oh, fine. BE that way.


Someone, it appears, is going around reddit and digg and downvoting my beloved lolgoths.

Goths have no sensa huma.

But do I care? Fuck yes I care; these damn things are teh ossum d00dz! You think I’m doing this for money? You think it’s not more interesting than “dis site need tu emprov commentin it sux”? Or, god forbid, “latest partisan spokesperson slandered by opposing partisan spokesperson”? Puh-leez! Let’s just all agree Falwell was a self-righteous, shrill windbag who’s better off in God’s hands (take that any way you prefer) or feeding the worms, Obama isn’t black (whatever), and InsertNameHere is the next great hope of America and move the fuck on. And yes, I’ve read this article.

Someone at reddit actually said he downvotes stories just because it’s easier to click on than the Next button; you would think this would get a person banned, but no.

I have a suspicion that some people downvote things that are posted by their authors, official site policy notwithstanding, but that’s just a hunch. Could be that horrible woman from the political thread comments is stalking me.

Overall, I have to say that Stumble is best for hits, reddit second, and digg is pretty much hopeless unless you’re a tech blogger; it’s rapidly becoming irrelevant to the rest of the blogosphere by natural selection and reinforcement. Since non-techie stories don’t do well there, it attracts fewer non-techies, reducing the mental gene pool (memepool {making one word from two is very Web 2.0}).

I’d like to know how an rtr story that was posted to Press This got six positive votes, yet only two reads. Maybe they’re voting on the snippet? Who knows as long as it brings me some hits…waiting…waiting.

Slate did a lovely slideshow of lolcats and lolmemes and utterly left LolGoths out. WAAAAAH. I’m gonna play NIN and think about how to chop up other people while still spinning it as self-cutting!

And both today and yesterday my personal journal got zero hits. That’s rather surprising, given that flamewars and drama are hit magnets in my experience, but ah well.

I’ve still got my poetry.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

33 thoughts on “oh, fine. BE that way.

  1. A leading young blogger and boaster
    When flaming stuck me in a toaster
    ‘Twas for my own good
    she claimed, else I would
    Be rimed by her rhymes in raincoaster!

  2. The irony of that is positively striking. As the Goths will be to me, as soon as they get within striking distance, that is.

    Archie, I am impressed. But don’t push me. Don’t make me versical. You wouldn’t like me when I’m versical.

  3. The speed with which some things get downvoted make me think people aren’t even following the links, just clicking like morons.

    Someone at reddit actually said he downvotes stories just because it’s easier to click on than the Next button; you would think this would get a person banned, but no.

    You really need to link to this.

  4. Done, article updated.


    akkartik: I often downmod without reading articles. It’s because the down arrow is easier to click on than the ‘hide’ link, it’s vertically aligned. I’ve pointed this out to the reddit folks before. You can’t expect everybody to click on every story on reddit, so if you don’t make hiding easy you will get de facto mods.
    I suppose you could also argue that voting without reading helps train the recommendation engine. If I don’t want to watch movies I should let reddit know.

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  6. twat yourselves.

    I notice you quoted my statement about training a filter. No response, eh?

    You could contact me on reddit, but you chose not to. It’s common to talk about someone behind their back, and I can’t stop ya. But friends we are not.

    If you ever change your mind you know where to find me. Actually *doing* something requires talking *to* people you disagree with, not *about* them.

    And yes, I prefer to avoid using the mouse:

  7. No, friends we’re not. I have a limited tolerance for pissy people.

    Do I know how to message on reddit? No, I do not. My bad; guess I’d better contact everyone else I quoted and get their reactions, too, because I’m the bloody New York Times, I am. What’s Mary Pickford’s email? I quoted her yesterday.
    But I do know how to quote people who comment right out there in public in the HELP pages. Helpful? Not so much, sweetie.

  8. The saddest thing is when you see stuff get downmodded and it’s the original source for the stories that end up on the front page. If MSNBC dishes it out, they’ll take it; if joebloe.blogspot.com comes up with the story first, he’s booted off. Even if MSNBC cites him by name and links.

  9. Ok, my bad for conflating your words with those of the potty-mouthed defrost-whatever. I will ignore him and talk to you. If you meant to call me twat you would say so yourself.

    I submit that you got pissy first :) Like attracts like.

    I don’t know what sites you’re comparing reddit with, but people there don’t get banned for expressing their opinions. If you disagree with an opinion, add your voice! There is a link on the reddiquette page that says ‘edit’.

    I have suggested solutions to this pattern in the past:
    The bigger problem is that the purpose of downvotes is unclear. Does it mean you vote for a story on the front page, or for your own personal recommendation engine? I assume the latter like they tell me to. But lots of people assume the former like you.

    The problem of undeserved downvotes has been discussed many many times:
    The system is what it is, I’ve given up trying to find people to blame for it. Just don’t take it personally.

    What is a lolgoth, anyway?

