Keep Your Karma – What Not to Do on Reddit

Dave Parrack 29-05-2013

Reddit proves its worth more with each passing day. As a source of entertainment, information, knowledge, memes, and LOLs, it is unrivaled in terms of the sheer scope of content it offers to the casual Web user. Which is why it totally deserves its place on the list of seven websites we could not live without 7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without The World Wide Web (now more commonly known simply as the Web) has been with us for over 20 years now, and in that relatively short space of time it has unequivocally changed the world.... Read More .


You don’t even have to join Reddit to enjoy the various pleasures it has to offer. But becoming a registered user means you can actively get involved in the discussions on the site rather than merely sitting on the sidelines imagining the kinds of wry comments you would be making if only you had joined.


what not to do on reddit

Reddit isn’t a place for the faint of heart, but it doesn’t take long before you start to feel at home. And then start commenting, submitting content, and generally living up to your billing as a Redditor. It’s at this point that you’ll start to build Reddit Karma What Is Reddit Karma and How Do You Earn It? Reddit Karma isn't quite the same as real-life karma. Here's everything you need to know about what is Reddit Karma. Read More , the points system Reddit uses to assess the contributions everyone is making.

You gain Karma by posting good content and making good comments. However, you can also lose points, which may result in you acquiring negative Karma. Not that it really matters much – after all, Karma cannot be exchanged for goodies – but losing it can lead to you having a bad name, which is not a fun experience in a community such as Reddit.

With that in mind we offer you a short guide on how to keep your Karma. In other words, these are the things not to do on Reddit if you want to keep your good name intact. Think of this as the second stage of your Reddit education, following on from the survival tips for your first day.


Don’t….Go Against The Grain

reddit etiquette

The Internet has bred a feeling that everybody should give their opinions on everything, whether or not those opinions are sought. On social networks this could see you losing friends, as you see fit to condemn or belittle other people’s views on politics, religion, or how to bring up children.

On Reddit the result is quite different. By going against the grain – airing views contrary to those shared by the majority – you won’t lose friends but you will lose Karma and could end up with one of the most down-voted comments on Reddit. It is, therefore, a good idea to only pipe up when you have something positive to say.

You should also pay close attention to which subreddit you’re commenting in. In /r/atheism a comment condoning extreme religious beliefs won’t go down well. In /r/tea_party a comment supporting liberal politicians will be roundly shunned. It’s common sense, but it’s often ignored.


Don’t….Repost Content

reddit etiquette

Many of the best online memes 5 Awesome Meme Generators on the Web Anyone who spends any serious amount of time on the Web will be aware of Internet memes. At least those who venture into the useless-yet-entertaining side streets the Web has to offer. Those who are... Read More originate on Reddit. Even if they don’t then they will likely have made an appearance on the site by the time you spot it on the Web. Blindly posting that meme, or funny picture, or movie quote, or unmissable video, to Reddit without first checking if it’s fresh will lead to a loss of Karma.

Search Reddit before you post anything. If the content you have in mind has already been posted then leave it well alone. Reposting content will, at the very least, see you called out for doing so, though you may be lucky and just get a simple “Repost!” rather than a nasty, expletive-laden comment comparing your mom to a moose.

Don’t….Repeat Comments

reddit etiquette


While browsing Reddit you will inevitably see content you want to comment on. You may instantly conjure up a funny quip you think will get upvoted into the stratosphere. You click through and read the existing comments and notice someone beat you to it.

Don’t then repeat the comment. It clearly wasn’t all that original to begin with, and someone got in there before you. That’s hard luck. Upvote them for not only having the same thought as you but for being quicker than you in opening the thread and writing it out.

Don’t….Use The Wrong Subreddit

reddit rules

As mentioned previously, an essential element of being a Reddit user is knowing which subreddit you’re inhabiting at any time. This rings even more true when it comes to posting content than it does to posting comments.


Each subreddit has rules regarding the type of submissions the moderators will accept and what they will delete. Even if a mod lets your submission stay, posting it in the wrong subreddit will likely lead to a raft of comments that weren’t exactly what you were expecting.

Don’t….Get Caught Lying

reddit rules

As with every social network and community-based website on the Internet it’s possible to craft a new identity on Reddit. You don’t have to be who you are in real life, or reveal the actual opinions you hold in your mind. You can lie and tell untruth after untruth.

You can also get caught. And that could bring you a whole heap of trouble. Redditors are not generally Internet n00bs, and they can therefore spot liars a mile off. They can then make life very uncomfortable for those lying to the community, and any Karma you had built to that point could be obliterated.

