reddit
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The request for subreddits clearly indicates that reddit needs tags. (reddit.com)
427 points posted 1 month ago by jemfinch

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spez 32 points 1 month ago*

Subreddits were never intended to be used for topical groups (i.e. we never planned on having programming.reddit or science.reddit), but we did make a few as a stopgap solution until we could address the categorization issue for real. Unfortunately, it's been a long time coming, and I apologize.

I've never been a fan of using tagging either, however. The trouble is tags are fairly personal: what I call "politics" you call "left-wing drivel." That and the fact that no one would actually tag a link about politics as "politics," even though that's what we really want.

To get around this issue, the solution we've been talking about is having a (short) list of defined tags. Whether this works for topics, I'm not sure, but it would be definitely useful for other meta information: spam, pic, nsfw, video, pdf, dupe, etc.

For topics, a user-controlled list of available topics would be cool. When you submit, you'd see a list of popular content categories from which to choose (science, politics, blah). We'd need the ability to repair mis-taggings and abuse as well, and to grow the list. I'm not sure this scales very well, however.

PS - more hardware is on the way, things should speed up soon.

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howars 17 points 1 month ago*

Steve,

I strongly urge you to read Ontology is Overrated by Clay Shirky before you spend too much time worrying about preset/random tagging. Specifically:

The assumption is that we both can and should read people's minds, that we can understand what they meant when they used a particular label, and, understanding that, we can start to restrict those labels, or at least map them easily onto one another.

This looks relatively simple with the Apple/Mac/OSX example, but when we start to expand to other groups of related words, like movies, film, and cinema, the case for the thesaurus becomes much less clear. I learned this from Brad Fitzpatrick's design for LiveJournal, which allows user to list their own interests. LiveJournal makes absolutely no attempt to enforce solidarity or a thesaurus or a minimal set of terms, no check-box, no drop-box, just free-text typing. Some people say they're interested in movies. Some people say they're interested in film. Some people say they're interested in cinema.

The cataloguers first reaction to that is, "Oh my god, that means you won't be introducing the movies people to the cinema people!" To which the obvious answer is "Good. The movie people don't want to hang out with the cinema people." Those terms actually encode different things, and the assertion that restricting vocabularies improves signal assumes that that there's no signal in the difference itself, and no value in protecting the user from too many matches.

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spez 5 points 1 month ago

That works when people want tags to find content, but it doesn't work so well when users want to avoid content, which seems to be what users are clamoring for.

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howars 2 points 1 month ago

I think that if you allow anyone to tag a post and everyone to vote on the relevancy of tags for a post, you'll get some emergent community standards to use certain tags in certain situations.

I'm inclined to think that people won't necessarily have to specify what tags they're looking for or trying to avoid. I don't pretend to know your secret sauce for recommendations, but it seems to me that the tall end of the long tail of a tag set for a particular post would be good extra data to feed into your engine. That way people wouldn't have to take the extra step of saying "i like these tags" and "i don't like these tags" because that would be implicit in how they are voting on the posts.

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JulianMorrison 1 point 1 month ago

It should still work well enough; people can block "left wing" and see the stuff with that tag vanish, etc. If they discover something trying to sneak past using a synonym, they can just add the more common tag. Eventually everything ends up having every relevant tag.

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maynard 4 points 1 month ago

That's a great link. To offer a counter-example though, Clotaire Rapaille would argue that the meaning of such terms is first culturally bound, then individually bound secondarily. That is, differing associations between the terms "movie" vs. "cinema" might have one meaning within the US and a completely different meaning in the UK. These shared associations are imprinted upon children by parents and peers, creating a set of unconscious emotional responses that differ from culture to culture.

He claims to be able to discern these associations by running focus groups whereby he ignores what people say and instead have large groups free associate. He then looks for repeated response patterns of his subjects. He likes to say, "I don't listen to people intellectually, listen to the reptilian. Why? Because the reptilian always wins." That is, unconscious emotional responses always win over intellectualizing. He argues that verbal responses to value questions are primarily internal confabulations meant to rationalize whatever emotional reaction one might have to a given stimuli. And, further, these reactions are predictable culture by culture.

Is he right? I don't know. But he is interesting. Here's a PBS Frontline interview he did for a documentary on marketing:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/persuaders/interviews/rapaille.html

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JulianMorrison 1 point 1 month ago*

Parent post tagged: "culturally bound", "postmodern", "nonsense"

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maynard 1 point 1 month ago*

He's a child psychiatrist, not a postmodernist philosopher. And BTW: have you ever actually read seminal postmodernists like Lyotard? Disagree with their staked positions, but one thing they are not is stupid.

