Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas or What-Have-You from all of us at reddit

We here at reddit would like to take a moment to wish all of the community a Merry Christmas-slash-Whatever.

Since we want to do our part to de-commercialize of the holiday season, we're going to skip the usual consumer products and give the gift of art instead -- tiny digital trophies, lovingly assembled one pixel at a time by licenseplate. They're going out to all of you who have given back to the reddit community this year.

For instance, if you donated time, money, and / or lodging to send two of your own on a monthlong, continent-crossing adventure last fall, we'd like to recognize you as a "Fantastic Voyager".

Honorees include: 77or88 draynen arunan askedrelic cdawzrd darthnut deserted doubleD fortheloveofthesong hiS_oWn hueypriest jrkp karmanaut kickme444 LastThought licenseplate obizuth oilytheotter P-Dub pteridine Saydrah stilesjp Talking_Head tbarlow13 Xfocus Xyre Yossarian42 ZanshinJ zmann

Voyagers, we salute you. There's a little something special waiting in your stockings trophy cases.

Next up, our Calendar Girls -- the ladies of reddit who starred in our 2010 charity calendar. Plus heartfence, who's a dude but helped put it all together. The calendars have been selling like the proverbial hotcakes, and a lot of good charities are benefiting. (It's not too late to get one, BTW)

A round of applause (and trophies) for:

Finally, and most timeliestly, hats off to everyone who helped us blow away the record for the largest secret santa exchange ever held. Once again, this was something you came up with, you organized, and you pulled off. Way to ****ing go, everyone!

We don't have the final list of winners for this one yet, and this blog post is already approaching a length at which one might declare its verbiage so excessive that perusal becomes untenable (a.k.a., "ve;pu"), so we're just going to hand these trophies out as the data rolls in and post the complete list later, when it's finalized.

Whether you participated or not, we heartily recommend you should check out the gift gallery: it's great fun to browse through photos of all the cool stuff redditors sent each other.

Merry What-Have-You to all, and to all a night of some sort!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We've updated (and hopefully improved) the messaging interface.

Ever since we added self-post replies to everyone's inbox a few months ago, we've realized that there is a need to better organize the inbox. We don't want to punish users by making their inbox completely unusable for 24 hours just because they made a particularly interesting self post or comment. So, for starters, we added this to the top of the inbox:
Unfortunately, for the moment, "post replies" from before this patch are going to still appear in the "comment replies" tab (we had to make some changes to our data model to accomomdate the new organization which will be expensive to back-compute).

Since the new tabs aren't of much use if everything is marked as read as soon as you view your inbox, we've added a "mark as unread" button below comments and messages you want to save for later, and we've added a new preference:
This preference will remain enabled by default, so if you're not interested in the new tabs, nothing will change about the behavior of your inbox. When you disable this checkbox, messages will stay as unread until you click on them (anywhere). The majority of the time a message in your inbox needs to be replied to, so responding to it, or voting on the comment seemed natural triggers to to use for marking the message as read. Errant clicks or reassessments can be fixed with the "mark unread" button.

This is the first in a round of updates for messaging that we're hoping to get out as they are finished (threaded messages and multiple recipients anyone...?), so treat this as a work in progress.

Overview for people who like the inbox exactly the same as it is now and are worried about the whereabouts of their cheese. We added a subtle gray background to unread messages and "mark as unread" to read messages. Please forgive us.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Congressman Dennis Kucinich Answers Your Questions

United States House Representative for Ohio's 10th congressional district Dennis Kucinich shared some of his busy schedule to answer your top 10 questions.

Congressman Kucinich also has an important question for the reddit community at the end of the interview. Watch the full 28min interview in HD here or on youtube. Below the embedded video are all the questions, where you can also go directly to the Congressman's responses for each question. Thanks for being patient while we got this interview up. The next ones should get turned around much quicker.

1. sfsdfd
As has been apparent in the healthcare "debate," the current state of politics is heavily skewed by corporate lobbying. How do you feel about the magnitude of this influence on our political system, and what can be done to reduce it to a more acceptable level?
View Response

2. GoatTnder
Do you plan to run for President again? And should you run, considering how most media networks gave you a much smaller presence than their "front-line" candidates, what steps will you take to ensure your campaign is given the attention it deserves?
View Response

3. SquirrelOnFire
Congressman Kucinich,
Republicans recently proposed a constitutional amendment creating term limits in the House and Senate -- How do you think this would affect the Congress?
I am specifically curious how you think term limits would change the relationship between donors or lobbyists and Congressmen and what ancillary or unintended effects such a change would have.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us.
View Response

4. rightc0ast
Explain how you can vote for gun control, and advocate banning handguns after keeping a handgun yourself because of death threats during your term as mayor in the 70's. I'm sorry, but with all due respect ... despite your fresh and intelligent take on so many things, this reeks of do as I say and not as I do.
View Response

