Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Different Kind of Creativity

Sudden, undreampt-for popularity may be the worst thing that's ever happened to me.
 - Ace Edmonds

Reddit is my preferred social network, followed closely by Discord. There's so much to do and so many people and it's so easy to tell what you say and do is approved of by The Crowd. Reddit is big, but it's divided into parcels that feel small.

I've never been shy of creating what are called "subreddits," which are essentially the individual message boards that make up the greater whole. I make them on whims, people make strange suggestions in comments and sometimes part of the joke is making believable references to subreddits that don't actually exist, believable enough that people think they're real and click on it, hoping to see some content. Instead, they get an error message that says that place doesn't esixt.

I make them exist.

Most of the time, nobody cares. It gets a few pageviews, and then fizzles out to be forgotten. But I had one a few weeks ago that didn't. I had one that made the front page. I had one that was trending.

In 24 hours, I broke records for the sum of all other subreddits I created, for the sum of all the time I've been doing this. I went from a couple hundred subscribers to a couple thousand.

And I think it's probably the worst thing to happen to the subreddit.

Previously, we were a small community. A few spammers would stop by occassionally, but then move on. Now... that feeling is gone, and so is the fun. I've had to get stricter in my enforcement of the rules, I've had to be more vigilant in checking and approving posts, I've had to be less kind when punishing people for breaking the rules. I issued more temporary bans in one day than I have ever before in my history of using subreddit.

And I just want to close it down now.

I have a problem with trust on the interent, well, everywhere, but it's worse on the internet. I would rather see a project be cast aside than take on help managing it, out of a fear that they'll either burn it to the ground or they'll do a better job and not need me at all.

And this sub has gotten so big now that I can't just let it be forgotten. I have to either burn it down or make it a lasting commitment. I really don't want to do either.

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Update (two weeks later): It's quieted down a lot. And most people seem to get frightened away by their first strike violations and go away.