Don’t….Get Caught Trolling

reddit rules

There are trolls everywhere, though we have tried to help guard against them by providing a toolkit against online trolls The MakeUseOf Toolkit Against Online Trolls [Part 3] Read More . Reddit is no exception, and it’s very easy to fall into the trap of becoming a troll yourself. After all, no one knows who you are or whether you actually believe the stuff you’re spouting.

That may be so, but as stated already, Reddit users weren’t born yesterday. Many have been active on Internet forums for years and can spot a troll from a considerable distance. If you consistently troll Reddit then you will get caught and your comments will get downvoted into insignificance.

Don’t….Ignore The Rules

what not to do on reddit

Reddit has rules, lots and lots of rules. As well as the main rules that apply across the whole site, each subreddit also has its own set of rules that must be adhered to at all times. Failing to do so will result in moderators deleting your content or your comments, or result in other Redditors voting you down.

If you want to keep hold of all that lovely Karma you have previously built up then don’t be the troublemaker that goes out of their way to make up their own rules as they see fit. You could, of course, create an alt account, but that’s also frowned upon.


Please remember that this is a list of things NOT to do…if you took these words of wisdom as an instruction for what TO do you’d have a rough ride on Reddit. And I suspect your Karma would hit negative figures before long. Still, it could be a fun experiment to see how quickly you could get your current Karma levels back to zero. Don’t do it!

What do you think of Reddit? Do you think there are too many rules in place for posting and commenting on the site? Are there any unofficial rules you have placed on yourself when using Reddit? Perhaps as a result of a bad experience in the past? As always we’d love to hear your views in the comments section below.

And if you enjoy Reddit, check out our explanation of Reddit Premium What Is Reddit Premium and How Does It Work? Reddit offers a membership tier called Reddit Premium. What is Reddit Premium and how is it different from Reddit Gold? Read More or try out these Reddit apps and extensions 5 Awesome Reddit Apps and Extensions You Aren't Using Reddit is the internet's unofficial discussion forum. So use these apps and extensions for a better Reddit experience. Read More .

Image Credit: Alan Turkus

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Mark Palmos
    August 11, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    A social media network that encourages people to be yes-people, pleasers, just going with the flow... is how to make a brain dead society. YUK to reddit! Stick your karma where it fits best.

  2. Mark Palmos
    August 11, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Pretty lame, a social media network that promotes being an also-person, a yes-person, a person who just goes with the flow. YUK.

  3. Walker
    April 2, 2018 at 2:27 am

    frankly, some of the tips here sound like tips on how to karmawhore on reddit.

  4. James
    May 30, 2016 at 5:35 am

    This article and your previous comment is utter shit because
    a. you don't even know that deleting reddit posts doesn't delete karma.
    b. you couldn't even express what you were asserting in a sensible english sentence.
    c. you couldn't figure out what the previous poster was asking you.
    d. you actually referred readers to (lol)

  5. Yoyo
    January 1, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    what a waste of time this article and comments were. i am so stupid. the internet is stupid.

    all is stupid!

  6. Pone
    October 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

    So the extremely rude responses in this article mirror exactly what is wrong with Reddit itself: Reddit is populated by extremely rude trolls with potty mouth. These haters come into every discussion and throw in the weight of their worthless and extremely negative opinions. They always make the weight of their presence know by throwing in very rude remarks like:

    "So what you did isn't worth shit."
    "Your post is shit"
    "You are an asshole"

    At that point it doesn't matter what you do to defend yourself. If you respond nicely, rudely, or matter-of-factly, you are downvoted by gangs of potty-mouth trolls. Stupid pimple-faced losers with no jobs all work together to bring the site down to the lowest common denominator.

    The only real solution is to first ignore them, to prevent an escalation. Then downvote them and have several people try to get their original post removed.

    The fact that Reddit tolerates all of those stupid troll bullies in the first place reflects poorly on Reddit. You have to be a very determined person and very stubborn and very very sneaky to survive in such a rude hard environment.

  7. Sam
    August 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Just what I needed to read. Thank for writing that Dave. Ignore the Troll.

  8. jsmith101
    August 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    This whole post is utter shite. Please don't argue with truth, "Dave".

  9. Jackie
    May 30, 2013 at 12:42 am

    If I delete a post that has a lot of link karma, do I keep the karma or does it go away?

    • Dave Parrack
      May 30, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      I'm not 100% sure but from what I've read online it doesn't look like it. But why would you want to delete a piece of content that did well?

      • omfg
        July 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        doesn't look like WHAT? man this whole post is utter shit

        • Dave P
          July 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm

          I was responding to the commenter's question above. I'm sorry you don't understand the English language and how conversations work.

          Anyway, thanks for reading. This article may be "utter shit" as far as you're concerned but it made you engage with the site, so it can't be all bad.