Did You Know? Reddit Has Its Own Search Language. Here’s How To Use It.

Reddit is gigantic. The social network contains more than 2.8 million discussion communities — known as subreddits. It’s one of the most active social networks on the internet.

Unlike many social networks, however, Reddit is also almost entirely on the open web — it’s indexed by search engines (Facebook, by contrast, contains lots of closed discussion groups whose contents are visible only to members. Technically, these are part of the deep web).

The chatter on Reddit is there for anybody to see, whether they’re a Redditor or not. Which has also made it an ongoing subject of fascination among academic researchers and those interested in learning more about the human condition through how it is reflected on the internet.

A small selection of the academic research that analyzes the behavior of Reddit users. Screenshot: Google Scholar

What even many long term Redditors don’t know is that Reddit has its own search language. And three Boolean operators to boot (did you know that Boolean logic is named after George Boole? He was an English-born mathematician who spent most of his career teaching in my alma mater of University College Cork in Ireland. A building on campus is named in his honor.)

Where To Find The Reddit Search Operators

Reddit’s search operators are documented in the site’s wiki, here:

Reddit contains a number of field search operators which can be combined with three Bolean variables: AND, OR, and NOT.

The Reddit field operators as taken at the time of this post’s creation.

The Reddit API also has its own search parameters that can be passed into queries:

How do you use these and why might you want to?

One use for the Reddit search variables is to more efficiently poll through your own Reddit posting history.

If you post a lot on Reddit then your profile’s post history probably isn’t going to be that useful if you’re trying to remember a thread that you posted.

Here are some examples.

To just search for a Redditor’s post, you can simple use author:username.

The subreddit variable is subreddit:subreddit. For instance subreddit:TodayILearned.

So to find that post about the world time zone project, I could poll the search bar for:

author:danielrosehill + subreddit:todayilearned

Now the search returns every post I’ve created in the /r/TodayILearned community:

Lots of permutations can be combined to find exactly the data you’re looking to retrieve from Reddit.

Other things you can do

Find who’s been sharing your blog posts on Reddit.

For instance, I used:

And adding text to the search queries is probably the most powerful way to poll Reddit:

Happy searching!

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Daniel Rosehill

Daniel Rosehill

Daytime: writing for other people. Nighttime: writing for me. Or the other way round. Enjoys: Linux, tech, beer, random things. https://www.danielrosehill.com