My job is to watch dreams die
September 4, 2011 6:01 AM   Subscribe

My job is to watch dreams die.
posted by simonw (54 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool, was kinda hoping to see this posted. The thread that spawned this is well worth checking out as well Most fucked up thing you've had to do at work.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:14 AM on September 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


Nice find. Thanks.
posted by tomswift at 6:15 AM on September 4, 2011


Interesting.

Anyone else notice that all these Reddit "AMA"-type posts all have the same tone? Not sure why they would, but they all read a certain way.
posted by jayder at 6:22 AM on September 4, 2011


From the piece: There is no difference between myself and these people other than the intangible twists of experience.

A lesson one wishes more would internalize.
posted by pts at 6:26 AM on September 4, 2011 [21 favorites]


There is no difference between myself and these people other than the intangible twists of experience.

That wouldn't make it any easier for me to look at myself in the mirror every morning.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:47 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone else notice that all these Reddit "AMA"-type posts all have the same tone? Not sure why they would, but they all read a certain way

Many of them are fake, there has been a ridiculous amount of drama with /r/IAmA recently. The founding mod got fed up with the bullshit and shut the subreddit down. /r/IAmA is back up, the other mods successfully negotiated it's release, but trolls are probably spilling out everywhere. It would not surprise me in the least if this post was made up out of whole cloth.

Cool stuff does pop up in /r/IAmA though, here is an account of how Wallmart acquires fresh produce.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:04 AM on September 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


Running a trashout team would be heartbreaking, but also so very lucrative if you had an eye for the good shit... given that it is all "garbage" as far as the banks and lawyers are concerned I wonder how that works exactly?
posted by Meatbomb at 7:04 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Running a trashout team would be heartbreaking, but also so very lucrative if you had an eye for the good shit...

"...Coming next month to Discovery Channel, it's TrashOut - one man's trashout is another man's cash-in!"

*zoom out on two comically mismatched looking hosts*
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:24 AM on September 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think one of the most interesting IAMAs was this one, from the young man who was paralyzed from a bicycle accident. He was so positive, upbeat, and honest, and I don't think there's any way it was a fake.
posted by Houstonian at 7:33 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Occasionally, they'll get internet-famous (or actually famous) people to do AMAs:

Robert Reich

Noam Chomsky
Ron Paul
Peter Norvig
Christopher Hitchens
Richard Dawkins
Mike Rowe
Felicia Day
posted by Jpfed at 7:43 AM on September 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


Reddit. Wish it would come less into the blue. Not to hate on it, but holy hell it's mostly terrible people hiding behind good links.
posted by rebent at 7:47 AM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think reddit is often more interesting than the blue. This post is a good example, thanks.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:50 AM on September 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


~Running a trashout team would be heartbreaking, but also so very lucrative if you had an eye for the good shit...

"~...Coming next month to Discovery Channel, it's TrashOut - one man's trashout is another man's cash-in!"


That's basically what Storage Wars is. Those storage lockers are often abandoned by people and families who crashed and lost everything. Some of those lockers probably held the last of their belongings, but they couldn't afford to keep paying, but had nowhere to take the stuff. It's a fucking sad show to watch, sometimes.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:58 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's beautifully written and if it is a fake, the person shouldn't be wasting their time on the net but getting a literary agent to write a novel. If it's real, they should be pitching a memoir or book of short essays.
posted by Maias at 8:08 AM on September 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


Reddit. Wish it would come less into the blue. Not to hate on it, but holy hell it's mostly terrible people hiding behind good links.

There is great stuff over there, one of reddit's greatest strength is incredible diversity. People like to joke that it is a nerdhive but there are millions of people using reddit, from all walks of life. So yes, there are a few terrible people over there but it really is a stretch to say mostly terrible.

I think there are a couple misconceptions about Reddit over here on metafilter. One is that reddit is simply a link aggregator and the other is that reddit is a monolithic site.

Reddit is made up of thousands of subreddits, some with thousands of users some with only a handful. To get a feel for the sheer number of subreddits check out subreddit finder. Each of these subreddits are becoming more insular, each has it's own mores and conventions. Subreddits have different mods and the site admins do not like to get involved with the culture of each subreddit. Something that is acceptable in /r/spacedicks (really,really nsfw) does not fly in /r/trees (also probably nsfw)

Here is a quote from chromakode's last blog post about how the site actually works.

Over the past 15 months, reddit has tripled in size. Since last May, we’ve grown from 7 million monthly unique visitors to 21.5 million. Our pageviews have exploded 4x to a staggering 1.6 billion pages served per month.

