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Thread: Anybody else miss the old Reddit?

  1. #1

    Anybody else miss the old Reddit?

    http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/co...nd_you/chqu5ql

    TL;DR Reddit is ****.
    Listen to this history of reddit and decide for yourself:

    phase 1: reddit started as a way for programmers and interesting people to share their cool projects, ideas, and findings with each other. nonstop OC and insightful comments with only a few jokes, most very relevant and amusing.

    phase 2: people with nothing to contribute started visiting reddit because there was cool stuff here. they're not interesting themselves, but they appreciate interesting things. the quality of reddit stays high.

    phase 3: digg died and reddit got flooded with people with nothing interesting to contribute. that's fine, however those people had a keen interest in stupid **** such as celebrities, pictures of animals, sob stories, bull**** debates on random points of etiquette, and participate in various forms of cyber bullying, clique forming, and useless inside jokes.

    phase 4: all the values of the ****ty digg culture from before become reddit's new values. most of the original members of reddit who contributed interesting and valuable things are gone or turn into trolls. they are trolls because they can't help but mock all the stupid people who fill their old haunt.

    phase 5: present reddit. nobody here is doing anything interesting or useful, and the site is entirely a platform for companies to sell and promote their **** to bored and dull people. reddit changed from an informal programming community into a reader's digest that pretends it's popular mechanics.
    This has been going on for a while, but since it seems permanent by now, I'll ask: where do you guys go to get news for nerds with a high signal to noise ratio? I often visit news.ycombinator.com, but since I don't work for a web startup, I basically have to ignore half of the posts there.

    The deterioration of reddit kind of makes me thankful that Massassi's growth is stagnant. That site has totally turned to **** by now, not the least because they get tens of millions of visits per day now. The front page is littered with animal pics, and most threads are nothing more than a litany of unfunny and bizarre humor.

    Is the internet getting dumber now that the facebook generation is flooding all the sites I used to like, or am I just getting older?
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 05-27-2014 at 01:30 AM.

  2. #2
    I've never frequented those general hub sites (Reddit, Fark, even SA to a certain degree) and in Reddit's case I've mostly heard bad things about it. Good riddance.

    Come to think of it, the only social media-like construct I've used regularly is Twitter, but I've recently discovered that I don't actually need/want to know about American problems (and I don't follow any Finns on Twitter or elsewhere, actually) so now I'm once again heading into not getting news from any other source than "Kroko/Antony told me about on IRC".

    And whatever your intentions, I'm sorry, your last question just reeks of:


  3. #3
    Oh, come on. You know it's true.

    I mean, when http://icanhascheezburger.com was born, the web had to have lost a few IQ points. And don't tell me the phenomenon is unprecedented. I'm too young (by about a decade) to have seriously used Usenet, but you've probably heard of Eternal September.

  4. #4
    Yeah, I've heard of it. It also brings me back to that comic.

  5. #5
    Okay. Well, it was actually a genuine question. I honestly want to know if the collective web is really getting dumber, or if it was always this dumb, and I'm just getting older / wiser.

    If you go back to the 80's, for example, if you were on the internet it was probably because you were connected through a university. The average internet user in those days probably had no less than 3 years (on average) of university in a technical field.
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 05-27-2014 at 02:03 AM.

  6. #6
    Well, I'm not denying that dumb(er) things might be quite popular these days.

    But somewhere out there, there's a different small-to-mid-size forum dedicated to some relatively popular video game (series) where the new generation of FGRs, MikeCs, Mikuses, Caitian_Tourists, GuNbOys, Jaiphs and Mort_Hogs ponder if things have already gone to hell and in 10 years will deride the new generation of things as happily as we do now.

  7. #7
    If this were Reddit, instead of you and I having a conversation, our comments would probably be buried by people with a lame sense of humor trying to impress each other with hopelessly pedestrian witticisms.
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 05-27-2014 at 02:12 AM.

