Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Why I'm Leaving Reddit (dp.cx)
29 points by dpcx 1769 days ago | hide | past | web | 34 comments | favorite

great story bro

Now, seriously, when you post your own content, deep down it's always more about self-promotion than something that interests the community. You post because you're afraid no one else will do it - you just did the same here on HN. It's frowned upon in most places, not because it means you're a spammer bastard, but because it's so hard to draw the line: if every company started posting their own stuff it would fill the boards with trash.

I've done it too, but have started refraining from posting my own stuff because of that. If I'm allowed, everyone should be, and I don't think that's a good idea.

I think the focus of HN and Reddit should be to surface content that is interesting to HN or to the subreddit. The rest of things like user karma, etc are(and should be) secondary in pursuit of the primary objective of the site - surface relevant content. This does not mean that excessive or repetitive submissions should be tolerated.

Just make a new account. One of the things I advise people is to not use your personal account in reddit. But do use your business account in a savy manner by:

- participating in the discussion on subjects related to your business/product.

- not posting links to your content until a minimum amount of Karma is achieved.

- not linking to your own facebook/twitter pages unless someone asks to.

- using related discussions to explain how a given problem might be fixed, offering options, and mentioning that you provide one of those options.

This also applies to HN, but do realize that the community here is more tight knit and more focused on learning than many other places. So you can make a post of how your product is awesome (in a technical manner) and people will appreciate the content and participate in the discussion.

But! Reddit is not generally a place where you find people like HN members. The average there is more about passing time, and hanging out. Though particular sub-reddits have their own culture, you will should expect the typical group of trolls (sometimes, the moderators are the trolls).

If you plan to post to a specific sub-reddit, then contact the moderators before posting, and get to know them. I always, always do this and have never been perma-banned. The way to do it is to introduce yourself in a friendly manner and ask for their blessing. Explain to them the who/what/how/why/when if what your are doing. Let them know that you dont want to spam the community but want to take part in it. Thus, imparting your knowledge about the domain with the insight gained from providing a product in the market is something that is valuable for the community at large.

You will also need a good sense of humor and a flame suit.

He posts the links he submitted, but not links to the reddit submissions (such as http://www.reddit.com/r/Permaculture/comments/lf5f1/google_i... ), and there is no link to the submission in r/reportthespammers where they discuss him.

I find that suspicious.

> I’ll be leaving my account, but I won’t be back.

Okay, but his user page shows a 404: http://www.reddit.com/user/gms8994

Maybe that's what usually happens to shadowbanned users; I have no idea.

edit: I can still see at least some of his submissions - http://www.reddit.com/r/Celebs/new/?count=125&after=t3_1... - http://i.imgur.com/pL4bs.png

edit 2: trevorj brings up a good point: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5062850

Here's the link to RTS - http://www.reddit.com/r/reportthespammers/comments/xwrf7/ove..., no discussion there at all. Just a karma count of +3/-2

Interesting. It was submitted five months ago, but he was still posting four days ago.

My guess is that it had nothing to do with that subreddit and more to do with individual people clicking "report" on the links he submitted.

That's because of the moderators checking the spam filter on their subreddits. Most of the recent posts were there.

The link in reporthespammers is to my user page, where they could see my posts.

Shadowbanned users are 404d as well.

I mean, why not link to the specific r/reportthespammers submission that was discussing you? (e.g., http://www.reddit.com/r/reportthespammers/comments/16mx8w/se...)

I'm tempted to dig out my toy project that fiddled with the Reddit API to try and find it; since you last submitted something four days ago, it gives me a definitive bound to search through, buuuuut this sandwich isn't going to eat itself.

Why didn't they just contact you first and ask you about the behavior, expressing their concern? Did they contact you at all? How did you respond?

That's not covered in this article. And it seems crazy to me that they would vote to shadowban you without attempting to talk to you at least a little. Is that what happened? If so, that's nuts.

I think it's worse than just "they didn't ask". They don't even care if a moderator vouches for you.

A week or so ago, it was pointed out to me that ircmaxell was also banned from reddit - I think it was a shadowban as well, since his username still appears as the submitter on some items, rather than "[deleted]" - because he was submitting too many links to his own blog.

Now, this isn't just some average blogger. Anthony is a very well known PHP developer - by which I mean he develops PHP, not just in PHP, and has voting rights regarding the direction the language takes. (Please don't hold that against him, Jeff.)

While I'm sure he was posting a lot of submissions for his own site, it was really great stuff. The first I really heard of him was due to a series of articles he and another developer wrote as a guide to understanding the internals of PHP with directions on what various C code was and how it hung together. It wasn't spam, at least not by any definition I care to recognize.

This didn't matter. Quality didn't matter. Apparently, one of the moderators to /r/php even went to bat for him with the admins, asking that the ban be lifted. The admins didn't care.

Meanwhile, many people submit a lot of content they also made themselves - memes. If you want to make a bunch of advice animal image macros and upload them to imgur, that's fine. If you write a five part dive into the guts of PHP's internals, you're banned.

It's funny too, because maybe I'm remembering incorrectly since it's been so long, but I seem to recall early reddit specifically saying that it was cool to submit your own stuff, and even encouraging it. Now, there's some sort ratio of yours-to-others content that you need to keep in balance, otherwise you're marked a spammer, regardless of how good your own content happens to be.

I was not contacted. I have a verified email with Reddit, but received nothing.

The fun of closed walls.

Hackers News has the same thing, called hellbanning.

The Joel on Software forum was the first place I encountered it, but on a per-post basis. The first time I found out a post of mine had been ignored[1] in this deceptive way, I left and never went back.

It's a valid mechanism for outright spam, but seems to get overused as sites get more mature. I think you should basically never hellban anyone who has ever done anything even marginally useful on your site. Either talk to such miscreants or explicitly ban them so they know what you did.

[1] It was a meta post. JoS didn't allow meta posts. But it was hard to know this because.. it's a meta rule. And you could keep posting meta posts in ignorance and never get feedback that this was undesired behavior.

> I think you should basically never hellban anyone who has ever done anything even marginally useful on your site. Either talk to such miscreants or explicitly ban them so they know what you did.

It's a matter of ratio. Is their marginally useful contribution worth the hassle that they cause?

Rooting a troll out of something like HN, or Reddit, or a forum is hard. They probably have more time than you.

Basically you need to tell apart those who do something bad, and those who know something is wrong and has penalties, and are still doing it. You seem to be claiming that there's no way to do this scalably. I disagree.

You said elsewhere in this thread that shadowbanning is required because otherwise they just create a new account. But the new account starts with none of the positive karma the old one did, so it is hellbanned in the usual way.

Literally all this takes is that the site support non-deceptive versions of ignore/kill/nuke/blast and use them the first few times. If the guy sees his stories being flagged and continues, then stop showing him that his stories are flagged.

IIRC, HN's hellbanning is actually worse. In order to not immediately tip off people who are hellbanned that it happened, hellbanned users see hellbanned content in line with everything else, but no one else sees it. This way it still gets votes, comments, etc. (albeit at a slower rate).

How do I figure out if I've been hellbanned?

Usually, view your account with a browser in incognito mode and look at your comments. I do it every now and again, just to make sure.

Also, addlepate, you've been hellbanned:

    addlepate 8 days ago | link [dead]

    Are you sure about all that? I never get votes or replies. Also, as implemented, 
    HN's hellbanning is quite obvious when it happens.

Clearly not that obvious.

You seem like a decent guy based on this brief wayback machine history: http://web.archive.org/web/20110907072017/http://www.reddit....

My guess is that you posted too many links like the pop mech link, which had an auto playing video the first time I visited before a cookie was set saying I'd seen it (I'm guess they do this because I didn't see it again)

Links like that are extremely annoying and the quickest way to express it is to hit the 'report' link.

Doesn't add up. You don't get banned from Reddit simply by being added to the /r/reportthespammers subreddit, and there's no way he would know that the vote was 2 to 3.

You can see the up/down votes for a post. It's available via the API, and the Reddit Enhancement Suite.

That's just people who happened to vote on a particular submission in a particular subreddit. This is not Alexis Ohanian personally clicking a "I agree to shadowban gms8994".

Let alone what his posting habits may be, this management behavior is atrocious. If someone came to my desk and presented me with ideas to moderate a community that related to these hellbanned/shadowbanned methodologies, I’d flip my lid. It’s cowardly, plain and simple. It reminds me of some cruel school yard tactics that bettered no one. If someone is harming the community (spamming), then ban them blatantly. Stand up to it and stand by your decision to do so. Don’t hide behind a cowardly veil of secretly isolating the person. So childish and weak…

This post has been taken off the frontpage. Deliciously ironic.

Self-pity never goes over well.

It seems like a telling omission that he doesn't say whether his former employers compensated him for posting about them.

I think hellbanning/shadowbanning is the worst thing ever, and needs to be exterminated. If you don't want someone part of the community, then ban them. Shadow banning just seems to passive aggresive.

Hell/shadowbanning works.

If you ban someone, they just re-register, and you have to hunt them down again.

If you close registration, your site slowly withers away.

If you verify registrations one at a time, your time slowly withers away.

If you charge for registration, you better be SomethingAwful or MetaFilter, or your site will rapidly wither away.

I've had to mod a few communities here and there, and while I admit that I'm not particularly good at it, it has definitely taught me that it's mostly a thankless slog.

If you shadow ban someone, they will just re-register. I was shadow banned here a few months ago. I re-registered. It did nothing to deter me. What I actually did to deserve the shadow ban I have no idea. Maybe I disagreed with the wrong person?

All it did was make me lose a bit of respect for the people who moderate this place. If the mod had actually sent me a message telling me why I was banned, I could have at least learned from it.

> * If you shadow ban someone, they will just re-register.*

An ideal shadow-ban makes it difficult to realize you're shadow-banned.

I fully understand this view, but never sacrifice integrity. The method works to keep the user in the same account, but does little for ethically solving the problem. Hiding the setting from the end user is BS, notification and transparency is a must . And maybe, give an avenue to work out of the status. All of this can be autonomously solved with the result of a whiteboard, some nerds and some code. Policies, procedures, terms & SOP’s are the character of our creations. The personality that defines what we created. It could be the most attractive product of all time, but with a shitty personality the whole things ruined.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact