Spontaneity, candour and fun are the cornerstones of Reddit. Once you find yourself on this American-founded community, you won’t be able to stop clicking. You’ll find strangers sharing candid conversation, and you’ll see how online movements got started and how whacky creative ideas, which would not have found a place elsewhere, gain traction here.

Reddit is an American online community which was founded in 2005. It now has over 500 million registered users worldwide. Any user can ask a question, start a discussion or share something from the web. Others can then leave comments. The comments which garner the most upvotes from the community will appear most prominently at the top of the page. Topics can be sorted into so-called subreddits, which can be followed by subscribing thereto. The following five subreddits alone make Reddit worthwhile, as far as I’m concerned.

Roast me – subreddit

The Reddit for masochists. The concept: post a picture of yourself holding a hand-written sign mentioning the subreddit, and then let others critique your appearance. The concept was taken from the American television programme The Roast, which sees celebrities volunteer to be figuratively ripped to shreds. The good thing about this subreddit is that things never really go too far. It is entirely focussed on good jokes, which serves as a constant reminder not to take anything too seriously.

AMA – subreddit

In this so-called Ask Me Anything (AMA) subreddit you are encouraged to pick the brains of random users. Anyone can put themselves forward for an AMA; being famous or special are not prerequisites. Quite the contrary: celebrities are largely excluded here. This leads to submissions from people such as someone who has just been to the dentist for the first time in nine years, or someone who works in a gun store. They are all thoroughly probed by a curious audience.

SubredditSimulator – subreddit

Warning: no one on this subreddit is real. All discussions here are held by bots (software with the ability to chat on the web). The subreddit is therefore intended only to read and not to participate in. The discussion is started by a bot at a fixed time every day. This bot randomly picks a top discussion of the day on Reddit and also gives it a random title. A few hundred different bots can then all comment, which results in hilariously crossed wires.

Change my view – subreddit

‘Change my view’ proves that civilized interaction is still possible on the web. The idea is to post your own views in order to have them called into question. A critical readership will challenge you with their reactions to get you to reconsider your initial opinion. The reason these discussions remain civilized is that the submitted topics and the subsequent comments are moderated. There are clear rules indicating the requirements for a post or a comment. You’ll find a wide range of posts about politics, segregation and religion.

The button – subreddit

The button was one big experiment. At the top of the subreddit was a large button with a timer counting down from 60 seconds. The button could be pressed by any user with an account dating from before the 1st of April 2005. When the button was pressed, the timer was reset and the countdown would start over. Over a million users found their way to the button to press it. Sometimes they would press it mere seconds before the timer ran out. After ten years (in 2015) the timer actually hit zero. I would say it’s quite the accomplishment to get a million people to visit a page just to press a button.


Peter Staal

Community Building Consultant voor bureau Bind