The Culture Of Reddit | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

In 2005, Steve Huffman and I started
reddit dot com and we wanted it to be the place to go to find out what was new and
interesting online. Reddit’s so good at pushing up these new nuggets of information.
There’s always something new. It has qualities of like a real life physical community. The reddit community just wants to know everything. You can find anything and everything on reddit. The essence of reddit is let’s give people
the power: to submit links, to vote on them, to discuss them and we’ll trust the
best stuff will bubble up. If it’s funny or people enjoy it, it will
get uploaded or downloaded according to whatever people think. A subreddit is a forum
that you create and you control in whatever way you want to. There’s a subreddit for everything. They’re all
run by volunteers, people with no formal association to reddit. You want to create a community for people who want to share links about my little pony, great. There’s definitely this really strong subculture on reddit where people really just want to learn. So
you have r-slash-askscience where you can ask any kind of science question and, more
often than not, you get an actual scientist to come in and give you an answer, usually with citations. People really appreciate thoughtful responses
and well cited responses but at the same time it’s a powerful system for
busting hoaxes, checking facts and there’s nothing more special than being
the first person to know that you busted a hoax. IAmA is a live interview section. It’s just a
place for anybody to go, open up a thread, give a little background of
yourself, and let redditors ask questions. It really runs
the gamut from the most ordinary of ordinary to celebrities, politicians, astrophysicists. There is one from a 911 operator. Normally
you would never had a chance to talk to somebody really in depth who works at a 911 call center so
you learn so much about their lives and their careers. The way that the site works tends to
attract people that want to know the truth. Reddit is about the user. Reddit is
about person whose on it. As a whole we always want to see the good in the community, we always want to see things work out. There was an idea that somebody was like “why
don’t we have a reddit secret santa?” and everybody was like “OK that’s a
great idea” and they made a website so all you had to have was a reddit account.
You can either select to be matched up with somebody in the united states or
somebody in the world. It was the largest gift exchange ever. Random Acts of Pizza is a subreddit and people that don’t have a lot of money just go to and they post their story, post
their situation and if you have a good enough reason somebody will just order
u a pizza online and deliver it to your house. And I thought that was amazing. It’s a weird
sense of trust people have in each other when they’re doing this. This is proving that
hey, there is good in the world. To have a community coming together is just
great. Generally people will respect one another. Yes, they’ll make immature jokes but most of
the time people will always do the right thing. Reddit is overall a nice place but its
relationship with women is really complicated. Any picture of a woman who is on the beach and she’s found a
cute little turtle and she’s showing the turtle, the top comment will be about her breasts. There’s a big problem on reddit with sexism, which is pretty backwards. Women don’t post so you can degrade them. All of this terrible misogynistic shit gets upvoted all the way to the top, like all the time. In SRS we are the majority and sick of seeing the same
jokes, the same disparaging humor. The point of Shit Reddit Says is to like have a place to talk about the things that are wrong with mainstream reddit culture. It’s a place for people to come together and make fun of the people who are terrible to them. It’s bullying the bullies. Mainstream reddits common response to SRS is that they hate free speech but sexual harassment in public is
clearly not OK. One of the major problems with self-regulation on reddit is that you do not
have a diverse enough user base. In society you have fifty one percent women but there aren’t fifty one percent women on reddit. The active majority, they determine what reddit is. Maybe the majority of people on reddit are men. Certainly the voting systems would seem to
indicate that it’s people who believe that women are irrational sex objects. If we judge
reddit by the voting system, that’s what reddit thinks. We’re brought up now close to anytime
somebody makes a bad comment. It opens a dialogue underneath about what SRS is and “Who’s
SRS? What are you talking about?” And then somebody else seeing that will come check us
out and be like “Oh my god, I found it.” There’s a voice out there. The
conversation that mainstream reddit is having with and because of Shit Reddit Says is developing into real
hard self-examination of their morals and principles and character. The internet is this sort of last bastion of free
speech and we want people to have the freedom to operate in that space. I
got an email about S.O.P.A. The aim was purportedly to stop online piracy, that was the
Stop Online Piracy Act. It would give the power to not only shut down a website
but it was basically placing demands on website creators that we’re just
untenable in a world of user generated content. And it wasn’t just the
economic issue but it was also a speech issue and a civil rights issue because it
affected every one of us who uses and loves internet. The internet is such a vital part of our democracy that we need it
protected. And so we had these meetings here in New York of all these New York tech execs and we went around the room and talked about all the things that we were going
to do with our web sites to help raise awareness. And when it got to me I simply said,
“Oh we’re gonna create a subreddit, you know, sopa.reddit. We’re just going to direct
people to it.” And I think there was this moment where everyone kind of looked around and was like “Really? That was it? You’re not gonna tell you’re users to do something.” and I had to explain that
that’s not how reddit works. And sure enough we saw the moderators of reddits decided they wanted to black out reddit and so the best thing we could do is
provide a platform for that all to spread and then get out of the way and sort of help where we can. We started to get some of our best ideas and started seeing redditors encourage other redditors to start doing things and taking action and creating the tools that would actually help us win the day in Washington. And I’m extremely proud of the fact that reddit was the first site to announce going dark. And after doing so, you saw hundreds of other sites and blogs also
announce they were going to go dark. Someone did this fabulous infographic that showed the senators before and after that blackout and how they had switched sides so quickly. The action against that was just another
example of us following the lead of the community. We knew the value in reddit was in the community and as long as we did right by the community, then we would do right by reddit. The core purpose of the site is that
ordinary people are democratically pushing content up. Reddit has a culture and reddit has a community. The internet is a place. Redditors are, I think, as diverse as anyone of us here in the states or anyone of us in the world. It’s just a constantly changing, powerful force of the internet that nobody can really stop.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. There isn't a single upvoted thread on Reddit that makes fun of men for being men. There are jokes where men happen to be the butt of the joke. That's different.

