What is Reddit karma?
Karma is a score assigned to every user on Reddit. The platform self-describes it as a "reflection of how much your contributions mean to the community."
But it's really just a reputation system. All accounts start with 1 karma. You gain karma when you're upvoted, and you lose karma when you're downvoted.
You also used to be able to gain karma through awards back when they were still a feature.
Reddit karma is divided into four categories, which together produce the final karma value you see on your profile.
- Post karma
- Comment karma
- Awarder karma
- Awardee karma
What is post karma on Reddit?
Reddit post karma is the amount of karma a user has gained from the upvotes on their posts.
Post karma also used to be called "Link" karma, although you'll rarely hear this term being used nowadays.
What is comment karma on Reddit?
Reddit comment karma is the amount of karma a user has gained from the upvotes on their comments.
With a new profile, your ability to post is limited. So, commenting is how to get karma on Reddit as a new user.
What is awarder karma on Reddit?
Until recently, Redditors could gift out medals and awards to posts and comments.
The sender and receiver of the award would both get karma - awarder and awardee karma, respectively.
Reddit regularly gave users free awards to expend. You could slowly build your karma by gifting these free awards to other Redditors. No posting or commenting necessary!
Unfortunately, Reddit removed awards entirely on September 12, 2023. It's no longer possible to gain awarder or awardee karma.
What is Reddit karma? It's a sum of post, comment, awareder and awardee karma.
Notice how the above user's post and comment karma don't add up to their total. That's because the difference is made up by awardee karma.
What does Reddit karma do?
Redditors commonly refer to karma as "fake internet points." And perhaps rightfully so.
Karma only exists to indicate how active and engaged you've been on Reddit. That said, it has its uses.
You need a certain amount of karma to post, and this threshold varies from subreddit to subreddit. If you're the average Redditor, there's little reason to collect more once you meet your subreddit karma requirements.
But if you're a creator, influencer, or marketer, having more karma will lead to you being seen as more reliable and trustworthy. As a result, you'll see more positive engagement with your posts, comments, and ads.
How much karma do I need to post on Reddit?
One major struggle for new users is figuring out how to get enough karma to post on Reddit.
You can post to your profile whenever you want. But as a new account with 0 followers, nobody will see that.
Luckily, many subreddits don't have karma requirements. That's typically the case for most smaller ones with less than 100k subscribers. Some of the largest subreddits also fall into this category.
But you want to post in a particular subreddit and can't because you don't have enough karma?
Many subreddits limit who can post there based on the karma they have.
The moderators of each community decide the minimum required, and it often remains undisclosed.
To give you a general estimate, you need up to 30 karma for niche subreddits and 100 karma for larger ones.
You can also go through profiles of posters in a subreddit to get an idea of how much you need. Or simply try posting, and your post will be removed if you don't have enough.
For a handful of communities, you need even more. For example, you need 1000 karma to post on r/memes.
How is Reddit karma calculated?
Upvotes raise your karma and downvotes lower it. But not exactly by a 1:1 ratio.
If you see a post with, say, 40,000 upvotes, it doesn't mean the poster's Reddit post karma went up by 40,000 points. Much less, in fact - probably closer to 4,000 karma.
So, how is Reddit karma calculated?
Redditor u/Juliot gathered data and did some math to find out how karma fluctuates with the point score (upvote minus downvote count) of a post, rising status, and subreddit selection.
How does Reddit karma work? These graphs give us some insights.
Here's what you need to know:
- The calculation for karma does start out at a 1:1 ratio. The first few upvotes your post gets each equate to a 1-point raise in your Reddit post karma.
- Upvotes give you diminishing returns. In other words, as your post gets more upvotes, each additional upvote brings you less karma.
- Post age is a significant factor. Upvotes received earlier in a post's lifespan carry more weight. As the post gets older, you get fewer karma points for the same number of upvotes.
- The subreddit you post to also matters. Although it's not clear what the relationship is here. You shouldn't worry too much about this one.
The maximum amount you can get from a single post caps out at about 8000 karma.
What is negative karma on Reddit?
If Redditors really don't like what you have to say, you might find yourself getting downvoted to oblivion. Enough downvotes and it's possible for your karma to plunge down into the negatives.
The only way to prevent further damage is to delete the controversial post or comment. While that won't restore your karma, it will stop it going down even further.
Now, having some negative karma isn't as bad as it sounds. You won't be able to post in most communities, but you can still comment.
Let's also discuss how to get rid of negative karma on Reddit. Unfortunately, it's a slow process.
You lose access to previously frequented subreddits (due to karma requirements) and have to rely heavily on commenting where you can and raise your Reddit comment karma to get back to an overall neutral.
