What is Reddit? Why is it called “The Front Page of the Internet?”
You might have come across someone mentioning it online or even out and about.
It’s a peculiar website that runs an ecosystem of communities dedicated to sharing content and discussing specific topics (some are even weirdly specific). The communities that are dedicated to a topic rarely digress and therein lies the essence of Reddit.
It’s a place where people can post interesting content they care about and interact with people having similar interests.
You could visit a community and get so indulged in it, you wouldn’t even bother to discover the rest of the site. But once you do, there’s no coming back. You’ll instantly get hooked!
Table of Contents
- Why is Reddit so popular?
- The building blocks of Reddit
- The Reddit Homepage
- Reddit Rules
- Elements of Posts and Comments on Reddit
- Reddit Chat
- Reddit’s search bar
- Reddit Talk
- Reddit Embeds
- A glossary of terms frequently used by Reddit users
- The technology and frameworks behind Reddit
- Some interesting facts about Reddit
Why is Reddit so popular?
Reddit is fueled by interesting content. And by that, I mean genuinely interesting content.
Its algorithm is structured such that it ensures interesting content gets maximum visibility. Simultaneously, it also suppresses content that isn’t meaningful and adds no value, such as most posts that feature self-promotion.
You can post interesting stuff you come across, but posting content like your vacation photos (especially if there’s no generally accepted noteworthy element to it) is frowned upon.
According to WebsiteBuilder.org, an average Redditor has been spending 9:29 minutes on each visit as of December 2020. This beats Twitter fair and square. According to DigitalMarketing.org, the average time spent on Twitter per session was only 3:39 minutes as of August 2020.
Of course, it would be outrageous not to mention the fact that many memes that you enjoy sharing today have originated from Reddit and still continue to do so.
Reddit is not only a source of entertainment but a serious source of information as well. You can get to learn a great deal about various fields of knowledge including programming, biology, philosophy, and more from its various communities.
This experience is further enhanced by the fact that you get to interact with professionals in their respective fields in the comments section of Reddit posts; your interaction is not just limited to the number of people you follow or your circle of friends.
Another rather significant reason for Reddit’s popularity is its degree of inclusivity and interactivity. You are not bound to only interacting with people you follow or people you know. People from all over the world can interact with each other through comments and direct messages, regardless of their status, color, or gender.
Since Reddit involves using made-up usernames and lets users create multiple accounts, the degree of anonymity is high on the platform. This means that you can be yourself and be treated equally, irrespective of your appearance or social status in the real world.
This quality is usually absent in other social platforms.
If you head over to the r/IAmA subreddit, there’s a chance you might get to ask your favorite Hollywood superstar questions as a part of its “Ask me Anything” posts. Some have even gone terribly wrong.
And if at this point, if you still doubt the source of Reddit’s popularity, consider the fact that people from a community named r/wallstreetbets recently made mainstream news when they decided to collectively buy GME stocks raising its value and shaking the power balance in the stock market for a while.
Finally, it’s worth noting that since it houses millions of communities each offering a unique experience for visitors, different people will have different explanations as to why Reddit is popular.
The building blocks of Reddit
Reddit is comprised of a few elements, say building blocks, that make up its experience. They are Subreddits, Posts, Comments, Users, Upvotes, Downvotes, its mascot “Snoo” and other minor elements that we’ll learn more about in this guide.
Communities based on different topics in Reddit are called Subreddits.
Think of Reddit as a neighborhood. The subreddits are houses in that neighborhood. Like every house follows a set of rules, subreddits too, have their own rules that people browsing and interacting with them need to follow.
Everyone is welcome in a subreddit (except for private subreddits) and can participate in the discussion, much like a book club gathering in a house and discussing a topic.
The nomenclature of a subreddit consists of an “r” and a “/” followed by the name of a subreddit. It’s based on Reddit’s URL structure. For example, a subreddit for Apple-related information is called r/Apple. Similarly, this is how a URL to r/Apple looks like: https://reddit.com/r/apple
It’s worth noting that everyone with a Reddit account coming across a subreddit can view, comment, vote on, and create posts within. However, you’ll need to subscribe to a subreddit to have posts from it show up in your personal feed.
There are millions of subreddits currently active on Reddit. Each subreddit is based on a unique topic. One of the best aspects of subreddits is that you can find them on any topic you’d like. For example, there’s a subreddit called r/hydrohomies for people who love water. Be it a vague topic, a controversial one, or even taboo, you’ll find it on Reddit.
On the off chance you cannot find a topic you’re looking for, you can simply create your own subreddit and initiate the discussion. If the topic is interesting enough, your subreddit can attract a varying number of subscribers and gain popularity.
As per 2019 statistics, Reddit has more than 130,000 active communities. These are subreddits that receive at least 5 comments per day.
