Friday, September 30, 2016

Tale of Two Reddit Communities

Reddit is a popular forum where people can discuss every topic under the sun. It's been known to be some very helpful place, or very bully / childish / uncomfortable place.

I may have been lucky in that I've generally encountered forums where I can integrate myself rather easily, where I did not get my head bitten off for transgressions against almost unseen rules,

Then I did.

When I participate, I go all in.  I offered my opinion all over the place.

At a subreddit where noobs are supposed to be like children: seen but not heard, this is a big no-no.

No only I violated one unstated rule, I apparently violated just about every one.  In fact, an FAQ topic was pretty much created in my "honor" to address how egregious my transgressions were.  One of them was pretty bad, I agree, even though I started with what I thought of as good intentions. Any attempt at explaining why I did what I did was pretty much met with "just shuddup, stop arguing".

Okay, the DUNCE hat is on me. My opinions (definitely amateurish) was rejected with no explanation other than the equivalent of "shut up, noob" or just a flat out "no".

Not much of a learning environment, is it?

So I dial it back, post a public apology, then try to ask proper questions in the appropriate topic and limit my opinions to things I know (may or may not have completely succeeded, but definitely dialed back).

Then my questions (on topic) was also rejected with "shuddup".  Why? My past transgressions, again.

Man, some people really hold a grudge.

So what does that tell you about reddit?

1) Observe CAREFULLY the subreddit for a whole week before participating, UNLESS it's a really simple one like a pic dump site, or it has a "ask anything" sticky topic.

2) Read ALL their FAQs, and observe the major players (those who post a lot), try to figure out the unspoken rules.

3) If a subreddit seems to be fairly insular (i.e. same people post over and over)  you may want to stay in lurk mode forever.  Esp. watch if any noobs join the convo and how the noob's treated.

4) Consider using a throw-away account for initial engagement. That way, if you screw up...

5) If there are still questions about etiquette, PM the most friendly major player for advice before joining in.

May you survive your reddit debacle.