August 13, 2014


New press guidelines from Reddit — which it’s calling “Pressiquette,” a portmanteau I’ll be avoiding for the rest of this post — explain how the site is different from other social networking platforms when it comes to both sourcing content and sharing it.

As Peter Kafka and Mike Isaac pointed out on Twitter, the first guideline seems to be pointed squarely at BuzzFeed, which makes a habit of swiping images and list ideas from Reddit.

Respect the community when sourcing content.

If you see an interesting story or photo on reddit, message the redditor who shared the piece to ask for their permission prior to using it in an article or list, ask how they would like it to be attributed, and provide them a deadline before you move on to another story. Please respect redditors who may wish to stay anonymous, or to not be featured in an article.

Plenty of other news sites do this, too, by seizing on a popular front-page Reddit post to do a one-off blog post with “h/t Reddit” at the end. Reddit, which notes that it doesn’t host any images itself, clearly sees that kind of attribution as insufficient.

The guidelines also address how news organizations share content on Reddit:

Stick to the rules

If you’re submitting your own work, keep in mind that reddit’s rules on spam are a bit different than you may be used to. People on reddit feel like a community, and they want to make sure you’re part of that community and not just exploiting it for pageviews. See our self-promotion guidelines for more advice.

In keeping with the community ideal, redditors want to make sure that the items they’re seeing on their various front pages were fairly chosen by the community as a whole. This means that, if you’re submitting something, don’t pass it around to your co-workers to upvote. We consider that vote cheating and it’s the quickest way to get people to think of your posts as fraudulent.

RELATED: How to get your news site banned from Reddit

Violations of this rule can have big consequences. An editor for CBS Interactive’s esports site OnGamers was fired in July for Reddit sharing shenanigans (when OnGamers was banned, it lost half its traffic). The Atlantic and Businessweek domains were banned from the site for a time in 2012 for link spamming.

In April, Reddit’s Victoria Taylor told me the best strategy for taking advantage of the site is to create content “that is interesting to redditors and let the content speak for itself. Let redditors submit the content for you.”

Related: A journalist’s quick guide to Reddit, the next thing you have to learn (Aug. 2012)

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Sam Kirkland is Poynter's digital media fellow, focusing on mobile and social media trends. Previously, he worked at the Chicago Sun-Times as a digital editor,…
Sam Kirkland

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