The Reddit Roast is one of the oddest things in the universe. That is a universe that includes the duckbilled platypus, which is really inexplicable, however you look at it.
You know what a roast is. AIB did it to great fanfare, and whether you like them or not, it got them more fame than anything they had done before. Roasts have been done on television for a long time. Celebrities usually choose to be roasted because the fame they get from it, and the vicarious pleasure people feel from seeing celebrities being trashed, makes up for what must surely be vicious torture. Pamela Anderson did it, so did Justin Bieber. Now you too can feel like a celebrity and choose to be roasted on Reddit, on Reddit Roast Me.
How do you do it?
The process is quite simple. You take a selfie of yourself holding a sign that says ‘Roast Me’ and post it on imgur. Once you are verified by the moderator of the subreddit, you will be added as a roastee. The photo you post must have clear evidence that you consent to be roasted, and you are allowed to add one line about yourself – indicative of why you should be roasted – to the post. One user, for instant, claimed that she wears lipstick to yoga class in her post. Another said their job didn’t depress them enough that day.
There are currently 82,187 people on the Roast Me subreddit. When you post that photo of yourself, you become a willing roastee, and nothing is off limits. You will be bullied about your appearance, your intellect, your morality, your sexuality – anything and everything. The rules state that roasters – those who comment – should not use any kind of hate speech, and moderators will be around, but that just means that you probably won’t be called certain words. The spirit behind those words will still definitely be thrown at you. Reddit might have changed a few rules, but not enough to get you moderated too drastically.
Why does anybody do this?
Notoriety is one reason. Reddit is a good place for acknowledgment if you need it, and if you survive a roast that becomes popular, you can also become quite popular. People do a lot of things for popularity. Some people do this on a dare.
Some people seem to genuinely want feedback. They want opinions from strangers who don’t have any reason to make them feel good about themselves. If they think a hairstyle is horrible and want that opinion reinforced, they can count on negative opinions pouring in.
One side effect of people volunteering to be roasted might be that people who want the distraction of flinging hatred online – trolls – might turn to these forums instead of attacking people who simply post an opinion with which they disagree. Of course, anybody who truly wants to hurt people would not do so. But one of the reasons people troll, according to a study by Lancaster University, is boredom.
There is a dark side, too. Some people who post their selfies and volunteer to be roasted seem to have real problems. One person’s posts suggested that they self-harm, for instance. But on the whole, this subreddit gives you an odd little window into two sides of humanity: those who want attention at all costs, and those who love giving it.