George Borrow, falling somewhere between the genres of memoir and novel, which has long been considered a classic of 19th-century English literature.

Theodore Watts, in an introduction to the 1893 edition, declared that "There are passages in Lavengro which are unsurpassed in the prose literature of England".[9] This edition started a run of reprints which produced one or more almost every year for 60 years. Lavengro was included in the Oxford University Press World's Classics series in 1904, and in Everyman's Library in 1906.[10]

> The common British attitude towards Romani would make even the confederate flag wavers of Texas call them racists.

I think you are misjudging the confederate flag wavers, what makes you say this?

it's awful. it's like a single reddit. the instances are atomic, so you get world-moderators, who are all "tankies" in lemmy own parlance (left, communist, heavily sided with russia as ussr continuity)

very toxic place. kinda like bizarro TwitterX.

If you use lemmy.ml, sure. Or if you don't curate a frontpage of your own topics, sure. But I joined through some unaligned Scandinavian instance, found topics I like, and stay away from the /r/all equivalent, and it's just as tolerable as Reddit, if less populous.

Isn't it federated? How could global moderators decide what's visible on all instances?

federated is a meaningless word.

I joined a instance focused on Android and follow another "mainstream" sub, and don't see that. There are some instances that are very "tankie" learning though... I avoid them, like I avoid any far right/left subs on reddit.

Good, it leans left, but not so far left that it’s just LGBTQ/feminist spam. It doesn’t have a bunch of right wing trolls so far. It’s like the early days of Reddit.

> Good, it leans left, but not so far left that it’s just LGBTQ/feminist spam.

It's not quite _spam_ but I think it's fair to say it's much more left-leaning than mainstream Reddit.

Some of the biggest communities, even non-political ones, are on instances such as Blåhaj (LGBTQ-oriented), Lemmy.ML (Marxist-oriented), Hexbear (Marxists on meth).

Short of subscribing to a defederated instance, you need to go out of your way to avoid left-wing content on Lemmy. Whereas on Reddit you could get rid of most of it by unsubscribing from the top 100 subreddits - which is something you wanted to do anyway for the sake of quality, even if you were the world's biggest leftist.

There's a really good quip here about how leftwingers are naturally the most likely candidates to give away free web forums instead of trying to run web forum businesses, but I'm keeping it subscribers-only.

The early days of Reddit was heavily libertarian, if only reddit voted in 2008 and 2012, Ron Paul would have been a two term president.

That's correct. When people speak of the early days of Reddit it seems like they are talking about whatever time long ago they initially joined.

I'm always hesitant to make accounts on new sites, so I thought I had waited a long time to join officially, but I ended up being in the first 500 accounts! From the earliest days (the del.icio.us to Reddit influx) it was a very libertarian place. Sometimes annoyingly so.

Reddit has shifted so many times over the nearly 2 decades, but most who stay for a long time have realized that it's great for pocket communities in smaller subreddits, as long as they last and aren't co-opted. The bots are the worst part at the moment.

I remember in the early days of reddit there was a guy who would post links to his Austrian economics / Murray Rothbard blog every day, and they would end up on the front page because they had like 50 upvotes.

It was a pretty left leaning libertarian though. As soon as those racist papers he authored came out he quickly fell off of Reddit’s radar. Not to mention, he co-opted at lot of the left’s iconography with his re”love”ution campaign.

It looks like Old Reddit, but the content is New Reddit.

It's just a stream of political dreck and virtue signalling. I really don't need to see Trump in every second post and read about people who hate cars, meat, Twitter, Reddit, etc.

Yeah, Lemmy is a pretty decent platform but the suggestion of browsing "All" is godawful, if one is looking for something closer to pre-smartphone internet.

You need to curate your homepage a bit to get a good Lemmy experience. The tech side may be like Reddit, but the human aspect is more like a couple dozen vBulletin forums rolled into one.

Some of the instances are (imo) full of straight-up insane and, worse, perpetually angry people. Some instance admins may be power-hungry and prone to drama - but you might not care if the only subreddit you follow from their instance is c/jazz and you just click on Youtube/Spotify links from it.

Is it a pain? Yes. But I still prefer to deal with a couple dozen weirdos than with a single billion-dollar company.

>Some of the instances are (imo) full of straight-up insane and, worse, perpetually angry people

This has been true for every instance of every Fedi thing I've ever tried to use or thought of using. And many instances block single-user instances so forget about running your own unless you only want to interact with the absolute fringest nutjob basement-dwellers -- because the "mainstream" Fedi is already fringe.

I once had the dumb impulse to reply to someone who was mad about fluoride in drinking water with "you probably get more fluoride from your toothpaste" and I deleted my account as I started to receive arguments about brushing your teeth, as it made me realize exactly the kind of people I would be interacting with on this network.

Honestly I think this is grows out of the incentives for operating a homeserver. There's a negative financial incentive so you must have some other kind of motivator, likely a desire for influence or power.

Similarly, I replied to someone suggesting they pay for a service and I received multiple replies suggesting I kill myself.

This wasn't on some random Marxist community, this was on one of the big tech communities.

Internet death threats are so common and boring that I only notice the amusingly new ones, like “I hope you can take advantage of Canadian healthcare.”

The way to save the internet is to force everyone to have a recent picture of themselves next to any post they make.

That would almost certainly end up with the internet becoming one gigantic linkedin and everyone leaving it to flock to whichever underground 4chan-esque service pops up with a promise of pseudonymity.

That's actually how you kill the internet. This won't change people's minds. They'll still think all those "offensive" things. They just won't post them publicly anymore because of the social consequences. You'll never know what people are really thinking.

I prefer to know. I want to experience the full spectrum of humanity.

Is that why Facebook is such a nice and balanced website?

You uncle McRacy doesn't have 200,000 followers. Your cousin McFatt does.

Sorry to say "you are holding it wrong", but browsing by all is just terrible. Much like reddit, things improve a lot if you subscribe to the communities that interest you and ignore everything else.

Granted, Lemmy's issue is that the user base is not large enough to have developed a long tail of interesting communities, but hopefully this will change as it grows.

Also, I know that finding the communities is difficult, so I've put together a website to work as a crowdsource of reddit-to-lemmy communities, https://fediverser.network

Hate is keyword here. I really wanted to like Lemmy, but almost all instances are full of frustrated hateful people. Even if sometimes rightfully it's still to toxic. Wild tankies appearing here and there are no help either.

I really don't need to see Trump in every second post and read about people who hate cars, meat, Twitter, Reddit, etc.

Exactly. All I see online is people talking about politics, their jobs, their families, their hobbies, the environment, technology, etc.

Thanks for this link, this is great

> I expect them to kill `old.reddit` soon

They have already started to redirect direct image links to the new reddit garbage which has stopped my usage for reddit for entertainment when bored.


This solved that for me, but yeah it seems inevitable that all these user hostile decisions make the site unusable.

Modern Reddit is such a broken experience especially on the web. And honestly the community has degraded over the last couple of years.

And the number of bots is out of control. I'm guessing they are accounts that pretend to be regular users by copying other user comments on the same topic and posting them days/weeks later when the topic gets brought up again. Then I assume at some point in the future they'll be sold off to spammers or manipulators of some kind.

