Blog » Reddit is Unfriendly

Reddit is Unfriendly

Today I decided to have a look at social networking type sites such as Reddit. Reddit allows users to submit links to interesting pages and vote them up or down. The idea sounds good; popular articles should rise to the top whilst unpopular/uninteresting ones will fade into obscurity. Despite the site simply looking like yet another news feed, I decided to take a closer look.

So, I registered and submitted one of the blog entries that I thought would be of interest to people. However, when I visited the new links page, it was not there. It was, however, in my own profile page's list of links, with no indication that there was a problem. Looking closer, I noticed that someone had visited that blog post from Reddit's new links page within a minute of it being posted. So, what happened? Well, Reddit allows users to vote a link up and down, hide it so that they don't have to look at it, and, they can report a link as spam. It would appear that the user that clicked through to this website decided that the  submission was spam, and hit the report button.

To test whether or not someone clicking the report button had caused this, I posted a second blog entry that I also thought would be of interest to others. This time, I immediately clicked onto the new links page, and saw the link listed. Two minutes later, it disappeared. Once again, the listing of the link in my profile gave no indication as to what was wrong; the link just silently disappeared. Clearly, the report button was used again; this time, the person who "reported" the link did not even bother to read the post. 

It appears that some members of the Reddit community object to people posting their own articles. Preventing spammers from ruining their site is completely understandable. However, I think that authors submitting their own links is fine, provided that they truly think that it will be of interest to others. Obviously posting every article will annoy people, but surely the highlights should be okay? There are others that share my opinion too. Likewise, there are others that have had the same thing happen to them, or worse.

Altogether, Reddit came across as a rather unfriendly site, not just because my posts were pulled, but because they were pulled without notification, explanation, or any opportunity to appeal. Nowhere was there any message saying that the links had been marked as spam; they just silently disappeared.

Allowing community members to pull links from the public list simply at the click of a button is a big flaw. This feature could so easily be abused. If someone does not like you, they can make all your links disappear; if someone does not like your opinion, they can make it disappear; people can make links disappear just to make their own links more visible.; in fact, a link can be made to disappear for no reason at all. This is all pretty anonymous, so there are no consequences for behaving like a jerk.

So, Reddit gets a big thumb down from me. It is not a site worth participating in. But fear not, there are bound to be plenty of other "me too" social networking sites just like it to explore.

Blog » Reddit is Unfriendly

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Blog » Reddit is Unfriendly