/r/TheoryOfReddit

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r/theoryofreddit is a place for discussing theories about reddit and what makes Reddit tick. It is not for asking for help with some Reddit feature, or complaining that you got banned.

Please be sure to follow the content policy when posting.

This sub is for discussing what makes Reddit tick. It is not for asking for help with some Reddit feature, or complaining that you got banned.

/r/TheoryOfReddit

187,751 Subscribers

34

Blast from the Past - Did Digg make us the dumb? How have reddit comments changed in length and quality since it was formed? - Oct 11 2011

This week we're looking at one of the oldest posts, Did Digg make us the dumb? How have reddit comments changed in length and quality since it was formed? Which subreddits are the smartest? Do SDD drives fail as often as traditional drives? Find out all this and more (many graphs inside).

Reddit started in the mid aughts, but received a bolus of refugees from Digg in 2010 after that site made some questionable changes. That exodus became a common rallying cry any time someone noticed site quality declining, as the new users were likely responsible, right? /u/LinuxFreeOrDie looks at some data to determine if they were indeed at fault.

In a more general sense, a very common topic here is "Is Reddit worse than it used to be?" If you take a look through the sub's top posts, you'll see a number of them attesting exactly that going back to the origin; this highlighted post was within ~6 months of the sub's creation. So, are the complaints of yesteryear still valid today? Are there new declines in quality you see that weren't noted then? Is Reddit perhaps better in some ways?

9 Comments
2024/05/20
14:15 UTC

97

Old reddit's login form was removed. What happens to old reddit if more features are stripped away?

Two weeks ago, old.reddit's login form with the username and password fields disappeared without notice:
https://old.reddit.com/r/bugs/comments/1ciossh/desktop_web_cant_login_using_old_reddit_anymore/

At the time, many left comments about being unable to log in on old reddit, even when using the only remaining visible "log in" link (which leads to www.reddit). Some used different devices to no avail; others finally had a stroke of luck after the www log in form had rejected their valid credentials multiple times when, for no reason beknownst to them, the form suddenly let them in.

Some wondered if all of this was merely a fluke, (the missing old reddit login fields and the sudden "invalid username/password" error messages), but others perceived it as the "handwriting on the wall": i.e., they believed that it was a sign that reddit was testing the eventual removal of old reddit's login form altogether. The latter group was correct.

A day later, the login fields returned. There was no official acknowledgement of the situation (which, let's be honest, is business as usual on reddit), and everyone moved on - until two days ago when the login fields disappeared again.

The difference this time around was that we got an official reply: https://old.reddit.com/r/help/comments/1cssv6w/changes_to_old_reddit_login_flow

In short, old.reddit's login form is officially toast. And those "invalid username/password" error messages people got when using their correct username & passwords? Well, that was due to using any adblocker, tracker blocker, or script that blocks Google:

…our updated login pages use Google reCAPTCHA in the background and some browser extensions may interfere with logins. If you have trouble logging in, your first step should be disabling your browser extensions…

This brings me to a theory that was inspired by a comment I read: Old reddit may remain as a domain, but eventually it will only be "old reddit" in name - a version of itself that demands more interaction with the newest, shinier slower versions. For now, we've lost old reddit's log in function, but the more reddit relies on 3rd parties' tracking and monitoring, the more old reddit's functions are likely to be stripped away over time.

40 Comments
2024/05/18
20:14 UTC

40

Were awards removed so they could be reintroduced after Reddit had gone public?

When silver, gold and platinum were removed from the platform, Reddit lost an income source with little to no gain on their part from having done so. Now that their IP is public, they’re reintroduced awards. Is this a way of faking profits so that they can boost the stock price artificially? From the outside, it looks like they scrapped a paid feature before launch so they could then reintroduce it after, thereby pretending they created a new, monetized feature that will show increased profits on a balance sheet.

12 Comments
2024/05/16
18:07 UTC

23

What would happen to reddit if a large portion of users started to auto-delete their comments ?

