#14 Beginning to Learn with Reddit

Reddit and Open-Source Communities

Welcome to Hunter-Gatherer, a weekly newsletter where I give you one thing to try, to think about and a question to respond to nurture your relationship with the Internet. In an online-first world, we're all hunters & gatherers of information.


Hey, Hunter-Gatherer!

About a year or so ago, Facebook was dethroned by Reddit to be the most visited social media site in the United States. For those of you who have never used Reddit, it can be approximately described as a network of public forums for people to participate in. Each forum is usually organized around a topic or a creator and has its own guidelines. This forum at is called a subreddit. Moderators enforce the guidelines as people participate by posting, commenting in threads and up/down-vote everything.

What this creates is perhaps the most publicly accrued system of information and it's posited that things first go viral on Reddit before anywhere else. That's why Reddit lives up to its claim that "it is the front page of the Internet."

In what ways, Reddit can be useful and fun is something I am still exploring. Till then, I will propose one immediate benefit I've found:


đź› Try this

When learning about something new, first find the subreddit and see the top posts.

While you're trying to find the best sources for learning about something, where should you begin? Maybe the top search results from Google or you may hop over to Reddit and find the top results from an active community. It may go something like this:

  1. Find the Subreddit.

  2. Look at the sidebar (to know what the subreddit is about and its guidelines)

  3. Sort top > all time, and scroll through/read the top 50 posts.

(Hat tip to Austen Allred, CEO of Lambda School, for proposing this)

Something along similar lines is searching through a curation done by a group of people on a website. I am a UX Designer and whenever I am looking for material to learn something new, I always hop over to the website HeyDesigner.com to search through the many links they've collected over time. These are usually better quality than anything recommended to me on Medium or in search results.

Searching curations done by a person or a community can be of really high value.


đź’ˇThink about this

I was first attracted to open source – public code that everybody relies upon – after observing that its developers are creating trillions of dollars in economic value, while giving away their code for free.

- Nadia Egbal, Writer and Researcher*

Why Reddit has captured my attention lately is because of an article by Alex Danco I talked about in an earlier letter. In it, Danco talks about how in remote-first world employees will freely move across companies. In which case, the idea that “mastering a craft is how you find professional and personal fulfilment” surfaces to the top in the culture. People will increase group themselves into communities of like-minded individuals who appreciate the craft and work together.

Alex concluded that forums will un-bundle LinkedIn, for any job where craft matters. (Article)

Open-source software, and most prominently Linux, has shown the transformational implications of such a social dynamics of the web and it is permeating in everything else.

This entire phenomenon, as phrased by Nadia Egbal "Working in Public", has major implications for how we work and learn. These essays have helped me understand better:


âť“Respond to this

What are the forums/online communities you actively participate in?

PS. I am relatively new to Reddit and so I will take any recommendation for a subreddit.


Regards,

Abhishek
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All thoughts, questions, or criticisms are encouraged. Feel free to reply. Let's talk!

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