5. evilangela
Given that our current plurality voting system is very poor as far as voting schemes go, and practically guarantees a two-party system because it creates more incentive for a voter to vote against a candidate instead of for one, do you think there may be possibility for significant voting reform in the future? There are many other systems out there, such as approval voting or instant-runoff voting, that will give more voice to each voter by making their vote richer in meaning, while eliminating even the concept of "throwing your vote away". What do you think might be the best possibilities for raising this discussion on the national level, and even, perhaps, starting to see proposals for a better and fairer system?
View Response

6. rjvir
What is your take on Alan Grayson's tactics and rhetorical style in addressing the Republican party, and what do you think he does for the current Democratic party?
View Response

7. kavalec
Congressman Kucinich,
What can be realistically achieved in the arena of defusing the power of lobbies and special interests?
And how can we help?
G. Kavalec.
View Response

8. ricecraka
If you were made the absolute dictator of the U.S. for one day, what are some of the things you would do?
View Response

9. rjvir
How do you feel about the "Blue Dogs" in Congress? Would it be worthwhile to plant more progressive candidates in their districts and risk losing to Republicans?
View Response

10. stardawg
Would you consider leaving the Democratic Party for a new third party?
View Response

Congressman Kucinich's question to the reddit community. View

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You're busy, so TL;DR is a daily update reporting on the best of the entire reddit network

We realized long ago that qgyh2 spent more time on reddit than the entire reddit staff combined. At the rate reddit is growing, we can hardly keep up with all the reddits and all the great content on them. Enter (that's "Too Long; Didn't Read"), an editorial reddit run by qgyh2 with daily highlights from around the reddit network.

Got a burgeoning reddit of your own? Find a great story that deserves some attention? Send him tips!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

self serve advertising on reddit is now open for business!

After having our new sponsored link program in beta for the last 3 weeks, we're happy to announce that we've worked the bugs out (famous last words) and are opening it up to all users. To get started, simply click on the new "self-serve advertising" link in the footer on the front page, or, for the lazy, go here.

All you need to get started is $20, a credit card*, and some time to skim our ToS (which can be summed up with: be nice, don't be sneaky, and don't try to advertise anything illegal). Ads require about 48 hours for processing and approval, so if you place an ad today (Wednesday) it can be live on reddit by Friday. You can include a thumbnail and can even elect to turn off commenting (but where's the fun in that?). Reddit will also provide you with traffic information for your ad:

We also hope that this will provide something that typically doesn't come along with other ways to advertise: feedback. The community can comment on your ad, providing the sort of feedback that would require most traditional advertisers to arrange for a focus group. If we have anything at reddit, it's strong opinions...

We're very excited to see what the community does with the sponsored link program. From the beginning of reddit it has always been about the content and conversations that made reddit the site we all love. We wanted to find a way to make advertising reflect this philosophy too, so we like to think of self-serve ads as advertisements by redditors, for redditors.

We'd also like to extend our thanks to our beta testers. We're glad to have been able to work with such an understanding (heroic?) bunch of users in situations where actual money was involved, and their feedback has been invaluable.

So don't take our word for how great this new self-serve advertising system is, here are some testimonials from beta testers:
"We don't normally do paid advertising (almost all of our clients are word of mouth referrals), but we'll be purchasing more ads on Reddit for sure...I almost didn't post this, because I want to keep the competitors away" -- subigo

"Advertising on the Reddit homepage is a great way to get social traffic to your site fast without having to play the social voting game. The program is still in beta but it’s definitely worth a shot once it launches"-- TJantunen

"The people who came to the site, actually signed up and spent some time over there, leaving a few reviews." -- filmaster
*Sorry, for legal reasons we are currently only accepting US credit cards.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

we added a safe for work option

Seeing as we don't want anyone to get in trouble for browsing reddit while at work (well, at least not get into any extra trouble...), we've added a user preference to disable thumbnails on posts that are labeled as NSFW.

All existing accounts have had this preference pre-set to "off" (i.e., you won't see any difference), but it will default to "on" for new users and non-logged-in visitors.

We've also taken a page from the people at /r/pics and added a little CSS to label NSFW posts. This should either help stop you from stepping on a landmine, or help to optimize your browsing experience (whichever floats your boat).

EDIT: please read jedberg's comment for the answer to a question that I know you are all dying to ask... ;)

Monday, December 07, 2009

redditor, TV Host (Catch It Keep It & Punkin Chunkin) MIKE SENESE Answers Your Questions

Mike Senese, co-host of Science Channel's Catch It Keep It and longtime redditor (user gtj ) answers your questions below. You can also watch the video here.

He answered these questions from the rowdy midst of the 24th Annual Punkin Chukin World Championships, which he was hosting for Science Channel. You can also watch some videos of Mike (and pumpkins) in action here.

Note: We replaced the audio on one of the questions with text, because the question was inaudible. We blame punkin cannon shockwaves.

Monday, November 30, 2009

/r/python hits 10k subscribers! (so we rolled you this revision...)

