Using crowdsourcing to combat spam submissions on an already trained populous that already votes on everything seems like a smart way to outsource an otherwise difficult task.
As the site notes in its blog, this move comes after a number of other attempts at thwarting spam submissions, including adding moderators to handle spam. But at each turn, the site found that the traffic became overwhelming and false positives, that is, valid content that set off the filters but should not have, became an issue.
In addition to these problems, the site also found that the generally American make-up of the moderators left those of you in Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the future stuck with valid submissions sitting in spam boxes, as the moderators were fast asleep.
Thus, Reddit has "deputized" its users, enlisting them all in the battle against spam submissions by including a box that will appear "at the top of the front page every once in a while".
Average Reddit users will have the ability to pitch in and say whether or not a specific submission is indeed spam or was inadvertantly flagged, much the way you can train your email program to detect spam.
We asked Jared Goralnick, founder of AwayFind, how this might differ from standard spam filters on email, to which he replied that the method itself was not novel, but "taking just a few of the messages (the quarantine) and making them very prominent (the the front page of the site) seems novel".
The sort of filtering Reddit is employing, he said, elaborates on the old binary sort of spam filtering, where something is either spam or not spam, adding the quarantine as the third category. While this is not new, the method of dealing with that third category is interesting.
"In short, the technology behind their decision has a deep history..." he said, "...they've always been very community-oriented and this seems like a good next step."