There are three different kinds of subreddits:
- Private subreddits: These subreddits are inacessible to new users but subscribers can continue to access them.
- Quarantined subreddits: These subreddits are cast apart from regular subreddits. A warning sign is placed before anyone trying to access a quarantined subreddit. They do not even appear in non-subscription-based feeds as well as in search. Subreddits are often quarantined to mask their controversial nature. If there’s a chance a regular Redditor might find content in a subreddit to be offensive or promoting hoaxes, the platform’s moderators might quarantine the subreddit to diminish its reach.
- Banned subreddits: These subreddits are shut due to reasons such as defying Reddit’s rules or posting illegal/offensive content. Once a subreddit is banned, no one can access it.
Users are at the heart of Reddit.
In the US, nearly 1 in 4 adults use Reddit ranging from ages 25 to 29.
One of the plus points of the platform is that, like other social platforms, you don’t need to create an account to access it. However, many core features including posting, commenting, and even subscribing to a subreddit require an account.
That said, you can create multiple accounts with different names that don’t have to relate to your actual name, thanks to the degree of anonymity Reddit offers. Such liberty has also given birth to some interestingly creative usernames. Some of these include:
You can create your own username as well. However, you’ll need to make sure to choose one that hasn’t already been taken.
Users on Reddit have their own URL structure. Similar to how subreddits are initiated with an “r/”, usernames are initiated with a “u/”. So, if Julius Seizure had to be written as a Reddit username, it would go as “u/JuliusSeizure.” This is how a URL to u/JuliusSeizure looks like: https://reddit.com/u/juliussiezure
Much like other social networking platforms, you can follow people on Reddit as well.
Posts on Reddit are primary discussion points. A post may be a simple question, an unpopular opinion, a link to an article, or simply a picture of a cat peeking in a phone.
There are four types of posts that you can create on Reddit:
- Post: Lets you enter a title and some text. This is the perfect format to ask questions and write your opinions.
- Images and Video: This option only lets you post an image or a video alongside a title. You can upload multiple photos to form an album in a single post.
- Link: This option lets you post links to articles or websites you’ve come across alongside a title. You can provide your own title, but most subreddits encourage users to use the original title from the source to maintain credibility of the information. Pro Tip: Enter the URL of the article in the URL bar first and wait for a few seconds; Reddit will automatically load the title from within the link for you.
- Poll: This is a new option that lets you conduct polls. You can set a title and write some text describing the poll, then fill out the options that you would like people to choose between. This is especially helpful if you need fellow Redditors’ opinion on a choice you’re stuck between.
You can also sort posts on Reddit in different ways including based on popularity, relevance, recency, controversiality, and the most rated. Sorting is one of the things that makes posts on Reddit different from posts created on other social networking websites.
Posts can be elevated to popularity using upvotes and downvotes, which you’ll learn about a little further into this guide.
It’s through posts a subreddit’s degree of relevance is judged. If a subreddit has a healthy inflow of posts, it either means that the topic is largely accepted and is relevant for a large group of people.
If a subreddit has an even higher inflow of new posts, the topic can be deemed trending. Besides, a topic’s popularity also depends on the number of comments each post receives.
Comments are a subset of posts. You can only comment on someone’s (or your own) post.
Comments on Reddit are just like those on most websites. Replies to a comment are nested and you can simply collapse a comment and its replies to focus on other comments in a post if the conversation is getting overwhelming.
The discussion that occurs on the website ultimately boils down to comments. The core of Reddit lies in its comments section, where people can discuss topics and expand upon others’ knowledge.
Comments, like Posts, can also be elevated to popularity using upvotes and downvotes. This ensures that the most helpful, informative, or entertaining comment appears at the top of the comments feed.
For example, if a user asks a question demanding knowledge on how to do something (as in r/howto), the best answer; the one which is the most agreeable is elevated to the top through the upvotes and downvotes system.
You can also sort comments because we’re not always looking for the best. Sometimes, you might need to look for new comments or controversial ones (if you love drama).
Comments on Reddit are also individually linkable. If you want to share a comment you especially like, you can do so in the form of a link that the recipient can use to directly land on the comment.
Upvotes and Downvotes
Reddit’s upvoting and downvoting system is commendable. It not only allows users to “like” a post or a comment by upvoting it but also “dislike” it by downvoting it.
This way, if someone posts about something quite useless for everyone that doesn’t add any value or spark interest, users can downvote the post or the comment. Comments and posts that are downvoted usually end up at the end of the page. But again, this depends on how you sort them.
Similarly, posts that are upvoted are increasingly highlighted by Reddit’s algorithm. If a post from a subreddit receives a considerable amount of upvotes, Reddit will place it on its front page, thereby exposing it to even more traffic.
