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Everything You Need to Know About Reddit

by Julia Wang

So, what is Reddit? What is this illusive website that describes itself as being “the front page of the internet”? If you’re a seasoned internet veteran, you’ve most likely heard of Reddit at some point in time but for those who’ve never actually ventured too deep on the depths of the internet, consider this your close-to-all encompassing guide to the social media platform that is Reddit. 

The best way I have heard Reddit summarized is the social media app for antisocial people. Basically, it’s the social media site for those who tend to lean introverted. While Reddit gets its reputation for being less mainstream as other platforms such as Instagram or Twitter, it’s still one of the most visited websites on the whole internet and is hardly a well-kept secret. Users on Reddit are anonymous unless one chooses to reveal themself in a subreddit dedicated to such things like r/selfies or r/progresspics. That being said, let’s start with your very own guide to the front page of the internet:


If you made it through the last sentence of the previous paragraph you might be wondering what a “subreddit” is. A subreddit is basically an online community of people that are interested in a specific topic and contribute anecdotes, pictures, or memes concerning it. There are over 100,000 active subreddits on Reddit, with topics as generic and common as art or very specific niches ranging from kombucha making to aquarium hobbies. All subreddits start with r/ and are followed by the name of the subreddit. Users can subscribe to as many subreddits as they want which will be featured on the homepages of each individual. There will also be a “news” tab and a “popular” tab, which features the most popular and trending posts on the entire website for that day. Most subreddits allow anyone to post onto it but some subreddits have requirements of post karma (see below) or account age to post. All subreddits are moderated but the level of moderation will vary from subreddit to subreddit. These subreddits make up the core of reddit and are the reason why reddit is so popular with those who might have very specific or niche interests.


In the case of Reddit, Karma isn’t a cosmic force that dictates your life standing in either your current life or your next, it’s the name of the site’s accumulative upvote or downvote system that represents either how much of a positive or negative experience you’ve contributed to a community. The exact formula for determining karma isn’t the most clear, but for the most part you gain karma if a user likes your post and lose karma if a user dislikes your post. It’s basically the site’s version of popularity currency, similar to like or dislike buttons on Youtube. As long as you contribute relevant and good faith posts to a specific subreddit, your karma won’t be going into the negatives. However, if you choose to antagonize, insult, and belittle others on a subreddit there is a good chance your karma standing won’t be too good with other reddit users. One particularly notable example is a comment made by the team of EA games with over 660,000 negative karma seen on r/StarWarsBattlefront*. Karma can be gained or lost through both posts and comments, like stated in the previous paragraph some subreddits require you to have a specific amount of karma on your account to participate to discourage throwaway or bot accounts.



If you clicked the link featured in the last paragraph you most likely see the comment 

in question decorated with various shiny and animated emblems. What are these you ask? These are reddit awards, which can be bought and given to users through other users. These reddit awards can be purchased with Reddit coins, which can be purchased using real money. Many awards are subreddit specific or seasonal, and are given to posts other users deem to be specifically noteworthy or favorable. For the most part, these rewards act as a token of appreciation to a poster, and once given these awards can then be given to another poster by the individual who received the award originally. These awards help highlight a specific comment or post that someone deems to be especially praiseworthy, and can help direct that comment or post to users who might be aimlessly scrolling through. Very occasionally, Reddit will award individuals with a time sensitive free award that users can give to other users in that specific time frame.

So there you go, the three main components of the site that is Reddit. Personally, I would recommend that individuals try it out for at least a little bit. I find that while some subreddits can be frustrating and mentallly taxing, other subreddits provide a wonderful community of like minded individuals to participate in. For example, a subreddit surrounding an online game I play has given me countless tips and tricks that have streamlined my overall playing experience and has made my time playing it a lot more positive. Despite its faults, my experience on Reddit has been overall very positive, and it’s a social media platform I definitely would recommend others to join.

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