- Rules, Policies, and Frequently Asked Questions:
- 1. What is /r/IAmA?
- 2. Who can do an AMA?
- 3. What topics are and are not allowed?
- 4. What constitutes "Proof"?
- 5. How do I do an AMA?
- 6. How do I get on the calendar?
- 8. What are "Requests," and why are they allowed?
- 9. How do I submit a request?
- 10. What is /r/IAmA's policy on comment removals?
- 11. Voting Etiquette
- 12. What makes a good IAmA?
- 13. What similar subreddits are there?
- 14. Does /r/IAmA Allow crossposts from other subreddits?
- 15. Who is Victoria?
- 16. Where can I read previous AMAs?
Welcome to /r/IAmA!
Please note: Mods can be contacted through modmail or through our email address - firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not PM individual moderators.
The moderators of /r/IAMA have been provided with a free Zapier account which we use to assist in our moderation of the subreddit, including processing incoming calendar request forms. We greatly appreciate the gesture and recommend the tool for basic task automation.
Rules, Policies, and Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is /r/IAmA?
Basically, /r/IAmA is a place to interview people, but in a new way. "IAmA" is the traditional way of beginning the description of who you are; "AMA" is the traditional way of ending the description; the acronym means "Ask me anything." The interviewee begins the process by starting a post, describing who they are and what they do. Then, commenters leave questions and can vote on other questions according to which they would like to see answered. The interviewee then goes through and responds to any questions that he/she would like, and in any way that he/she prefers.
2. Who can do an AMA?
Anyone! As long as the topic of your post fits within the subreddit's rules, and as long as you have proof of your claims.
3. What topics are and are not allowed?
AMAs should be about two general fields:
Something uncommon that plays a central role in your life. The prime example of this is a person's job; posts about someone's occupation are almost always allowed. This rule exists because we want a person's topic to be something that they know thoroughly and is important to them; this gives them more to discuss and a more thorough background in the field.
A truly interesting and unique event. The quintessential example used for this is "I just climbed Mount Everest." It's an activity that doesn't play a central role in someone's life, but is so uncommon that the users would not have experiences of their own to relate to it.
AMAs should NOT be about:
Generally, something previously posted multiple times, or common topics. This includes: Your day, your girlfriend, being bored or drunk, weight loss, your opinion on something, needing sympathy or support, etc. These topics are better suited for /r/CasualIAmA.
Stories about fetishes, abuse, addiction, relationships, sexual behaviors, sexuality, gender identity, religion, or psychiatric disorders are too common and generally unprovable. These topics are better suited for /r/CasualIAmA. Consider also /r/ControversialIAmA.
Posts about your experiences on the internet are allowed if it can be objectively determined that the activity is a significant portion of your life, using factors such as income received, time devoted to it, uniqueness and level of creativity, and outside attention it gets. Also consider /r/InternetAMA.
Crowd Funding - AMA submitters that include crowd funding campaign links must be eligible for an AMA without the campaign for it to be allowed. Additionally, the focus of the AMA must not be the campaign. The final decision on eligibility rests with the moderators.
If you just want to post about where you live (for example: I live in NYC, AMA), your post should go in /r/ILiveIn. However, if your location makes you witness to specific current events that you can discuss (for example: I live in Kabul and have witnessed the war in Afghanistan firsthand), then it will be an acceptable topic; just please include that in your title.
Posts about suicidal thoughts/intent/experiences will be removed and directed to /r/suicidewatch.
Please don't submit an AMA just to "see if there's interest." Simply post the AMA and find out.
Obvious nonsense or advertising will be removed - this is up to the discretion of the moderators.
One AMA per user, per topic, per 3 month period.
AMAs need to be about something you have done, not something that you plan to do at some point or are in the process of doing.
4. What constitutes "Proof"?
Only you know what you have available to prove who you are. Our users want to be sure that you are actually telling the truth, so whatever you have that will convince the readers is great. We prefer that the proof is posted publicly whenever possible so that the users can decide how credible it is.
There are two proof standards: a) Public proof is proof a reasonable person would believe validates your claim. b) Private verification with the moderators requires unequivocal proof your claim is true. ] The Moderators of IAMA have informally partnered with TruePic to help verify submitted proof pictures and videos. More information here.