[Warning: The following blog post is for nerds only. Here is the short version.]

In honor of this occasion (or at least we thought it was a convenient segue), we just pushed out a new version of reddit to our git repository. Our codebase has been a bit of a moving target for the last few months, so rather than inundate our dev list with every little tweak (or screw up) we've made in that time, we've opted to switch to a "major release" system where we deploy changes in bulk. We also want to return to greater transparency in our code repository.

You might remember from jedberg's IAMA and post that we recently moved to amazon's EC2 to improve our ability to scale. But, to take full advantage of EC2's flexibility and to accommodate our rampant traffic growth of late, some overhauls were necessary. The most prominent change is that we've replaced our postgres-centric query queue with one that is centered around AMQP (specifically RabbitMQ), for much cleaner handling of asynchronous tasks.

Also in this release is the code for handling and handing out awards, for setting default subscriptions, for the "best" comment sort, and a simple library for generating CSS sprites.

Besides dealing with maintaining (and hopefully improving) the site, we've also added self-serve sponsored links to help (ahem) defer the cost of all of those shiny new computers in the cloud. These additions, including a python library for interacting with and our bidding/auction code, are included in this release.

tldr: Congrats to the python community! We've been spending all of our time scaling, making the site faster, and adding some ways to make money to pay for the first two.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Interrobang your wall with this new Cuil Theory poster

Licenseplate has done it again! Now there's a gorgeous poster to capture the essence and theory behind Cuil. You can get it here (bonus: it, and all of the other posters - reddit and xkcd - are on sale for a limited time).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Introducing /r/blog and /r/announcements

There's been a lot of news at reddit recently and it got us thinking about better ways of keeping the community informed about what we're up to.

The solution was kinda staring us in the face: We decided to just create a reddit for news about reddit. Actually, we made two.

/r/announcements is the low-traffic one, to be used only for important stuff, like changes to the site's functionality. Examples of what you'll see there include:/r/blog is for everything else -- behind-the-scenes photos, celebrity interviews, free beer...

From now on, everything posted to will be submitted to one of the two. If you don't like it, all you have to do is unsubscribe.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Our users can be so awesome sometimes!

We've recently received a few gifts in the mail from our wonderful users, and we wanted to take a moment to thank them.

First, this is a little bit late, but we just wanted to thank the awesome Saydrah for sending Steve and Alexis such a lovely retirement gift. Here are a few pics of the unboxing:

Steve dives in:

Gift part 1:

Gift part 2:

Steve inspects the packaging:

Mike sneaks a peek while Steve smiles (an event rarely caught on film). Click to get the bigger picture and see all the super-cool items in the box (including Chapstick)!

Mike takes a closer look while Chris reads the Bill of Lading.

So thank you again to Saydrah. We admins occasionally get together for brunch, and I'm sure this gift will feature prominently at the next few events.

Next we have to thank Draynen for carrying this poor bobblehead all over the country, and then graciously sending it back to the office. He tells us that the bobblehead is more glue than whatever material it started out as.

And lastly, we have to thank the unknown redditor who forced his child to draw this touching letter. It truly made me feel good about this community, and will hold a special place of honor in our office above the light switch. If you are Casey's Dad, let us know.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ask Christopher Hitchens Anything

I have a feeling this will do well on atheism.reddit; but Christopher Hitchens has quite a legacy beyond his very public atheism advocacy. He has a well-earned contrarian reputation (and a book on the subject, too) and is guaranteed to incite with his insights. Now's your chance to ask him anything. We'll be visiting him in D.C. to ask him the top 10 questions as of November 17th at noon pacific.

We'd also like to bring him a fine bottle of scotch < $200. Please make suggestions in the comments. And as always, questions submitted in this blog entry's comments will not count. Submit questions here.

(Yes, I'm briefly coming out of retirement for this interview)

Now for as little as $20, you can buy sponsored links on reddit: advertising by redditors, for redditors

Today we're announcing the start of our invite-only beta for self-serve sponsored links on reddit. If you're already looking frantically for the sign-up, email with your reddit username to get on the list. (EDIT: we're open for business! no need to email.)

We've come a long way from creating the sponsored link back in January. Since then, it's gotten a lot of attention, especially from advertisers who you may have noticed in this prime real estate. Overall, we've been quite pleased to find a ridiculously successful (2% CTR to upwards of 10% CTR) means of advertising that doesn't diminish the user experience. But we've always wanted a system that gave anyone the chance to advertise in front of the reddit audience (you're over a 1/2 million unique visitors a day, after all).

