Hello Reddit!

We are a team of very serious and 100% professional researchers at Know Your Meme, an online database that explains and catalogues all facets of internet cultures, including notable memes, events, people, websites and subcultures. Since launch in 2008, we’ve chronicled the origins, history and evolution of more than 13,000 memes from all corners of the world, which would've been impossible without the help of our amazing community.

TLDR we've been tracking down and researching internet memes all day, every day for a decade. Ask us anything!

We are:

  • Brad Kim, Janitor-in-Chief
  • Don Caldwell, Managing Editor
  • Adam Downer, Associate Editor
  • Matt Schimkowitz, Associate Editor
  • Briana Milman, Associate Editor

Proof: https://i.redd.it/xmbb38g41u311.jpg

EDIT: To celebrate our 10th anniversary and 20 years of meme culture, we are paying a special tribute to the top 10 most influential memes from the last two decades with a weekend-long timeline exhibition at the Museum of Moving Image (MOMI) on September 14-16. Wanna help us pick the final 10 memes that will be inducted into the Hall of Memes? Head over to kym.party to make your choices count!

EDIT 2: Wow, we expectn't so many questions (and so many that are on-point). We're signing off for now, but we'll be around, Reddit (u/knowyourmeme)! Thank you all for making our day :)

Comments: 3225 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

CareerQthrowaway275315 karma

Have you ever been ashamed to document a meme?

knowyourmeme6368 karma

Adam here.

Trying to find the origin of a meme that's a screenshot from porn is an incredibly soul-draining process. But the meme that comes to mind as the absolute worst for me to document was Bench Tails, though everyone will have their own horror stories.

Aeky90001180 karma

And that was not the only thing that was drained when doing that “research”.

knowyourmeme1379 karma

Just chiming in to say this got a big laugh in the office.

- Matt

knowyourmeme1061 karma

Pretty much any explicit meme that I find myself working on in public, the worst of is something called "The Cheese Grater" image, which I will not describe or link to. It's very, very, extremely NSFW.

- Matt

knowyourmeme526 karma

"Emergence" by ShindoL.

- Don

ESPN_outsider4445 karma

How do you feel about Behind the Meme? I mean every video is pretty much just him reading from your website.

knowyourmeme6223 karma

We were definitely aware of Behind the Meme and we have a page on him. The fact he appeared to be paraphrasing our entries was not lost on us but I guess it never bothered us so much as it was a joke in the office. I can do a pretty decent impression of him.


hippyneil3612 karma

Which meme has been the most baffling to you in terms of popularity - as in "why do people like this?"

edit: also, thank you for the great job you do. The internet needs people like you

knowyourmeme7020 karma

40 minutes ago

Thanks! The weirdest thing for me was the Ugandan Knuckles/Tide Pods/Somebody Toucha My Spaghett meme explosion in January. All of them died almost instantly but gave us huge traffic that month.


CareerQthrowaway272777 karma

How do you intend to avoid UrbanDictionary's descent into shitpost definitions/examples?

knowyourmeme2444 karma

We have a "Deadpool" section on the site for submissions that are clearly shitposts. Sometimes legit entries are mistakenly placed in there but we are usually quick to discover this.

- Don

knowyourmeme633 karma

We have a fantastic team of mods and editors that do a great job cleaning and deleting shitposts. Because our research and evaluation process is powered by our wonderful community, we avoid this problem. If you want be a part of solution, feel free to start submitting and editing! We always need more help.

- Matt

Candyblock2597 karma

How do you describe your job to friends and family?

knowyourmeme4199 karma

Explaining what we do to our family got easier over the last decade. For some of us who started on the project from the beginning (c. 2009), it was a challenge to describe (or justify rather) to our family exactly what we do, so we'd say "we work on the internet" or "you know, lolcats," but nowadays, we say "we work on a wikipedia of memes" and most people, including family and friends, seem to get it!

  • Brad

Edit: added name

knowyourmeme2487 karma

This is something that literally comes up all the time, and I still don't have a great answer for it. Generally what I say is something to the effect of "I work for the internet." That's followed with, "I cover news and trends online, documenting, as factually and accurately as possible, what people are talking about and what they are sharing online, so that those that are unaware of those trends can get a quick explanation."

