Cloning Reddit the right way


Reddit is perceived as the hidden champion in the internet because it drives all the traffic and is read by many million of people. All major newspapers are aware of the website and the website has a gatekeeper function. So let us analyzing the concept a bit. The basic idea of Reddit is called blog aggregator. The concept was introduced with the Planet software in the year 2004 for the gnome project. Planet is a python script which combines RSS feeds from individual blogs into a larger news site.

The planet software itself isn’t used for creating the Reddit website, but the concept is the same. The idea is that under the same surface different content sources are combined The topical reddit post contains of a title, url and a description. So it is basically a handcrafted blog aggregator.

For replicating the result we have to answer first which underlying technology is the best one. The reddit website is working like most websites on a webserver in the internet, while the planet software is providing only the RSS functionality. An easy to install alternative to both is a mediawiki installation in which different users are posting links. Mediawiki is known for it’s ability to create content by a community, and it is possible not to post normal text but only URL+description snippets.

A more powerful and state-of-the art blog aggregator is equal to a wiki system in which the users are asked to post weblinks to external content which has to:

– new

– fits to the topic

If the users are posting spam links, the wiki-moderator can rollback the edit and ban the user. The advantage over the planet software and the current website is, that mediawiki is available as opensource and makes collaborative editing more easily. Such a wiki could take the same role like other blog aggregators like planet.gnome are playing today. It is monitoring the existing blog community around a topic.

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