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Beyond the Front Page of Reddit
July 31, 2009 12:48 AM   Subscribe

Apologies in advance for yet another reddit link, but I thought these were worthy enough to post for the uninitiated. Reddit, a link aggregator site, is often dismissed as another digg, 4chan, or fark, perhaps justifiably so. Users, however, know there's some excellent subreddits (among the thousands) lurking beneath the main page...

The "I am a" subreddit. (Based on the statement: "I am a ____, ask me anything.") No holds barred self-descriptions of all kinds of professions, religions, and circumstances little understood by popular American culture, including: a sikh, someone who lived in North Korea as a child, and a reddit cofounder.

The Today I Learned subreddit.
Want to procrastinate some more? Check out the top scorers.

The Ask Reddit subreddit. Like Askmetafilter without the moderation and spell check.

The wikipedia subreddit,
linking to the more unusual and interesting wikipedia entries.

And for metafilter diehards, the ask metafilter subreddit. (Just posting a link to a link that links to this site is making me feel spacey.)
posted by thisperon (61 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Apologies in advance for yet another reddit link

Yet another? You've done this before and didn't learn your lesson then?
posted by item at 1:15 AM on July 31, 2009


Ha. Not me, personally. I guess as part of the reddit-linking horde, however, I suppose I didn't.
posted by thisperon at 1:19 AM on July 31, 2009


Ask Metafilter on Reddit.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:21 AM on July 31, 2009


I just discovered the "I am a" subreddit last week. It's fascinating.
posted by spiderskull at 1:39 AM on July 31, 2009


Somebody should email a mod about that ask metafilter subreddit. There are, like, a whole fuckload of double posts. It's like jessamyn's off on a bender in Tahiti or something.
posted by koeselitz at 1:40 AM on July 31, 2009


North Korea resident turns out to have been the child of a UNESCO worker and frankly not that much better informed than a keen reader of history and journalism, which is a shame.
posted by Abiezer at 1:44 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Abiezer: I agree, it's a misleading title. I did feel that his that house-arrest living conditions were interesting, particularly this bit:

The first year we were there, we had no form of entertainment at all, except a cassette player. That period was a a low point in my life - I still remember cutting up Pac Man sprites out of paper, building a maze (with pills and ghosts ). Then I'd move Pac Man one step and do the same with the ghosts. If I could get the pill, Pac Man would move twice as much...
posted by thisperon at 1:48 AM on July 31, 2009


I go to reddit/new regularly, however, I've never followed a subreddit as I've never found one to be worth one second of my time; there are usually some interesting links if you can wade through all the garbage. Unfortunately, the site is consistently anti-Semitic, not just anti-Israel. The wackjob Lefty and Righty conspiracy posts, the solicitations, and the foreign language posts don't help much either. If you're not already going to reddit, I would advise you not to go, Metafilter is more consistent, more interesting, and far more fair-minded.
posted by mdrosen at 2:02 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's true, thisperson; definitely an unusual and interesting experience in itself, just not the insight into life for the ordinary DPRK citizen I personally would have been more interested in reading about. Was going to say that's not a complaint, but I suppose it is. Also, where's my hover car?
posted by Abiezer at 2:05 AM on July 31, 2009


If you're not already going to reddit, I would advise you not to go, Metafilter is more consistent, more interesting, and far more fair-minded.

