38 votes

Reddit is moving to a twitter-like public follower system

I recently received this message from an admin:

Hello! You are receiving this message because you have followed a user profile in the past.

Starting on 08/19/2019, we will begin showing some users new followers of their profile. In about 3 months, all users will be able to see all the usernames of their followers, including follows that were done in the past, while the user profile feature was in beta. Please take a moment to check your subscriptions list (where followed users also appear) to ensure that if you follow someone, you are comfortable with them being aware of this.

It's a rather big change and a shame that they are making reddit more and more like the rest of social media.

19 comments

  1. [6]
    Deimos Link
    It's a pretty confusing change, and I think they've done a poor job of communicating it. There was an /r/announcements post about it 3 weeks ago, and most of the comments are people completely...

    It's a pretty confusing change, and I think they've done a poor job of communicating it. There was an /r/announcements post about it 3 weeks ago, and most of the comments are people completely misunderstanding what they're doing or thinking this is some entirely new feature.

    It won't affect most users at all. It's only if you specifically use the "follow" feature, which effectively subscribes you to posts the users make to their own profile (not to a subreddit). But almost nobody posts to their profile because there's no audience for profile posts unless you're already a reddit-celebrity. So following is pretty useless for now and most people have probably never done it (or followed someone without understanding what it does), but I wouldn't be surprised if they're planning to start pushing it harder.

    But yes, I've said before that I think the biggest mistake reddit is making is that instead of recognizing and improving what reddit does better than other sites, they're doing almost the opposite: they're looking at what all the other popular social media sites do that reddit doesn't, and just kind of throwing all of that at the wall and hoping some of it works to attract more users. Posting to your profile with followers, chat rooms, heavily emphasizing images and gifs, paid-for emojis and badges, "trending topics", and various other attempts.

    45 votes
    1. [3]
      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      Thank you. This has crystallised a nebulous feeling I've had but been unable to pin down. Yes: Reddit is trying to keep up with the Joneses and trying to be something it's not. This explains why...

      the biggest mistake reddit is making is that instead of recognizing and improving what reddit does better than other sites, they're doing almost the opposite: they're looking at what all the other popular social media sites do that reddit doesn't, and just kind of throwing all of that at the wall and hoping some of it works to attract more users.

      Thank you. This has crystallised a nebulous feeling I've had but been unable to pin down. Yes: Reddit is trying to keep up with the Joneses and trying to be something it's not.

      This explains why so many people are so pissed off by the changes the admins have been implementing over the past couple of years: this has basically become a bait-and-switch exercise for long-term Redditors. They signed up for one type of site, and now the admins are changing it into another type of site.


      Slightly related: I was talking to an acquaintance this week and I decided to try to recruit him to Tildes (another IT guy to join the crowd!). He knows about Reddit, so I started there. I found myself saying "the creator has taken all bits of Reddit that I like, and left out all the bits of Reddit that I didn't like". So, there's my take on Tildes, for what it's worth. (Ultimately, he said no to an invite because he just skims Reddit and doesn't really participate in that sort of site.)

      25 votes
      1. [2]
        thejumpingbulldog Link Parent
        Honestly, I think this process has been going on longer than most people recognize. I remember a post that I saw through the bestof subreddit that detailed the small steps reddit has taken to be...

        Honestly, I think this process has been going on longer than most people recognize. I remember a post that I saw through the bestof subreddit that detailed the small steps reddit has taken to be more and more like facebook and instagram ever since the outing of Ellen Pao in 2015. I can't necessarily find the post, but it shattered the glass wall in my head, and I've definitely seen the process grow more and more. I remember when they had the alien blue app, which was flawed, but I loved. I remember how they forced everyone to go through the redesign. Most of all, it seems like during my time on reddit, it has ballooned in population as people jump on it from instagram or twitter to get memes or whatnot. I can remember talking about reddit in 2015 and having no one know what I'm talking about to talking about it today and a significant portion of the room will have a clue of what I'm talking about. Do I think it is still better than facebook/instagram/twitter? Yes, but I see it slowly atrophy, and I can only imagine how it will turn out.

        8 votes
    2. [2]
      chembliss Link Parent
      And probably hoping to get better quality, more personal and advertising-fit data from the current users. I wouldn't be surprised if one day they start making email verification compulsory and...

      and hoping some of it works to attract more users

      And probably hoping to get better quality, more personal and advertising-fit data from the current users. I wouldn't be surprised if one day they start making email verification compulsory and providing some way to create a throwaway "mask" from your account so that everything can be linked to one advertising ID more easily.

      4 votes
      1. Wes Link Parent
        I figure followed pages would be harder to monetize. At least with subreddits there's a clear category. eg. tabletop gaming, geocaching, salsa music. With user pages though they basically have to...

        I figure followed pages would be harder to monetize. At least with subreddits there's a clear category. eg. tabletop gaming, geocaching, salsa music. With user pages though they basically have to guess from context. And that might mean having to build advertising profiles.

