I’ve seen my share of self-described “online communities” over the last couple of decades — and they have all sucked, one way or the other. Trolls abound, the good is moderated while the bad is amplified, etc, etc. Someone the early visionaries of the internet seemed naive about this, but perhaps they just fell into the common modern habit of denying human nature.
Having gone through a bunch of such sites/forums/message boards, I have very, very low expectations from any of them — which is why I was pleasantly surprised by how Reddit managed to suck less than the rest.
Forget the trolls — trolls are par for the course on the internet; it would be very strange not to have trolls when unmoderated anonymous behavior is permitted anywhere. What stands out at Reddit is the large amount of actual human interaction, or to put it differently, the numbers of people who reach out to complete strangers and don’t start by yelling at them.
It’s quite possible that I don’t frequent the kind of subreddits that other people complain about (e.g. my 22-year old self might have had a qualitatively different experience today), so perhaps I’ve missed out on a whole bunch of drama — but kudos to Ms. Pao for whatever she did to enable this level of discourse; I know it cannot have been easy.