Reddit, and I mean, Reddit once you log in to your account, and thus only see the subreddits you like, is more of a community discussion board platform and aggregatior than a community discussion board in and of itself. To compare two entertainment subreddits, check out r/adviceanimals, and juxtapose r/askhistorians. The culture is completely different. The mods on askhistorians are brutal about deleting comments that are low-quality or off topic, and the content that remains is usually pretty good. I enjoy reading askhistorians and am not ashamed to admit it. r/adviceanimals, on the other hand, quite often has bad advice that isn't funny. It's the sort of place that if I did enjoy it, I would be embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed it.
Generally speaking, for a positive experience, after you create your account, you want to unsubscribe from all of the 'default' subreddits.
I've hired a person who approached me based on my comments on reddit, and he turned out to be pretty good.
Before unsubscribing, people should enjoy the initial "Reddit experience". Bask in all of the memes and instant gratification humor, enjoy Internet culture at its trashiest.
Only once they start getting annoyed at what they once used to love, then unsubscribe from the defaults and branch out into smaller niche subreddits. Sure, they might become a more bitter Interneter by the end, but really, isn't it the journey that counts?
Yes, for two reasons: news gathering and interesting programming stuff.
The programming sections (Python, Scala etc.) are basically Hacker News but without the "OMG we're going to become Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and make meeeelions of dollars" stuff which I couldn't care less about.
And there's lots of subreddits which contain links that are of specific interest from different countries and specific interesting communities. This is useful for finding story ideas and to try and ensure that my filter bubble is less Western and less mainstream.
That's only "interesting" if you find the entrepeneury stuff interesting. What I initially liked about HN was the links and discussions regarding software development. I now prefer reddit to HN because the appropriate sub-reddits offer much more of that (and without all the "OMG 11 secrets to grow your startup" stuff that I don't find at all interesting).
I posted an article about C++ to reddit a few weeks ago and Andrei Alexandrescu commented in the discussion (multiple times). That was extremely exciting for me, and likewise I imagine many HNers get as (or more) excited when PG comments on something they submit here...but please don't assume that's why everybody is here.
That is one of my favourite things about HN by far. It was a very surreal moment to realize that I'd had a very public conversation/discussion with Paul Graham. That's something I've never seen or experienced on other sites before.
I forgot the even more important thing I do on Reddit: I hang out on the LGBT section and comment supportively on people's coming out stories and pleas for advice and support.
The absolute best email I ever got, and one I will treasure is from a guy who read something I'd written on Reddit's LGBT section, clicked through and saw that I also am a programmer and big old nerdy nerd and was encouraged to come out to his parents. He told me that all the advice he'd seen online didn't speak to him precisely because it didn't come from people who were like him.
I especially like how Reddit has a special sub for each of the actual Comp Sci subfields one might care about, and they're actually active. /r/compsci is the root, then I can hit /r/systems, /r/osdev, /r/types, /r/scala, /r/haskell, blah blah blah blah.
I used to be on Reddit all the time. I had 9000+ comment karma, 1500+ link karma, and I didn't miss many front page posts. Reddit was a productive distraction for me at first. When I was in High School Reddit introduced me to a ton of interesting news, science, and of course funny shit that made me happy. I bought my first Java book because there were so many programming jokes in the comments that I wanted to know what it was all about.
After a while, I noticed Reddit was less and less productive for me. I had figured out which news sources the top quality submissions came from, and I followed them directly. I didn't need Reddit to teach me about the things I really wanted to learn about, I could find them myself. One day I said "fuck this" and quit cold turkey. Went from spending 1-2h a day on Reddit (or linked sites) to never going on it again. That was about 2 years ago, still haven't been back.
Then I got a software engineering internship and I was introduced to Hacker News. I had the same feeling I had when I started on Reddit. I was learning a TON and it was definitely making me a better programmer. I was being introduced to dozens of new technologies, frameworks, startups, etc. Now I'm starting to get that feeling that it's not so productive anymore. Partially because I know a lot more, and partially because an increasing percentage of the content is now opinion rather than reference. I still come on the site because it's a great way to keep tabs on the tech industry, but I can see an exit in the distance.
So there, that's my way-too-long answer to your question.
There is a constant complaint that HN is turning into Reddit. But, after looking at snapshots of the frontpage from five years ago, I realized, only the names have changed. So, the change must be experiential. (The same can be said of music and radio stations.) If you think HN is turning into Reddit, perhaps you are growing out of the target demographic.
The key to making reddit a bearable experience, and I think most people on HN will agree with this, is honing into specific subreddits that you believe are worth participating in and using them exclusive to the rest of the site. For me it's askhistorians, a relatively small community with ruthless moderation that stomps quickly and decisively on anything that isn't properly cited and maintains a healthy base of experts.
