Twitter accounts that aggregate Reddit are easier and better to read than Reddit itself

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  • With thousands of subreddits and users, Reddit is known as a somewhat toxic place online.
  • Twitter accounts that aggregate the best posts of specific subreddits are becoming more popular, and I can't get enough of them.
  • These accounts eliminate the need to sift through possible racist, sexist, and homophobic posts, offering an easy way to enjoy the bright spots of Reddit.
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The social media website Reddit is made up of thousands of different forums, called "subreddits," devoted to different topics.

Like any online community that reaches a certain thresh hold of users, space is liable to becoming toxic. Reddit bills itself as "the front page of the Internet," so, unfortunately, it comes with all the problems that plague the rest of the Internet, including racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other things generally upsetting.

Outlets like The Atlantic and Jezebel have reported on how toxic Reddit can be for women, and this applies to just about every marginalized group. The website has a history of deeply offensive subreddits, many of which have been banned, like "FatPeopleHate," premised on being hateful towards people over their appearance, or "Creepshots," where (usually male) users post sexualized images of women without their consent.

Reddit has tried to be vigilant and update its anti-harassment rules, although this hasn't totally eliminated the problem. Even though these specific subreddits were shut down, people who frequented them can still post in other threads, and sexist, racist, homophobic attitudes pop up in other subreddits all the time in my experience.

These kinds of posts can make Reddit basically inaccessible for many people who don't want to face posts that dehumanize them. For survivors of sexual violence, for example, the violent words and imagery can be triggering, and finding fun posts on Reddit is not worth the potential risk of seeing something terrible.

Subreddits exist for nearly every topic you can think of. Some are dedicated to posters asking for advice from the wider Reddit community on a variety of topics. On r/relationships, people post asking for advice on friendships, family, and romantic relationships.

R/AITA, which stands for Am I the A--hole, is a place for users to lay out a sometimes one-sided scenario, and hopefully get validation that they were not, in fact, the jerk in the situation. The legal advice subreddit is, as you'd expect, a place for people to ask for answers to their legal questions from members who don't always claim to be legal experts.

Some of the posts on these subreddits can be genuinely hilarious, the kind of thing you send in all your group chats. The problem comes in when you have to wade through sad, offensive, or just annoying posts to get to the good stuff. For every funny but benign relationship post, there are a few that have been upvoted to the top of the page that seem too outlandish to be real or have genuinely upsetting details that only a professional would be qualified to comment on.

Well, what if there was a way to get a curated feed of only the best posts on these and your other favorite subreddits?

Enter: Twitter.

Each of these subreddits has Twitter accounts that almost exclusively tweet posts from the forums. But these aren't bots, uncritically reposting everything. Instead, the people running these accounts handpick the best of the best. It's not a perfect system - someone still has to read through the whole subreddit to find the posts worth sharing - but it saves most of us from reading through depressing post after depressing post. 

This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author(s).

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The legal advice Twitter started in 2016.

The creator of @legaladvice_txt, who declined to reveal their age or gender, created the account in 2016.

"I've always preferred for some reason to keep the account separate from myself and present it as genderless," they said in a Twitter DM.

They were a frequent reader of r/legaladvice, and sometimes posted to their personal account. When their friends got annoyed, they started a dedicated account that took off from there.

Went to a T-Mobile store to service phone and they went through my FB and invited all my friends to like their store w/o consent. (self.legaladvice)

— r/LegalAdvice.txt (@legaladvice_txt) September 6, 2019

After a while, the account's creator found that it wasn't worth the time to "wade through the garbage," of Reddit, and they stopped being a regular user.

Now, if they need to ask a question they just create an account to make a single post, then delete it or forget about it.

Can I throw away my neighbors putrid box of hello fresh? (self.legaladvice) pic.twitter.com/m7ttDae8ai

— r/LegalAdvice.txt (@legaladvice_txt) September 2, 2019

They look for titles that stand out as silly or unusual, skipping past the barrage of posts about speeding tickets or common scams.

Half-sister dumped dad's ashes down toilet (self.legaladvice)

— r/LegalAdvice.txt (@legaladvice_txt) August 27, 2019

"For every post I make there could be dozens that day of someone suffering massive legal bills due to debt, or sexual assaults, or someone who is desperate for advice because they're about to be homeless."

