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Every online community is naturally inclined to become 4chan. It happened to 4chan, it happened to digg, it's definitely on the cusp at reddit and I expect it will eventually happen to HN.

I'm not happy about this :/

Every open, unfettered online community, anyway. Hacker News could save itself with harsher mods and possibly restraints on registration. I think it'll happen if we slide too far, but I don't see it happening anytime soon.


So what about metafilter and specifically ask.metafilter? Are they heading that way? Very honest question as I agree with what you wrote.

Metafilter's always the example I bring up; I avoided saying it here because I think I've mentioned it a dozen times in the last week and I don't want to seem to be recruiting. (Not that I'm a MeFi poster, just a reader.)

Metafilter did a smart thing by forcing users to pay to join. It's also got the most anal modding of any civil site I've ever seen. Cortex will remove entire discussions if he doesn't like them.

This is how the SomethingAwful forums remain, in my opinion, rather high quality despite being affiliated with an offensive comedy website. $10 and strict mods seemingly breed compliance with whatever regulations you care to enforce.

SomethingAwful's the perfect example. They're the best at what they do, and their forums, while a bit immature for my tastes normally, have hands-down the most talented people there than I've found anywhere. I'm astonished at the artistic and entrepreneurial visionaries I see posting like mad there. I wish some of them would post here too.

They'd probably all get downvoted into oblivion.

Another possibility is to force people to use their real names.

But no community can leverage that well, because Facebook already exists for that. Adding real names to a community of strangers doesn't help much. I'm certain I've trolled under my real name before when my name didn't matter.

Reddit's already there. They are, thankfully, less dangerous than 4chan (i.e., 4chan is likely to firebomb a building for their pet cause, Reddit is more likely to sit and post angry things about it)

I disagree, the recent 'my pastor abused me...' posts on reddit proved just how dangerous reddit can be - they found his personal info and called and harassed him, he (possibly) committed suicide a couple of days later.

Holy shit, I didn't know about the suicide.

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the Reddit community - I've expressed this here on HN in the past.

I have my misgivings about Reddit too, but I'm still a fan of the site as a whole. What in particular don't you like?

The knee-jerkiness of the community, and the groupthink. If you think Slashdot has the herd mentality, I'm not sure what you'd think of Reddit. Never before have I seen a group of self-proclaimed progressives be this bigoted and ignorant, yet fast on the trigger when it comes to condemning just about anyone or anything - e.g., Sears, the constant posts about tazers, the giant hate-on for all law enforcement, etc.

Recently there have been some pretty clear racist undertones running throughout the site (anti-Muslim, in particular). Reddit prides itself in being a community of self-ascribed liberals and progressives - but I don't see it at all in the behaviour of its userbase.

Nowadays I mostly only go to the photography subreddits, that are still generally populated by reasonable people willing to discuss as opposed to fight. Niche subreddits may be the only places left on the site that doesn't make me mentally throw up every time I try to read it.

Oh man, because of this HN attitude (Gawd, we can't become like Reddit) I resisted looking at Reddit for a long time. Finally I looked last week, and frankly, I'm just not seeing this. So far, I'm really enjoying Reddit's ability to flag news I'm interested in.

Of course, I don't spend much time reading the threads themselves. But ... I just don't see how horrible Reddit is.

I haven't seen serious discussion like this there, either. But that's hardly enough to condemn the site entirely. (Of course, maybe I'm one of the negative influences here; I do have a tendency to enjoy off-topic posting.)

Wait till you get more caught up in certain parts of the community. I still occasionally feel the need to go to /r/politics and argue my point of view, and there be crazy people.

Well... in my experience, arguing politics or religion is the best way in the world to find crazy people. That's pretty true here, too. It's because this kind of belief is not only close to our sense of identity, it's also where we differ most. That was actually one of the most dismaying things about the period from September 2001 to the Iraq War, in my experience; people I'd earlier respected and liked turned out to be raving lunatics - and they felt the same about me.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not looking for more venues to argue politics, but that I wouldn't find it a good idea to argue politics here, either. (Although I just got 70 karma for doing just that, this week. So plainly I have no idea what I'm doing.)

I've certainly noticed the extremest tendencies on reddit. But one thing I also notice is that it seems to attract them from both sides.

>Recently there have been some pretty clear racist undertones running throughout the site (anti-Muslim, in particular)

This is a good example. You'll probably find as many anti-Israel comments as anti-Muslim.

I'm not saying that's a good thing. But it is a scale that balances in the end. One thing that keeps it interesting is that the reddit community doesn't seem to have run for the middle as part of its groupthink, instead it runs for stark polarity.

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