Why sponsored links rock:
  • They're in-line with the content just like any other submitted link on reddit. Now someone can pay for visibility instead of trying to spam links to their pet projects. Got a nifty iPhone app? New website? Soap business you're trying to rescue? Use a sponsored link on reddit!
  • Good content gets rewarded because more upvotes mean more chances it'll be seen, because it's a link in the reddit system submitted like any other (just denoted as a 'sponsored headline')
We aim to roll this out among beta testers in the coming weeks before opening it up to anyone with a credit card. Even if your budget is only $20 a day, you can get in on the action. Here's how: we'll allow you to submit a sponsored link (set the title, upload an image), and set the start date and duration. Then, you can bid on how much you want to spend on that link (we've set a minimum of $20 per link per day). This bid is exactly how much you'll pay for the link once it starts running.

On each day, we tally up the total number of bids, and use the total to figure out how large a piece of the pie each sponsored link gets. For example, if you were to bid $20, and the total for the day is $200, you'll get 10% of sponsored link impressions for the day. This way, everyone pays only what they're comfortable spending, and, since they're ads by redditors for redditors, we're hoping to be able to support ourselves with better (read: "non %^&@ing auto-playing flash") ads.

In this beta (and in the first version) we won't have any ability to target specific reddits (mostly out of a hope to keep it simple on something new and experimental), but we have such an ability in mind for version 2.

[For those of you who are interested in the gory details, have a look here.]

Example traffic charts for your promoted link:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

reddit Interviews Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Ask Dennis Kucinich anything. Ask questions HERE.

United States House Representative for Ohio's 10th congressional district Dennis Kucinich will be sharing some of his very busy schedule to answer your top 10 questions. In his work as a congressman and as a presidential candidate in 2004 and 2008, Dennis Kucinich has been the subject of no fewer than 20 #1 stories on reddit.

More on Dennis Kucinich
- "Dennis Kucinich" on reddit
- Congressional Site:
- Campaign Site:
- Wikipedia:

Congressman Kucinich will answer your top 10 questions as of Monday November 16th at 5pm ET. Video interview will post on Thursday November 19th. Subscribe to the blog or reddit's youtube channel so you don't miss it.


- Questions in the comments here will NOT be considered.
- Please don't ask long multi-part questions. Be as concise as possible. If you have two questions submit them separately.

Bring on the Y-wings

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Moving to the cloud

Last week saw the departure of our two founders, but that wasn't the only big change that happened.

Last week we also decommissioned the last of our physical servers. We are now operating our entire website "in the cloud" as the kids would say. Specifically, we are using Amazon Web Services. If all went well, you didn't notice a thing. If you want to, you can Ask me Anything about the move or our servers.

Our history with AWS goes back many years. We were one of the early adopters of S3. We liked S3 because it was fast, cheap, and allowed kn0thing to upload logos without our logs looking like this:

svn log

When it came time to add the oft-requested thumbnails feature, we decided to expand our usage of S3, using it to host all of our thumbnails.

In November 2008, we had come to a crossroads. Do we get another cabinet full of servers, or do something else? We decided to do something else, and moved some of our batch processing over to EC2 and thereby freed up more machines to be application servers.

That system worked so well that we decided to move our entire website over to EC2 in May of 2009 (you may remember the 10 hours of downtime, but probably not, since it was Friday night through Saturday morning).

And as of last week, we finally decommissioned the last legacy system we had in our datacenter. It should be noted that up until that point, we were still using the servers paid for by YCombinator's initial investment to run part of the site (thanks Paul!).

And now it is picture time!

Here is what the cabinet looked like before we started:
Full Cabinet

Here is what it looked like when were done:
Empty cabinet

Here they are back at the office:
Sad servers

Here is me draining the internet tubes that went to the cabinet (they locked me in till I was done):
Draining the tubes

Here is me shutting off the rest of the datacenter, because I can (sorry Twitter!):
Bad Jeremy

So that's the story! Again, if you want to Ask me Anything, feel free!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Mark Cuban Answers Your Questions

Mark Cuban answers your top 10 questions. Big thanks to Mark for making time to answer reddit's burning questions! You can follow Mark Cuban on his blog and @mcuban.

1. from little_evil6
What'd you think of the recent excerpts from Tim Donaghy book? Did it confirm or change your perspective on the NBA refs? Also how much will you be fined by the NBA if you criticize the refs on reddit?

Mark Cuban: Hasn't changed my perspective at all. That's about all I can say without buying about 20 years of donuts for the NBA.

2. from beentheretoo
Scenario: All your wealth is suddenly wiped out. Credit, cash, property, everything. What are the first things you do to re establish yourself?

MC: Same thing I did the first few times I was broke. Get a job bartending at night, probably another job selling during the day, and then look for unique opportunities from there.

3. from brianstorms
Mark, you own the Landmark Theatres chain. Movie theatres, compared to say, the tech industry, innovate at a snail's pace. Movie theatres, Landmark included, continue to be extremely overpriced fast-food restaurants where patrons sit in darkened auditoriums to eat instead of a table-and-chair setting. As a voracious film-goer (over 100 movies a year, and 50 of those screenings are at local Landmark Theatres outlets), I can't stand the fast-food business model and the increasingly obsolescent, old-skool presentation experience of films, but I tolerate it because I like movies. What are your plans to push Landmark to innovate some? The United States (and probably most countries) could really use some innovation in the cinema space, and what better scrappy outfit to lead the way than Landmark? It sure ain't gonna happen with, say, the bozos at AMC. Maybe what's needed is a new cinema startup that embraces the Internet and redefines how movies are experienced, including art films -- I'm not just talking about making things bigger, louder, stupider like 3D IMAX. Would you fund such a startup?

