Goodbye Reddit

I heard about Reddit for the first time around August 2010, when Digg redesigned its website for various reasons (none of them related to improving the user experience) and lost most of its users (many of whom were already annoyed). The "Digg Exodus" is how I moved to Reddit, and I've used since then as my main source of news.

And yet, the shadow of a bad redesign hangs over Reddit. Even though they have been redesigning the website since 2018, their results have been uniformly awful. A quick test I made about a year ago showed that, while the "old" interface downloaded 410Kb of data and rendered in 81ms, the "new" interface would download 10Mb rendered in about 3.2s. Last week Reddit announced proudly that their team had reduced loading times by 2 seconds, which is still 15 times slower than the performance they had five years ago. The pop-ups, modals, hidden comments and low information density are not helping either.

I rarely saw any of this for one simple reason: i.reddit.com. This interface was a leftover from the earlier times of the mobile web and therefore it was fast, simple, and straight to the point. And precisely because it was so convenient at delivering the content that matters the most to me it had to die, killed by Reddit administrators yesterday and buried deep into this announcement post.

There's a widespread belief that the Reddit website is made awful on purpose with the end goal of exhausting you into using their mobile app where they can get better data about you and where you can no longer block their ads and sponsored posts. I do not know whether this theory is correct, but I can agree with half of it: now that i.reddit.com has shuffled off his mortal coil I am indeed exhausted, and today I am leaving the site for greener pastures. I have already made a GDPR request for all of my data in case I ever need to refer to some old post of mine, and once that's done I'll be gone for good.

Deciding where to go is a bit trickier. For tech news I already have Hacker News which is fine (a bit too obsessed with GPT at the moment, but we've been there before and hopefully this too shall pass). Local news will require some more research. I assume some part of Discord might do the trick, but I'd honestly prefer something more open.

So long, Reddit. It was fun while it lasted.