The most upvoted post on Reddit as of this writing is by Rick Astley, the artist from the song “Never Gonna Give You Up,” whose video has become a popular cultural phenomenon known as “Rickrolling.” His post on Reddit has received more than 438,000 upvotes.
The most downvoted comment on Reddit as of this writing is from the digital gaming corporation EA for trying to justify the cost for unlocking a major character in its game (Reddit does not display downvotes for a post, only for comments). It has received more than 667,000 downvotes and was also covered by a lot of major news organizations.
Reddit’s Mascot ‘Snoo’
Reddit has its own mascot just like Twitter has a silhouette of a bird. It’s called “Snoo” which is supposed to be a shorthand for “What’s new?”
Reddit’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian doodled it while in college and it stuck around as the website’s mascot. According to Ohanian: “I doodled it while bored in marketing class. Not sure why it’s an alien. I just kind of like the idea of having a time-traveling alien mascot.”
Snoo bodes well with Reddit users because of its lack of personification and conformity to traditional marketing. It’s an alien with antennae but without a gender. Seemingly, this is why Snoo is also popular among savvy Reddit users.
The Reddit Homepage
The Reddit homepage functions differently for when you are logged out and logged in.
When you are logged out
When you are logged out, the front page shows a list of posts sorted by popularity throughout the world. These posts may not be related to the topics you like since they are presented based on popularity and not relevance. Nevertheless, it’s a decent way to discover some interesting new subreddits.
There’s a sidebar alongside the posts section. It features a list of top subreddits at a moment from a particular category, for example, Gaming. Beneath the top subreddits section, there’s a CTA (Call to Action) button that encourages you to subscribe to Reddit’s Premium service. And below that, Reddit suggests a list of popular subreddits you can check out. Finally, at the end of the sidebar, Reddit offers links to the rest of the website including the company’s Press Releases, different policies, and other meta links.
Reddit displays a palette of trending topics that you can jump right into at the top of the page. These are presented in the form of featured posts and boast a different design than that of individual posts.
At the very top of the Reddit window, a search bar persists alongside the Reddit logo on the left and buttons to log in or sign up to the platform on the right. We’ll learn more about Reddit’s search bar and its potential further in this post.
As of yet, it’s worth noting that clicking on the search bar reveals another list of trending topics in a dropdown.
You can easily browse Reddit without ever creating an account. But your experience will be limited to just that: browsing. In order to participate in discussions, you’ll require an account.
When you’re logged in
When you’re logged in, the posts feed displays posts from subreddits you’ve subscribed to instead of generally popular posts. The post sorting options remain the same minus the option to choose the relevant location based on which the posts are presented.
Since you are signed in, Reddit will allow you to create new posts. Therefore, to encourage posting, the website includes a bar right above the posts feed that lets you quickly create a post.
The sidebar remains the same as well, except, options are added now to create a new post or your own community.
When you’re logged in, the top bar that contains the search bar acquires new buttons and options to navigate around Reddit.
The “Log In” and “Sign Up” buttons are replaced by a gateway to your account in the form of a dropdown menu. When you click on your username in the top right corner, it displays links to several locations on your profile including your user settings, avatar, your online or offline status, and more.
Besides the username, a row of different buttons exists including:
- Create Post: This button lets you create a new post.
- Notifications: This button shows notifications pertaining to your interactions with others on Reddit as well as any post notifications you’ve set up.
- Chat: This button opens a comprehensive, pop-up chat box in the bottom right corner of the screen that you can use to send messages to fellow Redditors.
- Reddit Live: This buttons is to access Reddit’s RPAN Live Streaming service where anyone can begin a livestream.
- r/All: This button leads to the r/All subreddit that features the most upvoted posts from all subreddits that were posted in the span of a day. Usually, it’s filled with popular subreddits since these have large sibscriber counts.
- Popular: This button displays popular posts as opposed to your own posts feed from subreddits you’ve subscribed with your account.
Note that Reddit Live, r/All, and Popular are three different kinds of post feeds. Once accessed, you can revert back to your original feed by clicking the Reddit logo on the top right corner of the screen.
Then there’s the dropdown menu to the left of the search bar that contains links to the subreddits you’ve subscribed to, the Redditors you follow, the four kinds of feeds (the first being Home), and other links that might help you navigate the site quickly.
Each community you follow that’s listed in that dropdown is accompanied by a star beside it. You can click on a star to pin that subreddit to the top. This way, you won’t have to scroll through a list of multiple subreddits to find the one you want to browse right now.
Finally, when you hover over the dropdown list, it displays a button that lets you shift the dropdown list to the sidebar. Even though it’s an option, not many people prefer to reduce the amount of room they get while browsing Reddit by adding a sidebar.
