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New Study Finds That Most Redditors Don't Actually Read the Articles They Vote On (vice.com) 164

Michael Byrne, writing for Motherboard: According to a paper published in IEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems by researchers at Notre Dame University, some 73 percent of posts on Reddit are voted on by users that haven't actually clicked through to view the content being rated. This is according to a newly released dataset consisting of all Reddit activity of 309 site users for a one year period. In the process, the researchers identified signs of "cognitive fatigue" in Reddit users most likely to vote on content. Online aggregation is then somewhat a function of mental exhaustion.

New Study Finds That Most Redditors Don't Actually Read the Articles They Vote On

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  • In similar news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:29AM (#55650367)

    99% of /.ers don't read the articles posted before commenting.

  • by foghelmut ( 2817869 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:29AM (#55650371)
    I mean, that's how it works here too, right?
    • by Guyle ( 79593 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:31AM (#55650395) Homepage

      If I had mod points I'd mod this up because it told me that's what my mod points are for. I didn't even have to read your comment! I just knew it was the right thing to do!

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Pretty much. A lot of what people go in for isn't the article itself, but the comments. Same thing with newspapers(letters to the editor), or online comments and so on. It's one of the reasons why talk radio is popular, the topic might elicit opinions but people would much rather discuss their opinions on something most of the time. The worst cases of this though, are when you get the ideological echo chambers. I'm not talking about format, or what have you. Rather, where people don't care about the

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Rather, where people don't care about the context or even the facts of what's being said, rather they want self-reinforcement of an opinion even if it's wrong.

        Even worse than that is when those people get mod points, and use them to create the echo chamber.

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Even worse than that is when those people get mod points, and use them to create the echo chamber.

          Have you meta-moderated lately? Or it could be you've managed to piss people off to the point that they simply don't care what you're saying, or your opinion is just complete shit. All and none can be true.

      • The statistic for Slashdot was something like 90-95% of users never clicked on comments. Only a tiny portion of the users read comments, and a smaller number of those post. Unsurprisingly, users that use the comment section think that everyone comes for the comments.

        Heck, there's a couple of websites I use and never read the comments. Why? There's nothing there I want. The stories are the meat and potatoes. 95% of Reddit threads are a dumpster fire. You know what you're going to get before you click

        • The statistic for Slashdot was something like 90-95% of users never clicked on comments.

          That's hard to imagine. There are days where it seems like every second story summary is a ghastly abuse of synopsis and common sense.

          News for Nerds shouldn't be lightly refried click-bait, but it often is (often larded with fresh wrigglers, free of charge).

          Anyways, I have no opinions about the non-commenters. They might as well not exist, as viewed from this side of the fence. I mainly read the comments to see who can

    • I mean, that's how it works here too, right?

      You must be new around here if you need to ask. ;)

  • Of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by Galaga88 ( 148206 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:31AM (#55650389)

    I'm going to fully support the results of this study, although I have yet to actually click on it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now is the time to write your Redditor and let them know exactly what you think. When your letter is received, you can rest assured that it will be voted upon, regardless of whether it was read.

    • The title...and more importantly the closing sentence of a comment directly affect the moderation of the content. Just end every post with "Hitler was a big stupid dummy!" to gain more karma.

  • When I use a discussion site like Reddit, or Hacker News, or Slashdot, or Stack Overflow, I want to see all comments by default.

    I don't care about what score they've been given by a bunch of arbitrary moderators or other users.

    I want to make up my own mind by seeing the comments for myself. I'll judge them on my own.

    Sites like those, and this one, would be a lot better without the pointless moderating/voting systems they have.

    Those systems just encourage foolish people to babble the accepted group-think in

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "When I use a discussion site like Reddit, or Hacker News, or Slashdot, or Stack Overflow, I want to see all comments by default.

      I don't care about what score they've been given by a bunch of arbitrary moderators or other users.

      I want to make up my own mind by seeing the comments for myself. I'll judge them on my own.

      Sites like those, and this one, would be a lot better without the pointless moderating/voting systems they have."

