Karma is Reddit’s voting system. The articles with the most karma are the ones you see on the first page. Reddit also tracks the amount of karma each of its users has earned. We’ll explain how Reddit Karma works and how to get it.
What is Reddit Karma?
Next to every Reddit post or comment are up and down vote buttons. By clicking on any of these items you are giving positive or negative karma to the message. Positive karma increases the number of points in a message, while negative karma decreases that number.
Reddit uses karma to show users the best possible content. Comments and posts with a ton of points end up at the top of the page, making even more people see and vote for them. Rejected comments can be found at the bottom of the discussion thread. If a post gets enough criticism, it ends up being hidden and you have to click to expand it.
Sometimes posts and comments will have a small cross symbol (†) next to their karma count. This indicates that the post is controversial, meaning that it has a similar number of up and down votes.
You can see the total karma of each Redditor on their profile. This karma is divided between post karma, which is the total points of all the threads they have posted, and how karma, which is the total of the points of the comments they have submitted to existing threads.
What does karma do?
Karma has no intrinsic value. For this reason, Redditors often joke that they only get “imaginary Internet Points”. However, a user who has a lot of karma and an extensive post history is a sign that they are very active on the site.
While you can’t trade your karma for anything, a few subreddits require you to have minimal karma in order to comment and post. This is especially true for market subreddits that involve meeting and dealing with people outside of the site. Having a lot of karma on multiple items makes you look more trustworthy.
When should I vote for or against a post?
The rule of thumb of Reddit is that you have to vote for the things you love, whether it’s a particularly funny joke, a climax from your favorite soccer player, or a great question that leads to many interesting stories. Voting for a post also helps other people see it. Being an active voter can help improve the Reddit experience for everyone.
Most people agree that votes shouldn’t be as simple as positive messages you agree with and negative votes you don’t agree with. If there is a balanced and stimulating discussion going on, be sure to vote for the comments that have good points.
Some subreddits have guidelines on what constitutes a “good post” and a “bad post”. For many communities, however, reposting old content, repeating the same jokes, and low-effort content such as one-sentence text messages are frowned upon. Voting against bad posts brings good content to the fore.
How to get karma?
While you might be tempted to just post a lot of stuff in the hopes that one gets a big vote, you should slow down. The practice of spamming rest and random content to gain karma is called “karma farming” and is generally frowned upon on Reddit. In some subreddits, you might get banned for posting too often in the same time frame.
The best way to get karma is to post organically. Find subreddits you love to read and become an active member. Contribute to the discussion by sharing relevant articles, participating in discussions or making funny jokes. Reddit users like a lot of wit, so a successful attempt to be smart will normally yield upvotes.
Since messages are normally time sensitive, there is also a great advantage in being early. You can explore the “rising” or “new” tabs in the subredits to be one of the first users to comment. If you come across breaking news, being the first to post it to the relevant subdirectory can get you a ton of karma. In the subtitles for sports leagues, several accounts try to be the first to post important transactions and signatures, as they lead to tens of thousands of karma points.
Another great way to get karma is to post Original Content (OC): original, high-quality posts that start an interesting discussion or show off your creativity. For example, if you’re in a community focused on PC hardware, posting a comprehensive guide to building PCs is likely to result in a lot of positive reviews and potentially some rewards.
As an added bonus, karma normally goes hand in hand with Reddit rewards, which are paid symbols that have tangible benefits. Highly voted publications normally receive multiple awards. So, although this karma itself doesn’t buy you anything, the rewards often come when you gain large amounts of karma.