late yesterday night i was browsing reddit when i noticed a preference setting that either i had never paid any attention to before or that didn’t exist until recently. the option i’m referring to is the ability to display a ‘reddit toolbar’ atop links you click on from reddit.
once you’ve activated this option, every time you click a link from reddit, the following toolbar will be displayed at the top of that page:
so what’s so great about the toolbar?
the toolbar improves your reddit experience in two ways. first, when you click on a link from reddit and read an article, you don’t have to go back to reddit to rate the page. second, the site you’re visiting doesn’t need to use the reddit widget in order for you to vote on it (though i would still recommend the widget because not all your traffic comes directly from reddit).
but there’s more
if voting is completely removed from the main reddit site and pushed just to the toolbar, visitors can be forced to at least visit the content page before they vote on it. so in a way, it paves the way for a system where reddit can limit (to a great extent) blind voting (up and down) of stories and get a much truer sense of the community’s preferences.
you’re right if you’re thinking ‘this is exactly what stumbleupon does’. the reason why i like the implementation on reddit is because of the neglect with which stumbleupon treats its main ‘index’ page. stumbleupon’s index is located at stumble buzz but not only does it not display enough content to be useful (on reddit you can display up to 100 stories on the page at once) but it is also often full of days old content and isn’t as highly trafficked (the index page) like most social ‘traditional’ social sites (i.e. digg, propeller, reddit).