  10. I have no issue with the expression of anyone’s opinion; that is what reddit is for. What bothers me was that you appear to be using the opinion-expressing modality for other purposes and inputting false opinions. I submit that downvoting stories that you admit you are not downvoting on their merits is by definition abuse of the system, to the point where it routinely fails to function as it was intended.

    If you are doing this, you are to blame, regardless of how many comrades stand invisibly at your shoulder while you do it. If you don’t like that, stop. Easy.

    I’m also not interpreting a vote the way you do: I interpret a vote as an expression of my own opinion and, because I’m an absolutist, that doesn’t change whether it’s for me or for general consumption. I vote up stories I like, I ignore most stories, and I always vote down linkjacked stories, duplicates, poorly-written stories, spam, or just plain bullshit.

    And hey, if you want to know what a lolgoth is, you can click on the tag. I know you’ve got that clicking on things thing down pat.
    Remember, I’m a Goth. We take everything personally. Speaking of which, of course, I didn’t actually say those words you’ve attributed to me. I’d downvote a misattribution like that!

  11. Well, what I wrote on reddiquette was my opinion. You suggested that should get me banned, did you not?

    Not only did it not get me banned, my *opinion* has stood without reaction for a year. That suggests most on reddit don’t have a deep-seated disagreement with it.

    I have already pointed to the discussion about how what downvote means is in fact a convention that users have to agree on. You are welcome to disagree with it (I did at the start), but if you can’t understand its causes it’s up to you to do a little research about the conversations before you heard about reddit. Outrage is misplaced in an outsider.

    But I am starting to realize that you don’t want to actually do anything with your outrage, just to stew in it. Being a goth is weird, and it doesn’t seem too interesting. I will prob continue downvoting stories about goths I run into on reddit (but I haven’t so far, so others must be doing my work for me). Unless I find a well-written description that brings the culture to life.

    Hope taking everything personally works out for ya. My priority is to get to know myself, to have good conversation, to practice bringing people around to my point of view, or realizing the value in theirs. All that requires dispassionate observation. And a little more self-doubt.

    I don’t know what you mean by ‘false opinion’. Is that like a hypocrite? And what is an input-expressing modality?

  12. Oh, .now you’re just getting pissy again. Your moods change so fast: is it that time of the month?

    As for your last question, I see you have Technorati where you come from: don’t you have Google?

  13. Hmm, perhaps I understand what you mean by opinion-expressing modality. Since I have no authority on reddit I don’t understand why you would take anything I say as more than opinion. Especially since I didn’t say “Everybody should do x,” only that I did x.

  14. See, you’re switching around yet again: just a minute ago you were boasting that no-one had disagreed with you in a year. Are you nobody, or somebody? And if you really don’t care what I think, what are you doing batting this around in the comments section in the middle of the night? Shouldn’t you be voting on something (as always, according to your own opinion)?

    See, and fifteen minutes ago we were getting along fine. Not agreeing, but getting along fine.

  15. lol. The first time was my better self. But there’s only so much of it to go around. Your sarcasm is not helping.

    What am I supposed to google for? ‘false opinion’? ‘opinion-expressing modality’?

  16. “opinion-expressing modality” It just means a mechanical way of registering your opinion, ie the way reddit is supposed to work.

    Give to get, baby. Give to get. But now I’m off for a bubble bath, so why don’t you click on the lolgoths and have a few cheap laughs at the subculture’s expense and we can pick this up again tomorrow if you want?

  17. Wow, when did I say I don’t care what you think?

    It’s very interesting, we’re both really bad at judging each other’s tones in comments. (perhaps a goth just thinks of that as ‘he doesn’t get me’)

    Let me try again to be as clear as I can.

    1. I expressed an opinion in a forum. You are welcome to rebut me in the same forum. I didn’t like that you got personal kinda ‘behind my back’ and started a comment thread that had people calling me names. Is that reasonable?

    2. I don’t have formal authority but I can invoke more nebulous varieties. I argue that since nobody else on reddit disagreed terribly until you came along, you have to convince more than just me. Is that contradicting 1?

    I didn’t say this before: That you’re saying something nobody has said before is more reason to do so. So please add your opinion to the reddiquette page, ideally with a pointer here so others can see the context.

    It’s not the middle of the night where I am right now.

    I don’t go to reddit much anymore. It’s become kinda boring.

    I didn’t use technorati to find this page, I was just aimlessly ego-surfing on google :)

  18. “I was just aimlessly ego-surfing on google..”

    If I did it more often I guess I’d be less upset to see people write bad things about me. It would seem less like talking about me behind my back.

  19. No, I meant you used Technorati to find MY real name. Us Goths are very self-referential and we believe everyone else is always talking about us too.

