Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How reddit works

illustration by /u/duzitickle
It's been almost three years since we made the last official blog post about how reddit works, so making another post along similar lines is long past due. On an interesting side-note, reddit's traffic is now almost 5 times higher than the "staggering" amount referred to in that post's opening. Part of our motivation for making this post now was that over 200 subreddits put up a post titled "reddit 101" in their subreddits on Monday, which was created collaboratively over the last couple of weeks by a number of moderators of major subreddits.

The single most important thing to understand about reddit (and part of what made the reddit 101 effort so amazing) is that reddit is not a single monolithic site. It's a platform for creating communities, and is made up of thousands of active communities (known as "subreddits"), which are devoted to all sorts of different topics and are created and maintained by regular users. Other than /r/blog and a few other subreddits for official purposes, almost every subreddit is user-run, with practically no involvement from reddit employees.

Moderators and the subreddits they run

The (unpaid, volunteer) users that run each subreddit are known as "moderators", and can define the rules that they want to enforce in their subreddits. Because of this, some subreddits are fairly free-for-all with very few moderators or rules, while others can have a very strict set of rules and a large, active moderation team. Some subreddits even take this so far as to prevent you from posting anything except "Cat.". Because the moderation style can vary so heavily between subreddits, you should always try to familiarize yourself with the rules of a particular subreddit before posting in it. If you visit a subreddit directly, you can usually find information about that subreddit's rules in the sidebar on the right hand side of the page (or if you use reddit through a mobile app, most apps have a function for viewing the sidebar).

Moderators are also able to customize the appearance of their subreddits by using CSS, and many subreddits have done extremely thorough jobs of this, sometimes changing the look of reddit very significantly. Multiple functions that have been built into the site over the years originated as clever CSS hacks developed by moderators.

A list of the moderators is also available in the sidebar of each subreddit, and you can recognize official posts made by them if their username shows up in green followed by an "[M]" (mods can also comment normally, they must specifically choose to distinguish official posts). If you have any questions about a particular subreddit's rules or suggestions for that subreddit, you can contact the mods by clicking the "message the moderators" link in the sidebar right above that list.

Admins and the site-wide rules

"Admins" are the paid employees of reddit, and can distinguish their official posts with a red username and an "[A]" tag. Admins work on many different aspects of reddit and redditgifts, and are generally not involved directly in the operation of specific subreddits at all. The exception is when enforcing reddit's site-wide rules, which override any individual subreddit's rules. The site-wide rules are quite minimal, and are geared towards maintaining the overall health of the reddit platform by disallowing things like excessive self-promotion, posting personal information, and deliberate disruption or manipulation of other reddit communities. Violating the site-wide rules can result in your account (or in more extreme cases, entire sites or subreddits) being banned from reddit.

One of the most common site-wide rules that new users have trouble with is the one related to excessive promotion or "spamming". The key thing to understand is, again, that reddit is a collection of user communities, not a platform for free advertising. Most communities welcome occasional self-promotion if you also contribute to them actively in other ways, but very few are amenable to people that are just trying to use the community that they've built as a source for traffic. As it says in our wiki page about guidelines for acceptable self-promotion, "It's perfectly fine to be a redditor with a website, it's not okay to be a website with a reddit account."

If you're primarily interested in promoting to a reddit community without becoming an active member of it, please look into our self-serve advertising system, it's quite affordable and allows you to target specific subreddits full of users interested in similar content. Plus, we're giving 10% of our 2014 advertising revenue to charities chosen by redditors, so advertising on reddit will help to do good in the world at large as well.

If you need to contact the admins for any reason (such as reporting a user or subreddit violating the site-wide rules), please refer to the contact page for help directing your question to the right place.

Tailoring reddit to your own tastes

When asking people if they have a reddit account, they often respond with something like, "Nah, I've never wanted to submit anything or make any comments, so I haven't bothered." This is the most tractor thing to hear, because it means that they're missing out on a huge part of what makes the site so interesting. If you create a reddit account (which only takes a few seconds and doesn't require anything except a username and password), you can customize what you see on the "front page" (when you visit by subscribing to subreddits that interest you and unsubscribing from those that don't. If you don't have an account, you'll always see posts from the same set of subreddits (the "default subreddits"), which are intended to show off some of the subreddits available on the site but almost certainly won't actually match up with your specific interests very well. Many long-time redditors have built their own custom front pages that don't include any of the default subreddits, and are entirely made up of other subreddits that they've discovered over their time on the site.

