Reddit Tips: How to Use Reddit

Reddit isn’t for everybody – and that may be an understatement. The Reddit culture is challenging if you don’t have a thick skin or you have a low tolerance for profanity and misogyny.

Redditors are a tough crowd quick to vote you down or blast you in the comments. They often delight in banning you for the tiniest infraction of obscure rules – expecting you to be able to read their minds and know what they meant and how to conform there from your first plunge into the darkness that is Reddit.

Many a savvy social media lover has yanked their toe back out
of the Reddit pool and left in search of calmer seas.

In Reddit Bermuda Triangle there are two different types of RedditGators waiting to prey on you: Redditors and Reddit bots. Read on to find out how to best navigate so that you have a better chance of surviving there.

First occurence of the RedditGatorMUST READ REDDIT TIPS:

If you don’t read anything else, be sure you read AND REMEMBER these important points:

MOST IMPORTANT: Although this is what the official Redditquette page says:

Feel free to post links to your own content (within reason). But if that’s all you ever post, and it always seems to get voted down, take a good hard look in the mirror — you just might be a spammer. A widely-used rule-of-thumb is the 10:1 ratio, i.e. only 10% of your submissions should be your own content.

  1. Some who have been banned claim they only shared ONCE and were banned for it – so share content you wrote or on a blog you’re associated with at your own risk.
  2. Reddit FAQ says votes are not real. (More on that below.)
  3. No matter how badly you want to know, DO NOT ask why you are being downvoted. Bots don’t answer that question I suspect almost all newbies want to ask – and neither will most Redditors.
  4. REDDIT QUIRK: When sharing you either post a link OR start a discussion. You can’t add text in with your link EXCEPT for the title.
  5. TITLE choice is critical to getting votes and attention. Study titles on submissions that went hot to get ideas for your own.


Let’s start with what Redditors do NOT want:

“Reddit hates people who only submit their own content,
and they also take a strong stance against what they
believe is “gaming the system” by using Reddit simply
to get visitors to your blog.” ~ Gregory Chiotti

Redditors are NOT blogger fans and most of us are fortunate if we aren’t already banned there!

I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you learn as much as possible
before going for a swim ~ and wear your thickest skin.


In How To Generate Big Blog Traffic From Reddit Without Hurting Your Brand Gregory Chiotti of Sparring Mind writes:

“Reddit is certainly a tougher crowd than Digg ever was.

Success on Reddit really depends on your niche, how you present your post, and a little bit of great timing.

When pitching to Reddit, remember that you are dealing with one of the toughest crowds on the net.

Your post might get a few nasty comments, it may even totally flop the first time around.

If, however, you follow the advice above and really start to understand what Redditors are looking for (something that is insanely informative or entertaining), you can reach the front page of a bigger subreddit.

And when that happens, you’ll start to realize Reddit’s potential, as thousands of new visitors check out your site from a single post.”

So your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out how what you create that is insanely informative or entertaining can get onto Reddit without you sharing – or even voting on it – yourself.

Ironically, we learned the most about Reddit from this Does Intelligentsia own /r/coffee? thread. The light started to go on that there were some people who consider themselves experts and you better not post anything you couldn’t back up…

…But I’ve noticed that many there remind me of my Father whose attitude was:

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion – but if yours
did not agree with his you were an idiot.”


That Soshable Reddit Demographic Stats Infographic sheds light on what kind of people are on Reddit – but now why they vote the way they do.

Redditors are the worst – and the best – that society has to offer. This excerpt from a quote by an anonymous Redditor posted on Amplicate sums up the Reddit Community very well:

Honest Opinion From a Redditor

+0 by somebody
“Reddit as a website is probably the best for getting content from the internet.
However, as a community, Reddit is terrible.
If you hold a minority opinion on Reddit eg. being religious, being conservative… you will be ostracized and ridiculed. Of course there are reasonable people on Reddit. However, for every one of these people there are four pretentious redditors.”


Who Annie Oakely the Woman Wild West Show Sharp Shooter Was Reddit is a reflection of the physical world – a patriarchal, misogynistic men’s club – and proud of it – where the only women who fit in either join them in their derision of others or – ala Annie Oakley,  Calamity Jane, or Mae West – rise above it to either ignore or toy with them.


I highly recommend reading that entire thread for insights into why Reddit is Reddit, but here is the most pertinent quote:

Unwritten Reddit rule #1: Downvotes are downvotes. Just get over them. They’re meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Asking … about them is most often a waste of your time and bandwidth, and considered by many to be in bad form. Just like those who mis-use the vote.

Personally I kinda regard downvotes as proof that I’m a sincere participant who is true to my beliefs. Want to avoid downvotes? Don’t take a firm stand on anything. ~ Seeda_Boo ~


Votes on Reddit submissions DO mean what most assume
a vote would mean – but votes on comments DO NOT.