The reason Reddit has been able to stay relevant while other community-based websites like it such as Google+ are long dead is that the platform enforces strict rules that all users need to follow to maintain the quality of the content that’s posted there.
People create millions of posts on Reddit every day. Not every post feels like a masterpiece. And a lot aren’t mindful of what they post online. That’s where Reddit’s rules come in. Rules make sure content stays interesting and protect the platform from people and organizations looking to game its algorithm.
To say that these rules are effective is an understatement. There have been organizations earning millions from the traffic Reddit generates that have vanished just because they tried to game Reddit’s algorithm and got banned as retribution.
That said, there are four facets that come into play when talking about Rules on Reddit:
- Reddit site-wide rules
- Reddit per-subreddit rules
Let’s look at each facet in detail.
Reddit site-wide rules
The site-wide rules are the basis of Reddit’s policy. They apply to everyone accessing the site and no one is treated differently.
According to Reddit’s Content Policy:
“While not every community may be for you (and you may find some unrelatable or even offensive), no community should be used as a weapon. Communities should create a sense of belonging for their members, not try to diminish it for others. Likewise, everyone on Reddit should have an expectation of privacy and safety.”
There are in-all eight site-wide rules and here’s what they are:
- “Remember the human:” This rule states that everyone using the site should not engage in activities that harass, bully, or pose a violent threat to others.
- “Abide by community rules:” Each community has its own set of rules that govern interactions in that community. More about that further below.
- “Respect the privacy of others:” Non-consensual posts about others and anything that harms someone’s privacy isn’t allowed.
- No child sexual abuse material is allowed: No sexual content or similar suggestive content about minors isn’t allowed.
- Do not impersonate someone: This rule states that while you can stay anonymous, make sure you don’t impersonate an “individual or an entity in a misleading or deceptive manner.”
- Properly label content: Reddit offers labels called as “flairs” that are used to indicate if the content is a spoiler, NSFW (Not Safe For Work), or offensive. Users are required to use these flairs whenever necessary.
- Do not post illegal content: Posting illegal content or soliciting illegal transactions will end up in a ban.
- “Don’t break the site:” This essentially means not to try to hack the site or insert malicious code into the site, or do anything else that might hinder the normal functioning of the website.
While these are just little introductions to the rules, Reddit’s Content Policy contains links that go in-depth about what each rule constitutes. So we recommend checking those out before heading over to Reddit.
Every new Redditor is encouraged to read the site-wide rules and get accustomed to these before beginning to participate on the platform.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that if you’re caught violating any one of these rules, it’s almost always an instant ban for your account. What’s more? Reddit has algorithms set in place that are capable of detecting if someone tries to bypass the ban by creating a new account.
The best way to use Reddit, in conclusion, is to interact with people on the platform like you’d do in the real world, with utmost civility.
Reddit subreddit-specific rules
Subreddits on Reddit sometimes enforce their own rules. This is a must as different topics of discussion require different methods of dealing with the content that accompany those topics.
For the most part, though, subreddits use Reddit’s site-wide rules as a core block and build upon that with their own rules. Some subreddits, for instance, have a rule that you are only allowed to participate in them if your account is “n” number of days old. Whereas, some subreddits restrict posting and commenting on the basis of the amount of Reddit Karma a user has.
Moderators, much like those in a debate, ensure that discussion on Reddit occurs with utmost civility and no one breaks the rules set by either a subreddit or Reddit’s site-wide rules.
Moderators are simply user accounts with extra powers. According to Reddit, depending on the permissions assigned to a moderator, some of the many actions they can perform include:
- Remove items
- Approve items that have been erroneously removed
- Distinguish official items
- Mark items “NSFW”
- Mark items as “spoilers”
Moderators on Reddit provide a service by volunteering their time for it. They aren’t paid for managing subreddits. However, there have been instances in the past where moderators of some subreddits have exploited their powers to earn advertising money from brands and media outlets either looking for Reddit’s valuable exposure or influx of visitors for increasing page views.
Moderation is taken quite seriously over at Reddit as it has real-life consequences. In one instance, a moderator of a subreddit called r/AdviceAnimals was revealed to have gamed Reddit’s algorithm for a while by deleting meme links from other websites and instead promoting their website, earning millions of Dollars from the incoming traffic.
Becoming a moderator of a subreddit, therefore, is usually difficult; especially if it’s a popular subreddit. How moderators are appointed also differs from subreddit to subreddit, but the most ubiquitous way is to write an application to the existing moderators of a subreddit describing why you’d be perfect for the task and what you would do to enhance the user experience on the subreddit.
When you create your own subreddit, you automatically become a moderator of that subreddit.
Apart from moderators of specific subreddits, Reddit also has moderators for the entirety of the platform called Admins. Unlike the former group, they are employees of Reddit and are paid by the company.
