Reddit's "I am A/Ask me Anything" is a popular format for celebrities who want to knock a few softball questions out of the park. The typical procedure is to announce you'll be taking questions on Reddit, start a thread, wait until a few good questions pile up and then write out a reply to the questions you feel like answering. Everyone from President Obama to "the guy with two penises" has done it.
It's a very friendly environment for the person answering the questions, but it wasn't quite Trumpian enough for the Donald.
Donald Trump eschewed Reddit's main "IamA/AmA" forum Wednesday evening, the third night of the Democratic National Convention, to answer a few select questions in a subreddit dedicated to him.
People turned out in the thousands to post questions in "The_Donald" subreddit, although many found the forum, which is run by volunteer Donald Trump supporters, had instituted some tight restrictions on who could ask a question.
To translate that into plain English, you could not post a question if:
- You had an account created in the last 30 days.
- You don't have a Reddit karma of 500 (meaning you have received a net positive of 500 upvotes on posts and comments from other Reddit users).
- Since "the rules of this subreddit DO apply," "No Dissenters or SJWs" allowed.
In other words, this Q&A was strictly for Trump supporters who post a lot on Reddit, a crucial demographic that the campaign is smartly trying to lock up.
Even with those restrictions, more than 24,000 comments had been made on the thread two hours after it had been posted (to date, President Obama's three-year-old AMA has received 23,649 comments). During those two hours, Trump answered 12 questions.
Not that there was anything particularly revealing about his answers. Even by the standard of public figures answering softball questions, most of these were the softest of softballs answered as tersely as possible with the same online voice Trump has perfected on Twitter.
It's a shame that Trump stuck so close to his talking points, as there were some serious questions in the comments that deserve answers. For example, a lot of people want to know more about Trump's eating habits.
It's also unlikely Trump had a chance to look at some of the other posts in "The_Donald" subreddit while he was there. The forum is unofficial and not affiliated with the Trump campaign, but it's where Trump chose to do his q&a.
At least Trump has one solid success he can take away from the experience. Reddit lets its users gift each other subscriptions to Reddit Gold, the site's loyalty program that offers a few extra features and perks, for about $3.99 a month. As of posting this, Trump has been gifted about 11 months of free Reddit gold, about $522. Better declare that to the FEC.