What I think kbin needs to do to survive, and why I think it has a better chance than any other Reddit alternative I've seen yet.

I’m a Reddit refugee who was on that platform for 10+ years. I saw not just a tremendous amount of controversies, but attempts at introducing alternatives to Reddit during all of them. The 2015 blackout saw a ton of alternatives suggested, and if you go back and look at them many have either not survived or never achieved their stated goal of serving as a viable alternative to Reddit. Places like Voat, Ruqqus, or Parler promptly turned themselves into extremist shitholes and imploded. The truth is most internet communities which found and advertise themselves as an alternative to Reddit die.

However, I think this newest wave of searching for an alternative has more legs than I think I’ve ever seen, and the key to that is the kind of users who are moving. The people who were pissed off by the recent changes are the old guard of the internet. These are the people who still remember searching for and finding RIF, Apollo, or AlienBlue (before it was bought), and have the technical know-how to care about the quality and usability of their platform. I think you all are people who engage with their online spaces with intention, and because of that I believe that we have more of a shot at making this work than I’ve witnessed since I joined Reddit all those many years ago.

In order to make this all work out though, I think it’s really important to cast our thoughts toward what made the websites that have come before us successful. Every single one of these spaces have distinct ways of interaction that indirectly communicate their ideologies. Memes, in-jokes, and lingo form the backbone of online communities and help to direct users back to the source, but they never gain real purchase without a unique viewpoint. I’m pretty sure I can confidently suss out whether a meme comes from 4Chan, Reddit, or Tumblr, just through the message conveyed and the template used. For an online platform to have relevance and draw, I believe it absolutely needs to have an individual and communicable perspective.

Now I am aware that much of this is organically generated, but I think we underestimate how much of it isn’t. The structure of a website clearly communicates to users its core values, and users almost certainly respond to that. The fact that users are by default anonymous on the Chans absolutely contributes to the unique “flavor” of those websites, and the subreddit structure of Reddit allows it to contain a greater variety of clashing values. We can already see some of this on the Fediverse, the tension engendered by the federated instances I think places greater emphasis on building consensus. The fact that an entire server can be excised at will from a group of other like-minded server owners means that one has to always have an eye towards the common consensus, and I think we will see many fights over this in the not-so-distant future.

So as we go forward, and while we are in the most nascent part of this website’s lifespan, I think we should be discussing and commenting on what we think is most important about this space. I’m already seeing that people think that Kbin is “nicer than Reddit” and you’re more convinced that you’re interacting with real people. I think this is all good, and I think that while we’re making content, we need to have an eye on putting that particular spin on all the things we brought over from where we came from. Eventually, we need to get to the place where we’re creating unique meme formats, and having our own slang, but for right now we need to be thinking hard about what we want out of our online lives and how this website can be built to serve those purposes. I think the risk of not doing that, and forever being only a federated Reddit clone is going to leave people forever jonesing for the experiences they had on Reddit, and this space is going to die just like every other attempted alternative has before.

TLDR: Now that we've all left Reddit, for this new place to live my opinion is that we need to have more discussions about what our principles are, and we need to make unique content that brings people to this website.

Rabbithole, (edited )

The truth is most internet communities which found and advertise themselves as an alternative to Reddit die.

To be honest, there were damn good reasons why Voat, etc, died in a massive fire. The Reddit exoduses in question were from huge chunks of the userbase effectively being kicked out for being massive bastards/racists/bigots, etc. The communities that they spawned after leaving were absolutely horrific and nobody else on the internet wanted to go anywhere near them.

The current exodus is made up of actually normal people (at least, normal enough), and the reason we're here isn't just because we're all joined by hatred (weeeelllll... maybe a hatred of u/Spez in a lot of cases, ha!), but because we're genuinely looking for a better forum-space than what's been available recently until now.

Sure, there are similarities, we're still here because we find corporate control over the forum-space to be "oppressive" (just what an incel/racist would say, right?), but it's not because our views aren't tolerated there, it's just because we're really fucking tired of the cost of having somewhere to actually discuss things is that we're endlessly sold as a product, followed by our discussion area being destroyed by corporate greed. Over and over again.

The reasons why this place is getting busy is fundamentally different than the reason why the previous migrations created places like Voat or Parler, etc. We're already in a massively better position due to that alone.

Eventually, we need to get to the place where we’re creating unique meme formats

I agree with what you're saying in general, but I really hope that all of the interesting discussion here doesn't eventually get buried by memes like back on Reddit. Memes can be fun and all, but sorting a lot of otherwise really great niche-subs by top of all time back there was often a case of finding nothing of value at all because there were 50 pages of fucking memes at the top of the list. Personal preference, of course.

patchw3rk avatar

Well, don't I just feel all special now. :D

RMiddleton avatar

(at least, normal enough)

OpenStars avatar

There are fascinating thoughts relevant to this that could be explored when people have the technical capacity to catch up the software even just to the submissions that have already been made to the kbin software.

