Wonder how your friends always find cool stuff on the Internet before you? They’re probably using Reddit, the self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet”. This site, essentially a collection of links, is your key to finding the best things on the web.
It can also be confusing to use at first. Good thing there’s “Best of the Web, Delivered: The Reddit Manual.” This guide, by author Dave LeClair, explains what is Reddit and outlines everything you need to know in order to get the most out of it.
Table of Contents
Reddit is, to quote their homepage, “a source for what’s new and popular on the web.” It is also the single most entertaining place on the Internet and a highly organized collection of links. Everything on Reddit is divided into SubReddits, which contain links specifically catered to a certain interest. No matter what you are into, I can guarantee there is a SubReddit for it.
Not only can you share links on Reddit, you can also meet many like-minded individuals who share the same interests as you. Reddit even hosts meet-ups for users to come together and hang out in real life.
Reddit has something for everyone. The only issue is figuring out how to find it. With the help of this guide, you will know how to use Reddit and have no problem finding exactly what you are looking for.
1.2 The Basics
Reddit is built around users voting for what they find interesting, informative and entertaining. People submit links, and other users vote on it. They can vote either up or down; the best content filters up, and the bad stuff moves down. This makes Reddit a constantly shifting and changing website, where what appears on the front page at one point, may be gone an hour later.
The name Reddit is a play on words: “I read it.” The idea is that if you frequently visit Reddit you won’t miss anything important on the web.
1.3 Why Use Reddit?
Reddit covers every type of subject imaginable, and with their system of voting on pieces of content, you will know right away that what you are seeing is the best content around, according to thousands of other Reddit users. It can be hard to find quality content on the Internet. Reddit eliminates this problem by letting users sort through the mess and find only the best.
Reddit’s culture possesses a certain allure. When you first get to the site, you tend to feel like an outsider looking in. Imagine standing in front of the coolest nightclub in town, watching everyone have a great time, while you are stuck outside all alone.
Now imagine the day when you finally decide to set foot into the night club. Once you are in there with the lights blaring, music blasting, and people dancing all around you, you don’t know where to go. You know that once you find a place to belong you will love this place. You simply must find a place that works for you.
This is what makes Reddit so great, because there is a place on Reddit for everyone. It can be a little scary at first, but once you find the places you fit into, Reddit is like the coolest club on the Internet. This is where the SubReddits come in, but we will dig much deeper into that later.
For every piece of useful content Reddit offers, there is an equal and opposite piece of arbitrary content that serves no purpose other than to make you laugh and be entertained. Most days I find myself more drawn to this fun content instead of the useful stuff.
2.1 How to Sign Up For Reddit
The process of signing up for Reddit is actually very easy. Simply point your browser over to Reddit.com. On the top right of the screen there is a box that says, “Want to join?” There is a link next to it that says “register”.
Click that link and you will be taken to Reddit’s registration page. All you need to do is choose a username, (think this through carefully, because this is how people on Reddit will see you for the duration of your stay), enter an email address (optional), and choose a password.
Of course, you also have to type in a CAPTCHA to make sure you are not an evil spambot. After that, you will have your very own Reddit account, ready to receive up-votes!
2.2 Why make an account?
Some people have no interest in making an account on Reddit, and this is just fine. If you really want to dig into the Reddit community, however, making an account is the only way. Later, I will explain how SubReddits work; in order to save your favorite SubReddits you need to have an account. If you want to be able to up-vote submissions and leave comments, you also need an account. The fact is, Reddit is a community built around users participating. If no one actually registered there would be no Reddit.
Reddit will also build a “front page” for you based on your SubReddits. Let’s say you have no interest in politics; well, the default Reddit homepage tends to be filled with news and posts regarding politics. If you register and do not subscribe to any political SubReddits, your front page will be beautifully free of political content.
2.3 Why do some users have multiple accounts?
Reddit does not limit the number of accounts you can create, something many users take advantage of. There are a couple of reasons for this, some are just for fun and some are more serious.
• Novelty Accounts – Most of these accounts have a shtick used for each post. The best of these accounts I know of is Gradual_N****r. This person starts all posts speaking in proper English, but as the post progresses he starts speaking progressively more and more in street lingo.
• Throwaway Accounts – Users make a second throwaway account before posting something they consider embarrassing. They may be posting something to r/sex they do not want forever associated with their actual Reddit account. The solution: make a temporary account to get an answer to their question.
• After a REALLY bad comment – Some users, after a particularly reprehensible comment, see their comment score fall into oblivion. If this happens it may be time for a new account, as the old account’s comment score is so low it probably won’t be taken seriously anymore.
