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Reddit's "Ask Me Anything" Made Readable
March 15, 2014 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Interviews with interesting people, pulled from Reddit, organized, and made prettier.
posted by Renoroc (54 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've seen this linked all over the place lately, and it's probably just me, but it bothers me.

It's like, "Hey, here's all this content we just took from this other website, and we're not even going to provide a link back to the original AMA (that I can find) and that's going to be our website."

There's no credit given to the original question askers, there are no links back to the actual posts on Reddit and while I agree the readability is improved it just seems like content theft?

I don't know. This is probably just me.
posted by kbanas at 11:04 AM on March 15 [33 favorites]


Also, I didn't find AMAs to be that hard to read in the first place.
posted by kbanas at 11:05 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


I like this idea, I think they could refine it a bit, make it a bit easier to read interviewer questions vs. famous people answers, link to the originals and give full credit, etc, but it's a great first pass at the idea. I really don't like the reddit UI, and this is a million times better.
posted by mathowie at 11:06 AM on March 15 [10 favorites]


I didn't find AMAs to be that hard to read in the first place

There is a lot of UI cruft that makes it tough, but there's also the yuck-yuck followups to good questions that get highly rated enough to always be in the way for me. I want to know what life was like on the set of Star Wars, the actor answers it, then there are 15 jokes about jawas before I can find the next serious question/answer. I like that this site cuts out some of that.
posted by mathowie at 11:08 AM on March 15 [33 favorites]


It's not as bad a ripoff of Reddit content as Lifehacker.com, but they could use a typographer and layout artist's eye.
posted by rhizome at 11:08 AM on March 15


I want to know what life was like on the set of Star Wars, the actor answers it, then there are 15 jokes about jawas before I can find the next serious question/answer.

I totally agree, but I've also recently started using the little [-] at the left of threads quite a bit more to collapse children once I'm done with it.
posted by rhizome at 11:09 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


Hard at work designing a site that pulls threads from MeFi and intersperses lots of pictures of mathowie, cortex, and jessamyn in the margins.
posted by Beardman at 11:10 AM on March 15 [8 favorites]


then there are 15 jokes about jawas before I can find the next serious question/answer

I guess the difference here is that a lot of the time A) I find those jokes to be really funny (I know, it surprised me at first, too, but I snicker at a good percentage of them), so I don't really see them as noise, although I could see how you could and B) the way that official answer posts have names bolded and highlighted makes it really easy to scroll through and skip that stuff if you don't like it.

But this is obviously entirely personal preference.
posted by kbanas at 11:11 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Tabled on reddit does the organizing for you, although I guess it covers all the AMAs not just "interesting people" ones curated by whoever interviewly is. And links back each Q&A so you can follow context and see how other people responded to the responses etc. I prefer tabled to this site, I don't need pretty (or, really, just .... slicker and more generically 2014 than reddit).
posted by jamesonandwater at 11:12 AM on March 15 [29 favorites]


Whoa, Tabled is awesome in how straightforward it is, but I'm not sure if "Make Everything Look Like It Was Authored In Excel" is the easiest way to read text, but it's an interesting approach.
posted by mathowie at 11:13 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Huh, I see the problems with this site but every time I've clicked a link to Reddit I've clicked away just as fast because I find it impossible to read.

I will check out that Tabled thing though - it is much more friendly to outsiders.
posted by latkes at 11:17 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Man, I really wish this post (and the tabled link) was up last night when I was trying to read the Bobs Burgers cast and then H Jon Benjamin AMAs on my phone. Makes it much easier to read. Awesome!
posted by littlesq at 11:20 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I find the formatting of this site easier to deal with than Reddit's formatting (and I really don't like Tabled, but I understand why others might), but I do wish there were links back to the original threads, and credit given to the original question-askers. I've sent a suggestion to the site creator about it; I'll be interested to see if he changes it. Doesn't seem like it would be too difficult.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:21 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I concur that a link to the original post would be a good idea. But there are waaaaaaaaay too much other posts to sift through to find the interview answers on Reddit, i.e. thousands of people who started posting too late to get their questions answered. So other than their lack of linkage/citeage, I am cool with this.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:27 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Also, I didn't find AMAs to be that hard to read in the first place.

