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    I’m speculating that closing their source code is the result of this ruling about ownership of content on social network sites. After all if your source code is open and you don’t own your site content what assets do you actually have? reddit has always argued that they own an exclusive license to their user’s submissions but if this ruling weakens that argument then they probably have to take some steps to mollify their investors.

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      Interesting ruling w.r.t. LinkedIn, happy to see it! I did notice that recently they did seem to have stopped blocking my unauthenticated access, compared to as much as they used to in the past.

      I think what sites effectively own is the brand and domain, as well as trust and goodwill of the users, as well as the private information that is not shared publicly, including emails and passwords. It makes little sense that some sites block anonymous access, yet any information is still available to you if you have a human-like bot with a simple and free account, or just know Google-fu well enough.

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        If your source code is open source, you still own it as long as you require contributor license agreements.

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        This seems like a natural development for them. I think it’s more the price of being big than any philosophical change:

        1. Parts of Reddit are becoming, if not already, a significant force in shaping public opinion. That draws in a lot of money and interest into gaming what posts hit the front page when. They basically can’t make the code that controls that open-source, or whoever has the most money and tech skills will immediately dominate the site.

        2. It’s just too complex to run properly anyways without a big team, after all of the changes required to work reliably at their scale. As far as I know, nobody has been successful in running the open-source Reddit code base outside of Reddit itself, at least not without several full-time developers being assigned to the project.

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          As far as I know, nobody has been successful in running the open-source Reddit code base outside of Reddit itself

          LessWrong runs open-source Reddit code base.

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            I didn’t know that. I’d seen their site/forum a few times, and never recognized it as being Reddit-based. Their Github repo isn’t a direct fork of Reddit, though it looks similar at a glance. Do you know of any posts about who build it, why they chose to fork Reddit, and how they did it? It looks like they probably forked it much earlier in Reddit’s history, and have made a lot of changes since then.

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            This is the most realistic interpretation I’ve seen. I’m not sure that companies which open source their whole code base are really helping others out that much, anyway. I think the best open-source contributions from companies tend to come in the form of libraries - things like React, or enzyme from Airbnb, come to mind

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              They basically can’t make the code that controls that open-source, or whoever has the most money and tech skills will immediately dominate the site.

              Alternatively, an open-source codebase makes it harder to hide the ways in which you let advertisers control the site’s content.

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                You’re picturing the site’s owners deliberately cooperating with advertisers. That certainly happens, but what I’m talking about is well-funded marketing companies reading your code and applying large company-sized resources towards manipulating your rules to get their content on top and keep in there without the site owner’s knowledge or approval. Why bother paying the site to intentionally put your content on top when you can rent a botnet of fake accounts yourself to do it for less money?

                All sites seem to run into this problem when they reach a certain size, which is why none of them (Google, reddit, HackerNews, etc) publicize exactly how they determine which stories or results end up on the top of any list.