Well, they're much different communities. Each has something to offer that the other doesn't, although I agree that Reddit lacks a diverse vocal group. The conversations tend to be directed to one extreme or the other. The science and programming reddits are neat, if only to keep you up-to-date on some technology (although, again, same issue -- there's a lot of Ruby hate for some weird reason).
posted by spiderskull at 2:10 AM on July 31, 2009


I think I can say here, without the least worry of contradiction, that Reddit is obviously superior to Metafilter. Reddit, unlike Metafilter, allows you to downmod a comment. A comment such as this one, which is undeniably offensive to any right-thinking MeFi, would have been easily suppressed within Reddit's vastly superior crowdsourced content filtering. As it is, you poor MeFites have to read this comment, offensive as it is. I feel sorry for you.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:38 AM on July 31, 2009 [14 favorites]


One thing reddit does really well is generate and refine memes. Whether that's a net win or not is surely subjective but the amore comment thread and some of the longer pun threads nudge the line between simple me-too japery to actual brilliance. The Bestof subreddit isn't a bad place to start but it's hardly complete.
posted by Skorgu at 2:55 AM on July 31, 2009


Skorgu-I noticed this too. I wasn't able to describe exactly what the hell those threads are about, however, and have just always thought of them as "punning" so thanks for articulating it. Some of those threads are beyond awesome.
posted by thisperon at 3:04 AM on July 31, 2009


The other week I heard one of the Reddit founders being interviewed on the radio... and yes he truely demonstrated Reddit's superiority to this place. Has Metafiler ever got a whale renamed Mr Splashy Pants? I think not.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:54 AM on July 31, 2009


How do I non-favourite twoleftfeet's comment?

On perview, Skorgu's link is to a thing of beauty that has never been seen on MeFi.
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:56 AM on July 31, 2009


"Perview". Sheesh!
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:57 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Reddit, unlike Metafilter, allows you to downmod a comment.

I can "un-favorite" a comment any number of times, u, that I want, as long as u = n or n-1, where n is the number of of times I favorite-d it.
posted by Bokononist at 3:58 AM on July 31, 2009


Hmmm, Reddit definitely has some gold buried in there - but the signal-to-noise ratio is way too high for me - and titles frequently don't give you much of a clue about whether the inside is good or not.

God bless moderation.
posted by smoke at 4:08 AM on July 31, 2009


That "I am a Stripper" thread started out interesting and then was derailed by them donating money in order to see her wiggle her naked butt cheeks (and then trying to convince her to show her boobs as well). Uhm, what?

I know absolutely nothing about Reddit so is this a representation of what the site is usually like (Boyzone!) or just a one-off?
posted by liquorice at 4:13 AM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is the simplest way I know how to put it: reddit is a community internet board/blog/whatever that isn't Metafilter, so reddit is trash.
posted by item at 4:16 AM on July 31, 2009


As an erstwhile Sikh, I really admire the way that guy is handling the thread. When I was living in Australia, my turban would attract comments/questions all the time, and I chose to treat most questions as simple curiosity (even when they weren't always polite; but then that's the Aussie way and I admit I love it*, you ornery bastards). It's sometimes difficult to remain good-naturedly pedagogical about it though, and this guy did great.

* Oddly enough the big friendly ornery straight-talking tall-poppy-crushing Aussie stereotype applies just as well to Punjabi Sikhs.
posted by vanar sena at 4:24 AM on July 31, 2009


I know absolutely nothing about Reddit so is this a representation of what the site is usually like (Boyzone!) or just a one-off?

No it's sadly representative. It takes a bit of forensices but this thread is a great example of the dangers of boyzone-ism. It's tolerated far more than it is here (for example).
posted by Skorgu at 5:04 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dear Mods,

Thank you for making Metafilter better than Reddit. So much better.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 5:16 AM on July 31, 2009 [12 favorites]


I love Reddit, there are times when submissions exceed 100 in less than 20 minutes.
posted by ScrewDriver at 5:23 AM on July 31, 2009


I've never looked at Reddit much, but the ask me anything idea is great. I would love to see this sort of idea in a sensitively moderated site, like, er, mefi.
posted by bystander at 5:28 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Vanar sena:

Yeah, I thought that guy was remarkably patient and had an awesome sense of humor.
posted by thisperon at 5:32 AM on July 31, 2009


This is the simplest way I know how to put it: reddit is a community internet board/blog/whatever that isn't Metafilter, so reddit is trash.