Those who break rules on Reddit have to face the harsh reality of a ban. There are four types of bans on Reddit:
- Subreddit Ban: Occurs within a subreddit for breaking its rules. Once you’re banned, you won’t be able to submit a post or comment on an existing post in the subreddit.
- Automoderator Ban: Automoderator is a Reddit bot that moderators use to bring a ban in effect. This bot automatically deletes any posts or comments from your account (if your’e banned). This way, you are led to believe that you are not banned and are not encouraged to bypass the ban by creating a new account.
- Shadowban: This is a site-wide ban. If you’re shadowbanned, this means that you will be able to post and comment on the surface, but others won’t be able to see them.
- Site-wide Ban: This is the harshest of all bans as it renders your account useless. Reddit brings these bans into effect in worst case scenarios. Sometimes, the platform can also apply a site-wide ban on your IP address, meaning you won’t be able to create another account with the same IP address.
Reddit bans prevent bad actors from disturbing meaningful conversations on the platform. If you are somehow banned and feel that it was a mistake, you can always contact the moderators of a subreddit to appeal the ban.
Moderators can reinstate your account to its previous state.
Reddiquette is a term made using two words “Reddit” + “Etiquette.”
Reddiquette is a set of “informal” rules that all Redditors are expected to abide by. While you can ignore some of these rules, it’s essential to follow these rules in order to demonstrate healthy behavior.
Some of these rules include:
- Remember the human: This rule simply suggests that you must interact with others on Reddit as if you were speaking to them face-to-face. Since it’s easier to courageously type anything you want while sitting behind a computer screen, this rule reminds you to remember the essence of being a human.
- Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life.
- Read the rules of a community before making a submission.
- Use proper grammar and spelling.
- Keep your submission titles factual and opinion free.
- Look for the original source of content: Blogs usually quote the source. Reddit recommends linking to the source directly instead of lending traffic to the blog. This applies for other websites as well.
- Vote: Since voting is a huge part of how Reddit works, it makes sense to vote stuff that you find interesting so that it becomes easily discoverable.
The Rediquette guidelines mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg. Reddit has a long list of general do’s and don’ts that helps you engage in healthy conversation with others using the platform.
It’s worth noting that you can also get banned for breaking Rediquette in some cases.
Elements of Posts and Comments on Reddit
Two of the most important building blocks of Reddit—that I talked about earlier in this guide—are posts and comments. People engaging in interesting conversations on Reddit are able to do so with posts and comments.
Here are some common elements that further make up a post and comment.
A flair is sort of a tag that helps users understand which category a post belongs to in a subreddit.
Flairs are optional. Some subreddits may implement flairs whereas some may not. Some subreddits even make flairs a mandatory requirement for creating new posts.
When creating a new post, Reddit offers an option to add a flair to your post. If the subreddit you’re posting in requires a flair for posting, you won’t be able to do so without selecting a flair from the list of flairs present in the dropdown menu beneath the post creation interface.
For instance, r/technology is a subreddit that requires flairs for posting. When users submit links, they’re led to choose a category into which the article fits. The categories include Politics, Business, Transportation, etc. When the user finally posts the link, the flair appears beside the title of the link.
A flair gives more information about what’s inside a post. This helps a visitor make a decision.
Flairs are not only placed beside titles for display, users can click on a flair to see all the posts containing only that flair. This way, you can filter content to your satisfaction and browse topics of interest more effectively.
If you’re a new Redditor, you must’ve wondered about Karma. What’s the deal with it?
Well, karma is simply a number that increases when you receive upvotes on your posts and comments and decreases with downvotes.
Karma on Reddit doesn’t amount to anything and doesn’t lend you any privileges but it’s a decent motivator for creating more posts and comments. Some people get a kick out of seeing their karma increase, which keeps them engaged on the platform.
If you’re a new visitor, you might find that some subreddits impose a limit on users requiring them to have a set number of karma points before being allowed to create posts.
Coins and Awards
Coins are “virtual goods” on Reddit. You can buy coins (in exchange for real money) to buy awards that you can give away to posts and comments that you find exceptional as a way to let the contributor know how much you liked their content.
When you give someone an award, it appears above their content in the form of a badge for everyone to see. The comment or post that receives an award usually continues to receive more awards because the badge highlights that post or comment, distinguishing it from others.
While there are multiple kinds of awards you can give away, the three basic awards include:
- Silver: This award costs 100 coins.
- Gold: This award costs 500 coins. It also gives the honoree a week of Reddit’s Premium membership including an ad-free experience.
- Platinum: This award costs 1800 coins. It also gives the honoree a month of Reddit’s Premium membership includin an ad-free experience.
Apart from this, if you are a Reddit Premium subscriber, you’ll receive an additional 700 coins per month to spend on awards.
