An Introduction to Reddit, the Coronavirus Update

Getting bored sitting at home? Here is a primer on how to enjoy Reddit, the absolute best website to waste your time. Quarantined or not.

What is Reddit?

Reddit went mainstream at least 6 years ago and it surprises me when I meet people who have no idea what it is.

Reddit is actually a giant discussion board. Users or Redditors as they like to be known, post images, videos, links, stories and other users upvote them. On other sites, usually content is the most important part while comments are either to be avoided or ignored. On Reddit, the content as well as the comments are what makes it awesome.

But because Reddit is known as the front page of the internet, when new users visit it, they are confused by the layout. The homepage seems filled with posts about all kinds of topics that you have no interest in. And when you do find a post you like, the nested comments thread throws you off.

For this, you need to first understand a few terms:

  • Subreddit

    Reddit is actually a collection of discussion boards around a theme/subject known as a subreddit. Users post images, videos, links in these subreddits that’s relevant to the subreddit topic. There are thousands of subreddits and anybody can start one, which means if you are interested in a theme/topic, there probably is a subreddit for it.

  • Upvote/ Downvote

    Logged in users can upvote or downvote any post. This makes sure that the most upvoted posts float to the top and the worst ones will get downvoted to obscurity. This is true for the comments too, so you will see only the best comments at the top.

  • Karma

    Karma are the points you get for your posts or comments when it is upvoted. To paraphrase Drew Carey, karma don’t matter. It’s completely useless and serves no purpose but every Redditor wants lots of it.

How to get started?

The best way to get started is to follow these simple steps:

  • Create an account and login to reddit

    An account is not strictly necessary to access the content, but it will make it way more easier to get to the content that you really care about. An account will also let you upvote/ downvote any post or comment as well as let you post on most subreddits.

  • Subscribe to your favourite subreddits

    There are thousands of subreddits and it will take a while for you to find all your favourite ones. The best way to get started would be to go to reddit.com/r/popular/top. This lists the top popular posts across all subreddits for the day. Click on the Join button on the post you like, to subscribe to that subreddit.

    You can also search for a subreddit and click on the Join button.

example1

  • Go to homepage

    Once you have subscribed to a few subreddits, go to the Reddit homepage at www.reddit.com. Your homepage now should show only the content from the subreddits you have subscribed to.

  • Navigation

    On top of the home or subreddit page, you can change the options for how to view the posts as well as how to sort it. I usually use Card view and sort by Top for Today. Sort by Top > All Time to see the top posts of all time.

example1

Banana for scale

Like the Matrix, you cannot truly explain what Reddit is, you have to experience it. Reddit is a weird and wonderful place and the only way for you to enjoy it is to experience it. Like Banana for scale — yep, redditors for reasons you will eventually find out, use a banana for scale.

This weirdness is nothing compared to all the other weirdness you’ll experience on reddit. Like the subreddit CatsStandingUp. As the name suggests, it’s a subreddit for users to post images of their cat standing up. When you browse through it, you’ll realise there’s something strange about all the posts and comments. Every post title or comment is “Cat.”. Absolutely no other post title or comment is allowed on that subreddit.

Here are a few of my favourite subreddits for you to get started, in no particular order.