While refreshing a tab i opened a couple of days ago but hadn't finished reading, i found out the OP had deleted the content of that post and all of their comments (maybe edited out would be the right term here).

Every comment from OP in their thread is now a line of 10 random english words, followed by "This post was mass deleted and anonymized with (link to the app used)". Some quick research shows OP used the free version of that app, which only allows for mass deletion. As a result, every comment on their user profile is the same spammy gibberish.

In a way, reddit discussions are ephemeral in nature, as every popular post eventually dies out and disappears from your home feed in a few hours, a day at most. That doesn't mean they won't be valuable to someone finding them through a search engine weeks or months later. And even a day-old post is easier to find through Google than reddit's own search function.

While i understand some users need to delete their account in extreme circumstances (doxxing, harassment, etc.), let's assume it's not the case here; just someone casually deleting their comments on a regular basis like they would delete their browser cookies.

What would happen if a large portion of reddit users started doing the same ? Fresh posts would be untouched, but everything older than a few days or a week would gradually become unreadable. Posts older than a month would be frustratingly useless.

Do you see this as a minor annoyance, or something that shouldn't be allowed ? It can be argued it falls within reddit's definition of spam ("repeated, unwanted, or unsolicited manual or automated actions that negatively affect redditors, communities, and the Reddit platform"). Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

17 Comments
2024/05/15
13:55 UTC

76

Does the RedditCare bot do more harm than good?

Over the last few hours I've clicked through about a dozen comment sections while procrastinating and every single one, at some point, includes a commenter mentioning they've received a RedditCare message attempting to mitigate self-harm or other dangerous thoughts.

The RedditCare bot isn't a bad thing, and abusing it is gross and disgusting no matter how effective the bot and its mission may or may not be (I don't know), but at what point does it become more an inflammatory tool of harassment? Has it passed that point, or will it eventually? Or is the concept just noble and effective enough that we should just deal with its abuse and the harassment it enables?

67 Comments
2024/05/15
03:02 UTC

61

The difference between old school message boards and reddit represent the change in internet culture overall

As someone who still runs an old school message board, I'm aware that they're kind of seen as a nostalgic thing from the past for people, like the myspace era. But, there is no real reason message boards had to decline in popularity. It's just a useful way to discuss things online. And in a way, they didn't. They just evolved into reddit which is massively popular.

So what's the real difference between reddit and message boards? People don't know you as much there, your reputation, identity, etc. is diminished. Aesthetically it's a lot drier, you don't have the avatars/signatures. It's a site with 70 million users split into thousands of subsections, instead of a board with a few hundred users split into a handful of them. The behaviour of the online attention seeker is no longer to find a small group of people and start drama to get a bunch of attention from them, it's to get a small amount of attention from a massive amount of people for maybe the same net attention. Let's call the attention you get from a being a drama whore in a community of 100 people "10 points" of attention. Now take a subreddit with 1000 people, suppose in a community that big you can only get "1 point" of attention from each member, but there's 10x as many people. The net result of attention is 1000 points in both cases. The attention seeking reddit user seems to favor the latter.

Reddit overtaking message boards seems to represent people being plugged into some big, corporate matrix, like some shift towards collectivism instead of individualism. If one day the pendulum swings back, people would start demanding versions of reddit that have more ways to express themselves like avatars/signatures/etc., or their post style and interests would start feeling distinct from each other in a way we don't see as much now.

37 Comments
2024/05/14
22:02 UTC

29

Do upvotes make content better or do they just reflect existing popularity?

We all know the power of the upvote/downvote system. It curates content, surfaces the best of Reddit, and shapes online communities. But is it a true reflection of quality, or does it amplify existing trends? Do most-upvoted posts inherently become better because they're widely seen, or do they simply ride a wave of initial popularity?