Posts and comments on Reddit offer sharing options that you can use to emanate stuff you find interesting to your circle of friends. Posts and comments have a dedicated “Share” button beneath them each offering different options.
For posts, three sharing options exist. The first option is to simply copy the link so that you can paste it anywhere you like. The second option involves crossposting the post. Crossposting is a relatively new option that lets you re-post a post from one subreddit to another without having to create it from scratch once again.
Lastly, there’s the Embed option that lets website authors and webmasters embed a Reddit post among their content. The embed appears on third-party websites in the form of Reddit’s interface. This is similar to how Twitter lets third-party websites embed individual tweets.
While sharing a comment, you’ll notice that it only has two options: copying the link and embedding the comment onto a webpage. Comments cannot be crossposted, hence the missing option.
Posts and comments have an additional array of buttons that help interact with them on a deeper level.
Posts additionally include a Save, Hide, and Report button. The save button lets you save the post to your account in case you want to get back to it later. It has been a great help to me for saving posts from the r/howto subreddit.
The Hide button lets you hide the post from your feed and the Report button lets you report a post for any grievances you have regarding it.
Comments have the same additional buttons. However, there’s yet another button labeled “Follow” that lets you follow a comment thread. This way, you’ll receive a notification each time someone replies to a comment you are following.
Reddit originally did not have a video player. In order to share videos, you’d need to upload them to a video/GIF hosting site like Imgur or Gfycat and post the resultant link to Reddit. Then, Reddit would use that video/GIF hosting site’s video player to stream the video.
However, four years ago in 2017, Reddit began testing allowing users to upload videos natively to Reddit. The videos would be uploaded to a “v.redd.it” domain. The video player wasn’t so much different when it initially launched than throughout recent years.
Then came 2021 and with it, yet another controversial design change—this time, to the video player on Reddit’s mobile app. Earlier this year, Reddit tweaked the video player making it look eerily similar to TikTok’s video player; even having the same swipe-up-to-the-next-video functionality. Apparently, this change is only for iOS users so far.
If it isn’t for the nonchalant hatred Redditors have for TikTok, what tips them over is the fact that swiping up now does not show comments, but leads to another unrelated video. In order to access the comments in a video, users now have to press the dedicated comments button which then loads them.
Earlier, users could simply swipe up in a video to access comments, which are a considerable part of Reddit’s experience.
Here’s one of Reddit’s administrators u/Sn00byd00 addressing concerns about the problems introduced by the new video player:
“While trying to make the player better, we made some things worse. And one of the biggest things we dropped the ball on, is making sure commenting and engaging with the comments worked for everyone. What truly makes Reddit special is the rich discussion you create. And what we’ve heard from all of you is that the new video player makes it harder to engage in this discussion.”
Since then, Reddit has made some changes that have certainly improved interaction with posts containing videos.
Image hosting on Reddit
Similar to video hosting, Reddit used to present images hosted purely on third-party image hosting platforms. The problem, at the time, was that there were a lot of image hosting platforms, each offering a different way to host images. Collectively, none of these third-party platforms were simple to use.
As a result, a fed-up user called Alan Schaaf (at the time, studying Computer Science at Ohio University) created Imgur which offered a simple way to host images and share them. Originally, it was only a gift to Reddit users which snowballed into popularity when almost everyone using Reddit started using Imgur to upload and share their photos.
Since then, Imgur has evolved into a full-fledged social media app with hundreds of millions of users coming in every day to host their photos, share them, comment on others’ media, upvote and downvote them, and more.
Back in 2016, Reddit began allowing users to host their images on Reddit’s own servers. Images stored on Reddit use the “i.redd.it” domain.
A Reddit admin cited two reasons for this move:
- “Seamless User Experience: We want to make it as simple as possible for all of you to use Reddit. It was one of the most requested features by users.
- Providing Choice: We want to offer all of you a choice. You can still use third party image hosting services to upload, but we wanted to provide an option for a smoother experience.”
While this does decrease the reliance on third-party image hosting sites, Imgur remains to be a considerable aspect of images being shared on Reddit. So much so, that to the uninitiated, it might seem like Imgur is owned by Reddit itself, which is not the case.
Reddit treads beyond comments and posts. It also allows users to privately interact with each other using its Chat feature. It’s similar to Twitter’s DMs in that you can engage in a one-on-one conversation with anyone on the platform.
When you initiate a chat with a random person on Reddit, they receive a chat request. When they accept the request, they’ll be able to reply; otherwise, the chat request will be removed. It’s worth noting that the sender won’t be notified when the chat request is ignored.
Reddit’s chat interface is quite simple. It has a text field and chat bubbles like any other social media platform that offers a messaging feature. However, the text field also includes two buttons; one for finding and sending GIFs and the other for sending “Snoomoji,” emojis made from Reddit’s mascot “Snoo.”
