Editorial | 2023.07.01

Archer who are you comrade questions

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.

Cunningham's Law

"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.
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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:
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.

Reddit WSB WallStreetBets silver squeeze post
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.

Reddit WSB WallStreetBets silver squeeze comments

Democracy wins, OP is laughed at.

Reddit WSB WallStreetBets silver squeeze new reddit

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.

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Related - external

Risky click advisory: these links are produced algorithmically from a crawl of the subsurface web (and some select mainstream web). I haven't personally looked at them or checked them for quality, decency, or sanity. None of these links are promoted, sponsored, or affiliated with this site. For more information, see this post.


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