12 Comments
2024/05/13
08:59 UTC

40

Noticed a really weird phenomenon in Center-left / Centrist subs

I’ve noticed that posts that are controversial for these kind of subs by portraying a right-wing view of things initially get lots of upvotes in the first 30ish minutes. And then they get more downvoted ie. what you’d actually expect the average opinion on the sub to be.

Interestingly this phenomenon seems to be the most prevalent with content related to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, Immigration, and the Israel-Palestine War.

I’ve noticed this not only in blatantly political subs, but also in non-political subs, random examples: r/geopolitics, r/news, r/nottheonion, r/presidents, r/switzerland

What gives? My first thought is Russian bots but I am unsure…

28 Comments
2024/05/12
19:45 UTC

67

What actually is r/SipsTea?

Usually it's pretty easy to deduce what a subreddit is about, once in a while I'll have to check the wiki or sidebar or something for answers.

But SipsTea just seems like an amalgamated mess of superficial short-form entertainment meant to be rapidly binge-consumed like lines at a coke party.

Seems reddit is coalescing into a handful of 'catch-all' subs that dominate the front page, each with vaguely yet similarly themed content, how many "interestings" are there? InterestingAsFuck, DamnThatsInteresting, MildlyInteresting, BeAmazed, ThatsInsane, NextFuckingLevel, etc. (also, let's pretend we didn't see that TikTok logo appear at the last second of the video you failed to crop out, I SEE YOU PEOPLE).

42 Comments
2024/05/12
13:01 UTC

24

When circle jerk attracts legions of true-believers™ (?)

Moderation of circle jerk is fascinating. As an unwilling spectator, I often see little fires flaring up for no reason. Someone took someone's circle jerk seriously. Someone thought they were actually being accused of being evil when they were only being accused of being evil in order to parody the zealots of another cause. Oh my lord, the variations and varieties of folly I have witnessed are mare numerous than species of beetles in all the world.

Today I re-wrote the welcome message for r/FuckCarscirclejerk and wound up removing r/Gamingcirclejerk as a reference for quality circle jerk. I'm not sure why. Many times second and third order circle jerk are so indistinguishable from real opinions, that the strangest thing happens. Sometimes, the true believers arrive on the sub and begin upvoting that which is clearly full of shit as long as the words seem to support whatever conclusion they wish to amplify. Principled discussion is caught in a crossfire.

I started looking through top for the year to try to understand if it had changed, if the change was merely beyond me, or what the nature of the change may have been. I found this post to be perhaps a signal. In my mind, r/Gamingcirclejerk should be positioning itself kind of like the worst of the gamergate crowd. However, I can't detect anything "jerk" about this. Is it mutated at all? What is the twist? If it is not jerk, I do believe there has been a catastrophic failure of mission. I found this comment:

Even though we like to think they'd be pretty leftist because of that I doubt it's really that deep for them. It's just guns and violence to them. Like they're ok pushing back against the pearl clutchers when it comes to violence and demonic symbols in the media. But women, minorities, and LGBTQ? Too far.

I can't tell. If there is a jerk, what would it be? How would it be? As subjective as being the judge of such a topic may be, if pressed to make a decision, I would classify the thread, the title, and linked content to all be serious in nature. How can it be that a circle jerk sub somehow metamorphosed into real sub? The mod sticky note, without context, looks like one of the mod sticky notes I would write on r/FuckCarscirclejerk, but I'm pretty sure they are serious. Are they? I can scarcely measure the time of day with all the cognitive load of undecidable questions.

To some extent, jerking in the voice of gamergate types would definitely and unfortunately attract the actual game gate crowd. Maybe this attracted yet another large presence who the gamergate crowd identifies as "woke", setting off a culture war where noble artists of circle jerk and sincere yet demented proponents of two completely at war ideologies were in one big bucket of everyone accusing everyone of everything, ruining the culture beyond the point of no return. While the true crystal of circle jerk is indestructible, it becomes but a mere diamond lost in the center of holding up all the rest of the Earth.

