2019-10-03 Reddit usage

I find the conversation on Reddit a bit strange. It’s basically one post, one reply per person, not a real discussion. No idea why that happens. Perhaps it’s the resorting due to up- and downvoting and the default sort by hotness or something.

I think one effect on Reddit is that people look at the front page and new posts are shown, so people leave comments. As soon as the post is no longer on the front page of most visitors, you can still find those posts and leave comments but on the people that have left a comment earlier plus the author get notified. And so every conversation is a tiny bubble unless the post is “hot” and therefore stays at the front. It’s a winner-takes-all scenario. So you start commenting strategically: there is no point commenting on “old” stuff because only very few people will notice. At least that’s what I suspect.

How does one “use” Reddit, I wonder.

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Looking at reddit from the outside, it never seemed like that bad of a site. I still think it works well for smaller communities where the focus is on good content. But making a reddit account (only took me until 2019!), and posting on the large DND subreddit, has been eye-opening. Art posts end up being the lowest common denominator, floating to the top because they don’t require any reading. Meme comics are even worse.

And if you care at all about that arbitrary score next to your name, you have little incentive to even engage with anything that isn’t on the front page. You can write a well thought out response to someone’s question but maybe 5 people will read it. Or you can make a dumb comment in a comic thread, and get upvoted again and again. So long as it’s the right kind of dumb comment, of course.

Welcome to the modern internet, I guess.

– PK 2019-10-04 15:00 UTC


That is what I fear... 😭

– Alex Schroeder 2019-10-04 16:36 UTC


I just lurk there.

– Patrick 2019-10-13 17:30 UTC


Hehe. That doesn’t qualify as participating in a conversation. 😀 But I’ll take it as a statement showing how people cope with conversations on Reddit “being a bit strange.”

– Alex Schroeder 2019-10-14 06:17 UTC


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