Once you have a reddit account, you can subscribe to or unsubscribe from subreddits using the button in their sidebar, or you can visit to easily find a list of the subreddits you're currently subscribed to as well as browse through the most popular subreddits or search for ones related to your interests. There are many other options available for discovering new subreddits, including the explore page, /r/random (takes you to a random active subreddit), or even through various subreddits that exist solely for the purpose of finding *other* subreddits, like /r/findareddit.

Many users also spend a lot of their time on reddit in /r/all, which is a "fake" subreddit that shows posts from (almost) all of the subreddits on the site. Users who have a reddit gold subscription have the ability to filter out specific subreddits from /r/all, which lets them see submissions from all subreddits except certain ones that they're not interested in. Various other methods of following subreddits you're interested in exist as well, such as using the multireddits sidebar to categorize the subreddits that you're interested in into different collections.

Getting more involved with reddit

Once you've created a reddit account and have started customizing what you see on the site, the next step is usually to start participating. The submissions on reddit are all made by reddit users, and ranked according to how other users vote on them. So even if you're not interested in submitting anything yourself, getting involved in voting on submissions or comments helps improve the experience for everyone else. Be sure to read through reddiquette, which is an informal set of guidelines (also written by users) about important values to follow while participating in the site. Of particular importance is that you should try to upvote things that might be interesting to others or spark discussion, and downvote things that are off-topic or don't contribute to the conversation (not things that you just disagree with).

There are also many subreddits that can help you with getting more involved with the site. If you have a question about something on reddit you can post it to /r/help, or if you have a suggestion for something to implement on the site you can submit it to /r/ideasfortheadmins. If you find a bug we'd definitely appreciate it if you posted about it to /r/bugs, or if you like to keep up with updates made to the site we generally post information about them to /r/changelog.

There's always a ton of stuff to discover on reddit, whether you're new to the site or you've been using it for years. We'd love to see the comments on this post include other tips about using the site, suggestions for specific subreddits that other people should check out, or explanations of how you find new subreddits to visit. And if you have any questions about how anything on the site works, please feel free to ask.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Welcome Tiffany, Dane, Michele, George, Donall, Heath, Andrew, Alexandr!!!

We’re excited to welcome eight super awesome people to the reddit team. As is the reddit tradition, we asked each of the new admins to introduce themselves in their own words:

Tiffany Dohzen (/u/tdohz), data product manager

Hello, Internet! As reddit's Data Product Manager, I'll be using the Power of Data (tm) to figure out how to make reddit more awesome for everyone, while making sure we respect your privacy. Keep an eye out on /r/redditdata for data insights and more from inside reddit. I'm originally from southern California, and worked at Microsoft and Twitter before joining reddit. I'm often lurking in /r/mildlyinteresting, /r/nerdfighters, /r/dataisbeautiful, and /r/AskScience. Non-Internet hobbies include baking, knitting, puzzlehunts, and eating delicious San Francisco food.

Dane Hansen (/u/danehansen), front end developer

Parties, motorcycles, guns, rock ‘n’ roll. Also pizza. I like making rad stuff with code. I hope to make reddit rad with code. Check my site at if you want to see some past work.

Michele Titolo (/u/michelectric), software engineer

Greetings from San Francisco! I’m reddit’s new Certified Apple Fanboy™ iOS Software Engineer. I’ve been making apps for over 4 years, and can’t wait to unleash the can of awesome that is reddit on mobile. You’ll find me around /r/iOSProgramming, /r/redditdev, /r/DoctorWho, and /r/TrollXChromosomes. When not on the internet I’m usually travelling (in my TARDIS ofc), talking about programming, or on my motorcycle.

George Pang (/u/xilvar), software engineer

Heya everyone! I’ve worked on a ton of systems in the front end, back end, mobile, and browser, etc. for years and years. I’m really happy that I’ll now be able to help carry the multitudinous facets of reddit into cool new realms. I’ve worked on games, wall street stuff, ‘social’ and even printed paper products in a vaguely dunder mifflin sort of way. This will certainly be the most fun! In my spare time I really like to play dota although I actually like dota6 better than either dota2 or LoL... I enjoy growing plants and they’re my happy little friends, so I try to avoid eating veggies as much as possible… I also hear that cows produce a lot of greenhouse gases, so I do my part by eating as many of them as possible.

