The “What?” Online Community Dedicates Itself To Everything That’s Bizarrely Confusing, And Here Are 33 Of Their Spot-On Posts Interview With Owner
There are a lot of things that folks can say when they’re confused. But nothing really beats the brevity, simplicity, and the right amount of semantic connotation of the four-letter phrase provided above.
And the more confused you are, the more meaningful and powerful the what? is. So, what better word to describe a subreddit dedicated to all the utterly confusing things that raise too many questions and too few answers. And hey, the same community could attempt to answer them, but you can’t but laugh at it all regardless.
Yep, we’re talking about r/What?, a section of Reddit that’s all about memes and posts that show the most puzzling things ever, and we’re not talking about math equations. Below you shall find the best of the best posts found on the subreddit, so go nuts with upvotes and comments, all the while laughing at the level of confusion this subreddit is all about.
More Info: Reddit
Bored Panda got in touch with u/CatRosalina, one of the moderators of the r/What? community. The modest, yet strong community of a bit over 15,500 members is alive and well all thanks to CatRosalina as she has jumped in to moderate the subreddit—and save it from fading into internet obscurity—some time after its creation since late 2008.
The reason was it got abandoned by its creator, and spam was filling up fast. CatRosalina took over and did come cleaning, turning into an active community. She noted that she has also done this with r/fourthworldproblems, "a sub about people pretending to be cavemen" as she explained.
She continued: "I had previously been just a standard member of the sub, when I noticed there was a ton of spam. The sub owner was active on reddit, but wasn't moderating the sub. I reached out to them in hopes of becoming a mod to help out, and they offered to just give the sub to me. I happily accepted, and immediately went on a cleaning spree."
"I chose to do so because I felt the sub had potential. It has a very basic name, simply 'what', which is extremely hard to come by, since most short name subs have already been taken. 'What' is also a very common word, often used to refer to various other kinds of content across Reddit. Sometimes, people react to images/memes by referencing a sub. So, by keeping the sub clean and appealing with little spam, I feel that the sub could receive exponential growth from people referencing it all over Reddit, and discovering that the sub is worth joining."
"Additionally, I personally feel that keeping subs like this clean and usable does its members a huge favor by keeping their favorite subs enjoyable, like a kind of Reddit community service."
As it was already hinted at in the beginning of this listicle, the subreddit did actually kick off as a hub for people to have a very confused laugh about very confusing things, but as it grew and changed, it also became a place for people to feel less confused:
"While the sub's original purpose was for things that are confusing in a humorous way, some have also used it to answer questions that don't fit anywhere else on Reddit, making this sub an excellent resource for those looking for a quick answer from a decently active community," elaborated CatRosalina.
Speaking of the subreddit, it features exactly what you would expect from a group of utterly confused individuals just trying to make sense of things that seem to make sense to the negative power.
CatRosalina points out that some of the most representative content has been mixed in with the memes from the chaotic period in the subreddit's history. But many of these rudiments are still some of the top posts out there, a living testament to the sub's history, so it wouldn't be right to purge them.
But, speaking of the themes and topics that stay true to the spirit of the subreddit, CatRosalina recalls how folks were confused with the whole Miiverse/Among Us timeline, how Joe Biden is responsible for nacho cheese, when Nintendo seemingly expressed their support for the LGBTQ+ community, and this little nominal gem where citrus meets algae.
Bored Panda also chatted a bit with Joel Willans, the mastermind behind the Very Finnish books and creator of the million strong Very Finnish Problems community present on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
"I think memes are as influential as ever, for the same reasons they’ve always been. They’re easy to make, easy to share and when done well they’re hugely relatable," elaborated Joel about the power of memes in today's world. "In fact, with the rise of TikTok, they’re probably more powerful because now you can create them in short video form. If you look most at my best performing Very Finnish Problems’ TikToks, which collectively have generated tens of millions of views, they’re all based on a memes I created previously."
Joel pointed out that successful communities are often based around memes that typically focus on a particular theme or niche. And the reason why they resonate is because people relate to these themes being shared. And that leads to engagement and discussion. And that is practically the whole meaning of life for memes.
What Made You Get The Hell Out Of There? Did You Ever Get This Fed Up With Your Job?
Not too long ago, we covered another meme page, Humans For Scale, where Digital Culture Expert James Cohen talked about "tweetdeckers," i.e. networks of posters in possession of random pages with very neutral content to generate money. While r/What? does not fit this definition because of its history, it does fit its vibe of being a niche and relatable concept.
Joel explained that while Twitter has killed off this practice a few years back because of how powerful some Twitter accounts would get, it was surreal to think it was a thing in the first place. This meant that anyone could just create a bunch of accounts, grow them a bit, and then collectively retweet each other's content through a Tweetdeck for 15 minutes reaching literal millions of people. And then they monetize it with something like a service to app scheme or just plain old sell the account.
But there's more ways than one to monetize a page, as adds Joel:
"I’ve monetized my pages in two ways: through collaborations and through merchandise. Collaborations come about as a result of the 1 million plus community I’ve created with the help of memes. Merch is sold on the Very Finnish Problems store and many of my best-selling tops are based on memes. So, in short, memes are great for building an audience you can do relevant collaborations for, and memes are also marvelous for inspiring merch. Double win!"
And if you haven't had enough memes yet, keep scrolling. Or don't. There's Very Finnish Problems here and here on Bored Panda. Or if you wanna venture for that beyond our borders, remember, VFP has an Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
And likewise, there's more to be had on r/What? and your journey doesn't have to end here.
Where's The Last 1%?
Oh, and this reminds me, Bored Panda also asked one more tiny question of CatRosalina. We asked What? She replied with What? You're welcome!