Whether it’s squash, watermelon rind, or plain old cucumbers, we, my friends, can (quick) pickle that. In anticipation of bumper crops, the clever folks at Epicurious have come up with a simple brining base that will allow you to pickle whatever, whenever the mood moves you.
Check out the link below for more details, but the ratio is pretty easy to remember: it’s just equal parts vinegar and water and four times the sugar to salt (start with two tablespoons salt and a half cup of sugar and scale up as needed.) From there, you’re welcome to add classics like mustard seeds, garlic, dill, or take it somewhere a little more interesting with chili peppers, ginger, or horseradish. Heat it all up, pour it in a jar, and in a matter of hours you have delicious homemade pickles.
Let’s put the TL:DR version at the top for the sake of expediency. A portion of the liberal mindset is the reason that Reddit is in the process of failing. It’s not political liberalism – that’s something that has helped Reddit maintain its pull over the internet and the real world. It’s not its cultural liberalism – diversity and openness have contributed to the appeal of the site. The liberal mindset that is killing Reddit is the concept of emotional socialism. Reddit management, a small but outspoken portion of its users, and scorned members of the media tried to tear down the pseudo-freedom that the community enjoyed in the name of anti-harassment.
By “pseudo-freedom,” I mean that the idea of being able to say what you want and post what you want as long as it didn’t hurt someone else was an illusion. The site’s strength was its weakness. User moderators wield uncanny power. Their opinions shape the subreddits even if few would want to admit it. Add in the political/ideological trolling organizations and the spammers and suddenly the best content didn’t always have an opportunity to rise. The system isn’t perfect but it worked for the most part. Unfortunately, the combination created intense opposition from people who either didn’t like playing the game or didn’t have the chops to make it work for them.
If you haven’t spent thousands of hours or more on Reddit, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. That’s okay. You can go take a look and see if it’s something you’d like to get involved with because it isn’t going anywhere. Not yet. Despite the outcry of the community, the banning of certain subreddits and a threat to bring in more bannings based on harassment will not tank the site. Some are comparing it to Digg. As someone who spent as much time on Digg as on Reddit (often more), I can tell you that this is nothing like the Digg collapse. With Digg, the very nature of the content that hit the front page changed. That’s not happening at Reddit. This is an ideological shift for Reddit and something that they’ll survive. However, one thing is changing that few users will even notice.
The experiment, whether it was righteous or not, has failed. Reddit demonstrated that they cannot have a community that can be sustained on user moderation with loose rules. They can’t simply tackle every major legal challenge as their standard operating procedure because legality isn’t enough to keep the site the way they want it. Some are saying that they banned the subreddits and are in a cleaning purge for the sake of advertisers or something like that. It’s not true. They’re making changes because they don’t like harassment. Most users don’t like harassment. The journalists who have attacked them in the past don’t like harassment.
Unfortunately for Reddit, one of the only digital crimes that the users hate more than harassment is censorship. That’s the big irony. The liberal mindset might have been the catalyst, but the funny part about all of this is that Reddit has been a champion opposing censorship of legal materials from the beginning. Now, they’re becoming the very thing they have opposed. They feel like they need to apply a little bit of censorship for the sake of keeping the site harassment-free, but here’s the thing: censorship breeds. It expands. If five subreddits are bad enough to be banned, there’s another fifty that will soon pop up that are worse. They’ve opened a box that they cannot close.
As I said, this isn’t the end of Reddit. It’s simply the end of a Reddit that could oppose digital censorship without being hypocritical. They know what they’ve done and they’re accepting the retribution. Will the community feel the same way?