Kyle Weisbrod said it best in a statement on his Facebook page a few weeks ago: “RSD is dead. It probably has been for 2 years. If you miss the open, democratic discussion of RSD you should be on http://www.reddit.com/r/ultimate“.
Back when we founded Skyd, rec.sport.disc, with its spam, trolls, and lack of moderation, was a source of such frustration to us that we devoted a large amount of time in the first few team meetings talking about how to best to use our platform to get rid of it. We succeeded, in part. The once mighty newsgroup tower has crumbled under the weight of its own inadequacy, and posts now trickle in at the rate of a handful per week, yet that doesn’t stop me from cringing every time I see someone use it as a source of serious information.
“RSD is dead. It probably has been for 2 years. If you miss the open, democratic discussion of RSD you should be on [r/ultimate].”
Luckily, nature abhors a vacuum, and there’s an alternative forum that more and more ultimate fans are finding every day. I’m talking, of course, about reddit’s r/ultimate.
If you haven’t heard of reddit by now, you’ve probably been living behind the moon. It’s probably best explained as a democratic, user-driven online community. Unlike traditional forum communities, where all posts are displayed on equal basis, reddit relies on a system of “upvotes” and “downvotes” to highlight and bury content the community considers worthy (or unworthy) of publication.
I’ve been an avid user of reddit since 2009, and I’ve watched the site slowly transform from a platform for serious technological and political discussion among the “hacker” community into a flourishing community-driven content board attracting people from all countries, young and old, from techies to grandmothers, to a shared space for discussion and entertainment. As any longtime redditor will tell you, the expanding community has had its drawbacks, but also a number of advantages. As the content on r/all (the content aggregator, or “main page” of reddit) has become more watered down as the site segments more of the general population, smaller communities, known as “subreddits”, have flourished.
One of my favorite such communities is the subreddit for ultimate, aptly named r/ultimate. Founded on October 29, 2008, it took until June 2011 to hit the 1,000 users mark, but since then, its rapid growth has mirrored that of ultimate itself; at the time of this article’s publication, just 2.5 years later, it already has over 10,000 subscribers.
Apart from taking advantage of reddit’s upvote and downvote system for rewarding meaningful content, r/ultimate has one huge advantage over rec.sport.disc: it’s moderated. Jes Heil, a player from Maine, is the original founder of the subreddit, having started it to share ultimate links with her husband, Ben Wake. Under their pseudonyms jestopher and phredtheterrorist, they continue to keep a watchful eye over the subreddit today. But as with most subreddits, the moderators are all but invisible to the end users, preferring to stay out of the way and let the community decide which posts to feature.
For all its advantages, r/ultimate is not without faults. As with reddit in general, a mass influx of users with more and more viewing on smartphones and on the go has produced more “quick hits” type of content and less meaningful discussion. As the userbase of reddit has trended more and more towards college (and even high school) students, so has r/ultimate, and on any given day, one is bound to see a couple rabid youngsters intent on posting their high school team’s 9-minute long trick shots video. And browsing through the posts, one can’t help but feel that the “epicness” and grandor of rec.sport.disc has been lost, even in the more serious discussion threads.
But in the last few months, with more active moderation, discussion and analysis have flourished. We haven’t yet reached the age of the 25,000-word RSD tomes of yore, but there’s still some great content being created. Ultimate pundits like Tyler Kinley, Kyle Weisbrod, Jim Parinella, Ultimate Rob, and Kevin Minderhout actively participate in discussion, and various others have stopped by to answer questions in AMAs: Ben Wiggins, George Stubbs, Tim Morrill, and John Korber, to name a few.
For those unwilling to pore through the five years of content in the subreddit’s history, I’ve compiled my picks in a couple categories:
Best Self Posts
- I am Ben Wiggins. 3-Time Club National Champion, Callahan Award Winner, International Coach, Founder of The Huddle. AMA
- Ladies and gentlemen of the club season of 2013, PLAY ULTIMATE.
- What Other Games Do You Play With an Ultimate Disc?
- Recruiting women to Ultimate
- What’s the best Ultimate advice you’ve ever gotten?
- If only there was something I could wear on my head, you know, that would block the sun out of my eyes…
- Roommates don’t let roommates skip ultimate practice
- High Tide.
- One of Auburn Ultimate’s rookies at Itchfest.
- As an English team, you can see how much we value our only American player.
- Tried teaching my friend how to lay out. He can’t quite get the hang of it…
- Delrico Johnson layout score
- Hodag Twitter Feed – who throws a shoe?
- Hey r/ultimate I made you a GIF of PoNY’s Jack Marsh
- Keegan’s catch in Mid-Atlantic finals (gif)
So with that, I will attempt to convince you, loyal readers of Skyd, to sign up for a reddit account (if you haven’t already), and start participating on r/ultimate.
Is it perfect? No. But as far as open-ended discussion forums go, it’s all we’ve got.