What kills me about old vs new reddit is feature parity is just not there. There's also a huge lack of tooling for reddit modding, but what really kills me is how long new reddit has been in development for and still no feature parity.

Instead of making old reddit an archive on github, they should have made new reddits front-end open. I'm sure it would be miles ahead if the users were allowed to contribute like they once did with old reddit.

I wonder how much money was spent to build new reddit. Feels like a dumpster fire.

Reddit is a cesspit of its former self. The OG reddit is far from what it used to be. It's no longer an innocent link sharing platform, it's a socio-political platform with so much slime in between the subs that I find useful. Try and use Reddit daily and ignore all the drama, political shit, and covert rage click posts. It's emotionally exhausting not to get pulled in and have to constantly triage your home feed.

I have deleted my account at least half a dozen times and just tried to use it as a source of useful information, but I inevitably fall into the pit of getting another account because I can't control myself objecting to the nasty stuff on there. I know this is partly my self control problem, but social media in general is just awful. I can get rid of FB easily, there is literally no benefit for me being on there, but Reddit legit has useful content about all of my hobbies and how to do X.

It is unkillable but for some pretty rotten reasons. It's a social media platform mixed in with really useful content. Come for the search result, stay for the drama is what happens to me.

One thing that happened was the anti-tracking movement provided a better interface. They have their own comment sections that are somewhat better than the actual site. Bifurcation ensues.

> socio-political platform with so much slime in between the subs that I find useful.

That’s putting it nicely! I’m increasingly seeing it as a breeding ground for fringe-left radicalization.

It's all sorts of extremism, for sure. I found myself getting pulled into some of it over the Gaza war. It took me a while to realize what was happening to me, it was making me miserable, angry, anxious. I reflected on what was happening to my mental health, my reactivity, believing things without checking them before I responded. Similar on YouTube.

Loads of pro-Russian stuff that started to slip in, if I watched even one they started to accumulate and take over from what I used to watch for enjoyment. I then noticed these American pundits were using hijacked accounts to game the algo and get reach. Like one account was a vietnamese women's fashion account 2 years ago, now it's Americans talking about how Putin is definitely going to win the war very soon.

One day someone is going to write a history book about the 2020s propaganda and how technology was used as a psy-op, or whatever is going on. I didn't believe this was a real thing until I started questioning my own thoughts.

Of course you get both forms of extremism, but I think Reddit generally leans quite heavily towards the far-left.

It's a great time to do an ipo so people can cash out if they can (or just take a ridiculously sized salary). It's a terrible time to be a Reddit user. It seems like there's almost nothing left of content. And if you look at the front page then you see mostly just rage bait, relationship advice requests that can't possibly be true, and whatever video games are currently the most popular. There's almost no content more engaging then anything in a tiktok or Instagram feed. Nothing is memorable or filled with discussion. It's mostly filler. Sad really. I used to quite enjoy having discussions on various topics there. These days it's all noise.

Reddit sells the illusion of meaningful discussion in an online forum. Too bad that illusion is transparent, but where else can you get one - besides maybe here?

It's not all illusion though, particularly in smaller communities.

The big subs are seemingly filled to the brim with both post and comment repost bots. It's fun when they mess up and you see a few accounts post the same comments in the same thread then search and the comment was an actual users comment from days earlier.

The smaller communities only seem to highlight that most of the users on reddit are bots.

I keep seeing this bot comment and i'm not fully buying it. I'm not naïve, I know they exist. But on the small subs I read, anything that goes against that subs hivemind are called bots... including my own replies.

Am I a bot?

Agreed. I only tolerate reddit (for now) because it's always been better than Twitter/X and the alternatives haven't matured yet.

Hey, I know this is random but I'm a spontaneous fellow!

Wanna meditate together online at some point? I see you're into it (I'm on HN searching particular comments atm).

My email is in my profile.

Quite similar experience, the communities for hobbies I used to check out almost daily are quite dead, they've become mostly a gear-showoff or beginner questions forum, the real content in longer form that some old posters used to create is mostly gone.

My own activity dropped like a rock after the API changes killed Apollo, the mobile client I used (and before that reddit had already acqui-killed a previous one Alien Blue). I simply check it out of habit, and mostly for news, don't have much of the joy I had when I had started accessing it back in 2009.

Probably it's just the natural cycle of profit-driven social media getting swallowed by Eternal Septembers after the initial batches of users posting interesting content and making the platform cool leave the place when the platform inevitably becomes user-hostile.

You can pretty much graduate yourself beyond the expertise of any outdooring subreddit by walking through a city park and any car-based subreddit by actually owning a car.

I've been thinking about this and trad forums witht he ability to bump a topic and keep it going for as long as there is interest really makes it the best venue for hobbies. I spent a good half hour on vwvortex the other day just surfing longer threads and learned more from that than anything reddit can offer.

It can be a little annoying when somebody tries to tack on an unrelated question to a thread but apparently the only alternative is to have 15 iterations of 'I just found out outside exist, what do?' every day.

> Quite similar experience, the communities for hobbies I used to check out almost daily are quite dead

I've noticed some of the same for some communities, but where have they gone? Some claim to be migrating to Discord, which in my mind is even worse than Reddit, and to me is a high-stress environment (I simply cannot stand online chat, I've no patience for it, and if you're not constantly online you miss stuff).

There are hobby groups in Facebook, which is also disappointing since Facebook groups have terrible UX.

Discord is probably the biggest black hole sucking up all kinds of communities right now but that doesn't mean that there aren't others. Old-school forums are still a thing even if less visible these days.

Some communities move to discourse forums.

>I simply check it out of habit

Adding *.reddit.com to my DNS-blacklist was one of the single-most-productive "lines of code" I've ever added to my personal computer.

Cold-turkey, I quit.

/r/Supermod, 2010-2014, "the pineapple trees guy; erryday"

After they killed Apollo, my usage after 15 years went from hours a day and tanked to a few minutes a month at present. They showed their hand, and I showed myself the door for the most part.

When the email dropped that I was one of the early users offered entrance into the IPO, I pretty much ignored it.

shells? they are more likely crap filled boxes of their former glory.

communities even remotely related to companies (e.g. r/googlepixel) are run by either fervently crazy zealot fans, or which is more likely, filtered by interns in those companies marketing dept in what seem to be reddit best revenue stream.

"Killed"/"killable" is one of those terms that changes with age. Was GM unkillable? Well, they aren't dead, but... Was Windows unkillable? Well, it's not dead, but... Is Facebook unkillable? Well, it's not dead, but... So the old fogies who would tell you GE, GM, IBM are all unkillable aren't wrong but neither were the younger folks they were responding to.

Lotta zombies hang on long after their relevance fades for the future. "X is unkillable" is a good way to reveal a limited imagination for future changes. You go from talking about disruption to talking about how things are now disruption-proof!

You have a strange definition of dead.

I would love to have a company that has 1% the success of just Windows 11 which is estimated to be on 20% of all running PCs, let alone the rest of the MS empire.

Selling 6.2 million vehicles in one year (GM) is hardly a zombie company.

Meta had 40 billion dollars of net revenue, and 3 billion MAUs, which is a pretty fierce zombie if you ask me.

