Thinking aloud about reddit.
I have a love-hate relationship with news site It contains a ton of interesting links, many of which I’ve reposted here.  It is a reliable place to read about new appalling things done by the government, and to read about offbeat programming languages like Python and Lisp (both of which have at different times been used to run the site itself).

The site has the wonderful feature that you can moderate sites up — like “digging” on — or down. Somebody posts something stupid, you can hit the thumbs-down arrow and nuke the guy’s karma.  Post something awesome and you get karma.  (What is karma good for?  Nothing, really.  It’s just a number.  It doesn’t affect you in any way except as a badge of honor or something.)

The “new appalling things done by the government” thing is maybe a bit more than I need right now.  I’ve been getting political on the blog again, which is a danger signal to me that I’m maybe not feeling very well depression-wise, you know? There’s a lot of that on Reddit. (To be fair, there’s a lot of that all over the news too.) I could limit myself to just the Programming Reddit I suppose… But part of the fun of Reddit is that you get all kinds of stories on it.  JUST the programming — well, for that I’d just go to lambda, the ultimate weblog. In fact, many highly rated links on reddit are things I saw two years ago on lambda, the ultimate.

I’ve played the “submit links to reddit” game and accumulated some karma.  I never know though what’s going to be wildly appreciated and what will be loathed. Watching my karma take hits from people who don’t appreciate my link-posting GENIUS is a little stressful. Watching similar topics come up again and again on the front page — even when I might have appreciated those topics the first half-dozen times —  is way tedious.

But absorbing.  It’s like a video game you can’t win, you can’t even get past this one level, but you can’t quit either.  Grr.

I think I may have to cut myself off.

Will I have to wean myself from Metafilter too?  They have a lot of stuff that depresses me too.  And they have that hateful habit of posting sentences where every single word (if not every single letter) is a different link.

Maybe I’ll have to go back to bOINGbOING…   Or pick up Table of Malcontents… Or even (I’m not proud) I dunno.  I learn a lot of neat stuff from Reddit’s links, but man.  The voting, the karma, it’s a bunch of nonsense that sucks you in. I don’t need that.
Oh, btw — concerning Digg, this is the secret formula:  digg : reddit  :: slashdot : kuro5hin.  Just so you know.

W Failed Islam 101?

If Only … – The lessons of our Iraqi bungles. By Fred Kaplan

A story by George Packer in the New York Times Magazine of March 2, 2003 (a couple of weeks before the war began), recounted a January meeting in the Oval Office between President Bush and three Iraqi exiles. The exiles spent much of the meeting explaining to Bush the difference between Sunnis and Shiites; they were stunned that he seemed unaware of the two groups’ existence.

Via reddit.