1. Some rules for public proof
Your proof must convince a reasonable person the claims in your title are true. Mods reserve the right to pull any AMA and ask for more proof so please be as thorough as possible.
a) For tangible public proof that you have photographed, we strongly recommend you include a small sign, handwritten, with your username and the date. Uploading it with Truepic is even better.
b) Digital public proof must come from a verified social media account or be verified as an official social account on your company or organization's official page. The best digital proof originates on your official webpage. This should also include your username and that you are doing an AMA.
Some examples of good public proof include:
Adding a note to a website or twitter feed that only the real person or organization would have control over.
If you are going to use your official Social Media site, please include the username you will be using and/or link to the AMA once you have posted it. This will ensure that no one can pose as you!
A photo of you with a sign that says "Reddit" or your username, or something like that. However, this only works if there are other publicly available photos of you to compare it to. Something identifying like a work ID, a business card, etc. Documents like a pay stub or contract, with identifying information blocked out.
2. Private Verification
If your proof must remain confidential, simply send it in a message to the moderators. Please be prepared to send tangible documentation sufficient to meet an unequivocal proof standard.
Moderators may ask for more proof if they deem it necessary. Remember, all posts without proof will be removed. If users ask for additional proof, and it is not provided, the post may be subject to removal if the existing proof is determined to be inadequate. Note that simply linking to a normal facebook, linkedin, or other social media page is not usually sufficient. Again, it is strongly encouraged to provide public proof.
For a more in depth guide, click here
5. How do I do an AMA?
Go to the IAmA sub-reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/
In order to post your thread you must “submit a link”. On the top right of the IAmA page, you can see three buttons, one of which is a blue button titled “Submit an AMA”. Or you can use this: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/submit
The moderators suggest that you post your thread link no more than 15-30 minutes prior to your scheduled AMA time. This is more than enough time for redditors to start populating the thread with questions. Then, when you’re ready to start, you can jump right in to answering questions. Also, this is helpful for social media sharing / promotion – you need the actual thread link to be live to direct followers.
Now you’ll need to fill out your thread.
TITLE: “Hi, I’m XXX. Ask me anything!” Feel free to elaborate and/or personalize.
TEXT: This is the additional content / information that redditors will see once they enter the thread. Include promotional information, more details about who you are, etc. This is also a good place to put your verification / proof (please include a link to a Twitter page, an image with a sign saying “Hi” to reddit, a Facebook post link, etc.). This section can be edited at a later date as well, i.e. when the talent has to leave they can say “Edit: This has been great. Thanks for all the questions!”
Please don't use link shorteners here, because the filter hates them and will probably remove your post.
Choose a Subreddit: If you clicked the link I provided above in Step #2, you won’t have to edit anything. It should say IAmA and that’s what you want it to say.
Are you Human?: Please fill that portion in to verify you’re a real person.
Go back to the new queue of the main IAmA sub-reddit page to see that your thread is live: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/new
Click your live link thread when you’re ready to start answering questions. Hopefully there will be questions waiting for you. It’s important to reply directly to questions – that way others can follow the Q&A properly.
When you see a question in the thread look directly below it and hit “reply”. That will allow you to answer that person’s question directly and your answer will fall directly below it.
Continue this process throughout the thread. You can answer whichever questions you’d like and you can ignore any that you don’t want to respond to.
Once you’ve completed your AMA you can edit your TEXT box to leave a sign-off message.
Or you can go to the top of your thread and you’ll see a box with a “save” button underneath it. You can leave a message there and it will populate the thread within the questions for all to see.
See this guide for more help and screenshots! [PDF - download for better quality screenshots]
6. How do I get on the calendar?
To be scheduled on the calendar, the moderators just require that you provide your proof in advance (so that fake AMAs don't get scheduled and get everyone's hopes up), and the date and time that you want to do an AMA.
Please do NOT make a post announcing your intent to do an AMA. All this does is take up space from another post where someone will actually be answering questions.
Similarly, please do NOT post your thread more than 30 minutes ahead of time, because then users will get impatient that you are not answering questions, and the post will fall off the front page before anyone can actually see the answers to the questions.
