Reddit’s Big Brother Is Watching Your Menus

For those who are interested in the impact of design on substantial outcomes, here’s the number of subscribers in the 54 most popular subreddits on


It’s a nice, smooth transition reflecting the popularity of each subreddit.

The same goes for subreddits after the 54th one:


But let’s put them together:


A huge discontinuity appears between “TwoXChromosomes” and “woahdude”. Like 3.5 times. Normally, the data doesn’t behave this way.

But it does here. The reason is, the designers put exactly 53 elements in the two main menus (on the left and on the top):


(Check the numbers)

These elements, as adeadhead reminds in the comments, reflect the default choice of subscriptions added to a new user’s list. I can think of additional channels, like user attention and search engines, that create this big difference between included and excluded elements. However, the connection is causal and at the disposal of designers.

PS: You could notice the “atheism” subreddit that slightly spoils the discontinuity. The subreddit had been in the menus before (snapshot) but was removed after 2012. The subscribers remained, though few new ones signed in, because the subreddit wasn’t in the menus.

See also