Last updated: 01/28/2015, 11:08 AM EST
Two programmers have separately concluded that the algorithm Reddit uses to sort its posts is flawed in a way that discriminates against new posts that briefly trigger a negative reaction from Reddit readers. That seems trivial at first, especially if you don't understand code. Reddit appears to be working just fine - so who cares about a typo among thousands of lines of code? But Reddit is a massive distributor of traffic around the web. It had 90 million unique users visit its pages last month. Publishers (Business Insider included) benefit hugely when a post becomes popular on Reddit. A single hot link from Reddit can pour hundreds of thousands of readers into your site within hours. And those pageviews are easily monetized with ads. So there is a lot at stake. People trust Reddit to get it right. Ian Greenleaf, a San Diego-based programmer, claims in a blog post that the sorting mechanism Reddit uses to rank new posts can bury those posts if they initially receive a few negative votes. It's complicated, but basically Reddit's code - which has been published publicly so developers can examine it - has two ranking mechanisms: Time, so that new posts are favored over old posts; and net positive or negative votes, so that posts people like are favored over those that people don't like. The problem, Greenleaf says, occurs when a new post gets a few negative votes before it gets any positive votes, rendering its vote score less than zero: ... imagine one submission made a year ago, and another submission made just now. The year-old submission received 2 upvotes, and today's submission received two downvotes. This is a small difference - perhaps today's submission got off to a bad start and will rebound shortly with several upvotes. But under this implementation, today's submission now has a negative hotness score and will rate lower than the submission from last year. Greenleaf says that the formula condemns some posts to a "purgatory" in Reddit, where they never get seen by other redditors. "These posts are sad, alone, and afraid. And notably, they are sorted oldest first, just as I predicted." Systems librarian Jonathan Rochkind has made the same claim: So it turns out there's a significant t…
Be the first to comment on Two Programmers Claim Reddit's Voting Algorithm Is Flawed
Market data delayed 15 minutes.
This site is powered by PassFail. Ideas and opinions presented on this website are for informational and educational purposes only, and do not reflect the opinions of PassFail, or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries or partners. In no way should any content contained herein be interpreted to represent trading or investment advice.
© 2015 Data provided by Morningstar® Read Full Disclaimer.
Discover and explore public mutual funds with innovative sort and filter features. Add funds to your personal portfolio and watchlists.