IBM measures their profit in the billions too.

Even GE is still spinning off billions in profit.

All of the companies you mentioned have grown in the past 10 years.

"Strange definition"? Isn't that literally what I said, that it changes definitions with age (and focus)?

Which of those companies still have the influence they did at their peak?

If you've got a startup, growth mindset, you're growing or you're dying. And even growth in revenue, headcount, profit, etc, can lag growth in relevance by decades.

Got any interesting new GE projects on your radar you'd want to work on that you think will be relevant in 20 years?

Do you think Paul Graham of twenty years ago would've called GE unkillable?

It's the difference in ambition and goals that leads to one person loving to take over today's Microsoft (or Reddit) and another - probably much younger person - wanting to start tomorrow's.

> Which of those companies still have the influence they did at their peak?

Facebook is accused of having way too much influence on society as a whole on a constant basis.

MS is the money and computing power behind the hottest AI technology on earth. With Azure and AI they are arguably more influential than at any other time.

GM runs Cruise, which is busy inventing self driving cars and implementing the rules. They are also the largest manufacturer in the US. Hardly uninfluential.

> Got any interesting new GE projects on your radar you'd want to work on that you think will be relevant in 20 years?

Floating wind turbines, automated grid controls, efficient jet engines, 3d printed jet engine parts, advanced mobile medical imaging at sports events, modular nuclear reactors all seem like they might be relevant 20 years from now.

All the examples you mention, GM, Facebook, and Windows, pump out a ton of money on the regular.

GM made ten billion in profit in the last year

Which of them would you call unkillable?

I think Graham is getting a bit sentimental and overly attached to incumbents in his network.

Nothing is completely unkillable, but a company / tech doesn't have to be sexy, new, or fast-growing to be entirely viable or wildly profitable. See: GM, MS Excel, banks.

> have maybe 20% of the activity they used to, before the API fiasco

Is that really true? I have been on reddit since day 0 and have noticed 0 change, absolutely nothing. Some communities went through a "we're now on lemmy" phase. But even that went nowhere. Reddit is still plagued by mods and all the other things, but the userbase is as powerful as ever

Maybe it's because my user is "only" 12 years old, but there is definitely a big difference in quality of the discussions and the activity today compared to 2-3 years ago, at least in the communities I hang around mostly (music production, 3D, animation and adjacent creative areas).

Quality discussions and activity don't drive normie usage, and that's what Reddit's optimizing for at this point. Feels like they want to be TikTok, but for links and images, and even the links part is slowly dying.

I wouldn't be surprised if you ran an analysis of the makeup of hot-page content across the biggest subs, if links used to make up 90%, that that number has slowly been dropping for the past 5 years to now be mostly images.

I used to be a heavy user, I rarely read it now and then. I certainly never post, and my accounts are deleted or inactive.

It still turns up in search results for me but it’s certainly no community I’m using.

If there is a stereotypical Reddit user, then they’re stagnating.

Anecdotal of course. I used to read for hours each day and post from time to time - I haven't even looked at it for months except a couple of days ago where I had to prep for a business meeting where reddit was relevant. I had been feeling for a long time that it was declining and also that my social media usage wasn't really adding anything positive so the API thing was just a convenient excuse to rip off the band-aid.

As someone who's used Reddit for a while, it definitely seems like there's less interesting stuff being posted there, and that things are a lot quieter than they used to be. A lot of the more technical/in depth subreddits seem to be near dead in comparison to how they were prior to the API fiasco.

But it probably depends on tastes too. If you went to Reddit for pet photos or sports discussions or political debates the difference is likely minimal, while if you went there to talk about astrophysics or history, it's probably a lot more noticeable.

I used to be a mod on a large tech subreddit, and Reddit's mod dashboard actually did show user traffic analytics. In the time between the API meltdown and my finally deleting my account, visits to the sub fell by about 30%.

>but the userbase is as powerful as ever

Sure about that? Start looking for bots that repost other peoples comments and we may find that questionable.

Sure the bots are a problem, but that didn't arise with the API changes in my experience.

The API situation seemed baffling to me at the time. The timing wasn't coincidental and it was clear that they were responding to people training LLMs on the Reddit corpus.

But here's the thing: prevailing HN sentiments notwithstanding, your average Redditor leans left and is fairly anti-big-tech, so Reddit could have leveraged this angle. They could've said it's a pro-user move to stop OpenAI and the likes from unfairly profiting off your work. And most users would have applauded.

But Reddit didn't say that. They took a PR hit and decided to wait it out. The cynical explanation was that they were actually just trying to get some of that LLM money for themselves. And not long ago, they announced a big deal with Google to give access to user data for training purposes: https://www.reuters.com/technology/reddit-ai-content-licensi...

Frankly, I was on the fence about the API access thing until the motivation became clear.

This doesn't track. They spent a lot of time and energy coordinating with the authors of popular mobile clients, and could easily have extended some means of letting them continue to operate given that they were clearly not harvesting content for themselves. Meanwhile, content can still be harvested for LLM training without the API (by using the HTML site).

It seems like the real intent was to regain control over the surfaces users use to consume the site, especially on mobile.

Scraping is a lot more dicey than using an official API. Why did Google enter that partnership? They have the data in their index. The only conceivable reason is that they prefer to pay Reddit to avoid the risk of litigating it and ending up with some unfavorable precedent.

There's more than just the data you see remember, the data you don't see is also valuable. The DM's, the deleted posts, advertisingID's that link people to their accounts, and to their alt accounts, etc.

Avoid litigation and possibly of getting some injunction. And on other hand money can go to fund Reddit litigating others. As now they have proven someone paid so they could stop others using data. Slowing them down in process. And the sum is peanuts for Google, they waste that amount regularly...

Scraping and an official API are equally "dicey" in that the method isn't relevant to the question of how the content itself is licensed to be used.

> The timing wasn't coincidental and it was clear that they were responding to people training LLMs on the Reddit corpus.

Hard disagree, they were lying about their motives, plain and simple. Their claimed motiviation doesn't match what they did/didn't actually do.

For example, the biggest companies training LLMs could be dissuaded by simply changing the terms-of-service to prohibit that usage (skipping all that developer-labor and community protest) but Reddit didn't do that. (Dodgy companies that don't care aren't relevant since they'll just scrape the website even without API access.)

In contrast, "Reddit arbitrarily killed third-party apps to force their own app" does match what the company implemented: Abrupt and punishing new fees, mandating that third-party apps can't contain any ads of their own, and making certain categories of content exclusive to their own app.

The site really took a nosedive in about the last 6 months in my experience, I think a combination of the API fiasco + current world events has really done a 1-2 punch on the site. The front page of reddit is a nightmare zone, it's all ragebait, clickbait, shit political memes and posts clearly made by marketing interns and boosted by bot accounts. Every comment section feels intensely ideological and any comment that strays from the majority opinion is downvoted to hell. Also loads of those tacky "badges" on comments everywhere making for a lot of visual clutter. Just an all around unpleasant to use site. PG calls the average reddit user "curious, skeptical, ready to be amused" which feels almost like the exact opposite of my experience.