MC: No. We like the film going experience. We have auditoriums that have couches. Auditoriums that have traditional seating. We are looking at opening "sky boxes" where the patrons can customize their own experience. We release movies to VOD 3 weeks before their theatrical release so people who cant make it to the movie theaters can enjoy the movie. We offer live events via our digital projectors. The internet is the least relevant aspect of the movie business. Other than for marketing, promotion and purchases, the net is pretty worthless for the movie going experience.

4. from imawakeimawake
Before this past NBA season, one of your better known players, Josh Howard, admitted he likes to smoke marijuana in the offseason. What are your feelings about marijuana use and the recent publicity that marijuana legalization has had?

MC: I'm against our players using it. NBA players have to be in amazing physical shape. Smoking cigarettes is bad, pot is worse for lung capacity. I'm certainly not against decriminalization. Better the criminals in DC deal with it then the criminals on the street.

5. from courthead
What do you think of companies like Facebook and Twitter whose first priority is the acquisition of users, rather than making money? Is this is a viable business model going into the future?

MC: Its a zero sum and very risky game. Either you are on track for ubiquity, or you fail miserably. For every Twitter and FB, there are thousands of companies who wanted to do the same thing and are long gone.

6. from Rohok
When you got Yahoo´s offer for did you shit yourself?

MC: No, I but I had a diaper on just in case.

7. from theycallmemorty
Name one smart change each of the major four sports leagues could implement

MC: Lower ticket prices and a collective bargaining agreement to support the price reduction.

8. from scoobydoobdoob
Do you ever drunk-dial other billionaires?

MC: I don't know any female billionaires (not that I would DD them, I'm married). but there is no chance in hell I'm drunk dialing or texting some dude. No matter how much money they do or don't have.

9. from iamthemuffinman
How do you see HDnet evolving in the next 5 years, and are you worried about a backlash if you expand HDnet movie content?

MC: For HDNet, we are focused on the men 18-45 demo. Our primary distinction is Mixed Martial Arts. We have more live events, (all free), then all the other networks combined. We have Inside MMA, which is the Sports Center for MMA. Everyone in the industry or a fan of the sport watches on air or follows on line. We will continue to increase our focus on MMA domestically and internationally. We also have a lot of fun shows on Thursday, our guys night in night. Honestly, its a lot of cheesy programming with drunks and girls getting topless or talking about it. Its pretty much mindless fun, but it works. The only exception is Tuesday nights where we have great news programs from Dan Rather Reports and World Report. Those are my guilty pleasures. Its what news shows used to be. All News.

HDNet Movies focuses on great movies, with no commercials, shown in full HD resolution and Original Aspect Ratio. Many of our movies are in HD for the very first time. Plus, we are the only network on the planet to premiere what we call Sneak Previews. Movies that we air the Wednesday before it premieres in theaters. You can go to and for more scoop.

10. from khafra
Does the SEC go after celebrities like you and Martha Stewart to draw attention away from the people who really do harm to the markets, or is there some other reason?

MC: Sorry, cant touch that one. Wish I could.

Monday, November 02, 2009

No stars for the early

We'll no longer be showing the "edited" star for comments edited in the first minute of their lifetime, as long as they don't garner any votes in that time. That means that you can quickly fix your typos without worrying about incurring the Edited Star of Doom(tm).

There's a Death Star joke in there somewhere.

redditor, TV Host, & Engineer of Destruction MIKE SENESE. Ask Him Anything


Mike Senese, co-host of Science Channel's Catch It Keep It and longtime redditor (user gtj on reddit) will be answering your questions while he hosts the 24th Annual Punkin Chukin World Championships for Science Channel. Ask him anything HERE.

You might remember Mike from the recent post and impromptu AMA by wang-banger:

What the hell is wrong with you, reddit? Our fellow redditor gtj, AKA Mike Senese, has a TV show on the science Channel but you wouldn't know that looking at the front page.

Since Mike is a longtime redditor and since he already kinda did an AMA, we wanted to do something special for the video interview. So, Mike will be answering your top ten questions from the Super Bowl of the projectile squash world, the Punkin Chukin World Championships. He'll be giving reddit a behind the scenes tour of all the vegetable firing air cannons, trebuchets, torsion machines, catapults, centrifuge machines, and the crazed engineering teams that built them. Who knows, we might even see how far a trebuchet can fling a reddit bobblehead. No promises, but feel free to suggest any other projectiles. You could even brush up on how to calculate the trajectory with this demo from Mike on Catch It Keep It.

