Reddit is not your mother's Facebook. The social news site has received praise and criticism for its role in the recent Boston bombings and, as a result, has attracted a lot of attention and new users. But Reddit is not for the faint of heart.
Redditors tend to be more outspoken than people on other social media sites. Most users go by a screen name, which provides anonymity and tends to make people feel free to say just about anything without risk of consequences.
In addition to having a thick skin, you need to understand the terms and abbreviations used by Redditors to understand the posts.
First, it's OK to be a "lurker," someone who reads Reddit but doesn't comment. In fact, lurk as long as you'd like, or at least until you feel ready to comment.
Reddit shorthand is a lot like the acronyms associated with texting and some terms, such as YOLO (you only live once), have made it into the mainstream. Here are some of the most common abbreviations you'll need to get around:
IAmA (I am a) is a popular subreddit that allows a person to initiate a question and answer session with Redditors. IAmAs are often conducted by someone with an interesting job or by celebrities, such as President Barack Obama who hosted an IAmA last fall.
AMA is the second part to an IAmA and means "ask me anything," so the form is I am a (fill in the blank), AMA or alternately AMAA, "ask me almost anything." Redditors take their AMAs literally, and will blast a person for dodging questions — just ask Woody Harrelson whose 2012 AMA is known as the worst one ever.
DAE stands for "does anyone else" and is often used by an original poster to draw attention to something that may be more common than most people suspect.
FTFY indicates a correction and means "fixed that for you."
IANAL stands for "I am not a lawyer" and is used before legal advice is given to remind readers to check with an attorney before taking a layman's advice.
MSM refers to mainstream media, including television, newspapers and online news sites — and does not refer to Reddit .
NSFW stands for "Not Safe for Work" and serves as a warning that a link contains racy or vulgar material.
NSFL (Not Safe for Life) indicates material that is disturbing no matter where you are, such as gruesome accident photos.
OP is the Original Poster, used instead of a Redditor's screen name when referring to the person who started a particular conversation.
TIL is short for Today I Learned, which is a common way to start a post and usually refers to an interesting bit of information, such as this one: "TIL Sean Connery single handedly beat 4 men in a night club while Michael Caine held his coat."
TL;DR means Too Long; Didn't Read and is used by commenters to point out a rambling post.