No, it's utterly awful to read. The reddit threaded comment model is just about the absolute worst way to handle a Q&A session. You have the actual answers drifting in a vast sea of the usual reddit crap. It's just terrible. Tabled helped a little but this site does it much better (though links would be nice).

A) I find those jokes to be really funny

I think I'm seeing the problem here. When I read an AMA, I want to see the subject's answers, not yet another iteration of awful reddit humor. We don't always get a chance to, say, directly ask questions to Obama but I can read some random idiot's bad jokes any minute of the day.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:43 AM on March 15 [28 favorites]


The one with Jón Gnarr is pretty good.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:53 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


we're not even going to provide a link back to the original AMA (that I can find)

Was the "View original" link in the introduction box not there when you looked at it, or did the site owner just fix that?
posted by effbot at 11:58 AM on March 15


Was the "View original" link in the introduction box not there when you looked at it, or did the site owner just fix that?

I have no idea. If I had noticed it, I wouldn't have commented saying it wasn't there. So I couldn't say.
posted by kbanas at 11:59 AM on March 15


From a quick perusal of the front page and the Film and TV section, it should really be called "Interviews with Interesting White Men (exception for Obama)".
posted by jokeefe at 12:06 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Jón Gnarr seems like he would be a really cool neighbor.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:13 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


it should really be called "Interviews with Interesting White Men
I saw Shaq and Psy on the front page with Obama, too.

The complete lack of women is more striking to me.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:18 PM on March 15 [11 favorites]


Metafilter: I can read some random idiot's bad jokes any minute of the day.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:20 PM on March 15


Do they have the one for the guy with two dicks?
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:28 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


The complete lack of women is more striking to me.


I just read a great AMA with Gillian Anderson yesterday!

There was also one with Mary-Louise Parker not too long ago.

I have no idea how the stats breakdown, but there's not a complete lack.
posted by kbanas at 12:29 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


I find Reddit impossible to follow, so I really love Topiama. Not a whole lot prettier, per se, but very easy to follow.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:39 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


Yes, literally no women on the front page, and only about ten on the front of each section combined.
posted by Corduroy at 12:44 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Install RES if you have to, but, geez. Complaining about AMA's being difficult to read? It's like nobody here ever used slashdot... hm.
posted by cavalier at 12:55 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Why are the questions bigger than the answers? Prettier must be in the eye of the beholder, because I think it's harder to read.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:27 PM on March 15


I find the reddit comment system so difficult to navigate that I'm reading most of these for the first time. They are incredible, so thank you for posting!

I do agree that a link back to the original AMA would not be amiss.
posted by chatongriffes at 1:28 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


It's like nobody here ever used slashdot

slashdot is only free if your time is worth nothing

I'm pretty sure that netcraft has confirmed that slashdot is dying
posted by hap_hazard at 1:28 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


I like this format because it reminds me of interviews with people on other websites. Not linking to the original threads might be the only egregious flaw here.

Also, anything beats the comment structure at Slashdot. Weird karmic voting rules and archaic comment nesting can really make a unpleasant performative discussion environment sometimes. Say what you will about the culture at Hacker News, but at least folks usually appear to be speaking with each other.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:32 PM on March 15


I like this format because it reminds me of interviews with people on other websites. Not linking to the original threads might be the only egregious flaw here.


I agree. I prefer this format, but they do link to the original threads. The title right underneath the interviewee's name (Reddit AMA - February 2013) seems like a pretty obvious place for a link, but it's on the righthand side where it says; Introduction View original.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:45 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if "Make Everything Look Like It Was Authored In Excel" is the easiest way to read text

Just wait til you see the pivot table I'm making.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:49 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


then there are 15 jokes about jawas before I can find the next serious question/answer

This is why i don't bother with AMAs anymore in general. I just don't give a fuck about the stupid "jokes" that can be pretty terrible, and not just in a it's not funny way... and it's always like

Dumb joke +2140

Another dumb joke +1650

A legitimate question that never gets answered +800

And then way down at the bottom there will be a bunch of actual questions and answers. It's a lot like how every askreddit thread should have the serious tag. You shouldn't be allowed to make stupid jokes on AMAs. But reddit moderators are too obsessed with "free speech" to actually make rules like that, and it's one of the big reasons the site is shit(other than the pedophiles, and racists, and... but that stems from the same problem)
posted by emptythought at 3:18 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


There was an AMA with Martha Stewart the other day, and it was actually pretty awesome.