He goes on to say they have 6,500 subreddits with over 100 members. Each of these subreddits are owned by their own mods and are responsible for their own policing.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:14 AM on September 4, 2011 [25 favorites]


Raise your hand if you read that and went to a sad sanity-is-rare-madness-is-common T.C Boyle place
posted by The Whelk at 8:22 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Given the kinds of sentiments that attract the most upvotes, it’s probably fair to say the voting majority of redditors are terrible people.
posted by lurkfirst at 8:47 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


lurkfirst, isn't your link to the posts that are most horrible? It says, "Have you recently read a popular Reddit post that was bigoted, pathetic, sexist, depressing, transphobic, unsettling, racist, creepy, homophobic, and/or overtly privileged? Of course you have! Post it here."

I think the posts that attract the most upvotes are here.
posted by Houstonian at 8:53 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


The thread that spawned this is well worth checking out as well Most fucked up thing you've had to do at work.

Sorry, but my bullshit detector kept going off with each of those posts
posted by KokuRyu at 8:57 AM on September 4, 2011


Yeah ShitRedditSays hilights terrible awfully no good comments. But if you look at them, they aren't highly upvoted. In fact, the first one linked in the subreddit is sitting at -4. I will concede there are terrible people on reddit, just as there are terrible people everywhere. I'm not going to argue upvotes because we could do the same thing here and cherrypick awful comments with high favorite counts, not to mention all the comments over the years that have been deleted.

Sorry, but my bullshit detector kept going off with each of those posts

Yeah, most are probably embellished, but I always look at online comments as continuing the Tall Tale tradition.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:04 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


My bullshit detector is getting interference from my People Are Horrifying array so I don't even know
posted by The Whelk at 9:07 AM on September 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


It’s a link to a selection of redditors belching forth on issues mostly of race, gender, and privilege, meant to illustrate the comically regressive values held by the voting majority of redditors (by upvotes). These kinds of comments aren’t outliers on reddit, they’re the bingo card-certified norm.

Of course some of the comments spotlighted from ShitRedditSays have ended up in negative territory, thanks to reddit revisionism. It hardly matters when the entire site is flooded with redditry as foul or worse.
posted by lurkfirst at 9:11 AM on September 4, 2011


ShitRedditSays is a "worst of" not a "best of." I'm not sure how you can think it's representative of the site or its users as a whole. If anything, the best analogy might be if it were thought of as a sort of a MetaTalk-like place for airing ugly stuff that goes on in other areas of the site. I think you're really missing the point there if you're using it as a representative sample.

Yeah there's some pretty nasty sexism in certain parts Reddit, and they have a fair bit of porn which tends to build on traditional gender roles, but there's also a lot of GLBTQ folks on there as well, and in general the site strikes me as a pretty "big tent" sort of place.

I used to really despise the site until I learned how to customize it and control what pops up on my front page. Some of the subreddits are pretty cool.

Threading still sucks, though.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:17 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reddit is kind of too big to make sweeping generalizations about, except that some parts of it make me think there's this ocean of impotent rage and petty incoherent spite out there.
posted by The Whelk at 9:23 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, redditors are accepting enough of queer folk—as long as you’re not too gay, and as long as you can ignore their nasty transphobic streak. As a community, reddit’s never struck me as being particularly welcoming to people outside its core demographic of angry, embittered men who fantasize about beating women (and “fucking grinning”).
posted by lurkfirst at 9:31 AM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Reddit is kind of too big to make sweeping generalizations about, except that some parts of it make me think there's this ocean of impotent rage and petty incoherent spite out there.

Wait til you get a load of comments left on newspaper websites.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:43 AM on September 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


given that it is all "garbage" as far as the banks and lawyers are concerned I wonder how that works exactly?

how it works in apartment buildings is that the stuff in the apartment is hauled out to the dumpster with a deputy or two looking on, telling interested bystanders that they'll need to wait a few minutes until they are gone - although the porno dvds were confiscated as they didn't want them to get in the hands of underaged children

then the deputies leave and the manager walks away and the workers, along with anyone else who's standing around, take whatever they want - last time, there were enough pairs of nikes and stuff to pay a month's rent if they'd been bought new

most of it was sheer trash, though
posted by pyramid termite at 9:47 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This story was downright haunting. In all the discussion of the housing crash, there's so many stories of foreclosure and abandoned "McMansions" and the like that it becomes a blur. This story put it under a magnifying glass, made me really think about what goes into a "home", the soul that a house has, the moments and memories and people and families... the lives... and watching that soul be stripped out, over and over again; I sure as hell couldn't handle that.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:51 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait til you get a load of comments left on newspaper websites.