  2. Anyone not familar with reddit who is seeing this it needs to be pointed out that ShitRedditSays is considered a troll subreddit, they lack constructive criticism and ban anyone who has a differing opinion. They are destructive to other reddit communities and in general are seen as doing more harm then good.

  3. It looks to me like Reddit does't like people commenting. If you comment and then try to comment again on something else it will tell you that you are doing it to much! and that you have to wait 5 minuets, WHY!!! what the fuck Reddit.

  4. Everyone needs to know that this SRS place is literally a place where women get upset at men that called a a woman that lied about being raped a "bitch." This is how skewed this is.

    This is the same place (SRS) that has complained that the NFL is misogynistic because 50% of the players are not women! They have claimed that the rules of mainstream football need to be re-written to accomodate women for equality.

  5. Most SRSers are Marxists and anarchists, and they give priority to revisionist viewpoints like Black Studies ideology, in which they teach Afrocentric viewpoints, believe that empiricism (the core of science) is a western white european privileged way of knowing, that the Egyptians were Africans (they were and are not, just like today) and even that the Olmecs were the first people to said to South America.

  6. All srsters should just unplug themselves from the Internet forever. Maybe then they'd stop trying to ruin people's lives over something said on the Internet.

  7. LOL implying SRS promotes conversation about the horrible things people say. Go look at any thread on there and see how many people they ban per thread. It doesn't matter how nice, polite, insightful you are; they just ban you.

    >Free speech

    Choose one.

  8. 4:20 "One of the problems with subreddits is that you do not have a diverse enough user base. In society you have 51% women, but there aren't 51% women on reddit, and the active majority determine what reddit is" (text saying 72% men).

    7:20: "Redditors are as diverse as I think anyone in the states, or anyone in the world."

    Just flipping definitions as to what is useful?

  9. >It's a place where people come together and make fun of the people who are making fun of other people.

    How are you different?

  10. I'm always trying to get thosee I know 2 join Reddit for freedom ,facts,and freedom of speech ,whether we all agree or not. We, as members have the ability to not only to share information, but we have the ability 2 connect with members as well as participate by adding our personal videos and diversify, to expand viewers educational and personal bond & experience with each other .Thanks for your profound advocacy for inter-human relations, your deep love for sense & nonsense alike!

  11. The only sad thing about SRS is that they think anyone but their pathetic echo chamber can take them seriously to the slightest.

  12. "The SRS mods opted to appear anonymously".

    Of course they did, because they're a bunch of ignorant pussies who don't want their trollish bullshit to bite them in the ass.

