Obama was about to take part in a phenomenon called “Ask Me Anything,” a popular interview series on Reddit, a site with 50 million visitors a month. Redditors, as the site’s 2 million in-crowd-y regular users are known, did not take too kindly to frauds or dodges or interviewees who didn’t take Reddit seriously. AMA subjects ran the gamut from celebrities (Woody Harrelson, Seth MacFarlane, PSY) to regular professionals (a male stripper) to basically anything (a woman who was date raped). Community members were also encouraged to submit requests for people they wanted to question.
This was a day of political-campaign and Internet firsts, the sitting president subjecting himself to a free- for-all question-and-answer session with a hardcore community of pot-smoking freedom junkies who hated drones and loved porn and had a keen interest in politics and the future. It was chaotically democratic, and something of a gamble.