So what's the pecking order among online places now?

(? < ? < Reddit < ? < ? < MetaFilter < ? < ?)
posted by pracowity at 5:42 AM on July 31, 2009


How to read reddit:

- Don't read the front page. Read only subreddits that interest you where the signal-to-noise is high enough.

- Read the comment sorted by 'top', don't read till the bottom.

- Skip the first one or two threads if you are not interested in the reddit-humor (click on the minus button)
posted by gmarceau at 5:54 AM on July 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Reddit is the natural successor to Slashdot, with presumably the same userbase.
posted by smackfu at 5:59 AM on July 31, 2009


Reddit, Fark, 4chan, Digg...I don't go to any of those sites, and in fact my internet browsing has ossified to the point where if MetaFilter ever goes to internet heaven I might as well toss my laptop in the trash.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:02 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know absolutely nothing about Reddit so is this a representation of what the site is usually like (Boyzone!) or just a one-off?

Reddit has some really interesting stuff, but you have to have a pretty high boyzone tolerance, as well as a high tolerance for knee-jerk jerkiness in general. I never got around to the various subreddits because I figured everything was like the front page: a couple of interesting things, but mostly posts about Hot Chicks, LOLXtians, and AMIRITE? VOTE ME UP!!! type noise.

I've mentioned it before around here, but one day this picture was one of the top posts. This comment ("Ummm, it's not sexism, it's humor. Lighten up") was the last straw for me, and I haven't visited Reddit since.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:21 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


:)
posted by dragonsi55 at 6:25 AM on July 31, 2009


Thanks I was unaware of these.

Is it sick that my first thought is: "Reddit seems like prime trolling territory, where there are many innocent late-adapters who can't smell sarcasm or an obvious fake persona."...?

The internet tends toward one of two states--Total information police states (like MetaFilter or other well-moderated forums) where only authentic comments are allowed, or Utterly Fake Frontiers like 4chan where you have to assume that everything said is a joke or purposefully offensive. Places like Reddit only exist in this vibrant in-between stage for a short period of time before the clueless either get grossed out and leave or get a clue and stop being tricked and offended (or giant clouds of unimaginative trolls appear to post dick jokes and bad put-ons and it becomes Yahoo Answers.) Either way--it's wide-open territory right now as whole swathes of naive new users from widely different demos crash into each other...out of that: inadvertent comedy and fascinating moments of learning can occur.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:26 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


DISREGARD THAT I SUCK COCKS
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:26 AM on July 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


To make reddit usable, I suggest a few things:
Use one of the greasemonkey scripts to filter out the nonsense.
1) I use this one which works most of the time.

2) Set your preferences to compress the link display and disable thumbnails.

3) Don't bother with the comments, just use it as a link aggregator.

Now if someone could just tell me how to set my display to just show me subreddit links and nothing on the main page, it'd be about perfect.
posted by madajb at 6:27 AM on July 31, 2009


The wackjob Lefty and Righty conspiracy posts

I was so disturbed by this on Reddit that I sought out and started reading the conspiracy subforum on James Randi's site as an antidote. Ah, blessed skepticism, you are balm to my soul.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:38 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Reddit is filled with way too many Ron Paul loving libertarians. I don't know what the site would need to do to redeem itself.
posted by chunking express at 6:42 AM on July 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


madajb:
Go here and bookmark.
posted by ScrewDriver at 6:50 AM on July 31, 2009


The Reddit "New" queue sorted by "New" does have a good deal of noise.

But it is an infinite source of novelty. For good or bad.
posted by mikelieman at 7:09 AM on July 31, 2009


chunking express: "Reddit is filled with way too many Ron Paul loving libertarians. I don't know what the site would need to do to redeem itself."

Actually, they recently had an Ask Ron Paul type topic show up on the front page, and the questions were not all fawning admiration - there was definitely some agitation about his ridiculous stance on health care.