Granted the top thread was questions and jokes about Snoop Dogg/Lion and brownie recipes, which was also awesome, because Martha was all over that and joking back. (Now I need to go revisit the thread to see if Snoop showed up because he has before.)

It actually made me want to party with Martha Stewart. She was actually really gracious and fun in the AMA.
posted by loquacious at 3:39 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


maybe the less representation of women thing is because sometimes a woman shows up to answer questions and it goes like this.
posted by nadawi at 5:25 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


oceanjesse: "it should really be called "Interviews with Interesting White Men
I saw Shaq and Psy on the front page with Obama, too.

The complete lack of women is more striking to me.
"

That complete lack of women ignores the AMAs of female athletes, movie stars, newscasters, self-made millionaires, celebrities, people wishing to talk about their medical conditions, ...

What bothers me is how Metafilter rushes to accuse others of racism and sexism.

The AMAs are initiated in one of two ways: (1) a request is made, and upvoted until the contact is made, or (2) the subject volunteers, often because they are a celebrity promoting a new media product or charity project.

Item 1 is representative of the interests of the Redditors who participate in the voting; if the majority of them are male (and they probably are), then it's not surprising that male role models are requested.

Item 2 is subject to chance and agents' prodding. If it's biased towards white males, it's because more white males volunteer than nonwhites and women. I don't think you can blame Reddit if actresses aren't as willing to self-promote... but I'm sure you'll find a way to.

But go ahead, Metafilter. You want to hate Reddit, and you want to feel good about yourself by accusing others. This is a double win for you!

Ignore the fact that some of the most popular Reddit AMAs have been women - Molly Ringwald is one of Reddit's most-beloved celebs, and Martha Stewart recently won over their hearts & minds - and nonwhites - Snoop Lion is a Reddit superhero.

BTW, I notice there currently is only one woman mentioned on Metafilter's front page, and AFAICT almost every man mentioned is white. Before you dare accuse others...
posted by IAmBroom at 5:36 PM on March 15 [9 favorites]


nadawi: "maybe the less representation of women thing is because sometimes a woman shows up to answer questions and it goes like this."

Top-voted questions at this moment in that thread:

1. What if they just host the sites in some other country?

2. How can these revenge porn sites be allowed to operate when they don't any consent forms or proof of age of the performers when normal porn companies are required to have those forms? Why doesn't the FBI doesn't shut revenge porn sites down for those reasons?

3. What do you think is the best solution for stopping revenge porn while still comporting with the First Amendment of the US Constitution?

Indeed, I don't know why any woman would want to subject herself to those sorts of questions. Next thing they'll be expecting answers in an Ask-Me-Anything, too!
posted by IAmBroom at 5:46 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


If you install Reddit Enhancement Suite, you get a handy "navigate by" menu, which includes an "IamA" button.
This lets you navigate directly to the questions that have been answered by the submitter.

If you sort by "Best" and then use the "IamA" button, you cut out 99% of the cruft.
posted by madajb at 5:57 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


That complete lack of women ignores the AMAs of female athletes, movie stars, newscasters, self-made millionaires, celebrities, people wishing to talk about their medical conditions, ...

Uh, did you notice that comment was referring to the subject of the post and not the AMA subreddit?
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 6:02 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


I find Reddit impossible to follow, so I really love Topiama. Not a whole lot prettier, per se, but very easy to follow.

Yeah, Topiama is clean, sparse, and far more readable than Reddit.

