How Reddit Karma Works – What We Know

By Jake McEvoy •  Updated: 03/10/22 •  6 min read

If you’re new to Reddit, you’ve probably seen that the more you post on subreddits and comment on other people’s posts, the higher your ‘karma’ rises. But how is it determined and what is it used for?


Reddit has cemented itself as one of the most long-lasting social media platforms available since its foundation in San Francisco in 2005. It essentially grew alongside memes.

Regardless of the fact that they call themselves “the front page of the internet,” this was an excellent ploy to get millions of people to create accounts – individuals who were afraid of missing out on something so essential.

How Reddit Karma Works - What We Know
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Reddit is believed to have about 430 million active users who browse, post, and interact in over 100,000 different subreddits, with newcomers signing up for accounts on a regular basis.

The more these people contribute to the subreddits in various ways, the more Karma they accumulate. However, only a small percentage of active users will have no karma until they are downvoted more often than they are upvoted.

How exactly does Reddit karma work, though? How is it calculated and what can it be used for?

How Does Reddit Karma Work?

Karma is determined by Reddit using a system that it does not disclose. Each upvote is supposed to be worth less Karma the more upvotes a link or comment gets. That means, for example, that a comment with 5K upvotes does not automatically imply 5K Karma.

We don’t know how Karma is calculated, but we do know that it’s linked to the number of upvotes and downvotes users’ posts and comments get.

The more upvotes a person gets on posts and comments, the more karma that user will earn in the long run. A person’s karma will not increase considerably over time if they are continuously downvoted heavily, which is actually seen regularly.

What Can Reddit Karma Be Used For?

Karma, which is commonly referred to as “internet points” by those who don’t have much of it, does have certain purposes on the site.

To begin with, the more karma you have, the more freedom you have, and you are therefore free to publish posts and comment on others as often as you choose. When you were new to Reddit, you may have noticed that you had to wait a little while before you could post again in particular places.

We have no idea where the line is drawn in terms of how much karma you need to attain more freedom, but we do know it directly correlates with increased amounts of karma.

Another clear benefit of having higher amounts of karma is the ability to post and comment in more exclusive subreddits. One big example is r/memes, where users cannot post until they have 1,000 karma. 1k karma doesn’t take too long to get, but it prevents users from making new accounts and spamming a very popular sub.

Overall, your comments and opinions tend to be respected a little more when you have more karma. This may not be an obvious benefit, as there is always somebody that will be happy to argue with you, but on the whole, people will back off if it seems that you often get your facts right.

How Do I Get More Karma On Reddit?

While the fundamentals of collecting Karma are simple, many new Redditors are anxious to crack the code and discover how to earn it faster.

Producing quality material is the key to establishing a reputation on Reddit, as it is in any other community. You should simply join, contribute, and let things evolve organically unless you have an urgent need for Karma.

With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to keep your karma level up at all times:

1. Get Involved With Popular Subreddits

The more active people in a subreddit, the more likely your posts and comments will be upvoted. Posts in some of the most popular subreddits may get tens of thousands of upvotes, meaning your karma can skyrocket.

r/memes, r/aww, r/funny (rarely actually funny), r/todayilearned, r/askreddit, and r/AITA are among the most popular Reddit subs that you can join, however, you may not be able to post in these until you have a particular amount of karma.

2. Sort Posts By ‘Rising’

Another useful strategy is to keep an eye on increasing posts in popular subreddits and pounce on those that have a high chance of being upvoted as soon as they are published. Because of its closeness to the top of the post, if the post becomes popular, your comment will become popular as well. However, just though it is the first does not mean it will get more votes in the future.

Funny remarks, as well as insightful, well-thought-out explanations and arguments, are often great candidates for upvote consideration.

A remark with hundreds or even thousands of upvotes frequently just communicates a sentiment that a large number of people can identify with, resulting in the comment acquiring traction.

3. Discuss Current Events

If you’re in the know when it comes to politics, you’ll find karma farming particularly easy. Just be friendly about it.

On Reddit, it seems like there’s constantly a heated debate going on. If you have anything to say on the latest breaking news, there is almost certainly already a thread where you may express yourself.

The issue is that popular subjects may be divisive, so you’re nearly as likely to get negative Reddit Karma as you are to gain good Reddit Karma when you post on them.

Usually, all you have to do is scan the room and see which side of the debate is receiving more upvotes than the other.

4. Don’t Double Down

If the Reddit hivemind has decided they don’t like your first comment in a debate, don’t then try to explain yourself further. They’ve made their mind up and they will continue to downvote your comments whether you’re right or not.

On the occasion, you may successfully convince them of your point, but you’ll still do well to break even on karma. People don’t like to admit they’re wrong.

Also, there is of course the chance that you are wrong, which will make doubling down on your point even more damaging to your karma count.

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Jake McEvoy

Jake is a professional copywriter, journalist, and life-long fan of technology. He covers news and user guides for KnowYourMobile.

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