  8. #8
    FGR, I'm not happy about it. Maybe smug, but my motivation for posting is entirely practical. If there's some secret site that I'm missing, I'd like to know where it is*. In the early 2000's (and earlier if you're older than me), it was /..

    *real life?

  9. #9
    Well, in the end, I don't frequent those general hub sites and I'm not denying that there's some kind of decline going on. As a close example, keep in mind that Koobie's almost 30 years old and he acts in the same way a lot of us did 10 years ago - when most of us were in our teens and only a handful of people were over 20 years old (and then there was - and still is - Jeff Walters, who of course never acted that way but was - and still is - older than most of us). Maybe it's becaue he's Koobie, maybe he's just blending in to whatever the general Internet culture is like these days.

    But on the other hand, /b/ was never good to begin with.

  10. #10
    I bet the answer is 4chan. I just paid a visit to the technology board, and it only took a few posts before I found some people talking about lisp.

    And I remember when Dennis Ritchie passed away a few days after Steve Jobs did, they were the only ones who seemed to give a damn.

  11. #11
    god /b/ is annoying.

  12. #12
    I guess some people here like SA. I could never get used to the abrasive style of the people who post there.

    Also, I'm a doofus when it comes to video games these days.

  13. #13
    The smaller, focused subs are pretty good. The biggest thing I hate about reddit is that comments get hidden if they go against the prevailing consensus for a particular submission. No one follows reddiquette. They just downvote any opinion they remotely disagree with.

    I honestly don't know the solution. SA is one of the only traditional-style forums I know of that is both popular and well-moderated.

    As for whether the internet is getting stupider, well.. I happen to think that people are getting better in some ways (literacy rate for instance) but the problem is that the internet is in a period of rapid growth. And yeah, you're getting older and more tired of the juvenile ****.
    "it is time to get a credit card to complete my financial independance" — Tibby, Aug. 2009

  14. #14
    Human Computer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    I often visit news.ycombinator.com, but since I don't work for a web startup, I basically have to ignore half of the posts there.
    Then you probably saw this. http://rs.io/2014/02/26/why-online-c...over-time.html
    ? :)

  15. #15
    (Still) On 13 week vacation
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freelancer View Post
    The smaller, focused subs are pretty good. The biggest thing I hate about reddit is that comments get hidden if they go against the prevailing consensus for a particular submission. No one follows reddiquette. They just downvote any opinion they remotely disagree with.

    I honestly don't know the solution. SA is one of the only traditional-style forums I know of that is both popular and well-moderated.

    As for whether the internet is getting stupider, well.. I happen to think that people are getting better in some ways (literacy rate for instance) but the problem is that the internet is in a period of rapid growth. And yeah, you're getting older and more tired of the juvenile ****.
    It's probably just because the world is a naturally terrible place.
    >>untie shoes

  16. #16
    I unsubscribed from all default subreddits. Then it's a lot more tolerable.
    "Nulla tenaci invia est via"

  17. #17
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    Last edited by Reid; 08-05-2015 at 01:35 AM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Mentat View Post
    I recall that being posted. Of course, it doesn't really offer solutions, but thanks.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Mentat View Post
    Seems to be on the mark. I think I'm gonna link to that one as well as the XKCD comic from now on in similar discussions. Hooray for having no own thoughts (on the matter)!

    Then again, I dislike Reddit anyway so I don't think it has ever even been something good that should have been preserved, hence the /b/ comparison. Of course, I've never really even visited it (or similar sites) so bleghckhx.

    This would also be the mark where I'd usually link to the 2002 Cave_Demon thread about the community having changed for the worse, but eh, you've all seen it by now. Even if you haven't even seen the thread in question.

  20. #20
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    Last edited by Reid; 08-05-2015 at 01:35 AM.

  21. #21
    The HN discussion produced this little gem.

    A bit cynical, but more universal than most would might like to admit.

