Reddit 101: A Guide to the Front Page of the Internet

The internet is a strange, funny, and questionable world; it’s capable of connecting you with people from anywhere, informing you of current events, and even entertaining you with sneezing panda videos. Reddit is a website that represents all of that! You may have heard of Reddit once or twice before, but do you know what the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” is truly like? 

The System

Reddit is made up of subreddits, which are small communities centered on a wide variety of subjects. There are subreddits for things as general as jokes to things as specific as grilled cheese sandwiches. Users submit text-based posts or links to other sites and images in the appropriate subreddit, where you can upvote, downvote, and comment on them.

The more upvotes a post has, the more likely that it’s going to rise to the top of the subreddit page or even the front page, which contains the hottest posts from all of Reddit.

Upvoting/downvoting posts or comments also affects a user’s “karma” (not the kind to get to Nirvana!). Whenever a user submits links, they receive karma points for every upvote. This point system shows how much well-received contributions that a person has given to the Reddit community.

If someone feels that a user has made an extremely fantastic post, they may gild that user with Reddit Gold! Reddit Gold is like a premium membership service that upgrades an account with benefits like turning off ads, changing Reddit themes, deals on beef jerky, and more.

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Reddit is also an open-source website written in Python, so that means that users can help add features, fix bugs, and adjust the code of the site. If you’re interested in seeing how the site runs, check out the code here!

Subreddits and Page Layout

The front page of subreddits and the home page of Reddit consist of a list of links running all the way down, and they are organized by the number of upvotes. By default, they are all the current hottest links that have a high amount of upvotes. You also have the option of viewing new, rising, controversial, top, gilded, and promoted links in the given tabs. The wiki tab is an index explaining the rules and guidelines of what’s okay to post and the purpose of Reddit and the subreddit.

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The top links can be viewed as top links from all time, the past year, the past month, the past week, the past 24 hours, and the past hour. Currently the top upvoted post of all of Reddit is a question with 38,441 upvotes, 7,815 comments, and has been given gold thirteen times: “What tasty food would be dis[g]usting if eaten over rice?”.

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You may have noticed the layout of that page was a little different from the home page. That’s because each subreddit can be customized to a different theme. They all have the basic features of the site like the top navigation bar, a link back to the front page, the account/log-in bar, a search box, a submit box, and link-viewing tabs, but the color scheme and design of them can vary.

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Recommendations

The navigation bar at the very top of the site lists out some the most popular subreddits, so that’s a good place to start looking for ones you want to watch out for! Here are some of my own subreddit and beginner post recommendations.

*When referring to a subreddit, it is typed as “/r/subredditname”*

  • Subreddits
    • /r/AskReddit
      Users submit questions as text-based posts, and users comment their answers. Some serious, some for fun.
    • /r/aww
      Cute pictures and gifs, mainly of small animals in funny situations.
    • /r/OldSchoolCool
      Photos at least 25 years old of people and landscapes, with some even reaching into the 1800s. A peek into history.
    • /r/IAmA

Q&A posts where people with interesting occupations, celebrities, and people who have had unique experiences welcome commenters to ask questions about them. AmA stands for “ask me anything”.

Posts of interesting, hard-to-find, or just plain good music of all genres that users recommend. Every year, there is a top music list compiled.

Links to unique sites that are useful, well-designed, educational, productive, or interesting. Contains a lot of undiscovered gems.

This is only the surface what Reddit is all about. This site has over 10,000 communities and growing, so there’s bound to be one that can interest you. If you have some time to spare, just look on the front page and click a link.

Image source: http://giphy.com/gifs/SCrX9VvuCPYZ2