Reddit Ask Me Anything

Have you ever wanted to ask a famous person or expert a question that you've always wanted the answer to?  Or have you wanted to ask an everyday person about their experiences in life, good or bad?  Lots of people on Reddit.com do just that every day, with one of Reddit's most popular features: A.M.A., or "ask me anything!"

So what exactly is a Reddit "ask me anything" (A.M.A.)?

A Reddit "ask me anything" (or A.M.A.) is a type of interview that is carried out on a Reddit message board.  A user posts a brief introduction about themselves, and then other users post questions to them.  They then answer the questions that get the most positive ratings among users.

How does a Reddit "ask me anything" (A.M.A.) work?

An "ask me anything" (A.M.A.) is started by someone who has some sort of notable trait (usually something that they've done or something about their status) that they think others will find interesting or unusual, and thus want to ask them more about.  For example, an A.M.A. might be started by someone who just began working at a new job, or by someone who survived a life-threatening illness. 

A sub-class of A.M.A.s are called "I Am A", where the person posting the A.M.A. introduces themselves based on something noteworthy about their identity.  They could be a moderator on Reddit's forums, an Internet celebrity, a leading academic, a professional athlete, or even a well-known political figure!

When an A.M.A. starts, the user who posted it usually begins with an introduction regarding their notable trait or identity.  In some cases, the user will include an Internet hyperlink in their introduction that acts as some kind of proof that they are who they say they are, or that they actually did what they claimed to have done.  They may be required to do so by the rules of the particular A.M.A. forum, or they may be asked to do so by other users participating in the A.M.A.

After the introductory post, other Reddit users are free to respond with any question or comment that they wish (as long as it falls within the rules of the particular A.M.A. forum, or A.M.A.s or posts in general).  The original poster of the A.M.A. is then free to answer any questions posed to them as they see fit.  Users can also cast "upvotes" for questions to indicate that they, too, would like to know the answers to those questions. If a question is popular enough, it might persuade the interviewee to answer that question (at least before others), or give that question their best possible response.

Some A.M.A.s (especially those conducted with celebrity guests) are scheduled to start and stop at particular times.  However, most A.M.A.s can be started at any time, and are open-ended in terms of how long they last — as long as questions continue to be asked and answered!

Top 15 Reddit A.M.A.s

Reddit has conducted A.M.A.s with a lot of celebrity guests over the years, including actors, musicians, politicians, scientists, athletes, businesspeople, and more!  Here are 15 of the most popular celebrity A.M.A.s conducted on Reddit:

  1. Barack Obama, President of the United States of America

  2. Gordon Ramsay, award-winning chef

  3. Steve Wozniack, co-founder of Apple Inc.

  4. Sir Patrick Stewart, award-winning theatre/television/movie actor

  5. Sir David Attenborough, noted British radio broadcaster and natural historian

  6. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation

  7. Elon Musk, businessman/engineer/inventor and C.E.O. of SpaceX and Tesla Motors

  8. Ronda Rousey, mixed martial artist and Olympian

  9. Edward Snowden / Laura Poitras / Glen Greenwald, N.S.A. whistleblowers

  10. Bernie Sanders, Independent/Democratic U.S.A. senator

  11. Peter Dinklage, actor on the award-winning television program Game of Thrones

  12. Neil deGrasse Tyson, famed astrophysicist and cosmologist

  13. Bill Nye, mechanical engineer / science educator and host of Bill Nye the Science Guy

  14. Buzz Aldrin, former astronaut and engineer

  15. Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg), award-winning rapper and songwriter

 

Now you know what a Reddit "ask me anything" (or A.M.A.) is and how it works!  Now, consider satisfying your curiosity by asking a question on one.  Or, start your own A.M.A. if you have your own notable life experience that you'd like to share and have people ask you about!

In the next tutorial of this course, we'll explain why Reddit may sometimes be temporarily inaccessible, and how you can check to see for sure whether or not it is.


Reddit Search

Reddit is one of the largest websites on the Internet, so trying to find something on it must be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, right?  Well, it may be if you just browse around Reddit aimlessly.  However, if you use its search function, you may be able to get where you want to go on Reddit a bit faster.  In this lesson, we’ll explain how that works.

To search Reddit

  1. Open your web browser of choice and go to www.reddit.com.  (Logging in is optional; see our How to Post on Reddit tutorial for instructions on logging in.)

  2. In the upper-right portion of the screen, below the log-in box (or your user name, if you’ve already logged in), you will find the Reddit search box.  Click in it, type in what you’re looking for, and then click the magnifying glass icon.

    How to search for something on Reddit

  3. The first results you will see are “subreddits” — specific categories of topics on Reddit — that contain your search terms in either their names or their descriptions.  Click on the name of a subreddit to visit it, or click Search within [X] below a subreddit to search for your key words in posts contained within that subreddit.  You can also click Subscribe to follow activity on that subreddit.  Click Next or Prev at the bottom of the list of subreddits to navigate through different pages of results.

    How to search within subreddits on Reddit

  4. Further down the page, you will see posts that contain your search terms, or that contain comments that have your search terms within them. 

