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Imgur is, as the site's tagline says, "A Simple Image Sharer". But what's more is its cult-like following of users who dictate which images get to the front page as well as whose comments get the most points via simple comment and voting systems.

Started in 2009 by Alan Schaaf as a very stripped down image storage site, it's since grown exponentially to the tune of roughly one million uploads per day and billions of pageviews per month (according to Wikipedia); it's now also ranked within the top hundred sites globally (according to Alexa).

The Front Page

The main landing page for imgur.com is a simple gallery of thumbnails in a four row grid that expands indefinitely as you scroll down. In the beginning, the site had a static front page that updated daily with the site's most popular images for that timeframe. It has since evolved into a dynamically populated page that has the options of Most Viral, User Submitted, Highest Scoring or Memes sorted based upon Newest First or Popularity for the day. There are additional options to search past images as well as random ones.

Most Viral

The viral-ity of each uploaded image gets determined through an algorithm, explained by way of this blogpost:

"We’ve updated the way images from User Submitted are added to Most Viral. We don’t want there to be a set number of points a post has to achieve to make it onto the front page. Instead, we’d like a post to achieve a certain level of popularity in relation to all the other posts. This will guarantee that the very best content ends up in the Most Viral section of the gallery.

"In lieu of score alone, we now use a special algorithm that computes a virality score, taking into account votes, views and time. This is the same algorithm used when sorting the gallery by ‘popularity,’ now applied as the Most Viral gatekeeper. It’s also the same algorithm that determines which web-shared content reaches the front page. The current images in the Most Viral gallery create a minimum score that User Submitted candidates must pass, thus eliminating the problem with vote inflation that we have been experiencing. Some may have 300 points, some may have 30, but if their virality scores are high, both will make it to the front page."

User Submitted

This is the gallery of all the stuff people have uploaded recently, and is essentially the picking ground for new content to get discovered by way of upvotes and witty comments.

Highest Scoring

Ditches the virality element and just goes with the highest scoring images for the day.

Memes

Filters just the memes on the site.

Image page

Once a thumbnail is clicked, the site brings you to that image's page, which displays the following:

__________________________________________________   _________________________
| Caption | | Next/Previous buttons |
|------------------------------------------------| | |
| | | Thumbnail Gallery |
| | | |
| | -------------------------
| | _________________________
| Image | | |
| | | Image Stats |
| | |_______________________|
| |
| |
| |
--------------------------------------------------
Up/Down vote buttons | Points | Meter | Social icons
__________________________________________________
| Comments |
| |
--------------------------------------------------

There's also the possibility of a description to accompany an image, as well as the chance of multiple images stacked within a gallery.

Comments

Comments can be submitted by anyone, as long as they've registered a username on the site. They are sorted based upon their score (highest first), which is equated by the number of upvotes it has, minus the downs. The OP (original poster) of the image will have a corresponding symbol next to their username, to indicate which comments are theirs.

Each comment has a box, like so:

__________________________________________________
| Upvote Arrow | Username | Points | Reply |
----------------| |
| Downvote Arrow| Comment |
--------------------------------------------------

Comments are nested based upon replies and have corresponding expansion plus and minus marks to expand or contract them.

User Base

While the majority of users on the site are merely "lurkers" who go just to browse the most viral images there are also a dedicated base of users (called Imgurians) who strive to get their images to the front page or obtain the top ranking comment for a popular image. There are also a number of running inside jokes that get thrown around, and to an outsider it can be a little daunting trying to grasp just what the hell the users are talking about some of the time. Luckily, there are often comments asking to clarify something, which are often obliged with an accompanied link, explanation or image.

Just a few of these are:
  • Imguraffe - a monocle wearing giraffe that's been adopted as the site's mascot.
  • Bananas - used for scale in many images, often called out if not.
  • Tard - a cat that looks like it's always grumpy.
  • 4Chan - the nemesis to imgur.
  • Photos of Jennifer Lawrence or Emma Watson - nearly guaranteed to get upvoted.
  • Earth Porn - HD photos of scenic places.
  • Memes - just about every meme out there is represented here.

Top Images

Top images are usually hilarious, poignant, heartfelt or beautiful. There are a number of themes that have gone down throughout the years that have been pointed out by the site's blog/.

Top Comments

These are generally the most witty or pun ridden comments, but can occasionally be truly endearing or heartfelt.

Reddit

Imgur is tied in heavily to Reddit, as explained here.

Mobile

It took a substantially long time for the app to come together for full functionality with imgur, but it seems to have finally come to fruition as of 2013.

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