Confused yet? It appears many Redditors regardless of time on site have never read or maybe read but did not understand or choose to follow this Reddit Help Voting FAQ:

“On reddit your vote means, “I found this interesting,”
not “This should go on the front page.”

“Once registered, you can vote all links on reddit up or down based on whether you liked or disliked them. If more people like a link than dislike it, it will rise up the hot page and be seen by more users. Upon voting, the highlighted score will have changed +1 or -1 depending on your vote up or down, respectively. Regardless of individual karmas, all votes affect submission scores equally.

As a general rule, vote up what you liked (and want to see more of) and vote down what you disliked (and don’t want to see similar things in the future) — there’s really not much else to it.

The community is pretty vigilant about voting down submissions that shamelessly linkjack original sources (don’t say that we didn’t warn you)”


While the same rules generally apply to voting on the comments of others, reddiquette states that downvotes should be used for irrelevant comments, not ideas you disagree with.

Also, don’t be afraid to upvote a comment you disagree with if you think it is furthering the discussion. This will result in the most interesting and relevant discussions moving to the top of the comment page.


I noticed something interesting on Reddit. If you refresh a page the votes change with each refresh. Knowing that it is not people voting you down should provide some small comfort.

That led me to find this Reddit FAQ on How is a submission’s score determined?

“A submission’s score is simply the number of upvotes minus the number of downvotes. If five users like the submission and three users don’t it will have a score of 2. Please note that the vote numbers are not “real” numbers, they have been “fuzzed” to prevent spam bots etc. So taking the above example, if five users upvoted the submission, and three users downvote it, the upvote/downvote numbers may say 23 upvotes and 21 downvotes, or 12 upvotes, and 10 downvotes. The points score is correct, but the vote totals are “fuzzed”. We also shower certain posts that get upvotes quickly after being posted with many upvotes. If your post does not accumulate enough upvotes in the time we have allocated, it will certainly fall to its doom on page 471 of /new. So make sure to have a very shallow gripping title that only barely reflects its content.”

In the Minecraft forum debate between those who love Reddit and those who hate it, Homem Pigman wrote:

“You do know that 90% of the downvotes are added by moderation to maintain balance between the new and old posts, right? When you see something is downvoted a lot, it’s the bots who do it.”

To which Govna responded:

“So they have to game their own system? They have to manipulate their own censorship in order to fit with their views? That’s hilarious.”

Tough Crowd on Reddit Downvotes everyoneIF AT FIRST YOU DON’T FIT IN…

So why do people keep trying? For the traffic – which can be enormous IF you can get past the Reddigaters – and the brilliant discussions to be had once you find a sub-reddit among the 1000s where you can shine.

We decided what was needed was a guide through the whitewaters of Reddit. Asking around, we found a likely candidate:

1,457,991 link karma
6,145 comment karma
31 trophies in his Reddit trophy case


Reddit is like a call in radio show with random callers. You never know who will comment or what they will say, so be prepared for anything and don’t stress out when the comments are totally different than what you expected. What is Reddit Radio?

You will be reminded of how very different the Reddit audience is on a regular basis. What is really weird dessert to you may be totally commonplace for the international crowd that inhabits Reddit.

Did you know Reddit has live radio? Visit RadioReddit to listen in.


Maxwell agreed to provide these helpful tips and answer some of our questions:

Generally you add a few subreddits (if you haven’t already) that you like to those big default subreddits in your front page so you are in touch with the big ones initially before you unsubscribe to those subreddit you have absolutely no interest whatsover. You slowly substitute them with those you wish to participate or at least like to read their comments even if you don’t actively participate. (I do that a lot – read comments and vote on them even if I don’t comment myself.)

If you have a particular set of skills or interests that you would
like to share with others then seek out those subreddits (there
are thousands of them!) and post a few links and/or comments.

Over time your front page will consist only of choice subreddits that you desire as you fine-tune your preferences. Some people stay out of default (huge) subreddits altogether while others (like myself) use them a lot – peppered with a selection of small to medium size subreddits for certain interests e.g. civil liberties, data privacy, privacy, IP etc.

If your objective is sharing with like-minded people then
stay in small to medium subreddits
and enjoy your
comment exchanges and knowledge-sharing.

But if you wish to also garner link and comment
karma – you will need the large subreddits.

But be forewarned that in these large subreddits the wide variety of subjects and the large audience will mean that someone somewhere will troll and upset you. That’s the Internet for you.

If you are are a tad sensitive then stick to posting links in smaller
subreddits for comments first and build up some experience.

It’s better to have a mix of subreddits on your front-page so you get a wider span of topics to choose from since the news can come in quite fast and disappear within a day before resurfacing a day or two later in some specialised subreddit where the audience’s composition is a lot different. But that is ok since some media do better research than others so posting similar news item of interest from reputable sources is a good thing.