Reddit’s chat does not support read receipts just yet. But, it does feature typing indicators. You can also delete a message once it’s sent and it will vanish for both yourself as well as anyone else in the chat.
You’ll receive notifications for when someone sends you a message or requests your approval for sending a message. However, you can always manage your notification preferences from your account settings.
The company says it has also implemented anti-spam and anti-harassment features in Chat. For instance, you can report a particular message someone sent you to Reddit and the platform will take action against them.
Last, but certainly not least, you can also create group chats to conduct discourse with your fellow Redditors. Reddit says that since group chats aren’t subreddits and do not feature moderators, the process of enforcing rules is a little different here.
The person who creates the group—the host—has the ability to delete anyone’s messages in a group or kick a person out. This works much like group admins on different chat applications like WhatsApp and Telegram. Furthermore, anyone in a group can report a message to Reddit.
Even though group chats are not like subreddits, the platform expects people to follow the same set of rules designated for the latter.
Reddit’s search bar
Since Reddit is a colossal cluster of communities based on different topics, it’s difficult to find the one you want to indulge in. There’s a chance you won’t simply bump into your desired subreddit. That’s when the search bar comes into play.
When you click on the search bar, it expands into a list of your previous searches followed by a list of trending topics that you can check out. You can type in a keyword relating to a topic you’re looking for and Reddit will display search results categorized into posts, communities, comments, and users.
Aside from the regular type-and-enter search functionality, few are aware of the true potential of Reddit’s search bar. It’s more than just a regular search bar, thanks to something called search operators.
If you’re not aware of search operators, they are unique keywords that serve a specialized purpose. Search operators are a dominant feature in popular search engines like Google and Bing as well. If you search for “site:example.com” on Google, the search engine will only return “example.com” links.
That said, each platform or service that implements search operators have their own set. For instance, the “site: ” operator on Google that I just talked about might be called something else on a different search engine.
Similarly, Reddit has its own set of search operators that help power users navigate through the site both efficiently and quickly.
Here are some elements you can filter your searches by using Reddit’s search operators:
- Site: Show posts containing the domain of the submitted URL.
- Operator syntax: site:example.com
|Site||Show posts containing the domain of the submitted URL||site:example.com|
|Subreddit||Show posts from a specific subreddit.||subreddit:cats|
|Title||Show posts containing a specific word in their titles.||title:cakes|
|URL||Show posts containing a specific URL||url:example.com/cats|
|Selftext||For self-posts, the body of the post.||selftext:cats|
|Author||The user who submitted a post.||author:example_name|
|NSFW||Show only NSFW (Not Safe For Work) submissions or show no NSFW submissions.||nsfw:yes, nsfw:no|
Powerups are a neat way to increase engagement in a community on Reddit. These are purchasable items that you can use to add extra features to the community.
When 25 powerups are collected, they are enabled for the whole community, even for those users who didn’t contribute to buying them. The users that buy powerups, on the other hand, get the perks immediately.
Powerups bring along a bunch of perks including highlighting people that contributed, enabling sending GIFs in comments, allowing to create and use custom emojis for your community, uploading and watching higher resolution videos, and more.
It’s worth noting that only moderators with the Manage Settings permission can enable powerups. Furthermore, powerups are only eligible for subreddits having more than 1000 members and those that are not tagged NSFW (Not Safe For Work).
When powerups are enabled, Reddit displays a dedicated tab indicating just that for both mobile and desktop users.
For Reddit moderators, it’s worth noting that since users pay for the powerups, they are irreversible and once powerups are applied they cannot be disabled.
After the popular “social audio” app Clubhouse rose to fame out of nowhere, a lot of well-established tech and social media companies have been trying to get in on the game. And so is Reddit.
Reddit Talk is “a new feature that lets you host live audio conversations in your communities.” It’s currently undergoing a beta stage where community moderators can host conversations in audio format.
For now, Reddit Talk only exists on the platforms mobile apps for iOS and Android. When a new talk is hosted in a subreddit, it will show up in your feed as well as in that subreddit. If you’ve turned on notifications for Reddit, you’ll also receive notifications for when a talk begins in a subreddit you’re subscribed to.
Since it’s still in the beta stage, only select moderators can hold talks as of now. However, Reddit says that when Talk goes live for everyone, moderators will be able to choose a host of their choice. The host ultimately decides who gets to speak, can mute speakers, and can kick users out of the chat room.
As of this writing, you can fill a Google form Reddit has prepared to apply for participating in a talk.
