Reddit is a vast resource. You can use it to find cool stories and pictures, laugh at the latest memes, or just chat with others.
But you’re not likely to have those experiences with the default subreddits you’re subscribed to from the start. Let’s talk about why they’re generally terrible, and the best subreddits you should follow instead.
What’s the Problem With Default Subreddits?
When you sign up for a Reddit account, you’re automatically subscribed to a list of subreddits, known as the defaults. You can find the current list here.
While these seem to cover a great variety of topics, there’s one big problem with the default subreddits: they’re built around the lowest common denominator. Because so many people subscribe to these subreddits, posters try to score as much karma as possible with low-effort, low-quality posts. And somehow these awful Reddit posts are incredibly popular.
Default subreddits have too many people and thus their communities aren’t worth much. Let’s talk about direct alternatives to some of the default subreddits (“subs”) that offer higher-quality content.
1. TrueGaming > Gaming
The default subreddit for video games, /r/gaming, is a complete mess. Nearly every post is a low-effort meme, “does anyone else remember this game” post, criticizing EA, or a scantily-clad woman in cosplay. It quickly gets old and game fans will want something more.
A far better alternative is /r/truegaming. It’s a place for video game lovers to discuss ideas about games with like-minded folks. You won’t find any stupid memes here, but you will find a lot to think about. Come post about some trope that’s been bothering you, or see if other people play shooters the same way you do.
2. ITookAPicture > Pics
/r/pics sounds like a great place to see cool pictures. In actuality, you see more boring pictures with sob stories attached than anything. Rarely do the pictures stand for themselves. Normally it’s Facebook-quality content — everyone has to share their weight loss, cancer-beating, or US citizenship pictures to rake in the karma. Here’s a picture of an old woman eating.
/r/itookapicture doesn’t have any of these issues. Everything here must be a photograph that the uploader took, so there’s no low-quality junk like at Pics. Photographers will likely have the most interest in this subreddit. Check /r/pic for another alternative.
And if you hate the sob stories so common at Pics, check out /r/no_sob_story. There, people share pictures from Pics without the attached stories to show how boring they are on their own.
3. Humor > Funny
The problem with /r/funny is… it isn’t funny. How about this post that makes no attempt at humor showing an image with two different fonts, no punctuation, and poorly-overlaid images? Are you cracking up yet?
Look to /r/humor for your laughs instead. Its users share videos or articles that offer substantial comedy. This sub doesn’t allow stupid images, memes, or other low-quality trite. Thus, it’s a great source for actually funny content.
4. TrueAskReddit > AskReddit
Compared to some of the other default subreddits, /r/AskReddit isn’t terrible. It’s a place for people to pose all sorts of questions for others to answer. But much of the time, the questions are oddly specific, creepy, or just not that interesting to discuss.
For more substantive discussion, have a look at /r/TrueAskReddit. This subreddit uses the same general format but requires that all questions have some depth. You’ll find that the questions are much more interesting and, like other alternatives we’ve discussed, don’t have low-effort, one-liner comments.
5. AMA > IAmA
This is another default subreddit that isn’t terrible, but can quickly get old. /r/IAmA lets people with standout qualities — or celebrities, quite often — hold a question-and-answer session with other Reddit users. Every post begins with “I am a…”, describes their claim to fame, and ends with AMA — ask me anything.
You’ll find some interesting content on this sub, but it’s also filled with requests for celebrities. This clutters the list and makes it harder to enjoy what’s there.
I’m entrepreneur Daymond John. I’m a Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, a Pisces, a Hot Sauce connoisseur, and an animal advocate. Today I’m talking about how you can RISE AND GRIND. Ask me anything! from IAmA
For a more grounded alternative, check out /r/AMA. It works the same way, except that it doesn’t allow celebrity AMAs. You also don’t need permission to start an AMA, so it’s a lot less regulated. Many people who don’t have stories “crazy enough” for IAmA can post here and still take questions about their unique situations.
6. Lifehacks > LifeProTips
Everyone’s happy to find “cheat codes” for life. /r/LifeProTips promises them, but unfortunately, the sub is filled with stupid “tips” from people who seemingly have never gone outside. For every genuinely insightful piece of wisdom on this subreddit, you get one of these pearls of wisdom:
There’s no vastly superior alternative to this one, but /r/LifeHacks is a bit better. It has a fraction of the subscriber base, so you’ll find fewer “If you’re hungry, try eating food!”-type tips. For a more serious approach, check out /r/ZenHabits and /r/SelfImprovement for ways to improve yourself without taking shortcuts.
7. RedditDayOf > TodayILearned
The subreddit /r/TodayILearned (TIL) allows users to share interesting tidbits they recently discovered. Some of it is fascinating, but a lot of it is stupid celebrity worship and dumb “facts” you could find on Wikipedia. For example, did you know that an actor has been married for a long time?
TiL Alan Alda has been married for 60 years and has three daughters. He met his wife at a mutual friend’s dinner party; they bonded when a rum cake accidentally fell onto the kitchen floor and they were the only two guests who did not hesitate to eat it. from todayilearned
A fun alternative for this one is /r/RedditDayOf. Users share facts they’ve learned about a theme that changes each day. Recent topics include blizzards, skydiving, and fault lines.
Bonus: NeutralPolitics > Politics
This one isn’t a default subreddit, but we thought it was worth mentioning lest you subscribe to an atrocious subreddit while looking for decent discussion.
Want a constant feed of factually-dubious political articles with Reddit’s finest geniuses providing insightful pejorative commentary on every post? Then /r/politics is the place for you.
If you prefer actual discussion instead of an echo chamber, then try /r/NeutralPolitics. This community discusses political issues in a fair and polite way. It’s not a subreddit for those with neutral political opinions — but instead neutral in that no viewpoint receives favor. You must back up claims with sources and discussions are substantive, so you won’t see any name-calling or memes here.
What Are Your Favorite Subreddits?
We’ve provided seven excellent alternatives to seven lousy default subreddits. Each of them lets you engage with interesting content from a more dedicated user base. The huge subreddits have so many users that reposts, karma-grabbing, and other nonsense are all too common. Subscribe to some lesser-known subreddits and you’ll have a more enjoyable Reddit experience.
If you’ve had enough of the site as a whole, check out Reddit alternatives.
What are your favorite lesser-known subreddits? What are the worst posts you’ve seen on the defaults? Share your best with other Redditors in the comments below!
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