- Matt

knowyourmeme1303 karma

Many people I know assume that working in memes = laughing all day at funny pictures. It's important to remember that an equal amount of time is spent moaning and groaning over atrocious images and how horrible the world can be.

- Briana

almondparfitt1831 karma

what's your process for staying on top of every meme?

knowyourmeme5493 karma

Checking sites like Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, etc. frequently throughout the day, i.e. living in a near-constant state of misery.


Ariadnepyanfar1150 karma

Have you ever suspected latent masochistic tendencies in yourself?

knowyourmeme1474 karma

All. The. Time.

- Briana

slowasfuckboii1790 karma

What's your favorite meme of all time?

knowyourmeme2939 karma

This changes all the time, but for the last year or so, it's been Steamed Hams. It's been fun to find new avenues into one of my favorite Simpsons moments. This will probably change tomorrow.

- Matt

knowyourmeme1712 karma

Mine's totally Loss. I credit Loss with getting me my job because I explained what it was and why I liked it in the interview. Before I started at KYM I'd been freelancing/unemployed for about a year and was almost out of rent money, so getting this gig really turned my life around. So Loss will always have a special place in my heart, plus its one of the most versatile/clever memes ever.


knowyourmeme733 karma

Whew, this one always gets us in a thinking hole:

Brad: Waffle Falling Over | lol'd a few seconds too long with this one, "idk what i expected" at its best
Don: Baneposting | also love anything Nic Cage
Adam: Loss | love its versatility and unexpectedly long endurance
Matt: Steamed Hams | as a longtime simpsons fan, this has been a recent favorite. All-time favorite tho
Briana: This one from /r/bonehurtingjuice does it every time

djcamo78278295 karma

And worst/least favorite

knowyourmeme342 karma

Any meme like Yodel Walmart Boy or Yanny or Laurel that I'm expected to have an opinion on immediately.

- Matt

knowyourmeme291 karma

Have to agree with Yodel Walmart Boy. Cash Me Ousside is up there too.


knowyourmeme203 karma

Least favorite memes are David S. Pumpkins and the Yodel Walmart Boy.


knowyourmeme90 karma

I could not stand looking at pictures of lotus seed pods. One of the occupational perks (or hazards) is that you get quickly desensitized by most things that "can't be unseen," and to an extent, we take pride in that, but holy crap, I had to sedate myself while researching this phenomenon / obsession with trypophobia.

*warning: might gross you out!

  • Brad

3shirts1572 karma

Have you ever spent ages compiling a page only for that meme to die almost immediately?

How long do you 'wait' before you consider it a meme and how long does it take to document one?

knowyourmeme1547 karma

We generally jump on them as soon as we see a variety of examples. However, in today's meme market, this means a slew of memes that get documented and disappear almost immediately. Unfortunately, there's no way for us to predict the future, so we generally have grab them as they come and see what happens. But I never think of our job as making sure memes stick around. If someone sees a meme that went no where years ago, and wants to know what it's about, the site's there for them in the same way it's there for people wanting to know about Tide Pods.

- Matt

PMh_0011358 karma

What's the single highest traffic meme you deal with?

knowyourmeme2086 karma

The page with the highest view count is currently Slender Man with 14.6 million views. You can view the most-trafficked entries on the site on this page.

- Don

acasas92934 karma

What happened to the original video series?

knowyourmeme935 karma

Honestly, it's been hard finding a good balance between running the site and producing videos. We'd love to do more but want to make sure they live up to our standards. Hopefully, this'll get resolved sooner than later.

- Matt

macismycrack921 karma

How would y’all say the meme economy has changed? Edit:grammar

knowyourmeme1525 karma

The Meme Economy moves much faster than before, so the lifecycle of meme, i.e. it's cultural currency, bottoms out quicker than usual, making it more difficult to determine what's going to stick around and actually make an impact. Sometimes the economy puts much more stock in short-term gains than actual investment.


knowyourmeme805 karma

If you're talking about the subreddit, /r/MemeEconomy was a really valuable resource when it first started getting popular and still is, though to a lesser degree than it was in like, late 2016, I'd say.

About the meme economy in general, I've been working on the site since summer of 2016, so I've really only known hyper-accelerated meme culture, and it's fine for me. There are some times when you can tell things will be a flash in the pan but it's our job to document them anyway.


knowyourmeme286 karma

The meme marketplace is way more varied than it used to be. Back when I first started working on the site in 2010, a much smaller portion of the population was involved in internet culture. Today, memes are very popular so it has become more interesting in a lot of ways. I particularly enjoy how meta, ironic and absurd memes have taken off in recent years.

