The Problem with Reddit (and other so-called online democracies)

2014-09-08 20:13:59 by chort

A lot has been said recently about the failures of Reddit self-governance. I think this is just the inevitable end for any online platform that follows a similar "democratic" model, where users vote for content, and moderators are selected from the ranks of power-users.

Why is this model problematic? Because power-users are basically self-selecting social outcasts. The act of spending many hours a day reading comments and casting votes online necessarily diminishes the amount of face-to-face social interaction one can have. Sure, there are people who both spend a lot of time online and socialize offline, but they are exceptions rather than the rule. People who spend a lot of time away from personal interaction tend to self-select for that, i.e. they aren't comfortable relating to people and sense that they don't fit in, so they opt-out.

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