Reddit is a site built on the backs of user contributions and engagement, and their new publication Upvoted doesn’t allow comments. This is BS.
Today Reddit launched Upvoted, a site with a dedicated editorial team that will cull and curate from Reddit’s top content. Popular stories are verified, rewritten, and repackaged for the ad market. This is an attempt to side-step the issue of Reddit’s massive, opinionated, and apparently uncontrollable community by cutting them out entirely.
Reddit -- and its parent company, Conde Nast -- have been struggling with ways to monetise Reddit, and this year has been New York Times should write about how they organise their newsroom, rather than publish the news that its reporters are breaking.
So now Reddit users will get the privilege of having their (rewritten) stories displayed alongside sponsored posts on Upvoted. If you want to discuss or debate it, head back to your Reddit thread. GTFO off our shiny advertorial. Upvoted can deny any involvement in controversial threads on Reddit, but it also misses out on debates and further contributions, the ingredients that made Reddit famous in the first place. Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian writes in his Upvoted introductory post:
The best part of Reddit has always been you: The anecdotes you contribute, the photographs and illustrations you post, and the comments you leave.
Then Ohanian neglects to mention that there will be no comments on Upvoted. The double-speak here is extraordinary.
These days, many sites have decided to turn off their comment sections. While it may leave their pages looking bland enough for ad dollars, this is a serious loss to both writers and readers. Writing for a reactive audience keeps you on your toes, and the ability for users to engage only makes articles better. Comments are an endlessly insightful resource and excellent sounding-board. Publications like to pretend that if they switch off these sections, the nastier elements of the commenting class will just disappear. In reality publications like Upvoted are losing a far greater chance of engagement and interaction. I would rather read through the trolls in order to receive the wealth of fascinating and well-thought out commentary than not at all.
Currently, Upvoted's top story, on thwarted suicides, hangs out next to a sponsored post about hotdogs. On the Upvoted story, there will be no user reaction, no personal stories shared, none of the best of what commenting can bring: an expanded and enriched experience of the base material. We get why Reddit is doing this. But they're throwing out the baby with the bathwater.