Reddit comments are pretty interesting, if you can get past the idea that reasonable human beings are supposed to be participating in the discussions. The people there are ostensibly very intelligent, and the site seems to attract the reasonably well-spoken, but the up/down-mod mechanic is used ruthlessly as an approval/disapproval tool. So minority opinions, or even opinions which aren't simply responses to highly rated opinions, are quickly (very quickly) shoved under the rug, which sharpens the site's gestalt opinion to a razor-sharp edge. It's most interesting when things like Ron Paul vs. The Healthcare comes up, and the community at large has to choose a side through emergent means.
posted by TypographicalError at 7:12 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyone up for gonewild.metafilter.com?
posted by davey_darling at 7:14 AM on July 31, 2009


ScrewDriver
Brilliance. I don't know how I missed that "reddit.com" remove button all these times.
thanks.
posted by madajb at 7:25 AM on July 31, 2009


It's most interesting when things like Ron Paul vs. The Healthcare comes up, and the community at large has to choose a side through emergent means.

I guess that's interesting as a sociological phenomenon. It might even be an interesting way to run debates when a firm and sharply defined consensus needs to be reached quickly. But what I want out of an online community isn't a sociological test case or political leadership (oh dear god no) — it's interesting conversation.

I'll take the consensus in my day-to-day life. It's important that I agree with my girlfriend about abortion, or with my advisor about the scientific method, or with my housemates about low-flow toilets and recycled TP. The internet is where I go to have fascinating discussions with the sort of people I'd never dream of dating, working with or letting into my bathroom.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:25 AM on July 31, 2009


The "I am a" subreddit reminds me of the Ask/Tell board on SomethingAwful.

I check reddit fairly frequently, but it has yet to become a website I recommend to others. It does work fairly well as a link aggregator.
posted by graventy at 7:32 AM on July 31, 2009


nebulawindphone: "But what I want out of an online community isn't a sociological test case or political leadership (oh dear god no) — it's interesting conversation."

That's where you went astray. Reddit isn't a community - it's a sociological experiment.
posted by TypographicalError at 7:41 AM on July 31, 2009


I use Reddit and Metafilter for much the same purpose: to find bits of Internet distraction. Sometimes it's the thing linked to, sometimes it's the discussion of the thing linked to, sometimes it's both.

I don't find one to be superior to the other; they're just... different.

And seeing a "Hi Metafilter, here's some of the best of Reddit!" post feels really weird and somehow incestuous. Kind of improper. I'm not sure why it feels this way; I'll have to think about that.
posted by egypturnash at 8:16 AM on July 31, 2009


If you're not already going to reddit, I would advise you not to go, Metafilter is more consistent, more interesting, and far more fair-minded.

Well, they're much different communities.


And:
It does work fairly well as a link aggregator.

I've used Reddit for years but I quickly learned not to join in or even read the comments-- they are nowhere near the level of discussion here on Metafilter. However, when Metafilter's front page is a little dull I am in the mood for raw, unfiltered, may/maybe not "Best of the Web" images or news, Reddit is a great, gushing fountain. The politics sub-Reddit is usually the first place I go when something big happens (such as the latest Palin kerfluffle) and I surf the humor or pics sub-Reddits when I am bored.

Metafilter is great, one of the best places for discussions, but it is not the be-all, end-all of the internet.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:26 AM on July 31, 2009


This is sort of interesting, in a meta way: all-time top reddit threads containing "metafilter".

And if you want to get really recursive, reddit's thread discussing this thread.
posted by davey_darling at 8:39 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I try to explain metafilter to other people, I often hear "like reddit?" and if I say "well, in some ways" they generally tell me that they hate reddit and stop talking to me about it.