Donall O'Brien (/u/ocrasorm), community manager

Hey internet people. I am the newest member of the community team. It is such a thrill to be working for reddit. Please feel free to send me a message if you have any issues. I have 10 years experience in different customer service environments. I am the first permanent reddit employee based outside of North America. In my spare time I talk about how disgusting all condiments are and hang out in /r/ireland. Oh I love every sport on the planet. See ye around!

Heath Black (/u/heathwblack),  product manager

Hello Denizens of Reddit! What a great feeling it is to be working with the amazing SLC reddit team. The opportunity was hard to pass up, so my wife (Sallie), son (Jebediah), and beagle (Junebug) made the move from Portland, Oregon. I’ll be working on some fun, experimental products that redditgifts is planning in the future. I have a Masters degree with a focus on modern Irish literature. I’m from Oklahoma and have an outline of it tattooed on my right arm. I’m a big NBA enthusiast. My favorite movie of all time is Roadhouse, starring Patrick Swayze.  I spend most of my time in /r/nba,  /r/dataisbeautiful, /r/internetisbeautiful, and /r/mapporn.

Andrew Reyes (/u/rhymeswithAndrew), staff accountant

Valar Morghulis! Hey reddit squad. I’ll be the left-handed right-hand man to /u/sgtjamz, here to help manage the day-to-day accounting operations while keeping my eyes on the long term goal of financial maturity. Stoked to be part of the back office for the most unique web community out there! I am a Silicon Valley native, I practice boxing outside of work, I used to DJ in high school & college, and I still can’t rollerblade. As for reddit, find me surfing thru all of the music subs, /r/zenhabits, /r/lifeprotips, or /r/worldnews.

Alexandr Marinenko (/u/jo_asakura), front end developer

Hi, reddit! My name is Alex and I am a new addition to this great company. I am a front-end magician with about 10 years of development experience. I am originally from Russia and moved to the US 3 years ago. I have worked for different companies in Russia, Europe and the US. I am really excited to bring all my knowledge and experience to reddit and make it the best place on the Internet. Outside of work I spend time mostly with my family either in our garden, hiking, or doing photo sessions. Also, my little daughter teaches me the hardest and most rewarding skill in my life - being a parent. If I have a spare hour or so I like to drive outside of the city and take a couple of landscape shots. I am also a huge fan of Arsenal FC. My favorite subreddits are /r/gunners, /r/photography, /r/javascript and /r/web_design. I hope to see you all there!

We still have open positions! If you would like to join the reddit team check out /r/redditjobs for all the latest job postings. If you’re looking for a job in general, not just at reddit, consider reading the applying best practices we have put together based on resumes we have received in the past.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Announcing reddit live

I’m pleased to announce that reddit live is now… ahem… live.

reddit live is a new feature of reddit for real-time updates. A reddit live thread’s multiple contributors can post updates, and anyone watching gets sent those updates immediately without having to refresh. Unlike with self-post or comment based live threads, there's no limit to how many updates can be posted during the course of an event. These live threads exist outside of subreddits and are designed to be submitted, like any other link, to whichever (multiple) subreddits are relevant to the thread. Pictures, video, and more can be embedded in the updates by simply pasting a link.

This feature has been in semi-open beta for a few months now. We posted about the beta testing of the feature back in February after a couple of threads got popular: A live thread about the conflict in Ukraine that has been updated continuously for nearly five months now, and the breakout hit Twitch Plays Pokemon, which followed an incredible event. Most recently, we ran a live thread of the NBA Summer League.

You can now make your own live thread by going to

We’ve also set up a subreddit /r/live where you can submit your threads and talk about the feature. /u/tranosaurusha will be helping out there to collect feedback.

We’re really looking forward to seeing what ingenious ways you all come up with to use this. Please check it out and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thank you to the D.C. redditors who braved pouring rain to hand-deliver reddit's FCC comments

thank you to the most amazing group of redditors and defenders of the internet!

Yesterday, the FCC servers had melted down and reddit needed to file our official Comments in support of net neutrality so it could be considered in the initial comment period.

