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Lee Barfknecht’s AMA On Reddit Goes Horribly Wrong

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There’s two sides to the story.

Jon Johnston

Top writer guy Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World Herald did an AMA session at Reddit this past week. To say that it turned out bad would be somewhat of an understatement. Barfknecht appeared to be defensive and did not answer many of the questions. So bad, he deleted his Reddit account afterwards.

Reddit frequently hosts AMA’s - “AMA” standing for “Ask Me Anything”. An expert host comes onto Reddit and answers questions that have been asked by users. The key is to understand that it’s Reddit, that you will be asked just about anything. You need to maintain a healthy sense of humor and thick skin because if you don’t, you’re going to be roasted alive and come off looking like an ass.

Unfortunately, Barfknecht appeared to have left his sense of humor at home.

I mean, he had to know going in that the following question would be asked.

Explain the reasoning that led you to vote for Michigan over Nebraska in the final 1997 AP Poll.

I wondered why his AMA was such a disaster, so I reached out to Bobak Ha’Eri who is a moderator for r/CFB - the college football subreddit.

Ha’Eri explained that they open up the AMA early so that Redditors can ask questions in preparation for the host. Each question can be upvoted or downvoted dependent upon whether other users think it is a legitimate question. When the host arrives, they are presented with a list of questions, the order of which is dependent upon the voting.

Apparently, a subset of Nebraska fans showed up early, and started “either insulting or asking bizarre, antagonistic questions about a 21-year-old championship vote.” This caught the Reddit moderators off guard because they weren’t aware that Nebraska fans would hold onto a grudge that long against Barfknecht.

Here’s an example of the insults directed at Barfknecht. You’ll notice that it was removed, but presents how much anger was present.

Barfknecht didn’t do himself any favors as shown in this exchange about social media.

Nebraska fans didn’t do themselves any favors either. Now the /r/CFB Subreddit is unsure if they would like to host future AMA’s involving Nebraska.

I received the following from Ha’Eri:

As a mod team, knowing we have to deal with this subset of Nebraska fans that might come in and wreck an AMA involving Nebraska... it showed us we should probably avoid the topic.

Nebraska fans have always been passionate online about their football team. Perhaps in this case that passion boiled over. Maybe users at r/CFB thought they were being funny... although, that’s probably giving them too much benefit of doubt.

As always, comments welcome.