I have been a pretty solid Reddit user for a while now and one thing I have noticed is that they always seem to release new features without officially announcing them. In most cases the new features are opt in for a testing period to make sure they work out all the bugs before showing it to everyone.
For this reason I often find myself clicking around the site and looking for new additions or changes that might not have been there before.
One link I always seem to click on, and normally find blank, is the “Stats” link. Today I was pleasantly surprised to find the page was actually displaying the biggest “karma” gainers of the week.
The “stats” page has been empty for as long as I can remember so it was nice to find it working.
One of the things I noticed right away was how the numbers didn’t seem to add up. Take “User_Agreement” for example, who gained 469 karma and yet still had an overall karma score of “0”.
This got me wondering if users could have a negative karma score or if the data was inaccurate. It was then explained to me by Chris at Reddit, that there was a third and correct reasoning for the apparent inaccuracy.
“User_Agreement got all of that karma on a self post”
Apparently their was an issue with certain users abusing the “self” submissions in an effort to whore karma. They would submit questions like “Vote up if you think Bush should be impeached“, which of course would earn them hundreds, if not thousands, of karma in a single day.
If you are not familiar with “self” submissions, it is when you go to the submit page and put “self” as the url and then type in your title for the submission. When you submit it will be automatically be a self.reddit.com submission.
After numerous user requests, Reddit removed the ability to gain karma from the “self” submissions.
“One of the ones that filtered to the top was “vote up if you don’t think self posts should get karma” and a useful discussion ensued. We decided to make the change after that. Reddit is a democracy after all.” – Chris from Reddit.
One of the things that Reddit was excited about with the site going open source was the time and ability to focus on some of the many features and fixes that needed to be addressed.