Reddit has become the Internet's worst-kept secret, now with 175 million monthly visitors, according to its own stats. Still, it can feel like a hidden corner of the Web, as sparse as Craigslist but as deep as Google.
Traffic doubled in the past year, and the self-described "front page of the Internet" is now a major online media hub, where anything can find an audience. Reddit users themselves determine what content will rise to the site's most prominent position, the FrontPage, determined by the net result of upvotes and downvotes.
In 2014, the company saw the return of its cofounder Alexis Ohanian to the board, and it raised $50 million, partially from Snoop Dogg. Perhaps its biggest moment was dubbed "The Fappening" (fap being slang for masturbation) when Reddit users became the main distributors of hacked celebrity nude photos, the ones stolen from Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and dozens of others.
However, aside from those more salacious posts, there were many enjoyable, entertaining, sometimes heartwarming and always captivating conversations on Reddit. There were stories of people helping people and fascinating opportunities for Reddit users to share their talents, even if one of those talents was taking pictures of butt cracks.
Reddit users post their own links to what interests them online. Here is a look back at the year on Reddit and what made it to the top of the site with the most upvotes:
Doctor is so good that kids enjoy getting shots
Simply labeled "THIS MAN!" and upvoted a net 11,880 times, this clip shows a toddler taking multiple shots, which is normally a traumatic incident for all involved. But this kid keeps laughing all along, because the doctor is just so good at what he does.
Job applicant’s wrong headshot was truly wrong
This was a TIFU post (Today I Fucked Up) from someone who said he accidentally sent out 30 resumes with a headshot of an ewok and the words: "Prepare Your Anus." (A rather uncomfortable but popular meme.) The reply from prospective employers was particularly hilarious: "I can forsee you sliding into this job." The hiring manager also advised ditching the anal reference, which is solid career advice in general. In all, this post garnered a net 12,591 upvotes.
Someone’s in trouble
This one is just a picture of a man bafflingly mopping in the rain. On Reddit it was titled "Ever fuck up so bad you had to mop up rain?" The first comment was: "Just wait until they make him put it all back." The rest of the commenters shared their own stories about being punished at work, and the thread received 12,629 net upvotes.
A side of rice that sounds disgusting
"What tasty food would be disgusting if eaten over rice," asked one teenage Reddit user. The question received more than 6,300 replies, with the top answer being Rice Krispies or Fruity Pebbles. The best part was the teenager tasted and ranked all the disgusting combinations of rice and "you name it." He got 13,002 net upvotes for his efforts.
Lampooning an American vacation
Get these friends a travel show, because they are hilarious. One forced the other to only wear American-flag-themed clothing on a trip to the states. Then someone posted the results to Reddit, receiving 13,519 net upvotes.
A touching tale of cable and death
Yes, Reddit can make you cry. A cable company phone representative shared a story about one man in his 90s who was grateful for the conversation and a surprise visit, ending in hugs. It's not often that a cable company appears on Reddit for a reason other than customer complaints. This post, titled "Don't bother sending a tech, I'll be dead by then," got 13,743 net upvotes.
IT guy doesn’t know what he’s doing
Here are the mad ravings of an anonymous IT worker, who is in way over his head, but no one else in the office could tell the difference. He blogged about some of his interactions in the office, like how he couldn't even install Adobe Reader. But he handled the job like a boss anyway. This got 14,020 net upvotes.
Are you OG enough to upvote this Snoop photo?
Snoop is not just an investor, he's a member, so you can occasionally find him popping up in Reddit threads, especially those focused on marijuana. One of the year's top posts, though almost certainly a parody and not a post from Snoop himself, offered the title of "approved OG submitted 4 lyfe" to the last person who upvoted his photo. The post was made on the Circlejerk subreddit, where users satirize the worst aspects of Reddit. In spite of (or in appreciation of) the joke, it scored 16,054 net upvotes so far (with downvotes conspicuously disabled).
This awesome animation deserves an award
Talent often rises to the top at Reddit, as with this animated short that got 16,858 net upvotes. Reddit users wanted more.
A heaping scoop of Chipotle wisdom
Sometimes a Reddit poster just has expert life advice. Like this person who shared a Chipotle hack that gets you more meat every time. Fellow burrito lovers showed their gratitude for the tip with a net 17,827 upvotes.
Carter is a kid who knows what he wants
"This is Carter. He knocked on my door to ask if he could have a banana then left." This Reddit post didn't even need to say more because the photo says it all, and it scored 29,472 net upvotes.
Magic: the gathering of butts
This man's selfies with plumber butts ruled all of Reddit in 2014. By posing in prayer with as many plumber cracks as he could find at a Magic: The Gathering tournament, he became an overnight Reddit celebrity. The photo project wasn't appreciated by the tournament organizers who reportedly banned him from upcoming events (though the official blog post only vaguely describes "the hurtful acts of an online participant" and pledges that "appropriate" action has been taken).
In terms of Internet fame, it was probably worth it, as he scored Reddit's top tally of the year with 38,163 net upvotes.