• To reply and up-vote to themselves – Basically, some people create multiple accounts to cheat the system. It works like this: post something, then log out and log in under a new account. Up-vote the post and reply with positive comments. This frequently backfires and makes people look stupid, and is generally not a cool thing to do.
3.1 How to Browse Reddit
When you go to Reddit.com for the first time, it might seem confusing. There will be lots of links from varying categories, and you may feel overwhelmed by it all. The key is to look around at that front page and get a general feel for the way Reddit works.
Click on some links, have a laugh, and enjoy; Reddit is only new to you once. Some people never move past this phase of their Reddit career, and that is okay. Some users never create an account — they just like to go to the site, check out the front page and hang out. If this works for you, then great.
3.2 Reddit is too complicated for me?!
I can totally see why someone would go to Reddit and think it is too complicated. The key is to think of Reddit like anything else you are new to. You have to start somewhere, and the most logical place to start is the front page. I will go more in depth with the front page in the next section, but just know that the front page is a great place to get a feel for the overall flow of Reddit and the way things work.
Once you become familiar with the ways of the front page, you are going to need to learn all about SubReddits. Fear not Reddit newbie: I will guide you in the art of browsing the SubReddits a little later in this guide.
3.3 The Front Page
The default front page of Reddit is populated with content from some of the more popular SubReddits, such as r/politics and r/funny. The stuff that makes the front page is the absolute most popular posts on Reddit, so this is always a good place to start.
3.4 What is a SubReddit?
A SubReddit (or as it is sometimes referred to “A Reddit”) is a place where people into the same things can gather and share things they think other people into the topic will enjoy. When someone submits something to Reddit, the site will require he or she submit it to a SubReddit. Most SubReddits have information listed on the right side of the screen explaining the basic rules for submitting content.
They offer general dos and don’ts for submission, but are useful for readers too: they outline the content you will see in the SubReddit. You will also see a list of “related Reddits,” a great way to discover more great content. The image above, for example, is the side bar from r/Apple, which features a slew of Apple-related SubReddits.
Many popular SubReddits offer in-depth FAQ’s for new readers; find a list here or check the sidebar of your favorite SubReddit for a link. You will typically find these on large popular Reddits, or ones where the subject matter is complex.
3.5 My Favorite SubReddits
Here are a list of my personal favorite SubReddits. Take a look at these and see if they are relevant to your interests:
R/technology – This is your go-to source for all things tech on Reddit. Users post topics for discussion as well as interesting articles and images. They also feature a great sidebar with links to many specific technology Reddits.
R/funny – This is a place for Redditors to come and post anything funny. Most of the posts here are pictures, but users do post jokes and videos as well.
R/loseit – This is the SubReddit for people who are on a diet. Users post before-and- after pictures and tell their story. People also ask questions and offer helpful tips for dieters. If you are overweight, you should check out r/loseit. You might just find the motivation you need.
R/Videos – Another SubReddit with a self-explanatory title. Come here to watch all kinds of videos: from funny to just plain awesome. If you are looking to be entertained by some good old-fashioned videos, this is the place to be.
R/gamernews – Find out what is going on in the world of video games. There is also r/gaming, but that is filled with users posting gaming related pictures and trips down memory lane. R/gamernews is all about the cold hard news.
R/frugal – This is the Reddit where people come to share their stories about saving money. They have a wealth of knowledge that will show you how to cut back on your spending. Some of the things these people cut back on fascinate me, as do some of the crazy stories about getting out from under massive piles of debt.
R/IamA –Users post that they are “something” (eg. a Muslim, a Disney employee or a particular celebrity) and other users ask them questions. You will learn a lot about the human condition here, so check it out.
R/AskReddit –A place for you to come and ask other Reddit users pretty much anything you can think of. Would you like to know how many other people like dancing naked in the rain? Go ahead; ask away.
R/TodayILearned – People post things they learned. For example: someone might post something along the lines of, “today I learned that the Moon orbits the Earth.” People will make fun of this particular statement, of course, but you get the idea.
R/gif – As the name implies, animated GIF images. I love this Reddit at work, because I can’t really watch videos with sound in the office. I can instead watch silent animations.
When it comes to SubReddits, the world is your oyster. These are a few I frequent, and starting with these will get you moving in the right direction.
If you would like to find out even more about SubReddits, check out subredditfinder.com. You’ll discover which SubReddits are the most active, which ones are growing the fastest and which ones are falling and need help.
3.6 What is all this “Reddiquette” I keep hearing about?
Reddiquette is a system of rules governing the way people behave on Reddit. It is designed to keep the community in check and keep things functioning smoothly on the site. It’s a lot like etiquette in the real world.
