I’ve been a redditor for a while now, and it pains me to say it. I don’t like having this label, mostly because I hate Reddit. I had the following thoughts when I first started to use it, and I decided to hold off on the blog post for a while to see whether I still have the same feelings further down the road.
I started using reddit around January of 2013 while watching Apex 2013, a Super Smash Bros. Melee competition on Twitch. I was glad to have found the smashbros subreddit because there was very little exposure for the game and its tournaments at the time–I had watched some videos from the tournament, “Melee-FC10R” after having become curious about where the game had gone. At this point there were only about 8,000 people subscribed to the subreddit (look at it now!). I created an account a few months later so I could ask questions to get better at Melee.
Before that, I had heard lots about reddit and had my own opinions on what redditors were like. It’s not hard for me to say that my assumptions weren’t completely wrong. Redditors are among the most crass, unoriginal people on the internet, yet this somehow attracts people. The site is literally a place to dump things that you’ve found elsewhere on the internet. There may be discussions within, but more often than not you’ll find it vain. Reddit comments usually devolve into either rehashed memes or arguments about some personal opinion that doesn’t matter (but I appreciate the puns). The only exceptions are if there’s a good question asked on /r/AskReddit or on specialty subreddits where people have specific answers to specific questions.
The biggest problem with Reddit is that it’s based on a point system integrated with an account system. People care way too much about their points (called “karma”), and will repost things that they’ve seen have been previously well-received. This results in the same drab content resurfacing to the front page. Interestingly, the culture of Reddit has changed from slightly agreeing with my opinion of this to vastly disagreeing with it. For what reason, I can’t say.
I also find it rather ironic that people want/expect anonymity on Reddit. There’s an account system that keeps track of everything you’ve ever posted. That’s the opposite of anonymimity. Do you want a system that keeps track of your imaginary internet points or do you want anonymity? If you want anononymity, you should go elsewhere. 4chan has exclusive anonymity. It makes 4chan users more genuine.
I will admit that there’s strengths to the point system, though. For example, it ensures that the validity of the contents of the link are checked before it makes it to the front page. Because of this, thinks like important news usually take some time before reaching the front page where it can be visible to everybody. It’s much faster to get your news from elsewhere. I hate to bring up 4chan again, but 4chan is usually where you can get news without the wait (once people find out about something, they’ll post it repeatedly so there’s more exposure to it). 4chan also has the added benefit of not having to censor things that an ordinary news site would.
It’s probably worth mentioning that there was a scandal with 9gag in the past, where people found proof that it was run by a team of mods who were just pulling stuff from reddit and posting it, pretending to be users. Posts by users were always buried.
So yeah, if you don’t like sifting through incredibly honest / rude comments or things for which you need eyebleach, reddit is the best option. But it still doesn’t fail to remind me of how much I dislike people.