Thursday, March 07, 2013

The fix to Reddit that Reddit fears

Reddit is nearly an ideal design for an online community. You can post a link, and the site automatically creates a discussion area for it. It allows you to group your links by topic in "subreddits." Perhaps most importantly, it allows you to vote up/down on links, (in theory) pushing the best to the top.

Of course, if you're here, you're probably conservative or otherwise a realist. Most people abuse power, especially if given a petty power that they think they can get away with. In fact, the smaller the power, the more likely it is that they perceive they have impunity, and thus abuse it.

(There are only a few people who can wield power with any honesty, and those are aristocrats or kings. They didn't participate in the madness of the last century and tried to resist it, which usually got them killed. Average people, on the other hand, supported it.)

On Reddit, down-votes are abused because people are petty. If some idea threatens them, they will mash the down-vote and try to hide it, as if reality changed because the message is invisible! And since Reddit is on the internet, and the internet is now the daytime TV audience from past generations, the bias shifts toward denial of any or all problems and toward any greeting-card styled "heartwarming," quirky, uplifting, kumbaya, etc. material.

There is a solution: limit the number of down-votes.

This however terrifies Reddit's admins and its Redditors. The dark secret of humanity is that many of us bond more on what we hate than what we love, and Reddit is dominated by petty hatred.

If you don't believe me, go to Reddit and post a message suggesting that down-votes could be limited per day, or per person, or both. You will find a very hostile response. Ask yourself: why?

What are they afraid of?

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