The victim is likely circle jerk itself. We were committed to a higher standard, a more sophisticated manner of existence, which doesn't have room for being weighed down by small imaginations and primitive beings. Losing the jerk is such a tragedy because creating it takes such a thorough commitment in the first place. I have to communicate something to you, but I can't tell you one word of truth while saying it. This is an essential skill in interpreting human interaction, where complex interests lead to sincere and insincere moments each and every day. Part of the point and the beauty of circle jerk is that, in a world where people are so demanding to know immediately and absolutely if you are for or against the conclusions to which they have bound their capability to achieve happiness, circle jerk makes every opinion opaque and ambiguous so that everything requires you to stop and think instead of rushing into these brutish conclusions and self-righteous rudeness so common on the depths of "serious" internet.

God I am so glad to be above all that nonsense and all-knowing in my wisdom. It must be truly horrible to see through the fractured eyes and perforated minds of the unsophisticated. Let us take a moment to embrace each other in this coming together of excellence and superiority.

16 Comments
2024/05/12
08:06 UTC

42

Why does it seem like there are many Redditors obsessed with pointing out how other Redditors are "terminally online"/have high karma? Why do people care so much about other wasting time on Reddit?

I see this often in the form of ad hominem to discount a person's argument by claiming their opinions are invalid because they have over 50k karma therefore they're terminally online.

Not only this but I've seen people point this out about accounts that are 7-10 years old. Why would an account that age have a lot of karma?

And how exactly do they know that the high karma isn't just posting widely popular opinions that will get highly up voted therefore increasing their karma in a short period of time?

28 Comments
2024/05/11
09:59 UTC

64

I follow around 700 subs. why am I seeing the same 20 or so posts from 23hrs ago?

This happens frequently, but will randomly stop and revert back to normal. even posts I have interacted with in some way are still appearing.

I can literally read a whole post, all the comments, comment myself and when I refresh home its top of my feed

edit - nah this is a joke now I'm going down my feed either up or down voting every post in the hope that it disappears and the posts are reappearing with my votes gone. fuck this

18 Comments
2024/05/10
21:27 UTC

23

Why do comments agreeing with another often have an inverse score?

https://preview.redd.it/3a09nr2fgbzc1.png?width=632&format=png&auto=webp&s=86aac0e3a370e332034963b1e3e7ee549edd6bb4

Forget the subject, it can be about anything, the thing I'm so confused about is why this phenomenon keeps happening.

Common scenario 1:

User 1 will say something controversial and get downvoted.

User 2 will agree with User 1 but they get upvoted.

Common scenario 2:

User 1 will say something positive and get upvoted.

User 2 will say they agree but they get downvoted.

Isn't this counterintuitive and shouldn't User 1 and User 2's scores align?

17 Comments
2024/05/09
03:02 UTC

53

Should mods be allowed to ban users from messaging the moderators?

At face value this feature seems useful - mods can clean their inbox by focusing on new reports.

However, every single instance where I've seen this used has been to dominate discussion and grossly ban users for non-offenses. Mods will ban you from major subreddits and from messaging them before you even had a chance to respond, basically giving no recourse to discuss why they felt you violated the rules (or didn't, but banned you anyway).

So is there a harmless use of this feature? Or does it just perpetuate more echo-chambers where mods can ban views they don't personally like?

103 Comments
2024/05/08
15:05 UTC

33

Unpopular opinions can be true, yet they are stamped out on popular subreddits

Everyone knows it was once popular to believe that the Earth was the center of the universe, and it was also popular to believe that feudalism and slavery were the right ways to organize a society.

Yes, the detractors of those ideas were quite unpopular in the Middle Ages, but nowadays we understand those things and events differently.

Going back to Reddit.

It seems to me that in popular subreddits, unpopular opinions are downvoted or ignored, so they cannot be seen by open-minded viewers who want to consider different perspectives. As a result, Reddit promotes herd mentality that's not always true, all the while it incentives you to write popular opinions for karma.

