Redditors have a new magazine, The Redditor, created just for them. But the people behind the project may be more interesting than the magazine itself.
Yesterday three redditors launched a 40-page downloadable magazine that features abridged content from the site, including question-and-answer sessions, user-submitted stories, and popular images.
The launch was a big hit, with the magazine’s subreddit ballooning from about 250 subscribers to nearly 1,000 today. The post announcing the magazine launch received over 200 comments, many of them effusive in their praise.
The magazine has been in development for a month after a mockup rocketed to the top of the site’s front page about a month ago.
But dig a little deeper, and the whole project gets a little, well, fishy.
Sure, it may be a celebration of the Reddit community, as many redditors seem to think.
But the redditors making the magazine raise suspicions that something else may be going on—and it has to do with real money, not just karma, the point system used on Reddit.
Consider the history of the editors:
*KILL365, who created the magazine’s subreddit and the first mockup, is a well-known reddit troll who makes absurd comments to collect downvotes (his comment karma currently sits at an impressive -2,821). His purpose seems to be to mock redditors and Reddit culture. Why? Who knows—though at least one redditor has speculated the goal is to actually improve the site: “The guy genuinely wants to help. Gaming reddit is his way of doing it. It's him saying, ‘Hey, I'm gaming reddit, look at this! It's broken!”
*ohblair, who calls himself the magazine’s “cofounder,” signed a message to the Daily Dot as “OhBlair & Kill365”—an effort to hint, perhaps, that the two accounts are run by the same person. The two accounts have a remarkably similar comment style, and ohblair also frequently mocks Reddit culture.
*If there’s any doubt ohblair is also a troll, consider this reply to a comic about suicide: “suicide is for fucking pussies. only idiots kill themselves.” He left another gem in a thread asking parents to tell their proudest parenting moments: “When my daughter was raped and murdered in 1990,” ohblair replied. (Reading a page or two of the redditor’s user history is similaryly instructive.)
*ohblair regularly contributes to Reddit’s r/circlejerk community, a section of the site created specifically to poke fun at Reddit culture.
*The magazine is ostensibly a community effort. But though the moderators asked the community for content suggestions about a month ago, only one of those suggestions appears to have been included in the final magazine.
*Finally, the subreddit’s only other moderator is called KILLTHEREDDITOR—a not-so-subtle hint at the creators’ motivations.
So what really is its purpose?
Maybe two accounts which, combined, have been trolling Reddit for nearly three years, simply had a change of heart one day in July. Maybe it really is, as the magazine claims, “a community effort, embracing the community, for the community.”
The magazine itself appears to be legitimate. The creators clearly put a lot of time and effort into it. And it’s obviously a success so far.
The creators have been responding to most comments politely, earnestly and, seemingly, honestly.
And suspicion on Reddit itself seems nonexistent. But a new wrinkle in this story may change that.
On Friday, the day after the magazine was unveiled, the creators asked the famously generous Reddit community to express its appreciation financially.
They’ve launched a donation section on their website.
“If you enjoy The Redditor, please consider a small donation to show support and keep the project alive,” the page reads. “Truly appreciated.”
If they do get donations, who will get the cash? And what will they do with it? Neither ohblair nor KILL365 responded to a request for comment on this story.