Please note: requests are added to the calendar at the discretion of the moderators and are NOT guaranteed to be accepted. Requests without proof will not be accepted.
7. I scheduled my AMA; why isn't it in the sidebar?
We feed them into a google calendar which a bot uses to update the sidebar every 10 minutes.
8. What are "Requests," and why are they allowed?
"IAMA Requests" are submissions from regular users who want to see the requested person do an IAmA. The point of these is to hopefully catch the attention of that person or someone who knows them and to show them that there really would be interest in their submission.
Although requests themselves aren't the best content, people do like the AMAs that sometimes do come about from these requests, which is why we continue to allow them. For a partial list of fulfilled requests, see here.
Requests for the same individual or group can only be made a maximum of once every two weeks. Requests must be for users who would be qualified to do an AMA in /r/IAmA, and requests for people who don't qualify will be removed. This also means that requests for someone who has done an AMA within our 3 month guideline will be removed until the time has passed and they are eligible for an AMA again.
9. How do I submit a request?
To submit a request, simple preface your title with [AMA Request] so that it will show up in a green color on the page. Make sure you spell "request" correctly. Then, type out who you would like to see do an AMA.
In the text of the post, please include 5 or more specific questions for the person you would like to have an AMA from. Requests without the 5 questions will be removed. This is to ensure that there really is enough interest in the person that there would be something to talk about.
Additionally, any request for a public figure that has some means of public contact must have it included in the post. Their twitter page, their facebook page, the contact sheet from their website, whatever. Any way that our users can tell this person that we want an AMA from them. Requests that do not comply with this requirement will be removed. This does not apply to requests for non public figures (example, "AMA request: Joe Schmoe, lead designer of New Video Game), or requests for no one in particular (example, "AMA request: a farmer"). It only applies to requests for public figures.
Request should be (1) reasonable (example: no "/r/IAmA request: God") and (2) serious (example: no "/r/IAmA request: someone who bought winrar"). The best requests are ones that you think have a good chance to succeed.
Finally, please search first to ensure the individual or individuals you are requesting have not already been requested within the last 2 weeks, and that they have not already done an IAMA recently. Each duplicate request within a 2-week period will be removed.
10. What is /r/IAmA's policy on comment removals?
Comments will be removed under a few circumstances:
Abusive or harassing comments
Comments responding to verification that are unrelated to verification.
Requests for personal favors from the OP (For example, "OP, can you send me a signed autograph").
In AMA posts only, top-level comments must ask a question. This includes "OMG I love you..." and "No questions, just thanks!"
Comments where there would be no possibility of a real answer, especially where it is deliberately creepy or offensive.
"I bet OP won't answer this"-type responses, which usually come after the OP has finished responding to questions.
"Fluff," non-contributing responses from users, responding to all of the OP's comments for karma/attention.
Repeatedly asking the same question, which violates Reddit's site-wide rules.
Users attempting to bypass the rules by adding a ? to a non question will be permanently banned from the subreddit.
A subreddit or other website organizing and voting for a group comment/question is considered to be vote cheating and is subject to removal. It is a violation of the rules of reddit and risks a sitewide ban.
Questions must be directed toward the individual(s) doing the IAMA.
Under our policies, astroturfing is the practice of an individual or group of individuals who plant questions in an IAmA post for a particular purpose. Behavior of this kind will result in a permanent ban from /r/IAmA.
11. Voting Etiquette
1. You should vote on comments from users based on:
The value of the question: Questions should be original and on topic. They aren’t required to be, but AMAs are a unique opportunity and it is sad to squander them by asking 100 iterations of “if you could fight 1 horse sized duck or 100 duck sized horses.” Please try to encourage thought-provoking, discussion-inspiring questions that OP would not likely be asked anywhere else.
Civility and Politeness: users are free to (and encouraged to) ask tough questions. But this should be done in a respectful and polite way. There’s no need to use harsh language, and a comment that treats the OP like a person is much more likely to be answered.
Asking for Proof: having legitimate posts is vital to maintain the integrity of /r/iama, and makes it much easier for everyone to see the legitimacy of the post.