For example, If you say something that's quite unpopular, you may have to deal with an internet lynch mob who want to prove you wrong, including downvotes, and that just takes mental energy to deal with.

So unpopular opinions that are true are rarely seen or even posted in most viewed subreddits, because people with unpopular opinions do not want to waste mental energy on the internet mob.

Thoughts?

34 Comments
2024/05/07
07:20 UTC

111

What is wrong with Reddit?

Couldn’t find anywhere else to post this. I’m new to Reddit and while I think it is so interesting and full of people trying to help I still find myself contemplating deleting the app.

From my minimal personal experience but also through reading other people’s posts I feel like it’s full of the most condescending and patronising people ever. You could say grass is green and there would be someone in the comments saying ‘well actually’ trying to act like they are superior/smarter than you.

People ask for genuine help and while half of the comments are people giving advice the other half will be people calling OP stupid for asking the question or trying to make fun of them. I asked a hypothetical ‘if money was no object question’ and had people in the replies telling me that my choice was wrong. Then any time the OP responds in a negative way they are downvoted.

I’m unsure whether it’s the anonymity that gives people the confidence to act this way but it’s only been a week and it’s becoming insufferable already. Is this what Reddit is really like or have I just been really unlucky?

62 Comments
2024/05/07
05:20 UTC

0

why are subreddits allowed to have slurs in their names?

there are whole families of subreddits which use the ableist r-slur in their names

r/UGEEtards
r/JEENEETards
r/Btechtards
r/okkamaraderetarde
r/okprietenretardat
r/NaBoaChavaloRetardado
r/okaybuddyretard 150k users
r/FormulaBuddyRetard
r/AttackOnRetards
etc etc etc theres so many

if it is not against ToS, should it be?

15 Comments
2024/05/06
19:28 UTC

22

Blast From The Past Weekly Feature - Testing Reddit's new block feature and its effects on spreading misinformation and propaganda - Jan 26 2022

Hi all, based on some of the feedback from the State of the Subreddit discussion, we're going to try some weekly discussions. Instead of a list of topics to focus on each week, we're revisiting the top posts in /r/TheoryOfReddit's history. This subreddit has officially entered its teenage years, and it can be quite interesting to look back on the top issues from a decade ago, both to see how Reddit (the site) and Reddit (the community) have changed, as well as how maybe things aren't as different as we'd think.

This week we're starting with by far the most popular post in our history, Testing Reddit's new block feature and its effects on spreading misinformation and propaganda. The author, /u/ConversationCold8641, looked at Reddit's new implementation of the block feature and how it could be misused, including a fairly extensive experiment on the matter. Unfortunately, while I'd love to bring in original authors to "check in" years later, that account was created just for this one post, so we're out of luck here.

Two years later, the block feature remains relatively unchanged - users you block are unable to see, engage with, and vote on your content. Has that had Reddit's intended effect of reducing stalking and harassment? Do the second order effects outweigh the supposed benefit? How would you prefer to handle blocking and stalking, if not this system?

21 Comments
2024/05/06
13:49 UTC

25

I think Tumblr now is relatively more sane and accepting, than Reddit

Couldn't find any other sub to discuss this, so here I am.

Tumblr used to have a reputation for taking itself too seriously, full of sheltered people who are terminally online, and being quite miserable - as was the case until around 2015 - but I think that no longer applies to most of Tumblr now. I've been using it for some time and that place now seems much more chill and accepting.

Misogyny, TERFS and misandry are quickly called out and stamped out on Tumblr now.

Yes, there are still a lot of cringey people who take themselves seriously, or think they're tortured poets, but they usually stay in their corner now. It feels safer to express yourself there.

Whereas Reddit has gone down significantly in both quality of its userbase and posts. It feels like all the bad people left Tumblr and joined Reddit instead. It's increasingly becoming more saturated with young people who lack life experience, sheltered pricks and miserable people who feed into the negativity. The more popular Reddit gets, the more people it attracts, which isn't a good thing.

