Reddit for Digg users: A tutorial

2007-05-04 05:05:02 UTC

Fresh from Digg? Welcome to Reddit!

You’ll find that Reddit has a lot of advantages over Digg. In order to save you a lot of time, I’ve compiled a list of them. These are the same things I had to learn when I came over from Digg, about a year ago IIRC.

  1. Reddit doesn’t have descriptions.

    When you submit a link to Digg, you have to enter a description. Reddit doesn’t have this feature; instead, you must completely sell the article in the title.

    The field that appears when you submit the article is not a description field—it’s the comment field. What you enter there is a comment, not a description, so it won’t show up on the new page, the recommended page, or any other list of articles.

    That means that it won’t help you sell the article. Your title must stand alone.

    (And don’t worry about the length limit. It’s high enough; trust me.)

  2. Comments support rich text.

    Unlike Digg, which has no styling support whatsoever (except for auto-linking), Reddit uses Markdown, a really, really easy plain-text mark-up format. The syntax makes emphasis, links, blockquotes, lists, etc. almost as easy as plain text. Yes, really. And you’ll find it makes your comments so much better (and be received so much more happily) when you style them correctly.

  3. You can reply to any comment.

    Digg only has single-level threading: you can reply to top-level comments, but not to other replies. Reddit allows virtually any amount of nesting. This means you never need to say “@someotheruser: My comment here”—replying directly to that comment automatically implies that you are addressing that comment and no other.

    And definitely do not use the comment field at the top of the page. That’s for top-level comments only, not replies; you look quite silly if you try to reply with it. ☺

  4. “DUPE” is not appreciated here.

    First off, it isn’t uncommon at all to resubmit a page that didn’t do well before—in fact, it’s explicitly allowed by Reddiquette. (When it’s the exact same URL as the previous submission, the resubmission has a query string on it—usually just an empty “?”.) Second, if you do have a real dupe to speak of (one that actually made the front page by getting over 100 points), then link to the original Reddit story so that we know that you aren’t just crying “DUPE” for no reason—we won’t search for it for you. If you do that, then your comment will be voted up instead of down.

    Also, sometimes when a submission doesn’t do well, the submitter deletes it and tries again (maybe with a different title). This is normal and in line with Reddiquette, and doesn’t count as a duplicate. This is another reason to search for the original before crying dupe—if the original doesn’t come up in the search results, this suggests (not conclusively) that this is what happened.

    Speaking of Reddiquette…

  5. Reddit has a code of conduct that we all expect you to follow.

    You will be much better-liked by the community if you follow the rules set forth in Reddiquette. That and other help pages provide broader coverage of the advice I’m giving you here.

  6. You can easily see replies to your comments.

    Since comment threading isn’t the clusterfuck it is on Digg, Reddit is able to provide an “inbox” that shows all replies to anything you’ve said. (The same page shows private messages that have been sent you by other users, but this is much rarer.) The inbox is marked by a ✉ (envelope) icon in the top-right corner of the page, and if you have replies or messages waiting for you, it will be colored red.

    On a related note, you can click on your username in the same corner to get an “overview” of every comment and article you’ve posted. You can use this to quickly see how your articles and comments are doing.

  7. We have a very small definition of “spam”.

    On Digg, an article submitted by its author must meet a very high standard of quality in order to not get booted from the front page (or forestalled from even reaching the front page) for being “spam”. On Reddit, self-submission of articles is allowed and even encouraged (as you’ve seen already if you’ve already read the Reddiquette page), as long as your article is good (by the same standard as any other article).

    So please don’t cry “spam” or hit the report button just because the author and the submitter are the same person—that’s not enough. It’s only spam if the submitter lifted it from somewhere else and copied it to his site (that is, linkjacked it).

  8. We don’t mind curse words, but wanton cursing will get you downmodded.

    By this, I mean two things.

    First, you don’t need to say things like “f*ck”, “fcuk”, etc. There is no swear-filter to evade, so don’t worry about it. If you’re going to use that kind of language anyway, I think most of us would prefer that you use the real word.

    Second, you can use words like “clusterfuck”, “bullshit”, etc. without problem, as long as you use them judiciously. If you just throw every swear word you know into every comment, you’re wasting good words and you will be downmodded for it.

    Wanton cursing doesn’t make you look more adult, it makes you look less adult. Please think about using alternative words (or omitting the curse word entirely if you can’t think of one) rather than slathering your message in an excessive amount of curse words. If you use too many, it drowns out your message.

