Reddit: The Do-Gooder Online Community

One of my friends talks religiously about the wonders of Reddit, the online news aggregator. At times, he'll forgo asking Facebook friends (or friends in real life) questions he needs answers to, and goes straight to the site.

The posts on Reddit run the gamut, from updates on important topics in the media to spoiler alerts on the latest hit TV show. As someone who's a bit wary of the feedback online commenters will give me for a posting on a forum, I was intrigued by his actions. And a bit confused. But it all started to make sense after a while — Reddit acts like a super-forum, where anyone can share nearly anything.

For instance, my friend posted something rather peculiar on the site a few weeks ago. It was a Photoshopped picture of him laying down on a rock, stomach-first, and posing in a way that a child would for his parents for the camera. He added layers of bright colors, making him appear to live in some sort of parallel universe filled with unicorns and other mythical creatures.

He posted it for a reason — to get comments from Redditors (the site's term for its frequent users). Within a few hours, he comment thread for his photo had blown up. And he told me that over 3,000 people upvoted (or approved) his photo and downloaded it to use as a background. When I checked out the Reddit feed, I was stunned — nearly all the comments were positive. And the negative ones were shot down quicker than you could say "IRL."

I came across an article on Voltier Creative that summed up my friend's thoughts about the site very well:

Even more amazing has been the flood of selfless generosity on Reddit. The upvoting system has encouraged the Reddit community to be brave. As a general rule, Redditors are not mocked or scoffed at for offering advice and support to one another. The result has been an unprecedented swell of uncontrolled, unmitigated, and often unsolicited help and succor. From using software prowess to help clean up family photos to donating thousands of dollars to an individual’s cause, the Reddit community has come out in force time and again to help one another.

Still unsure about the TLC of the Reddit community? Check out the list of some of the many heartfelt deeds that strangers have done for one another.

A quick scan of the good deeds just blew me away. Complete strangers banded together to:

give a girl with Huntington's diseases a shopping spree...

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help a developer move his iPhone app up the top list to surpass Angry Birds, which is quite a feat...

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reconnect a long-lost mother with her son, pitch in and buy a disabled man a new wheelchair, and much, much more.

Although web editors are constantly dealing with all those nasty, sometime anonymous comments on the Internet, it's great to knows a group of people will treat their fellow man with respect — without even meeting face-to-face.

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