December is always a time to take stock of the past year, and Reddit is no exception to this rule. The social network has just published a very informative recap on 2022. We learn in particular that the site has 100,000 communities, that 430 million messages have been posted there, as well as 2.5 billion comments.
r/amitheasshole, a UFO in the internet of the 2020s
Among the most active communities, the number one most viewed comment is r/amitheasshole (also known by the acronym AITA). We can modestly translate this term as “am I an asshole? » This forum is particularly worth the detour. It was created in 2013 by an Internet user who wanted to know if he had behaved in a sexist way with his colleagues.
Since then, its success has never been denied, and the subreddit has just under 5 million “potential assholes”. Concretely, each member can post a message referring to a destabilizing situation that he has experienced in his personal life. Their publication begins with “AITA”.
The forum users then comment using notes confirming their wrong, or on the contrary believing that they had nothing to do with it. It is also possible that the fault is shared between all the protagonists of the anecdote, but also that each one was right to act as he did.
Going to this subreddit, we found questions like “ Am I an asshole for making my guest sleep on the sofa in the living room when he has back problems? Numerous testimonies underlined that he had been right and that he was master in his own house.
Finally, r/amitheasshole looks a bit like the letters from readers of teenage magazines where they put their questions to a psychologist or the mediator. We also think of free radio stations where listeners ask for advice and seek a little support when faced with problems in their daily lives.
Testify without being destroyed
In 2020, our colleagues from Guardian asked Eleanor Gordon-Smith, an ethicist at Princeton University, about this success. She then explained: There’s something almost thrilling about peeking behind the curtain of other people’s lives, hearing their weird thoughts – what they’re thinking deep down about their partner, their children, of their friends. »
On the side of the moderators, we claim the fact that this space is not made to demolish the person who testified. Managers therefore claim a less toxic atmosphere than that of the major social networks.