Reddiquitte governs the way users should react to things like comments from other users, reposts, and disagreements. It is not meant to be a list of absolute commandments; it’s more of a guideline, really, that keeps Reddit a happy place for everyone.
3.7 Why should I follow “Reddiquitte?”
You should follow Reddiquitte for the same reasons you do not act like a complete idiot in the real world. You would not go up to a complete stranger and ask them to tell you that you are awesome, because that would be stupid. The same rules apply on Reddit: you should not make a post asking for upvotes.
If you want to be a regular user on Reddit then you need the community to actually accept you and embrace you as a member. If you are a jerk all the time people are not going to like you very much, and your time on Reddit will not be very enjoyable.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that Reddit gets millions of users, and your transgressions will be forgotten – they will not. You would be amazed at the things the hive mind remembers.
You will also receive many downvotes if you refuse to follow Reddiquitte, and when a comment is downvoted too much it automatically gets hidden in the thread. If this happens no one will even read your comment, making it a waste of time.
It comes down to being a good person. If you want to be a good person then you should follow basic Reddiquitte.
For a complete guide to Reddiquitte check out Reddit’s help article.
4.1 How to submit links on Reddit
An important part of Reddit is submitting content. If no-one ever submitted anything the site would be a barren wasteland. However, do not think you can just go submitting things like a crazy person. You have to think carefully about which Reddit your submission best fits. You also have to think about things like the title of the submission and follow basic Reddiquitte. As I said in the Rediquitte section: the hive mind remembers, and if you are labeled as the kind of submitter that abuses Reddit someone will point it out.
4.2 Finding the proper SubReddit is crucial
The first thing you need to consider when submitting a link or topic to Reddit is: “what Reddit makes the most sense for this submission?”
It seems like an easy question, but many Reddits overlap. For example, Reddit has r/technology, r/apple, r/gadgets and r/iPad. If you wanted to submit an article about an iPad app, it could technically fit into any of these categories. You need to decide which will be the most effective. Because of how broad it is, r/technology has the most subscribers, but it is also the fastest moving, and has the most submissions. It is very hard for a post to make the front page of a Reddit that is as active as this. On the other side, r/ipad has much fewer readers and therefore receives fewer submissions. It will take far fewer upvotes to hit the front page of r/ipad. When it hits the front page, it is going to receive far fewer views then it would on r/technology or even r/apple , but you have a much higher chance of it actually reaching the front page, and it will stick around the front page longer.
I find the middle works best for submissions. So, if you’re posting something about the iPad, I find that r/apple is the best place to go. It is not nearly as broad as, where it will be buried immediately and probably never make the front page. It is still wider then r/iPad, however, and will get more views. This may flop completely and you may get downvoted into oblivion. It happens – that’s Reddit.
4.3 The title is the key
Once you have the SubReddit nailed down, you need to give the submission a title. Reddit can automatically suggest a title based on the URL, but you generally want to try to come up with something engaging and interesting. If you are posting to a Reddit like r/Funny the title will be what determines the response your image receives. Even if the image itself is hilarious, if the title is not clever the chances are slim that your post will even sniff at the front page.
You want to take your time and really think about the title of your post. Chances are, before you ever submitted anything to Reddit, you browsed around a lot. Think about the kind of titles that made you click. It is likely these same types of titles will work.
4.4 Use the search function before submitting
First, I will admit, the Reddit search function is kind of bad. Still, at least give it a shot before submitting.
Since most submissions tend to have a clever title it might be a little tough to be able to tell if something has been submitted before, but try to think of some logical titles someone would use and check to see if it is a new submission.
If Reddit detects the same URL has already been submitted it will stop you from posting, but this isn’t foolproof. It is up to the users to try and make sure the content they are submitting is original, and the search is really the only way to do this.
Reposts are bound to happen, and a lot of the time they still do well because it is probably new to some people, but it is still generally best to avoid them if possible.
4.5 DO NOT add affiliate links
I know you want to make a little money; we all do. Still: do not submit affiliate links to Reddit. The community will not be happy, and you can guarantee that your post will be downvoted, quickly. Remember: the Reddit community is a group of highly tech-savvy individuals who check URLs before blindly clicking on them. If they see affiliate links they will not be happy with you.
A page containing affiliate links may be fine, if the content is good. If it seems like the whole purpose of the page is try and sell products for the sake of lining your pocket, however, do not expect favorable results.
4.6 The Value of Submitting to Reddit
Reddit gets an insane amount of visitors, and anything that hits the front page is guaranteed to see a boost in traffic. As of the writing of this guide, Reddit ranks in the top 150 websites on the entire Internet according to web stat tracking company Alexa. The amount of exposure that a good post on Reddit gets is incredibly valuable.