Like instead of just "top" and "hot" and "new" and such, there could be like "popular" vs. "niche", where niche is a different dimension of popularity. Otherwise, you get the same tired old cats & doggos that "we" (at least, as a community overall) really DO love to see, and that's...well you're never going to change people's minds, so good or bad, it simply is what it is, but it doesn't leave quite as much room to see anything ELSE that you ALSO want to see is the problem. But where there's a will there's a way!:-)

I posted something relevant in https://kbin.social/m/tech/t/113196/An-older-article-that-is-taking-on-new-significance-considering (also duplicating it in https://kbin.social/m/BestOf/t/113715/The-Ennui-Engine-or-how-chasing-short-term-gratification-drains-our) if you are interested. It's a wall of words but beautifully constructed imho, I couldn't put it down b/c it really piqued my interest precisely on what I was thinking. But one down-side to the approach that it suggests is that it depends on good-faith actors to always act in the best interests of the community, which lets face it, is never going to happen. So it's high time that we found some OTHER solution that may be practically more viable. Ironically, the magazine https://kbin.social/m/bestof really does look like one solution to that problem: it gathers the nuggets from across the site and places them there to be read. But it also requires far too much effort, compared to just clicking the equivalent of an upvote or boost button, to be able to rank content by popularity according to some other measure than just "cool meme bro".

I suppose you could also make an alt account, or even on your main, simply unsubscribe from every magazine like m/memes, or m/starwars, etc. By curating your experience, you can tailor it more to your liking. Although then if you visit those communities, you won't see any comments in those articles while still logged into that account, so it's kind-of a one-way ticket for it to disappear for you, not something that you can easily toggle back-and-forth depending on your mood, from one account.


I suppose you could also make an alt account, or even on your main, simply unsubscribe from every magazine like m/memes, or m/starwars, etc. By curating your experience, you can tailor it more to your liking.

Wait, doesn't everybody do this? Currently, my lemmy account is my "meme" account and this, my kbin account, is my "discussion" account where I try to respond more thoughtfully to things. (but I do more "subscribing" than "unsubscribing")

CurlyMoustache avatar

I got two accounts. One for "serious" stuff, and the second one just for fun/exploring

OpenStars avatar

I think a lot of people may be less technically proficient, and especially if they are trying to perfectly replicate the Reddit experience it just isn't there yet. There are lots of things possible to do - use multiple browsers, each logged in to a different account, or the same with apps, etc. But one issue I could foresee with that is that anytime you want to block something on one (like a magazine that speaks in a different language), you'd have to replicate that with the other.

PabloDiscobar avatar

I agree with what you're saying in general, but I really hope that all of the interesting discussion here doesn't eventually get buried by memes like back on Reddit

It will be filled with memes, just like reddit.

That's the side effect of popularity. That's the "peanut gallery" effect.

The first people joining any media platform do it out of interest. Because there is the technical hurdle to pass. That's why the first subs you see are always very technical. First were /programming/, /linux, hardware, /java, then /atheism. Stuff that people want to talk about. There was no /interestingasfuck in the first days of the previous media platform. These misc subs appeared the last.

Now look at the avalanche of subs with zero posts we have. Theses subs are created for popularity, not by interest. They were created day one! Waiting for content. The writing is on the wall.

The "peanut gallery" joins in for the popularity, not by interest. It is attracted by the gravity effect of other people. That's where the buzz is. And the "peanut gallery" outnumbers us 10 to 1 easily. Once the platform becomes popular is when you will say goodbye to it the same way you said goodbye to reddit. You left reddit like many others because you spend more time clicking the minimize button rather than reading interesting content.

That's why we should not celebrate the rising numbers of accounts on kbin. Each more subscriber get us closer to the critical mass where the posts are not created out of interest but to increase reputation. You already know the process anyway, you've seen it in action too.

BuffLettuce avatar
Eventually, we need to get to the place where we’re creating unique meme formats

I agree with what you're saying in general, but I really hope that all of the interesting discussion here doesn't eventually get buried by memes like back on Reddit. Memes can be fun and all, but sorting a lot of otherwise really great niche-subs by top of all time back there was often a case of finding nothing of value at all because there were 50 pages of fucking memes at the top of the list. Personal preference, of coarse

It sounds alot like your telling people how they should talk and act, thats not how the internet or social media works. One of my favorite boards right now in the fediverse, especially after a long day is 196. I would rather see 100 posts from 196 then another post about leaving reddit. And i can do that by filtering and subbing. thats how this all works,

Rabbithole, (edited )

I'm not telling anyone to do anything, I'm stating my opinion about what I think works and why.

Different things.

And since you mentioned 196. It's still a decent example. I have 196 blocked because for me it's just noise that I don't want to see, because for me the content there has zero value.

The fact that I can block it completely (for me), get the result that I want and yet have that not effect anyone else's use of it at all is literally a good thing.