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howars 1 point 1 month ago

interesting interview. I think the point that Clay is trying to make, though, is that for online folksonomies it really isn't that important to worry about what people 'mean' when they use a particular tag.

Much like bayesian filtering for spam, we ought to be able to extract statistical significance from tag frequency without trying to grok what's going on at a human level of understanding.

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jemfinch 15 points 1 month ago

Until then, however, can you simply remove the option on submissions that says "Also post to reddit.com?"? Especially with nsfw.reddit.com gone, all submissions should go to reddit.com

The biggest problem I have with subreddits was mentioned by Rafe at http://reddit.com/info/qoto/comments/cqoy1 . Now that programming.reddit.com exists, I never see any programming links on reddit.com. Now that science.reddit.com exists, I see very few science articles on reddit.com. Every subreddit that exists pulls stories I might want to see from reddit.com, which, in a word, sucks.

I came to reddit because I wanted my news aggregated into one simple page. Subreddits completely defeat that purpose. Please, make all submissions to subreddits also be submitted to the front page by default, at least as a stopgap measure, and you'll solve my major problem with it.

I think many of the complaints about the present content of reddit.com is based on the fact that much of what's interesting has been shunted to subreddits.

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cecilkorik 2 points 1 month ago

http://my.reddit.com should be the default in my opinion. Set up your subreddits in preferences, and they will all appear, aggregated together on my.reddit.com

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ecuzzillo 7 points 1 month ago

The problem with my.reddit.com is that the programming and science subreddits have many fewer subscribers than the main reddit, and so when compared on a point basis with main reddit submissions, they rarely make the front page. So my.reddit.com, for me, has not a single link in the top 50 that's not on reddit.com.

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paulc 1 point 1 month ago

"spam, pic, nsfw, video, pdf, dupe, etc."

Personally, I could really use a "wap safe" or "wap tested" flag. Reddit looks great on my phone, but a number of sites will crash the browser and the phone.

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JulianMorrison 2 points 1 month ago

I disagree. Tags should be permitted to multiply. A story would end up tagged as both "left wing drivel" and "politics" (or conversely both "wingnut fascist hate" and "politics"). With enough taggers, tags will converge towards usefulness.

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ntoshev 2 points 1 month ago

I think predefined tags are fine. When do you plan to introduce them?

If it is after more than a couple of weeks, I think fun.reddit.com and photo.reddit.com should be created and used, then the content integrated back into the tag system when it is ready. You need to do this with programming and science reddits anyway.

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smacfarl 4 points 1 month ago

spez,

Here's an easy key word solution. Let everyone pick their own when they submit. Then let everyone vote on the keywords that have been submitted with the article as well as submit their own. By recursively applying reddit's core tech to the tagging problem you will gain in organization from the knowledge of the community, and you will no longer have to solve a problem that the rest of the internet is struggling with on your own.

Attach a new class karma to both the tag generators and the tags. Some people will emerge as effective taggers, on the content side good tags will also emerge.

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b3eck 2 points 1 month ago

Consider the possibility that the words of the title are tags, and that attaching your vote to a specific tag groups you with very specific people, and this specific group of people will likely not include spambots (c.f. http://features.reddit.com/info/27uy/comments/c93i1 and http://features.reddit.com/info/93bf/comments ). Until you were bought out by Condé Nast, I was planning to submit a feature request where dragging the up/down arrow over a word would drop down a list of tags that users besides the author had contributed. This would allow for variable titles, as you had originally invisioned, and allow for restricted tagging, while at the same time improving the recommendations from people who share your interests. I still may submit the feature request if you guys have time to consider it in full (keeping reddit online is no trivial task).

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jemfinch 73 points 1 month ago

It seems that every day we've got a new request for a new subreddit. Politics, science, photos, comics, etc.

We've also seen the removal of nsfw.reddit.com because it doesn't really suit the new corporate owners of the site.

Simply stated, Reddit needs tags. Each submitter should be able to tag his submissions, and each user should be able to filter on tags explicitly as well as implicitly (via the recommendation engine, which would then have significantly more data to work against).

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Schwallex 45 points 1 month ago

Folks, this news just in: some crazy scientists have discovered something outside of Reddit. They call that something "the Universe". And they keep insisting that if we spend 100% of our lifetimes on voting, tagging, voting on tags, tagging votes, and voting on the votes on tags, we might be missing out on something.