You should downvote insults and rude behavior (“Fuck you because X”). This is not to say that you shouldn’t ask tough questions. But do it in a civil, polite matter, no matter how much you disagree with them. The OP took the time to come and share their thoughts, and they shouldn’t be harassed for doing so.
You should downvote non-questions and other “substanceless” comments that don’t make an interesting point or ask a good question (Ex: “I love you!”, “No questions, just wanted to say hi”). This also applies to child comments and reply to the OP. Followup questions, remarks on their answers, etc. are all encouraged, but jokes and puns should not be.
You should downvote joke questions that aren’t intended to get a real answer, especially in threads where the OP probably won’t be able to respond to everyone. For example, “Do you even lift?” in every single AMA about athletics.
You should downvote attempts to back the OP into a corner; asking tough questions is fine, but don’t specifically try to put them into an uncomfortable or awkward position. This is a place to get information and learn about someone else’s opinions, not score points or further your own agenda.
2. You should vote on an OP’s comments based on:
- A response that addresses the question(s) being asked: The OP’s answer is pretty much always relevant to the discussion (it is their topic, after all) and it should rarely be downvoted, even if you disagree with what they say.
- A thorough and detailed answer: If the OP is just using one-word answers or giving flippant responses, then feel free to downvote them. The answers in Woody Harrelson’s AMA are a great example of this: if the OP doesn’t answer a question well, then feel free to downvote it
Good humor and playing along with friendly banter
If you disagree with the OP’s opinion, offer a reply with your reasoned thoughts. This way, you can open a dialogue with op and potentially debate the differing points of view. This is much better than than downvoting, which just hides the comment from being seen by anyone and makes the AMA harder to navigate.
3. Voting on IAmAs
Whether the OP has interesting information or experiences, regardless of your personal opinion of that person or their experiences. The Westboro Baptist Church is a good example; even if you vehemently disagree with their viewpoint, they still have a very uncommon perspective to share. Downvoting the OP just cause you disagree with them will only result in an undesirable atmosphere and will likely end up with OP ending the AMA early, or not put effort into answering questions. Rather than downvoting, which just hides the comment from being seen by anyone, offer a reply with your reasoned thoughts. This way, you can open a dialogue with op and potentially debate the differing points of view.
Upvote for providing proof in the post. If there is no proof, ask for it! If the OP ignores requests for proof, or just dismisses it, then report it to the mods.
Once it has started, how they are responding to questions overall. If you feel that they are only here to plug a product and didn’t take the time to interact with the community, then feel free to downvote it.
4. Voting on Requests
Whether it would be a good AMA if it were fulfilled. See above for those qualities
Whether the OP could provide proof if it were fulfilled. Often requests are posted for things that would be impossible to verify. You can also make more specific requests: for example, instead of “AMA request, a murderer” you could request “AMA, someone who has been convicted of murder,” because then they would have court documents as proof.
How likely it is that an AMA would happen. Generally, requesting one specific person is difficult, but you can improve your chances by providing a way to contact that person, like their twitter account. Requests are more likely to be fulfilled if you’re requesting a group of people rather than just one in particular
Upvote requests which have included at least 5 questions which are relevant to the person being requested. If these are not present, please report the post and message the mods!
downvote repeat requests, which are already on the front page or have been recently. Try and point them to the relevant requests if you can.
12. What makes a good IAmA?
Get scheduled. This makes it easier for everyone. Users know the AMA is coming and can look forward to it. Mods get proof ahead of time so that we don't have to struggle for our comment to be seen. And the OP gets all the kinks worked out ahead of time. Everyone wins!
Start off right. Many people do bland titles that aren't the least bit descriptive. We had one company do an AMA where the title they made was just [Name of company]. That's it. It should be formatted in the traditional "I am [person], [description]. AMA." The text of the post often needs work too. Sometimes the submitter will just copy and paste text from their website, which makes it sound like a boring ad. The mods can give feedback on both of these when someone schedules ahead of time with us. Also, proof needs to be clear from minute 1. See: Morgan Freeman's AMA for this issue, where users did not believe it was actually him. The best (for a celebrity or recognizable figure) is a picture, holding a hand-written sign, that says their username and time/date of their AMA. Finally, if someone is typing for you, make it clear that they are writing but you are answering.
