It’s always difficult to find good online communities. I was hanging around Reddit for a long time, but I deleted my account today because the community was going downhill fast. When I first signed up, people were willing to participate in intelligent discussions and half of the links on the main page were actually interesting. More recently, however, almost every link has been about politics of some sort (I’m sure most of that has to do with the upcoming election) and rational discussion is almost impossible. If you disagree with the popular Reddit opinion on an issue, you’re downmodded into oblivion and few people are willing to debate with you. What’s worse is what the popular opinions often are. Any article about police will have a highly-rated comment about how all police are pigs and should be shot on sight. It’s depressing that anyone would agree with a sentiment like that. It’s the same with religion, politics (especially politics), and even technology. Not as bad as Digg with respects to hating Microsoft, but you still see the occasional dollar sign in place of the letter “s”.
I suppose I could have ignored all that for the good links I do sometimes find, but those links are few and far between, buried amidst all the noise of articles about how dumb Sarah Palin is, or the antics of some religious group, or stories about how the police tasered a guy who may or may not have attacked them first. I know what you’re thinking. “Cody! Unsubscribe from the politics, religion, and atheism subreddits!” I did, and somehow political and religious links still snuck in, under the guise of the funny subreddit or the WTF subreddit. It just wasn’t worth sticking around if I wasn’t getting what I wanted out of the website. What did I want? Interesting links, complete with intelligent discussion of said links. What did I get? Uninteresting links, complete with unintelligent babble about how the government is going to take over everything and use religion and Tasers to force everyone into submission. The gradual transformation into a mainstream version of /b/ didn’t help, either. Yeah, there were some pretty awesome memes (100 pushups, anyone?), but memes aren’t a good substitute for worthwhile comments and there are a lot of meme comments on Reddit.
My absence from Reddit probably won’t last. I doubt I’ll create another user account, but I did get a fair bit of my news from Reddit. Maybe the community will get better sometime in the future. Maybe not. I suppose I can’t avoid what I don’t like forever.