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ZeroInput 30 points 1 month ago

Either you vote on tags or the terrorists win!

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9ner 19 points 1 month ago

Damn liberal scientists.

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Samus_ -18 points 1 month ago [comment score below threshold] show comment
shimei -2 points 1 month ago

GB2Digg ;)

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kvorg 3 points 1 month ago

The votable tagging seems realy neat. While you vere discussing, Slashdot went and stole that idea, but with a bit less elegant approach for the voting. It only proves it is workable for large crowds of people full of weed (er, clutter) and not too difficult. Tags should be, however, made rahter inobrusive.

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philh 0 points 1 month ago

I thought of basically the same system for a film ratings site. For some reason I never realised it could be applied to something like Reddit.

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z0id 2 points 1 month ago*

Movielens is a film ratings site that uses a system like that.

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adrian 5 points 1 month ago*

For me, one of the best things about Reddit is it is so simple - just one or two pages to read with all the stuff that's new on the web. I agree that subreddits are like tags, but I disagree that we really need either of them. I like Reddit best as one Reddit.

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pavel_lishin 37 points 1 month ago

One could always ignore the tags.

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Grue 1 point 1 month ago

You cannot ignore the tags. They are an eyesore. If there to be tags on reddit, I hope there would be an option to turn them off and never see them again.

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Alpha_Binary 1 point 1 month ago

I believe that's what the original poster meant. Actually it could have been done better. Since tags hardly matter for unregistered people anyway it might be better to have tags off (like, invisible) by default.

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mvonballmo 29 points 1 month ago

Except that tag-clouds are so scary.

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refusenik 16 points 1 month ago

They would be tag maelstroms

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almost 39 points 1 month ago
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Schwallex 4 points 1 month ago

Then why don't we start ignoring them right now? (^_^)

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souldrift 19 points 1 month ago*

That worked before the site became uber-popular. Volume is really high now and there's a lot of clutter to weed through.

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Csai 11 points 1 month ago*

Author tagging is a recipe for disaster unless users are allowed to corroborate those. Hmm, why not allow people to vote on tags too? The obviously wrong ones designed to show up under all categories will be buried soon, and the more legitimate ones will remain.

edit: I just saw randombit's comment; yeah I'm saying the same thing.

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egonkasper 11 points 1 month ago

This makes sense, and there is no reason to get rid of the current front page setup to add this either. Tags could just show up to the side or below articles rather than making different tabs or pages for different tags.

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smncee -7 points 1 month ago [comment score below threshold] show comment
jgrahamc 0 points 1 month ago

How do people add stories to reddit that point to reddit? I assume that they need to be able to set or predict the four character unique ID.

Anyone clue me in on how this works?

John.

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egonkasper 13 points 1 month ago

Just put "self" in the URL field.

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Csai 9 points 1 month ago

Aren't you the same person who pulled off the recursion stuff with reddit and digg? Gosh, some people just don't like simple reasons and methods! ;)

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jgrahamc 0 points 1 month ago

I am that person.

I think I'm more the sort of person who doesn't read what it says on the submit screen about being able to type self!

I'm surprised that no one replied RTFM :-)

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gavri 9 points 1 month ago

http://reddit.com/submit

Look at the text in the url text-field

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Alpha_Binary 18 points 1 month ago

Agreed. While I think an intelligent recommendation engine doesn't sound so bad, one reason I don't like it is because I find it to be a bit unpredictable.

There are times when I want to downmod a story because it's old, or is poorly written, or is not as interesting as the title blatantly claims, or just plainly sucks, and I hesitate, because I am afraid the recommendation engine will misinterpret that I'm not interested in the field of the story posted (which is usually not the case, since I don't click on links outside my field of interest, and I don't normally downmod links that I haven't clicked).

Tags will open up a new world of possibility here. With tags it should be trivial to, say, right click at a story's tag and explicitly add it to my ignore/exclude/black list. Of course, it will also improve the recommendation engine further by making it clearer to see if a person is downmodding a lot of links that share a common tag more than he is upmodding them, and perhaps ask if he would like to permanently add it to his ignore list.

Just my two cents here. Personally, though, I'm fairly comfortable with the present mix of programming/science/politics/pics/comics stuff. Trends come and go. If nothing happens to interest me, there's always page two, just a click away.