      Especially sites like Reddit and HackerNews with their utter cowardice in the fo

    • Most people don't have time for that.

    • by JonnyCalcutta ( 524825 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @11:41AM (#55650949)

      Maybe the opinions you agree with are just shit and badly expressed? Its funny how many people who like to think they are 'non-mainstream' also think that everyone mainstream is just a stupid sheep. I actually usually find the opinions of people who use phrases like 'group-think', 'mindless masses', 'sheep' and (worst of all) 'sheeple' to be boring and lacking critical thought. Perhaps they are too dumb to understand all the nuances the rest of us see (which I think is also the issue with many who dabble in conspiracy theories).

  • I upvoted this article.

  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:35AM (#55650449) Homepage

    Upvoted Not Because Girl, But Because It Is Very Cool; However, I Do Concede That I Initially Clicked Because Girl.

  • I don't believe it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:37AM (#55650457)

    Not reading TFA?
    Call me shocked.
    The author must be a newbie.

  • Bots (Score:5, Interesting)

    by leathered ( 780018 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:37AM (#55650459)

    Reddit upvotes are heavily botted, and I imagine the publishers of these articles are the prime suspects. Clicks mean cash.

    • "Study participants were recruited through posts to various subreddits. Participants were required to be a registered Reddit user. Their account must have been created at least a week before installing the browser extension in order to remove the potential for malicious users."

      So unless those were some really sophisticated bots that could understand the calls for participation and decide to participate and then follow the instructions to sign up, I'm pretty sure all of the study participants were human.
  • Confirmed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:37AM (#55650461) Homepage Journal
    I just vote up headlines that confirm my worldview and downvote the ones that don't.
  • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:45AM (#55650519)
    To determine whether or not this is a problem, we have to determine what percentage of articles are actually worth reading over the headlines. If the articles are typically just fleshing out the headline, without anything meaningful added, this is efficient, rational behavior.
    • If the articles are typically just fleshing out the headline

      With medical/science articles, it's usually worse to read the article. Even the headline is exaggeration. If you don't go looking for the original source, you have to work backward to guess what the real scientific discovery actually is.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      To determine whether or not this is a problem, we have to determine what percentage of articles are actually worth reading over the headlines. If the articles are typically just fleshing out the headline, without anything meaningful added, this is efficient, rational behavior.

      While it's highly debatable whether the articles are worth reading too, please tell me what current news media you feel uses headlines that are meaningful and accurate. In my experience they are either bait missing some essential element to entice you to click through, sensationalist claims only barely implied by the facts or inflammatory quotes that come from someone with an ax to grind. At best they provide a position on some issue, in which case it becomes an opinion poll where you vote for or against.

      • For reference, I scanned the front page of reddit. A few of the post weren't news related, just "here's something cool," which was often an image (curious as to how that was evaluated). But I saw a post titled "Trump isn’t welcome in UK after sharing far-right videos, London mayor says." I then read the article, and while I learned a few additional details, it was pretty much just that. The mayor of London was bothered by Trump's tweets of far-right, anti-islamic videos, and he's called for Theres

  • ...that slashdot is not alone in that phenomena.

  • by Brendan Robert ( 2820681 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:48AM (#55650559)
    This episode of The Orville reminds me of this -- it seems that people just make split decisions because they can't be bothered with hearing and weighing the evidence presented to them. Probably because people aren't being asked to think into the areas of possible ambiguity, we just raise them to pick from a selection of choices. The millennial generation might as well be called the multiple choice generation. So glad I'm from the "Choose your own adventure" generation. ;)
    • by leonbev ( 111395 )

      Wow, that's the first time I've seen an Orville analogy on Slashdot. Cool.

    • by fazig ( 2909523 )
      Good that you've mentioned millennials here. It's one of those upvote generating buzzwords for people who can't be bothered with making more than just split decisions.
    • I don't think its a new phenomenon, its just amplified by internet. Why bother with the nuances and ambiguities of the world when you can just pick an extreme and batter people over the head with it. Facebook will even help filter your life to fit your echo chamber.

