Reddit communities can range from some of the most read forums on the web to small, tight-knit communities that are seriously dedicated to specific niches. Some of the best content on Reddit can be found in less popular communities, and discovering a new subreddit can often feel like stumbling upon a hidden gold mine.
While it’s tempting to dig right in and spend all your time on the front page, a strategy for how you invest your time reading a new subreddit can help you discover the best of what it has to offer Has. Here are some tips on how to explore the best a subreddit has to offer.
1. Sort by top posts of all time
The first thing you should do to familiarize yourself with a subreddit you haven’t explored yet is immediately search for the best content ever posted there – you can do this with a clever sorting trick.
Automatically sorted by during Reddit Hotwhich shows you the latest and currently increasing posts, you also have the option to sort by above, which ranks posts by upvote total. Choose above then gives you the option to select a time frame ranging from now and today to all time.
If you select “Top” and sort by “All Time,” you’ll get the most upvoted posts of all time in that subreddit. Take some time to browse the first few pages to see the best historical posts that should set the tone for what exactly this community is trying to achieve.
Start with all time and then gradually reduce the timeframe to the last few months before finally browsing through the hot posts on the date of your visit to get a real sense of what makes this subreddit as special as it evolves over time time has changed and the general energy of the community.
Often the absolute best content can be found in the comments. Between updates to the original poster, insightful comments, supplemental information, and sometimes validating criticism, the community is really in the comments.
Sorting the comments can also be insightful. For posts that are a bit divisive, you can sort the comments Controversial to get a wide range of comments. For live event reaction threads, sort by New and update from time to time for an almost live chat experience.
Reading through the top historical posts combined with really digging through the comments on older and newer posts will really give you a sense of the community culture, inside jokes, specific Reddit terminology and jargon, productive and popular users, and context for Community reactions reveal on specific topics and events.
3. Review starred and pinned posts
Many subreddits have a pinned post at the top of the front page, usually with a title that encourages you to click or read it before posting or commenting. There’s a good reason for that – these posts often come with some simple rules or guidelines for posting. Some subreddits have their rules clearly outlined in the sidebar. In any case, it’s a very good idea to read them through before commenting or posting.
While you may already know basic Reddiquette rules, or that the subreddit rules probably ask you to be friendly and respectful, there may also be some less common rules for asking specific questions that have already been answered in the wiki or FAQ. You may also find rules telling you not to discuss certain topics that are likely to cause heated arguments or divisions.
Some subreddits pin important announcements and recurring regular discussion posts for easy access. Subreddits with ongoing “megathreads,” or large, long-running threads dedicated to a single topic, are likely to remain pinned to the top indefinitely.
For subreddits dedicated to a TV show or podcast, a new discussion thread can be posted for each new episode, pinned to the top to be visible until the next episode is released.
Not only are these threads designed to significantly reduce duplicate posts, but they’re often the best place to jump right into discussions and see what others have to say. Community megathreads can provide a lot of context for other discussions on the subreddit, so they’re often a great place to start reading.
4. Check the wiki or FAQ
Some subreddits, especially if they contain a lot of terminology, include a link to a wiki or FAQ section at the top of the page. These pages provide almost some valuable tools, context, or information, in addition to answers to any immediate questions you may have.
A quick look at these pages as a new user can help greatly reduce repeat posts with the same questions, clean up subreddit clutter, and build a better reading experience for you and everyone else.
In addition to other subreddit information, the wiki and FAQ can be great resources for links to related subreddits. In some cases, wikis can contain entire curated lists of further reading material or content related to the subreddit topic. You can easily stumble upon a new subreddit as a total newbie and take away everything you need to become a subject matter expert.
One of Reddit’s greatest strengths as a social media platform is its Karma system, where users gain social credibility through content contributions and community engagement. Noticing users with high karma and seeing what kind of contributions they make to a community can serve as a helpful guide when navigating a new area.
While Reddit is often scrutinized for toxic environments and rampant abuse of the downvote button, the tone of discussion can vary greatly between subreddits. A community with active moderation and a focused topic can be a warm and friendly place to share content and discuss your interests with like-minded people. Be sure to get a feel for the tone of the discussion before jumping into the comments.
Create the Reddit you want to see
In summary, by taking a slower approach, you can develop a real understanding of a community before flooding it with content or comments. After all, a subreddit grows into the best version of itself through great effort and well-considered content sharing. You can play an important role in creating the kind of community you want to see.