There's a saying on WallStreetBets, "the real DD (due diligence) is in the comments". It's a half-truth, reading replies absolutely is not financial due diligence and plenty of commenters are, uh, not successful investors. On the other hand, the comment section is where the critical thinking lives
(because OP probably didn't analyze his own post objectively).
This theoretically applies everywhere, but as Reddit slides into 'enshittification'
I'll talk about why that particular site was so successful.
"The best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer." That is, people on the internet don't want to be helpful, they want to be right
. That's not always a recipe for civility (see also Godwin's Law) but it can be a recipe for finding answers. StackOverflow has long been the go-to resource for coders, if you look past the initial question it's all people wanting to be rightest and smartest.
Returning to Cunningham's Law, if OP's post is bad, the comments will illustrate why that is the case
. If OP's post is good, someone will say "ackshually..." but promptly be proven wrong. And I'm using right/wrong out of convenience, many things aren't so polar but the principal still applies.
Reddit and Google and SEO
Reddit is one of the last few places you can get information off google.
You ask google "How do i handle X" and it will sell you 20 sponsored answers and adverts that don't actually solve your issue.
You ask google "How do i handle X 'REDDIT'" and it will show you 20 reddit threads with people who had your exact same issue and many of which have answers you didn't know you needed.
Doesn't matter if its daily life, community stuff, gaming tips, cooking, cleaning, frugality etc.
You get actual answers from people and not buzzfeed articles or pintrest posts or advertisements.
Do you want to know how to fix your PC graphics card? Many people have complex issues from their personal computing but it's not as complicated as it seems. To understand how to fix your PC graphics card, you first need to understand a few basics. A PC stands for personal computer and can have multiple components, including a PC graphics card. When users need help fixing their PC graphics cards, it can be a costly replacement to have someone else do for you, but it can easily be done by yourself. By understanding how a PC graphics card works, you can start troubleshooting issues with your PC graphics card right away, so you can quickly return to using your PC graphics card for business or personal use. When trying to fix your PC graphics card, one should consult a user manual before attempting to fix your PC graphics card. This can help keep you safe when trying to fix your PC graphics card as components can break if you are not careful. By not following the directions in the user manual of your PC graphics card...
This phenomenon exists in part because SEO destroyed search and in part because Reddit threads have good information. I don't want to focus on Reddit too much, but having been part of a few internet communities in my time, it was the most successful discussion forum. Here's why:
- Volume/accessibility: Reddit was a large site that could be viewed without a login and, until recently, posted to without even providing an email.
- Voting: Reddit's accessibility could have been a dangerous flood of information were it not for the voting system (and moderation). It isn't perfect, in-jokes and reused content get a lot of visibility.
- Enthusiast-oriented: Reddit was designed around enthusiast communities (politics, quilting, trees, etc.). You're more likely to get a good answer about solar in a solar community than a Mincraft Discord. Again it's not perfect, if you ask an Apple community how to access your phone's filesystem you'll most likely get, "Why would you want to do that? Just use icloud."
- Reputation: while Reddit supported throwaway accounts and nuking your identity, it also fostered committment and people concerned about their credibility.
- Threaded view and information density: olden-day forums were single-thread. If someone posted a cat pic, you could have a half-dozen dog pics before you could reply "nice cat pic". The Reddit comments section used threading, so the context for a comment was always easy to track. This is especially important with adversarial (but constructive) discourse.
- Sauce: Reddit supported quotes and hyperlinks, so commenters could ask for or provide attribution.
Each of these contributed to the success of Reddit as a discussion forum, looking at other sites its easy to spot the gap. 4chan is, well, a bit chaotic - threading/replies aren't especially intuitive and the lack of voting means you see everything. Hacker News is more or less a clone of Reddit but it lacks user volume and content diversity to be a web phenomenon. News sites, blogs, enthusiast forums, and YouTube often have comments sections that are deficient in two or three of the categories mentioned above.
There's another site that failed to duplicate Reddit's success, it's called Reddit.
Years ago, Reddit redesigned their main site to maximize ad visibility and engagement. The new design lacked the thread visibility and information density described above and was largely the reason for their recent third-party app drama.
Since old Reddit was left to die, inline images were never implemented.
Here's a trash post in WallStreetBets. The 'silver squeeze' has been a dumb pump and dump since the Gamestop saga brought an influx of astroturfers.
Democracy wins, OP is laughed at.
New Reddit. Just lmao.
The bottom line
I've found myself revisiting the phrase "the real DD is in the comments" in a variety of context, so it made sense to provide the full explanation.