I personally find the entire sub worthless because of the almost total noise to signal ratio problems there, but that's personal preference on my part only, which I'm entitled to and merely means that I don't personally find the place useful. Having these sorts of things separate means that it works for everyone regardless of their preferences.

Also, If I did still wish to see 196 occasionally, I can choose to either just go there, or unblock it temporarily, and nothing I'm doing effects anyone else at all.

None of this is telling others what they're allowed to do, it's the opposite.

196 is a practically random community anyway, it's chaos and there's no real way to "drown out" the content internally with memes or anything because the memes are just as much the content there as anything else could be.

Roundcat avatar

As someone who was originally part of the Voat migration, I was very skeptical of the move to fediverse precisely because of how Voat ended up shaping up to be. Hell, part of the reason I'm on kbin and not lemmy is because of the huge pro-Russian presence on lemmy.ml. Not all of us who migrated to Voat during those days were bigoted, or had actively hateful views towards certain groups of people, and early Voat wasn't a total right wing cesspool. I simply wanted to support a grassroots platform that promised to provide an alternative to what was then becoming a highly centralized platform. Ultimately the worst of the worst won out over the reasonable people who were there, and the myriad of technical failings on the web host's part made us regret being there, and it's ultimately why I abandoned the platform.

I still fear that happening with kbin, but because of the different circumstances of the current migration, the nature of the fediverse, and the more diverse make up of people on this site, we are at least in less danger of the crazies running the show. My biggest fear is this site failing on the technological front, as there are still many aspects that feel unfinished, and with the recent situation on lemmy.world with user LMAO, there are still a lot of fundamental problems with the site that could be its downfall if not swiftly addressed.


Yeah that's a fair point. For me it was the constant twitter screenshots/ tiktok reposts and repeated and shallow discussion of whatever bullshit fill in the blank political figure/ tech billionaire was doing that was killing the fun for me. I really think memes were more fun back in 2012-~2018 or so, mostly because there seemed to be more emphasis on novelty, but the endless soyjack reposts or dead tv show memes (cough the office) were definitely getting stale. I think it works better when memes are on hobby/niche subreddits because I think they invited discussion in the comments, but man are they useless on anything related to current events. Some subreddits did it really well though, places like noncredibledefense (that's the only one I can think of rn) really had a unique voice and were making new formats.


I found that, for me at least, memes on reddit were generally a negative aspect in most subs focussed on discussion.

They worked really well though when you had the main sub basically ban memes, but spawn a secondary sub specifically for them.

You get the best of both worlds there, where people can either take them or leave them, and the main sub doesn't end up with a massive noise to signal problem.


+1 I really want this, separate communities for memes and for content. I really enjoy spending time scrolling through memes, and I want that to exist somewhere - but not in the same place as the actual content. I hope that becomes the standard here, and also that people start making more meme-focused communities, cos I haven't seen many yet.


Yeah, /r/AnarchyChess wouldn’t be anywhere close to where it is now if memes were allowed on /r/chess. Splitting the memes and discussion apart is definitely the best way to go.


Anarchychess is a really great example of this, actually.

Holy Hell.




There was a fascinating point on fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu where it felt like a narrative type was getting created. New characters and kinds of story lines were popping up all over. It was kind of amazing.


I have really fond memories of those old rage comics, they're part of what got me to make an account in the first place. I know they've grown corny as they've aged, but gee so have I. I think most places online can't really replicate the kind of communal rush to engage in the community, I think we've all grown a mite cynical.

ihavenopeopleskills avatar

we're still here because we find corporate control over the forum-space to be "oppressive"

It's bad when any corporation does that to anyone, regardless of respective points of view.

Otome-chan avatar

I think we're at the point that we need to stop thinking of things as "ex-redditors" and now as "kbinauts". While it's true that many people have come here from reddit, it's not "people from reddit", it's "people on kbin".

One thing I've noticed about the fediverse is that different instances have different 'feels' to them, and I think kbin is uniquely positioned to emphasize this a bit, since kbin differentiates itself almost ironically as "not a lemmy instance". It pops up in so many threads of lemmy users discussing things, and then the random "oh this is a kbin thing".

In sharing communities, it's common to have a "for kbin users" link.

I see quite a few lemmy users differentiating themselves "as lemmy" as well. It's an interesting phenomenon.

ultimately I think you're right though. the sooner a proper culture can take root, and a particular "way of doing things" is cemented, the more likely it is that kbin will stick around.


I’m down for “kbinaut” being the term for users here.


i like kbinaut. It's cute :)

I_Miss_Daniel avatar

There's a minor synergy between that and the reddit alien..

2d avatar

Ha! You put your finger on what I could not figure out what it was about this term that felt like it made a weird sort of sense!


I suggest "Binners" for fun. Sounds trashy, lol.

Teon avatar

I also prefer "Binners" because we have "binned" the other lame social media companies.
Also, trashy can be fun!!