yahoo news beats that, though

headline - "coffee doesn't cause as much cancer"

comment - "the people need to have some coffee and wake up to obama's socialism"

headline - "new star wars dvd coming out"

comment - "the heroes of the republic need to take out darth obama"

headline - "red sox lose to kansas city"

comment - "obama's fake birth certificate strikes OUT"

only they're not as clever with it
posted by pyramid termite at 9:53 AM on September 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


this made the front page a couple weeks back from /r/transgender

The smug self congratulatory undercurrent on metafilter is really unattractive considering that metafilter has only reached it's current state after 10 years, some of those years with no new user registration and the 5$ hoop ever since (the $5 isn't much of a hoop, providing valid billing info is what about the millions that have neither $5 nor a bank account, they have no place on metafilter?). Hundreds or thousands of comment and post deletions and god knows how many metatalk debates. This is all fine, metafilter has grown and changed, and in many was become a better place. But metafilter displays an inordinate amount of elitism.

I know people hate Enterprise. But I can't help thinking of the episode where the Vulcan high council tries to convince starfleet to cancel the mission and T'Pol reminds the high council that Vulcans were once primitive as well.

I am all for people who want to stick to the walled garden of Metafilter, I like it here too, but there is no need to piss on the savages over on Reddit.

I'm not going to defend reddit anymore in this thread, we have taken up too much real-estate already.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:00 AM on September 4, 2011 [17 favorites]


"My job is to watch dreams die."

Thanks for this - I feel a lot better about being a red tape machine. Example of my job:

Public: "Hello, we live in [coastal community] and would like to build a small deck on our house."

Me: "Great! Let me see where you live ... OK, you can do that, but you'll need to pay ~$3,000 and go through a 3-4 month process of reviews, ending in a public hearing, and that decision could be pulled at the Coastal Commission."

P: [jaw drops, turns and leaves]

Except not everyone leaves. So I've actually spend hours writing about a 100 square foot deck. But that's the small side of things. And some times they're contentious, so I feel a bit justified in my attention to details.

I also get to tell people they cannot possibly have a detached garage of that size, but if you attach it to your house, go crazy! And there's no limit to your home size (in many locations)!
posted by filthy light thief at 10:16 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm really glad folks post good stuff from Reddit here, including this post. Seems to me that culling the best from a sprawling, wonderful, horrible site like Reddit is a perfect use of a web site that claims to be a filter.
posted by mediareport at 10:22 AM on September 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


lurkfirst: Given the kinds of sentiments that attract the most upvotes, it’s probably fair to say the voting majority of redditors are terrible people.
The voting system at Reddit is neither incorruptible nor uncorrupted, there are vote bots, vote blocs, voting scripts, voting sock puppets, etc. And it has all the same problems that similar voting systems on internet forums have always had, i.e., high vote counts tend to attract still more votes, radical points of view tend to attract disproportionate votes, humor attracts disproportionate votes, etc. The vote counting system reportedly includes some deliberate inaccuracies (somehow supposedly an anti-spam, anti-bloc measure) and comments will often show different vote counts from different views.

I'm not telling you that there aren't terrible people hanging out at Reddit; there certainly are. But it's hard to say how many they are or what proportion they are. The vote counts aren't as useful a way to measure anything in particular as you might expect.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:28 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reddit has always struck me as being extremely suspicious and mistrusting of women. There seems to be some kind of streak in nerd subculture which goes "OMG BOOBZ" but simultaneously despises/distrusts real, actual women.

I can't really explain it, except to perhaps speculate that the internet has created another barrier between certain young men and reality.
posted by Avenger at 10:31 AM on September 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wait til you get a load of comments left on newspaper websites.

The only way I can deal with it is to pretend every single one of those comments are being made the same person who is safety locked away and given this one outlet
posted by The Whelk at 10:59 AM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


The final line of that piece made me choke up a bit.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 11:05 AM on September 4, 2011


...considering that metafilter has only reached it's current state after 10 years...

Size != quality. Matt has talked plenty of times about how he never wants, nor intends, for Metafilter to grow large enough to attract the attention of Conde Nast or angel investors. Even as it is, there's often more daily content on Metafilter now than I can comfortably take in.