Here's a bit of Mike's background in his own words from the recent AMA-lite:

"My story: I grew up building, my dad was a builder and a 1950's science fair style hacker, so he showed me the ropes at an early age and let me run loose.

In college I studied engineering until the strict course schedule forced me to rebel and change majors (you know how college kids are). But that didn't stop me from always being hands-on with designing and building like crazy.

Eventually, I worked at Wired magazine and Readymade magazine, from where I got hired to host a rock/science show on fuse, "Rock and Roll Acid Test" (think Mythbusters for hard rock kids). That's what led me to do Catch It Keep It."

Mike is also the co-founder of the record label and blog Sneakmove. You can check out his personal DIY blog here, and keep up with him on twitter @msenese.

Mike will answer the top 10 questions as of Friday, Nov 6th. We are shooting the interview on Nov. 7th, but the interview won't be posted until right before Thanksgiving. Ask and vote on questions HERE. Questions in the blog comments will not be considered.

Friday, October 30, 2009

reddit Interviews Mark Cuban. Ask Him Anything

ASK HIM ANYTHING. Mark Cuban, American billionaire entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Chairman of HDNet, and blogger has graciously agreed to answer your questions. Ask away HERE.

At the height of the dot-com bubble Mark Cuban sold to Yahoo! for $5.9 billion in stock. In 2000 he purchased the Dallas Mavericks (an NBA basketball team) from Ross Perot, and since then has been one of the most passionate and innovative figures in pro sports. He has also continued to be an active investor, speaker, and technology entrepreneur (check out, and Catch up with some of his recent thoughts on tech, politics, and media at You can also keep up with him on twitter @mcuban.

Submit your questions here and Mark will answer the highest voted ones as of noon eastern on Tuesday, Nov. 3rd. Any questions in the comments of this blog entry will not be eligible. NOTE: This will be a text only interview (no video).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fare Thee Well, reddit!

Steve and I both have something to tell you; we wanted you to hear it from us, in the same blog entry, with our cute avatars. Our contracts are coming to an end this Halloween and we're leaving reddit. Chris' contract is also ending, but he's staying on (along with the rest of team reddit). The most important thing we both want you to know is that the reddit you know won't be any different on November 1st (as long as Chris [keysersosa] doesn't remove our admin privileges).

The second most important thing we wanted you to know is that we're having a Halloween party in SF and you're invited!

Steve "spez" Huffman: When Alexis and I started reddit, we had no idea what we were in for. Reddit took on a life of its own early and continues to surprise me on a daily basis. I am genuinely proud to have been a part of it, and humbled by what it has become.

Reddit has been such a large part of my life for the past four years. I truly loved working on it, and it will be difficult letting go. That said, I know it's in good hands. Chris and the remaining team know what they're doing, and I'm sure they'll do a fine job keeping reddit on track for years to come.

Thank you to the users for making reddit what it is. Thank you to team-reddit for putting up with me. I know I can be difficult, but it was an honor working with you all. We did some pretty cool things, and I look forward to working with you all again in the future.

With that, I flee back to Virginia to spend time with my lovely new wife. Cheers!

Alexis "kn0thing" Ohanian: Thinking back on the Medford, MA, apartment where Steve and I started reddit, it's shocking to see how far the site has come. And that's been thanks to all of you redditors, who've not only made reddit worth visiting, but also strong-armed your friends into joining.

I'm leaving reddit to take some time to return to one of my neglected hobbies, traveling, and in the meantime, focus a bit on my present night job (breadpig). I'm also getting the chance to spend three months in Armenia as a Kiva Fellow. If you're curious, I'll be posting regularly on the Internets, the twitter, and of course, on reddit. I have total confidence in team reddit continuing the direction of the site and pursuing the vision for the ultimate time-wasting website.

Don't think of this as a "goodbye," think of it as "see you on reddit." After more than four years of thinking about reddit every day -- it's been more therapeutic than you know, actually -- there's bound to be some postpartum depression (and the only prescription, is more reddit). This is a special community that's become a bigger part of my life than I ever could have imagined; I'm grateful for the opportunity to have worked with you all (except for the spammers). Thank you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ask Karen Armstrong Anything

Ask her anything. Karen Armstrong is a former Catholic nun and a globally recognized religious scholar. She's an authority on comparative religion and aspires to be a voice of understanding between people of different faiths.

Armstrong argues that compassion is the core, fundamental idea behind Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and she is working to help people of faith rediscover this principle.

Armstrong has given two TED talks (see her 2008 and 2009 talk), but don't miss her vast bibliography. TED is currently working with Karen Armstrong on the Charter for Compassion project (bringing together world leaders from the world's major faiths), which she will launch in two weeks. Also, check out her article in The Wall Street Journal, in which she and famed atheist Richard Dawkins answer the question "Where does evolution leave God?"

Submit your questions here and we'll ask the highest voted ones as of noon pacific on Friday, October 30th. Any questions in the comments of this blog entry will not be eligible.

