Building a Healthy Online Community

Reddit has a reputation, and it’s not always a good one. Steve Drew (u/elquesogrande) has created a space on Reddit that defies some of its greater detractors – r/Fantasy is a fun, safe, and engaging place for fans of speculative fiction to meet each other and (quiet often) their favorite authors.

A healthy community like this is something of a rarity on the internet, and one that requires a lot of thoughtful planning and devoted attention over time. I wanted to sit down with Steve and ask him how he does it. Knowing some of the r/Fantasy mods as well as a number of its regulars, I’ve been fascinated by this oasis of community in a broad desert we all know as the internet.


Our Guests

They tried to run, but weren’t fast enough
Steve Drew

Steve Drew

Founder: Reddit Fantasy

Business executive, speculative fiction fan, and founder/mod of the Reddit Fantasy community, Steve is a natural connector and community-builder. He moderates panels at conventions with subtle grace, has a superhero chin, and moderates for r/Books as well.┬áHe’s a mean shot with a bow and is embracing his inner geek.

Jay Swanson

Jay Swanson

Host - Creator: Into the Nanten

Jay is the creator of Into the Nanten, the world’s first real-time fantasy blog, and is the host of Creative Mines. He has written and published five books within the same world and body of work entitled “Oracle of the Dread Gods.”

Find out more about him at

Jay’s new book: Shadows of the Highridge

What do you think?


What are some other communities you’ve found on the internet that you find to be healthy and welcoming?

I remember a great server for Counter Strike in college called Terra Firma run by Team Pfeffer (disclosure: I was later asked to join up). Counter Strike has a similar reputation for attracting the worst sorts of people, or at least bringing the worst out in them. But Terra Firma was full of fun, polite, and hilarious people who made it more than just a game, but a community of friends.

So much of it came down to the admins being active and strict with the rules while being, as Steve put it, decent human beings. It seems to me that involvement and dedication are key ingredients. What are the things that make your favorite online communities great?

Killing Canaries with Steve Drew – Show notes

You can find Reddit Fantasy at – and I suggest you do if you have any interest in speculative fiction, or just want to see a good group of Redditors in action.

You can also follow Steve on Twitter @elquesogrande1

And keep your eyes out for more Worldbuilders excitement to come on r/fantasy. He’s got an amazing project under way and I know you’ll want a piece of it if and when the opportunity arises. You may have to buy it though.

If you’re looking for something to read, take a moment to check out my most recent project over at – full of beautiful illustrations, sultry narration, and an action-packed adventure of a story.


Coming Soon

Due to the madness of life and constraints on time, Creative Mines is currently happening on an opportunistic basis. I’ll be doing them as I cross paths with interesting folks or have the time and energy to spare. So this section, once full of promises, must now be filled with excuses. I hope you enjoy what we’ve got so far!