Friday, October 29, 2010

T-minus 24 hours

We're less than a day away from the rally, and Washington has turned into reddit central. We met a redditor on our plane, sitting right in front of us. We saw a group of redditors in t-shirts at baggage claim, excitedly exchanging QR codes. And the local football team announced that they're changing their name to the Washington Reddits. One of the preceding sentences is not true.

If you missed Wednesday's rally update, go read that first. It turns out that, despite its title, there are a few more things we need to tell you.

Achievement Unlocked!

First off, we made the $500,000 goal! It appears that redditor timdorr put us over the top with some last-minute campaigning and an especially generous contribution. In addition to the karmic reward of helping change the lives of countless schoolchildren, this means we'll be getting that Stephen Colbert AMA we were promised — and it looks like the reddit alien is now a part of the DonorsChoose logo!

We know you guys like statistics, so we've compiled some:
  • We raised $500,000 (and counting) in 46 days
  • Over $130,000 was raised in the first 24 hours
  • Over $200,000 was raised in the first 48 hours
  • The previous DonorsChoose group donation record was $400,320
  • Over 10,000 redditors donated
  • 189,000 students were reached
  • The average contribution was $48.98
  • The average daily total was $10,420.87
Thanks to everyone who gave, and to everyone who promoted the campaign, be it on a blog, Facebook page, or internationally-syndicated cable television show.

Friday Events

Team Reddit will be going to Buffalo Billiards for the Secret Santa meetup.

For other Friday events, see this thread.

Saturday Events

The weather report is looking great. A light jacket and your reddit t-shirt should be the perfect attire.

DonorsChoose is going to have a tent at the rally, and has generously given something back to the reddit community: territory. They've invited the reddit admins to hang out there and use it as our home base, and we intend to take them up on the offer. Come on by and say hello, sign jedberg's chest, and, while supplies last, pick up a special gift we're going to be handing out to redditors.

The spot in question is where 7th Street NW intersects the mall, between Madison and Jefferson Drives. The approximate GPS coordinates are (38.890, -77.022). It'll be one of only two giant 20x20 tents in sight, so we'll hopefully be hard to miss.

Redditor chop51 has written up a nice cheatsheet of public transit information and rules about what you can and cannot bring.

After the rally, we'd like it very much if reddit stuck around and helped clean up. If you bring a garbage bag, you can also sit on it during the rally to keep your butt from getting dirty.

Once that's done, we're going to be heading over to the official reddit afterparty with about 2500 of our closest friends. Since that's a few thousand more than the place can hold, there are a slew of spillover venues; see the preceding link for details. One of note is Local 16, which is giving out Peroni and Pizza on a free or pay-what-you-want basis, with all proceeds going to DonorsChoose. Details here.

For other Saturday events in DC, see this thread.

To see if there's a satellite rally near you, see this thread.

One last tip for iPhone users

The makers of the iPhone QR code app quiQR have made it free (instead of $1.99) from now until the rally. It's really fast and tolerant of things like blur and shadows, and I recommend redditors take advantage of this deal.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Everything you need to know about Saturday's rallies

<3 <3 <3

In this case, we really do mean "less than three" ... as in, that's how many days are left until the big rallies! Everyone's excited. The New York Times even based an entire crossword puzzle on it (spoiler).

You're coming, right? Here's everything you need to know. (It's a very long post, but there's a TLDR Checklist near the end.)


As previously mentioned, we made a special trophy for anyone who shows up at a rally wearing reddit gear. There were some logistics to be worked out (namely, how do we verify all those recipients?) but thanks to inspiration from bumped, I think we've got a solution: we're going to crowdsource the problem and turn it into a real-life social networking game. In order to win trophies, you need to introduce yourself to other redditors. In the flesh. At the rally.

Protip: If you represent reddit by wearing a teeny tiny button, this will be hard to do. To compensate, you'll have to be eagle-eyed and gregarious, introducing yourself to everyone in sight and asking if they know what a "qgyh2" is. On the other hand, meeting redditors will be a piece of cake if you're holding a giant alien banner and are dressed as your favorite voting arrow — the redditors will be coming up to you.

