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What is Reddit and how does it work?

By Thomas Porwol and Adrian Mühlroth | February 01, 2020, 9:00 p.m.

Reddit is one of the most visited pages on the Internet and is now very popular in Germany. Reddit is currently making headlines around stocks and co. TECHBOOK explains what Reddit actually is and how the site works.

It calls itself full-bodied "The front page of the internet", in English: "The front page of the Internet" - and with around 1.3-1.4 billion visitors per month, Reddit is actually rightly self-confident, because that puts the page in place 22 of the most visited websites in the world. The portal is also becoming increasingly popular in Germany, with around 3.2 percent of users in February 2020 being German. This makes them the largest Reddit user base after the USA, UK, Canada and Australia in 5th place - and from a non-English-speaking country. This is remarkable because Reddit has a high entry level due to its complicated, nested structure.

Yet the Reddit community often has answers to extraordinary questions that have not been addressed anywhere else. Since it is mainly technology-savvy people who use Reddit, there are many solutions and tips for even the craziest and least-known devices. But the site offers a lot more than that and TECHBOOK shows you how to find your way around it.

Where does the name "Reddit" come from?

Reddit is a play on words from the phrase “read it”, in German “I've read” - for example: “I read on Reddit”. Reddit users are known as "Redditors".

Reddit is made up of many, small forums

First of all, you should know how Reddit is organized - because Reddit does not consist of a large community, but of many small ones: These are called subreddits and anyone who has already been to a classic Internet forum knows roughly how to imagine subreddits got to. There are countless discussion rooms within Reddit, all of which are devoted to a different area of ​​interest and whose content is provided by the users themselves. There is no superordinate editorial team that manages the content, because the users do it themselves: The users rate links, images, videos or texts that have been posted using upvotes and downvotes - the more upvotes a post receives, the more prominent it is placed in the subreddit.

There is a subreddit for everything

And there is a vast number of these subreddits, because anyone can open their own subreddit. For example, the motto “If it exists, there is also a subreddit for it” has specialized on Reddit. And so you can find places on Reddit where you can discuss your favorite football club or where funny gifs and videos are exchanged.

By subscribing to subreddits that you like and that correspond to your interests, you can create your very own Reddit, tailored to your personal interests. Reddit is different for every user and that is one of its great strengths.

This is how subreddits work

Once you've found a subreddit that you like, you can subscribe to it - similar to a channel on YouTube. If you now log in to reddit.com, you will see the front page: All current, positively rated contributions from the subscribed subreddits can be found here on one page.

A post on the front page can look like this example from the r / funny subreddit. The upvotes are displayed at the top link. Names of subreddits always have an “r /” in front, because the names are also part of the URL - so it is easy to navigate to the subreddit without going through the address field in the browser.

Although Reddit is a predominantly English-language platform, there is also a lot of exciting content for German-speaking users. On the one hand, the German Reddit community is growing: r / de now has 269,000 subscribers. That is almost 200,000 more than two and a half years ago.

Reddit is full of automated bots

Numerous bots, i.e. autonomous programs that can interact with users, are circulating on Reddit. Bots search through all or certain subreddits for fixed keywords and then respond to them. A large number of bots are programmed to correct common spelling or grammatical errors in the subreddits. But bots can also provide more information on certain topics, convert units or sometimes just comment on something totally pointless. Users can vote bots up or down in a comment with “good bot” or “bad bot”. A list of all active bots and their triggers can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/r/autowikibot/wiki/redditbots.

The thing about karma

Reddit has a karma system that is designed to help identify if someone has previous experience in the community. Karma is an approximate evaluation of how many upvotes you have received on posts (“Post Karma”) and comments (“Comment Karma”). Of course, only the votes of others are counted, not your own. According to Reddit's FAQ, Comment Karma currency conversion is closer to a 1-to-1 ratio than Post Karma. Many upvotes for helpful, nice or intelligent comments help to increase the karma score faster.

Reddit is for adults only

Finally, a warning, especially for parents: The motto “If it exists, there is a subreddit for it” should actually be taken seriously. Subreddits determine their rules for the submitted content themselves and in addition to many funny, informative and stimulating communities on the platform, other subreddits also contain pornographic content and pictures and videos of scenes that are not suitable for the eyes of minors.

Although these communities are provided with a warning, they are just as much a part of Reddit as pictures of kittens and funny gifs. Reddit is therefore an adult website.

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