Reddit is useful, and I do read it daily, and I do like the concept of tribal splintering of reddit into sub-reddits but its sheer size makes it almost inevitable that there will be a minor version of Kaycee Nicole in an AMA every month. There is a lot of racism and sexism in threads. Sockpuppetry and throwaway accounts are endemic. The size also means that double or triple posts tend to cycle through the front page. Back-editing of comments by OP's can make it difficult to understand the flow of conversation.

There's also something about particularly well-written AMA responses that often strike me as a little "off". It's not impossible that someone in a real estate office can write well, or lyrically, but the odds certainly narrow.

Given the choice, I'll stick to life stories from sonascope.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Size != quality. Matt has talked plenty of times about how he never wants, nor intends, for Metafilter to grow large enough to attract the attention of Conde Nast or angel investors

I was thinking this morning how disgusting the phrase "Lifestyle company" is.
posted by The Whelk at 11:18 AM on September 4, 2011


What was really funny was the whole AMA kerfluffle that happened a couple of weeks ago. Basically got mad that there were too many Kaycee Nicoles/troll posts and took his ball and went home.
posted by zabuni at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2011


Not to hate on it, but holy hell it's mostly terrible people hiding behind good links.
posted by rebent at 3:47 PM on September 4


You don't seem to understand what the phrase "Not to hate on it" means.

I find the barely-informed, petty snarking certain Mefites display towards reddit highly amusing, and not a little revealing.
posted by Decani at 11:39 AM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh hey look it's my own horn *toot*
posted by The Whelk at 11:44 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reddit, over the years, has mostly struck me as 4chan for those over 15. The naming convention Reddit adopted for subreddits hasn't helped this impression.

That said, the linked comment is very well-written and moving. It has to be heartbreaking to be involved in the foreclosure process. I imagine the stress on those involved is akin to the stress I see in friends who are social workers.
posted by elfgirl at 11:50 AM on September 4, 2011


The writing qua writing (i.e. literary value) struck me as better than average. The details, on the other hand, are evocative, poignant, and vivid. Their arrangement provides an outline of lives rendered by unforeseen circumstances, routed through zigs instead of zags, a moment's indiscretion, a blowing of the wind, the death of kin.

It is the story (of multiples) made visible in the MSM by late 2008 and told by "someone" tasked with ordering the material aftermath of a industry that collapsed.

Documentary, fiction, memoir, meme, post? It's actually generically unstable as is much of the material among various social networking communities.
posted by mistersquid at 12:25 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a good story, and reads like an accurate description of the industry. The Robert Reich Q&A was pretty interesting. Signal:noise ration on reddit is not so hot, but the front page will always have pictures that make me smile.
posted by theora55 at 12:33 PM on September 4, 2011


reddit more like reddin't
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 12:43 PM on September 4, 2011


... there are a few terrible people over there but it really is a stretch to say mostly terrible.

Yeah, to say the least. A round-up of some of the Reddit community's crowdsourced charitable actions in 2010, including:

- Stephen Colbert challenges Reddit to raise $500,000 for Donor's Choice, a charity that distributes donations of classroom supplies to schools across the country; Reddit helps raise $616,000 in contributions, Donor's Choice executives floored by response
- Reddit community finds murderer of member's close friend, leads to conviction
- Reddit raises $63,000 for Haiti in 12 hours, more than $180,000 in weeks following earthquake
- r/Atheism, r/islam and r/christianity host friendly holiday fundraising competition

Not to mention members banding together to thwart a Westboro Church protest, help reunite a member with family for the holidays, pays a $50,000 bail for a student jailed for filming police....and the list goes on and on.
posted by prinado at 1:38 PM on September 4, 2011 [20 favorites]


Yeah, 4chan does nice stuff too. It's still a cesspool.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 3:22 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


harrumph

those damn kids &c.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:35 PM on September 4, 2011


Something about foreclosure? I could have sworn this link was about foreclosure.
posted by bright cold day at 3:39 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


bubbleinfo.com just popped up over on hacker news, a local realtor making videos of foreclosed properties.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:01 PM on September 4, 2011


It's a shame this thread turned into a symposium on Reddit so quickly.
posted by smoke at 5:02 PM on September 4, 2011


In related news, Standard & Poor's is poised to give its much-coveted AAA rating to yet another batch of bonds "tied to $497 million lent to homeowners with below-average credit scores and almost no equity in their properties."
posted by mediareport at 7:33 AM on September 5, 2011


MetaFilter: mostly terrible people hiding behind good links
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:26 AM on September 5, 2011


Wow, this went downhill fast - what was an interesting story turned into a pointless "Reddit vs. MetaFilter" thread.
posted by FormlessOne at 10:14 AM on September 5, 2011


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