I’m putting together today’s issue from an airport in Lisbon while I wait for my connection on to the UK, where I’m speaking at a conference this week. Thankfully, Garbage Day researcher Adam Bumas is taking on today’s top essay. We’ve been tracking Reddit data for the last six months and we think we’re able to pretty definitively show how bad the social network has degraded since the start of this summer’s protests.
Last month marked the official end of the Reddit protests. Any subreddit that had changed its rules or gone dark — or forced its users to post exclusively about John Oliver — has now gone back to normal. On the surface, it seems like a complete victory for Reddit, but things aren’t so simple when a major element of that victory was forcibly removing moderators for dozens of communities. In fact, according to Reddit users, the protests have caused a major brain drain on the site. The question is: can you prove it? And the answer is: well, sort of, yes.
For the last six months, we've been tracking the top Reddit posts every month. When we first started, the subreddit with the most posts in the top 20 was r/OddlySatisfying, with three posts. As of last month, however, 10 of the top 20 posts all came from r/MadeMeSmile.