    How to search within posts or comments on Reddit

    Click the drop-down menu beside “Sort By” to sort posts by relevance to your search terms, their score (i.e. how many upvotes vs. downvotes they have), how long ago they were posted, or how many comments have been posted on them.

    You can also click the drop-down menu beside “Links From” to only see posts that were submitted within a certain timeline: the past hour, the past day, the past week, the past month, the past year, or anytime.

    Click on a post to view it.  You can also click on the submitter’s user name to see their profile, including a list of recent posts or comments that they’ve made.  Additionally, you can click on the subreddit that a post was submitted to in order to visit that subreddit.

    Like when viewing subreddits as search results, you can click Next or Prev at the bottom of the list of posts to cycle through different pages of results.

  5. If you click Advanced Search, Reddit will display some common modifiers that you can use to narrow your search.  For example, typing in the sample provided — “subreddit:aww site:imgur.com dog” — will tell Reddit to search for posts that are contained within the subreddit “aww”, link to the website “imgur.com”, AND contain the word “dog” in either their descriptions or comments.

    How to use advanced search functions on Reddit

    You can also click See the Search FAQ for Details to see other ways to filter your search, such as with other fields that you can specifically search in (such as “title:”), or with Boolean operators (e.g. “AND”, “OR”, or “NOT”).

 

That’s the skinny on how to search Reddit!  Next up, we’ll tell you all about one of the most popular features of Reddit: its “ask me anything” forums!


How to Post on Reddit

Now that you've signed up for a Reddit account, it's time to start posting content and earning karma points!  This lesson will explain how to post various different types of content, including text posts, hyperlinks, images, and comments.

Logging into Reddit

Logging into Reddit is super easy, and can be done right from their home page.  Start by going to www.reddit.com in your web browser of choice.  Below the search box in the upper-right portion of the screen, you will find Reddit's log-in box.

How to log into Reddit

Click in the box labelled "User Name" and type in the user name that you picked for yourself when you created your account.  Then, click in the box labelled "Password" and type in the password that you chose to protect your account.  Finally, click the Log In button.

That's it!  You're logged into Reddit!

To make a text post on Reddit:

1. Go to www.reddit.com in your web browser and log into your account.

Hopefully, you've done this by now.  If you haven't, see the above section.

2. Click the "Submit a New Text Post" button.

On the right-hand side of Reddit's home page, underneath the search box, you should see two buttons very close to each other.  Click the one that says Submit a New Text Post.

How to create a new text post on Reddit

3. Give your post a title and some (optional) content.

Once you're on the post creation screen, click in the box labelled "Title" and type in a title for your post.  Then, click in the box labelled "Text" and type in what you want to say (though this is optional, and you can just let your title speak for itself if you want).  If you need help figuring out how to apply special effects to the text in your post, such as bolding it, making it into a bulleted list, or marking it as a quote, click Formatting Help.

How to add a title and text to your Reddit text post

4. Choose the "subreddit" that you want your post to appear in.

Every post on Reddit has to be part of a "subreddit."  A "subreddit" is basically Reddit's term for a forum that contains posts about a particular topic.

How to choose a subreddit for your Reddit text post

Click in the box labelled "Choose a Subreddit" and begin typing in a keyword or phrase concerning your post's content.  As you do so, a drop-down menu will appear with suggestions of subreddits that have similar names to your keyword or phrase.  Click one of the suggestions to pick it.  You can also click one of the suggestions below "Your Subscribed Subreddits" to pick a subreddit from one that you are currently following the activity of.

5. Configure any other options, pass the security check, and submit your post.

Underneath "Options", you can click the check box here to mark or unmark it.  If it's marked, then any comments made about your post will show up in your message inbox (which you can access by clicking the envelope icon next to your user name).  If it isn't marked, you will have to search for your post by hand in order to see if anyone has commented on it.  (Don't worry; we'll show you how to do this in our Reddit Search tutorial.)

How to finalize and submit your Reddit text post

You will also need to pass a security check so that Reddit knows that you're an actual human posting legitimate content, and not an automated program designed to mass-post meaningless drivel.  Below "Are You Human?" you will see two boxes.  Click in the bottom one and type in the distorted letters that you see in the top one.

When you're all done, click the Submit button.  There!  Your post should appear shortly.

To post a picture on Reddit:

1. Open your web browser, go to www.reddit.com, and log in.

If you haven't done this already, see the section above on "How to Log into Reddit".

2. Click the "Submit a New Link" button.

Turn your attention to the two buttons below the search box on the right-hand side of the screen.  Click the top one, Submit a New Link.

How to create a new picture or link post on Reddit

3. Click "Choose File" in the "Image" box, select a picture, and give your post a title.

You will be taken to the picture/link post creation screen.  You will notice that it looks somewhat different from the one for creating a text post.

How to add a picture and title to your Reddit picture post

To add a picture to your post, click the Choose File button in the box labelled "Image".  An explorer window will pop up, where you can navigate through your computer files until you find the picture that you want to add.  Click on the picture to select it, and then click Open.

