What Exactly Is a Reddit AMA?

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

An AMA is a scheduled question and answer session that takes place at a certain time on the social news site Reddit. The individual who hosts the AMA answers questions from anyone who asks.

AMA stands for “Ask Me Anything,” which is basically just a trendy internet slang term or acronym used to describe the interview-like process that takes place between the host and the participants asking questions.

AMAs Explained

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

What makes AMAs so interesting is the types of people who are willing to host them. From high-profile celebrities to regular people who've had extraordinary life experiences, there's never any shortage of great AMAs to look up and even participate in yourself.

You can find most of these interview-style threads in the /r/IAmA/ subreddit, which currently has over 18 million subscribers. There's also the slightly less popular but still extremely active /r/AMA subreddit that has just over 300,000 subscribers. Here, you’ll find a number of posts from people stating who they are and asking users to ask them anything.

What You Need to Know About Making AMA Requests

In the above-mentioned subreddits, you'll come across some posts marked as [AMA Requests]. These are from users who have questions for people who haven't yet held AMAs, in hopes of gathering upvotes from others who want to see these types of people host an AMA. It also helps spread the word and can sometimes be enough to get the appropriate individual's attention to host one.

While AMAs from high-profile individuals tend to garner the most attention and hype and interaction for obvious reasons, you definitely don't have to be famous to host one. 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. You can find more information about AMA requirements here.

How to Track Upcoming AMAs

There are some really interesting people who host AMAs on Reddit and this is part of what makes it so great. In the right sidebar, you can scroll down and see a table of upcoming AMAs scheduled over the next week or so to have a look and decide if anything looks interesting enough to attend.

How Reddit Verifies Its AMA Hosts

To prevent people from lying about who they are, potential AMA hosts are asked to first provide proof of their identify in their posts or otherwise message any of the moderators so they can verify it. Anyone who pretends to be someone they’re not in an AMA post will usually end up seeing their post removed.

There are two types of proof that Reddit will accept. The first is public proof that a reasonable person could use to validate the identity. 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 use for verification.

Reddit AMA Rules and Guidelines

In addition to providing proof of who you are as an original poster for an AMA, there’s a whole set of guidelines and rules for getting an AMA going and keeping it on the topic. In fact, Reddit created a whole PDF guide designed to walk first-time AMA hosts through the entire 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 at all about how AMAs work and how you're supposed to properly contribute, changes are your questions can be answered there.

Some of the Most Memorable AMAs (Worth Revisiting)

Still not convinced Reddit AMAs are worth checking out? You might change your mind when one of your favorite celebrities or high-profile heroes decides to host one.

Rapper Snoop Dogg did an AMA on Reddit in December of 2012, which attracted over 1.6 million page views to the social news site just for that day. It was one of the largest AMAs to ever take place on the site.

Not surprisingly, the biggest ever AMA to take place on the site was the one posted by Barack Obama, President of the United States on August 29, 2012. The AMA attracted almost 3 million page views on that day, with many more millions of page views following for the days after the AMA took place.

For more, you can check out this archive of past AMAs from all sorts of famous people including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Seinfeld, Tony Bennett, and others. You can also see a list of top AMAs directly on Reddit. Although it hasn't been updated in years, it's still a great place to look for top AMAs that took place in the past.

The fact that regular people can connect, interact and even speak to such high profile individuals that we’d likely never be able to do otherwise without the technology we have today is absolutely amazing.