    • Is it possible that there are just too many things to think about these days? As an example, there are a hundred brands of toothpaste. That's a parity product, but maybe I should think about the level of corporate responsibility of the manufacturer when deciding? Or just price? Well except my kid doesn't like all of the flavors and I want him to use it. I don't think that everybody should think about everything. We should be experts in certain areas. Unfortunately, we seem to live in an age where "ex
  • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:53AM (#55650599)
    Posters don't click on the article because they are *NOT* commenting on the article, but rather commenting on other poster's comments. So what.
    • I Agree with Technicality!

      I didn't read your comment or the article, but it's about cool tech as stuff anyway, right?

  • I did my third post on reddit sometimes the last month, warning about a bad scheme on Amazon Prime trials, and all I got was banter about not reading the fuking manual and whatnot... I think (most) redditors are septemberists of the internet who have absolutely no idea on argumentation and will instantly vote no on anything that even attempts to bash anything they appreciate (in this case, Amazon Prime). Bu oh well maybe I'm a septemberist myself on reddit so I digress.

    One thing I'm sure off - not going to

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I'm often surprised at how severe the moderation is in some subs. Very rules and power oriented.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's a widespread phenomenon, not just limited to one site. People don't have time to read articles (or even summaries), which is why headlines generally start and drive discussions. Our brains just can't handle that much information, but we have that silly emotional need to get our opinions out there regardless.

  • Many don't even read the title of the post, they just sort of get a feel for what the article is about and then kneejerk from there. I'm looking at a front page post on reddit right now where the top rated comment is just that, he even uses a quote from the article but he clearly didn't comprehend the article at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    TL;DR
    Besides, I know EVERYTHING.

  • Reddit vs 4chan (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @12:09PM (#55651173)

    As someone observed after the "He will not divide us" episode where 4chaners found the flag in a rather clever cunning way - "4chan is smart people pretending to be dumb. Reddit is dumb people pretending to be smart".

    https://www.inquisitr.com/4060... [inquisitr.com]

    So how did 4chan find and steal the He Will Not Divide Us flag?

    It turns out, Shia made one mistake in setting up the camera on the soon-to-be-stolen flag. It was such a simple thing that normal people would never have noticed, but the 4chan trolls sprung into action when they realized the camera was aimed in part at the sky.

    According to various users on 4chan, members of the board used jet contrails, flight paths, and astronomy to determine the general location of the He Will Not Divide Us flag installation. After narrowing down the location to somewhere in Tennesee, 4chan sleuths drove around the area honking their horns to see if the sound would show up on the live stream.

    And as it turns out, they were successful almost immediately, as 4chan found the flag site less than a couple days after it went live. The trolls replaced the stolen flag with the hat and T-shirt mentioned earlier.

    Besides the obvious issues with theft and harassment, 4chan's actions in this incident are merely a part of what has become known to many who study the impact of social media in society as the "Great Meme War."

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Same with voting for president?
  • They could have "editors" who don't bother to read and correct submissions before publishing them.

    I thought the way /. was supposed to work was that readers vote on submissions (via the firehose), and the most highly voted submissions get promoted to the front page. I'm not sure what the editors are for if they're not reading and correcting submissions. At least Reddit voters have the excuse that they read TFA elsewhere so are voting on it despite not having clicked the link on Reddit.
  • It's pretty common on Facebook for people to post or "like" articles they haven't read.

    I gave up on pointing out the article doesn't say what they think it does. They really don't care.

  • Click-bait headlines, obvious spam, incomprehensible headlines, headlines that violate sub formatting rules, headlines that are already on the front page, headlines with spoilers...

    Those are the majority of my post downvotes on reddit.

  • I often don't click through a link, but instead prefer to copy it, paste it, and if needed modify it. It seems anyone doing some basic "link hygiene" like this might not get counted?

  • I always read the article before upvoting or (rarely) downvoting. I never comment or vote on comments if I haven't read the article. I will read just the comment section from time to time and then read the article. Just from doing that it's possible to tell the vast majority of comments are people stating their own opinion of the article based on the title or simply reacting to comments. It's really sad.

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