On linux systems, the "bin" directory contains a large number of scripts and programs.


ihavenopeopleskills avatar

Ugh. You've started the horrible puns.

apemint avatar

Cool, then spammers and tolls can be called bin chickens, right?!

QuillDriven avatar

@RemembertheApollo I'm putting 'binheads' forward for consideration. Easier to say than 'Kbinaut' and only slightly straighter laced than 'binners.'

@bttoddx @Otome@kbin.social


Yeah I think this is a good point. I'm still getting used to the interface, I wish there was a bit more salient of a way of discerning what is a kbin post on the all feed? I know I can look underneath the title of the post, but maybe having an icon (like whatever the logo ends up being) on the right side of the title might be a good idea to privilege kbin's posts for kbin users over lemmy's without exempting those posts from the feed?

Otome-chan avatar

Get the kbin enhancement script and it'll extend all the names to include the host instance.


Ooh goody! I should've thought to look for that, thank you very much. Cheers!

asteroidrainfall avatar

The whole phenomenon of Lemmy v. KBin will wind down as the “threadiverse” matures. Over on Mastodon you’ll occasionally see people clamoring over Calckey and how it’s better because of blank, but people just get over it. That’s the amazing appeal of the fediverse, if some other site has more features or better moderation you can just move there! I know many people who hop between instances, apps, and services just because they want to try new things.

I’m so excited because I know KBin will eventually get better federation, administration, and moderation features. We will soon we’ll be able to communicate and share with everyone on the fediverse.


You make me optimistic for the future of the fediverse! I'm also struck by how much discussion there is of instances, and how there's still a vibrant marketplace of ideas. It's pretty wild how much google has calcified the rest of the internet, and search has solidified the power of a few companies.

sotolf avatar

I've been on mastodon for about 3-4 years now, and it's really nice, I just hope that kbin/lemmy will keep up, it's really nice to see that there are a lot more of people on here now than there used to be, the lack of people was what made me never use it before, but that for sure is gone now :) It's really nice to hang around here :)


I think we should be discussing and commenting on what we think is most important about this space.

One of the biggest tensions is going to be that as a community grows, it's going to attract the attention of (a) advertisers who will develop "organic marketing" campaigns, (b) political messaging campaigners for international as well as domestic concerns, and (c) "influencers" who want to market their brands. Each of these will use high-engagement ragebait and awwThatsAmazing-type posts. Reddit's r/all was full of these.

Kbin and lemmy seem nice and refreshing because a lot of those posts don't exist here yet. But if we continue to grow, they will show up. How will we handle this?

asteroidrainfall, (edited )
asteroidrainfall avatar

That’s one trend I hope doesn’t spring up over here. I hated the fact that 95% of the subs on /r/all were literally the same thing. Like, what was the difference between MadeMeSmile, DamnThatsInteresting, NextFuckingLevel? Just all the same clickbait trash, and then, as you say, some “organic” marketing campaign for the latest Marvel movie.

Mastodon handles this by not having an algorithm. In order for a toot to gain traction, it actually needs to be boosted around so that people can see it. A great example of how this prevented “organic” marketing was with @Raspberry_Pi.

When they first joined, their SNS team tried the same easy brand tactics that they used on Twitter, trying to force engagement. It had the opposite effect, and the community backlash was fierce. They have since changed their messaging and become more genuine.

Since link aggregators usually need some kind of algorithm for a “front page,” I think the most important thing is to have it be transparent and static. No changing it every 4 months to increase engagement.

Most importantly, the community should also have a shared opinion on what kind of stuff they are okay with, and this can be more localized per instance.


I think you're both spot on. What I hope is that by voicing this people can "get with the program" and not reward that kind of content. After all, we can still see downvotes on here ;).


Like, what was the difference between MadeMeSmile, DamnThatsInteresting, NextFuckingLevel? Just all the same clickbait trash, and then, as you say, some “organic” marketing campaign for the latest Marvel movie.

@asteroidrainfall @bttoddx I think these two were related. I believe most of those UnexpectedInterestingSmile reposts were made by bot or semi-bot accounts, which were then used to upvote the marketing posts, and this worked because the front-page algorithm promoted things that high-karma accounts upvoted.

So the question is: will a combination of server policies and user actions counteract the effect of advertisement bots?

As you say, part of the answer relates to transparency in front-page algorithms and in up/down votes. Reddit avoids transparency because Reddit is pro-advertiser. Another part relates to user standards. The example you give from Raspberry_pi on Mastodon bodes well. And even on Reddit, I saw users call out "comment-stealing bots" which reposted human-authored comments for karma.

So the future issue will be: will the companies and advertisers try to engage in more genuine ways or will they just find ways to circumvent the transparency and user standards? And if so, how will the community adjust?

asteroidrainfall avatar

I think one thing that might help is to distinguish bot accounts from user accounts. This would make it obvious the intentions of the post.

