Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) series can yield interesting cultural artifacts, and it can also quickly devolve into a virtual trainwreck. Whatever the outcome, the question-and-answer thread has become one of the most popular forums on Reddit. However, the design and readability of the AMA can leave you cross-eyed.
Dan Drabik, a developer at Kickstarter, decided to do something about this, and created Interviewly, a site that compiles AMAs into readable, easy-to-follow interviews. He explained AMAs in particular suffered from Reddit’s discussion thread format, which can be beneficial for other posts.
“Reddit is great for a lot of things,” Drabik says. “Most of its posts have a focus on a singular item (such as an image or a link), and a discussion section exists if you want to dive further in. Reddit AMAs are a little bit different in that the discussion is the primary focus. Furthermore, the answers of one user (the post creator) are the most relevant details, far outweighing anything else. The general Reddit structure is not set up for this.”
Drabik started by compiling interviews with the most well-known people, including Aaron Paul, Bill Nye, Marina Abramovic, and Barack Obama. The interview categories are split into film/TV, music, authors, sports, tech, politics, and “other,” though there’s currently no search function if you want to find a specific interview. Drabik says the site’s primary function is to make sense out of the format, and highlight the subject’s answers, which often get lost in the threads of text. This AMA with Barrett Brown from 2010, when he was an advisor to atheist Democratic congressional candidate Wynne LeGrow, is especially enlightening four years later.
“Interviewly looks to take that content and make it more visually appealing and readable,” Drabik adds. “We’ve parsed out the questions and answers, sorted them in chronological order, added images and a category, and styled the whole thing into a nice little package.”
Indeed, it’s easier on the eyes, and keeps Reddit’s specific “language” intact, while bringing the interviews to a bigger audience. For what it’s worth, the site is being embraced on Reddit.
Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)