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ecuzzillo 12 points 1 month ago

The recommendation engine, as most recently reported, I believe only acts on how similar your votes are to other people's votes, and then gives you stuff they've voted for. So vote however you want, and people who vote like you will recommend you things (hopefully)

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b3eck 1 point 1 month ago

I like your critique. I too expect that the ability to attach my vote to a particular aspect of the story would greatly help the recommendation engine give me better recommendations. See http://reddit.com/info/qoto/comments/cqq2b and the feature request links in that comment.

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dinuncio 23 points 1 month ago

I agree. A tag system is better, more flexible than subreddits.

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CarlH 8 points 1 month ago

I second that. One thing about the sub-reddits is.... where do you even know what all the sub-reddits are? I see requests for new sub-reddits continually but I dont even know where to find the existing list of sub-reddits. Granted I did not look very hard, but for something like this I would think it would be easy to find.

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bhagany 6 points 1 month ago

bottom of the page

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CarlH 1 point 1 month ago

Thank you :)

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Rafe 8 points 1 month ago*

As each topic gets its subreddit, its prominence and frequency on the main reddit declines. Stories with other topics grow to fill the gap. And, as previously rare annoyances get more play, it's inevitable that there will be more and more requests for subreddits. But every new subreddit makes the main reddit more homogenous!

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madmonky1 8 points 1 month ago

I think it has more to do with new users than new subreddits.

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kkrev 5 points 1 month ago

Watching reddit grow over the last year has been an interesting case study on how you need exclusivity to get a quality online community. In the first months reddit consistently had eclectic links to fascinating works all over the web, often to old stuff that I never would have found on my own. Now that reddit is big and popular the front page is almost on par with fark. The grade reading level of the average front page article is lower than it was, there are more stupid cartoons and pictures and jokes, and the comments are generally more inane. The material covered is highly predictable. Slashdot is probably just as good now.

You saw the same thing with USENET. Go read archives of USENET from the mid-90s. The quality of the discussions is great. Then it basically became useless as more and more idiots got online.

The somethingawful.com founder guy talks about this need to keep a lot of people out. Looks like he's been pretty successful.

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specialkake 1 point 1 month ago

Why can't people just read reddit, and ignore the stuff they're not interested in? I do that.

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ecuzzillo 4 points 1 month ago

The reason most of us came here was that the signal-to-noise ratio was much higher than usual. That is, there was less stuff we had to ignore. We like it that way, and we would like to preserve that quality.

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jones77 7 points 1 month ago

Perhaps we could submit to a subreddit of our own choosing. ie XYZ.reddit.com and people could form their own communities around those reddits. Then the most popular reddits could then become the official subreddits.

And perhaps some rule, based on the number of upvotes on a story in a given subreddit, would dictate whether a story appeared on the main page.

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byrneseyeview 2 points 1 month ago

A while ago, I suggested doing this by submitting a story as 'self' about a particular topic -- which works especially well for developing stories. For example "Post links to election coverage in comments." It's not perfect, but if people saved the link, it would work just like a typical subreddit.

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ecuzzillo 1 point 1 month ago

Minus karma.

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byrneseyeview 1 point 1 month ago

True, unless you submit the story to reddit and then link to the reddit comment-page, which sacrifices karma for convenience. It's a hack.

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jln 8 points 1 month ago

Yes to tags! Sub-reddits are a pain in the ass, much easier to just filter out certain tags for things that I'm not interested in (politics no doubt springs to mind for many.)

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niels 8 points 1 month ago

I specifically remember that we already had this discussion!

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JenM 1 point 1 month ago

I ABSOLUTELY agree with the OP on this.

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oocha 1 point 1 month ago

this site just jumped the shark.

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hopeseekr 0 points 1 month ago

It jumped the shark the day of the acquisition. For real. I used to be able to spend ALL WORK DAY on reddit, but since the election there are maybe 3 or 4 good stories ALL DAY on good days (i've seen 2 today) and there are just so much more pictures and shit.

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earthboundkid 0 points 1 month ago

Does that even make any sense at all? What changed on the day reddit got sold? I mean, a case can be made that Reddit was better 8 months ago, but basically no time has passed since the acquisition, so the people voting on links are pretty much the same damn people. Unless I missed it somehow, there hasn't been an influx of n00bs from Wired or something, so…

In any event, complaining about Reddit getting bought out just shows ignorance of the fact that Reddit was created by members of Paul Graham's startup school: ie. a school that tells you how to create something and have it bought out. Getting bought out was always the plan from day 1. Complaining about it is like turning on Headline News and bitching that they keep repeating themselves every 30 minutes.

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nascent 1 point 1 month ago

Here is my thoughts. There seems to be a lot of complaints about posts being down voted very quickly after submission. Why do I think this is? I feel that when a reddit user comes on to reddit, the look at the posts and decide if they want to see such and such topic again. It could be the best most well thought out article on underwater basket weaving. But guess what this reditter does not want to read about it.

I say this, because that is how I feel. I don't go around down modding posts because I'm not interested, though I want to, but because I realize this would be saying that it is a bad article to the community. "hide" doesn't work because, I think, it is for just that one article. Maybe there should be an uninterested.

Tags, tags are great. Tag clouds, not so great. Are the current systems that are used for tagging any good? No. Why? they aren't done hierarchically. One tag should give you a list of other tags to narrow your search.

Tags would also remove the subreddits not appearing on the main site.

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mistermajik2000 2 points 1 month ago

If I'm looking for something in particular, I do a keyword search, like "photo". Too many subreddits would be counterproductive. I enjoy going through the "hot" or the "new" and seeing a wide variety of posts. It is something that I really enjoy, and I may check out something that I normally wouldn't have searched for of seen if it had been in some "politics" subreddit.

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Csai 1 point 1 month ago

Ah, my more poetic argument for tags was tearfully buried only a few hours ago link

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jynn -9 points 1 month ago [comment score below threshold] show comment
Alpha_Binary 1 point 1 month ago

Get back to..uhhh...argh, I can't think of a place bad enough. MySp....?

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Eugi -2 points 1 month ago

Nooooooooooooooooooo, screw targs.

Tags suck when they are user created because you get some really incomrehensible or "way-out-there" tags.

Tags suck when they are created by the administration because there might not be enough (or the type of) to describe the atricle you are posting.

Tags suck in general because they only complicate the problem instead of providing a general outlet for a particular type of post (picture, funny, politics, etc).

Down with the tags!

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thamer 1 point 1 month ago

my thoughts exactly. I use the tagging system on Slashdot but it's becoming more and more of a joke.
These are the tags currently showing for the article "Steve Ballmer's Thoughts On Free Software":microsoft, developersdevelopersdevelopers, chairs, monkeyboy, ballmer.
Last week nearly all articles were tagged itsatrap in a new Slashdot meme.

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Eugi -2 points 1 month ago

itsatrap as a new meme? Man, Slashdot is behind the times :(

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manino 0 points 1 month ago

We want tags because all the other cool kids have them! </tantrum>

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kitanga 0 points 1 month ago

then this would be exactly like Fark keep reddit the way it is

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smacfarl -7 points 1 month ago [comment score below threshold] show comment
spez 15 points 1 month ago*

Keeping the damn site online. Hold your horses, we'll get there.

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smacfarl 3 points 1 month ago

Thank you for responding.

I was wondering what happened to you guys.

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jemfinch -4 points 1 month ago

I thought web.py made this a ~1kloc website. Where's all the complexity in keeping it online?

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spez 5 points 1 month ago

Seriously?

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holyteach -1 points 1 month ago

Seriously? You don't pay for reddit. You scarcely see ads. You get quality content and decent recommendations for free, and it gives you something to do in your free time. Somehow that gives you the right to bitch?

So what if you've submitted hundreds of articles? I've only even clicked through on two of your top 100 submissions.

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smacfarl 1 point 1 month ago*

Ok,

So I guess the first thing is, why did you bother to attack me, especially by disapproving of my submissions? That I really don't understand.

As for my comment, I have sent, I don't know probably in the neighborhood of 60-70 feedback items with questions and improvements for reddit directly to the devs. I have submitted probably 5 distinct feature suggestion threads. The reddit community has been in open dialogue with the devs for months about what is coming and what they would like to see coming. Many many redditors have suggested improvements to the site which as far we know have never received a hearing. Many of us are veteran programmers, having worked for dot coms and the Fortune 1000. So there's not an insignificant sense that given the opportunity we could help improve things.

With however many millions of dollars reddit has received you'd think maybe another programmer or two could be hired to help share the load. Or at the least someone could be hired to answer feedback and summarize what they devs are doing/planning and share that with the community? I mean what is that a $10-20/hr job at most?

And frankly my aggravation with reddit stems from the fact that I have not received a sentence from the devs for all this feedback since early September. I'm glad they have found monetary success, now lets get on to actual success.

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renegade -3 points 1 month ago

To beat the dead horse once more; the subreddits are stupid, tags are a better solution.

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