    Hey Wookie, why don't you accuse us of circle-jerking some more... (even if that perceived problem isn't really what that HN response was about)

  22. #22
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    Last edited by Reid; 08-05-2015 at 01:35 AM.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    There's not many ways to respond to that besides perpetually moving on
    So you're essentially saying that the only sure way to ensure the integrity of discourse is to make it easy for the most intelligent members to silently pick up their bags and set up camp a mile down the road?

    Maybe I'm not sure what you meant by 'moving on'.

  24. #24
    The places with the highest levels of discourse, in my opinion, have always been the ones where some barrier to entry exists from the get-go. Examples: any mailing list about some decades old open source project, *.stackexchange or mathoverflow (too advanced for me), physicsforums, actual people at a physical university, and... various blogs of intelligent people.

    Oh yes, that's it. I remember now. A significant portion of the intelligent usenet traffic seems to have gone to the blogs of various professors and experts. Silly me for forgetting.

  25. #25
    BTW, am I the only one who found the default Slashdot comment filtering system to be incredibly annoying and hard to read as soon as they changed it sometime in the mid-to-late 2000's?

    (Not that I find those comments worth reading anymore. In this case, I think it's seriously an instance of me growing up. There was a time when I thought Slashdot had brilliant discussion, but it's almost certainly because I was a little kid.)

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    If this were Reddit, instead of you and I having a conversation, our comments would probably be buried by people with a lame sense of humor trying to impress each other with hopelessly pedestrian witticisms.
    You didn't ask, I'll deliver.





    <(Doh-hoh-hoh-hoh!)

  27. #27
    See, but since this isn't Reddit, just by posting something silly(/funny?), you aren't necessarily able to bury the entire thread. If that ever happens in a board like this, it's usually because the thread was going **** anyhow, as opposed to the ever harmful voting system found on Digg-like sites.

  28. #28
    Note how GBK and I overtaking threads with Space Ghost Coast to Coast quotes has reduced to almost nothing after Koobie was banned.

  29. #29
    Not all that long ago I seem to remember the 'culprits' being Alan and Antony.

  30. #30
    Seen Your Member
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    Metafilter is still decent. Its barrier to entry is $5, and that's just so you can post.

    Reddit is decent if you are choosy enough with your subscribed subreddits. I recommend ArtefactPorn.
    Last edited by Flirbnic; 05-27-2014 at 01:10 PM.
    I'm just a little boy.

  31. #31
    I might just have a look at Metafilter.

    The community there slightly reminds me of the StraightDope message boards. Not entirely technical, a bit older, and much less spammy.

  32. #32
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    Last edited by Reid; 08-05-2015 at 01:35 AM.

  33. #33
    I've never used reddit, digg, 4chan, or whatever else you guys are talking about but I read the wikipedia entry for Eternal September and I can only conclude that Massassi should be changed into one of those newfangled Usenet groups.
    COUCHMAN IS BACK BABY

  34. #34
    yeah, I'm not sure you want that. Usenet is mostly spam now.

  35. #35

  36. #36
    I'm finding myself pretty impressed with the signal to noise ratio of Quora. It enforces a real-names policy, and up-voting is NOT anonymous. This idea could be the solution to Reddit-style downvoting. That said, it is only Q&A, so it's not a replacement for news aggregation. (In the same vein, stackexchange is not a replacement for Reddit. Alas, in all these cases the drivel is filtered by limiting discussion to focused or technical questions.)

    Anyway: I searched the site for 'Reddit "eternal september", and got this insightful discussion. It had one short post from Jimmy Wales, plus the following post which I highly recommend:

    No online global discussion mechanism arisen to replace Usenet because there is no economic incentive for such a thing to exist.

    It helps to ask the question, "why did Usenet exist in the first place?"

