Showing posts with label reddit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reddit. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Occasionally I post links to various content on Reddit. Often, a diligent member of the internet's police force informs me that somehow a given image or link has *gasp* already been posted somewhere else on the internet.


O NOES! Holy Jar Jar Binks' prolapsed rectum, internet police! 

What many who post this don't seem to realize is that a) their message is pointless, and b) Reddit's popularity is all about the pageviews

Reddit lives for pageviews. Billions of them, and of those millions are by unique visitors. Some of those visitors are smart, some aren't, and a few are dumb as a sack of hammers. That said, if Reddit were something like a think tank (which it isn't) or a Wikipedia-like foundation (nope) instead of a for-profit company, a self-proclaimed “part-sibling-once-removed” of Condé Nast, Inc., it might do things smarter than it does now.

Putting aside respect for the massive popularity of Reddit and the hard work its staff and board and communities provide, Reddit the site isn't that bright when it comes to sniffing out content that's already been posted. 

There is the somewhat anemic search functionality, which conscientious users occasionally invoke to perform keyword searches in search of existing content, and there are third-party sites like KarmaDecay which provide reverse image search capability for specific subreddits or site-wide. However, note that there is no smart search capability exposed to the users which is savvy to detect whether a given link ultimate leads to something that's been posted before.

Granted, they are in the red. Running a site as popular as Reddit is a huge undertaking, and the infrastructure required to support it increases with its popularity. Even if such smart search were a high priority, investing in its development would bleed resources from their daily operations. 

If anything, users of Reddit who cry "repost" should realize that they're doing more to hurt the site than they are to help it. Comments on Reddit can be upvoted and downvoted, which requires processing power and bandwidth. The loading and rendering those comments also takes power. Worse than the fact that telling someone they've reposted something adds nothing of substance to a discussion about the content in question, it's wasting Reddit's resources.

If content is worthy of being reposted, it often generates some constructive discussion, particularly to those for whom it's a novel find that have never, ever, seen it before. Engaging good content rather than whining about that already seen seems far more worthy of Reddit's dedication to community than its users chiding submitters of content one word at a time.

tl;dr: Repost police, get over yourselves and do something useful for a change.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Block Reddit Ads, Part Deux

In my previous post I outlined a method to block Reddit ads. 

It worked, until I tried hitting Reddit early this morning.

It appears that the ad structure is slightly different, now the following element hiding rule in the Element Hiding Helper of AdBlock Plus should do the trick:

This ought to work until they decide to change up their site structure once again. 

UPDATE: Apparently, the developer of AdBlock Plus has decreed that Reddit ads will from this point forward be whitelisted, stating that Reddit ads meet their 'acceptable ads' guidelines, necessitating custom rules like I describe above. To me, this is a bad idea, especially since even bigtime advertisers like Yahoo, Fox, and Google have inadvertently helped malware procreate through ads.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Block Reddit Ads

Reddit recently introduced an update to their ads which eludes AdBlock Plus.

Instead of a simple element ID denoted as a sponsored link, their page uniquely identifies it according to a link to the comments for a given ad posting. Ads annoy me, and as my previous post on blocking Reddit ads attests, even their minimal advertising is an unwanted distraction.

However, using the Element Hiding Helper, it's trivial to block the new ad scheme. If you're already familiar with hiding elements, all you need to do is add an element hiding rule like this: > *

If you want a more detailed procedure which might help you block other unwanted web content, read on.

In Firefox, tap the ALT key to display the menu, then click Tools => AdBlock Plus => Select an element to hide (or alternatively hit CTRL-SHIFT-F3). This brings up the element selection dialog that lets you pick and choose items on the web page to hide.

Now a red selection box will outline and identify elements of the page as your mouse cursor hovers over them. If you hover over the sponsored link area, you should see something like this:

Note the entire ad post is surrounded, with a tag in the lower-left indicating the post is within a DIV element. Click on the tag for this area, and you'll open the Compose element hiding rule dialog.

This is the Basic view, but we need to go deeper, so click on the Advanced view button.

By default, when you clicked to select the ad, the element hider chose that specific DIV element. However, blocking this won't do, as each ad will have a unique identifier (in this case, 17aahm) which will foil the filter. 

To get around this, first click on the checkbox beside the option that begins "class: thing id-..." to uncheck it, and then click on the DIV in the list which is the parent to this one, just above the default selection. Then, click the checkbox beside siteTable_promoted so that it's checked, and then click the Add element hiding rule button.

Now the ad should be hidden, either immediately or after your next refresh of Reddit's page.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Freaky Friday, Reddit Style

Not like this, Reddit. Not like this. Once again, the Reddit-headed step child appears to be looming as inexplicably comments have ceased to be visible as of around 10:30 am EST.

Have the admins tapped a keg early? Has a lowly intern been given the keys to admin access enabling them to wreak havoc upon the database?? Who knows. Perhaps Reddit needs a makeover.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reddit-Headed Step Child?

Once again, Reddit has suffered a temporary meltdown.