If you rack up a lot of negative karma, it will take you a lot of time and effort to get back to even. At that point, you may as well consider starting over with a fresh account.
Keep in mind that if you get banned from a community, using another account to circumvent the ban and access the community in question is against Reddit's policies.
How to get karma on Reddit fast
Users with high karma:
- Are active on Reddit and tend to have been around for longer.
- Engage more with their communities.
- Post content that's valuable and entertaining.
And doing the same will eventually get you far. But here are 11 more specific strategies to get your karma up faster.
1. Focus on the right subreddits
The best subreddits for karma are those closely tied to your knowledge and interests. Your input will naturally be more valuable to these communities, so you'll get more upvotes.
If you have a fresh account, join a bunch of smaller, niche communities. They have lower or no karma requirements and are more lenient with their rules. You can post sooner and will have an easier time engaging with other members.
Don't neglect more popular communities, though. You won't be able to post in man of them until your account has some age and karma, but you can still comment.
2. Make sure to read the rules
Familiarize yourself with subreddit rules before posting and commenting. Breaking a rule will usually result in downvotes from annoyed Redditors and penalties from the mod team.
Also, go over this resource on Reddiquette. These are informal rules that apply to the whole site.
3. Look for new and rising posts
Wondering how to get karma on Reddit without posting?
On the front page of any subreddit, you'll see the option to sort your feed. It's set to "hot" by default.
Posts on the hot page typically already have numerous highly upvoted comments. New comments on hot posts usually end up at the bottom of the comments section, unlikely to be seen.
You can play this system by replying to the most upvoted comment. If it doesn't have many replies, yours will be shown almost on top of the page. But there's a better way.
Filter by "rising" to see posts that are currently seeing an increasing amount of engagement. You should also use your reasoning here to guess which posts will perform well.
How to get karma on Reddit fast - comment on rising posts.
The comments sections of rising posts are gold mines for getting more karma.
If the post goes viral, your comment will naturally draw a lot of eyes. Leaving clever and funny comments under rising posts is arguably the fastest way to get karma on Reddit.
Typing up a comment requires relatively little effort. But - with some luck - a single comment can raise your Reddit comment karma by several hundred points.
4. Post relevant and engaging content
You can build up a lot of karma with comments alone, so posting isn't essential. However, if you're a content creator and you do have original content to share
- Do it in the right communities. Choose the most active communities that are relevant to your niche.
- Use original, high-quality content that provides value to your viewers, whether as information or entertainment.
- Do it in a way that engages users and encourages discussion. Put some thought into the post title or caption you will use. Questions make particularly great captions because they encourage comments.
And don't stop there - keep the conversation going in the comments section. Replying to the top comments is an easy way to squeeze out a generous amount of extra karma from each post.
5. Avoid reposts
Before making a post, browse the hot and top pages to ensure similar content hasn't been posted recently and - worse yet - isn't ranking on the front page of the subreddit.
How do you get negative karma on Reddit? By not following the rules.
If you're making a post to ask a question, check whether that question has already been answered in the community's About page or FAQ section.
This may seem excessive, but Redditors dislike it when they repeatedly see questions already addressed in the FAQs.
On the other hand, you can use this to your advantage.
Look at the most upvoted posts in a subreddit. Make a very similar one or in the case of image posts, you can many times copy them directly.
If people don't catch on, they upvote the previously popular post again and you get a nice karma bump.
6. Be careful where you promote yourself
Reddit can bring you incredible results with promotion efforts, but you need to be careful where and how you do it. Redditors have an exceptionally hostile attitude towards advertisements and promotions. So, if you're too direct, you'll get downvoted, reported, and scrolled past.
Getting karma on Reddit involves choosing where you promote yourself carefully.
Some communities allow self-promotion, but most don't - read the rules to know where it's okay to promote yourself.
7. Promote yourself indirectly
You should still participate in the subreddits that don't allow promotion because that's where you'll get most of your quality traffic from.
It shouldn't be surprising that subreddits that officially allow promotion tend to end up as bot farms.
Post valuable and engaging content like you would, but keep your promotional information on your profile page.
In your post or comments, slightly hint at your business, offer, product, or service - in a way that makes it seem like you're only mentioning it to validate the information you're presenting.
Interested Redditors will check you out themselves and follow your links.
8. Post at the right times
Want to draw more visibility with your posts? Posting at the correct times increases your average viewership.
On average, the best time to post to Reddit is 6 to 8 am US Central. The best days to post are Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
However, this is only true when most of your target traffic is US-based. If you're promoting to a different audience, use our Subreddit Analysis to find the best time to post for specific subreddits.
