Don't use Reddit for Linux or BSD related questions
Published on 2022-04-08. Modified on 2022-04-08.
If you're looking for answers related to Linux or BSD (or anything for that matter), Reddit is most likely not the right place to search for them.
If you want to get valuable information, why would you try to locate it at a place that is mainly occupied by childish, immature, hostile and selfish people?
This is not unique to Reddit, but it generally relates to most social places on the Internet, especially those with point based voting. By the very nature by which these places work, they not only attract, but often nurture the most hollow and miserable people. Reddit and other places like it are often toxic and superfluous.
Occasionally you will find something useful by someone who stands out from the crowd, but in most cases, it's a complete waste of time. People mainly spend their time with empty, personal, emotional, and myth based discussions and statements.
To most people, social acceptance is one of the most important driving forces of their lives. As such, social media discussion sites are mainly dominated by people who follow hype and trends. They cannot and do not think independently, and they are afraid of going against the current. If you use your brain and don't follow the hive mind, you will definitely not be liked.
People who have nothing better to do than to spend most of their time on these places generally feel bad about themselves. They spend their time at these places in order to feel better, which they do by bullying, downvoting, upvoting, commenting, etc. It's actually one of the very few ways a hollow person can feel good about himself/herself.
Voting systems on social media don't work. While downvotes should ideally be used to silence the completely irrelevant and useless comments, it is instead used to remove dissenting views and views that goes against the popular opinion. This leads to a form of radicalization where people are only ever exposed to the popular opinions because people with conflicting views eventually stop wasting their time on these platforms.
Often you will find a certain group of people clinging together, dominating the specific subject group, making each other feel extra good and important by agreeing and bullying those who disagrees. Then there is all the rest who basically sucks up to the dominating group by also agreeing and voting, etc.
Basically, what you're witnessing is what you would see if you study a group of chimpanzees in a zoo.
So, what should you do instead?
- Read documentation.
- Study blog posts, mainly those without ads. Most blogs with ads are useless garbage (few exceptions do exist).
- Write email to authors of relevant blog posts. Often bloggers are happy to help someone with a shared interest. But don't be offended if you don't get an answer, time is precious for all.
- Join mailing lists, but be on your guard for hostile and toxic environments because some mailing lists are just like Reddit. Look through the archives first. As an example, if you're interested in OpenBSD, one of the best places to get professional help is on the "misc" mailing list for OpenBSD. Even the developers occasionally answers questions and help out. However, a bunch of people on that list are full-time bullies. They do nothing but lie in wait for someone to ask "the wrong question", and as soon as that happens, they are all over him or her as a flock of hyenas attacking a lone prey. They are easily recognizable by their hostility to the user and their constant sucking up to the developers by praise and useless flattering.
- Create your own blog. You'll eventually get feedback. But be prepared to filter out all the useless crap from the same shallow people once someone has posted a link to your blog on Reddit and everyone feel the need to "put you in your place".
- Find user groups and meet people in real life. This is perhaps the most important. In real life most people behave differently because they can't hide behind an anonymous social media account.
- Help out on projects that interests you. It's an easy and quick way to discover if the project is dominated by toxicity. If it's not, then you'll most likely quickly find some like minded friends.
Last, but not least, if you have ever felt sad or negative by the behavior of the "toxic" people these places, don't waste your time feeling depressed. Surely, if a drunk idiot on the street shouts at you, yelling that you're a fool, stupid, wrong, or something else, you would hardly notice because, well, he's drunk. He doesn't even know what he's saying. Then why would you pay attention to the even bigger idiot on a social media platform!?