Open source intelligence research based on Reddit(1)

Reddit is a social news aggregation, web content rating and discussion site founded in 2005. Reddit is the 7th most visited website in the US and the 19th most visited website in the world, with over 430 million active users per month.

In this article, we will show you how to use Reddit to conduct open source intelligence research and get the most value from Reddit for your open source intelligence research.


Subreddits are forums within the Reddit website dedicated to specific topics. Subreddits allow users to post and comment on subreddit names related to a specific interest or topic. Each Subreddit has its own rules, moderation and polling rules. Subreddits are contained in the following formatted URL:

For example,

User Accounts

Reddit users have a profile page that captures their username, display name, profile, personal avatar, banner, posts, comments, and birthdays. Reddit users can easily access content through a web browser or mobile app. Unlike many social media sites, Reddit does not restrict users from viewing activity on the platform without an account, but only users can post or interact with posts.

Reddit profile pages are included in the following formatted URL:

For example,


Each Reddit account has a unique username that appears on any posts they make and on their profile page. Reddit is a platform that allows users to remain anonymous, so many usernames will have no obvious link to their owner. However, it may be possible to identify personally identifiable information in a username, such as name, location, or date of birth. Reddit users cannot change their username after creating an account.

Display Name

In addition to their username, Reddit users have the option to display an additional name on their profile, a Display Name. Display names are not unique and may be shared by reddit users. Unlike the username, the display name can be changed by the reddit user. The display name will appear on the user's profile page, but not on the posts they make. Display names are more likely than usernames to provide clues to a reddit user's true identity, such as their real name.

About Section

A Reddit user's profile may contain a small section of text containing their biography. The About Section is blank by default, but can be populated by users who wish to share information.

Profile Image/ Avatar

Every Reddit user has a profile image or avatar. Many avatars are automatically generated by the platform, but many are designed by users themselves.


Like many other social media platforms, Reddit allows users to add additional images as headers. The Banner space is blank unless the user decides to upload one.


Karma is often referred to by users as "fake internet points". When a user posts a topic or comments on a topic, other users can like or click on their submission, increasing or decreasing their post points respectively. Karma scores are cumulative, so the Karma score on a user's profile page is the total Karma of all comments and posts. Some Subreddits remove spam and spammer posts by setting a minimum Karma score.

Cake Day

Cake Day is the anniversary of the day Reddit users created their accounts. A cupcake icon will appear next to any post or comment a user makes on Cake Day.

Trophy Case

Reddit users accumulate trophies by using their accounts. Trophies are displayed in the trophy case of the user's profile.


Each sub-Reddit has its own moderators, who are Reddit users who monitor posts and comments within the sub-Reddit to ensure they follow the established rules. Being a moderator is time consuming, so any Reddit user moderator is likely to suggest a strong interest in the subreddits topic.


Posts, also known as threads, are separate topics discussed in reddit subreddits. Each post has its own URL, and the originator of the post is usually referred to as the "original poster" or "OP". Posts can be text, images, or videos, depending on the post that was made within the post. Posts from specific Reddit users can be viewed by navigating to their profile page using the URL


Comments are responses made by Reddit users in posts/threads. Comments can be made by any Reddit user, including OPs, and can contain text or links to another site or image. Comments can be made on the main post, or in response to another comment, which is cascaded below the main comment. Comments from specific Reddit users can be viewed by navigating to their profile page using the URL


Flairs are snippets of information created by subsections and can be set by users on specific subsections. They appear to the right of the username when they post or comment. Flairs can contain favorite character names, locations, or other affiliations that Reddit users own and want to display.

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