Reddit eyes journalism

Matthew Ingram talks to Reddit GM Erik Martin about the site's plans to build out crowdsourced reporting features—and how it will guard them against misuse and chaos.

Martin admitted the moderator system is flawed in some ways, or at least could be improved — by making it easier for users to switch from one sub-Reddit to another, for example — but he also argued that the democratic (some would anarchic) approach the site takes to virtually everything has positive impacts. Someone once asked who created a specific sub-Reddit, and Martin said he had to admit “I have no idea, someone just came along and did it… the fact that it even works at all, when you think about it, is just crazy. It shouldn’t work, but it does.”

Reddit's crowdsourced reporting threads are often the best places to find real-time aggregation of breaking news. But the screw-ups can't be dismissed glibly. If Reddit took a little more responsibility for the major subreddits (the ones that it promotes to the general public as central sections of the site, such as r/news) and applied a more policy-driven approach to how they're run, it would be much easier to communicate the implicit distinctions here between moderation and anarchy (i.e., journalism and histrionics).

Weird true facts that sound false

A great and endlessly entertaining Reddit thread asks for weird facts that sound made up, but aren't, like "The Ottoman Empire still existed the last time the Cubs won the World Series" and "When you get a kidney transplant, they usually just leave your original kidneys in your body and put the 3rd kidney in your pelvis." And:

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Coloured ice fortress


Redditor Unspeakablefilth lives in northern Ontario, where December was plenty cold (daytime highs of -25C!). He made the best of an icy situation by freezing blocks of coloured ice in shifts, a new batch every 12 hours, ending up with hundreds of them, which he used to piece together a gorgeous ice-fortress that he opened up to his neighbours. The Imgur set does a great job of showing off the build process and the ensuing enjoyment.

It's a great variation on last winter's coloured ice igloo from Edmonton. Can't wait to see what next year brings!

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Shanghai hotel provides smog-masks for guests


Redditor Mthomaseddy snapped this photo of the elegantly packaged "gas mask" (apparently an air-filter mask, not something to be used in gas-attacks) that was waiting in his room at the Shanghai Fairmont when he checked in. China's pretty damned smoggy these days.

Shanghai hotels know how to pamper you (via Super Punch)

Complain about overpriced plastic dingus and a stranger will model a free 3D printable version


Back in April, a redditor complained that a simple plastic cable-comb (used to bundle cables) was too expensive at $45. Later that day, WillySF modelled a printable cable comb and linked to the shape files (1, 2). It's a bit of a futuristic moment, no?

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Teen's free award-winning 2009 game "Sneaky Cards" redeveloped by fans and relaunched


Back in 2009, we partnered with Institute for the Future to hold a "Digital Open" contest for teens around the world. One of the winners was Harry Lee, a 16 year old from Melbourne, Australia, who created a game called "Sneaky Cards" that "spread the seeds of sneakiness and espionage into the unsuspecting pockets, math books, binders and bags and jackets of his schoolmates."

Over 300 people in the Sneaky Cards subreddit have worked to turn Sneaky Cards into a fully realized game, with new designs, decks and bonus packs. The game is free to download under a Creative Commons license. Harry Lee has blessed the revamp, headed up by a designer named Cody Borst.

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Choir performs MST3K's Let's Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas This Year

Benjamin writes, "Reddit and Mystery Science Theater 3000's Joel Hodgson team up to produce a choral cover of the MST3K Christmas song 'Let's Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas This Year' from the classic 1991 episode 'Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.'

A reddit & MST3K holiday tradition: "Let's Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas This Year" (Thanks, Benjamin Wilson!)

If history were a movie, what would be the most egregious plot holes?

Hate that smarmy, too-good-to-be-real Christmas episode of World War I? Annoyed by the lazy montage scene that took us from the first airplane to the Moon in just 66 years? Think "rocks fall, all the dinosaurs die" was just a total cop-out? Here's a fun Reddit thread you will appreciate, pointed out to me by Karen James.

BEHOLD I AM BECOME EERILY GEOMETRIC FROZEN MCRIB DESTROYER OF METABOLISMS


Redditor DJDanaK got this photo of frozen McRibs in situ, marking confluence of pork futures and sandwich-making.

My buddy works at McDonald's and sent me this photo of raw McRib meat.

Blue sky billboard in smoggy Beijing


Reddit user D3cker posted this amazing photo of an electronic billboard showing a gorgeous blue sky in a smoggy Beijing square. No idea if the photo is original to D3cker or whether it's been shooped, but it's pretty sweet contrast, and plays neatly into the China-is-collapsing narrative.

Beijing Tv Sky.


Update: In the comments, m1ck3y posts, "The picture is real—it's from the Atlantic Magazine article China's Toxic City. This particular photo eerily looks like a screencap from Blade Runner."

(Image: China's Toxic Sky, Feng Li/Getty Images)

Counterintuitive truths

Here is a great catalog of counterintuitive truths, collected in a Reddit thread called "What fact do you accept intellectually, but still feels 'wrong' to you?" For example: "How automatic transmissions work. No matter how much I read about it, it still seems like magic." (ohsballer) Cory 11

Haunted Mansion wedding cake


This amazing Haunted Mansion wedding-cake (complete with Doom Buggie cake-topper) featured at the wedding of a redditor called TheSharkFromJaws.

Got married in WDW today. Thought you guys might enjoy a pic of the cake.

Mass anti-surveillance demonstration in DC on Oct 26

Rainey from EFF sez, "On the weekend of October 26 -- the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act -- thousands of people from across the political spectrum will unite in Washington, D.C. to take a stand against unconstitutional surveillance. Groups like EFF, ACLU and reddit are using the event to pressure Congress to stop mass spying -- and dropping off a petition with over 500,000 signatures to show they're serious. There will be speakers, privacy experts, and lots of music - including YACHT, the indie pop duo that's sweeping the nation with its new song, 'Party at the NSA.'" (Thanks, Rainey!)

Lee Billings — exoplanet-obsessed science journalist — on Reddit's AMA

At 3:00 Eastern today, science journalist Lee Billings will be doing a Reddit Ask Me Anything. Lee has been a guest blogger at BoingBoing in the past. His specialty is exoplanets, the worlds that exist beyond our own solar system. Bring him your questions about the Kepler space telescope, human exploration of the galaxy, the likelihood of alien life (and of us finding it), and more.

Excellent goals from an eight-year-old


This list of third-grade goals is presented by redditor Elbostonian as the work of his eight-year-old son. It's a rather ambitious document, but admirably so -- an excellent mix of stupid body tricks, theoretical astrophysics, identity development, culinary adventure, and mystery.

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