4 Features People First Hate About Reddit… But Then Eventually Love

Reddit is an unusual beast.  With it’s sparse interface and esoteric terminology, newcomers typically feel like they walked into the wrong club and quickly head back out the door.    But in my experience, Reddit is just like Facebook — people first question why they would bother with another social network, but once they’ve been hit with the offer they can’t refuse, they sign up.  And the reason Reddit is successful is because it definitely makes those undeniably entertaining offers to users.  But let’s look at the reasons the site turns people off at first.

Anonymity

Without the culpability that comes with using real names, the anonymous webizens of Reddit fire pointed tirades at one another incessantly.  Reddit can at first seem extreme, and dominated by a war of creative impulses, but a deeper look usually proves that while people aren’t afraid to express their opinion, they tend to hold rational debates.

Take one look at YouTube comments and you’ll know that anonymous web forums can quickly turn into dough-headed vitriolic.  That said, Reddit self-polices, and it seems that the Karma rewards (Karma being the points you get for a good comment or a popular submitted article) are awarded to constructive arguments with proof, rather than unfounded accusations and ridicule.

Design

It’s a sparse design at Reddit, without a doubt.  More reminiscent of message boards in the 90s than any self-identified “Web 2.0” design, the site focuses on text, text and more text.  While images and videos make up a large percentage of the site, they are not expanded into full size until you decide to expand them.  So that can leave first time viewers feeling like they’ve stepped into a time portal and are looking at some relic of days gone by.

But again, Reddit is about reading… hence the name.  Reddit has done a great job, through it’s phenomenal growth, to keep the site focused on its one single goal: sharing links.  So many sites, like Digg or Yahoo!, have expanded into less focused areas as soon as their traffic rose, and most Redditors applaud the site and their owners, Conde Nast, for leaving it as it is despite it’s 1.9 Billion page views in October of this year.

Acronym Filled Subreddits

Reddit is full of esoteric terminology and concepts that may leave a newcomer scratching his head.  Even worse, the first impression could be that this is a heady elitist group that is prone to be discussing strange technological concepts like “AMA” or “IAMA.”  But for those who brave the strange, foreign world, they find that each of these acronyms are lovingly crafted for captivating ideas like “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) or “I Am A” (IAMA) that take unique approaches to gleaming inside information from experts and fascinating people around the world.

Reddit is like an entire population — so that includes a lot of sarcastic, biting critical nerds

This reality is the trial by fire for Reddit initiates.  Can you deal with a whole population of intelligent minds attacking problems from every which way?  Because there are people on Reddit that focus on finding the truth to a whole series of questions, and they’ll attack any structure to get to it.

Take the atheism group, which has a large following and are outspoken in their beliefs.  This area of the site has drawn the most controversy, and can sometimes turn into raging debates.  But typically, the saner heads prevail and the most popular comments are constructive ones.  But on the other side, there is the Reddit Christianity group, as well, and they offer the other end of the debate, meaning that you get a grasp of various people on either side of a powerful debate.

This is one of the elements that keeps people coming back: a taste of what intelligent minds are thinking about on any given day.

Give Reddit a shot here, hit the front page once a day for a week and see if you can resist!