- Don

BEASTIN-25-8915 karma

Has there ever been a wildly popular meme that you couldn't find the origin of?

knowyourmeme1338 karma

While there are numerous memes with murky or unclear points of origin, the "Pink Shirt Guy" photograph remains one of the most mysterious viral images on the site. We still have no idea where the original photograph came from.


Jester_Gobberbot821 karma

Hi, this is one of my favorites.

You list it as appearing around 2006-2007, i found it in a 2003 forum post: http://www.esportbike.com/forums/79-daily-rant-2/104221-osha-safety-winners.html

The person says it came to them as a powerpoint, so maybe it's the origin: some OSHA expert compiling the worst they had seen in a ppt for a course?

knowyourmeme387 karma

Hell yea, great find! Also seeing quite a few images in the thread that eventually got captioned with FAIL. I love how this one reads "OOPS." Imagine if "OOPS" took off instead...

TinyHandCigarette859 karma

Under the page for "WHIIIIIIIRRRRRRRR / Oh No... Not Again!" the following sentence appears:

"The copypasta is associated with a 3-panel comic of a Nintendo Wojak getting anally vored by a dabbing characterization of a Sony fan known as “Sonybro,” ostensibly depicting Sony fans’ superiority to Nintendo fans."

Would you agree this is the most advanced Internet sentence ever written?

knowyourmeme709 karma

Honestly my brain is so broken that it never occurred to me how absolutely batshit that sentence is out of context.


CareerQthrowaway27773 karma

What meme best reflects your personality?

knowyourmeme1262 karma

I'm really into any pee-related meme for some reason. "Pee Is Stored In The Balls" has become pretty tired, but I still appreciate it. I think stupid memes are increasingly appealing because I'm constantly looking at examples of people desperately trying to be funny and relatable. Poop and pee are effortless joys.

- Briana

Asternon358 karma

increasingly appealing

I think you mean apeeling.

C'mon, effortless joys, remember?

knowyourmeme356 karma


- Briana

knowyourmeme1214 karma

I'll go with "You Reposted In the Wrong Neighborhood" because I feel like a lot of my personality is based off finding enjoyment of mashing so-called high and low art to make something that is both hilarious and really quality.



If you had to show one meme to your parents as an introduction to memes, which meme would you choose?

knowyourmeme883 karma

This is actually a great question. I think when I try to explain to people what I do for a living, the meme that jumps out is Dancing Baby, which parents seem to remember. I think relating to them with examples of pre-internet memes, like You Can't Handle the Truth, really helps ease people into the whole thing. From there, I go straight to Yoshi Committed Tax Fraud, you know, something they'll understand.

- Matt

natantantan651 karma

How do you guys find the origins of a meme when they are super obscure? Like going back to a random forgotten 4chan post X many years ago.

knowyourmeme805 karma

A lot of tools, including reverse-image search site tineye, waybackmachine, and archived 4chan threads are useful when getting the really obscure 4chan stuff. But often times we have to throw our hands up and say "it looks like it started around this post we could find, but may have started earlier."


ColorsByVest637 karma

I just checked out your subcultures link.

Was this done on purpose?

knowyourmeme455 karma

Good catch. But no, it wasn't on purpose. :')

- Briana

Rakeweed451 karma

Who wrote the LOSS page?

knowyourmeme573 karma

The Loss entry was originally created by KYM user oddguy and has since been edited by other users, site moderators and staff over the last six years. Anyone can make an account to submit new entries or request editorship for existing entries. We are always looking for more help!

- Don

mbilicalcord276 karma

What's the most horrific thing you've seen while researching?

knowyourmeme379 karma

I apologize for bringing it up again, but it's the Cheese Grater Image. And, again, I apologize. I hate thinking about this. If you're interested in checking it out, don't. But also, it's extremely NSFW.

- Matt

LordDarko252 karma

Do you have a favourite meme?

knowyourmeme644 karma

I actually have a specific meme in mind. Every time someone asks this question I show them this dumb image:


- Briana

fappton236 karma

Is "Milhouse is not a meme" a meme?

knowyourmeme549 karma

Milhouse is not a meme, but "Milhouse is not a Meme" is a meme.