Here's how the scoring will work:
  • One point for every redditor you meet
  • Five points for finding the reddit admins (25 if you give them a printout of your DonorsChoose receipt)
  • Lots of points for group photos
Regarding that last one: Every person in a photo who is visibly displaying reddit iconography gets one point for every other such person. So if there are five people in the same photo, all wearing reddit shirts, each of the five gets five points. And yes, that means that even totally antisocial redditors can still get a point just by taking a solo picture.

We haven't yet decided how many points it will take to win a trophy, but we'll give special ones for exceptional work (meeting a ridiculous number of people, taking a huge group photo, making a really nice homemade reddit shirt, traveling to the rally across a great distance, etc.)

The fine print

To get credit for meeting another redditor at the rally, you'll need to exchange usernames and two-digit "rally codes". You can find out your own rally code at After the event, when you're back on the Internet, you just type in the names and codes of the people you met and collect all your points. (If you have a cameraphone and / or printer, it's even easier; see below.) Important: Both redditors will need to verify each other's rally codes in order to get the points.

All photos must be taken at a rally or one of the related events (afterparties, etc). Satellite rallies are okay too, within reason; "The Official Florida State Freshman Dorm Fifth-Floor Lounge Reddit Rally of 2010, population: 2" probably isn't going to make the cut.

Photoshops will be disqualified (or, if really clever, pardoned) at the sole discretion of the admins, whose judgment is final. We'll also get really mad at anyone who posts their rally code online.

We don't yet know where we want you to submit your photos. Just hang onto them for now and we'll get back to you on that.

We admins will be making a post the morning of the rally with details of where we're standing (including GPS coordinates) and what we're wearing (including photos). So log on to reddit before things start, or get the information from one of the many redditors you meet.

Hey reddit, let's be good citizens

If it's too crowded to reach us during the rally, know that we'll be sticking around afterward to help clean up. If you bring a garbage bag and help pick up trash, you're awesome and we love you.

TLDR Checklist
  • Pack your reddit shirt (or make one if you don't yet have one)
  • Pack a trash bag, so you can help us clean up after the rally.
  • Print out your rally code and bring a pen.
  • If you have an iPhone, install quiQR or something similar so you can scan other redditors' rally codes instead of having to write them down and type them in.
  • If you have an Android phone, install Barcode Scanner or something similar.
  • If you have some other kind of camera phone, ask around in the reddit comments to see if anyone can help you. :)
  • Finally, get plenty of rest; there will be an official reddit afterparty.

Operation Truthy Classroom

Your support for has been amazing, heartwarming, and incredible. Nearly $470,000 has been raised to help make a difference in the lives of schoolchildren. With one last push, we can reach our final goal, unlock the "Stephen Colbert AMA" acheivement, get a mention in dozens of newspapers this weekend about how the Internet raised half a million dollars for charity, and get VIP rally passes for fifteen lucky redditors.

Not to mention, of course, helping hundreds more classrooms. If everyone going to the rally gives just $5 (or convinces a relative to give $5) we'll blow right past the finish line. Did you know that you get a personal message from the teacher you help? And sometimes, the kids will even draw you pictures. Aw jeez, I'm getting choked up now. C'mon, get outta here...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quiet ads, new features, and an important video

By popular demand, we've spent the last few months experimenting with outsourced ad networks. They all do a great job ensuring we never have unsold ad space. But for the most part, they're terrible at quality control.
We don't want any sleazy ads on reddit. We can't stand ads that make noise without the reader's permission. When trashy ads are reported to us, we kick them off reddit. However, the ad network we've been using the past few weeks has proven to be a infinite game of whack-a-mole. (Why does the administration control panel never have a checkbox that says, "Don't ever show an autoplaying media ad, ever"?)

Due to the lack of such controls, we just kicked that entire ad network off our site. If you somehow see another evil ad on reddit (or if you know of an ad network that lets site owners exercise high quality standards) please write to us immediately. We really do want to hear about it, because we firmly believe in not torturing our community.

Now on to more pleasant news: we have some new features to announce!

The first batch are due to our move to the latest version of Discount, which provides a number of improvements to reddit's commenting syntax.

