Full on Philanthropy

Social news sites, especially Reddit, have been known to be very involved with the community, donating money and time, as well as spreading awareness for certain social issues. Reddit also has the tendency to be very trendy, meaning users see something, post something similar, and upvote stories of that nature up to the front page.

In my time on Reddit, I have seen many philanthropic deeds occur due to the generosity of users. They have raised thousands of dollars for charities and political candidates, as well as personal causes. Two weeks ago I saw a post of an under-privileged family who was able to pay for extensive, life-saving surgery because of donations from Redditors. In this specific case, a young boy survived a malicious form of cancer. The family posted a picture of him, after making a full recovery,  of him holding a sign saying “thank you Reddit.” They said they would  pay it forward.

However, last Sunday, 4/12 (or 4/12 because Reddit has many European followers), a philanthropic trend swept the website’s front page. It started with a user claiming to be the CEO of a major corporation and in the spirit of Christmas, he was going to donate $1 to a local homeless shelter for every upvote his post received. After a few hours passed, there were eleven posts asking for upvotes to make donations on the front page alone.

This is pretty inspiring and quite generous of Redditors, but many had a problem with this. First, many believed it should be kept to subcategories of Reddit, most noteable to r/atheism (because most users do not believe in religion, so most charitable causes and posts of that nature go there). Others were concerned because there was no proof that users who proposed this would actually follow through. Lastly some believed that the front page was for entertainment, humor, or news stories, not charitable causes.

A few days later I saw this image on the front page, illustrating the distaste for that trend. While this trend hasn’t occurred since that day, users would like to always keep that example of Reddit usage in mind. It leads me to question what other Reddit users like about the website, and their underlying motivations for participation.

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