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Reddit's Save Functionality Sucks

The Problem

I have been a Redditor for over six years and was a "lurker" for a year before even creating my main account. During my time on Reddit, I have come across amazing content, such as helpful LifeProTips and great book recommendations. When browsing dozens of posts and reading even more comments every day, it becomes difficult trying to remember the most memorable content from a week, a month, or even a year ago. Fortunately, the engineers at Reddit were smart enough to develop a way to save your favorite posts and comments. Unfortunately, however, the save functionality is nowhere near functional and is only slightly more useful if you're a Premium member.

As a developer myself, I understand the need to monetize certain features of your product in order to grow, but the problem with saving on Reddit is the fact that the implementation is incomplete.

For those unaware, saving things on Reddit as a non-Premium member works in the following way:

  • limited to 1000 saved things (posts and comments) total; once the limit is reached, older things are replaced and essentially deleted from history
  • saves are stored in reverse chronological order (latest to oldest)
  • no way whatsoever to filter or sort saved content
  • no searching capability is provided
  • pagination limit on Reddit site is limited to 25 items, thus requiring users to use the "Next Page" or "Prev Page" buttons a lot

Due to the organization of saved content and lack of basic discovery tools like filtering, searching, and sorting paired with the pagination limit, finding some specific content becomes a pain with as little as a few dozen saved items.

For members with Reddit Premium, some of the outlined pain points are addressed. For example, organization of saved content is improved with the ability to create categories (think folders) which allow users to group related content. I've also heard that each category itself has a 1000 item limit rather than a hard 1000 limit for all saved content.

However, there are still issues even if users are paying:

  • no discovery tools (filter, search, or sort)
  • categories disappear after Premium membership expires
  • unable to rename or remove categories
  • saves live on old.reddit.com (UI consistency issue if Redditor prefers "new" Reddit design)

Hopefully by now you can see how Reddit's save feature is not functional from a user's perspective. What's even more interesting in my opinion is the fact that Reddit has the means to support the missing functionality. I know this because their public API exposes the necessary endpoints to make it possible. That's why I'm creating a service that will improve Reddit's poor implementation.

The Solution: unearth

The app is called "unearth" and is currently in the early stages of development. I chose unearth because it's suppose to represent the action of "digging through your saved content and finding gems you had forgotten about".

With unearth, I hope to alleviate the pain of discovering saved content for Redditors by adding the basic tools like searching and filtering while also bringing the ability to group content to those without Premium memberships.

I also have more ambitious goals for unearth which I think others might enjoy:

  • native reminder system (think u/RemindMeBot for those familiar with the account)
  • email updates with featured saved posts
  • backup system (importing and exporting of saved items)

For those wondering, this would all be free and for the benefit of the users of unearth. As of now, I have no intent of monetizing unearth and only want to provide the best service possible for all users.

Some of you may be asking, What's my end goal? In an ideal world, I think it would be amazing if the product team at Reddit came across unearth and decided to improve Reddit's save feature. If that doesn't happen, I would be okay with building this project and using it as leverage in order to land a job at Reddit.

Want to stay up to date with unearth's development and get early beta access once it's ready? Sign up for the unearth mailing list below!

Cedric Amaya

Written by Cedric Amaya, a software engineer who enjoys occasionally taking a break from coding to write about what is on his mind. You should follow him on Twitter.