If you want to go back and select a different picture (or add a link instead of a picture), click the "X" beside your current picture.

For the last part of this step, you will need to give your post a title.  Click in the box labelled "Title" and type in what your post is about.

4. Select a "subreddit" to add your picture to.

You must now select a particular topic on Reddit — commonly called a "subreddit" — in which you want your post to appear.

How to select a subreddit to add your Reddit picture post to

Click in the box labelled "Choose a Subreddit" and begin typing in a keyword or phrase that relates to the hyperlink or picture that you added.  While you type, a drop-down menu will appear with suggestions of subreddits that have similar names to your keyword or phrase.  Click one of the suggestions to select it as the one that you want your post to be a part of.  Below "Your Subscribed Subreddits", you can see which ones you are currently following activity on; you can click one of them to select it as the one to add your post to.

5. Configure any other options, pass the security check, and submit your picture.

In the "Options" box, you can click the check box to toggle it.  If it's marked, then any comments made about your post will show up in your message inbox (which you can access by clicking the envelope icon next to your user name).  If it isn't, you will have to check your post manually in order to see if there are any new comments about it.

How to finalize and submit your Reddit picture post

Reddit also requires you to pass a security check to make sure that you aren't a computer program littering its subreddits with automated posts.  In the section labelled "Are You Human?", click in the bottom box and type in the distorted letters that you see in the top one.

When you've finished filling in all of your information, click the Submit button.  Your picture or link should appear in the subreddit that you chose shortly!

How to post a link on Reddit

Posting a link is very similar to posting a picture.  Start by logging into Reddit and clicking Submit a New Link.  Then, click in the box labelled "U.R.L." and type in the web address of the page that you want to link to.  Then choose a subreddit for your post, pass the security check, and hit Submit.

Commenting on a post

Feel like having your say about something that someone has posted on Reddit?  The instructions below will outline how to leave a comment on a post, or a comment in response to another comment.

1. Log into your account on www.reddit.com.

If you need a reminder of how to do this, see the "How to Log into Reddit" section above.

2. Find a post that you want to comment on, and click "Comments" below it.

You will now need to browse or search for a text post, picture, or link that you want to say something about.  When you find what you're looking for, click the Comments button below the post.  (The number next to the Comments button tells you how many comments have been posted about this particular story.)

How to view comments for a Reddit post

3. Click in the comments box, type in what you want to say, and then click "Save".

You will find the comment box almost directly below the text post, picture, or hyperlink information.  Click inside it, type in your response to the post, and then click the Save button.

How to comment directly on a Reddit post

(NOTE: If you need help figuring out how to apply special effects to your text, such as italicizing it, adding a hyperlink to it, or making it superscript, click Formatting Help.)

4. To respond to another comment, click "Reply" below it.

If you want to comment on something that someone has already said about the topic, click the Reply button below their post.  A comment box will appear; click in it, and then type in a response to the user's comment.  Then click Save to post your reply, or Cancel if you think better of it.

How to comment on another Reddit comment

(NOTE: click Formatting Help to learn how to apply different effects to your text on Reddit.)

 

That's our primer on how to post all different types of content on Reddit!  In the next tutorial, we'll show you how to search through Reddit for specific subject matter.


How to Make a Reddit Account

If you have followed our lessons up until now, you should have an idea of what Reddit is, how it works, and what it should or shouldn't be used for.  Now, if you're ready to join the community of Redditors (as users of Reddit are called), then you will need to create an account.  This lesson will show you how to go about doing so.

To sign up for Reddit:

1. Go to www.reddit.com and click "Log In or Sign Up".

You will find the "Log In or Sign Up" button in the upper-right corner of the home page of Reddit, just above the search box.

How to log into or sign up for Reddit

2. Input a user name, your email address, and a password, and then pass the security check.

You should now see a pop-up box on the screen; focus on the left side of it, as it contains what you will need to start a new Reddit account.

How to fill out the Reddit sign-up form

Click in the boxes highlighted in the screenshot above and type in:

  • a user name to represent yourself with on Reddit
  • a password to protect your account
  • a copy of the password that you just picked
  • your email address

(NOTE: The user name box will display a checkmark or an "X" beside it based on whether or not the user name that you have chosen is currently available.  If you have chosen a user name that is not currently available, try a different one — or slight variations of your current one — until you find a user name that is not in use.)

Once you have entered this information, click the box labelled "I'm Not a Robot" to pass the security check and let Reddit know that you're not a computer program trying to mass-create fake accounts.  Then click Sign Up.

3. Verify your email address for Reddit, so you can reset your account password if needed.

There is one last thing that you should do when setting up a new account, and that is verify your email address for Reddit.  This allows Reddit to know where to send an account recovery email if you forget the password to your account.

How to verify your email address for Reddit

Go to your email provider, log in, and find the email from Reddit.com titled "Reddit: Verify Your Email Address".  Click on it to open it, and then click the blue hyperlink inside the email (blurred out here for security purposes) to verify your email address.

 

That's it!  You're all ready to start contributing to Reddit!  We'll go over how to do that in our next tutorial for how to post on Reddit!