If you’ve never been on Reddit or heard of the bedlam that is produces, we won’t bore you with details. What we will say that it is the self-titled “front page of the internet” and in it’s ten year run it has certainly proved to be on the forefront of trends and trouble in cyberspace.
In an official blog post, the site shared some interesting stats about it’s history so far. In typical Reddit fashion it’s a lot more interesting than some numbers and grey scale graphs, so give it a read.
What we’re going to be looking at is some of the high and low points of the last ten years.
10. The Button
On the 1st of April this year, Reddit decided to conduct an experiment called The Button.
The rules were simple: a countdown timer would start from sixty seconds, if you pressed the button the timer was reset to sixty. You may only press the button once.
How long did this Apil Fools’ Day joke go on for? All the way to June 16th.
Over the course of almost three months, religions were created, apps to follow the button were programmed, thousands of posts were made on the subreddit, and in the end more than a million users pressed the button. What an insane, inane, joke, and remember…
You may only press the button once.
9. The man with two penises
One of Reddit’s most popular draws is the Ask Me Anything (AMA). In an AMA, a person of interest will step forward for a Q and A session with thousands of Reddit users.
So, which AMA got the most views? The one with current American president Barak Obama? Oh no, that’s only in second place.
First place goes to a user who has two penises. How did he prove this? Well, he provided photographic evidence, but the real meat of the story comes from the users’ questions and answers on the matter. Give the entire AMA a read, but not at work.
8. Charity and community
Through various means, Reddit has sometimes shown the kindness of many strangers.
Aside from unofficial charity drives made by users, Reddit has donated “over $1.8 million” (more than R21 million) to various charities and causes, the most recent being the victims of the Nepal earthquake.
Aside from this and the money the site donates from its ad revenue, various subreddits also help people get through tough times in their lives. Subreddits that focus on depression and suicide have been known to be kind communities willing to help people out, or even be a disembodied shoulder to cry on.
7. Help! Reddit turned Spanish and I cannot undo it!
Another popular subreddit is AskReddit, a kind of open forum where users can post questions and get a myriad answers from their fellow users.
As with any online community, there will always be an element of in fighting and disagreement, but for one glorious moment the stars, planets and users on Reddit all aligned and birthed something magical.
A post was created with a simple plea: “Help! Reddit turned Spanish and I cannot undo it!”. After the user explained what was wrong -their computer seemed to be displaying everything español – they were probably horrified by the comments.
Every comment, every single one of the more than two thousand comments was posted, purposefully, in Spanish.
What a glorious day for team effort.
Reddit is free to use for everyone, and has very few ads to create income for the continuation of the site.
As many sites also do, Reddit has a premium experience called “Gold”. Gold has a few benefits for those who pay for it, but the unique feature of this is the ability to give it to another user, or to “gild” them.
Since Gold’s inception it’s become a massive part of the community as to when, where and why users’ posts and comments receive gold. If you’d like a suitably ridiculous example, see below.
5. The most gilded
In an AMA of a League of Legends player, one comment received four hundred and sixteen gildings. 416. Putting that into perspective: a single gildings lasts a month and costs $3.99 (R48.53). Some maths and multiplication and that works out to almost thirty-five years of Reddit Gold at R20 188.48. My my.
But the story of a new Midas does not end there, because the reason that comment (which talked about some of the finer, more confusing points of competitive League of Legends) actually became so popular was because of a comment further down.
We’re in polite company so we won’t speak about what the comment entails, but we will link you to it to read in privacy.
4. The safe
A former gang house. A massive, sealed vault. A fervent community and more than a year of held breath. This was the safe.
About two years ago a Reddit user posted images of a safe he had found in his friends new house, which happened to be the former den of a local gang. With the safe completely sealed and no immediate way to open it, Reddit went stir crazy waiting for the original poster to somehow reveal what the steel and concrete was hiding.
It only took a year and some help from an angle grinder and crowbar to get the safe to crack, and inside there was… nothing. Yip, all the waiting and hype of the collected community, one of the biggest talking points of the site’s history turned out to be a McGuffin.
“Merry Christmas, Reddit. You get nothing.”
3. Teams Periwinkle and Orangered
Remember The Button? Well, it wasn’t the first time Reddit sought to trick its users.
On April 1st, 2013, every user on Reddit was assigned a team: Periwinkle or Orangered (the two colours of the upvote and downvote buttons on the site).
Next, the site tried to eat itself. Every user was trying to sabotage every other user for flair next to their name. Comments and posts were absent-mindedly scorned or promoted based on these teams. Petty squabbles and fighting became the main focus of the site. The entire look and the feel of it was changed to accommodate the joke. It was war, man.
Even today, visiting the profile of a user will show you what team they were on if they were active at that time. It seems they have been branded forever.
2. With rice
We’re not going to try and understand what happened here.
On an AskReddit thread a user asked this: “What tasty food would be distusting if eaten over rice?”. The user who asked this then took suggestions, tried out the combination, and then rated the food with and without rice out of a score of ten. That’s it, that’s all that happened, and it garnered nearly eight thousand comments and dozens of gildings.
This story: 8/10.
This story with rice: 10/10.
Hailed as the Steve Irwin of the internet, user “Unidan” (real name Ben Eisenkop) is a real life biologist who took to Reddit to impart some knowledge about almost anything related to his profession. Users began to invoke his username when they wanted to know something about the world and Unidan was ever ready to join in. He became a kind of celebrity within Reddit and was generally seen as a pillar of the entire site.
This didn’t last; a community manager found out that the user keeping others entertained with fauna and flora facts was using alternate accounts in a way that broke the site’s rules of conduct. Unidan would upvote his own content, while downvoting and arguing against others who took attention away from his efforts or spoke against him.
Unidan was eventually banned from the site and lost most (if not all) of the favour he had gained through thousands of long comments. We miss the real Steve Irwin, mate.