Reddit going dark means you can't find anything useful on Google

Originally published at: Reddit going dark means you can't find anything useful on Google | Boing Boing


Of course, in the process of preparing Reddit for sale on the market, actually improving their crappy search functionality and their terrible interface are low priorities compared to cutting headcounts and gouging companies that use the API to improve user experience. This should be a case study in ensh*tification.

There’s a larger issue here about the future of search as well. Pre-blackout we effectively had a two-tier system of quality of results based on knowing a technical trick.* I can easily envision a day when Reddit-quality results on consumer search engines come with a financial price attached, with the free version delivering ads and misinformation and disinformation on the first few pages.

[* adding modifiers to a search may seem easy and intuitive to Happy Mutants, but we’re an exception.]


Do people actually find Google searches to be useless? Amazing. I get that there’s more crap out there, but I honestly interpret this as people no longer bothering to learn how to search and evaluate content. Then again, I’m sure it has a lot to do with the kind of content you’re looking for.


I would guess, from my very limited IT view, that well over 90% of people use google via simply putting in a term and pressing go. Not even quotes to keep it as a phrase. Or any of the other many tools and functions to limit search requirements.


Facebook, Twitter, now Reddit…

We put all our eggs in the corporate basket, and get burned when the C-suite decides they want to turn a profit (or increase their profits).

I wish we could collectively get motivated to evolve towards a shared model.

Usenet had its issues, but at least it wasn’t controlled and polluted by corporate interests.


I would agree. It’s gotten harder to find things, but it’s not impossible.


you can’t find anything useful on Google

My Google-Fu is stronger than that, as there are other tools within the platform itself that makes searching more efficient.

Just saying…


Yeah, I’m with others here, it’s not impossible. Most of my searches never touch Reddit, and there are other forums and websites that are NOT Reddit related that have answers. I wouldn’t rely that much on Reddit answers anyway, because not everything that gets voted to the top is actually good information.


Yep. If I was trying to get useful info out of Reddit, I always treated it carefully. Plenty of novices upvoting each other for amateurish mistakes disguised as answers. Pretty sure I was like that early in my career too.

But out of the Reddit results that looked interesting, around 1 in 10 had good info that I found nowhere else. When it was useful, it was surprisingly so.


When it comes to finding online stores that aren’t tied to Amazon or some other bigger site then it’s often a futile effort. Like if you wanted to find a reputable seller of pocket watches or some other niche item then you’re stuck with word of mouth by which I mean asking people on a given subreddit for the niche item’s discussion. If you try to search say “pocket watch brands” you’ll mostly get either Amazon junk items or fake reviews for said junk items. You can try to drill down with more search engine parameters but ultimately it all goes back to better results from subreddits.


Disagree with premise. “Reddit going dark means you can’t find anything useful on Reddit.” That’s the real headline.

You’ve been using Google to search Reddit. There was even an article here last year (or whenever) about how to improve your search results by using Google’s site: command to search Reddit, “since that where all your answers come from anyway.” That’s not really “using Google”, and Reddit going dark has nothing to do with Google at all.

It’s like the old joke of losing your car keys, but looking for them under a street lamp, because that’s where the light is. When the street lamp turns off or burns out, sure, there’s no light, but that doesn’t mean your car keys were there anyway.


Lately? Yeah. It’s not as good as it once was, for sure. It’s not impossible, but it’s harder and not every single time you’re searching to you want to spend hours evaluating sources for accuracy.


And yet… here we are.

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Yeah, I ran into this yesterday trying to look up some info on a 4090. Though I have really backed out of using reddit on a regular basis and downright purged my account of a decade of comments. Not due to the API thing but just due to me not liking the community there overall post 2016. It just felt right to slice that off and not have any connections there anymore past browsing for some specific tech thing.


I’d say it isn’t the fact that Google search is getting worse, but rather, the entire internet is getting more and more ensh*ttified.

It used to be that every (including/especially obscure) hobbies had it’s own forum. Reddit made an easy way to have all these forums in one place with one login. But this killed off most of the forums out there. And now that they are putting it up for sale, whomever the new corporate owners are going to want to re-coup their investment, which means Reddit is going to be ensh*ttified, and we are going to have to start over somewhere new.

Not saying Reddit is/was all roses, but it was convenient and definitely had some pockets of good info & discussions.


In the end, it was. A few larger companies controlled the servers, with some grandfathered hold-outs who were frequently free speech absolutists who allowed crapfloods.

The final doom was Google acting like they acquired Usenet, renamed it Google Groups, then forgot that it existed.


Google says, ‘hold my beer’

It’s not a short article, but well worth a quick read. Yet more enshittification.


Assuming you’re on a desktop, click the 3 dots next to the google link, then on the downarrow at the top of the options fly-out. Click “cached” and the reddit result is as useful as it ever was (but you can’t reply).

Edit: Except that I’ve noticed the private subreddits are already dropping from google results. They won’t last long.

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