Reddit's Altruism Compared To 4chan's Trollism
from the but-are-they-the-same-people? dept
Reddit makes me like people I've never met, while Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life.While I believe the quote actually started with Twitter in place of Reddit, there's certainly an element of truth there (no matter which service you're talking about). Mathew Ingram points us to an excellent listing of some amazing stories of altruism performed by the Reddit community. The post lists out 25 separate -- and often quite amazing -- stories of true altruism from the Reddit community. It's really quite an uplifting piece, and if you've spent time in the Reddit community, you're sure to recognize many of these stories.
It's also a nice antidote to all the claims we hear from people who think that the "online mobs" out there only perform acts of malice and attacks. Of course, stories of such things are often dominated by stories of sites like 4chan. But what really strikes me about all of this is that in my experience, it often feels like there are many of the same people who hang out on both sites. While I'm sure there are many who spend time on one or the other, in the Venn Diagram of both communities, I would imagine there's a fair bit of overlap. And yet, people always talk about how the 4chan (mainly /b/) community is the worst of the worst when it comes to doing despicable things, and here's a situation in which perhaps the very same people are seen doing amazing things. There's even one "crossover" story, involving a situation that originated on 4chan, where someone had posted an image of an upcoming 90th birthday party of a guy who... looked a bit lonely in the picture (his family later denied this...). However, both the 4chan and the Reddit communities jumped onto this and decided to "cheer the guy up," sending him tons of presents, and even having a bunch of folks (from both communities) show up at his party.
I'm not sure exactly what this all means, but it does seem like the rather simplistic story you often hear in the media about the "hurtful" nature of online communities is often ignoring that the very same people can be amazingly helpful at times as well.