How Reddit Broke The Internet

How Reddit Broke The Internet



tonight the information superhighway and one of its main thoroughfares an online network called Internet silence at NBC GE comm back in the late 90s the internet was still an incredibly new thing a lot of people were excited about all the possibilities at had but a lot of people were also jest confused as cool as the new technology was there wasn't a lot you could do with it in those early years there were no streaming services like Netflix or Hulu and community content sites like YouTube wouldn't exist for years to come either there wasn't really any content for you to consume online no movies TV shows or videos you could fill your day binging all you could do was maybe you read the news or look up stock prices but as the years went on more and more people kept choosing to buy packages with their phone provider that signed them up for the internet as well however if it wasn't the premise of all of these things we have today that got them hooked on the internet then what was it well in spite of all of its faults the early internet did still allow people to do one really cool new thing make connections with other individuals out there probably the best example of something that personified the early internet was runescape runescape was a huge video game in the early to mid 2000s the number one ranked game on Miniclip com no less for anyone unfamiliar with it runescape has really basic graphics it also contains incredibly repetitive gameplay and some of the goals you may want to reach will take an insane level of dedication and time that you'll just be wasting to get a number to tick up to 99 but people played the hell out of this game because it had one of the coolest communities there was Brent's cape was built as a game that would be easy for anyone to run no matter what computer they had because in its early years it was run just through internet browsers that meant that all sorts of people from different walks of life would play at creating a really diverse community it was an MMO so of course one of the cool things about it like all other MMOs is you might randomly bump into another player who's only a stranger at first but they could turn into a lifelong best friend but there were also all sorts of other in-game communities that you could get involved with there were tons of different fan sites you could find there was also in clan's you could join and eventually a content creation scene popped up with all sorts of internet celebrities that you might freak out over if you saw them in-game eventually there was a huge community event started in game called The Gathering where every big-name runescape player would show up at the same place on the same server so fans could all follow them and hang out together talking about whatever the thing that really made runescape so special wasn't the gameplay itself it was the ability to connect with other people online and make new friends from all over the world and that emphasis on social connection is really what the Internet as a whole was about in those early years there wasn't a lot to do but there were tons of different places you could go and meet new people it didn't matter if nobody in your small town played Goldeneye on the n64 for example there was now an entire website dedicated to exploring and discussing that game that you could join and be a part of if you wanted and these kinds of connections were awesome you would start talking and hanging out with people that you would never meet in a million years in real life you might be a nerdy high schooler from the suburbs who ends up chillin with a bunch of inner-city adults from the Bronx because you both went to a Super Smash Brothers tournament that you found online the possibilities of what sort of new people you might meet every time you got online were really endless now there were a few different programs and websites that people use to communicate in those early days of the Internet probably the most common one was just through email and emailing lists like some speedrunners back in this era would email each other different times they got strategies they found in glitches that they might discover in games that they speed ran since there wasn't YouTube for them to upload that kind of stuff to other than email there was also a o/l Instant Messenger or aim which introduced the idea of being able to connect people to private chat rooms where they could talk one-on-one on top of this there was also internet relay chat rooms or IRC s which became quite popular as well during this time serving as a way to connect groups of people who all shared a hobby and wanted to talk about it together but possibly the king of all these early internet communication options was the forum internet forums were somewhat similar to chat rooms would had some organization moderation and where more or less permanent the way of forum was organized was you would have a front page filled with all the different kinds of topics people could talk about and then inside each tab you would have a board where people could make individual threads to bring up points of discussion a thread would be ordered chronologically where there would be an initial poster that brought up a topic and then posters who responded would be laid out below based on who responded first you could quote earlier responses to talk to a specific person or just state your own two cents to throw out to everyone whenever a person posted in a discussion though that thread would then shoot up to the top of the board to let newcomers know what's been discussed most recently now depending on the forum you're visiting each poster would have varying levels of customization to a profile that would come up next to every one of their posts typically most forums included profiles with a user name profile picture post history to let you see how active or knew someone was potentially space for a motto that the person could set and then later forums introduced links to social media other websites and places the poster might want you to visit on top of this each poster would also have a signature appear at the bottom of every one of their posts that they could choose to customize in a number of different ways sometimes people would just have a few lines of text here like a quote that they enjoy but sometimes people would go further and create an entire artistic piece that Illustrated that person's