Another great thing about submitting a post to Reddit is that it is targeted marketing. Anyone who knows anything about marketing can tell you that it is not just the number of people who see what you are promoting, but it is the right people seeing what you are promoting. With a site like Reddit being divided neatly into SubReddits, it is easy to post your content to a place where only people who care about it will read it. It is essentially free targeted marketing.
However, you cannot take advantage of Reddit. Just because Reddit gets a lot of traffic, and is divided up nice and neatly, you must not think of it as your own personal advertising place. I can promise you that will not end well. The Reddit community is smart, and they will notice the fact that you are only submitting links from one website, and they will realize that you are just promoting your product or website and not actually contributing to the community.
Do not try to hide it. If you wrote an article for a website, then say so! If it is good, the community will appreciate that you posted it, and they will not chastise you for it. If you try to be sneaky and act as if you are legitimately trying to contribute, when you are just using Reddit as a marketing tool, they will sniff it out.
In the end, if Reddit is used correctly, you can have a lot of fun gaining Karma, and even shamelessly promote whatever it is that you want to promote.
4.7 Karma Explained
Karma is your Reddit score. It is a way of telling the community how valuable your submissions are. Every user on Reddit has their comment karma and their link karma. It serves as your status symbol on Reddit. Think of it like a person who drives around in a BMW and lives in a giant house. They are trying to tell everyone that they are rich. Your karma score tells everyone that you are a valued member of the Reddit community.
4.8 Comment Karma versus Link Karma
The comment karma tells everyone on Reddit how well your comments on posts were received by others. People with high comments karma tend to be taken more seriously by other members of the community. Generally, the community regards comment karma higher than link karma.
Link karma is how well the actual links you submit to Reddit do in terms of upvotes versus downvotes.
Typically, if you submit many links you also want to try to make insightful comments so people see that you are contributing with comments as well. Someone who submits only links and never makes comments may be labeled as a person who is only on Reddit to promote things, and is not actually contributing.
You do not really need to concern yourself too much with your karma score — if you are a good member of the community who contributes regularly you scores will fall into place on their own.
4.9 Other helpful Reddit Articles
Do not forget to check out these other helpful articles from MakeUseOf.com to learn even more about Reddit.
• Use Reddit Like A Boss With This Combo Package A guide for two amazing Reddit addons that I could not imagine living without.
• How To Kill Productivity With The Reddit App Alien Blue An in-depth look at the single best Reddit iPhone app.
AIC – Acronym for “album in comments.” If someone posts one image, and wants to you know there is a full album of pictures, they will add a link to them in the comment thread, and add “AIC” to the title.
AMA – is an acronym for “ask me anything.” This is common specifically in the IAmA Reddit, but you may encounter them in other SubReddits as well.
CAE – “Can or could anyone else.” This is an acronym you will encounter often in the Does Anyone Else SubReddit.
Conde Naste – The company that currently owns Reddit. They acquired Reddit in 2006, and have done a great job of keeping Reddit independent.
Cross Post – (Also called an x-post.) This is used to post something that has already been posted on Reddit, just in a different place. For example, someone most post a picture in r/funny that someone thinks would also be appreciated in r/pics. They would post it again, and in the title indicate that it is a cross post.
DAE – “Does or did anybody else.” This is the abbreviation where r/DoesAnybodyelse gets its name. You will see this in thread titles in the DAE Reddit. Someone may say, “DAE else think MakeUseOf is the greatest website on the Internet?” They would then be showered with praises about how correct they are by other Reddit readers.
Downvote – The act of lowering the score of a particular post. As mentioned previously, Reddit is a community built on readers voting posts up and down based on how much they enjoy the content. Downvoting is the beautiful thing that keeps the garbage from making your front page.
F7U12 – is a popular SubReddit where users come to post Rage Comics (see definition for Rage Comics). It literally means FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU. It is 7 F’s and 12 U’s. The F’s are short for F*ck and the U is short for you.
FTFY – an acronym for “fixed that for you.” People use this if they are literally correcting something, like poor grammar or spelling, but you will also see it used sarcastically. For example: someone may say that that Apple is the best computer company around, and someone who disagrees may quote them with the word Apple changed to Microsoft with FTFY underneath.
In rare cases it can also mean F*ck this, F*ck you.
Hive mind – The opinion or feelings of the collective Reddit community. This may be used in a negative way. For example, someone may start by saying something like “I know the hive mind feels this way about this, but I’m going to have to disagree.” They are telling you that they are planning to go against the collective opinion, even if that may be risky.