I have nothing against it; I just know that eventually one of my internet savvy friends will link me to everything on it that is good.
posted by kathrineg at 9:04 AM on July 31, 2009


And seeing a "Hi Metafilter, here's some of the best of Reddit!" post feels really weird and somehow incestuous. Kind of improper. I'm not sure why it feels this way; I'll have to think about that

Maybe because reddit is already quite popular - it's like the Best of Slashdot.

Not that I'm complaining; I assume I am the last person on the planet who doesn't visit reddit regularly, so it's nice to get a Best Of... every now and then.
posted by vanar sena at 9:08 AM on July 31, 2009


I've been happer since I swore off looking at the front page of Reddit. I still check out the linux and programming subreddits regularly, but mostly don't look at the comments. (The boyzone-ism is, indeed, very bad.)

Thanks for the pointers, thisperon -- I didn't know about those subreddits.
posted by Zed at 9:19 AM on July 31, 2009


I visit Reddit on days when I have so much free time I make it through all of the posts on Metafilter and AskMetafilter. True, the level of discourse isn't on the same level as it is here, but they have a ton of interesting links that would never make it onto the front page here. The s/n ratio really isn't that bad if you manage your preferences well.

Metafilter used to be the place I went when I had gone through all the posts on Plastic.com, and didn't become my go-to site until Plastic collapsed (still not sure what happened to the site, really).
posted by Thoughtcrime at 9:24 AM on July 31, 2009


There are, like, a whole fuckload of double posts. It's like jessamyn's off on a bender in Tahiti or something.

The morning star is not the evening star. Plus, I burn easily.
posted by jessamyn at 11:03 AM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


The science and programming reddits are neat, if only to keep you up-to-date on some technology (although, again, same issue -- there's a lot of Ruby hate for some weird reason).

For the same reason a lot of NASCAR fans hate Jeff Gordon.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:11 AM on July 31, 2009


From the Reddit amore thread...

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie?
That's Amore.

When the lines on the screen make more lines in between?
That's a Moiré.

When you can only imbibe if it is after five?
That's a more.

A New Zealander man with a permanent tan?
That's a Maori.

When the Baskerville hounds howl amidst fog murderous 'n foul?
That's a moor, eh?

When this thread gets to the point where it's no longer interesting said to the lead actress in Polanski's Chinatown?
That's a Mulwray.


to which I must add:

An aquatic eel that's reluctant to feel (replacing deleted comment on Reddit)
That's a Moray.

A TV show you wouldn't bother, but for "You're not the father!"
That's a Maury.

A Man for All Seasons, beheaded for bad reasons.
That's Thomas Moore, heh?

A chocolate-marshmallow-graham that campers like to cram
That's Samores.

A sharp focused beam that makes cows want to scream
That's a Moo Ray.

A synonym for retard that less offensive and hard
That's a Moron.

A right-wing yeller who's a sign misspeller
That's a Moran.

A movie we know well for the gag with "hair gel"
That's Something About Mary.

A California beachtown with a big rock sticking out of the ground
That's Morro Bay.

I have just singlehandedly exceeded the creative output of all of Reddit (which is one reason it dropped off my 'top several sites to follow' list). Now, if MetaFilter picked up that running joke and ran with it, it would be awesome (also a derail that would save this thread).
posted by wendell at 11:19 AM on July 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hey, if I didn't visit reddit all the time, then I would not appreciate the calm zen like discourse of metafilter.
posted by hellojed at 12:03 PM on July 31, 2009


Wow, I thought this would be deleted by now!
posted by chillmost at 12:47 PM on July 31, 2009


When your veggies are tossed with a cheesy white sauce, that's a mornay.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:07 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


When pay five bucks to make your posts on the blue, thats a Mefi.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 1:23 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


This: This is sort of interesting, in a meta way: all-time top reddit threads containing "metafilter". led me to This. A thread I missed the last time around.

Was there ever any resolution?
posted by Bonzai at 3:01 PM on July 31, 2009


Wow! Bye Bye, Mefi, for a while.
posted by telstar at 10:39 PM on July 31, 2009


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