How to succeed on Reddit - write for scienceblogs.com
|There are lots and lots of science sites out there doing similar things - LiveScience.com, Scienceblog.com, Scienceblogs.com, Sciam.com,physorg.com,ScientificBlogging.com, ScienceDaily.com. Except for ScienceDaily ( though I love those guys), they all do some original content and which one you prefer to read really comes down to where you fall on the political spectrum as much as the tone of the publication. |
I help out on ScientificBlogging.com on occasion, mostly because I have a friend who is over there, and basically I help by distilling news releases into articles and making sure the pictures are pretty. I haven't written any original articles yet, though a lot of people do. At some point when I write articles more regularly, I will do that too because it's probably the most politically neutral of the science sites. You don't have rants against religious people or certain political parties as part of their editorial or "what sells" policy.
This is a special case though, so I am writing today. I am just publishing this on my site because it has nothing to do with any of the science sites and I don't want it to reflect on scientificblogging.com, who basically seem to be interested in creating the non-agenda driven site everyone claims to want.
Ordinarily I would tell anyone who is trying to get the word out about science writing that Reddit is the way to go. In my opinion ( and it's just that ) Digg is more for technology and Reddit is more for science.
It turns out Reddit may not be a friend to science articles if you place articles from the wrong science sites.
Digg has ( or had ) a bury brigade, groups of malicious users who kept content off the front page by voting it down and voting their own things up. I am not sure what they get out of that since Digg doesn't seem to award prizes or pay money for the people with the most popular articles. Actually, I don't understand a lot of about Digg but I assumed that Reddit, being a more scientific readership, was also more mature.
I got an email yesterday from another volunteer editor at scientificblogging discussing why his articles never showed up on Reddit. I assumed it was a mistake. When I went to his profile it showed them. But then I submitted one and it never showed up either. It's in my profile as submitted, it just never makes it to the main page.
I don't know a lot of about the mechanics of Reddit but I started looking around and found my rating: -18. Now why would I have a - 18? It's not like I put up advertising or post my own articles. I could even understand being 0 if no one liked what I put there but instead I am effectively buried before any of my posted articles get seen. They do not exist to anyone except me.
I found the common denominator and wrote my friend back and told him I had probably submitted too many for scientificblogging, around 15 over the last three months, so it looked like self-promotion. He didn't seem to like that, since he had submitted only 4 articles and his content never showed up either, so he did a search and sent me the results.
Searching on ScienceDaily.com has about what you'd expect for the premiere science news release aggregator. Lots of posted articles from many different people.
Searching on scienceblogs gave him an entirely different result. Scienceblogs had a few different people over the last year but one stood out even under the quick search:
Wow. That grrlscientist person really loves scienceblogs. So he searched on her name and found not only does she love scienceblogs, she submits them exclusively ( or not, how much time would you spend searching after the first 25 are all from the same site? )
Then he highlighted the URL of the scienceblogs sites she submits and all of them are in the form: http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/ - every single one.
So she is writing the articles on scienceblogs, submitting them to Reddit herself, and has 600 Karma ( the Reddit measure of popularity ) for doing so.
How is that not self-promotion or spam but I have -18 for submitting 5 articles per month ( out of 500 written each month ) from one site?
For submitting less than two dozen news articles, not even stuff I wrote, the same things you find on ScienceDaily or anywhere else that does news releases, I have -18 Karma. A scienceblogs writer is using Reddit as their personal PR organ and has over 600.
Reddit is not a big company, I assume, though they got a lot of money for what they do, and it may be that their Terms of Service are not carved in stone. It may also be that they don't have an automatic mechanism to recognize self-promotion. If they do have an automatic mechanism to detect self-promotion, it would surely have caught someone from scienceblogs violating it so flagrantly.
It may be that Reddit has its own version of the Digg bury brigade. I doubt ScienceDaily has any grudges against ScientificBlogging, since they are 10X the readership and aren't in the original content business, so it probably isn't them. Likewise, LiveScience isn't worried about anyone small.
On the other hand, Scienceblogs seems to think they invented the concept of science and blogging, even though scienceblog.com and lots of others were around before them. About scientificblogging.com, one of their people wrote:
wordmunger Jan 30th 2007 - "I don't think we need to worry about it as competition -- it's a poor imitation of ScienceBlogs. It hurts my eyes just to look at it."
Scientificblogging.com doesn't do tirades against Republicans so it is truly not a competitor, it does news, original content from some pretty famous writers and allows science writers to host their own blogs on the site. That's 0 for 3 in comparison to scienceblogs, unless you consider fame for political polemics the scientific kind.
Heck, some people over there even think they invented putting social news site submissions below their articles, a real revolutionary concept in 2007:
Tim Murtaugh Jan 30th 2007 - "Dude -- they stole my icons to Digg, Newsvine, etc."
Yes, they think that they invented both science writing and the little icons that social news sites provide to make it easier for readers. I wonder if scienceblogs people think they invented Drupal also?
Again, it would seem unlikely Reddit is doing this as any kind of formal policy. Favoritism of any kind in the democracy of social news will get you killed by your readers.
Or will it? The obvious test is to post content from a different site and see if it shows up. So he did. Here is how it looked a few hours later:
Yes, it's right there. It immediately got 2 down votes, so maybe the Reddit bury brigade hates USA Today or marks anyone who posts science content from scientificblogging.com for termination. But the scientificblogging.com posts still are nowhere to be found. Only in the personal prefs part of the submitter.
So ScientificBlogging.com posts are magically prohibited from even showing up but an author on scienceblogs doing blatant self-promotion has 3 up in the span of 2 hours without being marked or anyone thinking that is out of the ordinary.
If this gets published at all, it's because Reddit support never responded to the email questions about what constitutes spam and self-promotion. If it is published I am going to have someone put it up on Digg because I know on Digg it has at least a fair chance of being seen.
It's unlikely you will find that on Reddit any time soon.