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Reddit overhauls its front page for new users and lurkers

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TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2015 - Day 3 Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Reddit — the self-described “front page of the internet” — has changed its front page. Rather than the top stories from 50 curated subreddits, visitors to the site will now see popular stories from across the site, on a new homepage the company has appropriately named r/popular.

Unlike before, these highlighted stories can come from almost any subreddit, with a few restrictions. There’s no content from 18-rated or NSFW communities, for one, and subreddits that have actively opted out of appearing on the r/all page won’t have their stories popping up. The new homepage also won’t feature content from boards that are consistently filtered out by users. In the company’s announcement post, Reddit admin simbawulf didn’t specify exactly which subreddits that entailed, but gave some examples of the kind of communities that got regularly removed, including “subreddits that are large and dedicated to specific games, as well as “specific sports, and narrowly focused politically related subreddits.”

A reference by simbawulf in the announcement post suggested that list would include r/The_Donald — the hub of pro-Trump, alt-right online activity which has tried to game Reddit’s system to appear on the front page in the past, and whose reach Reddit has attempted to contain. But the change doesn’t strip Reddit’s default front page of politics entirely. In addition to cat GIFs and Wikipedia pages, the top stories at the time of writing included posts in the Politics, March Against Trump, and World News subreddits.

Today’s change seems aimed squarely at making Reddit more palatable for first-time users and lurkers who have yet to sign up for an account. Indeed, people already logged into their Reddit accounts won’t see a change unless they manually navigate to the new Popular page, continuing to see either the previous 50 default subreddits, or the top stories in the boards they’d previously subscribed to.