It’s been four years since I first signed up to Reddit, a website that is touted as being a “social news and entertainment website.” Since then, it is pretty fair to say that I’ve developed a bit of a love-hate relationship with the site and its “outspoken” user base. Here are a few things about Reddit that really fluster my jimbobs!
1. Don’t talk about Reddit…
For some reason, a lot of Reddit users feel as though they belong to some sort of super secret exclusive online club. This is despite the fact that hundreds of millions of people visit the website every year. Oh, and lets not forget the immortal “pass phrase” that Redditors coined in order to try and identify each other in public: “When does the narwhal bacon?” “At midnight, sir!”
Jesus Christ on a bike.
2. “WTF did you just say about my favourite website, you little 9Gagger?”
The people who treat Reddit like a secret club house are also prone to lashing out in anger whenever they see that somebody is criticizing their favourite website. These are the same type of people who engage in stupid “online wars” with other meme-based websites such as 9Gag and Funny Junk. Hilariously enough, most of these over-protective “cheerleaders” tend to be newly-registered users. Given time, they too will realize that it is just a website, and not some sort of online hippy commune.
Sometimes, I get the feeling that Reddit’s opinion of something is directly influenced by how popular and mainstream it is. Popular console game? “So unimaginative! Personally, I prefer this 16-bit pre-alpha indie game.” Chart-topping single? “This isn’t real music, man. Have a listen to this song from an underground electro-folk band that I like!” Nightclubs? “Pfft! I much prefer staying at home and playing Minecraft! Does anyone else agree?” Facebook? “I deleted my Facebook back in 2013 over privacy concerns. Now I spend my free time subscribing to interest-based subreddits and posting publicly-visible comments about every single opinion that I have.” In many cases, it becomes a race to see who can come up with the most counter-cultural viewpoint.
Congratulations, you have nerdy hobbies and you’re anti-social.
“Circlejerks” are the unfortunate by-product of a community that polices itself through “upvotes” and “downvotes”. Comments that contradict the views of “the hive mind” are systematically downvoted, whereas shameless grandstanding and trite one-liners are instantly rewarded. Unfortunately, this means that most subreddits devolve into soul-sucking echo chambers where the same uninteresting sound bytes are paraded around and repeated ad nauseam.
One example is r/politics, which seems to be an RSS feed for Think Progress and some of the other left-leaning websites. The people on this subreddit will spend the better part of their day repeating the exact same political sound bytes… to people who share the exact same opinions as them.
Another example is /r/the_donald, which is basically an online pep rally for the current president of the United States. On /r/the_donald, they continuously shout “MAGA” at each other and ban anyone that criticizes dear leader.
5. “STOP OPPRESSING ME!”
Everyone on Reddit is a victim of some sort of oppression. It doesn’t matter who they are or what views they hold or what kind of social standing they were born into. Simply put, they will find a way to feel victimized. Trust me. These people are so bored with the monotony of suburban life that they actively look for reasons to feel as though they are the victim of some sort of oppressive system or “backwards” social law. One of the best examples of this is a popular subreddit called “childfree”, which seems to be entirely devoted to complaints about the mere existence of children. Here, you’ll find plenty of bitter tirades and long-winded rants about kids being… well… kids. Sadly, your common Redditor seems to be an expert at forming an identity around not doing something.
6. Le May Mays.
Look at the front page of Reddit and you’ll see that it is crowded with crappy image macros and tragically unfunny advice animal memes. Submit an interesting article and it will probably only receive about 10% of the upvotes that were awarded to some reposted picture of a penguin with text written over it. The crap really does float to the top.
One of the funniest events that I’ve witnessed on Reddit occurred back in June of 2013 (an event that has been labelled as “May May June”), when the moderators of the atheism subreddit decided to outlaw memes and other image macros. This led to a shit storm of extraordinary proportions, as thousands of Redditors threw a tantrum and rebelled against the decision. One poster even went so far as to say that le epic may mays had converted him to atheism:
I wouldn’t be here posting this now without the ragecomics and Facebook screencaps and meme images. their humor brought me to the place where I could accept the criticism the more serious conversations threw at me.
I shit you not. This guy was being completely serious.
7. Beating a dead horse.
Reddit will not only beat a dead horse; it will also do disgusting and unspeakable things to its carcass. It will take something that is fresh and funny and repeat it so many times in so many slightly different ways that you won’t be able to stand the sight of it after a week or two. It is one big cold and mechanical process that converts fresh content into a minor grating annoyance that just won’t go away.
AskReddit is a subreddit for people who want to practice their creative writing skills. Let’s take a look at how this subreddit sums up the website as a whole:
- The same questions get repeated, over and over again.
- Most of the responses to these questions are thinly-veiled attempts at being funny. Any thread without a [serious] tag will be engulfed in pop culture references, puns and regurgitated jokes.
- A thread such as “Women of Reddit, why do you do X and Y?” will be followed by “Men of Reddit, why do you do X and Y?”
- People will answer questions, even if they’re not addressed to them. For example, a question that is aimed at medical professionals will be met with responses such as: “I’m not a doctor, but my uncle’s work mate’s brother used to watch ER a lot…” This is because the vast majority of Redditors care more about karma than having an interesting discussion.
- A lot of questions / answers tend to focus their attention on petty things. This leads to repetitive complaints about “duck faces in photographs” and “celebrity worship.”