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How to Make Reddit’s Front Page
Alexis Ohanian is the co-founder of the social news aggregation website Reddit. Shortly after graduating from UVA, he and classmate Steve Huffman founded the company with startup capital from Y Combinator, and in 2006 it was bought by Condé Nast. Ohanian stayed on for three more years until he retired to pursue a Kiva fellowship in Armenia. In 2009 he founded Breadpig, an "uncorporation" that creates and sells "geeky products" and donates all its non-sustainable profits to charity.
Question: What’s the single best predictor of whether or not a story does well on Reddit?
Alexis Ohanian: Whether it has bacon in the headline. Now, so there are – Reddit memes, which are a lot of them are just appropriated from other places like 4chan, but there are – they are internet means as seen more broadly, that you can touch upon that. It can help. And I know there’s sure some Redditor has created a Reddit headline generator that may actually statistically take into account the most popular words in popular Reddit headlines, but there are plenty of jokes that one can make about that, but I think the most important thing – and this goes back to actually being a Redditor when you’re trying to advertise to the site or promote to the site, is to actually craft stuff that is timely. So whether you are submitting a link or you’re creating an ad, it really helps to actually know the community. And if you can make a reference to a top comment from a day earlier, or a top story from a week earlier, or a name from three months ago you’re going to go a lot further with that headline.
There are cheesier things you can do like starting every headline with “Hey Reddit” so it feels a little bit more personal, but that gets – that’s not a guaranteed play. Most, most, most importantly though, you can just find great content, that’s number one. Crappy content will not do well on Reddit. Find great content and give it an appropriate headline. That is kind of – that is human and is hopefully tailored to the Reddit community that you are submitting it to. And then if you really want to hustle, probably submit around 10, 11, 12, you want to get it before noon Eastern because our traffic looks like you’d expect it where it grows throughout the work day and then tapers off as people get ready or starting leaving to go to work. So around lunch is Reddit’s peak traffic time. FYI. I think the highest traffic days are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. If feel like it kind of tapers off towards the end of the week and then into the weekend.
Question: What has it been like trying to prevent cheating in a voting-based system like Reddit?
Alexis Ohanian: Well fortunately I haven’t seen many of them. I’ve seen some of them, but I actually have plausible deniability here because I do very, very little in the way of anti-cheating. The guys have – although Reddit is Open Source, we’ve black boxed most of the anti-cheating stuff. And what’s nice for us is a lot – I mean there have been cheaters from early on. And that was great validation. We had people willing to cheat Reddit. We knew it was important enough to merit cheating, but now it’s obviously gone on to be more of a nuisance and that’s something we take it very, very, very seriously. And fortunately most cheaters are fairly dumb in the way that they do it and so we’ve developed a pretty effective, fairly simple system for dealing with those. But then there are the other slightly trickier ones where we have to take into account the fact that all Redditors are equal. And I’m not going to get all Orwell on you. It’s not that some are more equal than others, it’s that some are the proverbial drunk pushed into voting machine, told to pull a lever. And I think that we can all agree that in a fair and free election, that vote does not seem equal to someone’s vote who is doing it deliberately, who is not, let’s say being paid to go into a booth and pull a lever for Johnson, or whomever.
And what’s nice is on the internet, one actually has a fairly good idea of who is, so to speak, the drunk being bribed to vote or pull on a certain lever. And we really want – we are very cognizant of the very efficient, very large-scale systems to try to cheat sites like Reddit because it’s a very valuable thing to do. People make their livings trying to do it. And we take great pride in knowing that, even – just mostly as a byproduct of Steve’s hotness algorithm, it’s a difficult challenge on Reddit. And we want to make it all the harder because we don’t want someone who is genuinely voting for a genuinely good content to be displaced by someone else who is the, again, “the drunk in the voting booth being paid to pull a lever.” So that’s one of the big challenges we deal with, but it is like a Cold War in terms of arming up back and forth because there’s always some new trick that we pull in that eventually gets figured out and we have to escalate, and so on and so forth. Hopefully it won’t result in nuclear annihilation.
Question: Why does keeping track of a user’s “karma” matter on a site like Reddit?
Alexis Ohanian: So that – so Karma is something we obviously stole from Hinduism, well okay, Slashdot. We appropriated it from Slashdot, which presumably appropriated it from I guess Hinduism. That said, we don’t make any guarantees about you achieving nirvana no matter your karma score is. Sorry, don’t have that kind of power.
Early on, it was absolutely crucial for stimulating users to submit. And in particular, getting those power users engaged with the site and checking up regularly on the stats page, which is currently not up anymore, but to see where they ranked and to see where they’ve fallen and to see where they were going because that was a huge motivations source. And I think we all seek validation in somewhat, shape or form. And for those of us who play video games, Steve and me included, it seemed like a real obvious way. A leader board, I mean this was something in every arcade consoles **** zero, at least as far as I know. And having that kind of leader board, that kind of karma measuring contest met, certainly early on, a new user could come on the site and immediately get how it worked and then have something to vi for, have something to work toward. And it was really, really helpful. And one of the ways that illustrated that was we would know the site was down or the stats page was down or even maybe not even calculating stuff as quickly as it should because we’d get emails from frantic power users who would say, “My score hasn’t updated in a day. What’s wrong?” or “The stats page is down. What’s wrong?” And that was a fantastic sign because it meant, okay we’re already relying on our users to do all the real work at the site, let us find some way to reward them because we’re not actually like, we’re not paying them, let’s find a way to reward them through that positive reinforcement of an increasing score.
And I think that – it’s changed a lot since the site has grown because it’s not, we’ve got Comment Karma so there’s an incentive. We didn’t have commenting back then so there’s an incentive to do good commenting. But the site’s much bigger now and the top karma users have hundreds of thousands of karma points. And so now if you’re a new user to think that you’ll ever top **** for instance, one of our top users, it seems absurd. But fortunately, the system still seems to work. And I think that is pretty much based on the algorithm that Steve had created to let a lot of these good comments bubble up as they did well, to let those threads get more attention and let the crappy ones fall down. And the same goes for the stories.
And so even though those scores have now been relegated to the little score next to the submission or the comment, and then your user page, it’s still something people care about and it’s always a small minority of the site that’s doing all this work, but whatever it takes to motivate them and encourage them, you know, we want to do it.
How to tailor a link so that it soars to the top of the site.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.