A Reddit Intervention.

by Lori Dwyer on July 8, 2013 · 11 comments

I have an unhealthy relationship with Reddit. I’d like to say it’s symbiotic and co-dependent… but it’s not. I love Reddit. Reddit does not love me.

If you’ve never been on Reddit before, this post is certainly not encouraging you to start. In fact, I’d strongly advise you didn’t. There is no time-sucking interweb pastime like the Reddit vortex. It’s both tantalizing and brain-numbing, informative and stupid.

First off, a disclaimer of sorts- the Reddit interface is ugly as sin. It looks bland and repetitive and confusing. If you stare at it for long enough, something in the primordial recesses of your brain will click. And you will begin the never-ending spiral of clicking things that just does not seem to stop.


Reddit- The front page of the internet.

Reddit- The front page of the internet.


Reddit is primarily a link sharing site- it holds very little content of it’s own. The idea is to share links that you find interesting, and people up-vote or down-vote them. The content with the most up-votes swims to the visible top of the list of links. Content that is down-voted is buried. In theory, that means content on Reddit is curated by the community, and only the best of it ends up on the Reddit front page- the front page of the Internet itself, as they like to say.

Reddit is divided into subReddits that cater to about a million different interests, and dictate where links to content should be posted. Again, no content is held by Reddit itself- even things like images and gifs are hosted off-site, mostly on Imgur, and only the link itself submitted. The most popular subReddits, like r/Funny, r/WTF and r/AdviceAnimals (the absolute meme capital of cyberspace) are the default categories of Reddit- every new user is automatically subscribed to their content. If you hit Reddit without being signed into your account, it’s these defaults that automatically make up front page content.

The beauty of Reddit is that, once you are a registered user with an account, you can unsubscribe to the default categories (which I did immediately with r/Atheism– there’s only so much gratuitous religion-hate I can stand) and subscribe to the ones that interest you (personally, I’d recommend r/FacePalm and r/LongReads). Using some kind of complex algorithm (or something), Reddit filters the most popular links from all the categories you’re subscribed to into your front page. For all intents and purposes, you choose the content you want to see, and the user-base votes on the best of that content.

And that’s the best of Reddit- the most awesome content on the web generally comes from there. The funny meme or bizarre picture you saw on FaceBook this morning…? Chances are that it first showed up on Reddit. Yesterday.

The worst of Reddit is… well… pretty bad. It’s developed a reputation for being misogynistic which is, sadly, true. It’s also got a bad rep for operating around the very centre of the hive mind. Also true. Unpopular opinions are at the mercy of Reddit’s up-vote/down-vote system, and most of them are down-voted to oblivion. Mark Twain said that when you find yourself on the side of popular opinion, it’s time to stop and reflect. The problem is that with Reddit’s default settings, unpopular opinions- those with five or more down-votes- become essentially invisible. Which leaves little to reflect on (unless you want to actually, ya know, think for yourself. Which I’m not sure is encouraged).


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It may also be Mark Twain who said that memes are in-jokes for people who have no friends. The longer you spend on Reddit, the more references and in-jokes you understand. It makes you feel like part of the crowd. The derpy, loser crowd without enough Real Life friends.

Reddit is entirely what you make of it. For some people, that’s a front page full of the most depraved porn you can find.

For me, it’s an endless vortex of interesting articlesamazing photos, and stupid jokes. Whole days can be wasted on there. It’s the ultimate site for blissful time-wasting and rampant procrastination.

This has to stop. The Most Amazing Man In The Universe is thoroughly sick of hearing me say “Oh, I already saw that on Reddit!”, or variably, “I read this thing on Reddit…”. He tells me he is a ‘Reddit widow’. I tell him that’s better than being a real widow.

Clearly, I need some kind of intervention.


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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs BC July 9, 2013 at 11:13 pm

I can’t deal with the Reddit interface, but I do have a secret love affair with Imgur. It’s a ritual for me to view the day’s front page after the kids are asleep. I love it, as long as I don’t read the comments because then my eyes roll so much they might actually leave my head. Also, I’m not so much into the cat pictures.
PS – you said Derpy!! Lolz!
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Lori Dwyer July 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Herpy derp derp :p
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Lisa@Circle of Toast July 9, 2013 at 1:47 am

Love me some Reddit, only problem is I end up having approximately 748 tabs open which usually crashes my browser :(


Lori Dwyer July 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Same- or having all these tabs open with no idea of what the title was. Then I get confused…
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Soagsy July 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm

The app is pretty good. Oh wait… I’m not supposed to be supporting your habit am I … Ummm errrrr carry on…


Lori Dwyer July 10, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Oooh which app? I have Bacon Reader but don’t use it a lot… because I’m trying to quit. Obviously :p
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Miss Cinders July 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Look at it this way… at least you’re addicted to something that is a mind altering drug…. or is it?

MC x


Miss Cinders July 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm

my computer is dumb… delete delete delete!!!


Lori Dwyer July 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm

It *totally* is!! :p
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Whoa, Molly July 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I’ve skimmed Reddit, but you are so right when you say the interface is ugly as hell- it makes it hard to get into in the first place. BUT, if you can wade through the gross and the porn and the dumb-asses, there is gold to be found there. Sometimes.

It’s just that whole feeling of, oh another time-waster. As if I don’t have enough things sucking my time away!

A friend of mine was all like, “Oh, you need to get into Pinterest! Pinterest is the best.” And I’m thinking, “I don’t have time for another social media pursuit. I’m at my limit, I’d have to drop one off if I was to add another…”
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Lori Dwyer July 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I get this weird kind of anxiety every damn time I hear of a new social media. I’m still not on Pinterest. And Vine freaks me f*ck out…. :p
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