Engaging with folks on Reddit?

I’ve noticed that there was some discussion of my study in Prolific’s participant discussion subreddit. Is there an etiquette for researchers engaging with people there (or not)? Is doing so a bad idea?

1 Like

Why not :slight_smile:? Especially when your studies are longitudinal, engaging with participants in this platform will help you a lot. If not, communication to help clear things up for them does no harm. If you don’t want to reveal your identity or disclose your personal information, make sure to hide all information before joining the conversation :slight_smile:

@PSR & @Chloe_Nguyen
RE: an etiquette: don’t suck. embrace the spirit of the IRB; participants are the only reason that you get to do research. treat everyone well and the whole experience will be improved for everyone

I really enjoyed engaging with the subreddit. I got some great feedback, as well as constructive suggestions for how ti improve my study. The redditors there were totally fine with interacting with me.

1 Like

@PSR @Adam_Goodkind @Community_Leaders do you think there’d be any benefit in us creating a joint space on this forum where a select group of participants (perhaps the 20 most active on the subreddit) & researchers could chat?

Well, to me it’s a brilliant idea! I guess anonymity can still be preserved if they join the Forum with nicknames.


I’ll look into it!

@Community_Leaders @Josh , my immediate reaction is to avoid that situation. I don’t think there should be “special participants” or “a subset of participants with special privileges”, and I also wouldn’t want all participants to be encouraged to post on this forum. That’s just my initial thought though …
edit: I think researchers can interact on the reddit forum if we want to talk to redditors
edit: maybe if we do want to invite participants here, pick people that are more active/highly rated on Prolific, not the ones that are highly active on reddit?

1 Like

I would agree with @paul. I think the subreddit is a great place to interact with participants, and this is a great place to have discussions among researchers.

That being said, maybe if the participants who interact here also agree to be excluded from certain studies, then it would work better. But this doesn’t seem realistic.

@Adam_Goodkind @paul

I certainly take your points & agree that, if we did this, it couldn’t be a free for all.

Some value I see here is that some people feel nervous venturing onto Reddit, but could still benefit from getting feedback on whatever they need. Perhaps a better way would be to properly signpost how to chat with participants within Reddit, and reassure them that it’s okay.

This is your space, so we wouldn’t make such a drastic change without a wider consultation! I’ll check the wider pulse of the community, and see what they think, because this is an idea that has come up a few times before. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I agree that more information for researchers about how to use Reddit might be helpful.

Another idea, if you’re thinking about how to get feedback from participants/potential participants - would it be possible to enable a free or discounted study option that was specifically designed to solicit feedback from a certain very small percentage of the participant pool? Ordinarily, I would think about a pilot study or something similar but there are always resource limitations to consider

1 Like

This idea has come up before, but in a slightly different way. Let me know what you think:

  • We recruit the least naive participants i.e. those who have submitted 100s of data points & are familiar with study design.
  • Then, we offer them as a ‘pilot tester’ pool. Since they have the most experience on the platform, they might have great insights into how to improve the usability, design etc, of a study to make it easier for other participants


I am not sure whether the subreddit or here is the solution but, I would like it if somehow the place where we talk to participants and the place we talk to researchers could be kept separate, and we know who we are talking too.

If participant accounts could only access part of the “community.prolific.co.” and their sub-avatars be different then that would work for me.



exactly - not sure how the logistics would work out, especially since a participant who wanted to view more of the forum could just create a researcher account

yeah, something like this might be helpful. in the long run, it might be a good idea for Prolific to think about classifying the participant pool with more detail as well.
I’m thinking about how in the US at least there are NORC-run panels like Amerispeak. Of course, the representative sampling issue would be extremely important here but if there are lots of Prolific participants who provide reliable data over time there’s certainly potential to leverage that