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Hot on the heels of our last Q&A session with the Windows Live Hotmail team Ask The Hotmail Development Team Anything - And They Will Answer! [Questions & Answers] Ask The Hotmail Development Team Anything - And They Will Answer! [Questions & Answers] Over the past year or so, MakeUseOf has published quite a few articles on Hotmail, the email service that everyone loves to bash. However, James has told you why we should let it back into... Read More , is our next Q&A with Erik Martin who is the “General Manager and Nerd Herder” at the popular social network Reddit.

We here at MakeUseOf are HUGE Reddit fans and in the past, we hired two of our staffers through the Reddit jobs boards (Dave and Joshua). Personally speaking, I am totally addicted to Ask Me Anything (the inspiration behind these MakeUseOf Q&A’s) and I am in total awe of the enormous good that the Reddit community is capable of, when someone needs help. So when I managed to persuade Erik to a MakeUseOf Q&A, I was totally thrilled.

For the next few days, Erik has graciously agreed to answer all of your questions relating to Reddit.  Have you got a burning question you want to put to him?  Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to know? Or maybe there’s something about Reddit that really gets your back up?  Then Erik would be the guy to tell it to. Or maybe you just want to make his day and tell him what a really great site he has.

Whatever you want to say to him, put it in the comments section below and Erik will check in periodically and try to answer as much as he can.  Oh and did you know we have a free downloadable Reddit manual?  Told you we were big fans here!

  1. Aibek Esengulov
    June 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Hey Eric,

    It would be really cool if you share some info on the Reddit backend. Daily bandwidth, operations per minute during pick times, server setup etc :)

  2. Erez Zukerman
    June 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Erik,

    I'm a big Reddit fan myself. One of the reasons I love the site so much is the complete anonymity -- the fact you don't even ask for my email address to create an account.

    On the other hand, I think this creates a situation where one person can create multiple account and upvote their own posts, etc. Is this ever an issue? Do you have guys monitoring this sort of activity, or do you consider it relatively minor compared to the genuine votes?

    Another thing I wanted to ask: What do you think about RES, the Reddit Enhancement Suite addon? You mention in one of the replies that you listen to the community in terms of features and development -- do you see Reddit adopting some of the features from the add-on, or featuring the add-on officially?

    • hueypriest
      June 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      Yeah, the anonymity is very important for us, especially as the rest of the world is seeming to slide frictionlessly headfirst into facebook connect etc. Glad you appreciate it.

      We have various countermeasures to deal with people using multiple account to cheat the voting. I'm sure we're not 100% successful in thwarting* them but we do a pretty good job.

      Love RES, and even got the pleasure of hanging out with Solidwhetstone and Honestbleeps this weekend in Chicago for GRMD. There are definitely some features we may add, but many of their features wouldn't easily scale or might raise other issues (inline images).

      • Erez Zukerman
        June 28, 2012 at 8:22 am

        Thanks Erik! A fantastic answer. :)

  3. Willem
    June 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Reddit is a great effort, Mr. Martin. But I would like to know where you plan on going in the future.

    • hueypriest
      June 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      I'm only half joking when I say, I have no idea! The real innovation, both in a technical sense and in a content sense has always come from our community and I don't see that changing. We have creative and talented devs in the reddit community who try out various improvements and hacks on our platform, and then we at reddit adopt and improve the ones that really connect. We end up paving footpaths so to speak. For an example, look at what /r/soccer is doing with incorporating real time data feeds and optimizing the comment displays for live events. That's huge and has a whole range of applications once. Perhaps we will end up making it easier for those without CSS/API knowledge to implement. Our community is and always will be smarter than we are.

  4. Joshua Lockhart
    June 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Erik. Does Reddit actually check in on redditors who have used the lovely alien logo for their own content? I'm talking about other websites like Radio Reddit, t-shirts created by users, and even changes to the subreddit logos.

    Ultimately, is the company lenient with logo usage since the site itself is user-generated? I just see so much material using the alien these days.

    • hueypriest
      June 27, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      Yes, we are fairly lenient if it's for personal use or even more so if it's for a subreddit logo. We love that people make homemade scarves or make their own versions of our logo. The bigger sites like radioreddit etc have proper licenses from us.

      • Joshua Lockhart
        June 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

        Awesome. Just something I've always been curious about. Thanks for letting me know.

  5. Mark O'Neill
    June 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    OK I will ask the first question. Reddit is very much a democratic site where people can start up sub-reddits on every conceivable subject. However, that freedom can cause some people to abuse the system (such as setting up sub-reddits on under-age sex or jailbait).

    How do you balance Reddit's ideals of a democratic system while at the same time cracking down on less-than-desirable sub-reddits? Surely one contradicts the other? You can't truly be democratic and have a site totally powered by readers when you are behind the scenes shutting down certain subjects. Surely the ideal of a democratic reader-driven site means you let sub-reddits open on any subject whatsoever and let the Redditors decide what rises to the top and what sinks to the bottom?

    • hueypriest
      June 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      We work hard to be as hands off as we can and have as few rules as possible. Even the most crazy Mos Eisley frontier bar has to have some rules. You can't start jackhammering load bearing columns or bring in Pneumonic Plague jello shots, and if you can't have people rigging the voting box. It can be a tough balance, especially when you get into areas like CSS, bots, developer projects, etc. But I challenge anyone to find as free and democratic of a space on the internet.

      • Mark O'Neill
        June 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm

        Thanks for your reply! I agree that Reddit is a free and democratic site to visit. Which makes it absolutely addictive! :-)

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