interests and hobbies all of this put together made forums a really interesting place to hang out online partly because it mimicked real-life conversation incredibly well instead of feeling like a tiny speck that's just screaming out into the void that is the Internet you would have a back-and-forth conversation with a number of other individuals just like yourself it was kind of like talking with a bunch of buddies around a campfire where maybe it was a multi-way conversation that you wouldn't always get to say much during it but every person was listening and every other person's voice was heard whenever they spoke it was also particularly surprising how much it felt like you were talking to real people because of the level of customization that a profile and signature gave you each person felt distinctly unique from one another you would easily recognize the profile of someone who posted frequently and you would slowly learn more about them with post that they made this built friendships in the same kind of way that you might build a friendship in real life even when arguments or debates sprung up in a community everything was most often done in good faith people had accounts that they cared about in a face to their name so this meant that most people wouldn't just say anything for the sake of being argumentative they would only say stuff that they genuinely believed arguments would then end up being taken in good faith more often than not where both parties listened and responded to each other fairly and accordingly I mean you couldn't just tell someone to go and Goff you would see them elsewhere on the forum don't get me wrong this is still the Internet we're talking about so there was still plenty of horrible and kind of hilarious arguments that would happen as are typical for the Internet one of the funniest examples of these was a famous argument on a bodybuilding forum where a few different people couldn't agree on how many days were in a week there was a great video done on this by John Bois which I will link in the description of this video along with the thread itself so obviously not every forum was perfect and similar to today there were plenty of communities that were less fun to be a part of compared to others but if you found a good group of people to hang out with it was an incredibly rewarding experience sometimes that was a clan or guild for an online game that you would chill with and discuss goals achievements and strategy alongside but sometimes it was just any random group of people you might find where you could ask for help about real-life problems this old news report was done on a father whose son was diagnosed with leukemia and how a friendly group of forums helped him get through an incredibly tough time in his life think we're moving into an era where these computer communications can connect us with people across all kinds of boundaries ways that we were not able to connect before as the years went by and we moved into the late 2000s internet speeds became faster and faster and as the technology and reach of the Internet grew so did its features soon we had Netflix Hulu YouTube Facebook we had places to stream movies watch videos there were TV shows music fan made things and all sorts of other pieces of content that you could now use the internet to consume this is obviously a really cool thing however it's a bit of a shame that all of these new features came at the expense of the old features reddit is a great website that personified the shift in what we had with the old internet habits compared to these new ones first conceived by two college kids who wanted to start what they called the front page of the Internet reddit served as a website that would aggregate content for communities so someone could have a one-stop shop for all things related to their hobby this obviously exploded in popularity reddit is currently the twenty-first most popular website in the world and the six most popular website in the United States reddit really expanded as quickly as it did because it fixed a lot of the old issues that forums had communities were easier than ever to find and join whereas before you had to scour the entire internet to find a forum and even if he found one there was no guarantee that that forum would have any amount of quality whereas now every hobby and interest had its own separate community on the same website making it easy to get connected with all of them at once there was also a voting feature that a community could collectively use to choose what kind of content everyone thought was worth looking at this was interesting because content filtration like this didn't exist on forums on forums things were just organized based on who posted in a thread most recently so there were exploits to that I mean a person could just continuously post in their own thread over and over until it gets more traction if they really wanted to all of these things put together got reddit so successful that it essentially killed most forum communities even though reddit's not really a board that's about discussion see discussion on forums was really involved because it felt like you were talking with other real people due to all the personalization where reddit removed almost all of that personalization to have a much cleaner interface rather than being about discussion reddit is much more about content the focus of Reddit is being able to find videos pictures articles and funny responses that people have surrounding a certain topic the discussion around subjects is really something that comes secondary and oftentimes it's not really worth partaking in because of how the voting system works see on reddit everyone can vote on every thread that's brought up as well as every comment that's made this is what's meant to filter out bad content or irrelevant discussion that you might find on something like a forum but it also leads to a bit of a problem where hive minds spring up a hive mind of course is just a collective of people who all think and behave in the same way but it's not just that because they all behave alike any new ideas that are presented to them are just rejected this means what amounts to discussion on reddit is often just does anyone else feel this way yes this is kind of sad because reddit still aims to be a replacement for forums and serve as a discussion board in theory but this system has some hilarious and frustrating consequences one of the funniest examples