The affordances of Reddit and framing of extremism on r/the_donald


  • Samuel Cameron-McKee University of South Australia



affordances, extremism, framing, Reddit, social media


This paper reports on a study of r/the_donald, and how comment threads in this community were framed and rekeyed toward extremism. r/the_donald was a community on the social media website Reddit organized around fervent support for Donald Trump. In this paper, theories surrounding the features of Reddit such as its cultures, systems and potential for manipulation are connected to Goffman’s frame analysis to examine comments on r/the_donald from a discourse perspective.

By analyzing a chain of twelve comments on r/the_donald through this lens, the effect that Reddit’s affordances had on communication was explored. A series of example comments that successively repositioned, or ‘rekeyed’, an original post, showed how the affordances of Reddit might facilitate the emergence of extreme right-wing talking points.

It was found that the nature of Reddit’s scoring system, in which highly supported comments are highlighted and contentious comments are hidden from view, could create a situation in which rekeyings of a situation could be made to appear highly credible. It is hypothesized that attempting to argue with these rekeyings, or even to call them out as being in bad faith, may be difficult. The study concludes that the effect of Reddit’s affordances on the process of framing on r/the_donald allowed posts that may be in bad faith to receive positive attention so long as they supported Donald Trump.

Author Biography

  • Samuel Cameron-McKee, University of South Australia

    Samuel Cameron-McKee is completing his PhD in Applied Linguistics at the University of South Australia. His research interests include the affordances of social media, frame analysis, political discourse on social media, and disinformation. In his spare time he likes to read sci-fi and fantasy and to work in his garden.


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How to Cite

Cameron-McKee, S. (2023). The affordances of Reddit and framing of extremism on r/the_donald. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 17(3), 231-251.