When searching for articles online, you might have read the term ‘posted on Reddit’ or ‘shared on Reddit’. But what is Reddit?

Reddit is a forum comprised of user-generated content which describes itself as “a source for what is new and popular on the web”.

With 112,809,633 visitors in January 2014 and nearly 2.5 million logins a day, Reddit is extremely popular.

Users submit interesting stories and links which other readers recommend by voting up or reject by voting down. Readers can also leave comments, and the more popular a story, the more chance it has of getting onto Reddit’s front page.

Reddit was set up by web developer Steve Huffman and entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian in 2005, before being bought by Conde Naste Publications in 2006.

The name ‘Reddit’ combines the terms ‘read’, ‘edit’ and ‘read it’.


How do I use Reddit?

In order to post on Reddit, you need to create an account with a username and password.  Then you can post, comment and vote on others’ posts.

Reddit comprises of communities called ‘subreddits’ which anyone can create. These are based around areas of interest such as science, music, technology and sport.

Reddit looks like a forum – it’s not polished like a news website or a social network. At first glance it is a little intimidating, but by using subreddits it’s very easy to use the site to find out subjects close to your heart.

When you first sign up, you are automatically subscribed to a selection of subreddits, but it’s easy to create a customised list of subreddits of interest.

For instance, if you are a keen gardener, you can follow gardening, trees, permaculture, environment, guerrilla gardening, random acts of nature, indoor garden or whatsthisplant - among others.


Ask a celebrity…

Reddit hosts regular ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) sessions, where famous people answer as many questions within a space of time.

The most popular AMA to date has been Barack Obama, followed by Bill Gates and Sir David Attenborough.

On his blog thegatesnotes Bill Gates talked about the appeal of Reddit shortly after his second hour-long AMA in which he admitted to being a fan of bridge and to doing his own dishes.

“The quality of the discussion on the site is high – or it can be, anyway,” wrote Gates.

“There’s a ranking system for comments, which makes it easier to ski around and found the most interesting posts. The users are a sceptical bunch and they don’t hold back when it comes to asking tough questions.”


Is Reddit safe?

Reddit is open source, meaning that those within the community make adjustments to the site’s software and fix any bugs. It also means it relies on its community for moderation, rather than employing a third-party moderator.

Reddit is monitored by volunteers within each community, and as well as removing links and banning spammers, they  encourage new posters to post in the right section.

The site has a report button, enabling users to report adult content or spam.

Reddit bans users who post personal information, while moderators ultimately decide whether posts will be taken down.

Reddit has quite strict rules on what constitutes spam, stating that if 10% of a user’s content is links, it’s probably spam. As well as preventing other websites from using Reddit to publicise their own content, it’s to encourage people to comment and to help online communities develop.

In order to prevent spamming, there’s also a cap on the number of links users can post a day.

Success on Reddit depends on votes from other users, so if people don’t like your posts, they won’t be visible.

Reddit is a great place to find unusual content, but before you post, it’s worth checking out the FAQs.