Mayonesa, a friendly Redditor whose sub-reddit is r/new_right, responded to my message with these tips:

“I’m no expert, but my suggestions in a nutshell:

  • Ignore all negative comments made to you
  • Keep posting articles and comments that contribute
  • Find the sub-reddits (/r/stuff, /r/this, /r/that, etc) where you feel at home and become known there.

There are a lot of angry people here and a few smart ones,
so you’ll probably want to connect with the latter :)”

Pandaburn offered this helpful suggestion:

“Hey, I’ve gotten upvotes ragging on the French Press in this sub. All you have to do is start with “I don’t know why everybody in this sub loves ______ so much.” Once loving that thing is established as conformism, redditors will clamor to establish themselves as independent thinkers.”


Remember that Gregory Chiotti said, “Redditors are looking for (something that is insanely informative or entertaining)”?  BUT – and this is a BIG BUT – consider the audience there.

Your “insanely informative” entertaining content needs to be 30 seconds long and appropriate for people who think like tweenage boys stuck in puberty – or raunchy, violent or perverted if you can swing that way.

Unless you become accepted in an intellectual Sub-Reddit of people who agree with you, your content will need to appeal to the masses – the lowest common denominator. You could start your own, but if you want to drive traffic you have to be where the RedditGators are.

Short works best even with intelligent people, as this further advice from maxwellhill explains:

“Substantiate a good post with one or at most 2 decent references and then surround these with you own narrative of choice. A video might help but only 1. Redditors can’t comment on the main topic if there so many referenced articles in the blog that it switches people off (for me at least). IMHO generally more is less.”

In other words, a really short post featuring a 30 second animated cartoon video and a cartoon image of the RedditGator would have a much better chance of getting to the first page of Reddit than a comprehensive post like this one.


Here are some suggestions we’ve gathered on the best time to share on Reddit:

  • “Just before work on the weekdays, 8:30am-9:00am
    Just after work on the weekdays, 4:00pm-6:00pm
    Sunday afternoon 2:00pm – 5:00pmSome people say Thursdays are really good and some people say Tuesdays are really good. But the best way to figure this out is check your own statistics. 46.5% of visitors to Reddit are from the United States. So these are the times I am referring to, USA times. But saying that if you are trying to reach United Kingdom users with your post then post during UK times.” ~ HunchMag from A Guide to Reddit Etiquette And How To Get More Upvotes on Reddit


If getting traffic is your goal you should seriously consider testing the self-serve ads on Reddit. First read these posts by people who have seen excellent results to find out what worked best and how to get the most people for your pennies:


“My reddit ad has yielded the highest ROI (by far) compared to the other ad platforms I’ve tried, which includes Adwords, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, Myspace, and StumbleUpon.”

Andyland on Reddit Ads:

“Traffic is going up, CPM is going down…Don’t run site-wide ads

Reddit apparently only wants verified members to be able to buy ads on Reddit because you can’t get to the page to buy them without verifying your email address?

You can’t search their blog because they haven’t provided a search box and they don’t rank for any phrase I’ve tried to get to any other page about how to advertise on Reddit.

Finally found it: To buy advertising on Reddit go to Reddit Advertising!


Did you know there is a permanent RedditGifts section made famous by having the Reddit Secret Santa listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the Largest Secret Santa Game.


Banned from Reddit

Reddit has a love-hate relationship with those who venture into those Redditgator infested waters. One share and you could be swallowed alive and spit out on a deserted island – never to see the shores of Reddit as your favorite username again.

Click the I Banned YOU From image above to read a round-up of articles written by people banned from Reddit compiled by JapanNewsToday


What especially outrages banned would-be Redditors is how Reddit wasted their time because they thought they were sharing – but later figured out they were actually GHOST BANNED FROM REDDIT.

Reddit’s system does not lock you out – it just
hides everything you do from anyone but you.


That is not the only thing you may see if you end up Reddit ghost banned. Markewbie shared this Reddit Come Back in an Hour message:

You know you're banned from Reddit when you see

“Ever posted a couple of links on Reddit and then got that “come back in a hour” message?

So, you come back in an hour and it says the same thing?

You probably just got banned. It’s their idea of humor.”

Go to your user page when you are not logged in and you’ll see that image >>> To the right >>

Under the image is the text “the page you requested does not exist”.

If you know you’ve been banned at least you won’t waste your time.

Reddit Banned Chris Menning who tells us how it is.


“Because all their posts get downvoted” has to be #1.

Downvotes and being flamed are of course other big reasons and “downvoted to hell” is a common expression.

“Anything that doesn’t fit in their little mindset automatically gets downvoted into oblivion.” ~ Gasmlk ~

Being banned is the other major issue – and Reddit has no sympathy at all. So if you have a username you’re very fond of you may not want to use it on Reddit until you think you have the hang of it lest it be banned forever from a mistake you make – or for no reason at all.

It really would be wise of Reddit to create an
appeals process for ban reconsideration.

There is no shortage of posts and forum threads with debates raging between those who love Reddit and those who hate it.


Written by
Gail Gardner
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