Sunday, 1 February 2015

A Reddit Primer

To my friends who have been or are interested in joining Reddit in order to contribute and learn from popular subreddits like MakeupAddiction, IndieMakeupandMore, and so on, but have been hesistant due to the confusing user interface... read on.

Reddit is a weird website. How it works is that you "subscribe" to subreddits. Subreddits are basically completely separate forums on their own, centered around a theme, with their own rules, moderators and everything. You've likely heard of IndieMakeupAndMore if you've ever ventured into the world of indies.

When you subscribe to a subreddit, it means all/most of the topics posted in that subreddit are now sent to your front page, just like friending someone on Facebook. And like Facebook, if you want to only see the posts from that subreddit, you need to go to the direct subreddit page, just like going to a Friend's page.

When you sign up, you will be automatically subscribed to a lot of different subreddits ("defaults"), like /r/Funny, /r/Pics, and so on (/r/ means subreddit, it's what you see in the address bar when you go to a subreddit: You can unsubscribe by clicking the "edit" link in the top right corner where the top bar is, and clicking the unsubscribe button for whatever you're not interested in. Then you can use the search bar on that same page to look for subreddits you are interested in. Some popular ones are MakeupAddiction, MakeupAddicts, IndieMakeupAndMore, AsianBeauty, BeautyBoxes and SkincareAddiction. There are also swap/sell subreddits: MakeupExchange, AsianBeautyExchange, SkincareExchange. There are some UK- and AUS-specific ones, nail (RedditLaqueristas) and hair (FancyFollicles, HaircareScience) ones, and just about anything you can think of!

You can find more by searching or by going to the sidebar on the right of the page for each subreddit, where you will be able to see the rules, important/useful links, moderator information, and often subreddits that share a community with the subreddit you are looking at.

Big blue links that you see on the front page or on a subreddit's main page are threads, just as on normal forums. They may be "link posts", or "text posts". A text post link will send you to a place like this, like a normal forum where there is the OP up top, and comments below. A link will just send you to that link -- could be a picture, a blog post, a website, whatever. To get to the discussion of a link post, you need to click "x comments" in the tiny font below the blue link, where x represents the number of comments that have been posted.

The other little buttons below the thread titles are "share" (share the link via email), "save" (will save the post to a place where you can look at it later), "hide" (makes the post disappear so you never have to see it again), and "report".

The arrow buttons to the left of the thread titles are to upvote and downvote. This gives or takes away "karma" points, which is done by a really confusing algorithm. Comments can be voted on too. Think of it like the "like" button here, where you can go to a person's profile and see how many likes they get. There is link karma (for posting links) and comment karma (for posting text posts and for commenting). This is the basis of Reddit's system, because votes determines what gets seen and what doesn't. Because when you go to Reddit, the first tab is "hot" -- things that typically have a lot of upvotes in a short amount of time. (Again, just like Facebook where it sorts things that are most interesting/important up top. You can also sort by new, to see it in chronological order).

Conversely, things with a lot of downvotes are shoved down to where people are less likely to see them. Comments are even hidden/collapsed when they get over 5 downvotes. To see them, use the little [+] on the left hand side. You can also use the [-] beside expanded comments to collapse them, to save space on your screen or hide whatever you don't find interesting to read.

To post a link or a text post, you would use "Submit a New Link"/"Submit a New Text Post" on the right hand side of either your front page or the subreddit. (They're near the top, and look sort of like an arrow.)  You would put the title, your post, and then the subreddit that you want to post to (if you did this by going to the subreddit itself, it will be filled in already).

Formatting on Reddit is funny, and something I'm still trying to get a hand of. There will be a "formatting help" link right underneath where you post, and it will give you the basics of how to put in links, bold, etc. For example, to bold you must put two stars next to the word, **like so**. To link, [you put what you want the text to say](and the link in these regular parentheses next to it). It's... confusing.

Commenting is a "tiered" system (I made that term up). There is the original post (OP), which will always be on the top of the page. When you comment using the text box underneath, you create what I'm calling a "first tier" comment. This is sent to the OP's inbox and is most left-aligned on the screen.

When you comment on someone's "first tier" comment by clicking the reply button, you leave a "second tier" comment, which is indented underneath their comment. The OP of that entire post doesn't get a message about this (though they, and everyone else can see it when they go to their post), but the OP of that comment will. This creates miniature discussions within the discussion! This can be confusing sometimes, because you can have 3 "second tier" comments, with 2 "third tier" comments under each of those, and so on... the way they are sorted will depend on what you have set under "Sorted by: ___" which is found just above the comment box on the discussion page. I like going by Top or Best to get the most upvoted first tier comments first.

When someone comments on your post or comment, you will get a message in your inbox, which will appear as a glowing envelope on the top right corner (you won't miss it). Clicking the envelope will send you to your inbox, where you can see and reply to the comments directly (or to go to the page where it was posted, click the title and scroll down to that comment or click "context" to see only that string of comments aka the context of that message).

There's also direct messaging, which is a tiny button on a person's profile (you have to click on their username, or go to For example, mine is That would go into the "messages" section of your inbox.

There's a ton more, but that should be enough to get around! Be careful about all the rules on each subreddit, because they're all different. Some allow blog posts, some don't; some require you to have a certain amount of karma (aka prove that you're not a spammer and will contribute to the community by commenting) before posting blog posts, etc.



  1. thank you so much for this!! Very helpful :)

  2. what is the best way for displaying photos - I noticed that people like imgur(?) - I have never used that...