Firstly, I'd like to dismiss any claims of pandering or fishing here. I need to say this and I need to write it out.
I was a reddit user for 8 years. I thought it was 5 but another commenter reminded me what it was. It put me into a bit of a reflective mood. I thought about some of the more meaningful insightful interactions I've had, and some of the more bitterly memorable ones where I was at best annoyed but more recently feeling attacked, shot down, rudely treated. It was profound as a sensitive human being to receive these things, to be made to feel through text, written for you by someone else. These weren't friends, people you held at arms length as you got to know them, they were complete strangers. And these people could be brutal. Make you feel so small. And yet I am a grown man, this environment I spent easily 30% of my waking time on for the best part of a decade was interacting with people and how much I enjoyed it. It was more than a website it was a place that I called home during bouts of depression, social drought and personal hardships. I found myself seeking help and for the most part finding it.
I have learned something valuable that I want to share here and I had to learn it the hard way, through hypocrisy, through mistakes, through mis-spoken words and harsh tongue thrashings both ways. I have realised for the first time that the people reading these things, the people writing them, the sentiments involved and the content/context is important. They are real, they are human, they feel, they are like me.
We are seeking some assembly, some community, some lectern from which to state our case. My whole life I looked for togetherness online and thought I found it in the early days of reddit. That is gone now. Even intelligent well thought out research style posts cannot culminate properly, they do not ascend, the public discourse is dead. I see now first hand the destruction of community the facebook exec spoke about. Our actual confident, open, readily invited opinionated perspectives are being replaced by circle jerks and shallow agree/disagree type statements. Upvotes have become likes. Now I see how it is broken.
Someone saw me having a meltdown and invited me here. I was told it was invite only, and that it was made by someone who had the same feelings as me. I don't want to be surrounded by likeminded people, thats not what I joined reddit for. I joined because open and honest perspectives based on experience were readily available; academics, workers, parents, billionaires, could just shoot-the-shit they didn't need to cite sources or write something popular. But upvotes were reserved for contributors, not jesters or people ridiculing/attacking/berating others. The reddit bandwagon has become savagely toxic in many respects. It is (sorry was) frustrating.
So here I am. Fresh off the boats as a reddit refugee. I hope than I can find my place here and contribute to the discussions, help build the site, build something that hopefully cannot be corrupted by growth, investors and advertisers.
We discussed in the hundred or comments attached to my meltdown that the lowering average age of the site population and possible the general dumbing down of internet users happening the past 10 years was largely responsible. I can imagine previously mentioned factors also drove it over the cliff. What is the current hope for Tildes future? I read the announcement post and it mentioned that a baseline level of activity will ensure that topics cycle regularly and user engagement is high enough to stimulate people coming back. Or that is at least what I think the baseline is for.
I hope this topic starts a discussion and doesn't get moderated away. But the lack of real debate, insight, coupled with a responsive and welcoming attitude is something the whole internet is missing right now, this is where we could make a positive change to the current online environment.