Based on the statistics of how most of you get here (oh yes, I am watching you, my sweet) and from talking to the readers I know personally, I presume the majority of you aren’t familiar with Reddit or how it works. So, here’s a brief introduction.
Once a link is posted, the other users can choose if they want to upvote or downvote the link, or do nothing at all. This serves as a crowdsourcing of filtering and separating the content. The posts that get upvoted the most move higher up the list, culminating at the front page of the subreddit where the most popular posts reside.
Then, there is the Front Page of Reddit. While technically different for every user because it relies on which subreddits you have subscribed to (we’re skipping that part), it is ultimately where the best of every subreddit combines, giving you a real-time look at what is popular on the Interwebz at this very minute. It is this method for instantly sorting out what’s crap and what’s not that leads Reddit to proclaim itself “The Front Page of the Internet.”
I became aware of Reddit several months ago, when I was looking for ways to publicize this here website. After a rocky start of learning the dos and don’ts, I learned to find a balance of enjoying reading the site and occasionally using it to post my own articles. Although Reddit can push tens of thousands of people to your content very quickly, I eventually learned the downside as well : the same what’s-new-this-second mindset that brought them there also makes it extremely unlikely they will come back. Fuckin’ kids these days.
Anyway, putzing around on my laptop the other day, I came across my favorite photo of my Mom, at least my favorite of her brief battle with cancer.
You may have seen it used here in a previous post – it was taken the day she found out she had terminal cancer. In addition to the obvious humor value of a sweet old lady doing something obscene, I was always in awe of the spirit that would allow someone to pose for something like this hours after finding out they aren’t going to be here much longer.
So, I thought I’d throw it up on Reddit. Maybe people would get a laugh, relate a little bit, remember a loved one… I don’t know. I just wanted to share it kind of like you want people to see photos of your kids – you’re proud of them and you want the world to know.
On one hand, the reaction was positive : it was upvoted a couple thousand times, moving it to the top of the r/pics subreddit for photos. This meant more people saw it – about 620,000 of them by the time it faded back away from the top of the posts.
On the other hand, it brought out folks that don’t like “this kind” of photo becoming popular on the r/pics subreddit. They feel that it should be reserved for artful or technically impressive photographs, even though the rules for posts don’t indicate those restrictions. Since Reddit usernames are anonymous, you get an interesting peek into how some people think and rationalize.
The comments ranged from the succinctly negative :
To the black humor replies :
Then, shit got ugly :
Then, my personal favorite :
Eventually, I had to jump in and play along :
None of the people who had accused me of using sympathy (which was the opposite of the feelings the post was intended to engender, but that’s neither here nor there) to gain ‘karma’ – ‘karma’ is a sum total of your upvotes and downvotes, and has absolutely zero real-life value – even seemed to acknowledge the irony that I was responding to everyone’s comments, knowing I would receive another bushel of downvotes from the angry Reddit mob for each one. The best example of their indiscriminate ire is the number of downvotes given for this comment :
Thankfully, there were some civil people out there :
Including one anonymous soul who completely understood and took the time to say what I was thinking better than I could have :
I know it’s not the most shocking revelation to expose that people who anonymously post in comments sections on the internet are not the most civil and enlightened lot. In the pursuit of growing this very website to something greater, I’ve seen quite a bit of venom out there.
Still, the idea that a person could actually applaud the death of a person because you posted a photograph they didn’t like in a place they feel it shouldn’t be – it’s a reminder that there are some seriously fucked up people out there with seriously fucked up priorities and values.
I mean, damn.