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 Post subject: The failure of reddit as a medium for discussion.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:13 am 
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It may be best to begin by explaining what I think are the defining characteristics of reddit. Reddit itself is essentially a hub where various subreddits are hosted. Almost anyone can make a new subreddit, and it appears to be a first come first serve basis. For example, the /r/news subreddit is pretty notorious for having moderators that delete any type of 'subversive' news talking about riots or protests in any kind of positive light. They have pretty prime real estate because of the name of their subreddit which they now control forever as far as I know. As an additional example, the /r/communism101 subreddit which is purportedly a subreddit for learning about communism, is controlled by stalinists and the like. Again, prime real estate that is gone. On the subreddits are posted threads which either consist of a title and text, or a title with a link elsewhere. One of the key features of reddit is the upvote/downvote system. Comments and threads are all sorted by default based on the number of upvotes versus the number of downvotes. Just as subreddits are nested into reddit, threads are nested in to subreddits, and comments are nested in to threads. This nesting process, so far, is no different than the nesting you see on a traditional forum. You have the main forum with its subforums, topics on the subforums, and then comments inside the topics. But on reddit, comments are ALSO nested, any replies to these replies are further nested ad nauseum. When you combine the infinite nesting of comments and replies with the sorting of posts by upvotes/downvotes, what results is the complete fragmentation of discussion. Each discussion branches a new sub-discussion with potential for infinite fragmentation. And at every point, the participants are given visibility based on an easily manipulable Democratic Principle. On a traditional forum, lets use RedMarx as an example, the forum is dedicated to Marxism which has been broken down in to various sub-forums where users may discuss specific parts of Marxism to more or less specificity. On reddit, however, it is assumed that each comment taken individually warrants breaking down and discussion rather than remaining in the context of the thread, the comment and sub-comments become the subject for ever more fragmented and specific discussion.

The net effect is that no one on reddit is talking to each other, they are each given the chance, the opportunity, to stand on their very own soapbox, say something, then get down again. The viewers then judge the speech, and everyone gives another speech which is further judged. Sometimes speeches are directed at other speeches, but they still aren't talking to each other, they're talking at each other at best.

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 Post subject: Re: The failure of reddit as a medium for discussion.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:54 pm 
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This is actually a pretty good analysis and I think it describes reddit pretty well. I think it definitely can serve to be useful in certain situations, but none of them involve political debates and theory. I also find myself in the habit of emphasizing the comments section over the actual content in the hopes of finding some good discussion without ever engaging the content. In the past I have found interesting tidbits of information on reddit, but any time that you find yourself in a massive subreddit it's basically just full of reactionary **** and stupid people. It's also difficult to have any real theoretical debates because of the anonymity so it's easy to find oneself in a situation where suddenly you're flinging **** at someone because it feels good.

This is a pretty relevant thread as I find myself deleting my reddit account yet again for the umpteenth time lol.


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 Post subject: Re: The failure of reddit as a medium for discussion.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:14 pm 
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I agree that Reddit allows too much nesting. Each subreddit, thread, comment, and comment reply are abstractions that can go far off of what the topic was originally about. This gets really bad when any controversial thread is created. You mention that upvotes/downvotes are democratic. This is not completely true for Reddit's algorithm. Reddit manipulates the voting system for practical reasons like a cumulative vote effect and for agenda reasons like moving 'subversive' content to not be seen. This is why the traditional forum is still apparent on the internet and maintains a well sustainable medium for Marxist conversation. The traditional template is based simply on chronological order. That's actually why I just came here today, Reddit is failing to be a constructive place for Marxists, whether it be in r/news or r/communism101.


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 Post subject: Re: The failure of reddit as a medium for discussion.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:22 pm 
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I'll self-promote here and encourage you to bring along anyone with you that you like.

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