I love, I love, I love my reddit Calendar Girls!

Hey everyone! Question: When was the last time you got to mount a bunch of pretty girls? On your wall? For charity? Been a while? Well, this is krispykrackers, and I'm here guest-blogging about the much anticipated "Ladies Of Reddit 2010 Calendar for Charity," which will help you do exactly that.

S2S2S2S2S2, sundogdayze, and I started this project nearly six months ago. Our idea was simple: get 12 girls, assign them to a month and a subreddit, get a cute picture in representing that subreddit, and make a calendar out of it. I don't know if you've ever tried to get a bunch of strangers on the internet together and complete a project, but it's like trying to get kittens ( \o/ ) to stand in a straight line. But finally, six months later, it's ready for pre-ordering.

Here's the fun part: We chose the girls, now you get to choose the charity. And don't forget, Christmas is coming, and Santa is watching to see if you've been a good boy or girl. Donating to charity is good for your karma, and this is your chance to be naughty and nice! So we boiled it down to six different ones, and with every calendar you buy, 50% of the profits go to the charity of your choosing. As for the other 50%, I'm sure most of that will go back in to making reddit awesome, but let's not object to them using a little bit on beer money for the big Halloween blowout in San Fransisco, or for kn0thing's narwhal costume.

The charities to choose from are:

1.) Women For Women International

* Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies. We're changing the world one woman at a time.

2.) Partners For Care

* Partners for Care exists to provide hope and health for people in developing nations by working through the local church to empower and equip indigenous people to provide services which include; skilled nursing, social work, care for orphans and vulnerable children, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing, and a broad range of community health initiatives (including sanitation and prevention of TB, malaria, and illness from unclean drinking water).

3.) Amnesty International

* Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all.

4.) ACLU (foundation)

* The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

5.) Electronic Frontier Foundation

* EFF is the leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world.

6.) Habitat for Humanity

* Habitat for Humanity provides decent, affordable houses to families in need. Habitat homeowners gain self-respect as they work alongside volunteers to construct their homes.

Buying a Ladies of Reddit calendar has lots of advantages! Not only will it make you a good person, but it will also help you keep track of how much time you waste on reddit, remind you and yer mateys how FARRRRRGGHH away Pirate Day be, and it is so yummy it will make you wonder what the heck is so great about bacon, anyway?! Because, believe it or not, there are girls on reddit, and we've found at least 12 great reasons to celebrate all year long.

Hope you all enjoy our little project. It was tons of fun, and big thanks to all of my girls (and S2) who participated. They are the best, and about as reddit-ific as they come. So that's that! Bye everyone, I'll catch you all on reddit later (and maybe on your cubicle wall next November!).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Congressman Barney Frank Answers Your Questions

Congressman Barney Frank answers your top ten questions. Watch the videos below or on YouTube HERE:

Thank you to Congressman Frank for taking time out of an extremely busy schedule to answer these questions in great detail. If you don't have time to watch the full 40 min interview, do yourself a favor and watch Barney Frank's thought provoking answer to question #10:

Congressman Frank, earlier this week you remarked that the National Equality March in Washington D.C. was, "a waste of time at best". You went on to state that, "the only thing they're going to be putting pressure on is the grass." Could you elaborate on your rationale for these statements further? Were you arguing that the LGBT community is pursuing the wrong avenues for change? In light of the battering the First Amendment has taken over this last decade, is it prudent to criticize such protests? - mknight44

His passionate response is a must see for anyone interested in influencing politics, no matter your political affiliation.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Join reddit for All Hallows' Eve in San Francisco (drinks are on us!)

Update! We're having a redditor band called DubiousRanger rocking for the first part of the event, followed by DJ Snackfight who will be setting up a playlist that needs your help! If you've got an iPhone/iPod touch, get a free copy of the Remote app and you can vote on the night's playlist!

Mark your calendars and start picking a costume; we're having a Halloween party in SF - with an open bar - and you're invited.

From 9pm to 1:30am, Connecticut Yankee (100 Connecticut St.) will be overrun with redditors (we hope) in costume (required). We’ll have a bevy of Tru Blood cocktails – the real deal – that will be freely pouring from start to finish.

Just remember to tell the bouncer/bartender your password: "I read it on reddit"

(Seriously, this will be the phrase to utter all night long if you want to keep the party going. It's also the thing I hoped people would say to one another when we named the site 'reddit.' That never quite panned out. Until this Halloween!)

Here's the facebook event page, RSVP not necessary, but it'd be nice.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

reddit's new comment sorting system

Hey! This is Randall from xkcd guest-blogging to explain reddit's new comment sorting system, which I pushed for pretty hard.

