Image: Shutterstock

​Moms and Dads Explain What They Think Reddit Is

Something to do with news stories?

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Jun 27 2015, 3:00pm

Image: Shutterstock

Reddit turned 10 years old this Tuesday and celebrated in the only way it can: by posting loads of cool stats and listing off some of its most popular posts and comments (Double dicks! Eating literal dicks! Tempting the masses! Free things!). The past six most upvoted threads have popped up this year, which only goes to show that the site's presence and popularity is growing, for better or worse.

But on the extremely off-chance you're a reader of this site and aren't familiar with Reddit and don't know how the internet functions, a journalist over at the esteemed BBC is on it. That's story's about as close as you'll get to a For Dummies guide to the occasionally helpful link-aggregator, discussion ground and hate machine that is reddit.com.

Despite its 172 million monthly unique users and the fact that it's the 10th most visited site in the US, according to Alexa web rankings, we're convinced that most adults have very little idea of what Reddit, less how it works.

How's that, you ask? We asked our own parents and bugged our friends' parents to ask their parents to guess what Reddit is. Here's what they had to say:

Definitely like a newswire!

Sorry dad, we didn't mean it!

ANYWAY.

One of our staff even walked his mom through her first Reddit account. You can see the exchange below:

***

me
what do you know about reddit

Beverly
HOw does your stuff get on it
I want to be popular too

me
do you ever go on reddit though

Beverly
No, but cool people do

me
like what do you know about it / how did you hear about it

Beverly
I just see it on stories all the time.

me
ok
it's just an internet forum kind of
anyone can make an account and submit whatever they want
there's different sections of it called subreddits

Beverly
so if I put my interesting Greenbelt stories on it more people will read them?

me
it's possible but probably not

Beverly
do subreddits have different topics

me
https://www.reddit.com/r/maryland
yes
this one is all about maryland
if you post a story about greenbelt there it's possible someone might read it

Beverly
oh. Let me check it out! Do old people use it.

me
yeah sometimes
you shouldn't use it though
you can use it for work
but you shouldn't use it for fun
do you want me to help you make a greenbelt subreddit

Beverly
I meant to use if for work. You don't think the world would enjoy funny stories about my kids?
Yes!

me
well hold on
anyways
you can submit links pictures or "self" posts which are just text
after you post it, it goes to a "new" queue on whatever subreddit you submitted it to
and then whoever is on the site can vote up or down
if you vote up it becomes more visible
and if it gets downvoted it just get's really hard to find so it's ignored

Beverly
Are people going to be mean to me on it like they are to you sometimes

me
well there are thousands of subreddits
different sections
the small ones are usually nice because if you are really into, like, posting about greenbelt on the internet then you're probably not going to be a jerk to other people who like greenbelt
but maybe you will, who knows
but then some of them have millions of users
and that's where people are jerks
also people are jerks on the awful racist / sexist / porn / violence ones
which is why reddit is a terrible place you should never go to
because a lot of that bleeds over into the bigger mainstream ones
also the company that runs it doesn't do much/anything to stop those

Beverly
Oh...well I think I can handle it. You avoid those Porn and racist ones don't you.

me
YES
except for work
anyways
register an account

Beverly
Okay

***

We might have been a little hard on the BBC for explaining a site with a storied history and a sometimes bewildering interface and culture in very plain terms. It's easy to lose perspective of things when you're enveloped in it day to day. It's also a good reminder of how the internet's tribes, no matter how large, remain just that: even one of the largest internet forums, responsible for a lot of positive discovery, can pass under the purview of the average American.