I’ve felt it too. I can’t fight the feeling that it happens to attract a certain kind of mentally ill person. Specifically, the preponderance of anxious, neurotic persons, often with a persecution complex and a militant ideology, is enormous. The result is a climate of unbridled vitriol and outright hate for whatever group they hold responsible for their woes.

It increasingly feels like Reddit is a breeding ground for various types of extremism (usually left-leaning, with some notable exceptions).

People who seem to want to be offended. I hate the /s they've adopted. It ruins the joke by explaining it. I dislike the implication sarcasm cannot be conveyed via text. Hundreds of years of authorship and numerous popular works tell otherwise. But people do it to shield themselves from what sometimes feels like intentional misinterpretation.

Showing votes is possibly a huge contributing factor. It's well known they gather momentum.

> I hate the /s they've adopted. [...] I dislike the implication sarcasm cannot be conveyed via text.

I suspect autism is overrepresented in the Reddit population.

It probably is here too, but people tend to self regulate a little better I think. The rules help a lot too.

I still use some tech subs but I used to dumbscroll the main page for inane things to laugh at. What was on there changed over time and it was well past the high point, but maybe a year or six months ago I just couldn't do it. The stuff you describe was always part of the /r/all mix but now that is all there is. There's nothing fun on there anymore, at all.

lemmy is probably to left leaning for my taste but at least the main page still has lots inane and funny things as well as more of a tech focus.

I quit last week with Reddit. I thought it might be a good idea to write a controversial opinion in a sub reddit. Received a perma ban. Well thanks. The content, the way the site works, dark patterns and its just not nice anymore. Happy to be loose.

Out of curiosity, what was this fringe opinion? I think this is the elephant in the room when it comes to Reddit: it’s been captured by a certain kind of radical ideologue.

It was my opinion on the Russian war in Ukraine in worldnews. My opinion was not in line with the bubble and received a ban for spreading false information.

That's not as bad as getting random bans from subreddits you never use because you join or post to a different one. To me that it is insane.

Worldnews are pretty well known for banning anyone that looks at them funny; you're permitted exactly one correct opinion, deviation will lead to termination Comrade.

Have you moved somewhere else?

No not really. Its maybe also a good time to get rid of that annoying addiction. Lots of time is wasted by browsing and using reddit. At least for me.

Was it r/comics?

I was an active and fairly early Reddit user for many years, but the brutal changes to satisfy financial goals drove me away as well.

I think it’s interesting to see a flagging platform with a user base that will consistently post and upvote “fuck spez” celebrated here as a success, but I suppose the only thing that matters at this level of discussion is the almighty dollar.

Completely agree with you.

My circle & I have stopped reddit on phone almost completely.

So many active posters have left reddit, that it is a shell of what it previously was. Some of my favorite subreddits have become inactive and shallower, to the point that admins are actively boosting up alternate subreddits

From what I can gather, the large majority of the remaining active users in the site are people who use reddit as alternative to 9Gag & Porn sites - prolly hyperbole, but that is what the new r/all felt like

Agreed, I was thinking that the API protest and the crackdown Reddit perpetrated wouldn't end up actually doing much (did still delete my account though, partly as an excuse to break the habit), and while to an extent that's true, I've noticed many more deleted or edited comments than I used to pre-crackdown. It really did drive off a lot of positive contributors.

> I also stopped using reddit on the phone after my chosen reddit client was closed down (which I'm grateful for, thanks reddit).

Same here, very grateful for Reddit’s API changes. It made me realize how little value Reddit actually provided vs time spent. I refuse to use their dumpster fire of an app so I quit altogether and deleted my very old account + comments. Good riddance after all, for each “niche” subreddit I was on, I have found very active forums and communities to replace these subreddits. And they’re independent forums that are very old (in internet terms) with lots of passionate people sharing very valuable information.

Turns out I didn’t really need Reddit at all but it took their shortsighted hara-kiri for me to realize.

Oh well, thanks Greeddit!

Have you found any generalizable methods for finding non-Reddit communities for niche interests?

I search for “$topic forum” or “$topic community” and there will typically be something in the first 10 results. There is a little trial and error involved, I check which one of the forums has been around for a while (10+ years works best for me) and still has regular activity (message volume + last posted messages)

Sometimes it ends up being a discord chat as this is very popular. Not ideal as I don’t love the discord walled garden but still better than Reddit. And if/when they pull a Reddit in the future, well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I should add that in getting much better results for these queries since switching to kagi. Ddg and startpage had more spam/SEO/generated junk in the top results. It was more effort to find these communities on those but not impossible either.

Oh wow, Kagi is a little gem -- thanks for introducing me to it!

Glad you like it!

As an opposite anecdote, I probably use it as much now as before the API stuff.

I had (have?) a twelve year account, coming on the tails of the digg fallout.

Once they pulled the API I was out. Not terrible since the site's quality has been in steady decline for years. Eventually you realize you are doing the equivalent of having economics discussions in the youtube comments of a taylor swift video.

But it seems that lowest common denominator user is who reddit really wants, so good luck to them.

I’m on a similar boat, but for all we know, for each of us there might be ten new users who have recently flocked to the site and don’t give a damn.

Not all users are created equal. Reddit's lost a ton of valuable contributors, via enshitification, and I only expect that to get worse.

I would like to see some hard number from people that claim Reddit was hurt from the "API Fiasco". My theory is that this is a very small number of users with a very loud voice. Entitled mods were the only people that closed down subs. Most users did not even support this decision.

Same is happening again now, entitled moderaters who complain about CEO pay.

If anything is destroying Reddit, it's the mods IMO.

> I would like to see some hard number from people that claim Reddit was hurt from the "API Fiasco".

Probably pretty hard to get. Some of the content I found that went away, was quality content. There are still users posting/discussing stuff in the niches I'm interested in, but all the high-quality discussions have gone missing, and the one's who used to engage in it no longer seem to be using reddit at all.

But there is no objective way to measure "high quality content vs low quality", so it'll be short of impossible to get any objective measures of this, it's just my anecdotal experience with a subset of subreddits.

Entitled mods... you mean the people who work for free to make reddit work? I'm not a mod and I don't have very strong opinion of reddit moderators one way or another (many do), but I think reddit would do well not to make mods angry. They are an unpaid work force.

Anyone who has run a forum knows that mods are paid, usually with ego or duty or power, but they certainly get something from it. Else hundreds of people wouldn't want to be moderators of small phpbb forums much less thousands of people on reddit.

Either way, I don't think compensation swivels the "entitled, power-tripping reddit mod" trope where they ban from their subreddit if you make a comment they disagree with. It's one of reddit's biggest problems.

As far as I can tell, the business model of modern social media is to make money by selling advertisers access to children, gamblers, addicts, and profligates. The content and moderation that people think is the purpose of social media doesn't actually make any money and never has.

At the same time, good moderation is what made reddit what it is, if there weren't mods doing free work for reddit in 2009 it would be flooded with YouTube comments style of content since that's what low friction posting without moderation achieves.

Yeah but Reddit doesn't owe the mods anything, the users do.

The dog doesn't owe anything to the hand that feeds it, but it would still do well not to bite it.

What? Reddit owes their entire platform to their volunteer moderators and users who contribute content. Reddit the company adds almost nothing of value, the tech isn't exactly special -- if anything it's so bad as to be hindrance.