CAPTAIN'S LOG, LAGDATE 6/24/2011... A brief emergency read-only mode last night, duplicate comments, sporadic 502 and 504 errors, and the occasional overloaded notification. Things bode ill for the weekend, but stay tuned.

Condé Nast Digital, parent company of Reddit, is one of several corporate entities owned by Advance Publications, Inc., a communications and print conglomerate.

Featuring among its ranks major sites like Wired, Vogue, Ars Technica, and others, many Reddit users, myself included, find it hard to believe that a site with upwards of one billion monthly pageviews seems to not get the creddit it deserves, in the form of infrastructure, staff, and just plain funding.

In short, why is Reddit seemingly Condé Nast Digital's red-headed step child?

Granted, since the diggsaster some months ago, Reddit has had an influx of new users which perhaps outpaced its anticipated growth. Further, Reddit recently dealt with some issues attributed to Amazon's Elastic Block Service (EBS) as well as a failure of a server which hadn't been updated to benefit from the redundancy of RAID. 

I really enjoy Reddit, it's a great site to find news, interact with people, and throw out horrible puns without threat of being stabbed with a narwhal tusk. Uptime, however, hasn't been it's strong point, so here's hoping things improve with help of some new and returning staff

Every site has issues occasionally, but given enough squeaking, the wheel gets greased...

ToCondé Nast Digital
     Advance Publications, Inc.

From: The Reddit Users

RE: Grease


UPDATE (5/6/2011): Another emergency downtime for most of the day, preceded by sporadic 0 / 502 / 504 errors and apparent database corruption (including misdirected comments and private messages) in addition to the usual sluggishness around midday EST. Eep!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Here's a quick guide on how to create ASCII art in posts on sites like Reddit, forums, email and elsewhere.

ASCII art has been around for decades now. This site provides a very nice summation of the history of ASCII art, including its beginnings in hieroglyphics, monasteries, and finally on computer screens. You can find ASCII art online today in the form of emoticons, and also at various sites (like this one) that have compiled all kinds of ASCII art creations for your enjoyment.

Creating most ASCII art relies mainly on using a fixed-width font, such as Courier New. Doing so ensures that your work will look the same when rendered by the browser or email client or whatever medium as it does in whatever tool you're using to create it, because each character has a set width, a set number of pixels that it occupies.

Many text editing widgets on websites and email clients give you the option of picking what font to use. For purposes of ASCII art, pick a fixed-width font. Then, begin crafting your design. You can also simply copy-and-paste someone else's ASCII art, like this cupcake, for example, but if you do so, it's best to keep any attribution the artist might've tagged their creation with (thanks Krogg, whoever you are):


         | |
     _.--| |--._
  .-';  ;`-'& ; `&.
 & &  ;  &   ; ;   \
 \      ;    &   &_/
  | | | | | | | | |
  J | | | | | | | F

Many forums have a WYSIWYG text-editor that lets you pick from a variety of fonts. In those cases, you can typically create your art in any text editor (I use Notepad++) then copy-and-paste it into the forum's editor, and then highlight the text and then change the font to apply fixed-width formatting.

Email clients, too, usually have WYSIWYG editors. Microsoft Outlook, for example, can be configured to use Word to create emails, allowing for great flexibility in formatting. For email messages, you can simply configure your email client to use a fixed-width font like Courier New, or alternatively change the email format it uses to plain text, rather than HTML or Rich Text; by default many email clients will render incoming such email messages in a fixed-width font, saving you some guesswork about whether the ASCII art will appear as intended.

Specific to Reddit, their text editor doesn't let you choose what font to use, beyond the font selections you choose for your web browser, but they do enable you to use a fixed width font by preceding each line of text with four blank spaces. Users in the programming field will sometimes post programming code, and while this feature is particularly suited to that purpose, it can also help you break up an otherwise serious discussion with some frivolous ASCII art creation.

To reproduce the above cupcake ASCII art on Reddit, then, you'd simply copy-and-paste the above into a new post or comment on Reddit, then copy a set of four blank spaces and paste them in front of each line of the cupcake. Then when Reddit displays the text, it will apply formatting rules and display the cupcake in fixed width font for everyone's enjoyment. Here's an example.

Unfortunately, some sites like Facebook won't allow you to choose your own font, their text formatting is very limited. However, you could simply host either a plain ASCII text file or an HTML document on a free web host like Awardspace. Then, simply refer your friends to the URL for that page to show them your creation.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Block Reddit Gold on User Pages

Recently, Reddit added a new link beneath users' overview section of their page:
treat yourself to reddit gold

Also if you happen to be checking out another user's profile, you'll see:
buy (another user) a month of reddit gold

I enjoy Reddit a great deal, and I don't block their sponsored ad banners even though I otherwise have AdBlock Plus enabled, but I found this linkage a bit annoying.

To remove it from your own Reddit user page, you can copy and paste the following Element rule to your AdBlock Plus filter list:[href="/gold"]

To prevent the link from appearing on other users' pages, add another rule with the following slightly different syntax:[href*="/gold?goldtype=gift"]

Here's a screenshot showing how the rules appear: