A Social Experiment

I’m a big fan of the social bookmarking site reddit.com. Basically anyone can submit a link and then everyone votes on it to decide if it’s actually worth reading or not. Good links move up and bad links just go away.

Another nice thing about reddit are the subreddits. These are reddit subdomains that focus on a particular topic. Since I consider myself a programmer, I’m most fond of the programming subreddit.

I’ve been going to reddit for months, but I’ve never submitted anything. I was curious about exactly how it worked, so last night I decided to submit my post about The Little Schemer to the programming subreddit.

Submitting The Link

First, I was surprised to see my link appear on the front page. I thought links appeared first on the new page and only moved to the front page after they got a certain number of votes.

I refreshed the front page every few minutes to see what would happen. I got one up-vote almost immediately. I guess someone liked the book and thought they would up-vote my post just for the title. A few minutes later and it was back down to 1 point.

I got my first (and only) comment a few minutes later. Here it is in its entirety:

If this guy read SICP I think his head would explode 🙂

That’s probably true. I tried reading SICP once, but didn’t get very far. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs is the text book used in the introductory computer science class at MIT.

After about 25 minutes, my post was down-voted again and disappeared from the front page. That was the end of my fun.

The Results

I normally get around 3-4 visitors per day to this site. Yesterday, I got 145. That’s not bad considering my link was on the front page for less than 30 minutes.

The comment on reddit was helpful, if a little terse. I really should try to read SICP again now that I know a little more about Scheme. I also got a comment on this site from a friendly guy named Tim Wee.

Overall this was a good experience. Most visitors to reddit tend to be friendly. That’s one reason I go there instead of Digg or Slashdot. I’ll probably post something else to reddit one of these days, once I finish reading SICP.

2 thoughts on “A Social Experiment”

  1. I’m still sitting here with my mouth hanging open that someone would be inferring that they were smarter than you. Sheesh has there been a reality shift in the world that I missed???

  2. Unfortunately there’s a big difference between being the smartest person in Paris and the smartest person in the world. I still have a way to go before I accomplish either of those, but I’m working on it.

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