Screengrab: The F Word
Reddit has always trafficked in the profane. Between the breathless know-it-alls, basement dwelling trolls, and ultra-vocal teenagers—often it's all three in one—the user-generated news site and clearinghouse for all things Internet can be a vulgar place.
Case in point: Some guy scraped every use of the word "fuck" over an eight-hour stretch across the entirety of Reddit, and wrote the data into a handy bubble map. It's arguably the crassest word cloud this side of /r/dataisbeautiful. As you might expect, it's pretty fucking impressive.
Appropriately titled The F Word, the visualization was created by user "codevinsky," who mined all the fucking data on Monday and wrote the visualization yesterday, June 10. He broke it out into multiple categories, allowing you to toggle between instances when "fuck" was coupled to another word (All of the Fucks), and when "fuck" stood alone (Single Fucks).
Here is a random sampling of the two filters:
- fucked (1507)
- fuck yeah (216)
- motherfucker (211)
- holy fuck (208)
- fucks sake (110)
- shit fuck (37)
- fucking fuck (23)
- fuckery (20)
- ah fuck (13)
- fuckwad (11)
- fuckstick (5)
- fuckbag (2)
A third category calls out those users (Fuckers) who said "fuck" the most. User "AnarchoDave" apparently has quite a mouth on him, clocking in at 24 Fucks Given over the eight hours. Not bad?
All told, users said "fuck" or some variation thereof 25,203 times. Which doesn't strike me as all that staggering. If anything, I'm surprised that figure isn't actually much higher. As of June 2014, nearly 3 million users log into the site each month, according to Reddit's own numbers. It's the 56th most visited website on Earth, for fucks sake. You'd think The F Word's total "fuck" count would be on the order of at least, oh I don't know, 50,000?
So maybe Reddit (and redditor speak) isn't quite as vulgar as one might initially suspect, at least when it comes to language and good old-fashioned curse words. Of course, it's tough to understand where any of the Fuckers were coming from. Codevinsky's map is pure, raw data, with no context. It that sense it can be a bit of a clusterfuck (Fucks Given: 59).
You might be saying, who cares? And I don't entirely blame you.
Yet it's this sort of exercise in data viz that allows us, in some small and maybe not-the-most-rigorous way, to check the pulse on a massive social-sharing hub like Reddit, with all its problems and promise. Think of it this way: If the Internet is killing most languages, and if Reddit is the front page of the Internet, then is Reddit effectively killing languages? Fuckkkkk. (Fucks Given: 2.)