Madison_rogue avatar

Recently, I've visited r/all out of curiosity. Prior to deleting my Reddit account I can't remember the last time I had visited r/all. I was always on my home page, and r/all didn't even enter into my sphere. I would only catch brief glimpses of it as my home page loaded (I don't know if this is because I used RES or not). My wife and I would talk back and forth about things we'd see on Reddit, and they were vastly different experiences.

Considering the minimal content so far on kbin, I do peruse "all" frequently, however my default viewing is on subscription. I don't know how many users defaulted their home page to r/all on Reddit, but my wife and I did not. It seems to matter on how you curate your own experience. I'm glad these choices exist on kbin.

asteroidrainfall avatar

Reddit also had an aggressive recommendation system, where posts from your most recently interacted subs would show up more often. I would literally only open one sub via a post on the front page and the next time my /all would be filled with trash for that sub.


I used rif and I took the approach of blocking subs and using the front page rather than subscribing to specific subs. I don't think the algorithm worked through that app since it relied on the developers API key to load content.

I would get a lot of niche content showing up without a lot of the annoying subs spam.

Madison_rogue avatar

That's interesting, and it makes perfect sense the algorithm would work that way. YouTube's algorithm is much the same.
My Reddit home page was default, and like I said I don't know if that was a function of RES or Reddit itself. I didn't see much r/all content at all.

I can tell you one thing about kbin, I already had to unsubscribe to "Cats" here. My feed was inundated with nothing but cat posts after I subscribed to the magazine. I love cyoot kittehs, but I also like to browse more than just cat content. I am however, glad the new participants are introducing all their fur babies though.

Hanabie avatar

An old internet saying is "if it's free, you're the product", and that's exactly the problem platforms like reddit are currently encountering. Users leave, delete their old posts, and move elsewhere.

It's also a problem Lemmy/kbin see, from the other side: you need a critical mass of users to generate enough content to keep running and attracting and keeping users.

Given enough time, the corps will just continue going down the drain, since they're 100% profit-driven, and short-term gains over long-term sustainability. We here just have to keep going, and preferably in a way that minimizes drama. If one of the big 5 shits the bed and takes a lot of communities with it, the now homeless users might be hesitant to just join somewhere else, at least partially.

That's why I found it very unfortunate that beehaw defederated from .world and .works -- it also happened at a very bad point in time, in the middle of a boom.

If the platform matures enough, and the userbase is stable, it will most certainly grow over time, as the corpo options get worse and worse over time.

We also have to be vigilant and isolate all bad actors immediately. The extremist instances, like lemmygrad and exploding-heads, and the corporate assimilators, like Meta. Else people will not join here, either because we have a bad rep, or because we just get swallowed and spit out again by a tech giant.

I believe a "unique identity" will develop organically, given enough time.


I sure hope so. I'm just worried that we won't have a mature enough community to strike while the iron is hot. I really want an alternative to succeed, and have for some time. I just fear that if the economy somehow turns around and tech companies start getting their VC money again, all the big companies will just keep on trucking and we'll all learn entirely the wrong lesson from these experiences. It'll feel like corporate consolidation of online spaces is an inevitability, and people will just increasingly capitulate. Meanwhile there'll be an obscure userbase of antiquated posters on this website just quietly plodding along without making any headway, and nobody will come to join us because none of dynamism of a vibrant community exists here.

Teon avatar

I've been watching Lemmy since it was first announced. And it always seemed 'not quite right' to me. I am on Mastodon and Pixelfed, and now Misskey. Love all of them. Lemmy always felt... sketchy. But when I recently heard about Kbin, I was in immediately. This is a winning format and feels like the internet used to be.
There are things I would love here, like the option to mute or block, users or Magazines. Mastodon has that (mute users and block instances) right now and it's utterly amazing.
I would also like a better choice of themes (not a priority). And although the navigation is a learning curve, I would like it better organized.
I think Kbin will continue to be a very popular platform.
I'm honestly not fond of the name because I use KDE (Kubuntu), and everything in the KDE world starts with a K. I thought Kbin was a KDE development tool at first. LOL!!
Anyhow fellow "Binners", carry on!


I’m on Kbin and a few Lemmy instances, and I’m curious as to your thoughts on what the functional differences are that make this a winning formula while Lemmy is not. It’s almost the same as Lemmy. Don’t get me wrong, I like it here, but I don’t get much of a different vibe between here and sh.itjust.works for example.

Teon avatar

It just feels like a really cheap Wordpress template. I hate the UI, Kbin feels like a user designed it, Lemmy feels like a DOS user designed it. The main page feels like Google or DuckDuckGo search results, where Kbin feels like the placeholders for each Magazine are purposeful. And I really hate the name. I have a pet peeve about any company, organization, etc naming things after animals. Be more original (yes, Mastodon could have a better name). At least Kbin is unique.
Kbin feels more like the forums of yesteryear when web design was really taking off. And again Lemmy reminds me of a DOS forum with the way it's nested threads run together, it's harder to read through than Kbin. Not to mention that websites should take full advantage of screen real estate, which Kbin does on desktop.