I would agree with that statement. I just run multiple accounts (One for tech, one just for laughs, etc). I did this before the changes where you can have multiple front pages or streams (I'll admit I haven't played with them much) but I still like my approach as I like the separation.
Couple of other hints for subreddit discovery: if you find one interesting subreddit, check out its sidebar as many have a related subreddits section there. Also check "other discussions" tab for interesting links to see what other subreddits it has been posted on.
Picking your subreddits is a neverending task, I'm couple of years in and still keep finding new and old interesting subreddits.
I'm currently working on downloading all of Reddit's link submissions for data analyses (one such analysis is published here: http://minimaxir.com/2013/09/reddit-imgur-youtube/). So far, I have about 20M links downloaded...and that's not even a year's worth of data.
I think... that might be the difference between advertising and an actual post by a member of the community. Nobody pays attention to advertising. My big breakout was posted both here and reddit (and I didn't track which got me more customers) but... I don't think I could have paid for that.
Well, that and I think that per-capita, hacker news buys a lot more "cloud services" than reddit does. A lot more. This is the upside to the heavy business slant to hacker news. Most people here have or will at some point try to use a website to make money directly, whereas most of r/sysadmin works for other people. I'd expect you'd pay a lot more per impression here vs. reddit if hacker news supported reddit style ads.
As an aside, hacker news is also much more open to advertising-like posts by members of the community than most technically-oriented communities... which I find kind of weird.
I've actually noticed the your advertising. You posted on http://redd.it/1o13ry less than a day ago and http://redd.it/1ngwk1 a little more than a week ago. However, neither of your posts did not seemed highly related to Git. They seemed like a very obvious, unrelated plugs and neither post garnered any comments. I think this might be the reason you did not get much of a response. The posts seemed like ads and people may have just ignored them offhand as they do most advertising. Perhaps you could tweak the advertising copy to contribute more to the subreddits where you post them?
When I was in primary school they sent the kids home with a questionnaire to let the students' parents vote on some rule changes. They options were "Yes", "No" and "I choose to have my vote count with the majority"
To this day I'm convinced that was their way of covertly stacking the deck in whatever direction they saw fit.
One thing to consider is that some people don't use "Reddit the site" but instead essentially use it as free hosting for a forum. The Haskell sub-reddit is a good example of this: it's a popular forum for talking about Haskell and somewhat central to the community, so there are people who use it but don't care at all about Reddit in general.
Since HN doesn't have anything like sub-reddits, this doesn't happen here (or at least not as overtly). While having something like Reddit is great, I think the fact that HN doesn't do this is good for HN as a site.
>I think the fact that HN doesn't do this is good for HN as a site.
I think that this adds constant tension between the people who want to discuss mainstream news / moral panics / mainstream politics and those of us who don't. I... think that this inability to allow "those people" (And I recognize that to certain other folks, I am "those people") to sandbox themselves off means that hacker news needs way above par leadership to avoid turning into slashdot.
I mean, hacker news has that way above par leadership, at least for now, but... as far as the social dynamics go, reddit is much more sustainable.
If you guys are reddit fans, the Reddit Enhancement Suite (http://redditenhancementsuite.com/) is a great free add-on, and allows you some really cool features like tagging, subreddit management and other widgets.
As L_Rahman also mentioned in the comments here, customizing your subreddits is key to enhancing your experience. Some cool non-default subreddits I've subbed to are bitcoin, explainlikeimfive, bayarea and cringe. I will say, however, that the default front page experience has been significantly better since politics and atheism were removed.
The reason I originally got on reddit is because I think its important to maintain a sense of what the herd is up to. I think it provides a reasonable perspective on what younger people currently care about, talk about, listen to, watch, etc.
Personally reddit has since become a convenient means for some quick entertainment and to learn about major news events. I don't watch TV, I've stopped going to news sites and HN tends to be a bit narrowly focused so reddit is a good supplement for keeping abreast of 'normal people news'.
Same here. Reddit is television that I can consume on the toilet (note to self - never use the words "consume on the toilet" again). Does it help me? Not really. Does it demand my active participation? Nope. Is it entertaining? Certainly. It's no different than the hundreds of hours of Russian dash cam videos of wacky car accidents.
Do I view reddit? Yes. Do I participate in reddit? I used to, until I realized that participating lowered my perceived value of the entertainment.
Seven-Year Club here. I've been on Reddit since the first week, right after Spez and Alexis got it hacked together. After HN went live, my use of Reddit tailed off a lot. When it became more like 4Chan (after Conde Nast purchased it?) it tailed off even more.