Time your AMA. Don't start right away; wait a few minutes for bad questions to filter down and good questions to filter up. But don't start too late, because then you get "Why isn't OP answering questions??? RAMPART!" And set aside enough time to answer enough questions. We would recommend waiting 5-10 minutes to get started answering questions. However, if 45-60 minutes have gone by and no answers have started coming in, mods remove the post. Please make sure to post when you are ready to start answering questions!
Go based on votes. Don't hunt for questions that you want to answer, because this comes off as promotional. It's fine to choose some other questions that are lower down the list, as long as you're not ignoring the questions that people do clearly want to see answered.
One-word answers rarely generate additional discussion and are often poorly received; we recommend a few sentences per answer.
Personalize your text and your answers. Don't give stock answers, because that is obvious. Make sure that you're actually thinking about the question and writing out a fresh answer for it.
Prepare for controversial questions. Many people have some behavior in the past that Redditors disagree with, and they love to ask these and try and corner the OP. This is tough, because you can either (1) ignore it, and look bad, (2) answer it with a diplomatic answer, which looks like dodging, or (3) answer it bluntly with whatever the truth is, and get downvoted. 3 is still the best option though, because it won't spill over to other questions and users will likely appreciate you tackling the tough question. Here is a good example. And when you do confront the question, do it clearly and in detail. Compare the reaction here and the reaction here. One gave a detailed explanation and admitted the issue. The other just kind of brushed it off with a short answer.
Don't just answer top-level questions; reply to follow-ups. Really engage the community. And not just to questions; feel free to engage in all of the jokes and other banter. Redditors are there for a mix of information and entertainment, so balance the two as best you can (depending on topic, of course.)
Refresh the page regularly so that you can see whether comments have risen or anything is gaining momentum. You'd be surprised how many of the "Bet he doesn't answer this!" type questions come up later and get a number of votes because it looks like the OP is trying to avoid answering. It isn't that the OP doesn't want to answer it, it's that the OP hasn't seen it.
Roll with the punches. You can't come in with a set agenda of what you want to talk about. Just let it happen naturally. I think this is why politicians have such a hard time with AMAs, because their position requires things to be scripted and tested for appeal to the audience, whereas someone like an actor or entertainer is much better at interfacing and improvizing.
Giveaways are not permitted on IAmA. Contests and giveaways already running on a third party site prior to the AMA are acceptable.
13. What similar subreddits are there?
/r/de_IAmA (In German)
14. Does /r/IAmA Allow crossposts from other subreddits?
Sure. People often want to conduct an IAmA in a small specialized subreddit where they can interact with their fans. That's no problem. You're free to raise awareness of it by posting in /r/IAmA, but you have to do it in a specific way so that people know that the questions will be answered elsewhere. Your headline should indicate who the person is and where the AMA will be taking place.
All crossposts must contain [Crosspost] or [xpost] in the title. Crossposts will be automatically locked by AutoMod to ensure questions are asked in the correct AMA thread.
Furthermore, cross-posts of AMAs that would not be allowed in /r/IAmA in the first place would not be allowed.
15. Who is Victoria?
Victoria (/u/chooter) was a reddit admin that worked closely with the mod team and helped to make IAMA's happen.
The best scheduled posts are the ones where she was the most involved. She was able to give the hosts a heads up of what to expect, help get them set up, work with them to get the proper proof, explain how the interface works, make sure they understand that we ask for at least an hour of their time, answer any questions they may have, etc. Her involvement level varied depending on the needs of the person doing the IAmA. She may simply have been in the room while the OP was at the computer answering their occasional questions such as what certain comments mean, or they may have requested that she type for them since she can type insanely fast. (This is a good thing as it results in many more questions being answered.) Sometimes she was not able to be with the individual in person and helps them out over the phone, guiding them through the process.
Victoria was a fantastic resource to OPs and to the mod team, however she is no longer a reddit admin. As always, the moderators make the final decision as to what AMAs are allowed or not allowed, as well as whether comments follow the rules, and if users should be banned. While the moderators value the input of reddit admins, those admins cannot override a moderator's decision, so long as that decision is within the reddit site-wide rules.
16. Where can I read previous AMAs?
All AMAs are tagged with flair depending on their category:
revision by cahaseler— view source