What Exactly Is a Reddit AMA?

AMAs can put you in touch with some of the most interesting people

On the social news site Reddit, an AMA ("Ask Me Anything") is a scheduled question-and-answer session hosted by anyone from a high-profile celebrity to a regular person with extraordinary life experiences. Inquiring participants ask the questions, and the results are often intriguing and fascinating. Here's how Reddit AMAs work.

Illustration of a man who looks a bit like Bill Gates working on a screen that says Reddit r/AMA
Lifewire / Derek Abella

Reddit AMAs and AMA Requests

You'll find most of these interview-style threads in the /r/IAmA/ subreddit, which has more than 18 million subscribers. There's also the slightly less popular but still extremely active /r/AMA subreddit, with more than 300,000 subscribers.

In these AMA subreddits, you'll come across some posts marked as [AMA Requests]. These posts are from users who have questions for people who haven't yet held AMAs, in hopes of gathering upvotes from others who also want to see them host an AMA. A successful AMA request is sometimes enough to get the appropriate individual's attention and have them agree to host an AMA.

While AMAs from high-profile individuals tend to garner the most attention, hype, and interaction, you don't have to be famous to host an AMA. According to the mods, an AMA only has to be about something uncommon that plays a central role in your life, or it has to be a truly interesting and unique event.

Find scheduled upcoming AMAs from the subreddit's right sidebar.

How Reddit Verifies Its AMA Hosts

To prevent people from lying about who they are, potential AMA hosts are asked to provide proof of their identity in their posts or message a moderator to prove who they are.

Reddit accepts two types of identity proof. The first is public proof. For example, an AMA host could add a note to their website or tweet on their Twitter profile.

The second type of proof involves letting moderators verify an AMA host's identity via private information. The mods always favor public proof over private proof since it's easier to verify.

Anyone who pretends to be someone they're not in an AMA post will usually end up seeing their post removed.

Reddit AMA Rules and Guidelines

In addition to requiring proof of identity, Reddit lists more rules and guidelines for getting an AMA going and keeping it on topic. The site provides a PDF guide designed to walk first-time AMA hosts through the process. It hasn't been updated since 2015, but it's still a great resource for beginners.

Reddit also has a lengthy, dedicated page laying out all the AMA rules, policies, and frequently asked questions. If you have any confusion about how AMAs work and how you're supposed to contribute, this resource will likely answer your questions.

Memorable AMAs

Rapper Snoop Dogg did an AMA in December of 2012 that attracted more than 1.6 million page views. It was one of the largest AMAs ever to take place on the site.

Not surprisingly, the biggest ever AMA was posted on August 29, 2012, featuring Barack Obama during his tenure as President of the United States. His AMA attracted almost 3 million page views on that day, with many more millions of page views in the days ahead.

To learn more about notable past AMAs, visit Reddit's archive of famous people's AMAs or see Reddit's list of top AMAs.