Reddit is now just a melting pot of baseless conspiracy theories, sexism (against all sexes), hivemind mentality and general buffoonery. The only thing it's good for now are the hobby subreddits that can get quite niche.

26 Comments
2024/05/04
01:55 UTC

12

How I would change Reddit

First and foremost, I think Reddit should show the both the upvote and downvote count on Reddit. This paints a better picture of how many people agree/disagree with something. Even better, you don’t see how many people upvoted/downvotes on a post/comment until you vote yourself.

I also don’t think Karma is a good metric for how “good” of a user you are. If mods are going to set minimum requirements to post on a subreddit, the minimum should not be how much karma you have. But rather, the requirements should assess how many upvotes you got as well as your ratio of upvotes to downvotes. This way, trolls or neo-Nazis can be filtered out while still allowing for more diversity of opinions. People with less popular opinions (but still reasonable) won’t have to worry as much about the repercussions of being downvoted.

17 Comments
2024/05/04
00:57 UTC

76

State of the Subreddit

Hi Folks

If you don't know me, I was brought on by Pope about six months ago. After the API debacle, most of the old mod team drastically reduced activity, and GodofAtheism was suspended, leading to a pretty significant downturn in quality here. Over the last few months I've focused on mostly removing egregiously out-of-place content (thanks to those that call out /r/lostredditors) and blatantly uncivil posts. I've added in a few automod rules based on account age and requiring positive karma. However, I've also found myself policing posts for general quality - we tend to get a decent number of "how does karma work?" duplicates and the like.

So, to avoid this turning into my own subjective community, I want to ask y'all what you'd like to see going forward. Right now our rules are relatively barebones - be civil, go elsewhere for tech support, and don't use this as a platform to complain about bans. As unspoken rules, there's the aforementioned quality requirement, a requirement for more than just a question in the title, and some posts get removed that seem to be targeting specific subs/users without discussing larger trends.

What else, if anything, would you like to see? Thoughts on how to help nudge the community back toward its roots as a place of high caliber meta discussion? To me, I'd think we'd want to strike a balance in achieving good post quality without killing off what activity we have left. If you've got ideas, toss them at me!

29 Comments
2024/05/03
19:02 UTC

17

[Serious] Is it normal for non-bots to have more - 2x, 5x, 10x - post karma than comment karma?

I'm looking for ways to not promote/encourage bot accounts. What are the tell-tale signs of a bot/astroturfing?

31 Comments
2024/05/02
07:51 UTC

62

Discussing a recent post that showed two identical images with the same title, posted six months apart, featuring identical comments from different users

I am referring to this post. [archived image] The OP took two identically-titled posts with identical images, and shows how different accounts were posting the same comments six months later. Frankly, it's astonishing.

Here are some things to consider.

Reddit has an obvious profit motive for keeping bots on the website, especially given their recent IPO. Many subreddits, some with hundreds of thousands of members, have since turned into ghost towns after the big controversies over covid, censorship, API access, etc. So it makes sense that reddit would not only allow bots on their platform or look the other way. It is also possible that they have policies in place to actively encourage or run bots themselves. (We have seen evidence of reddit running bots before).

A more sinister consideration would be reddit secretly selling other companies the ability to create large amounts of fake accounts with falsified historical post data, but I do not know of any proof to support this.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that bot participation is almost never neutral. Perhaps the most innocuous function of bots would be (in reddit's case) to populate subreddits with conversation, or sell you items by submitting fake reviews and artificial public support. The large actors are using bots to perform astroturfing, influence opinion, and shout down dissent.

Figuring out how much of the discussion on reddit is being done by bots could not be more important. This study, published in 2015, arrived at several key conclusions:

We show that (i) biased search rankings can shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20% or more, (ii) the shift can be much higher in some demographic groups, and (iii) such rankings can be masked so that people show no awareness of the manipulation.


