Reddit

Reddit is another forum that has links with Something Awful. Its founders Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian were very infrequent posters at the Something Awful forums and decided they wanted to create a site that was similar to Digg, but had greater functionality and engagement with users.

The site was created in June 2005, and expanded, as well as the team behind the site, within the next few months as the site grew exponentially. At the end of 2005, Redit merged with Aaron Swartz’ company infogami, which created a new company Not A Bug, which Swartz became the owner of. In October 2006, Conde Nast publications bought the site and the team was moved to San Francisco, which is where it now resides.

Reddit’s first claim to fame is its use of the Karma system, in which you can upvote or downvote other users posts and comments, which would then change the order in which they are shown. This means that if a user was to post a useful comment underneath an original post, other users could highlight how good this comment is, which would move it to the top of the comments. Vice Versa, if there is a useless comment or troll, other users could downvote it enough that it drops down in the rankings, or eventually can disappear from sight.

Many of the memes on the internet that don’t originate at Something Awful originate from Reddit, this is especially true as Reddit comes into the public consciousness more and more, through appearing on the news, having AMAs with famous people and celebrities and being a source of information for documentaries and editorials.

AMAs are another thing that Reddit has become famous for. This stands for “Ask Me Anything”, in which the Reddit team will ask celebrities, people of the moment, or experts in their field to come onto Reddit and allow the userbase to ask this person anything they wish. The guest would then reply in real time to these questions and provide value to the community in any way they can. It’s very similar to a press conference, only online and unmoderated (apart from overly offensive comments). An offshoot of this event is a subreddit called IAmA – “I Am A”, in which posters invite users to ask them anything regarding their job or profession, usually with some very interesting conversations coming about.

Due to the free registration – unlike Something Awful and 4chan, and the success of the karma system, reddit has become┬áthe largest non social-media online community of all, with 542 Million monthly users. It has become the 7th most visited site in the US, and 22nd most visited in the world. Its interest base has also grown a great deal, with there now being 11,400 active subreddits all dealing with a different specific interest, such as Books, IAmA, EarthPorn, Futurology, NoSleep, TodayILearned, DIY and many more.

Because Reddit is such a large site (it calls itself, probably aptly, “The internet’s Frontpage”, there are obstacles that have to be overcome with its userbase. One of these are the so-called Reddit Effect. When a site is linked from Reddit and it goes onto the frontpage, or even linked in a popular subreddit, the sheer volume of traffic that comes through that link can very easily crash smaller websites and servers, therefore Reddit’s editors have created several bots that take snapshots of websites when a link is posted, so users can still see the site when it is flooded with traffic.

Reddit has also had/caused its fair share of controversies, being on national news several times. This has caused Reddit to change its site-wide editorial rules a few times, including banning suggestive content featuring minors, banning doxxing fellow users, which can reach the point of entire subreddits being deleted, and banning certain types of discussion on certain boards. I.E. opinion pieces on the News subreddit and climate change denialism on the Science subreddit.

With Reddit’s Editors constantly attempting to improve the site to make it more accessible to outsiders, trying to keep the userbase from getting to dangerous and allowing debate without allowing hate speech, it seems like Reddit is showing no signs of slowing down to become the biggest site in the US, greater even than Facebook and Twitter!