You know how when you type "look_of_disapproval" it comes out like "lookofdispproval" and then you're like darn it and you have to go back and add backslashes and it's annoying? Never again. Underscores in the middle of words will no longer be treated as italics markers. You can still emphasize the middle of a word with asterisks.

Another fun feature: strikethrough! To use it, surround the word in question with double squiggles, as in: "They're called tildes, ~~idiot~~ good sir."

But wait, there's more: You can now do superscript via the ^ character. This one is still a bit experimental; we don't want to overload our servers with lots of really big numbers, so for the first 24 hours, the use of exponents larger than 2 will be restricted to reddit gold subscribers, who I trust will be discreet about using this special ability in front of less fortunate members of the community.

More good news for subscribers: the button that used to load 1000 comments at once has been upgraded to now load 1500 comments with a single click. So if you have reddit gold, you'll be seeing "load more comments" less than ever before.

If you're not a reddit gold subscriber, now's the perfect time to join. Why? Well, just watch this helpful video made for us by the Upright Citizens Brigade. It should make everything crystal clear:

If that doesn't convince you, we don't know what will. Sign up for reddit gold today.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quick roundup

Keanu Reeves knows about the "Sad Keanu" meme — a New York Magazine reporter hunted him down and told him about all the pictures you shopped. The response? "Whoa." (paraphrased) ... Also, congratulations to redditor rockon4life45 for his mention at the top of the page. You're nobody until a major magazine misspells your username.

Chrome users: Have you seen the ".gz" problem in the past few days? We're crossing our fingers and hoping we've fixed it.

Since the last update, we've received postcards from Belgium, Denmark, Scotland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Wales! If your country isn't on the map below, send us a postcard and we'll give it prime placement on the wall of Reddit HQ.

There's just about a week left until the rallies in Washington, DC. The entire extended reddit team is going to be there along with a couple hundred thousand of our favorite users. Don't forget to wear a reddit shirt (buy one here) in exchange for a special trophy. If there's absolutely positively no way you can be there (cough lame cough), there are a few satellite rallies you can google for, including a particularly big one right here in reddit's figurative backyard.

Speaking of the rally, we're within $65,000 of scoring an interview with Stephen Colbert. To see how close we are to the $500,000 goal, or to make a donation yourself, visit You can help even if you don't have money to spare: It's an interesting kind of charity that's trying something new. You know, the kind of thing you might:
  • mention on your blog
  • tweet about
  • bring up at the dinner table...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wired's Danger Room team is doing a video AMA next week. Ask Them Anything.

The Danger Room team (Noah Shachtman, Katie Drummond, & Spencer Ackerman) are all in NYC next week and were gracious enough to agree to spend some time answering your top ten questions about military technology, national security, and anything else. This will be a video interview and we'll ask them the top questions as of 9am EST on October 20th. Ask them anything HERE.

About Noah Shachtman
Noah Shachtman keeps finding himself in stupid situations, as a contributing editor at WIRED and the editor of its national security blog, Danger Room. When he's not embedding with Marines in Afghanistan's opium country or defusing roadside explosives with a Baghdad bomb squad, he's sneaking into the Los Alamos nuclear lab, chasing down suspects on Chicago's West Side, orundergoing experiments by Pentagon-funded scientists at Stanford. (And let's not even get into the Taser incident.) Shachtman wasn't always this dumb: before getting into journalism and national security nerditry, he worked as a professional bass player and campaign staffer on Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. These days, he also serves as a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Insitution, and writes occassionally for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and others. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife,
Elizabeth, and his son, Leo.

About Katie Drummond
Katie Drummond stirred up trouble on the north side of the border for 18 years, before moving to New York to stoke the
ire of everyone from workout-obsessed troops to diet-obsessed bloggers. After dropping out of NYU's journalism
program (twice) she documented terrible tattoos and was surprised by gayness as an editor at True/Slant. She then ingratiated herself with the fine gentlemen at Wired -- and kept writing for Danger Room until Noah Shachtman gave up and added her to the masthead. Since then, she's followed Darpa's every bizarro move, and kept tabs on the military's mental health crises and exploits in regenerative medicine. When she's not Danger Rooming, she's covering health and science at AOL News, drinking Jameson at the bar below her apartment and fending off the clawed advances of her cat, Riggins Cassius.