Are there any studies currently being done by outside parties to measure the true amount of bot vs human activity taking place on the website? For example, measuring how many comments an account posts which are verbatim copies of previously posted comments.

How could the results of such a study be used to facilitate more human participation and less bot participation going forward?

EDIT: I found two bots that purport to cut down on copy and paste bot behaviors. Posting them here in case any moderators find them useful u/HelpfulJanitor u/RepostSleuthBot

20 Comments
2024/05/01
10:39 UTC

56

How many Reddit accounts do you think lie about who they are etc?

I am wondering how many pretend to be someone they are not, like a different gender, age etc? Or how many accounts that make fake life stories posts etc.

94 Comments
2024/04/30
11:31 UTC

51

Grammar Matters

When I first joined reddit, I noticed that a lot of the posts were well written. These days, I find that I cannot read many posts because of grammatical errors. Sometimes, there are posts in some subs that are one run on sentence without any punctuation at all or words that are misused (blame autocorrect, but still...). If someone for whom English is a second language does these things, it's fine, but I'm talking about people for whom English is clearly their first language.

So, is this tendency because more and more people are on their phones? Or is it because writing something that will make sense to others takes too much effort and some redditors are just lazy?

36 Comments
2024/04/29
14:53 UTC

4

Does the site-wide spam filter remove content retroactively?

I know AutoModerator and the spam filter typically act on posts and comments when they are submitted or edited. However, I've seen the spam filter remove content that was previously approved.

A few examples:

  1. Several years ago, I posted some comments containing a link to a website meant to be a replacement for a banned sub. I checked to make sure the comments were visible. The admins added the domain to the site-wide spam filter a short time later, and my comments were removed within a few hours.
  2. I've seen several recent cases where a post and the OP's replies were removed for no obvious reason. I went to the OP's profile to find they are shadowbanned.

Does this mean the spam filter is now retroactive? If so, does anyone know how far back does it go?

1 Comment
2024/04/29
03:17 UTC

6

Does archiving make sense? Can anyone provide clear, sourced answers as to the logic/rational of archiving?

TLDR: I think changing the archiving behavior/policy would increase the quality (not just the quantity) of content on reddit with no real downside. Am I wrong?

This has been endlessly frustrating to me in using reddit. In perusing (of course archived) threads on this topic I can't find any place where a plausible rationale or reliable information is presented. Most upvoted for answers I find are like:

...Reddit is centered around surfacing and promoting new content. New stuff is more visible and where most of the commenting happens. No one really wants to get notifications on months or years old posts the time for active discussion for those posts is long since past.

Let's say the "new content" part is true. Then exclude posts older than six months and/or ones with minimal commenting from trending algorithm. Besides which, this seems dubious to me since a solid 80% of the time I search for something , I am directed to archived post(s) as they are the most/only relevant posts for what I am searching.

As for "time for active discussion being past," again, if the posts were now temporally irrelevant I wouldn't be continually directed to them. It's more true that news/entertainment related posts become more irrelevant over time. But many areas, fields and topics continue to evolve over time. If information needs updated then it should be noted in the place that presents it. Not in some separate post that the searcher may or may not find.

If "no one really wants to get notifications on months or years old posts" can't they just mute the thread?

And "months old" posts? Come on. I can't really believe the average reddit user is that much of a goldfish.

I also see a lot of

Server space.

But some of the only only sourced, vetted information I see around archiving, in absence of additional contextual information from site admin, solidly refutes this.

Besides which, starting new posts creates discontinuity and confusion when trying to access information. Someone wanting to find the answer an archived post almost got to must start anew, likely duplicating much of what was already said. Isn't this is like deliberately fragging your hard drive over and over again?

One of the only clear definitive pieces of information I have found related to this was from an admin during policy update saying something to the effect of:

reddit doesn't handle deeply nested conversations well. Better to do this via direct messaging.

