After rolling out a new social profile feature to a whopping three users back in March, Reddit finally opened up a limited beta version to a select (significantly larger) group of users last week. It took exactly five days for them to ruin it. Great going, everyone!
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Three years ago, a website was created as a refuge for the communities deemed too hateful or toxic to exist on the lenient-to-a-fault social aggregator Reddit. That site was a knockoff called Voat which was identical in purpose and design, only its founding communities were groups like v/FatPeopleHate and the anti-black v/CoonTown.
Another day, another cryptocurrency clusterfuck. This week, the creator of the tipping bot "dogetipbot" — a service that let Reddit users "tip" each other in Dogecoin — announced that his company is broke, he's broke, and the bot is broke because he spent all the coins, after he himself ran out of money.
In terms of weird, creative, interesting things that happened on the 'internet' this year /r/place has to rank pretty high.
/r/place was a blank slate. Users could put a single pixel on that blank slate and creation demanded collaboration. What resulted reflected internet culture in all its gory glory.
Now we have an incredible website that explains what was left in the wasteland.
Earlier this month, Reddit pulled off one of its greatest accomplishments ever: getting users to spend 72 hours painstakingly making art together one pixel at a time. Now, one Redditor has created an atlas that documents the stories of each individual art project that contributed to this glorious mess.
Back in January, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was "quite proud of the impact that we were able to have on civic discourse", doubling down on his stance that the rise of misinformation, spread of outright propaganda, and rapid erosion of trust in the fourth estate were anyone's problems but his. A whitepaper from the world's largest social media platform — where an estimated 66 per cent of the site's American users get their news — casually mentions that Facebook is also fertile soil for "subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people".
Wall-E is almost nine years old, so maybe it's time to re-evaluate the movie. Maybe it's not a morality tale about consumerism and the environment, with Wall-E as the example of purity. Because a new fan theory posits that the adorable robot is, in fact, Satan, and guys? It makes more sense than you'd expect.
Crunching the numbers on the millions upon millions of Reddit comments just to crack the code on upvotes would be difficult work. Thankfully, two software engineers, a Google big data project, and some careful analysis have already done the heavy lifting, revealing the simple trick to getting the top comment in most threads: get there first.
As far as accidental comedy goes, few things beat watching a PG-rated Disney film on a site with the ads for penis enlargement guides and "Tinder for MILFs". And while I didn't specifically seek out Pornhub or 2014's animated adventure Big Hero 6 today, both came into view thanks to the Reddit community r/FullMoviesOnPornhub.
As a company, Reddit has shown itself to be either ambivalent or complicit in abuse on the site, but users are fed up. Two new but rapidly-growing subreddits — r/esist and r/fuckthealtright — want to do something about it, and they have already claimed credit for getting hate speech community r/altright banned for harassment. Yesterday, they set their sights on one of the Reddit's worst offenders.
Over 25 million users have flocked to Discord, a text and voice platform for gamers, since its launch in May of 2015. Despite the company raising at least 30 million in venture capital funding, the company has only five "customer experience" personnel and no moderators on its staff. From what I've seen, users who wish to engage in harassment, raid servers or bombard chats and users with child pornography suffer no lasting repercussions for doing so. That seemingly any server can become the victim of organised attacks represents the strained and failing infrastructure of moderation — of Discord, and of virtually any community on the internet.
Bill Mitchell is the host of a conservative online talk radio show and one of the few pundits to accurately predict the rise of Donald Trump. In post-election retrospect, the man Buzzfeed says "owned" the liberal media seemed to possess some sort of awful precognitive powers. Turns out he was just a lucky idiot.