    The VERY LAST thing this is is personal. It’s more about how all social bookmarking sites fail to meet their laudable goal of giving exposure to great stories discovered by their readers. You were the one person who stepped up and said, “yeah, one of the reasons the system doesn’t work is that I’m using it this way and I’m not the only one, it’s so easy”. You were used as an example rather than singled out for attack; the only reason it went on in the comments is that defrost wanted me to back up an unspecific generalization like I’d made by making it specific, so I did. Naturally, I expected you to stand by what you said there. It would be hypocritical of me if I’d said nice things on reddit but bad things here, but if I knew how to make a comment on that thread that directly related to what you said, I’d have done so there.

    Don’t egosurf. You never find the NICE things people say that way.

    It looks like (if I’m interpreting what you say correctly, and we both know I’m bad at that) you’re suggesting I take it up with redditers in general; that’s not going to happen, because I’ve essentially written reddit off. Thanks for redditing Moaning Lisa, but she’s now sitting at -1. See what I mean? And egotistical or not, I do think it’s original and pretty damn funny. The reddit system does not select for things which originate in blogs; it selects for things which originate in the mainstream media, and the more mainstream the higher they go.

    I’m coming to the conclusion that the useful half-life of a social bookmarking site is shrinking. It has less and less time before it’s taken over by either those who game the system or the lumbering herds of mainstreamers who vote up what they find on MSN.com and vote down the original blogs that MSN got the story from in the first place.

  20. Hey, that was a GREAT comment. It put together many things that we were both kinda reading between the lines until now, and that’s the hardest thing in the world to do, to make the implicit explicit. Admitting fault is never easy, no matter how many times I do it. (Which is why I keep reminding myself to keep exercising this particular muscle.) So let’s say we were both at fault, it was a short-lived misunderstanding. And I got some good conversation out of it! Friends? :)

    Me, I’m not afraid to change my mind. It’s not hypocrisy if you do it loudly and can back up your change of mind with reasons. Keeping track of one’s reasons is great practice for writing, and also provides one with great fodder for writing about.

    Besides, true hypocrisy happens when we mix talk with action, when we fail to practice as we preach. For most of us it’s just talk all the time ;)

    Like I said, I don’t go to reddit anymore (I occasionally visit programming.reddit and joel.reddit, those subreddits are more my cup of tea). Just like you. What’s going on as reddit grows, though, is a little more complex and a darned sight more interesting than actually reading reddit.

    There was a time when reddit was fun. It was fun because it had a small group of users with a very coherent set of interests. As reddit grows, however, more and more interesting stuff is interesting only to a minority, and so gets downvoted into oblivion. The only stuff that everyone can agree on is increasingly bland and boring MSM news pages. Or lowest-common-denominator stuff like pretty pictures.

    So the real problem with reddit is not that all these “bad” people downvote perfectly legitimate novel items. None of us like something just because it’s novel. I’m sure there are a thousand things you didn’t know before but which would bore you to death (or worse) should you encounter them. The real problem is just the sad fact of the tyranny of the majority in any large democracy that causes only the mediocre to bubble up.

    The solution is to keep clusters of people with greatly different interests separate. You could do this by giving them different subreddits, for example, though a permanent solution must be more dynamic, detecting when a page is getting too many users and dividing them up into two clusters who don’t have to deal with each other. I’ve been thinking about this problem for a while. Someday I’ll start my own website. The problem is getting it to have enough users that I can try out these ideas :)

    This idea has grown over time, and my scholar’s OCD forces me to cite an older link :)


    I’ve also pointed to the concept of information cascade above, which explains why the first few downvotes have a disproportionate impact on a story. That’s also a piece of the puzzle.


    Submitting Moaning Lisa was a bit of an experiment. Hey, it’s at +1 now! I saw it at -3 at one point. I’m not sure what to conclude, though..

    I didn’t find your name on Technorati (didn’t realize one could), just tracked you down to the Shebeen blog :}

    Heh, for a while I thought you were British. I saw Shebeen right under Raincoaster media, but didn’t go further down and spot the Vancouver Weather pixie (until this thread got long enough). I keep getting reminded how spotty my cognitive coverage is when I move outside my regular haunts to new places – I keep missing things like that in baffling ways. Missing the ‘edit’ button on the reddiquette page was perhaps some similar phenomenon.

    A large comment like this makes me thankful once again for resizeable textareas:

  21. I think that the Goths just downvote any fun-poking at Goths, but because (unlike Digg) there’s no list of who voted it up or down, there’s no way to find out.
    See, I didn’t know about resizeable text areas and more than I knew about the edit button on Reddit.
    We’re thinking along very much the same lines about separation of church, state, other church, other state, etc on social bookmarking systems. One of the reasons Fark works and has worked for so long is that it IS a subcommunity. It owns that space, and everyone there is on the same page, pro-weirdness wise. Sigh. One day I’ll be Farked…
    I did another post about a new social bookmarking site or rather a socially-oriented betting site, MediaPredict, with additional thoughts. It looks like we’ve independently reached the same conclusions.

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