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Reddit is so many things wrapped up in one neat package. Plenty of people use it as nothing more than a news aggregator and others use it for personal growth and productivity. But at its heart, Reddit is a social network.
While it’s true that every subreddit has some level of discussion — like these techy-minded subreddits as well as the subreddits every guy should read — there are several noteworthy subreddits that are designed solely for discussion.
If you’ve never participated in one of these, you ought to give it a shot. As long as you stick to ones that are well-moderated, you’ll be surprised by how thoughtful these conversations can be.
How to Find New Subreddits
As of June 2013, there were over 5,400 active subreddits where “active” is defined as “subreddits with at least 5 posts or comments in the last 24 hours”. Guests and new users are exposed to a default set of the 50 most active.
How are you supposed to browse the other 5,350+ subreddits to find the ones that interest you? Nobody has that kind of time.
Fortunately, there are several ways to ease the subreddit discovery process. While my favorites are Subreddit of the Day and Find a Reddit, third-party tools like The Mothership and MetaReddit are great, too. But to help you along, here are a few of the best subreddits for real discussions.
I have to admit that the premise of this subreddit is one of the most interesting I’ve seen. For those who are scratching their heads, /r/ChangeMyView is a place where you can post your opinion on a topic and receive lots of counterarguments that try to change your view.
This place was awesome during its first few months. However, ever since it exploded in popularity, it’s not uncommon to find people who post controversial opinions for the sake of stirring up verbal wars. That being said, don’t let it stop you. There are still plenty of insightful discussions every day.
Despite the controversial topics that pop up from time to time, the subreddit itself is surprisingly free from much drama. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re the kind of person who likes to think and debate.
If you want civil conversation, never talk about RAPE; that is, Religion, Abortion, Politics, and Economics. Politics is the most touchy of the four subjects, mainly because everyone thinks they’re qualified enough to know what’s best for their country and the world.
Which means nobody is ever willing to compromise. Visit any of the mainstream political subreddits — /r/WorldNews, /r/Politics, /r/Government, etc. — and you’ll see nothing but wing-to-wing bashing. Rarely, if ever, will you find a peaceful end to a thread.
But /r/PoliticalDiscussion is different. Most threads are posed as questions rather than observations, which helps to keep conversations on track towards an answer, but it’s also heavily moderated to keep trolls out. If you want to talk politics, this is the place to do it.
Note: This subreddit leans heavily towards American politics.
Here’s another subreddit that fits the category of “civil discussions about controversial topics”. The stereotype is that Reddit is a website dominated by white males in their mid-20s who worship science over religion.
Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find that nearly every religion has some kind of representation here.
Enter /r/DebateReligion, an open platform where religious and non-religious folks can come together and learn about the religions of others while taking time to defend their own religion. It’s worth checking out, even if you know that you won’t ever change your mind.
Despite being one of the defaults (it’s the only default mentioned on this list), /r/PersonalFinance deserves more attention than it gets. It’s one of the best financial communities I’ve ever seen and I guarantee it’ll change your life. It certainly changed mine.
Money is one of those topics that can lead into a million subtopics. Interest rates? Budgeting? Debt repayment? Taxes? Mortgages? Index funds? Retirement funds? Windfall? And that’s just scratching the surface.
Take one visit to this subreddit and you’ll see questions that run the whole gamut, ranging from questions of what to do with your inheritance all the way to advice regarding how to get your life back on track. Want to stop worrying about money? The folks here will teach you how.
Most gaming communities these days aren’t very serious when it comes to gaming discussions. Despite the dozens of subreddits dedicated to gaming, many of them are overflowing with memes, image macros, and other kinds of fluff. Where can you go if you want something more mature and thoughtful?
/r/TrueGaming was once a lesser-known gaming community, but it has gained a lot of attention — and thus more participating members — over the past few months because of its high quality. It’s possible that they’ll eventually grow too big for their own good, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
The Internet has way too much dating advice. Sometimes that advice works out well and strengthens your relationships, but more often than not Internet advice is bad and misguided and can destroy your love life. So why do I recommend /r/Relationships?
Because this subreddit is more than just dating advice. It’s relationship advice, which admittedly includes things like love and dating, but also includes advice for platonic and familial relationships. None of us is perfect and we can all use a bit of help when it comes to these matters.
Where Do You Go For Discussions?
Count me in as someone who believes that Reddit is past its prime and suffers from too much shallow content. That being said, even I have to admit that there are sections of Reddit that are still worth visiting. These subreddits are just a few examples; there are plenty more to be found.
Which subreddits provide you with the best conversations? Do you know of any hidden gems? Share them with us in the comments!
Image Credits: Change My View Via Shutterstock, Debate Politics Via Shutterstock, Religious Books Via Shutterstock, Piggy Bank Via Shutterstock, Console Gamers Via Shutterstock, Bad Relationship Via Shutterstock