    In the days before web browsers and before ubiquitous connectivity, the state of the art for engaging in electronic discussion was the dial-up bulletin board system. These systems generally had limited offerings, and a lot of them maintained overlapping subject matter with other systems. Long distance phone rates made calling made distant boards impractical. Discussion was typically local.

    Email overcame the long distance call problem, with either hop by hop UUCP or direct-over-the-net SMTP. Mailing lists could emulate a discussion board, but they were, by definition, closed. Mail quotas were miniscule, reflecting the cost per megabyte of the day. Large mailing lists made mail server admins crazy, since replicated messages from a mailing list rapidly ate into mail spool space.

    Usenet stepped in to fill the void by providing a public hierarchy of discussions that operated like open mailing lists while using less disk space. Usenet used transport mechanisms similar to mail (UUCP or NNTP) and allowed cooperating systems to replicate messages. Disk space and bandwidth usage could be controlled by picking the hierarchies of interest and managing how fast articles expired.

    But Usenet's success was part of its its undoing. The list hierarchy exploded into deeper and deeper trees. No user or usage management existed due to Usenet's decentralized nature. Spam and trolls grew out of control and the signal to noise ratio became unbearable. Like SMTP, no sender authentication existed and the emergent ad-hoc security mechanisms devolved into fights among the most persistent.

    The last newsreader I used when I read Usenet on a regular basis was called "nn" - Their motto was "No news is good news, but nn is better." The stated objective of nn was "NOT to read news," which reflected the fact that even as early as 1989 it was difficult to find the wheat among the chaff in the growing sea of sludge that was Usenet.

    In the mean time, universal connectivity began to appear, and sophisticated web sites multiplied. Tired of the spam and trolls, people serious about having discussions retreated to a well managed walled gardens related to their interests. Text based discussion was no longer enough for most communities. Adjunct knowledge bases, blogs, databases, images or video archives turned out to be interesting adjuncts to discussion, depending on the topic at hand. Usenet had no modular mechanisms to grow in such a way, and could not adapt was fast as custom built web sites.

    Content management of the walled gardens surpassed Usenet in leaps and bounds. People desired (and got) search capabilities and deeper storage than the article expiration window. User authentication and a foolproof banhammer mechanisms helped to keep discussion useful and sideline griefers and trolls. Different software systems evolved to maximize creation and consumption of content in the context of specific topics.

    It turned out that people don't mind going to different places for discussion on different topics, especially when the content is well curated, the community is well behaved, and the presentation is optimized to the content at hand.

    The social "feedback loop" that has evolved in discussion forums has also added value, allowing crowdsourced rating of content and crowd silencing of trolls. Different audiences have different value systems, so people will tend to gravitate to a place that supports their value systems. A universal online discussion forum might not provide a safe space to discuss controversial topics; the sharding of discussion becomes a feature in that case. (We can have a separate discussion about whether this is good or bad for society as a whole, but that's probably a whole Quora post by itself.)

    I agree with Jimmy Wales - reddit is probably the closest thing we have to Usenet, and I never use it. I would also suggest that the troll population has found a cozy home in places like 4chan. Lots of big clusters of discussion still exist, but greater size leads to unbearable noise.

    I think the Quoran asking the question may remember a time when Usenet was small and populated by a relatively homogenous population of academics, prior to Eternal September. The need is not for a universal discussion group, but a community of thoughtful and polite people to engage in discussion. And this is precisely why there is not a universal point-of-entry for discussions. I can argue that Usenet actually proved that point.

    To summarize:

    Usenet is a relic of another time which grew out of the technical limitations of the era. It was an improvement over the state of the art, but ultimately imploded as its success exposed its fatally weak foundational assumption that people could be trusted to be well behaved in large, anonymous groups.

