The Brief: Reddit Karma is the total number of upvotes minus the total number of downvotes that a user has received.
What Is Reddit Karma?
On Reddit, each user’s post and comment karma can be viewed on their profile. Post karma is generally calculated as the total number of upvotes someone has received on their posts minus the number of downvotes. Comment karma is the total number of upvotes subtracted by the total number of downvotes that a user has received on their comments.
Although Reddit karma has no value IRL besides bragging rights and is seldom leveraged for anything beyond the confines of Reddit, many Reddit users take pride in the amount that they have. Not only does having one’s post reach the front page of Reddit or the ‘hot’ page on a subreddit make someone feel famous, but it will also give them a significant amount of karma and clout.
Different subreddits may give out virtual awards and trophies to people who regularly post good content. These usually take the form of virtual stickers that appear next to someone’s username.
How Does Karma Work?
As the number of people who see a certain post on Reddit is determined by the site’s algorithm, there are many theories on how karma works and is calculated. In September 2019, a wave of How Reddit Karma Works memes emerged after a post on r/teenagers theorizing about Reddit’s point system was apparently deleted.