About Spencer Ackerman
Spencer Ackerman usually reports from war zones only when he knows people will tell him dirty stories. Un/luckily, it happens often enough, as with the elderly Iraqi traffic cop who kept "hundreds" of porno films on his phone or the cavalry troop in Afghanistan partial to the "Debbie Does Dallas" soundtrack. One thing he discovered in Afghanistan this August for Danger Room as the blog's new senior reporter: those who fly unmanned drone aircraft are not interested in sharing such hijinks. Nor is commanding general David Petraeus. But covering the defense industry means you're never short of an opportunity for bathroom humor. Before entering the Danger Room in July, Ackerman, a D.C. transplant from Brooklyn, was a staff reporter for the Washington Independent, Talking Points Memo and the New Republic, and he's written for a variety of inappropriate blogs since way back when they were called zines.

Note: Wired & reddit share the same corporate overlords.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fun in the sidebar

A few months ago, ketralnis came up with an interesting idea: When we have unused ad space, why not use it for something nice? It's a way of saying thanks to our community, it's an incentive to turn off AdBlock (here's how to do that, if you'd like to see what you've been missing), and it changes the ad box from "The Horrible Commercialism Zone that nobody ever wants to look at" to "A sometimes commercial, often funny, usually amusing part of reddit."

The first batch of "reddit fun" non-ads were games. Surely you've seen Super Fill-Up, and Ratmaze, and the one with the disappearing colored squares (protip for colorblind redditors: click the eye in the corner).

Next, we wanted to add in a rotation of nice photos — cute animals, inspiring landscapes, funny things, you know the deal. For the initial batch, we went to Flickr and searched for "cute animals" images under the Creative Commons license. There were some great results we used to kick things off, but it seemed more reddity to start getting them from the /r/photography community. There have been many, many great submissions, and we've been running them ever since. Here's how to submit your own:
  1. Crop and resize it down to 300x224
  2. Upload it to imgur
  3. Decide where you want people to be taken when they click it (ideally, the photo's Flickr page)
  4. Send us a PM with both links
(Please follow those instructions exactly, as it allows the process to be automated.)

As of today, this program is better than ever: First off, we're unveiling an archive at /r/NonAds where you can look through all the old selections. Second, we have a new trophy for the selected photographers.

Congratulations and thanks to our newest batch of award winners!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Update on the Colbert-Stewart march / rally

Now that 2010-10-30 is less than a month away, it's probably time for an update. First off, you guys have given nearly $300,000 in donations to the Truthiness in the Classroom project. That's unbelievable, but we think you can do even unbelievabler, so we've worked out a deal with Stephen Colbert: if we can bring our total up to $500,000 by the end of the month, he'll let reddit interview him. No word on whether it'll be text or video, but I can promise that we'll browbeat him as follows: "Come on, Colbert! We raised half a million dollars for needy schoolchildren -- comb your hair and give us a little face time!"

As a reminder of how attainable this goal is, we raised over $100,000 in the first day. Let's see how fast we can do that two more times.

Donate here!

Now back to the little get-together at the end of the month... The DC rallies are going to be like reddit's Woodstock, and we want every last one of you to be there.

Need to arrange transportation? The reddit community has taken care of that: /r/RedditCarpool is organizing carpools to the rally.

Need a place to stay? There's a reddit for that, too.

And one last incentive to encourage everyone to make the trip &mdash and to help redditors identify each other once we get there: We've commissioned an award for anyone who shows up at the rally wearing reddit's gang colors logo.

We haven't worked out the logistics of how we'll verify attendance and attire, or what the claim process will be, but we wanted to give everyone a head start on shirt acquisition:
  • If you already own a reddit shirt, don't forget to do your laundry.
  • If you'd like to make a reddit shirt, get to the craft store immediately, before other redditors pick it clean.
  • And if you'd like to purchase a new reddit shirt, there's no time like the present.
Here's what we have for sale — click any photo to be taken to the relevant store.

PS: While you're welcome to make your own reddit shirt, if you want to use the reddit logo commercially, you'll need to check out our licensing rules so we can make sure the alien never appears on anything that sucks.

PPS: Thanks to licenseplate for the awesome trophy art.