No one serves April Fool’s day events or experiments as Reddit does. One such event was the r/CircleofTrust. Although it lasted a few days, it gained massive participation. So, why the Circle of Trust?
In 2018, Reddit launched the r/CircleofTrust as the year’s April Fool’s day project. Each Redditor had a chance to generate one circle with a title and a secret key. The user would then post a hint to their private key or invite other users to join the circle by giving them the key. The invited user could maintain the secret and join the group or share the private key. It grew if more users joined. The moment a user betrayed the circle, Reddit closed down the circle and blemished the user with a red mark.
What did Reddit intend to do with the experiment? Was it successful? What was the outcome?
Let’s find out.
Statistics don’t lie. Reddit is quite popular among internet users, and it receives more than 1 billion visits and over 430 million users each month.
People love its various subsections, challenges, and topics discussed on the site. It’s a mind-boggling source of information. It houses every kind of information imaginable. Reddit categorizes this information into subsections called subreddits.
The site also hosts several experiments, including massive social experiments each April Fool’s day. An example of an experiment that attracted many Redditors is the r/CircleOfTrust. It was a social experiment launched right after the Easter holiday. It lasted for four days and took place in the r/CircleOfTrust subreddit.
The Circle of Trust was a game grounded on trust and game theory concepts. Participants had to create circles and use different tricks to grow the circle. Each circle had a unique key that could build or destroy it. Each circle had its thread, and users could join it through a link and a private key.
Let’s break down the game.
The game begins when a Redditor creates a circle and a secret key.
A user created a circle by pressing the Claim button. Reddit allowed each user to create one at a time. The user would then tap the claim button, choose a username, and a unique key that would give other users access to the circle.
The Redditor then shared the link to the circle with another user and gave them the secret key. With the key at hand, the user had the choice to join it or share the unique key with other users.
After joining the circle, a user became a member of the group. The member had to preserve the secret key and invite more people to join your circle.
The circle grew each time a user joined it.
However, the moment a user betrayed the circle by sharing the key, it lost its ability to invite more Redditors to join it. Reddit would disable the private key and gray out the circle. The gray mark was an indication that no one could access it.
Reddit marked users who betrayed any group with a red mark. It identified them as betrayers.
The game had three flairs: a red, gray, and blue flair. A gray flair meant they hadn’t joined nor betrayed any circle. A blue flair showed that a user was a member of a circle. Lastly, a red flair showed the user had double-crossed a circle.
One could delete their circle if they wanted. A user had to delete their post on the r/CircleOfTrust subreddit. However, once a user deleted the r/circle post, they lost the ability to create a new one.
Reddit hosted the social experiment to assess how users built trust with strangers, communicated, and cooperatively worked together. It was a challenging game. Users had to circumvent the anonymity, invite strangers, share something that could potentially destroy their hard work, and work with them.
Generating a big circle was hard. A Redditor had to trust a stranger to keep their secret. They also had to believe that the stranger would invite trustworthy people.
Reddit admitted that they learned a lot after launching Circle of Trust.
The game mechanics and the dilemma forced strangers to take advantage of Reddit’s chat section. Redditors sent compliments as a way to create rapport and build their way to establishing an enormous circle of trust.
Also, Reddit noticed that users would come together with an intent to betray as many circles as they could.
The game also gave many Redditors the chance to build and belong to a community.
It was a prisoner dilemma social experiment that lasted four days. It showed that people online could collectively work together and strive to achieve a common goal cooperatively. Redditors had to trust people on a social site that encouraged anonymity to help them grow the circle.