Fascination with Youngstown subreddit


By ADAM EARNHEARDT

acearnheardt@ysu.edu

Editor’s note: This is part one of two.

I’m fascinated with the Youngstown subreddit.

Do a Google search of “Reddit Youngstown,” and the first result you’ll find is a link to a community interested in all-things-Youngstown, users who love reading stories and sharing information about our region.

A subreddit is merely a forum for a specific topic on Reddit.

You’ll know you’re in a subreddit when “/r/” is in the web address. So, for the Youngstown subreddit, the web address is www.reddit.com/r/Youngstown.

There are subreddits for just about any topic you can imagine. Health. Jobs. Trump. Top subreddits focus on topics such as “science,” “worldnews,” “todayilearned,” and the most popular forum, “funny.”

Youngstown’s subreddit has more than 1,400 members. Posts from visitors to the region ask about parks and hiking trails, shopping and restaurants, concert venues and other entertainment, and community members respond.

Some members share links to and comment on stories from local media, such as The Vindicator.

The first post you’ll find on most subreddits is from a forum moderator.

“This thread is meant to discuss events happening this week in the Youngstown area as well as any other general discussion topics regarding the city,” the Youngstown subreddit reads. “If you have an event you would like to promote, you are encouraged to comment about it on this thread. Make sure to include important details such as date, time and location.”

Moderators of Youngstown’s subreddit are also guides, ensuring the content we find fits the purpose of the forum.

Moderators help members, cautioning those who create posts with missing information. They might also remove content that inappropriate for the forum.

A word of caution for new Reddit users: Searching the word “Youngstown” in the Reddit search engine will provide you with a more eclectic collection of posts and forums, and some content you may not want to see.

When you create your account, set filters for your news feed. Otherwise you’re bound to see adult-related material. Reddit defines these kinds of posts as NSFW (not safe for work) content. Of course, Reddit could easily expand that definition to “not safe for home” or “not safe anywhere,” but I digress.

Want to shut off adult posts?

When you set up a Reddit account, click on your profile name and select user settings. From there, you’ll find a menu of options for managing your account, including “feed settings.” If you want to avoid the adult post, shut off “adult content.” This will eliminate some (but not all) of the seedy posts.

When I posted my own question about this column, it was a moderator who replied almost immediately, although plenty of community members posted their reasons for being active subreddit users.

Many of them simply encouraged readers to join.

Next week we’ll meet subreddit moderators, Zach Perkins and Zack Ziegler, two local men committed to growing the Youngstown forum.

Dr. Adam Earnheardt is chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University. Follow him on Twitter at @adamearn and on his blog at www.adamearn.com.

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