Well, my experience is only anecdotal, but after the third party apps shut down (RIF in my case) I checked reddit less, maybe once every few days. This wasn't a conscious decision or a protest. I tried the main Reddit app and hated it. One of the key draws to my active participation in Reddit had been killed.

A number of subreddits I moderate were shutdown by reddit for being unmoderated. It turns out a lot of mods disengaged. None of the subreddits I was a part of were a part of the protests, but banning communities by moderators that disengaged achieved the same outcome as a protest effectively. Maybe someone has numbers for how many communities were banned for being unmoderated, and did this number increase after the API changes?

The hypothesis without data is that users [mods/power users] who cared about reddit, who contributed to reddit, have largely left or disengaged to an extent.

I would like to see numbers myself, though. However, looking at reddit/r/all, I suspect much of that activity is botting.

I mean, no one can seriously post "my gf cheated, AITAH for breaking up with her?".

Come on...

So many endless repost-bots :-/

I don't notice this at all. Old communities die off and new ones spring up all the time, and the new ones are still springing up alright. The local subs are doing well, there are still plenty of "less popular" subs to have great discussions in. The app is not great not terrible, no biggie.

They rather consciously decided that jettisoning some hard-core techies, privacy people and other "weirdos" is an acceptable price to pay for more mass appeal and more profitability. Remember, you as a user are not the client of Reddit Inc, you're the product. You or I may not like that direction, but we're not great products anyway. I block ads for Pete's sake, I am literally worthless to them.

I liked it better before the modern Reddit censorship machine.

At least old.reddit.com still works. For now.

Stopped going to the site/app completely... they were so far off base with the API war it wasn't worth it.

It'll shamble on forever. Look at the front page in a private tab right now.

Yeah it's all dogshit content, but this is the product now. All the niche communities that made reddit good were dying a slow death well before any of the API stuff.

That old product is dead, the current reddit will live forever as long as they can get costs under control.

Yeah, that's an affirmation from someone who's in a very pampered US-centric group of Reddit users (if he is that at all). "My investment is very good!"

In the last year, Reddit has pushed localized home pages across the world, and my own example is the default home page for Canada. It's now exclusively sports and right-wing nuttery.

There were good communities, but they were molded by their good moderators, and these moderators are gone.

> In the last year, Reddit has pushed localized home pages across the world, and my own example is the default home page for Canada.

I found this quite nice. A lot less American politics on the front page and some fun bits of local news.

> and my own example is the default home page for Canada. It's now exclusively sports and right-wing nuttery.

I think that’s typical for any national sub, because it will be filled with people that live in places that don’t have the critical mass for a local/regional subreddit (or just don’t fit into it).

I'm not talking about the /r/Canada subreddit, I'm talking about the complete front page feed for Canadian visitors.

There are several "main" Canadian subreddits, and the only ones showing up for anon Canadian guests now are the right-wing and far-right subreddits.

Can you be specific about these "right-wing and far-right" subreddits you're seeing on the front page?

I'm not logged in (I don't have a Reddit account), I'm in Canada, and on the Reddit home page I'm currently seeing submissions associated with these Canada-specific subreddits:

6 for r/canada

2 for r/onguardforthee

2 for r/ontario

2 for r/PersonalFinanceCanada

1 for r/alberta

1 for r/vancouver

None of those subreddits look "right-wing" or "far-right" to me in any way.

In fact, I'm surprised at how left-leaning they tend to be, especially r/alberta. Of the current top five submissions there, four are for CBC articles, for example, and there are a few other CBC articles on the first page.

r/onguardforthee seems to be overtly left wing.

The other front page subreddits are broad (like r/AskReddit, r/politics, r/news), or about sports or hobbies (like r/gaming, r/baseball, r/hockey, r/FigureSkating).

None the subreddits I'm seeing on the Reddit front page seem to me to even be right-of-centre, let alone "right-wing" or "far-right".

It’s quite common for redditors to consider anything short of far-left as being far-right.

That's rich coming from someone who definitely doesn't lean left.

> my own example is the default home page for Canada. It's now exclusively sports and right-wing nuttery.

Can you give some concrete examples of this "right-wing nuttery" you mention?

I've heard other people in Canada make this claim, but whenever I visit the Reddit home page (without logging in; I don't have a Reddit account), I consistently see the opposite.

Right now, for example, two of the top five submissions I see are CBC and Toronto Star articles complaining about Ontario's Conservative government's policies. (For those who are unfamiliar with them, CBC and the Toronto Star are among the most left wing of Canada's mainstream media.)

Still in the top ten, there's an article complaining about how some corporate layoffs at Bell were conducted.

There's an anti-Trump article, a article about Biden cancelling some student loan debt, and a complaint about "the rich" (Musk, specifically) in the top fifteen.

Beyond that, there's a submission complaining about a landlord's behaviour, an article about urban planning in Vancouver, and the front page ends with a submission that's upset about some munitions company executive cutting down some trees in the US.

The rest are about sports, oddities, or otherwise don't seem to be political in nature.

I wouldn't consider any of the submissions I'm being shown to be obviously "right-wing" in any way. A number of them I'd consider to be centrist or neutral, if not left-of-centre. Several are overtly left wing.

My experience of cookie-less Reddit (and the reason I don't go anymore) is getting served default subreddits like /r/Canada_sub.

I'm very open to being wrong or outdated in my impression, however!

Same thing as Twitter, they think the power of these sites is the tech. It's not. It's the community and when you turn that into an EBTIDA growth engine it's going to rebel.

We need something to replace it. Lemmy isn't quite there yet.

It could already but doesn't have enough users

How much of that is Reddit and how much of it is that all online communities have a definite lifecycle. Either they age out, or they become too popular and become useless.

I'm in the same boat. I only ever log in periodically to see what's going on with r/AskHistorians, and then promptly run away.

Reddit greatest thing were the users but the current users are killing it.

> > Reddit the site (and now app)

they have been bugging you with the app for years

> Aaron was younger, a college freshman, and even more anti-authority than Steve. It's not exaggerating to describe him as a martyr for what authority later did to him.

I started reading this cynically curious if Aaron would even be mentioned, but well said.

The NPR piece on Reddit this morning stated it was founded by Steve Huffman and Alex Ohanian, and didn’t even mention Aaron Swartz.

This is probably because PG encouraged spez and kn0thing to pivot from their original idea and become founders of reddit in June 2005 and Aaron Swartz joined reddit in November 2005 after a conversation with PG, who suggested he work with spez and kn0thing on stabilizing the code since reddit had an early tendency to crash.[0]

I found reddit back in 2005 and remember the post announcing that Aaron had joined the team and giving a bit of his background. Reddit was a lot different back then since there were no subreddits.


He wasn't really a founder though. He was brought in months later because his own startup idea hadn't got any traction. He's a founder only in the same way that Elon is a "founder" of Tesla - a retroactive title that was the result of a deal.

I suppose to make the title legitimate Elon should’ve formally started another company, and then acquired the other?

It seems like getting in and operating in a pivotal way within the first 12 months is a valid time frame to still be given a founder title if the other founders agree to it. Since when you decide to incorporate is not consistently/necessarily at the same time for finalizing the foundational team members for a getting a company on its feet.