  9. If you have nothing to say, please don’t say it.

    I have seen many comments lately along the lines of “hahaha great link”, or “this article sucks, downmodded”. These comments invariably get downmodded because they are essentially empty.

    If all you want to do is express your like or dislike for the article, then vote up or vote down and move on. You don’t need to comment for that. And if you’re thinking of karma, it didn’t work: Comments don’t count toward karma.

    In a similar vein, random bashing of Bush/Microsoft/Apple/the Cookie Monster does not impress people here. You need to have a point, and make a salient argument backed by facts and logic. Otherwise, you will be downmodded.

    So you should only post a comment when you want to:

    • contribute a meaningful point to the discussion, or
    • make a joke (in which case, please make it funny—bad jokes are worse than no jokes)
  10. You can edit your comment at any time.

    On Digg, the ability to edit a comment expires three minutes after you post it. Reddit, on the other hand, does not impose a time limit on comment editing. So there’s no need to reply to your own comment to get in an edit that missed the window—there is no window.

Thank you for reading through my list of advice, and thank you in advance for following it. By doing so, you’ll help keep Reddit a better place.

And if you’re one of my regular readers and wondering what brought this on: Digg blew up recently, and a legion of its users moved over to Reddit. With this post, I hope to help them fit in in their new environment with its slightly-different social rules.

14 Responses to “Reddit for Digg users: A tutorial”

  1. brant Says:

    Excellent article. I have been using digg and reddit for awhile now, but its been pretty obvious that reddit is the more powerful one.

    I will definitely be taking a closer look at “Markdown”. I always wondered what reddit used.

  2. Danny Lockard Says:

    Thank you for posting this :-)

  3. Mike Malone Says:

    Excellent tutorial. I’ve read the Redditquette page, but it doesn’t do justice to some of the “social norms” of the Reddit community that you’ve brought up here. The non-transparent nature of Digg’s moderation system has really started to piss me off lately, and Reddit looks like an excellent alternative.

    What are your thoughts on the Reddit UI? I’m not the type of person who would decide whether to use a website based solely on its UI (at least not consciously), but I know a lot of people do. Do you think the Reddit UI is hindering the site’s growth, or do you consider the simplicity of UI as a feature?

  4. Peter Hosey Says:

    It’s a feature. I was shocked when I saw the current Digg look for the first time (especially having been a Reddit user for some time at that time). It’s sooo cluttered now.

    Reddit seems to be taking a cue from Google vs Yahoo! and keeping its simple look. Good plan.

  5. Byron Says:

    Reddit’s UI attracts the kind of people we want in the community – those who are concerned with substance over appearance.

  6. jack Says:

    I didn’t understand half of what he said, but i love this site!

  7. Jerry Kindall Says:

    Random bashing of Bush is in fact popular on Reddit, especially if it’s funny. People will forgive a lot of random posts if they’re funny enough.

    I agree that the spartan UI as a feature. Another site that a similar approach has worked well for is MetaFilter.

  8. mike Says:

    > Reddit seems to be taking a cue from Google vs Yahoo! and keeping its simple look. Good plan.

    Not really. It’s taking its cues from craigslist.

  9. PENIX Says:

    I’ve been a digg user for about a year now. I just started using reddit today. Reddit is considerably more ugly, but much more effective.

  10. Joe Says: for Reddit users: Enjoy uncensored content because Muvy is not owned by a mainsteam media monolith like Reddit is.

  11. SouldrinK Says:

    I have been using reddit for a little over a year now – but more in a “leech” sense – I only use the rss feed, and almost never directly visit the site. It’s the content and speed at which it reaches the feed that most impresses me. It’s a wonderful idea, and falls right into the social-success many companies are finding. It’s good to know there are people out there encouraging and helping when they can to make sure the system is as honed as possible! :)

  12. Peter Hosey Says:

    Random bashing of Bush is in fact popular on Reddit, especially if it’s funny.

    Well, yeah. Funny does beat random in the how-to-vote-on-your-comment flow-chart. ☺

  13. loloboy Says:


  14. geekygirl23 Says: sucks ass! Stop spamming your lame ass site here dude, you missed the boat by about a year. Reddit doesn’t censor anything, if I want to call you a retarded asshole there I can.


Leave a Reply

Do not delete the second sentence.