I have nothing against Lemmy, I'm glad we have a ton of options in the Fediverse and encourage everyone to find what works for them. I am really digging the design of Misskey right now. I just have an instant dislike for the Lemmy interface, name and mascot.
It's just my opinion, everyone should find their own workflow.


Have you given apps like wefwef.app a go? That might fix your UI issues.

Teon avatar

I have not because I use Desktop instead of mobile. But thank you for the suggestion.


Just chiming in to say Kbin does appear to have a block feature - it’s the little circle with a slash through it next to the “subscribe” or “follow” button for a magazine/user/instance. I only found it recently, so spreading the knowledge around.

Teon avatar

Thank you, how obvious!

WhyPeople avatar

There is definitely a sense of community here based on me lurking for about a week and the number of apps being developed, but at the moment I don't think any have done a great job at attracting ordinary people outside of reddit migrators. To be fair, this is a really difficult problem, and I'm not even sure if there is a good solution that wouldn't involve changing common terms about the fediverse works. Where it gets really weird is when federation allows me to interact with Mastodon content on a completely separate platform, and I can't imagine an average user just understanding that immediately.

Of course, this also involves a change in some UX patterns in existing apps. For instance, I have to hit the "Add comment" button on Kbin in order to see how this comment will look in reality. While this editor that I'm typing in has the ability to bold text, it just wraps what I'm typing in the actual bold markdown tag. This is fine for technical users, but to an ordinary person this doesn't make any sense, especially when other apps already give you a WYSIWYG experience. Granted, this of course is not an easy thing to implement either, but I think it's necessary for winning over non-technical users.

Right now, it feels like a lot of apps (at least on iOS) are creating an "Apollo for Lemmy/Kbin" type of experience, and that's great in its own right as all of these apps feel very intuitive considering the platform's age. However, especially with Kbin's microblogging feature in mind, we should try to differ from Apollo while still using aspects of it like its swipe actions and the amount of customization it gives. Otherwise we inherit many of Apollo's flaws (that may be even worse on fundamentally different platform), which is what led to others using apps like Narwhal or even the official Reddit app.

TLDR: In general the initial direction seems good (especially with the many good apps being developed), but the next biggest hurdle is becoming mainstream and that requires intuitive UIs to attract ordinary people. We don't get good and diverse content otherwise.


I'm an older person, and I have a question, genuinely. As long as we have enough content generating, involved persons in the federation... do we truly need to worry about mass appeal? Or about attracting the "average" user?

I remember extremely pleasant, active IRC channels, and chat rooms on AOL with less than fifteen people that were engaging and enjoyable. As long as the people here are active, quality people, does it truly matter if we can appeal to the average? To put it another way, why try and attract the lowest common denominator if what we want is to avoid the pitfalls that come with them (the low quality comments, the mindless repetition of select in-jokes designed to make the reader engage mindlessly)?

I'm enjoying the vibe here. I mean, I read your entire comment. And then posted this one! Effort is happening! It feels almost like the lawless wild west that the internet once was! I'm not in a rush to lose this in the name of pumping up the number of users, when the only benefit of doing so seems to be a collective lowering of our quality.


To answer your question here, yes - some of us are looking for non-techy people to join.

Rigorous conversation aside, I have hobbies in knitting and crochet that are not populated by folks who want cumbersome UX. Kbin is fine for me because I joined reddit back in the day before its redesign, but I can imagine someone much younger than me who probably spent all their formative years on Facebook coming here, finding this all too stripped down and clunky, then bailing. Or they might be unable to see how much of a "one stop shop" an instance like kbin could be for them because the concepts and terminology for a federated internet are too lofty.

Am I making a case for idiots to come on board? No. But I am saying that some folks who could otherwise be active, quality users here won't take to kbin like a duck to water.

I don't want kbin to lose its old.reddit-like vibe. I don't want the Fediverse to be completely inundated by ads, influencers, stealth marketing, and constant reposts. But I miss having my specific communities, and this is going to be a real challenge to bring in non-techy users. Even if to just provide more balance for let's say feminist or queer issues. Why would newcomers here ever stay if the experience is too close to walking through numerous conversations at Tech Crunch? or a Warhammer 40K convention? or Comicon?


Well, i’m here since the black-out, and i’m pretty sure that peoples who come and stay here are more than lambda people browsing internet. It takes some times to be used to it and most peoples don’t take/have that time.

I see it with a lot of my friends and family, they just don’t give a shit about what they do or how they use internet. I was the nerd guy when people use to call me a geek as a slur, when it was weird to find love online. Now i’m the only one in my circle who take the time to refuse all the cookies when i come to a website (thanks RPGD), i’m pissed if i have to Watch an ad just to see a video from YT, etc. because i care about how i use internet and what trace i left behind me. But for Mr/Ms everybody, these kind of things are normal, because they were not surfing the web when all of this didn’t exist.

I agree with what you said but i’m also pretty sure that we are now loosing the battle with big corporate and people who are used to these kind of manners, because we, the « old guard », are a minority now. It’s sad.