THE_sheps207 karma

What do you think of Pewdiepie killing off all those poor memes in “meme review” 👏 👏 ?

knowyourmeme583 karma

This is so sad. Can we hit 50 likes?

- Don

T_K_427204 karma

Loads of Respect. Y'all have saved me in arguments, aided late night internet worm-holes and helped me explain many-a-meme.

Out of all the memes you've documented, what's the one that has most recently made you genuinely lol?

Schimkowitz might be able to answer this; what's your end-to-end process like? From identifying a meme, to writing its initial document, how long does that first draft typically take?

So once a meme, always a meme, but who gets to decide if a new meme is a new meme?

knowyourmeme179 karma

I'll take these in order.

  1. I Can't Believe Sonic Is Fucking Dead made me laugh really hard this morning. The title alone destroyed me.
  2. It really does depend on the entry. Sometimes something you think you have all the answers for can lead you down an unexpected rabbit hole that can take hours to get out of. Identifying a meme is probably the easiest part. If you see the same image pop-up more than 10-15 times, you're probably looking at a meme (though, whether it's going to be one that sticks around is totally up to the fates). On average, though, I'd say your standard entry, if everything goes according to plan, an entry takes about 90 minutes to two hours to complete.
  3. That's up to the public. A lot of people criticize us for creating entries for memes that haven't really taken off yet, but I personally think that as soon as a community of people are sharing and changing and using a meme, it's worthy of documentation. Memes can be big and small, they can hit the culture at large or just exist in a subreddit. Either way, the earlier we start working on something, the better chance we have of finding the Origin.

- Matt

P.S. Thanks for spelling my name correctly!

wailordlord178 karma

Are there any memes that you have written about that you thought, “Wow that’s kinda really out there?”

knowyourmeme266 karma

A ton of shit from Tumblr. Specifically, Domesticated Clowns


Mercutio33333170 karma

Doesn't it ever bother you that the word meme actually had a clear scientific definition and now it has colloquially come to mean "stupid picture on the internet?"

knowyourmeme232 karma

I was originally introduced to the word "meme" when I read Dawkins' The Selfish Gene many years ago, so I can understand frustration with how many understand the term. I think it makes sense how the word came to be associated with viral internet culture in general, but I sometimes get annoyed when people think it only refers to captioned images.

- Don

terroristgoboom115 karma

With the expanding branch of academic study in internet culture, I have seen more and more references to your website. Is there anything you've done to make your website more accessible to academics? Is this something you take into consideration at all?

knowyourmeme145 karma

Absolutely! I think one of the coolest perks for cultural reference / knowledge sites that have been around for awhile is the sheer volume and variety of data, metadata (including historical data) accumulated over time. With all the talks of big data and cultural analytics on the horizon, we have plans to roll out a resource kit for academics and media, as well as collaborating with scholars and researchers to provide more meaningful insights on a meme's performance, ontological relations, etc.

If you're a meme scholar interested in collaborating with us, email us at [email protected] or message us at u/knowyourmeme!

  • Brad

dillyia79 karma

Was there any meme that made you go "How the hell did this happen"?

knowyourmeme183 karma

There are so many memes that fall into this category. The most current example would be Markiplier E.


Laptopgeek131052 karma

Where do you think most of your pages are on the PG*---Offensive scale?

*Suitable film rating for children, don't know the US version

knowyourmeme64 karma

I'd say any entry that's not marked NSFW probably falls somewhere in the PG to PG13 range. But even when things don't contain offensive images, there's probably a good chance there's some explicit language in many entries.

- Matt

TheColourOfHeartache50 karma

What do you think is the biggest mistake (as in most impactful mistake, not most inaccurate statement) the mainstream made about a meme?

knowyourmeme111 karma

I don't know if I'd call it a "mistake" per se, but when news orgs started calling Pepe racist, then Pepe became, for all intents and purposes, "racist" for a lot of people


btbrian3 karma

Are there any memes you regret supporting through your site? Why?

knowyourmeme7 karma

There are obviously plenty of problematic memes out there - and many of them (like Pepe) didn't start out that way. But when we cover memes we aren't actually "supporting them" - we're documenting them.

- Briana