OK. Then limit how deep the responses can go and leave the rest of the post alone to be functional and useful.

Besides which, (yet again) the popularity of the post determines how deep the nested responses go more so than how long it has been around. Archiving after 6 months does nothing to prevent popular post from excessive levels of nested responses.

Lastly, I see

subreddit moderators are the ones who set posts to archive or not archive

I've had numerous mods tell me the exact opposite. I haven't found one that says "we leave that setting on purposely in order to curate and prune our discussions. So either 1. Many many mods would rather lie and blame reddit rather than relay their intentionally chosen policy, 2. the setting is hard to find 3. the setting is hard to change and/or 4. the setting is not consistently available across all threads.

And the current state of things virtually guarantees the 6 months archive feature is "on" by default.

In which case, why?

Wouldn't it make at least as much sense to leave it "off" by default and let the mods, who are the best judges of what they want their subreddit to be, decide if it is a problem that needs fixed?

This is the basic more information/options is/are generally better than less/fewer principle.

Leaving it "off" be default leaves the possibility of evolving a more fruitful, beneficial, effective conversation for those who want it without any imposition on those wouldn't, who can easily ignore or silence it.

Leaving it "on" be default limits possibility and clutters the subreddit.

I am pretty confident you could verify this by surveying mods for subreddits with the archive feature "on" or "off" about how many times they are contacted wishing it was the opposite.

Relatedly, though I haven't found much specific discussion and no explanations for it, I feel archived status preventing up/down votes makes even less sense. I have almost never seen a post where the most upvoted response is the measurably or demonstrably best answer to the OP's question. Very frequently it doesn't even attempt to answer the OPs question.

Alternatively, I continually find that someone on reddit had asked the exact same question I currently have in an archived post, but that the most direct/relevant/conscientious response is umpteen responses down. Having to wade through all the non-responses, incomplete responses, irrelevant responses, tangential digressions, non sequiturs, soapboxing, high-grounding, judging, trolling, outrage bating, etc. to get to the best/only actual response to the OP's post promotes ire toward reddit and reddit users.

Continually allowing voting could have a corrective effect for this. The people who actually have that question and want an answer badly enough to wade through the miasma would come to weigh more heavily over time against those who just passed through the comment while it was trending and upvoted the top response because it was quip they liked.

9 Comments
2024/04/28
17:37 UTC

68

GenZ subreddit being targeted?

Anyone else noticing all the more promilitary posts and comments happening in that sub? Is genZ actually changing their opinions to be more military positive, or is this just astroturfing due to the election and recruitment numbers being down? I'd love to hear everyone's opinions as I find the psychology of this kind of stuff interesting.

56 Comments
2024/04/28
15:09 UTC

102

Why is reddit homepage when I'm not logged in extremely polarizing and political?

I'll be the first to admit that I have a slight reddit addiction, and because of this I tend to log out of my account more often than not.

I'm starting to notice a huge uptick in polarizing content in my country (Canada), such as from alternative subreddits about housing because racist content wasn't allowed in the main housing subreddit, or subreddits promoting theft/robbery.

This is very disturbing, as these trends follow into real life, and increased polarization online leads to hateful rhetorics/racism etc. increasing in real life. Profiting off of promoting hate for engagement isn't very productive for society

70 Comments
2024/04/27
17:57 UTC

19

Should we downvote posts from subreddits that are overrepresented on our feed?

Do you follow subs that never show up? The current Home algorithm seems to show us more content from subs that we interact with, to the exclusion of many awesome smaller subs. Since our only recourse as redditors is to downvote posts from subs that show up too often, is it ok to ignore the quality of a post so that we can exert some degree of control over our home feed? I feel it is wrong to downvote a quality post, but if it is the only way to ensure I see content outside of the top 100 subs, I will do so indiscriminately.

Is anyone else dealing with frustration over the lack of control over content?

18 Comments
2024/04/25
02:09 UTC

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