They said that they read over posts to make sure that silly titles aren't hiding upsetting posts and to make sure that they aren't making fun of someone in a genuinely horrible situation.

Is it a threat to say “you’re the reason why the 2nd Amendment exists”? (self.legaladviceofftopic)

— r/LegalAdvice.txt (@legaladvice_txt) August 15, 2019

"That said, I do from time to time post some of the terrible ones," the account said. "My account is mainly focused on being silly, but I also feel it's important to highlight sometimes that the legal mechanisms in the US, in particular, are capable of hurting/not helping victims."

My boss found out that I served a sentence, told me I would have to give him all my tips to him or else he will boot me out. (self.legaladvice)

— r/LegalAdvice.txt (@legaladvice_txt) August 13, 2019

Other accounts take this same model and apply it to different subreddits, like r/AITA.

The creator of this account told me over Twitter DM that they were inspired by other similar accounts, especially @legaladvice_txt. They also declined to give identifying information, in case of harassment.

They said "People love giving their opinion, and they often disagree so there's a lot of back and forth, with the occasional actual argument," explaining the account's growth since it started last spring.

AITA for pouring a milkshake on small child? https://t.co/lsBH8a7wyX pic.twitter.com/VpgsCss1av

— Am I the Asshole? (@AITA_reddit) September 15, 2019

"I've had a few people say that they don't like visiting Reddit, but they like seeing posts from there through other places, like Twitter," they said.

Like other Reddit-focused Twitter accounts, @AITA_reddit tends to find funny or weird posts. For many of their posts, there's no clear answer.

They said that they tend not to post questions that Reddit has already come to a consensus on unless they're just too funny not to post.

Went to a T-Mobile store to service phone and they went through my FB and invited all my friends to like their store w/o consent. (self.legaladvice)

— r/LegalAdvice.txt (@legaladvice_txt) September 6, 2019

The creator of @AITA_reddit said, "I try to find some light-hearted ones when I can but otherwise I just go for whatever I find to be the most entertaining at the moment that I'm looking."

They told me that they usually sort the subreddit by "controversial" to find the most interesting or dramatic posts. They generally try to avoid teenage drama.

AITA for not appreciating that the guy I've been dating for 3 months got my name tattooed? https://t.co/KmYsIcXEsx pic.twitter.com/fqKW2sGk5F

— Am I the Asshole? (@AITA_reddit) September 1, 2019

People sometimes alert the account owner about Reddit posts that should make it to Twitter.

AITA Charging a Kid For Driving Her Home From School https://t.co/KILaarkTp2 pic.twitter.com/7WQpGwCP3f

— Am I the Asshole? (@AITA_reddit) September 4, 2019

Even when many of the posts are dealing with difficult situations, it's not all negative. "There are a lot of Redditors that will give people good constructive advice so it's good to see that that's happening there."

@Relationships.txt, or @redditships, is the most popular of these three accounts. The creators credit the below tweet, which they call "witch girlfriend," as the moment when the account really blew up.

This account is run by two co-moderators, a 34-year-old woman and a 34-year-old non-binary person, who also wanted to keep their names private. I talked to one of the moderators via Twitter DM, and they told me that the two of them created the account as a "coping mechanism" while dealing with the stressors of earning their PhDs.

Understandably, none of the account owners I spoke to wanted to give out identifying information, as they all acknowledged the dark side of Reddit and the potential for harassment or doxing.

My [24M] Girlfriend [23F] has the weirdest hobbies in existence, and they make me kinda uncomfortable. pic.twitter.com/3IMsUuD0La

— relationships.txt (@redditships) July 20, 2018

They say that their followers love the absurdity and the drama, and extreme age gaps are usually reliable posts for the account.

My (33F) husband's (35M) career in academic philosophy is ruining our marriage. https://t.co/lahqz2O9UL pic.twitter.com/l0UUCWIpoF

— relationships.txt (@redditships) September 23, 2019

After running the account for over two years, the most interesting and weird posts "fly off the page." They try to avoid depressing posts or ones about minors.

They no longer use Reddit much outside of the relationship subreddit.

"It was always a bit insufferably white tech bro-y and the white supremacist and/or transphobic rhetoric has poisoned much of the site," they said.

My (32F) husband (36M) wants to start a 'restaurant for magicians', and it is tearing our family apart pic.twitter.com/j3CuAeS23j

— relationships.txt (@redditships) September 19, 2019
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