As a community, the users of the link-sharing website Reddit don’t like to be pigeonholed. But they have been: argumentative, nerdy, atheist engineers. Accompanying that sterotype is a certain vocabulary: bacon, atheism, fedora, brony.
But what if Reddit is getting … better? Using this handy n-gram viewer over at FiveThirtyEight, you can now track the popularity of certain words over time. (The X axis represents time; the Y axis the frequency with which a certain word is used.)
Look at, for example, at misandry, the supposed male equivalent of misogyny. We can fairly assume the word is used sincerely on Reddit more often than it is used ironically, and it is, cheeringly, being used much more infrequently over the last couple years:
Here’s atheism — the subject of what was long one of Reddit’s most popular and argumentative subcommunities. It’s clearly heading on a downward trend as the site gets larger and more tolerant. (The spike at the end of 2011 might be from a charity drive in which r/atheism raised money for Doctors Without Borders, or it might be from this scorching blog post, “Reddit Makes Me Hate Atheists.”)
Here’s Dawkins, as in Richard, r/atheism’s high priest:
This is ethics, as in Gamergate’s rallying cry, “ethics in gaming journalism.”
Swag (light blue) vs class (dark blue):
Fedora (light blue) vs. Trilby (dark blue):