The Offical Weblog of Russell Jennings

I Quit Reddit for Music

I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner.

I should disclaim first and foremost: There are many ways to waste your time on a computer, and reddit is just one of them. For me, it was by far the biggest (second only to large database imports in dev).

I’ve been a redditor almost since it started, and it’s been interesting to see the site grow and change. But I’ve come to question its place in my life. From a community perspective, I’ve never quite drank the reddit cool-aid. Any attempts to share legitimate content are often met with downvotes, disinterest, or my favorite: being told you can’t post here / wrong sub. And even the most reasoned comment can elicit a vile reply. I think that’s a clear failure of the platform as a whole.

From a consumption perspective: there are some very informative / creative / interesting subreddits, and I can’t say it’s always been bad there. But I find in my browsing there might be one article that I find useful, or post worthwhile(expands my reality in some meaningful way). Actually, I think the subreddit I gained the most from was r/TwoXChromosomes/, to get a glimpse at what the world looks like for women. But otherwise, I’m just foraging for novelty, and I can’t say the time I spent on it was actually meaningful or providing me much return.

And lastly, my faith in reddit: As a technical platform, they’ve had to scale and I appreciate that challenge. But having been a moderator and a regular user, they have a long ways to go, and have had a long ways to go for some time. But equally they as an organization have had some disheartening news as of late (and blatant CYA behavior, in the name of free speech to add insult to injury) and I can’t help but see it as part of a systemic failure, and not merely a simple mistake. And trying to engage in meaningful discourse with a manager at reddit over twitter was met with the same tone of response that I’d expect from an actual reddit comment.

And I think that’s really when it dawned on me: The company is a reflection of the community, and the community is a reflection of the company.

Meanwhile, I’m in the process (a little over 1.5 years) of learning the piano & music theory and being guided along by a piano teacher (who I found on reddit). So with all the above factored, it seemed like a no-brainer. I’d rather go to bed having spent an hour on the piano, then an hour on reddit. Also, I have measurable gains from piano practice, but the benefits from reddit are often seem cloudy or absent.

So, I added reddit to my /etc/hosts and it now resolves to my side project. It’s been amusing seeing how many times I knee-jerk to that URL, only to go “oh yeah…”

To stay connected, I still browse hacker news and slashdot, but that takes only a fraction of what reddit would normally represent. And If I really want to check-in on a particular subreddit, I can do so on my phone; but that’s a more painful experience for me and not something I do regularly.

I encourage everyone to do the same: kill the time wasters that offer little or no return. Maybe for you its something like WoW or facebook. If you feel more connected with the reddit community but still find it takes up too much time, there are browser plugins, like leechblock(firefox) which can help control the amount of time you spend on a given site.

Also, pick up an instrument. $genders_of_interest dig musicians.

And fuck reddit.

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