    A universal discussion forum covering all known topics is not very economically viable (or even technically feasible) due to the wildly diverse nature of each topic stream and the personality types that want to have those discussions.
    http://www.quora.com/Usenet/Why-has-...hillip-Remaker

  37. #37
    Oh, and I also had a look at /r/DepthHub, as well as /r/TrueReddit, which are supposedly centers of enlightened discussion on Reddit. Alas, I was disappointed with both. TrueReddit seems to lack the overtly pointless posts on regular Reddit, but the level of discourse in the comments still leaves a LOT to be desired. DepthHub seems nice in theory, but in practice I don't see much point in reading excessively long posts buried in some random / obscure thread.
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 06-01-2014 at 12:09 AM.

  38. #38
    BTW, does anybody here read the Atlantic? I've subscribed to their online feed via Facebook, and I'm usually rewarded by the quality of their articles.

    Any other "old media" publications you guys read? I used to try reading Christian Science Monitor 'daily news briefings' (daily 2-page PDF giving a cross-section of the news in short snippets). It gives a good perspective on world news instead of the usual US-centric, sensationalist bull****. I still grew weary of it and stopped, though, mostly since I can only digest a certain amount of meaningless platitudes and outright lies copied pretty much verbatim from people in the government and the media.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Freelancer View Post
    As for whether the internet is getting stupider, well.. I happen to think that people are getting better in some ways (literacy rate for instance) but the problem is that the internet is in a period of rapid growth. And yeah, you're getting older and more tired of the juvenile ****.
    My first visit to youtube.com was the day I discovered how very sheltered I'd been from the depths of human illiteracy. Another interesting Quora post on the matter:
    I have this theory that YouTube comments actually broke through a previously-unbroken "floor" on the crappiness of comments on internet forums:

    The reason is that before YouTube, you have to remember that video on the internet was relatively rare. You had all these codec and transmission problems, broadband was still pretty rare, and there were certainly very few central repositories available to the casual user. In this old world, most places where you could comment were textual in nature (forums, BBS, etc). The thing with text-oriented sites is that, no matter how stupid you are, you still have to be literate in order to participate. So you can be some kind of backwoods racist Neo-Nazi, but at least you are the guy writing their propaganda leaflets.

    The thing is, we all thought that the population visiting and posting on these forums represented a full cross-section of humanity. Not so! Because you still had to be willing to read and write (however poorly) in order to participate, it still excluded the great mass of people for whom that is too much of a challenge, those who prefer to lie inert on their couches and have entertainment streamed to them via video. These people hadn't yet made it onto the participatory parts of the internet, or maybe just spent most of their time online looking at porn.

    Enter YouTube. A new way for the masses to consume the internet, now presented in passive, video format. Suddenly all these video-oriented mostly-illiterate users had a new place to be, they could watch funny videos all day. They're not completely illiterate, of course - so when presented with a textbox beneath the video they're watching, they'll gladly mash some "lol whut herp derp" comment into it. So what Youtube actually achieved was bringing a new class of even more illiterate user onto the internet and getting them to join into the dialogue.
    Which makes me realize that society may well be becoming more literate. It's just that back in the 90's and early 00's when we were kids, the web, writ large, was populated by a tiny minority of society, with an average level of literacy that surely will never be seen again (except, of course, in subsets of the web where intelligence is concentrated).
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 06-01-2014 at 12:54 AM.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Oh, and I also had a look at /r/DepthHub, as well as /r/TrueReddit, which are supposedly centers of enlightened discussion on Reddit. Alas, I was disappointed with both. TrueReddit seems to lack the overtly pointless posts on regular Reddit, but the level of discourse in the comments still leaves a LOT to be desired. DepthHub seems nice in theory, but in practice I don't see much point in reading excessively long posts buried in some random / obscure thread.
    The level of discourse in a sub has almost nothing to do with its mission and everything to do with its number of subscribers. Truereddit has almost 300k subscribers so it's no wonder that the discourse is lacking. I've noticed that anything under about 10k tends to be pretty good as long as the sub has a dedicated topic.
    "it is time to get a credit card to complete my financial independance" — Tibby, Aug. 2009

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