I hope kbin develop itself like i used to dream the web back 25 years ago, a big sharing place where there is no place to greed and corporate marketing. And i really hope that the difficulty to aprehend the fediverse keep us far away from what i’ve cited.

I’m really excited about what kbin will became and i agree that we need to build something that is not like the old social media. Something more like the spirit of phpbb board communities back in the days…

Sorry if my english isn’t perfect, i’ve learned it essentially through my 25 years old journey here on the web.


Yeah he said "old guard" and then followed it up with "searching for apps" lol. We were on reddit before apps even existed.

DreamyDolphin avatar

I feel like there's a bit of cart-before-the-horse thinking here; as you acknowledge, a lot of it is organic. What makes a social site like this is the people, and specifically, the dynamic/active people who become the hubs of content or who are known characters - for instance, shittymorph (with their incredible talent for weaving fabrications before the inevitable twist) or poem_for_your_sprog who had a natural flair for both poetry and snark. Without individuals with personality, a place just becomes a noticeboard for the posting of memes or information, driven by algorithmic calculation rather than human spark. The downside is that one can never really create such a place from the ground up (hence the collapse of GooglePlus). It emerges over time from the cascading actions and interactions of diverse individuals who come and go over time.

We can certainly set standards and rules and metrics, but to actually ensure community survives and flourishes is an unknowable alchemy. Anyone can say "this will be our official meme format", but whether it takes off or is replaced by one throwaway line from a random person can only be known after the fact. All we can really do is post and interact and try to be the people who would live in a constructive community.


Yeah I agree with most of what you're getting at, but I think its a bit less of an unknowable alchemy than you're saying. I don't think any of the users you mentioned would have devoted their time to making their website better if they didn't fundamentally trust the website or the community they're catering to. That trust is built by transparency by those making the website, and clear articulation by the userbase about what, and specifically why they want to see features. We now know what happens when administrators fundamentally violate that contract, and it honestly felt like a betrayal when Reddit did it. We have a role to play in helping to make a place successful, and informing a set of values by which future admins can evaluate whether or not something is good idea, and hopefully not have ulterior profit motives :).

ihavenopeopleskills avatar

Well-said! You are right on the money. The kinds of people Reddit upset are the ones who have the will, the motive and the know-how to build something better.

RMiddleton avatar

I think it just takes time. In my opinion the best growth kinda can’t happen while you’re looking at it. (Watched pot.) What made me feel warm fuzzies about this place was when I had a question about something IRL & knew I would ask it on here in the relevant community. Realizing that the same process will happen over and over, by many different people and without the distraction of spam and garbage… that makes me smile.


I pine for the old days when you had to have technical skill to interact on the internet, and that virtually all content available was valuable.

The problem is, I am now too old and time-poor to learn new technical skills fast enough to stay ahead of the horde.

I am therefore surrounded by people who vomit their asinine thoughts into the void, and have become one of them. If I am here, then so are they.

@Kotking@mastodon.social avatar

@bttoddx I never considered myself old guard, but I do have badge for 11 years on reddit. I was mostly a lurker that never interacted with sub unless I was really into topic or OP message was interesting to discuss (mostly anime, games). The only big thing I witnessed was r/animememes collapse. It was stupid collapse over a word, where they didn't want to judge and ban word Trap. It gone so obnoxious they banned for usage of the word which is de facto isn't a slur. 1/

@Kotking@mastodon.social avatar

@bttoddx What reddit did this time in comparison to 11 years of me using it? Their blatant disregard for communication. I saw bad signs where porn will be unavailable, but I can find elsewhere( with ads compared to reddit on Relay/your app). The first murmurs when Apollo express him dumbfounded by idea Reddit can be so dumb what made me uncomfortable. I didn't discuss this on reddit, but some people picked up on it, which led to blackout. When blackout started I stopped my reddit activity. /2

@Kotking@mastodon.social avatar

@bttoddx I heard about Mastodon from reddit once in last month, so this was my first new account. I hopped to kbin after sticking to latest sub community I was attached. I have grand plans even if futile to breathe new ideas in community and help those who don't want to use reddit because people are still there, people are leaving and they don't know which place will make them cozy as when they used reddit with their own app of choice. Reddit decision is outright slaughter of peoples work... /3

@Kotking@mastodon.social avatar

@bttoddx ... Not only for information gathered, but also for those silly bots, moderation bots, reminder bots and many other type of software that aren't built-in in reddit, they are hosted by someone somewhere and trying fediverse you start to understand that. What reddit claims is that bots and apps are taking their value, but apps and bots has their own costs of hosting/advertisement etc. Reddit is a place and we know what happens to places when people start ignoring it. Abandonment. /4

