Community Building March 19, 2020

Is reddit completely useless now?

Blake Sieders @BlakeWS

This morning I made a posting here, on reddit, and HN about a free public list for laid-off tech workers in Canada. I have no affiliation with the list, the makers of the list, and I don't have anything to sell to the list members. I posted in r/startups, was immediately scolded by a mod, and had my posting removed without warning even though it was being upvoted and commented on by curious people.

What the *#%@ ? Is reddit a useless police state now? I couldn't care less about reddit karma, I thought I was doing something decent.

Edit: Someone seems to be downvoting most of my comments here - apparently a big reddit fan!

  1. 14

    Each Subreddit is different.

    My advice with Reddit is to read the subreddit rules, lurk a bit and read a lot of posts, and try to fit in to it's culture.

    Think of it from their point of view.

    It's 2020 and to be fair most links posted are spam to some extent. Think about it. In the early days of the internet, a given link was probably someone sharing genuine information on a site only using <h1> and <p> tags. Nowadays there is almost always a marketing agenda, it could be a useful article, but leading you towards a solution that requires the product the blog owner is flogging. It's pretty rife nowadays.

    As a mod, you deal with 100's of these submissions a day. They are not going to try to be 100% fair on each one, they'll rattle though them and delete the spammy looking stuff in the same way you would do in your mail inbox.

    Hope that helps give a different perspective.

    1. 1

      I gave a write-up of what the link was all about and gave a back-up news article about it. I covered my butt in terms of making it understandable, relevant and timely to many, and not in any way about me or anything I'm working on.

      I keep getting tips on what I could have done, but honestly if you saw what I wrote I don't see how you could think I was doing something off. If I have to metaphorically walk on eggshells, then I'm in the wrong place anyway.

      1. 2

        Absolutely I believe you wrote something great. The problem is that the mods aren't going to take the time to see that, they are too busy. However you can make headway in reddit by blending in, and observe how other people market in the sub.

        For example I was looking for someone to mentor, but in one of the subs I looked at it didn't feel like it would fly to just post my 'ad'. However I searched for someone asking for a mentor, and then I replied to their comment. Someone else then PM-ed me and we did a session.

        1. 1

          I'm just totally over it anyway. There are too many places to go and I need to cut some to stop wasting time, seems I found one LOL.

  2. 6

    r/startup is the toughest place for self promo on reddit. I'm proudly banned from there. You've just got unlucky by choosing that subreddit. Reddit is still GREAT for promo.

    I do reall well on r/Entrepreneur and r/EntrepreneurRideAlong, so try there - my profile

    Perhaps, give this a read also :)

    1. 1

      r/startup is the toughest place for self promo on reddit. I'm proudly banned from there.

      Did you break their rules? Why are you proud to be banned?

      1. 2

        Cause as Blake said if you post any link, you're pretty much instantly banned with no warning or context... Even if it's not a promotional

        It's just very over strict.

        1. 1

          Weird... I think I've posted there and never had problems but I might be mixing it up with another sub.

    2. 1

      last line: self-promoception :) respect!

      1. 1


      2. 1

        What? LOL I have no idea what you're trying to tell me :-)
        Please clarify.

    3. 1

      Thanks for sharing subreddits that worked well for you.

      Hey IH - are there subreddits that are good or bad in your experience? It would be great to have One Big IH Master List.

      1. 4

        I'll start. Maybe make this it's own post:


        • r/Entrepreneur
        • r/EntrepreneurRideAlong
        • r/sweatystartup
        • r/cutthebull
        • r/sideproject
        • r/dataisbeautiful/


        • r/startups
        • r/marketing
      2. 1

        Wait... there's two Blake's on here!? ;-)

    4. 1

      I wasn't promoting myself at all, I posted a link to a list that had been created (not by me) to help laid-off Canadian tech workers get employment at startups. I'm not even interested in self-promotion or having a personal brand. I was trying to help others in a difficult time.

      1. 4

        yep, so links aren't allowed there. it's just a blanket rule on that forum ...

        i feel for you given your motives. just copy and paste the same thing to the one's I linked.

        1. 2

          Thanks, but I'm done with reddit. It feels like a kids toy now.

      2. 3

        Ugh, yeah, this is the flip-side of doing the right thing because some people will suspect you are doing it in order to gain something, even if your intent is fully benevolent. Try a different avenue when you get blocked by gatekeepers and ignore those who try to block you, not worth the time.

        1. 1

          Definitely not worth the time, hence I moved on from there.

      3. 2

        We've experienced similar behavior on other mediums such as Facebook. We hosted a FREE event to teach people how to use Squarespace. We aren't resellers of Squarespace, we didn't make any money from the event, we didn't even charge for it (hence the "free" part). All we wanted to do was teach other small businesses that getting online was possible and didn't have to cost a lot of $$$. One of our participants who had planned to attend sent us a very angry message saying we were basically scamming people and misleading them by not telling them we were selling a product. That obviously wasn't the case but I feel your pain.