At the same time, reddit along with other major tech companies was meeting in NYC with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. So we don't have any reddit employees close enough in D.C. to hand-deliver them, so we needed your help again.

We put up the call for help in /r/washingtondc and in just a few short hours an impromptu reddit meetup formed outside the FCC building. Many of the redditors took a "long" lunch or just skipped out of work to get there. This was even in the middle of a rainstorm to deliver what was essentially paperwork!

At the last moments, the FCC did extend the comment period but this just illustrates why we can't rely on them to enforce their vague proposal of being the ombudsperson of the internet. We need bright-line rules that protect the current neutrality of the internet.

Thank you for being the most amazing community on the internet. Please, a round of applause to /r/washingtondc and everyone else who told their story for the FCC Comment. This isn't the end of our fight for the internet so stay tuned because we're working on something bigger!

/u/coldstar submitting reddit, Inc's FCC comment - photo by /u/Dingareth

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Join us - reddit is filing an FCC comment to fight for an Open Internet

We are filing an official comment in support of the Open Internet and net neutrality. We want your voice in it as well.

It's easy to be cynical about the net neutrality debate, but the gears are turning and politicians & officials are noticing. There are many people in the FCC that believe in net neutrality and the open internet. Now we need your help again. We just need to convince the FCC commissioners that any perceived political cost is far less than the damage it will cost the Internet economy.

We spent the last 9 years at reddit HQ helping to create the best and the largest online community ever. We want to feature some of your stories and thoughts in our filing. As we might have never been founded without net neutrality, we're asking you to share in the comments some of the stories, experiences and events that wouldn't have been possible without reddit. We'd like the FCC to hear it from your point of view. It's easy to be pessimistic but the people in our reddit community do amazing stuff, and we are proud to be a platform for that goodness.

tell us your stories
on reddit
they might end up in our FCC comment!

This is a fight between bad regulations with loopholes versus good regulations with appropriate forbearance. We just want to maintain the de facto neutrality of the internet that has been in place for since the last decade. Reclassifying ISPs as common carriers under Title II will help ensure the internet remains open and neutral. There is a lot being done by advocacy groups in the back channels to help prevent internet fuckery. The internet has sent over 647,000 comments to the FCC.

Finally, it's not just companies like reddit, Tumblr, Google or Facebook that will be stifled by the Chairman's proposal. This will have a chilling effect on the funding of new startups. It'll put the mom & pop online businesses & the one-person internet shops at a severe disadvantage by placing them in the slow lane. If you run one of these or know someone who does, please take a moment to file a comment with the FCC and tell them to support reclassifying ISPs as Title II common carriers. People really do read them.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Gold Standard

Ahhh, July 9th. A most golden day (or a most berkelium day, depending on where you live) and an auspicious moment to share with you all an update on the recent developments in the world of reddit gold.

Persistent /r/all filter

Want to browse /r/all but not fond of certain subreddits? Up until now, reddit gold users have had to perform some bookmarking chicanery to keep subreddits removed from /r/all. We’ve now updated this feature to make your filter persistent as well as show your removals dynamically. Users with reddit gold can access their filter at:

Your Gold Dollars at Work: The development of this reddit gold feature led to the creation and release of a similar moderator tool available to everyone for free. Buy reddit gold and help support new reddit features! I’m doing my part!

buy reddit gold buy creddits


If you like to gild often, you may find it useful to purchase some creddits. Stored as a balance on your account, creddits allow you to give gold without having to enter payment information. Additionally, buying 12 creddits at a time is 40% cheaper.

Additonally, we’ve also revamped the gold checkout and added a gilding FAQ in an effort to make giving reddit gold a little less confusing.

illustration by /u/Captain_Ross

Gold Partner Updates

We’ve also added a handful of great partners & benefits to our gold benefits program.

Giant Bomb - videogame journalism
2 months free premium membership & 20% off annual membership. - chess community
Free additional months on premium subscription.

reddit is fun - reddit android app
Enable premium features ad free.

Moveline - moving concierge
$75 off local and $125 off long distance moves.

Haworth - ergonomic furniture
20% off any purchase.

You can see all our partners & benefits here.

And Finally...

We would like to thank everyone who purchases reddit gold, be it buying gold for yourself administering gildings (both genuine and ironic). Each month of gold you purchase directly supports reddit. Thank you.