Usually I illustrate blog posts with little drawings. Unfortunately, this one didn't lend itself to illustration, so I'm sorry if the drawings don't really relate to the material.

reddit has a new comment sorting algorithm, the "Best" ranking (joining "Top", "Hot", "New", "Controversial", and "Old"). It affects only comments, not stories. davean (the xkcd sysadmin) wrote the patch, the system has been in trial for a week or so, and as of this morning has become the default way comments are sorted.

This is a very, very good thing. Most of the time, you won't notice that there's anything obviously different (it doesn't affect threading or anything -- don't worry!), but it should improve the quality of the top comments immensely.

The algorithm is detailed here, in an article by Evan Miller (which I found last year on reddit). The article explains why each of the common systems for ranking things based on votes is flawed in a different way, and if you go there you'll see an explanation of the algorithm plus some examples of flawed voting systems. If you want to jump to the example of the new system working, scroll to the screenshots at the bottom. But if you're interested in the nerdy details, here's an outline of reddit-specific problems this fixes:

reddit is heavily biased toward comments posted early. When a mediocre joke gets posted in the first hour a story is up, it will become the top comment if it's even slightly funny. (I know this particularly well because I have dozens of reddit fake identities and with them have posted hundreds of mediocre jokes.) The reason for this bias is that once a comment gets a few early upvotes, it's moved to the top. The higher something is listed, the more likely it is to be read (and voted on), and the more votes the comment gets. It's a feedback loop that cements the comment's position, and a comment posted an hour later has little chance of overtaking it -- even if people reading it are upvoting it at a much higher rate.

There are periodically big threads with subjects like "what's your favorite joke/best advice/worst secret/weirdest habit?" A few weeks ago, I took one of these stories when it was 8 hours old and did a count of the top (root) comments. Of the top 10 comments, ALL were posted either "7 hours ago" or "8 hours ago" -- that is, in the first hour or two the story had been up. The "top" list was simply a list of the best jokes from within the first hour. Not a single joke from the last six hours (when most of the comments had been posted) made it near the top. And they never got a chance to; the story fell off the frontpage and they all stopped accumulating votes. They may have been getting upvotes from everyone who saw them, but that didn't let them catch up to the older comments at the top. One effect of this bias, which you may have seen, is posts saying "sorry to hijack your top comment, but I need to post some important information that refutes the main article." They know that no matter how good their comment is, it won't make it to the top.

The admins tried to fix this with a pretty bad hack -- the 'hot' ordering. As you may have noticed, it doesn't work very well.T [Edit: spez tells me this is not the intention of 'hot'. Apologies for my flippant criticism; 'hot' really isn't intended as a solution to this particular problem at all.] The idea was that it would make comments lose position after a certain time, but this led to even good comments dropping down to the bottom, and if you returned to the post in a day or two the ordering was completely nonsensical.

There's a solution, and it's the new 'Best' ranking. When a few people have voted on a comment, you get a rough idea of its quality. The more people who vote on it, the better an idea you get of where it 'should' ultimately end up. With this algorithm, you quantify exactly how much you can tell about a comment from a limited number of votes.

If everyone got a chance to see a comment and vote on it, it would get some proportion of upvotes to downvotes. This algorithm treats the vote count as a statistical sampling of a hypothetical full vote by everyone, much as in an opinion poll. It uses this to calculate the 95% confidence score for the comment. That is, it gives the comment a provisional ranking that it is 95% sure it will get to. The more votes, the closer the 95% confidence score gets to the actual score.

If a comment has one upvote and zero downvotes, it has a 100% upvote rate, but since there's not very much data, the system will keep it near the bottom. But if it has 10 upvotes and only 1 downvote, the system might have enough confidence to place it above something with 40 upvotes and 20 downvotes -- figuring that by the time it's also gotten 40 upvotes, it's almost certain it will have fewer than 20 downvotes. And the best part is that if it's wrong (which it is 5% of the time), it will quickly get more data, since the comment with less data is near the top -- and when it gets that data, it will quickly correct the comment's position. The bottom line is that this system means good comments will jump quickly to the top and stay there, and bad comments will hover near the bottom. (Picky readers might observe that some comments probably get a higher rate of votes, up or down, than others, which this system doesn't explicitly model. However, any bias which that introduces is tiny in comparison to the time bias which the system removes, and comments which get fewer overall votes will stay a bit lower anyway due to lower confidence.)

In practice, this system works splendidly. Here's an example from just today (when I wrote this). A redditor, in search of someone from a bar, posted this:

Now, it took a little while for the photographer to find this thread. People posted jokes, and it was only some hours later that the picture was found and the question was answered. Under the old system, her post (which was being furiously upvoted) never made it to the top:

Even if you collapse the top comment and its children, there is another below. The girl's post, after eight hours, was stuck in third place -- despite being linked to heavily.

Now, here's the same comment thread ordered with the 'Best' system:

It's hard to make a better argument for the new system than that.

This new reddit should be smarter and better. I especially look forward to the new iterations of the 'post your best <X>' threads, when most people are using this system and seeing a better sample on which to vote. I hope you enjoy it! See you there.