9. Use Social Rise to schedule your posts
Waking up early in the morning just to make a Reddit post probably doesn't sound too exciting to you. Don't worry; we have you covered.
Social Rise schedules your Reddit posts with a few clicks. Then they are uploaded automatically at their set times.
It's a huge time-saver if you're looking to market or promote on Reddit! You also get data-driven analytics to track and improve the performance of your posts. So not only does it do most of the work for you, but you also get better results!
10. Avoid arguments
Unfortunately, many subreddits are complete echo chambers. Partaking in arguments and debates is risky. You can be mass downvoted on the slightest of controversies - even if you're technically in the right.
It's best to avoid arguments entirely. If it looks like one might erupt, simply do not respond. If you feel like you're being attacked, let the moderators know and allow them to handle it.
11. Keep away from karma farms
There's a practice known as karma farming on Reddit.
If you search for how to get free karma on Reddit, you'll find plenty of advice suggesting you check free karma subreddits on the platform, such as r/FreeKarma4You. Users exchange upvotes solely to raise each other's karma.
Participating in a karma farm will get you shadowbanned.
Even if you avoid the shadowban, you'll make your profile look like a bot account to anyone who checks your post history. Many subreddits automatically ban users who've previously participated in such subreddits.
Needless to say, avoid karma farms at all costs. They're a huge risk and yield very little free karma in the first place.
Can you buy karma on Reddit?
You can, but not directly from Reddit. 3rd party sites sell upvotes, which also result in your karma increasing. Keep in mind it's forbidden and may result in your account getting banned.
Some users also buy Reddit accounts with karma. These are typically content creators and promoters who don't want to wait to meet karma requirements with their own accounts. They instead want to get to posting right away.
Buying and selling accounts is against Reddit's user agreement too. The accounts being sold often end up banned quickly after purchase.
If you go down the road of buying an account, you should also be aware that moderators are catching on. Some subreddits require you to have your full post history and will ban suspicious accounts that have thousands of karma with no posts.
Having the default username generated by Reddit can also be a giveaway that the account was purchased. But not on its own, as many legit users have them too.
Will Reddit karma improve my visibility?
Posts rank on the hot page (where they have the highest visibility) based on how many upvotes they get - and how fast.
A post that gets a lot of upvotes within its first few hours of life will likely end up on the hot page.
The Reddit algorithm won't prioritize your posts for a spot on the hot page simply because you have higher karma than other posters.
That said, karma can have a slight, indirect impact.
Having higher karma means Redditors value your input more. It positively influences how they perceive your post and makes them more likely to agree with you.
In this rather roundabout way, having more karma can mean you get more upvotes. Which in turn helps your posts get to the hot page and be seen by more eyes.
FAQs about getting karma on Reddit
What are points on Reddit called?
Points on Reddit are called karma. Karma is based on the number of upvotes and downvotes you get. It essentially indicates how popular, valuable, and likable other Redditors consider your input to be.
Is Reddit karma worth anything?
You need a certain amount of karma to post on some subreddits. Having high karma also indicates to other Redditors that you've been an active and helpful member of the community, so they're likely to assign more value to your input.
Why do I have 1 karma on Reddit?
All accounts start with 1 karma by default. Your karma will stay at 1 until you make a new post or leave a comment on an existing post. It will then change depending on the number of upvotes and downvotes you get.
So what does 1 karma mean on Reddit? You likely have a fresh account or haven't posted or commented yet.
How to get to karma breakdown on Reddit?
Type "old.reddit.com/user/your_username" in your address bar. You'll be taken to your profile on old Reddit. The option to view your karma breakdown by subreddit is on the right side of the page.
Conclusion: How to get karma on Reddit fast
To summarize what you learned:
- What is Reddit karma? It's a point-based reputation system. It indicates how valuable your contributions to the Reddit community have been.
- How does Reddit karma work? You gain karma when you're upvoted, and you lose it when you're downvoted. And not necessarily at a 1:1 ratio.
- How do you get negative karma on Reddit? If you get enough downvotes, your karma can go down into the negatives.
- How to get post karma on Reddit: Post original, high-quality, and valuable content in relevant subreddits. Use Social Rise to schedule your posts for the best times.
- How to get comment karma on Reddit: Leave witty comments on rising posts in popular subreddits. Avoid arguments in the comments.
- Post karma vs comment karma: You have to first build up your comment karma before you can post on major subreddits.
- What is a good Reddit karma score? You really only need a thousand or so to unlock the ability to post in most, if not all, subreddits.