Reddit, for the ones who are not familiar with the website, is a social news website where users (redditors) share links or texts which are then voted up or down by the other users. In theory, it’s a good concept that would allow interesting articles, images, comments, discussions, theories and creations to be discovered by the rest of the community. In practice though, it’s a whole other story.
I’ve been using Reddit for a couple of months now and I can’t honestly say I fully understand it even today. Questionable articles make the front page and good ones sometimes sink too easily. The subreddits (categories) are sort of a mess and each has its own set of rules, which can be very confusing for someone who wants to post links in several of them. While some users create engaging discussions and post interesting comments, others are just plain rude and act like trolls. And all this is just the tip of the iceberg.
I’ve come to both like and hate Reddit after submitting several articles there, some of my own and some from other interesting blogs. Most of the content I post is related to my field of work; design, freelancing, photography and art. Here’s my experience, in a nutshell:
Posting on Reddit your own content: You can… but you can’t
Confusing isn’t it? I know. Nothing in the Reddiquette that says you cannot post your own links, but in the FAQ there is a part that says that although it is not illegal, it might be considered spam. My first account was banned in fact because I submitted articles coming from my blog. Obviously I was quite upset but I tried in a polite manner to contact moderators about this issue: nothing. Thrice I tried but got no answer. Later I created a second account to post links from several sources, including my own blog. I did not get rebanned (yet).
Let me tell you why I think this “gray” area as they call it is utterly ridiculous: it states in the FAQ that if you link from a website you own and profit from, you’re on thin ice. That said, I am a blogger, yes, but I do not profit monetarily from any of these articles. Do you see ads anywhere? Nope. I write blog articles for designers, freelancers and startups for free on my own time. I do it to help people; no one is paying me and I’m not making any gain whatsoever, if not for the satisfaction that some readers profit from my articles and get better thanks to my advice.
Hearing that my blog posts fall into the “spam” category according to some Reddit moderator was frustrating at first. After fuming for a few minutes though I decided to let it go; if content I write for the users is banned from their site, who am I to argue? If someone’s losing here it’s the people who refuse to read whatever advice I have to say. My word is not gold and I am not a perfect writer either; I’m just someone who wants to help. And there’s no way I’m going to be shoving my advice down their throats if they don’t want to hear it.
Reddit’s content is pretty average
Some articles stick out from the bunch but most are very average and plain. If you’re looking for some innovative content and helpful articles to read, Reddit is not the place where you should start looking first. Stumbleupon in comparison offers much more quality content to its users.
Let’s take a look at what’s on the Design subreddit today, for instance:
This is not quality content. Except for maybe 1 or arguably 2 of those first few posts, it’s actually quite boring. I check Reddit every now and then and this is typical. It’s not Reddit’s fault; it’s the users who submit the links after all. That just shows me what this community is interested in. And we obviously do not share the same interests, they and I.
If you’re a blog owner and want to submit your stuff on Reddit, make sure the subreddit you’re submitting it to is appropriate to your content. A quick look at the section will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Trolls, users whose past time is insulting people, articles or anything they deem worthy of flame, are not unique to Reddit. Where there is space for interaction online, there are trolls. They’re annoying, hateful people with what I assume must be either very boring or sad lives. Perhaps both. My experience with trolls on Reddit wasn’t extensive but I did receive a few unjustified spiteful comments after posting articles. The entirety of those comments were about angry readers who refused to read my blog article on the basis that the design isn’t to their liking, or as thugFapper would put it on Reddit: “i didn’t even read that shit because the content was too narrow, and on the right side..” I guess people like him also refuse to read newspaper columns… they’re so narrow and sometimes to the right, you know. What are they seriously thinking, those silly columnists?
Online communities are spiky and there’s very little you can do to prevent trolls from arising. However I ask myself sometimes if I am right to undergo that sort of treatment on a site that gives me back very little both as a blogger and as a reader.
Overall, Reddit isn’t bad. It’s just poorly executed and a great part of the fault goes to the users. Reddit will bring traffic to your site if you’re a blogger but don’t expect more; you might end up being disappointed. After two months using the service, I set my expectations to zero. All I’m waiting for now is to be positively impressed. How hard could that be?
I’m still waiting.