So far, you have learned the basics of joining Reddit and making your first contributions as a community member through learning the rules and voting on content. Now it is time to dive into the comments section and learn how you can contribute value to your target subreddit by participating in discussions.
The Importance of Comments
It is a lot of work to make genuine comments, but the comments section is where the most interesting engagement happens between users. This is especially true on Reddit, where sometimes a comment becomes more popular than the submission itself. Some redditors have actually launched careers from comments they have made.
The most notable example is /u/Shitty_Watercolour, who became famous on Reddit for responding to posts and comments with watercolor paintings.“The Great Vape” by /u/Shitty_Watercolour. He posted this to /r/ H3H3Productions, and it received a score of 4,000+. His watercolor comments generated an audience for his art, and he now makes a living as an artist. /u/Shitty_Watercolour is a rare example, but it shows what is possible when you are dedicated to contributing massive value in the form of comments.
Understanding the Comments Section
The most common mistake we see new redditors make in the comment section is adding their comment to the wrong place. Note that comments can either be made in response to the original post or to any other comment that has been posted.
If you want to respond to the original post, use the comment form directly below the post to leave a “top-level comment.”
If you want to respond to another comment a user has made, click “reply” under that comment.
Comment Replies and the Inbox
At some point, a user will respond to one of your comments. When a user replies to you, you will receive a “comment reply” in your inbox. You can access your inbox at any time by clicking on the envelope icon at the top right of your browser window.
This is the top-level comment box, which you’ll find above the threaded list of comments. Use this box to submit a comment that replies to the original post. When you have a new comment reply, the envelope icon will be orange. When you click the orange envelope icon, it will take you to the “unread” tab of your inbox, and you will see your unread comment reply. From this screen, you can reply to the user by clicking the “reply” button under their comment, or you can click the “context” button to see the context of their comment.
In addition to comment replies, the unread tab will also display these other types of engagements:
• Messages: Also called “private messages” or “PMs.” You can private message any user on Reddit, and the message will only show up in their inbox.
• Post Replies: Similar to a comment reply, except these are replies directly to one of your posts.
• Username Mentions: This happens when a user mentions your username in a post or comment.
Note that your inbox has a tab for each type of engagement as well as a tab where all of your engagements are listed together.
Contributing value through comments
To build a positive reputation on Reddit, you must consistently deliver value to other redditors. Here are some basic tips for contributing value with your comments.
1. Stay positive. Focus on having productive conversations. It is okay to disagree or debate, but avoid being nasty or reacting harshly towards other users.
2. Read other comments before making your own. By reading comments first, you will avoid repeating what others have already said, and you will identify where you can make a unique and high-value contribution.
3. Do not make fluffy comments. Avoid making short comments like “Thank you” or “Great stuff.” These comments will not hurt you, but they do not add much to the conversation. If you want to thank someone or pat someone on the back,
4. Share your knowledge or do research. Do not make guesses or assumptions. Look up an answer if you have to and provide a source link in your comment to validate your contribution further.
5. Ask good questions. Asking a question that drives the discussion or uncovers information will be valued by other community members.
Assignment 5.1 – Participate in the comments
Go to your chosen subreddit front page and find the post with the highest number of comments (or at least ~20). Read the comments and upvote the comments that contribute to the discussion. If someone is being inappropriate or clearly breaking the rules, you can downvote their comment. Feel free to report the comment as well if you think that is appropriate.
Then go to the “new” tab of your chosen subreddit (look for the “new” tab near the header of the subreddit). This will display all of the subreddit’s newest submissions, which often have relatively little or no comments. Read the latest submissions and find opportunities to contribute a thoughtful comment. Redditors often ask questions, and if you have the expertise or can do research, you can contribute value. If you have a new Reddit account, it will likely be restricted in terms of how often you can
post a comment.
Do not be alarmed If you are trying to submit a comment and you get an error message saying you have to “wait “X minutes” before submitting it. This is normal for new accounts. In 10 minutes, you will be able to post your comment. To complete this assignment: make at least 3 valuable comments in your subreddit.