IAE – “Is anyone else.” This is another acronym common to r/DAE. Iama – “I am a.” This is used in any of the “ask me anything” threads you would see around Reddit. A typical Ask me anything title might look something like this: “Iama Author for MakeUseOf.com. AMA” This is saying, “I am an author for MakeUseOf.com, ask me anything.”
IIRC – is an acronym for “if I recall correctly.” You will see this one frequently on Reddit in arguments or debates. Some may say something like “Anderson Silva knocked Okami out cold, IIRC.” This is a way saying you could be wrong, but if memory serves, you are not.
Jailbait – a person someone finds attractive that is under the legal age of consent.
Karma – is your score on Reddit. See the section on Karma in this guide for in depth explanation on karma.
Meme – is a form of a cultural idea. It is more or less a catchphrase or concept, which spreads across Reddit like wildfire. A Narwhal is a great example of a meme.
MIC – is the acronym for “more in comments.” Similar to AIC, but if there is not a full album and instead, just more pictures.
Narwhal – a whale-like animal with a horn on its head. It is a very popular Internet joke.
NSFL – an acronym meaning “not safe for life.” This will be attached to posts of things that can never be unseen. Always be cautious when you see a post tagged NSFL; it may be something you will regret looking at.
NSFW – this means “not safe for work.” You would see this attached to any kind of post that you would not want your supervisor at work to see you looking at. You may see this with nudity, swearing, excessive violence, gore and things of that nature. You may also see entire SubReddits deemed NSFW such as r/NSFW and r/GoneWild. These Reddits will feature nudity in nearly every post, so if you see a Reddit tagged NSFW, you should avoid it on work and public computers.
OP – stands for “original poster.” This is used to address the person who first started the thread. For example, if someone posts a picture and the comments thread gets long, he or she may start by saying something like “OP where did you get this picture?” The original poster will then know that the comment is directed to them, and not to another commenter.
Rage Comic – these comics make up r/fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu. Usually made with a comic generator, they are poorly drawn. They are usually used to tell a story about something that enraged someone.
Reddiquitte – is the guide for the way to behave on Reddit. See the section on reddiquitte for an in-depth look at reddiquitte.
Reddit Gold – is the premium version of Reddit. It adds some new features and most importantly helps to financially support Reddit and keep the site alive. It can be gifted to another Reddit member if you think they did something to deserve it.
Repost – is something that has already been posted on Reddit. It is generally best to avoid reposting things. Chances are someone has seen it before, and they will not hesitate to call you on it. Don’t expect a lot of upvotes if your post is found to be a repost.
SFW – this means that a post is “safe for work.” Not every post will be tagged as SFW; just ones with a title that seems like it have something that would not be safe for work. For example, a picture titled “Oh man look at her ride it” would lead you to assume there is something not safe for work, but if it is just a picture of a girl riding a horse, then there is nothing to worry about.
SubReddit – A SubReddit is a collection of posts about a similar topic. They are the backbone that keeps Reddit organized. See the section on SubReddits for an in-depth description of SubReddits.
This – “This” is used as a way of stating that you agree with a particular post. Responding to a post saying only “This” is generally frowned upon because you are not actually adding anything useful to the thread.
TIL – acronym for “today I learned.” There is an entire SubReddit dedicated to people posting things they learned today. A sample title would be “TIL there is a type of dog specifically bred to look like a Dire Wolf.”
TL; DR – this is short for “Too long; didn’t read.” You will typically see this at the bottom of a long post with a brief summary of the post following it. People do this for lazy readers who just want the general idea of a post without reading the whole thing. For example, I could put “TL; DR this is a guide for new Reddit users” at the bottom of this guide for people who do not want to read the whole thing.
Troll – a troll is someone who does or says something just to get a rise out of people. They will typically disagree with a person’s opinion just to make them mad; even they do not actually disagree. As annoying as trolls can be, they are also necessary to keep things entertaining and exciting.
Upvote – this is the method of approving something on Reddit. By upvoting you are signifying that you found the content useful or enjoyable and you would like to see it move up so other people can see it as well. People may also voice their approval of something by saying upvote, or upboat.
WTF – Short for “What the f*ck.”
More about Reddit:
- How To Use Reddit Like an Old Pro
- Penniless Because of the Holidays? 8 Money-Stretching Subreddits
- Reditr: A Desktop Client For Reddit With Embedded Content
- Special All AskReddit Edition And A Subreddit of the Week [Best of Reddit]
- 5 Free Apps That Will Improve Your Portable Reddit Experience [Android]
Guide Published: October 2011