Unlike other social platforms, I think Reddit’s new Talk venture might be particularly fruitful on the platform. This is true especially considering the fact that Reddit is the go-to place to host AMAs (Ask Me Anything’s) and interact with experts and important personalities. Prior to Talk, they could only interact in the form of text, but now, it’s possible to do so via voice as well.
Reddit Embeds are a decent way to share posts and comments from the platform onto your website. When you click on the Share button on the desktop version of Reddit in a browser and choose the Embed option, Reddit generates a snippet of HTML code that you can simply paste into your website.
However, it’s worth noting that while simply copy and pasting the HTML code might do the job, Reddit lets you customize the embed as well.
The customization options come in the form of checkboxes that you can simply tick. Upon ticking the checkboxes, the HTML code will automatically update to reflect those changes.
Here are the customization options:
- Ability to exclude media preview from the embed, if any.
- Ability to enable Edit Control, which lets you choose what happens when an embedded post or comment is edited on the platform.
- The ability to use Google AMP’s embed code.
- The ability to enable dark mode on the embed.
- The ability to show Facebook’s Instant Article Embed Code.
At any rate, though, Reddit shows you a preview of your embed before you can add it to your website so that you won’t have to generate a new embed code in case you change your mind about some aspect.
A glossary of terms frequently used by Reddit users
Note that most of these terms apply to the entirety of the internet and are not limited to Reddit. Nevertheless, there’s a high chance that you’ll initially run into these terms on Reddit. Most of these terms are also simply initialisms.
|AMA||Short for “Ask Me Anything.” This is also one of the most popular and publicized terms on Reddit.|
|AMAA||Short for “Ask Me Almost Anything.” This is a toned-down version of AMA.|
|Cake Day||Reddit’s own term for a birthday. It denotes the date a user first joined Reddit. Reddit also places an icon of a Cake beside the username on their Cake Day.|
|Crosspost||The process of posting an already-submitted post in a subreddit onto another subreddit.|
|DAE||Short for “Does Anyone Else.” Used as an initialism to ask if someone else might do the same thing one does.|
|ELI5||Short for “Explain Like I’m Five.” Used as an initialism. There’s also a popular subreddit based on it called r/explainlikeimfive.|
|FTA||Short for “From the Article.” It’s used to refer to a quote or a snippet of information from an article linked to a post on Reddit.|
|FTFY||Short for “Fixed That For You”|
|IIRC||Short for “If I Recall Correctly.”|
|ITT||Short for “In This Thread.” Used to differentiate a comment thread from another.|
|IMO||Short for “In My Opinion” and a common term used throughout the internet and not just on Reddit.|
|Karmawhore||This term refers to a person who posts and comments on Reddit with the sole purpose to accumulate Karma points. Usually, such Redditors aren’t careful about posting genuinely interesting content and just want to increase their Reddit Karma score.|
|MIC||Short for “More in Comments.”|
|NSFL||Short for “Not Suitable For Life.” This is a tag used to denote posts and comments that contain extreme content that could be offensive or displeasing.|
|NSFW||Short for “Not Safe For Work.” Usually referred to sensitive posts and comments that you shouldn’t read at work.|
|OP||Short for “Original Poster.” Usually refers to the one who created the post or comment.|
|Power User||A popular Reddit user is usually called a Power User. Such users generally have a high Karma score.|
|TIL||Short for “Today I Learned.” This term is used as an initialism for sentences such as this: “TIL that the best place to see rainbows in the world is Hawaii.” There’s also a subreddit full of interesting facts dedicated to this topic. (r/todayilearned)|
|TL;DR||Short for “Too Long; Didn’t Read.” This term is a popular term generally used by the internet to refer to a summary of large heaps of texts or any event.|
|WIP||Short for “Work in Progress.”|
|X-Post||Yet another term for Crosspost.|
The technology and frameworks behind Reddit
Reddit was originally written in the language Lisp. However, it didn’t offer much flexibility, not to mention the lack of adequate libraries. Then, in 2005, Reddit shifted to Python; initially using the custom “web.py” framework made by the platform’s co-founder Aaron Swartz itself.
In 2009, Reddit shifted to using a different web framework based on Python called Pylons after it got acquired by Condé Nast.
Some interesting facts about Reddit
- Reddit founders faked traffic to the website to make it seem popular
- Reddit’s first comment was a complaint
- Reddit spent little money on advertising
- Reddit is responsible for the world’s largest secret santa
- Barack Obama held the site’s biggest AMA
- MIT Once offered College credit for browsing Reddit
- An American software developer outsourced his work to China just so he could browse Reddit all day, making hundreds of thousands of dollars, but eventually getting caught.
- The term Reddit is a play on the words ‘Read it.’
- According to Pew Research Center, 78 percent of all Reddit users get their news from the site.
- A man got picked up by a Hollywood producer to become a screenwriter as a result of a series of comments he made on a Reddit thread.