The Elon-hate is so crazy to me.

He pitched in a lot of cash at a do-or-die moment in Tesla's history.

He then served as the CEO and driving force through some extremely lean and tough years, including working like hell to raise capital (which isn't optional if you're making cars)

Would we have Tesla today without Musk? No. Would electric cars be ubiquitous if it was up to the likes of Ford, GM, Mercedes, Toyota to push the tech? No.

It is, of course, entirely OK to dislike him - but at least admit his contributions.

The whole point is that it isn't enough for him to be recognized for his contributions. He must rewrite history to paint himself as the singular genius while discounting the work of others who were also a part of the story. There is a messianic figure that he presents in his own self-mythologizing that I find dangerous and troubling.

It is, of course, entirely OK to admire his contributions - but at least admit the dark side of his persona and the means he's used to achieved his ends.

>He must rewrite history to paint himself as the singular genius

But that's closer to the truth in this case than anything else.

It's not an exaggeration to say that all Musk gained when he joined Tesla seven months after the founding—bringing the first substantial amount of outside capital—was the brand name.

I agree with you on your comments about his contributions, but that doesn't mean he deserves the title of Founder of Tesla (Nor does Aaron, RIP).

Neither of them FOUNDED the company, they joined in later on.

How is this Elon-hate? Is a founder someone who founded a company or someone who joined it later? Calling someone not a founder doesn't change their contributions to the company.

None of that makes him a founder, simple as that. You're blowing that comment out of proportion.

>working like hell to raise capital

Sounds like some really back breaking labor, was this during his 80 hour work weeks?

You're right - it's super easy to bounce around from one rich person to the next, trying to get fat cheques from them for your unproven and almost-certainly-going-to-fail hardware startup that would only work if enough other rich people also give you big cheques, based on nothing but a pinky-promise that you'll try your darndest to invent, manufacture, and sell cars well enough to get them their money back, one day, maybe, if all goes perfectly.

Why don't you do it too?

Raising capital in a new industry sucks, lol. A cushy job is still a job, and the human brain does a REALLY good job at building the same amount of attrition across roles in relativity - whether you're breaking your back in the mine or cold-calling 400 people a day from a Herman Miller chair.

> Would we have Tesla today without Musk? No. Would electric cars be ubiquitous if it was up to the likes of Ford, GM, Mercedes, Toyota to push the tech? No.

These may all be true, but that doesn't make Elon the founder of Tesla. As for the general sentiment of Elon-hate over the last few years, well, he has only himself to blame...

The reason people like to point this out is because it highlights the fact that Elon's fragile ego is not a new phenomenon. It was always there, even before he decided to go full crazy.

I'm not on the Elon hate train (not a fanboy either, but I mostly agree with the positive things you said about him.) However, I did think pointing out the comparison would head off any "how dare you, Aaron deserves to be called a founder" comments.

> it was founded by Steve Huffman and Alex Ohanian

That is true. But a bit later Reddit was joined with a company Aaron Swartz had founded, so he became a cofounder of this new arrangement of Reddit.



It was a bit of a gut punch for me.

His is a story of a self-selected marter. This is an unpopular opinion: he broke the law and refused to plead, then jumped on RT and dissed the prosecution for years. There was no chance they were going to back down.

Why does this hurt me?

Well, Lawrence Lessig and Richard Stallman and the rest of them radicalised me at a young age too. I was their boy. Watching that documentary was like looking into a time-warping mirror!

Maybe every hairy nerd my age feels the same way, I don't know.

Same...I honestly am furious at the effort to link Steve and Aaron here. Having known Steve, not well but for a LONG time I would struggle to label him anti-authority in any way. I think he wears many of the trappings of antiauthoritarianism - but only as a path to what he wants.

I came to Reddit via Alien Blue and stayed via Apollo. Now I check a few subs periodically in a browser, but my usage has drastically dropped without Apollo.

Have you updated past iOS 17.0? If not:

— Install AppStore++ for TrollStore: https://github.com/CokePokes/AppStorePlus-TrollStore

— Install Apollo from the App Store

— Open AppStore++, tap Apollo, tap downgrade, choose 1.15.11

— Go to your home screen and wait for the older Apollo to finish downloading

— Install this tweak: https://github.com/JeffreyCA/Apollo-ImprovedCustomApi

Open Apollo and it will prompt for your API keys — Stebe Jovs voice “Boom.”

Do I need jailbreak for that? Didn’t get from the GitHub’s pages.

It's a CoreTrust bug that lets a jailed app install IPAs, not a full jailbreak: https://ios.cfw.guide/installing-trollstore/

Same, I quit using Reddit when they killed Apollo. Their app is terrible.

It’s what pushed me to Lemmy, which feels like Reddit early days. Actual discussion. Names that I recognize from one post to another. It’s worth checking out.

For this crowd, you might like my (not my own, but where I joined) instance: lemmy.sdf.org

I used RIF. When that shut down I started checking in on my various accounts much less often. Multiple of my 500k+ user subreddits have been banned for being unmoderated since then. Ah well.

You can make RIF work again using vanced. You create your own api key and swap it in to the apk and then it works again.

Does it work now? When I tried that a couple of months ago it was broken.

I use it all the time now.

If you want NSFW to work, you need to be a mod of a subreddit. Any sub, even one you make yourself with no posts ever.

I'm using Vanced-RIF rn, it works fine most of time but has some small problems (e.g. if you open a Reddit link in a comment, it would crash).

I don't know if RIF-vanced still gets any "updates" to fix these minor issues? I assume not, but never checked.

Largely the same here. Feel like I noticed a further decline in quality on the site after that happened too. It is useful for news aggregation but I don't like the discussion as much. But that could just be the trend continuing.

I noticed the "eternal September" happening in years prior, as Reddit became more acceptable to the wider public and as a smartphone app rather than a forum host mostly for techies.

And with those "normies" came the low-effort posts that totally ignored things like stickied posts, subreddit rules, and the overall culture of the community (or site.) Take a look at /r/roms, for example. The sidebar, the top announcement sticky, the rules, and the automod on every single post says "here is where they are" and what is most of the subreddit? "How do I find game" - same thing for BuildaPC, or Tech Support, or Linux.

Then the mods have to remove the low effort posts and get called names, or they get upset that the resources they've taken time to make available to the community are ignored for the 500th time and blow up, just to get called more names or even censured by the admins.

The only way to win is to not play. And that's why I use a combination of HN and an RSS reader now.

It definitely started years ago, probably around the time I really started using it. I visit /r/games sometimes and they have stickies around what you have been playing or game suggestions and without fail someone doesn't even read the topic at hand and just posts a random question.

Apps were mostly bad at showing sidebars too, they wanted to streamline the main view. They were there but I think a lot of users didn't know.

Anecdotally I seem to notice a trend on how grammatical/spelling corrections are received. If people generally accept them in good grace as a chance to improve, discussion quality can be decent. If they take it as a personal attack, or other people pile on (often with the classic "no one cares") ... well that's Reddit these days usually.

i use old.reddit on both desktop and mobile. if they ever break that i'm gone.

I switched to Winston. Not as great as Apollo but doesn't require you to side load.

