For those who don't know, thefempire.org was /r/ShitRedditSays's attempt to create an alternative website to reddit, for mostly the same reasons that raddit was created. But if you go there now, you'll see that the website is mostly deserted, save for a tightly-knit group of about a dozen users who only post every few days. What went wrong with this website, and how can raddit avoid the same fate? Having lurked on thefempire.org when it was slightly more active a couple years ago, I believe there are a few main reasons for the website's failure, which I will outline here:
Failure to promote itself
Now, when thefempire.org was first launched, it was fairly heavily publicized on the reddit fempire (the network of ShitRedditSays (SRS) subreddits). Some fempire subreddits even went as far as to announce they were moving to thefempire.org entirely, and closed the original subreddit to any new submissions. This initial advertising blitz gained the website about 20 to 30 active users, and several other users who only posted content periodically. However, after this, little to no effort was made to publicize the website to SRS users. Naturally, some of the users eventually stopped posting. This meant the initial userbase gradually decayed into what it is now.
How can raddit avoid the same fate? We should make sure that our userbase continues to grow consistently. This means not stopping after the initial publicity blitz. If we make one post on a leftist subreddit about us, then a fair number of people will become aware of our existence. But, not all of the subreddit's users visit the subreddit daily, so a large percent of the users will not see the post. Furthermore, if we don't continue to publicize ourselves, then new users to that particular leftist subreddit would never know about us. I know we all despise advertising, but that's because the products being advertised are things we don't want, which cost money we don't have, and it's being shoved in our faces. But, in this case, if it's something that people do want (a leftist alternative to reddit), and it's free, and it's not presented in an annoying manner like most ads are, I think it would be okay. If the admins here are okay with it, I think we should reach out to the moderators of the big leftist subreddits, and ask if it'd be okay to make a post telling people about raddit, and also see if they'd be willing to sticky it for a few days. If they would be willing to add us to their sidebar, that'd also be good. I also think that any users here who lurk on these subreddits a lot should be ready to pounce on anyone asking "Are there any good alternatives to reddit?" with a plug for this website. I'm sure there are tons of disgruntled anti-capitalists who are ready to jump ship from reddit, but they just haven't found a suitable ship to jump to.
A significant percent of the posts on thefempire.org were shitposts - extremely low effort memes, or uninteresting stream of consciousness type posts (like "god I'm tired", and that's their whole post). The sheer volume of shitposts drove me away from the site, and it probably drove away other users as well. There were even a few people who voiced their displeasure at the shitposting, to which the OPs replied something like, "Yeah, I didn't try hard for this post at all LOL". After that, shitposting, and complaining about shitposting, became an "ironic" meme for a while. In the same vein as this, pretty much all of the users never capitalized their sentences, or used proper punctuation. This got pretty annoying after a while.
How can raddit avoid this? We can make sure that shitposting doesn't become acceptable, or, god forbid, a part of the website's culture. I don't think we're at risk for this, because I honestly can't say I've seen a single shitpost on here - certainly some posts that I disagreed with, but not shitposts. Let's make sure that it stays that way.
As a result of the decaying userbase, the few remaining users began to get to know one another very well, since they were the only ones left. There were always posts about the users' personal lives in addition to the normal media posts, but these personal posts became more frequent as the users became more tightly knit. There was a theory I read a while ago which said that social media websites inevitably end up focusing on either the social or the media, and as the userbase shrunk, the posts gravitated towards the social. This meant the small userbase essentially turned into a clique, such that any new user who stumbled across the website would see mostly people talking about their personal lives and receiving support from the other users, and the new user would end up not joining the website, because they would feel like they were intruding on a group of people that they don't know.
How can raddit avoid this? We can make sure that our focus is on the media side of social media. That is not to say that we should disallow our users from talking about their personal lives and creating close friendships if they want to, but that should not dominate the content on the website. This isn't an issue right now, but it could be, especially if the userbase begins to decay like thefemire.org's did. By ensuring the growth of our userbase, we can ensure that this doesn't become another thing turning people away.
The vast majority of the users were liberals, and the "communists" were really social democrats. This drove away the leftists. Obviously, we don't have this problem, and we probably never will. Fuck yeah, raddit admins.
So, those are the reasons why I think thefempire.org failed, and what we can do to avoid the same fate. If the admins are okay with it, I think we should create a forum specifically for promoting raddit among the leftist subreddits, to ensure that we continue to grow our userbase. I'd be willing to mod the forum. Let me know what you comrades think about this.