Reddit bills itself as the front page of the Internet. If one were to extend this metaphor, then AskReddit would be the headline splashed across the top of that front page, because there is nothing as consistently exciting, absorbing, and cringe-worthy as the posts on AskReddit.

The premise is simple: ask a question, any question, and the Reddit community will answer. But because this is the internet we're dealing with, threads frequently devolve into a free-falling tailspin. A thread asking for advice can become a real-time live blog, with the poster following the community's wisdom and uploading the results. A request for personal stories can become a group therapy session for people suffering from similar traumas, or a forum to reveal painful secrets.

There are creepy stories about the supernatural, anecdotal threads about the indignities of life, and of course, there's always humor—often pitch-black gallows humor, but still. Psychologists say that humor is a mature, legitimate coping mechanism for dealing with pain. If so, the members of the AskReddit community are unusually well-adjusted. Things can get really dark on AskReddit, but the Reddit community always finds a way to make people laugh about it—most of the time, respectfully.

Think of this as a primer; these are the best AskReddit threads.

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