  13. No wonder SRS gets away with so much shit, the founders are in on it! Fuck reddit!! I hope another site takes its place and they never turn a profit.

  14. SRS is legitimately the biggest circlejerk on Reddit, and that's saying something. They constantly DDOS and release personal infomation on anyone that speaks out against them and if your subreddit is caught saying offensive things they swarm on there until the place gets shut down. I find it ironic that the most feminist place on the internet is also the place with the least amount of freedom of speech. 

  15. Literally nobody important or with any actual power takes SRS serious. They are the Westboro Baptist church of reddit, just ignore them and laugh at them and go on with your day.

  16. SRS the majority? Ha! A bunch of self righteous assholes who frequent the subreddit only to pat themselves on the back.

  17. Reddit is not bad, but there are a bunch of powerful users that make it unfair and always push their own stories on top while other interesting stories don't get any attention.

  18. Reddit sounded pretty great, up until the bit about having a large population of users who dehumanize and abuse women. Scary.

  19. I don't know but showing the face of a cat instead of a woman seem in itself misogynistic. Kind of legitimized it. ..or was she from /r/gonewild?

  20. Wow, bad people exist on a website that has millions of users? Would've never guessed that. Please, the bullshit that is said on facebook and youtube is much more in your face and prevalent. Stop acting like the majority of people on reddit are assholes and all other social media outlets are any better.

  21. I would not like to be a friend or that someone of my family would be a friend of the majority of people in Reddit. Is that simple. Accept it Reddit community: you are free to speech, but you have created the most creepy community in the history of the internet.

  22. I love reddit, but neckbeards fuck it up, they're always critics, sexist, self assured and hateful. I don't think reddit should be represented with your average weird fedora wearing loser but apparently it is. Reddits nature is such a marvel of the Internet but all people see on the surface is the same fucking trolls, creeps and losers. It's like being a normal guy with a social life, girlfriend and interest in things outside of the Internet automatically makes you unworthy and out of the loop, fuck off neckbeards.

  23. Wow, SRS is the worst most sexist, racists, bigoted subreddit on there. It's whole point of existing is to bully people.

    If you want to know what the issue with the internet is, /r/SRS <- you found it.

  24. Holy SHIT I just wanted to learn about the history, not hear victim complex whiny garbage crying about text on a screen.

  25. You forgot the part where they beat their enemies with dildos and harvest their tears, which allows them to level up.

  26. Fuck SRS. I once saw one of their posts where they brigaded a dark pedo joke on /r/jokes. It's a fucking joke. I pointed out that it's not offensive and it shouldn't be brigaded.
    Welp, downvoted to hell and banned.
    Fuck SRS again.

  27. reddit is absolute garbage. redditors are absolute garbage. it's like 9gag for manchildren instead of just children.

  28. ShitRedditSays is a self-entitled cult of bigots with superiority complexes who attack people based on their sexuality, race, gender, nationality, religion, etc. Claiming to "bully the bullies" does nothing but justify the negative predispositions which everyone already has towards you. Who decides who is and who is not the "bullies?" You are literally trying to justify the fact that you bully people. Believe it or not, there is an entire world outside of your echo chamber safe-space of fee fees which comprises a ton of people who have gasp different opinions than you. Everyone knows that srs is the biggest racists of reddit and that's never going to change.


    "Bullying the bullies" indeed.

  30. The neckbeard in SRS section of this video is essentially what I expect white knight feminist to look like.

  31. These fucking "ShitRedditSays"-tards are so disgusting. Luckily, they are few and far between IRL. What we're dealing with when discussing their pathetic "subreddit" is really just a relatively small number of social outcasts who have found an enormous echo chamber which acts as an outlet for their frustration with their failed life and bigoted attitude in general.

  32. I don't know a ton about reddit, but I honestly don't see how you can have a problem with SRS unless you're like a legit racist or sexist. I just browsed their front page and most of the comments they were mocking were reprehensible horseshit.

    Not sure what I'm missing unless people honestly believe its their god given right to say awful things without being ridiculed?

  33. BAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH funny fucking joke. Reddit is the single most absolute cancerous internet site ever made. Go on Reddit in a week you'll want to commit suicide.

  34. I made an app that is kind of a fun new way to browse Reddit content! You can download here and feel free to pm me with any comments, questions or suggestions!

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