How Reddit Voting Works
Voting is where Reddit starts to really show its true colors. The community-mentality of Reddit comes into the picture when members can decide if something deserves an up or down vote. Voting is the idea that the community can choose if something sinks or swims. If you like something you are reading, or you like a post someone put in a subreddit, you can up vote that post to show your support. However, if a post doesn’t really make you happy, or you feel its inaccurate, wrong, etc., you are free to down vote it as well.
How does this work?
To the left of every post, you will see a grey number with an arrow that points above or below it. The number you see represents the post’s rank – which is configured by the amount of up or down votes. You can apply votes to comments within subreddits as well. The same arrows will be available next to every comment beneath the post, too.
Reddit has admitted to altering certain post’s scores from time to time in order to prevent spam and abuse. If someone is trending for a post about child pornography, or if a spam account is boosting its own score, Reddit will intervene to try and make the community safer for everyone. This started following the fiascos in 2012 when dangerous gun subreddits, etc. were promoting violence.
You will also notice that at times, posts with the highest score will not be at the top of the subreddit. This is to allow new posts to have their fair share of time to rank well. Reddit would not be as fun if the same posts ranked at the top of every thread, every single day. This also gives users the incentive to keep commenting on other threads so they can have their new comments go viral.
Reddit refers to this phenomenon as their time decay algorithm. The decay holds that a 12-hour-old post must have 10-times as many points as a brand new post to appear in similar ranks. Any given story also has a lifespan of max, 24-hours, on a user’s home page. Much like a news site, Reddit wants to churn out brand new content every day so that users have incentive to log into their accounts every day as well.
Seeing what’s “hot” is always fun, but so is seeing what’s “fresh” and in the backend of Reddit as well. If you want to see brand new submissions that haven’t even had time to gain traction yet, click on the “new” tab at the top of the front page, or choose a subreddit. There you can see things that happened just moments ago. You can then up vote or down vote them, as well as comment on them, playing a role in where that subreddit is going to go.
Most of the content in this section can be uninspiring, but every so often, that golden thought comes through that will make you happy you were the first one there to read it.
You can also see which posts are picking up traction by viewing the “rising” link category at the top of your home page. This section will show you posts within a new tab that are gaining a lot of traction, but haven’t quite hit that home page yet.
Of course, everyone on Reddit is there to get involved with a little controversy. That’s what makes the site so fun – nothing is off limits. If you want to see which posts are batting for a score that is more positive or negative, you can click the controversial tab at the top of your home page. Play a part in determining which way the thread is going to go.
What is Karma?
Although this can also be included in the Reddit lingo portion of this book, it’s appropriate to mention in the voting chapter. Reddit Karma is the accumulation of “goodwill” when your post or comment receives enough up votes to be ranked as Karma. This doesn’t give you any influence or anyone else, nor can it be used to get money or any special access. It does, however, tell other Redditors when they visit your profile that you add some serious value to the community.
There are two kinds of karma up for grabs on Reddit: one for links and one for comments. Both types of karma are displayed on your user profile in the upper right-hand corner. They are to be seen as “badges of honor” or the highest form of Reddit accreditation available today.
For more tips on how to succeed on Reddit, read posts from our published book below:
Intro: HonorSociety.org Reddit Review: Introduction to Success on Reddit
#1: The History of Reddit
#2: Understanding Subreddits
#4: Posting Content
#5: Lingo & Formatting Norms
#6: Who is Not Welcome on Reddit?
#8: 5 Reasons to Join Reddit Today
#9: The Future of Reddit