You used to love Reddit, but it’s just not fun anymore. The jokes aren’t funny, the tips aren’t useful, and everyone is constantly fighting about internal drama or identity politics.
At this point, I wouldn’t blame you if you just ditched Reddit forever. But before you do, I feel the need to tell you: it’s within your power to make Reddit suck less for yourself. It’s just a matter of removing toxic communities from your subscriptions, then replacing them with communities you actually like. Here are a few tips I’ve found work decently well.
Step One: Work Out Your Signal to Noise Ratio
The first thing you should do is think through what you want from Reddit. Is it humor? Beautiful photos? Interesting discussions? Links to articles? Keep in mind that what you think you want and what you actually want might be two different things. What do you actually click on, and what do you tend to scroll past?
Then, think about the things you see in your feed but absolutely hate. Anything to do with politics? Pictures of children? Memes about sports, or other cultural touchstones you don’t care about? Memes in general? Make note of these things as well.
Then, while browsing the site, try to discern which subreddits are giving you stuff you like, and which subreddits aren’t. It won’t be clear cut—some may give you lots of stuff you like, some only a little. Work out what kind of ratio makes a subreddit worthwhile for you, and what kind of ratio isn’t worth seeing all the garbage.
This is subjective by necessity. Only you can work out what constitutes good and bad content for yourself, and what kind of ratio you’re willing to put up with. The point is to actually think about it instead of just subscribing to whatever sounds up your alley.
Step Two: Unsubscribe From Low Quality Subreddits
Reddit is only as interesting as the subreddits you subscribe to, so the best way to avoid nonsense is to unsubscribe from any subreddit that’s full of it.
You probably don’t remember why you subscribed to all the communities you’re part of now. Maybe they were fun at the time. Maybe they were added to your subscriptions by default. Maybe you accidentally clicked “Subscribe”.
Whatever the reason, even great online communities can become terrible. Sometimes a community grows too quickly, and the mixture of people that made it unique are drowned out. Sometimes a community becomes less relevant with the passage of time, and key contributors leave. And sometimes drama causes otherwise great communities to devolve into ongoing yelling matches.
Whatever the cause, this sort of rot generally happens slowly enough that you may not realize right away that a certain subreddit has gone to crap. Eventually marketers and low-quality memes move in, and a subreddit you used to enjoy is now flooding gibberish into your homepage, content that you for the most part scroll past as you wonder why Reddit isn’t interesting anymore.
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to clear out your subscriptions. Head to Reddit.com/reddits. In the right panel, you’ll see a list of your subreddits:
You can remove any community you’re no longer enjoying by simply clicking “Unsubscribe” right there.
Alternatively, you can click the individual subreddits to browse their current content. Look through, and see how many of the posts you actually find interesting. Remember the things you like and don’t like, then work out for yourself whether a given community is meeting that standard. If not, unsubscribe.
Step Three: Find Other Subreddits That Interest You
So you’ve unsubscribed from a bunch of subreddits; now what? You could try using the site as-is for a bit, or you could seek out some new subreddits to follow instead. There are a few great tools for doing just that.
First, head to the Subreddit search on Reddit itself and search for some topics that interest you. Browse the front pages of any subreddits you find; if the signal-to-noise ratio looks good, consider subscribing.
To get an idea of which communities are currently growing, head to RedditList. You’ll see which subreddits are currently the most active, which may or may not be helpful. We like the third column, which shows subreddits that are currently growing quickly.
Check out any that look interesting, and subscribe if the signal to noise ratio looks good.
Finally, you might consider checking out the Trending Subreddits section on Reddit. This points out rising communities every day. If you see something that interests you, check it out.
There’s more you could do. Plenty of sites have offered lists of subreddits worth checking out; I find this list from Gawker to be great, but you can probably find lists curated to your specific interests by Googling. Just remember: Reddit is only as good or as bad as your subscriptions.
Photo credit: Eva Blue