of this was about four years ago there was a thread in the League of Legends subreddit where the discussion of champions dashing over walls was talked about now in league a champion can dash over a wall if their dash ability will take them all the way over if they can't clear the entire wall with their dash instead the – will just place them on the side of the wall they're coming from essentially not really moving them at all however one champion named Yasuo has a really weird – ability where his ability always moves him a fixed distance no matter what so his dash has a quirk where he can dash through a wall if his dash would place him at least 50% of the way through it that's because his dash is a fixed distance so if he's dashing into terrain the game will place him on whichever side of the wall is closest to his fixed – ending point anyway in this old reddit thread some guy said if you dash into a wall and are further than 50% of the way through it it will place you on the other side this is incorrect a friendly Master Yi player tried to explain no only Yasuo has that interaction and for some reason reddit just decided to download this out of him and flame him non-stop know all other dashes work this way – not true this guy is mislead Tryndamere spin is technically categorized as a dash and works this way – that is incorrect at least 25 different people would all gang up on this guy and downvote him even though he was correct I'm not sure why the reddit hive mind was so confident he was wrong anyone who's played even a little bit of League of Legends probably knows he was right but imagine if this person who was again stating a literal testable fact can get suppressed and harassed because a hive minded sub is just uneducated about how a game works and disagrees with him for whatever reason then imagine how much worse it's going to get when it comes to debatable opinions religion and politics and news and even gaming controversies in those sorts of circumstances anyone who says anything remotely against the hive mind of a subreddit will be met with way more fire and fury than Master Yi ironically this ends up meaning that some of the most debatable subjects in humanity when brought up on reddit will have the least debate possible just a bunch of like-minded people agreeing with each other when it comes to communities on reddit people are never there to actually discuss subjects and reddit really isn't a discussion board it's a place for fan clubs of various things people who don't want new ideas presented to them and certainly not a place where people want to talk about topics in a back-and-forth setting it's just for people who want to endlessly consume the same content over and over and ultimately this is how the internet moved as a whole it's no longer about making connections with people across the globe or having new experiences with communities and topics you aren't familiar with instead it's about experiencing the same content repeatedly YouTube is a site that does this very well not only are the comment sections on YouTube atrocious but YouTube hasn't even bothered trying to fix them or give many opportunities for connection I mean they've even removed opportunities like the private messaging ability instead they're constantly just trying to come out with new homepage designs and trending tabs and suggested videos to show you stuff that's sure you're gonna like even worse though is probably Twitter the desktop part of Twitter isn't bad about this but on mobile you don't even see tweets from people you actually follow instead you see an algorithm that curates suggested tweets that Twitter thinks is content you're gonna like this is a series of screenshots that's just from me logging on to Twitter this morning and look at this every single tweet I'm being shown is something that this person favorited this person replied to none of these are from people I actually follow even when I do get regular tweets from people I follow their curated as things Twitter thinks that I'll like that I missed and even further down tweets from people that I follow are out of order and from hours ago this isn't even mentioning all the other ways twitter is constantly telling me what I should be talking about and what it thinks I'm gonna like the trending topics here are some moments join the discussion of everyone agreeing that this politician is a bad person why does the internet keep doing this it just keeps showing me stuff over and over of people agreeing with each other suggested videos it knows I've already seen let me find new people to follow on Twitter and show me their tweets instead of all this garbage let me see the people I subscribe to on YouTube why do I have to click the Bell to actually make the subscription work look I love the internet and all of the new features that's brought us over the years sites like Netflix for instance are just flat-out amazing it's so cool how convenient plenty of services have made it for us to consume content from stuff that we know we like but I don't want to just rewatch the office over and over and over for the rest of my life as much as it can be cool to re-experience things I know I like that's not the coolest part of the Internet the coolest part of the Internet is being able to experience things I wouldn't have been able to experience without it meeting new people I never would have met in a million years in real life the Internet is this amazing tool for those sorts of things but avenues that allow you to do that have just been dying more and more over the years if there's a bright side to all this it's that there have always been some places willing to take up the torch as forums have died and lead the way in terms of giving you options for building communities and talking to other people in the late 2000s and early 2010's it was a ventriloquist discord is actually a great place to make connections and build communities together but it's not everything discord is no more a replacement for the internet forum than old chat rooms and IRCs were and I just wish sometimes that the forum didn't have to die nowadays more people are connected to the Internet ever before and there's probably people all over the world watching this video right now but even though there's more people out there than ever it feels harder than ever to really get to know them and make a real genuine connection with other individuals we're all just being drowned out by the massive

