Voting – this is where Reddit really starts to show itself. The community-mentality manifests itself when users can decide whether something deserves an up or down vote. Voting is the idea that the community can decide whether something sinks or swims. If you like something you’re reading, or you like a post someone has posted on a subreddit, you can upvote that post to show your support. However, if you’re not happy with a post, or you think it’s inaccurate, wrong, etc., you are free to downvote it as well.
Reddit uses an algorithm to calculate karma and does not disclose exactly how it works. Presumably, the more Reddit upvotes a post or comment gets, the less Karma each upvote is worth. This means that a comment with 15K upvotes will not necessarily give you 15K of Karma.
Reddit has admitted that it occasionally changes the ratings of certain posts to prevent spam and abuse. If someone becomes trending for a post about child pornography or if a spam account raises its rating, Reddit intervenes to make the community safer for everyone. This began after the fiasco in 2012, when dangerous gun subreddits, etc. promoted violence.
You will also notice that sometimes the posts with the highest ratings will not be at the top of the subreddit. This is to ensure that new posts have enough time to get a decent spot. Reddit would not be as interesting if the same posts topped every topic every day. It also gives users an incentive to keep commenting on other topics so that their new comments go viral.
Reddit calls this phenomenon the time decay algorithm. According to this algorithm, a 12-hour old post has to score 10 times as many points as a brand new post to end up in a similar ranking. Any story also has a maximum lifespan of 24 hours on the user’s home page. Like a news site, Reddit wants to release brand new content every day so that users have an incentive to log into their accounts every day.
You can also see which posts are gaining momentum by viewing the “rising” links category at the top of the home page. This section will show you posts in a new tab that are gaining more popularity but have not yet made it to the home page.
Of course, everyone on Reddit tends to get into a little controversy. That’s what makes the site so interesting – nothing is off-limits. If you want to see which posts get more positive or negative ratings, you can go to the “Controversial Issues” tab at the top of the home page. Take part in determining which way the topic goes.
What is Karma?
While this question could be included in the Reddit lingo part, it is appropriate to mention it by voting. Reddit Karma is the accumulation of “goodwill” when your post or comment gets enough upvotes to be ranked as Karma. It does not give you or anyone else any influence, and it cannot be used to get money or any special access. However, it does tell other Redditors when they visit your profile that you are of serious value to the community.