The structural design of Reddit.com allows people to create a sub-section, or sub-reddit, for anything. People can choose to ‘follow’ that sub-reddit. You can un-follow the main page, which everyone see’s, and pick and choose sub-reddits to follow. Once reddit became popular a lot of older members missed the ‘glory days’, when all of the articles posted were of a higher quality. ‘True Reddit‘ was formed, a sub-reddit for “really great, thought-provoking articles, reddiquette, reading before voting and the hope to generate intelligent discussion on the topics.” The disgruntled can form their own community and move to it. There are an insane amount of sub-reddits and each one differs greatly in size, from a small group of people to several thousand.
Reddit also has a uncannily connected and trusting community who help each other out. Someone posted “Hey askreddit, I have $25 for food until next Friday, what should I buy?” Someone in the thread bought three pizza’s and sent them to him. There are countless other examples of strangers helping out strangers on the site. Users often join forces to raise money for causes, many of which are listed here.
Because the sense of community is so strong when someone posts ‘I was caught and brutally tortured in the recent riots against the government in Egypt, AMA‘ (AMA stands for: Ask Me Anything) people respond with piqued interest and admiration. Personal conversations about events with the individuals that experienced them closes the distance between people. The person who was tortured by the Egyptian government is typing a reply to your question. It bonds distant people in a way that was not once possible.
A very different community, Anonymous, are also an interesting ad-hoc force. They see themselves as social do-gooders, focusing their attention on rebutting against social, political and corporate wrongdoing. Their swarm-like nature, with no Avatars and obfuscated IPs, create a very different but interesting example of online community.
The workings of these two communities will be analyzed. I want to know how people interact on Reddit, and how Anonymous has started to play a role in world events. The structural design of the community molds the way people converse on it. 4chan, the birthplace of Anonymous, happened to let users post anonymously by default. Anonymous fractions off to IRC chat rooms to plan events, which is a very different environment than that of a random anonymous message board – 4chan. Reddit users are loosely tied to a username and ‘karma’ – points for upvotes/downvotes. The structural differences of these conversation systems create wholly different communities.