> when Steve came back in 2015, I knew the world was in for a surprise.

> If Reddit could grow to the size it had with management that was harmless at best, what could it do if Steve came back? We now know the answer to that question. Or at least a lower bound on the answer. Steve is not out of ideas yet.

Does anybody know what "ideas" he's talking about? When I think back to recent developments at Reddit, all that comes to mind is the 3rd-party app fiasco and the "collectible avatars" and "Moons"/"community points" nobody but crypto speculators wanted anything to do with (and are now dead). Oh, and the death of celebrity AMAs after they fired Victoria.

That's the issue. The thing that made them worthwhile was a very basic set of functionality. Every single other feature they've tried to add was poorly implemented and not picked up by users.

It just doesn't make sense as a business. You don't need a million devs to run a forum site, you need them to add more and more bloat to convince investors you're growing.

All they have done is pushed ads harder. That is all they really have to offer.

I rarely use it now because of the web front end. Yeah old.reddit.com and plugins to redirect to it help a bit. Also why on earth would I want to use an app instead of a web browser for a site that lists wen links. Oh yeah they stopped making the site about links and more about internal content.

It really is a pile of shit compared to what it used to be.

Reddit is the forum to end all forums, with a spice of imageboards.

And it is ad-supported. People who have partaken in small PHPbb style forums probably can tell the story - moderation and bandwidth cost time.

That's all, a simple, dumb business model based on advertising and market share, or better: mind share.

The last part is Reddit's moat, no more, no less.

My 2 cents.

And they still have one of the worst apps (and website) in the game. Seems like that would be some low-hanging fruit.

i still use the old version on web and it works great

i agree the new version is very busy and buggy on mobile web

Yeah, I have Old Reddit redirect on all of my devices, and I won't touch the official app with a ten foot pole.

Never got the complaints with the official app. What's the issue?

Last time I asked someone this question they mentioned some power user stuff that didn't really apply to regular Reddit content consumers / casual posters.

imo it's just unnecessarily busy and can be buggy. if you spend some time using the old web version, which feels very HN like, you'll wonder why you'd ever use the new one.

the app is absolute trash and the new.reddit is almost as bad. if they remove old i'm out

Ah, but I would guess those are low quality users, i.e. they don't vote, they don't comment, they don't post. While that doesn't matter to advertisers, it does matter to the health of your content network. And their features have had zero positive effects on their community health.

You can run an ad on a subway and get more users. That doesn't mean you're doing a good job. The only reason those users have something to see is because of community health.

I would guess they're no different to any other users in the past decade. In other words a percentage will comment and a small percentage will post.

It's always been that way.

LLM's-at-home are in a vastly different place than they were 10, 5, or even 2 years ago, so I'm not sure the assumptions about typical traffic from then hold true now.

What are you basing this on?

Now show us the percentage of those that are real people and not bots, and the number of accounts that are from previously banned users. I mean heck I've gotten to the point where I can only go 2 or 3 months before my account gets banned and then I have to spin up a new one.

Come to think of it that might be a reason why their ban happy, more people you ban who come back looks like a new user signup.

> I mean heck I've gotten to the point where I can only go 2 or 3 months before my account gets banned and then I have to spin up a new one.

User error.

It's really not hard to not get banned. Site-wide, at least.

I'm pretty active and my account is nearly 13 years old.

Pretty easy if you have no controversial opinions.

This reeks of "Oh you know the ones"


Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views

Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?

Con: LOL no...no not those views

Me: So....deregulation?

Con: Haha no not those views either

Me: Which views, exactly?

Con: Oh, you know the ones

If you must know some reasons I got banned is horrible awful terrible evil opinions such as

- suggesting that COVID-19 was the result of a lab leak due to not following safety protocols

- Questioning if the full shutdown of schools for a disease which had a relatively low mortality rate in children was the best decisio and if we fully had considered the impacts.

- suggesting that predators could abuse gender self identification laws to gain access to new victims.

- and one satirical posts advocating "let us grill it all in a beautiful nuclear inferno."

It seems though you are suggesting there are only a narrowly defined opinions that are acceptable to hold and that deviations outside of those are so heretical that should not be allowed to exist.

Were you getting banned site-wide for expressing those opinions? Or just banned from specific subs?

Only admins can ban you site-wide or shadowban you, and I can't imagine expressing any of those opinions being worthy of a site-wide ban from an admin unless you expressed them in an offensive way. ie, for the first opinion, using a slur when referring to the Chinese lab workers, or basically in any way accusing them of poor standards because they're Chinese. Likewise, for the third opinion, I've too often seen transphobia get disguised as concern trolling.

If it's moderators banning you from specific subs...well...that's just shitty moderators. Some of them are extremely power-hungry and ban happy, but they're not employees of reddit, and their actions should not be reflected on reddit as a whole.

There is a blog post describing the criminal history of a particular mod. If you post that link on Reddit you are automatically banned.

That growth is predicated on a feature set that has been more or less untouched for over a decade. That core feature set is still very good.

I've seen no evidence that anything they've introduced in the last 10 years has contributed to any of that growth, and my evidence is that just about every feature announced or implemented since then is now either gone or largely ignored by the userbase.

There is nothing special about Reddit unless you mean Reddit was in the right place and the right time to establish a two-sided market.

It's very hard to kill a two-sided market when it gets established. Look at Craigslist or Twitter.

An interesting thing about Reddit to me is many people who look at it see strongly offputting things like being overrun by image memes but when you look at it closely there is so much there about so many subjects. From time to time you find those brilliant social media posts that remind me of some of the emails from the Enron Emails data set where people talk about what they did for training in the army. Perhaps that is what keeps people coming back or maybe they are all about the memes.

I firmly believe that niche content like what you mention is the life-blood of the site, and the biggest contributor to it's longevity. People come for the memes, but they stay for the litany of small communities that cater to their very specific tastes

The fact that people often append "reddit" to their Google queries is a testament to this. Even if they aren't active participants in these niche communities, they know that they are the easiest place to find reasonably reliable information from other humans on them.

If these types of communities stop flourishing on Reddit for any reason, then the site will become much easier to replace by any other generic meme factory.

What market are you referring to at Reddit?

Readers and writers.

Even the overhauled UI has gone ignored by many users, thanks to the old UI remaining available as an option, but I imagine it's only a matter of time before they pull the plug on that so they can "enhance the sponsored post viewing experience".

I have no evidence for this, but my hunch is that an inconsequentially-small percentage of Reddit users go out of their way to use Reddit’s old UI.

Those users are disproportionately mods and active users though. Reddit can't easily do away with it.

They considered this around the 3rd party app fiasco and it was clear old Reddit has a few years left because mods allhate the new Reddit UI

Yes but what percent of active posters use it? It's going to be much higher and the site will die without new content.

Interesting, I used to be a member of the French community which peaked around 2017/2018 and kept decreasing ever since. I wouldn't say it's a ghost town now but it became a minor forum.

I guess they grew in other countries.

Getting drunk and editing production database to delete mean comments is certainly innovative CEO behavior.

Hah, I saw this:

    Steve was not a big fan of authority, so he also liked the idea of a site without editors.
and remembered him getting prod database access to censor comments criticizing him. I guess it's true what they say about power corrupting you.