I used to love LJ, but using that and Reddit have convinced me that nonthreaded is the way to go for discussion threads.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:17 PM on March 15


IAmBroom - those questions come after a pretty long conversation about whether or not jezebel is a hate site. there's also the long comment that has the often repeated point in that thread that the uproar over revenge porn is just women wanting to feel like victims instead of taking responsibility for having naked pictures. there's also the people insisting she's a liar and that she's avoiding the hard questions (because she wasn't still answering questions 3 hours later when the "hard" question was asked)...not to mention all the times people in the thread call her daughter a slut with no common sense. it really does go on and on.

i'm a frequent browser of reddit and i probably comment daily. i generally enjoy my time. but i do notice that even subreddits that are far away from pua/mra/realgirls/starlets/all the other grotesque stuff are still sometimes hard for me to stomach as a woman.
posted by nadawi at 6:31 PM on March 15 [7 favorites]


I've been browsing reddit more frequently lately and there is an awful lot about the site that really turns me off. Primarily, the gamifying of the message board model, which I guess is pretty fundamental to how the site works--upvotes, downvotes, and that determining your place in the thread, the posts on the front page... I get that it's meant to make the site meritocratic, but in practice it means dumb jokes take precedence and rather than engaging, people tend to downvote and move along. I get the appeal, but I'm unconvinced that reddit is worth my time.

But I do see a lot of AMAs that look interesting, if not interesting enough to wade through the comments from thousands of eighth grade comedians and Dwight Schrute-ish scolds. So thanks for this link, I'll check it out.
posted by Maaik at 6:57 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


One of the main reasons that Metafilter kicks so much ass is that it's NOT REDDIT. Their layout over there is incomprehensible to me. Here I can read a thread in it's entirety and not have to micro-organize who's saying what and when.

Really glad for this post because I want to read the AMA's but HATE REDDIT and never use it.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:28 PM on March 15 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: The reddit.com it's ok to like.

I guess there will always be an investment in "your" website, group, clique etc.

Speaking of which, how is The WELL doing these days?
posted by vapidave at 9:37 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


I browse reddit, though I never comment, and it is striking how much effort it takes to have a good experience there. You have to read this not that sub-reddit, you have to skim past endless 14 year olds' jokes, and keep a close eye on what links you click on. After all that there is great content, but like nadawi says the grotesque stuff is always popping up.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:54 AM on March 16


Am I just being dim that I can't find an RSS feed for this site?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:34 AM on March 16


Speaking of which, how is The WELL doing these days?

I've long maintained that Metafilter is The WELL if anybody who isn't a WELL poster cared about the The WELL.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:53 AM on March 16


Unfortunately they're still unsatisfying to read on a Kindle. I would love to be able to send myself various AMAs to read in bed at night, but the original, threaded ones plain don't work, and these ones end up with the questions and replies being in the same font.

If anyone knows a way to work around that, I'd like to hear it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:43 PM on March 16


corpse: I was going to suggest an amateurish kludge involving copying the source and find&replacing the HTML tags that wrap each question, but it seems these interviews work fine with Readability. If you're looking for ways to transfer articles legibly to your Kindle, it's up there with the easiest.
posted by forgetful snow at 2:58 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


That does work, forgetful snow, thanks! I'd stopped using Readability a while ago, but it looks like they've fixed whatever send-to-Kindle problem they were having.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:58 PM on March 17


I just clicked to the "other" category on Interviewly. I see:

Kelly Madison. I don't know who she is but the photo cuts off her face in favor of her breasts, and the pull quote is "Are they all natural as claimed?"
Molly Crabapple, artist
Annie Laurie Gaylor, activist
Ellen McLain, the voice of GLaDOS (her face is also cut off but she's fully dressed, so maybe the cropping isn't just about boobs)
Missy Suicide, founder of Suicide Girls, who seems to be topless in her photo
Veronica Belmont, podcaster, who seems to be topless in her photo
Marina Abramovic, performance artist

So out of 27 interviews in the "other" category, I see seven interviews with women. Out of those seven women, almost half are topless or close to it. The men all seem to be fully dressed.

Maybe Reddit's AMA is better than this selection. It would be difficult to be worse.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:55 PM on March 17


I just clicked to the "other" category on Interviewly. I see:

Molly Crabapple, artist


The Awl has a new Conversation With Matt Taibbi and Molly Crabapple, if anyone's interested.
posted by homunculus at 6:35 PM on April 3


Is there a way to scrape long Ask.mefi threads and read them using Instapaper or pocket on my phone?
posted by mecran01 at 1:18 AM on April 4


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