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39 thoughts on “How Reddit Broke The Internet”

  • martis martiis says:

    ahh the runescape i remember starting it and i couldn't beat some dragon in the tutorial cause i didn't speak english back then and i never played it again

  • Very nice video which points out the dangers of our modern internet. Id see them as dangers because its fucked up how things have changed and what selfish and crippeled attitudes are running around, social media devolved mankind into trash for the most part. A uncommon opinion will be bashed by retards hence anyone is equal and can´t be blamed but the people with a different opinion(hypocracy as in a dictatorship to be honest). Thus truth dies and retardation takes over until eventually noone listens anymore but everybody shuts what resonates the most. We´re inbetween this and anyone has the choice to consider and reflect. Next time you put a like under another 10k likes copy paste post take a step back and consider liking whats new and fresh, and not whats accepted by a crowd of mostly morons that cant write a straight fine sentence in the web. Its like with hollywood, back then we had good stuff, nowadays they are lazy and try to mixmash whats trending and 100% unoriginal because they have the notion that anything with no source material cant be understood by the long in training goats society overall has become.Proof them wrong. Act like you want the world to be a better place, always reflect on yourselfe and dont back down if you did something wrong but stand towards it. Brace for impact instead of ducking for cover. Cheers!

  • I like the starry night background but found myself constantly wiping my phone screen thinking it's dust so many times

  • your voice vanishing in the loudness of the crowd gave me anxiety

    not being able to hear your own self because of other people's shit is scary

  • Stefan Heimersheim says:

    Nice video, I agree with you on a lot of points and feel similar.
    However, I think forums never really died, you still find plenty of people there. It's just that reddit & co are much bigger now but the forums are still there and often as active as before.

    PS: You don't need to click the subscribe bell …

  • nice vid, i have the same feeling than you. tbh it depends a lot of wich subreddit we're talking about but some have thousands of followers and are just places where people just make a topic to share articles links, large subreddits like facebook, amazon, etc have less that 2 new topics per day on average, and don't you dare create one with a noob question, it will be instantly moderated. it look likes a lot of people use reddit more and more just as a news website. It's nice for some niche subreddits tho.

  • What do you mean?! I love Reddit!… I'll have my subreddit downvote this video to oblivion.

    JK, this is a great video as always, keep it up Gbay.

  • Man i miss forums. You could really build a status on there over time. Although they did suffer from something similar to the hive mind problem. People with loads of posts who were generally respected were always right.

  • Well funny you mention runescape, cause i do play it a lot and 2007scape subreddit is a place a cannot even go to because of the hive mind

  • Good video. The biggest hive mind on reddit has to be r/starcitizen – it is a sub with some of the highest numbers of downvotes. The guys who spent thousands of dollars on digital spaceships (one guy has spent of 50k on them) don't want to hear that the whole project is a total disaster so any dissent is crushed with downvotes and calls to the mods to ban people.

  • At 16:08 you ask "Let me find new people to follow on Twitter and show me their tweets instead of all this garbage." Twitter is trying to show you new people to follow by showing you all that garbage, the website is just terrible.

  • CaptainGulasch says:

    At 12:13 I was really surprised, that your League of Legends game language is set to german. Are you learning german right now?

  • Master Discord says:

    I'm actively on the draven mains subreddit and there's a lot of discussion there. little did we know draven mains are better at talking to each other than all of reddit

  • Hey Gbay, could you enable subtitle contribution on this video? I would like to translate it to brazilian portuguese 🙂 In case you want it, of course

  • Unholy Mackerel says:

    Honestly the quality of this video is astounding even for Gbay quality. It's always a pleasure to listen to whatever you have to talk about, to be honest xD

  • Sadly, we're a minority. Modern people enjoy sitting in an echo chamber.
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" could've been a motto for older internet platforms. Nowadays it's more "You should agree with me or I'll block you".

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