Sometimes, those who are most vocal against authority, are projecting their own potential misuse of authority onto others, unable to see someone wielding power differently.

The controversy around this one was always wild to me.

Mods editing comments was the most standard behavior on every phpbb/vb board I grew up on.

His edits were clearly edited, clearly jokes, and TBH I found them pretty funny. And people were *outraged* that he had the capacity and the temerity to edit their sacrosanct posts...

I took it as a sign of the changing times

It’s an abuse of power, that’s why. It doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t funny or if anybody was harmed, the act itself was improper for any engineer dealing with other peoples data and egregious lack of judgement by a CEO.

Yeah this is the changing times I was talking about

The thing is, when the mods would troll the hell out of users on the old BB's, they were doing it all the time, it was part of the culture. It happening on reddit, where a user's posts were thought to be immutable caused very understandable outrage.

And people want to invest in this IPO? Seems like two trains moving towards each other but can’t tell if they are on the same track yet

There is only one set of tracks.

But everything is fine, you can just go swap places with any passenger if you want.

You’d have to be a total moron, but if there’s one thing I learned from Reddit it’s that there are far more morons out there than I realized.

* Editing people’s comments critical of him.

Which is actually worse.


Reddit founders made hundreds of fake profiles so site looked popular:


I always wondered if they continued this behavior while GPT and ML started picking up. I saw a lot of suspicious posts especially around bitcoin and crypto related subreddits start around 2013. This massively increased with the_donald and trump running for office. Covid and the disinformation policies seemed like a way to cause divisiveness and attract viewers to the site while providing a reason to cull some bots (whether internal or external). The API change and the resulting moderator backlash seemed manufactured to provide management a reason to purge moderators and more accounts. Now they have plausible deniability when people claim Reddit is the dead internet, full of AI bots. Because now their user count isn’t heavily tilted towards fake profiles (which would need to be disclosed in an IPo)

Just my conspiracy theory of the day

Relevant: “Containment Control for a Social Network with State-Dependent Connectivity” (2014), Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin AFB: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1402.5644.pdf

…a.k.a Reddit's "Most-Addicted City" of 2013: https://web.archive.org/web/20160604042751/http://www.reddit...

I think he's talking about Yishan Wong and Ellen Pao. BTW, true or not, that's a hell of a way to refer to them, respectively.

I guess it was unclear, I meant what's improved at Reddit since spez's return?

As far as I can tell it's gotten worse from a user perspective.

Honestly neglect sounds more like the pre-Yishan era where Reddit was effectively a few people in the metaphorical corner of a conde nast office.

Those are the ideas that he's talking about. Paul Graham is a dinosaur. He thinks that spez's rampant monetization is a great idea, despite the fact that it has outraged the community that gives Reddit any power at all.

Perhaps that's the meaning of "almost unkillable": Look at how much room there is to enshitify without losing all the users!

Unfortunately, yes. A throw away quote at the bottom of one of the many articles during the API protest that was ignored by most:

“I would like subreddits to be able to be businesses if they choose,” Huffman said, adding that’s “another conversation, but I think that’s the next frontier of Reddit.”

Edit: here is the story. I changed "he" to "Huffman" since I took the quote out of context of the full story. It's way down almost at the end. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/reddit-protest-blacko...

Oh. Oh, no.

pg is just trying to use his audience to drum up interest in the reddit IPO.

Reddit has nothing to offer investors but Paul needs a return so he's trying to make sure someone else ends up holding the bags.

Astonished people don't see the link with the timing.

I wouldn't blame much the firing of victoria, Woody Harrelson became a mock point when he did not confront some allegations made to him on the site. Which, sure, bad, but also, why would you risk going to a website to answer serious allegations? seems a huge risk to even go there.

Didn’t Rampart predate Victoria?

- victoria sacked 2015 - ama was 2012

So, It did, either way, victoria being there would not prevent a PR disaster. because that would require censoring.

Reddit IPO'd today and the purpose of this piece is to add whatever hype can be added to that IPO so that PG and other early investors can maximize their return, and then likely, slowly and carefully unload their positions into the public and other investors who will be the bag holders when the price inevitably declines over time.

The "idea" is "make PG even more money", and that's a great idea if you're PG.

> Reddit IPO'd today and the purpose of this piece is to add whatever hype can be added to that IPO

To PG's credit, he has an uncanny ability to pluck out relentlessly resourceful founders (self-fulfilling prophecy and all that, notwithstanding) who have greater chances of outsized success. And he's been more right about startups than almost anyone else. When he praises those founders, it often comes off as an exaggeration, but I am convinced he is being thoroughly honest.

  "As someone who went through YC and met PG while he was still actively running it, I can tell you that at least in our batch he was 100% spot on about who was going to do well. He had a tendency to spend his free time with the same individuals who ended up doing phenomenally well. It would be easy to be dismissive about this and say something about doubling down on his best investments, etc. But during our batch many of those companies had not yet become the clear cut winners that they are today, and instead only turned into them a year or so down the road."
-u/aerosimle, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25381893

>He had a tendency to spend his free time with the same individuals who ended up doing phenomenally well.

There's a causal relationship here, but it's not obvious what direction it points.

If this guy is not only able pick successful people to spend time with, but to make people successful by the very act of spending time with them, he must be some kind of god.

TBH the obvious conclusion of the causal relationship seems more likely than what you are implying.

Money begets money is more of the lesson I think.

Find and support people likely to succeed? That's standard operating procedure for VCs.

Didn’t they already unload when they sold to Condé Nast? Or did PG partake in the re-acquisition?

Wow, that was fast. Just recently I got the "hey you have a shitton of karma - do you want to be in the IPO" notification. Before I even dug in, it's public…

I’d be fascinated to know if he uses old.reddit in private

Not to mention Steve editing users' posts, Ellen Pao being in the same social circle as Epstein, Maxwellhill conspicuously going silent when Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested, promising and then failing to deliver on direct user funding and adrev sharing, and flatly ignoring user feedback for the better part of a decade.

What is this "Maxwellhill" thing refer to? I vaguely recognize the username as an old reddit powermod, is the implication that reddit power users are involved in human trafficking?

There's a theory that account belong to Ghislaine herself. I'm personally uninterested.

I'm uninterested inasfar as her having a reddit profile and posting things. I'm much more interested as to why reddit inc refuses to answer the simple quandary that many people have as to if she was behind the account in question or not.

They more or less Streisand'd the conspiracy into plausibility by doing so, which is generally a bad idea. That's the reason I included it.

I think the connection between u/maxwellhill and Ghislaine Maxwell is dubious. The account is named after the town Maxwell Hill in Malaysia, and they had posted in Malaysian subreddits years before any of these theories came out. It seems more likely to me that the similar names are a coincidence and that the account owner quite reasonably stopped using the account when they became suspected of being involved in a major international conspiracy.

Didn’t they only become suspect, because they stopped posting at the exact time Ghislaine was arrested?

All they have to do is post once since she’s been locked up and yet they don’t…

Maybe they died.

No idea either. They haven't changed much in years.

They added a chat application, so you can get daily spam from onlyfans promoters, or cryptocurrency schills, before you get so annoyed you disable it.

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