        2 votes
  2. [5]
    flip Link
    Well that's a stupid change... Just today I followed a person because I need to keep tabs on them due to likelyhood of violating the rules of one of the subs I mod exactly because they can't see...

    Well that's a stupid change... Just today I followed a person because I need to keep tabs on them due to likelyhood of violating the rules of one of the subs I mod exactly because they can't see that I'm doing so.

    It's sad that everyone likes copying the stupidest features of each other. Oh well....

    Thank you for the heads up, though, since I haven't gotten that admin message yet.

    13 votes
    1. [2]
      Wes Link Parent
      I'd suggest setting up a "report users" list in AutoModerator. Have them send you a report automatically for new comments those users make in your subreddit.

      I'd suggest setting up a "report users" list in AutoModerator. Have them send you a report automatically for new comments those users make in your subreddit.

      6 votes
      1. flip Link Parent
        Yeah, the account is being watched by Automod (who is the most valuable member of the modteam, if we're being honest...). I just need to check their behaviour in other subs for possible harassment...

        Yeah, the account is being watched by Automod (who is the most valuable member of the modteam, if we're being honest...). I just need to check their behaviour in other subs for possible harassment (which is how the whole thing started).

        6 votes
    2. [2]
      jgb Link Parent
      Since I happen to be an extremely frequent user of said subreddit, I am slightly interested who this user is - I wouldn't expect you to tell, of course, but I sure am curious...

      Since I happen to be an extremely frequent user of said subreddit, I am slightly interested who this user is - I wouldn't expect you to tell, of course, but I sure am curious...

      2 votes
      1. flip Link Parent
        Yeah, can't really say, sorry. But it's not going to be a big drama, it's just a member on their last chance who shows zero indication of ever reforming their behaviour. It should be a short...

        Yeah, can't really say, sorry. But it's not going to be a big drama, it's just a member on their last chance who shows zero indication of ever reforming their behaviour. It should be a short follow, possibly could even beat the implementation of the new system.

        5 votes
  3. [6]
    MetArtScroll Link
    Indeed, this is proper r/WatchRedditDie material (not what that sub has become). In the admin message cited, I would especially notice this: Reddit is a global site, but it seems to never have...

    Indeed, this is proper r/WatchRedditDie material (not what that sub has become).

    In the admin message cited, I would especially notice this:

    08/19/2019

    Reddit is a global site, but it seems to never have occurred to its admins that most of the world DOES NOT USE this date format. In other Reddit admin messages and announcements, they often use Pacific time (less than 1% of the world population) as the first (before UTC) or even the only one.

    7 votes
    1. [3]
      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      But, half of its users come from the USA (54%, to be exact). And, traditionally, that number has been higher, so Reddit has always been dominated by Americans.

      Reddit is a global site, but it seems to never have occurred to its admins that most of the world DOES NOT USE this date format.

      But, half of its users come from the USA (54%, to be exact). And, traditionally, that number has been higher, so Reddit has always been dominated by Americans.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        MetArtScroll Link Parent
        You are right, but as you wrote here back in October 2018, Especially as their use of Pacific time by default is arrogant towards 99% of the world. Most of today's significant social media started...

        You are right, but as you wrote here back in October 2018,

        The statistics don't justify the arrogance.

        Especially as their use of Pacific time by default is arrogant towards 99% of the world.


        Most of today's significant social media started in the USA, and many of them started in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, when I occasionally browse Reddit's “official” subreddits, or when I read stories about Reddit, I often have an impression that not only is Reddit an American website with other countries being a tolerated extension, but that Reddit has never grown up from being a San Francisco Bay Area local project with the rest of the world at best generously tolerated.

        5 votes
        1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
          Hold on. In that case, the statistic was weighted against Americans. They act like they own the English-speaking internet, but they make up only 1 in 5 speakers of English around the world. In...

          Hold on. In that case, the statistic was weighted against Americans. They act like they own the English-speaking internet, but they make up only 1 in 5 speakers of English around the world. In this case, the statistics show that, on Reddit, the majority of redditors (albeit a small majority) are American.

          Two very different statistics, justifying two different behaviours.

          That said, I don't disagree that Reddit acts like an American website by Americans for Americans. The admins, the users, everyone assumes that Reddit is American by default. It would be nice if they realised that this here world-wide web is world-wide.

          3 votes
    2. Sand Link Parent
      That's weird, they changed it to say August in the r/announcements post.

      That's weird, they changed it to say August in the r/announcements post.

      2 votes
  4. HanakoIsBestGirl Link
    Reddit needs to stop trying to be other social medias. It keeps on killing what made it good and unique.

    Reddit needs to stop trying to be other social medias. It keeps on killing what made it good and unique.

    5 votes
  5. nsa Link
    I actually like this change. It was kind of disconcerting before to see that someone had followed you with no way to stop it or see who they are. There needs to be a way to disable this as well...

    I actually like this change. It was kind of disconcerting before to see that someone had followed you with no way to stop it or see who they are. There needs to be a way to disable this as well though.

    3 votes