Watching a website devour itself - its rather devastating and it I cant say that it has't been coming for some time - we've all have seen it before in many guises - perhaps most notably, the Digg -> Reddit exodus which appears to be happening again - there is obviously a point at which user powered sites become unsustainable - some kind of critical mass, a digital event horizon.
I guess that there is some truth to Genesis - give a man absolute freedom and he is bound to screw it up.
It also got me thinking - why can giants like youtube and facebook succeed - simple: censorship. The more rules put in place, the easier it is to manage crises before they spread out of control. Youtube is full of Kooks and wierdos but they generally stay put in their circles - Facebook has their mysterious algorithm which is reminiscent of a black box, with the ability to supress anything they dont want you to see.
Reddit caught an auto immune disease - it is curable but its going to be a tough slog. The entire site is powered by users and the user base became so big that opposing factions overlapped - with some wonderful to watch interactions. The simple solution would be to do what facebook did and determine the content of your front page by your positive and negative interactions. If the neonazi conservatives only see stuff they like they will keep on keeping on. The problem occurs when users keep on fighting against their philosophical opposites.
This is like a bacterial macrocosm where some bacterium eat each other and some dont - and it works fine until a certain point. The irony is that the internet is completely virtual and the solution would be to diversify further - this is something that reddit tried to do but couldnt find the balance where people will stay entertained and where they leave. Its not difficult to entertain the masses - look at the button. facebook has a billion invisible walls separating the play pens, its rare for something to break through those invisible walls and pollute other folks little zen gardens of conformity.
Its these tiny breakouts that start making things unpleasant. Its when these little pockets of unhappiness surface that little bubbles of hatred begin - then comes deletion and shadow-banning - then comes the first shunning and pitchfork brigade. Its those pitchfork brigades thatstart everything. but it takes one vitriolic comment to start it. These thigs are started by people , also remember those headlines " Reddit solves murder" Nope... "Guy solves murder and posted it on a public platform called reddit" Yup.
Basically; All people are dicks and, if they mix with dicks of a different kind they will fight and spoil it for everyone... Its human nature and its responsible for most things, both good and bad and meh. This exact same social phenomenon transcends the digital divde and is the same reaon why nightclubs close and the same reason why wars are fought. Its likely the same reason all the neanderthals disappeared. Part of me wants to think they were taken to a better place by aliens.
Seriously though if anybody broke reddit it was you...