        1. 2

          It's a hard-knock life for us!
          It's a hard-knock life for us!

          'Stead of treated

          We get tricked!

          'Stead of kisses

          We get kicked!


  3. 4

    Reddit requires some level of finesse, i agree some Mods take things take seriously but at the same time i kind of get it.. Just gotta be more subtle.

    1. 1

      You can see my exact post here on IH. If what I wrote is a problem then I'm wasting my time in that subreddit altogether, and have no interest in self-moderating my already vanilla posts further haha.

  4. 3

    Hey i know this is 2 weeks old, but yeah I haven't used Reddit in a couple of years now. I hate that place. It causes everybody's opinions and likes to converge. People care about not getting downvoted. Its a real confidence killer. If you can figure out how to get people obsessed with a product "organically", like a cult-following for a tv show or something then I see some business use there.

    1. 2

      It's an aging post, but still relevant LOL.

  5. 3

    I recently had some trouble with PostgreSQL performance and learned how to deal with it the hard way. So I wrote a blog post. Working hard on it I thought I'd help people so I posted it on r/learn_programming. I ended up summarizing most of it in the post as well!

    Post wasn't taken down but the only comments were basically scolding me for self-promoting or that the article wasn't helpful enough. My takeaway was that there were no beginners in that sub at all. One guy criticized my post with terms I didn't even know.. been a dev for 6 years.

    Then again the 3D printing sub has been very nice :) so it depends on the sub. I'll stick to less-popular ones I think.

    1. 1

      People that have been on forums for a long time can get jaded towards newbies, I totally get and and sometimes experience these feelings as well. But posturing up to show your superiority is so lame.

    2. 1

      This comment was deleted 5 months ago.

      1. 1

        yeah i was wondering the same. Perhaps there's a r/real_learnprogramming group somewhere? :D

  6. 3

    Mod rules > your content. The other issue on reddit is there are people with an army of sock puppets.

    1. 1

      It seems so lame. reddit was interesting to me ten years ago when I was a lonely bachelor, but I'm no longer into the hassle haha

  7. 2

    Reddit is great only for projects with a very specific market. For my web app, I was mainly trying to target college organizations, so I found that most of my initial traffic actually came from my posts to Subreddits. You just need to make sure that you read the subreddit instructions, otherwise your posts can cause more harm than good.

  8. 2

    A similar thing happened with me too. I got blocked from a group for honestly trying to answer a person's query. So, I stopped using reddit and removed it from my marketing strategy as well.

    1. 1

      Good call

  9. 2

    I have some thoughts about the change in algorithm. With reddit starting ads, they changed the algorithm to promote high engagement posts and less quality filters are applicable now. I maybe wrong, but this could be for that sweet sweet ad revenue.

    1. 1

      I'm not sure that applies to what happened with me, but it's interesting.

  10. 2

    Don't forget that Reddit isn't the correct thing to blame for. Every subreddit is different and has its own policy.
    I posted in a niche gaming subreddit my project 2 days ago and had an amazing feedback and output. Even from mods.
    So better to stick to good subreddits, maybe r/startup has some weird rules in it.

    1. 1

      It's an accumulation of bad experiences over a year that has me put off, this was just the last straw. I can interact here and meet interesting people and have great conversations without moderating myself. Common sense works just fine here.

      1. 1

        Sorry, I can't share this. I use Reddit every day and participate in a lot of great communities with amazing people. I met violence there for sure, I just skip this subreddits immediately, that's it.
        Small remark - I don't participate in any makers/entrepreneurial communities, IndieHackers is good enough for me indeed.

        And here on IH we have A LOT of moderation btw. You just didn't noticed that. Otherwise it would be trash with self promotion posts.

        1. 1

          I'm saying that I don't have to self-moderate my posts here and read any rules. My regular sense of right and wrong is good enough.
          You're right in that I don't notice any moderators here, and I also don't see anyone complain about perceived unfairness.
          This speaks to the quality here.

  11. 2

    Reddit is a good resource but moderators could be extra sensitive... always check the rules, format your post according to them. I've been in the same situation several times, I fought with moderators, sometimes won sometimes didn't...

    1. 2

      Thanks for your reply. I even made a disclaimer saying sorry if it was the wrong vibe since it was my first post on the subreddit. I was really bummed out and felt the mod was over-bearing in our short convo after.

  12. 1

    A lot of reddit mods I've interacted with were garbage. Only a matter of time before a better service takes over from this excuse of a community.

  13. 1

    Reddit is great! In my recent experience, both Reddit and Twitter search are both more useful than Google because so many Google results are trying to sell me something.

    Reddit varies wildly by sub, though. You can probably find a community for just about anything you want, but you'll also find communities diametrically opposed to what you want.

    1. 2

      I enjoy Twitter much better.

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    This comment was deleted 3 months ago.

  15. 2

    This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

    1. 1

      Good on you for the initiative, but I can tell you straight-up that LinkedIn groups definitely attract the "sellers" and I always stay away from them.

      1. 1

        This comment was deleted 4 months ago.