These days I never see the front page and rarely comment, only browsing the subreddits.
I was part of the first wave of "newbies" into the reddit community, part of the very first wave of migrants from Digg to Reddit back in about 2008 (I was 14, I can't believe it).
Through time, I've pretty much kept my participation focused on one particular subreddit at a time. At first it was askreddit, then gaming, then minecraft, then buildapc then tf2. From there I dropped off, using it less and less as I've gotten more and more busy. Now I might visit it once a day, but I'm on HN much more.
It's really jarring to look at /r/all these days. I've never been a fan of image macros, so it's very disconcerting to see that pretty much all top content takes the form of image macros (though somehow the word "meme" has come to be synonymous with "image macro"). However, most of my favourite communities (/r/mechanicalkeyboards!!!) have only gotten more awesome with age.
I think both HackerNews and Reddit are great for both the consumers of content, and the creators too. Without sites like these it would be a lot harder to get the word out about a new site or service. For example, i'm promoting my own creation, meta64.com, and I can do it here without being smacked down and censored.
For example, Youtube won't even let people post links. That is ridiculous. Why not just give people an option called "Hide comments from me that contain links". Why try to censor the entire world? While I'm ranting about Youtube censorship... when people disable commenting, shouldn't there be a defaco to known site people can go to and comment on each video. Somebody needs to create "youtube-uncensored.com", and have a parallel commenting system, and links to videos. Then disabling comments would not allow someone to shutdown all communications about the video.
There used to be an IM application in the '90s called Odigo that was tied to your browser window - it would create a sort of ad-hoc chat-room based on your browsing. The problem was that it didn't intelligently parse URL paramaters so you had only "this exact URL that nobody else sees because of some hyper-specific stuff in the URL" and "everybody on the same domain" which was worthless for, say, Geocities.
I'm sure somebody is working on a modern web-ish version. You'd want to properly hack it for popular sites to parse URL parameters so that it would create rooms at the correct granularity.
I've unsubscribed from all of the default front page stuff and only read what I'm interested in.
I moved from slashdot to digg to reddit and now hacker news. If it were not for subreddits, reddit would have gone the way of digg and slashdot for me. Thankfully hacker news has not devolved into cat pictures and memes.
I spent a lot of time on reddit in the early days - so much that I ended up blocking it in my hosts file so I could actually get some work done. I've tried revisiting every year or so since, but I haven't found any subreddits that aren't eclipsed by more active, dedicated forums elsewhere.
Yes and No. As a helpful person, I try to always leave comments on Reddit that add to the discussion and I feel like I get upvoted more on HN than on Reddit. The downvotes on Reddit, across subreddits, for helpful comments never cease to surprise me. I should mention that I comment on Reddit way more than on HN.
I quit recently. I uninstalled the app from my phone and setup a redirect in /etc/hosts to send me to Google. I was spending too much time reading really interesting stuff, and not actually doing anything.
I "use" it, as a link aggregator. I find it's a nice way to discover new music, for example.
The noise-to-signal ratio is just too high for making me want to contribute, or even read a lot of comments. There are good contributions on small/specific subreddits (for example r/netsec), but once you leave those...
Then again, I'm not really active here too (but it's different, I find the bar really high here, so I don't post anything unless I'm totally sure it will be at least a decent post. I consume HN every day, several times a day).
I use it mostly to procrastinate and look at kitty pictures.
I'm subscribed to ruby, rails, programming and the main "hacker" subreddit, which sometime offer nice articles I don't find on HN (I rarely go further than front page).
A friend had a really good experience with a side project that made it to one of the programming subreddit front page and it brought thousands of visits that day.
I think HN still offers more quality, but some subreddit are close.
Reddit has a lot of information especially if you find your /r subreddit. But as to meaningful conversation I find there are hardly any in the fun subreddits apart from comments like "cool", "awesome" and the likes.
On the opposite end the communities for serious subreddits are very helpful but you have to be in the right groups to be able to get the right answers you require.
4+ years on HN, 3 years on reddit, I think only from my frontpage only /r/science overlaps with the default subreddit set. Interestingly enough I have significantly more (comment) karma at reddit than on HN, I'm not sure what that is indicative of if anything.
I use both Reddit and Hacker News, although I spend more time on HN. I was also inspired enough by Reddit to create a "reddit like" for enterprise (internal) use. So I voted "use reddit" and "use other".
I actually like r/programming as almost a "hacker" filter of hacker news, where the posts I'm interested in from HN are typically there, for a longer period of time (days instead of hours) with all the non-programming noise filtered out (Apple, NSA, sociopolitical, YC, SF, etc articles)