OnStartups

Lamenting The Loss of Reddit

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on August 3, 2007 in reddit offtopic 28 Comments

Reddit and I go way, way back.

I was there when Alexis and Steve presented the early idea (and a working application) at one of the early Web Innovator's meetups in a small, cramped bar in Kendall Square, Cambridge.

Several months later, there was a startup meetup at MIT.  I was one of three groups presenting at a startup gathering at MIT.  The guys from Reddit spoke right after me.

When I kicked off OnStartups.com, reddit readers were an early source of traffic and helped build the readership of the site to what it is today.  Back in the early days, the content was great and I found myself going to reddit several times a day to find useful and interesting content.  (It didn't hurt that my own articles were making it to the front page of reddit on a pretty regular basis).

Now, I'm saddened when I look at the front page of reddit and what is popular there.  It seems that the system has been overtaken by articles on the political, the weird and the arcane (and sometimes all three).  I could post some of the links on the front page here to make my point, but it's subjective.  Go see for yourself.  As a result of this deterioration of quality, I find myself going to reddit much less often than I used to. 

I'm not sure what caused the downward trend.  In fact, it may not even be a downward trend (that's subjective).  Perhaps what's popular on reddit now simply reflects what's going on within the user base.  It's just not for me.  Perhaps it was when Conde Nast bought reddit that the decline began.  Perhaps Alexis and Steve just lost interest.  Perhaps the trend was inevitable as more and more people joined reddit and became a diffuse audience instead of a clustered community of like-minded people.  I don't know.

Of course, losing me as a frequent user has almost zero impact on reddit.  The site seems like it's continuing to do well (in terms of traffic and popularity).  But, I still feel a sense of loss.