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Monday, November 26, 2007

Reddit is all good except...

Mike made arguments in favor of, citing its immediate feedbacks and its meritocratic and democratic nature as its strong points. He said that

The other thing I like is that even if you're a nobody like me, folks will read
your stuff if it's good. The people that read your ideas might get some benefit
from your experience or point of view.

Well said, Mike.

The abilities of readers to vote on Reddit is definitely one of its strongest point. Instead of having an editor choosing your reading material, you yourself decide what is worth reading and what is not by giving a good article a vote-up and a bad one, a vote down. Not only that, by giving an article a vote you are actually telling others the quality of it. The more votes an article receives, the higher its ranking is. This is how thrashes get clean away and how gems get rewarded.

Not only that, one can express his opinions regarding the article at the comment section. If one finds that it contains factual errors, or the arguments are less than persuasive, or whatever, he is free to lay out his rebuttal. OK, this may not mean a lot to you, those who live in free countries; after all, free speech is freely available as oxygen, right? But for those who come from third world countries where all the media is controlled by a single party and that single party has a lot of things to cover up...I believe that you will appreciate my point here.

I have just one qualm about the Reddit's voting system. From my experience if a fresh article gets vote down, then it is down all the way to the bottom of the sea, like the mighty Titanic, and never able to resurface again. No sure whether this observation is true, but if it is, I believe that this may not be very fair. I think we all agree that controversial articles are good articles in that they generate debates and stimulate thinking. And of course, those articles always have a lot of detractors as well as supporters. So if a controversial article gets a negative first vote, then it will be doomed, notwithstanding that if it was posted at a slightly later time, it might garnered lots of positive votes and stayed at the headlines for a long long time.

In this light I think it is fairer not to penalize a fresh article too quickly. Before it slips into oblivion, that article should get a few vote downs first and no vote ups. Using this system will reduce the likehood of voting down good article and at the same time, being able to keep spammers from spamming the site. With thousands of active readers, it shouldn't take long to get a few down votes to stop the spams.


Jacob said...

If you look, Reddit doesn't post the ranking for the first bit. I'm not sure if it's 10 minutes or an hour, but it does give a buffer so that the first few get registered anyway. I've noticed that posts of mine that get submitted that don't get far still generate around 100 hits with reddit as the referrer. As you point out, this could give spammers a small boost, but it really is an insignificant one because they get buried pretty fast, initial buffer notwithstanding.

Mike said...

Thanks for reading and for linking. I like the idea of requiring a few down votes before disappearing off the page. Even one down vote that puts a post at 0 points seems to doom some articles that deserve better - or maybe they don't.


Soon Hui said...


Thanks for the bit of information that there is a buffer in terms of times to allow a few votes to get registered. I don't know about this :)