January 4, 2022

From Gerald R. Lucas

Reddit Discussions: A How-To for Literature Classes covid-19: day 648 | US: GA | info | act

This semester’s discussions for my online literature courses will take place on Reddit. Online discussions are an important component of online courses, but they are often not done very well—both a chore to write and read—especially on D2L. We will use r/LitWiki for all of our discussion posts, called Responses, to see if a better medium will help with this endeavor. To make this as productive and as painless as possible, students should approach this assignment by practicing the following.

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First, if you do not have a free account on Reddit, you must make one. After, request membership in the r/LitWiki subreddit by clicking “Join” in the title bar.[1] After I approve you, you will be ready to participate. You might also click the bell icon to be notified of new posts.

Reddit is a social media community made up of “subreddits,” or communities that span all sorts of interests.[2] If you have a hobby or interest, chances are there’s a subreddit that covers it. Take some time to look round the site if you are unfamiliar with it; join some interesting subreddits; see how discussions work. They are pretty straightforward.

Discussions on Reddit are made up a series of embedded comments called threads. New threads may be started by using the “Create post” box at the top of the page just under the header. Within existing threads, you can either begin a new response by using the supplied comment box under the post, or click “Reply” under a previous comment if you have something to add directly to another response. All responses are embedded logically within posts, so it’s important that you put your comment in the correct area. Now that I write this, it seems much more complicated than it really is. My recommendation would be to play around a bit to get the hang of it; see how other Redditors handle discussions.

Try to adhere to the following guidelines. Any excessive deviation from them may result in the removal of your post and/or an unsatisfactory evaluation.

Be Original

Post only original topics; search the subreddit before creating a new post. In other words: read what has already been posted before you contribute so that you do not duplicate another thread. When replying to a post, always remember the human: be respectful and kind. Even critical statements can be communicated positively. (See Reply, Respond, Comment.)

Focus

This is a place for discussion—not writing essays. Limit all posts to fewer than 300 words, if possible. Replies (comments) should not exceed 150 words. Focus on one point (argument, thesis) per post. You can make your point, then reply later if need you have more to contribute. (See Focus, Focus, Focus.)

Practice Precision

Use your best writing for the screen. Use the active voice whenever possible. Use bold type strategically to draw the reader’s eyes to the most important points. Avoid wordiness by eliminating any extra words. Don’t waste a single word. Use the correct conventions of English grammar. Practice precision in everything you write. (See Writing Top Ten.)

Support with Evidence

Develop your point using strong textual support from the primary text; indicate page numbers in parentheses. Secondary sources from your research support your point even further. (See References and Research & Response.) Link specific English words to online sources—never just paste in a URL. (See Link Logic.)

Proofread and Revise

Be sure to proofread for typos and revise your writing before posting. (See Editor’s Checklist.) Also, be sure your post uses the correct conventions for writing about literature—or any work of art—especially titles. (See Writing in the Liberal Arts.)

Use Reddit Tools

Select the appropriate flair—usually the name of your class. As you read, be sure you reward good posts with up votes; vote posts down that do not adhere to the rules, do not add anything to the conversation, or are poorly written. You can even give awards to great posts.

Be Positive

Try to be positive and supportive in your contributions. Being critical is fine, even encouraged, but don’t be a troll. Remember that we’re all in this together, so let’s try to build a supportive community that encourages risk-taking and participation. Treat others how you expect to be treated. In other words, practice Reddiquette.

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Comments or questions? Did I forget something? Something not clear? Let me know by clicking the discussion icon on the right.

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notes

  1. LitWiki is also a—you guessed it—wiki that I maintain. You will be able to use this wiki for your Report assignment which will likely grow out of your responses. More on that elsewhere.
  2. For more information about Reddit, see “Reddit 101.”