@Kotking@mastodon.social avatar

@bttoddx I never truly used Twitter, but reddit was my source on it and 🍈 did a number on it. Reddit will go slowly as Twitter is going slowly, because people that invested in them are still feeling cozy there. Myself? I was cozy with Relay so most my traffic was from my phone, you can guess why I switched. Now I am interested in fediverse, trying to make community across services and servers. So if someone comes from reddit in search of information for game I am interested, they will find it /5

@Kotking@mastodon.social avatar

@bttoddx You might notice that I have written out as if I was on word count, which is precisely that. I am trying to stick to Mastodon while searching with my Kbin account on threadiverse. I even explored hubzilla and funkywhale to see how they work and interact. I enjoy that fact that I can make contact with people and not be gated by my lack of language, be forced to make new account, depending on hey he is from x platform as me we can get along type of deal 4chans, redditors etc. /6

@Kotking@mastodon.social avatar

@bttoddx I can migrate to other mastodon instance where there is no 500 word count, I can post from Hubzilla even if some features won't work on kbin yet(collapsable spoilers, underline, overline) here my little experiment https://kbin.social/m/arknights/t/118024/Weekend-Off-Topic-Thread-23-06-30#entry-comment-474279 . I can also use Kbin and stick to Reddit commute browsing new, subscribed feed and interact there only. Freedom of actions what entice me with Fediverse. Shame we still have lot to go through as bugs are meat and bread of new soft. /End

Usernameblankface avatar

I have been trying to work out how to write a post like yours for a while, but I don't have the insight or experience to make it nearly as good. So thank you for putting this out there.

Many of the differences are what makes this place great. The tension that leads to seeking the common ground. The threat of being disconnected that keeps things civil even when there are disagreements. The way memes are enjoyed but as a side. The distinct lack of monetization.

Some of the "faults" that newcomers complain about are important features that align with the core beliefs this place is built on. Some are unfortunate side effects that aren't going away as long as the values stay the same. Some are just issues that someone meant to get around to but for whatever reason they haven't yet.


Thank you! I think we definitely need to think about when and why we defederate other servers. I get the sense that the voice of the server owner is going to be very important in shaping people's experiences, and we risk becoming a stronger echo chamber than Reddit. I think being transparent about our process of evaluation of an instance is going to be really important going forward, and there should definitely be a process put in place to make some semblance of an objective standard for federation.


Old guard... I was expecting further back than using AlienBlue before it was bought.

I suggest that there is, indeed, a facet of the old guard present. Those of us that remember what Reddit replaced, and it wasn't just Digg...it was all the other niche forums, usenet, webrings, and everything else that represented the early soul of the internet slowly faded due to costs or commercialization. Reddit replaced all of that, even the dirty underside of the internet, for quite a while. Then they came through with quarantines, and there was the whole Pao/Taylor event of 2015, and now this. Reddit corp has sold its soul to the modern commercial internet bandwagon, and the site already seems to have lost a lot of the user content that normally comes in with the shutdown of 3rd party apps.

lemmy/kbin is great. Already feels more open, content flow is there, and people are talking. Maybe we can get that old community web board/forum feel again. Way better, JMO.

FixedFun avatar

Old forums are still alive, very much, they're just a lot more niche because you probably need a desktop computer to read them easily, but here are three examples:

DoucheAsaurus avatar

The head-fi forums are still kicking too and they've been around like 20 years.


tqgibtngo avatar

For music makers, the KVR forums are still going.



Yeah 😅 I'm not old enough to remember aol chat rooms, geocities websites, or limewire. It just felt like there was an element to the internet at the edge of my early experience that held so much promise and was so much more open, that seems to have largely gone away. I think a bunch of that has to do with the monopolization of power of so many of these companies, and how so much content is now only discoverable through them. Hopefully we're learning our lesson about the consequences of monopoly now.


that brings people to this website.

These websites.*

Kbin isn't a website at all. Kbin is software that allows anyone to spin up a content aggregator website. It's what WordPress is for blogs or quasi-static websites.

Being federated means there will be hundreds, or even thousands, of independent kbin websites sharing content with one another.

Choosing a single set of values isn't going to work in this environment. Instead, value-compatible networks are going to form, and the vibe on different sites is going to end up being somewhat distinct to each site.

There will be a kbin for everyone.


Right, still getting used to the federated nature of it all. It's a bit strange calling it many websites though, a bunch of different instances that all have mostly the same copied base code that all talk to each other is a bit of a gray area, no? Since nothing is indexed for google, it also kind of reinforces that feeling, like a very dim web.


They may look the same, but with different rules on different sites, and different levels of moderation, they can end up being significantly different experiences.

Plus, there's no reason they all need to look the same. The front end and server are distinct pieces of software, and it's possible to create different front ends. Consider on Lemmy, where the LemmyBB front end makes it look like a phpBB forum.

And while we're there, consider Lemmy. Or Friendica. Kbin websites are shooting messages back and forth with them, too.

Or they're not. Site-wide group and server band ("defederation") have the capability of creating very different landscapes on different websites.

The url you type into your browser matters. Just... Not as much as with centralized, corporate social media.

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