This is a repost of an article that still applies today despite being about 19 years old.

RedditSince the beginning of the year, I’ve been studying the major social news websites. Reddit, being one of the best ones, was obviously tops on my list. I did everything that seemed to work well on Digg, Propeller, Newsvine, and most other social media sites.

The results were different from the others. I was successful in the others. Needless to say, I wasn’t successful at Reddit.

My first technique was simple. Make friends, spam a lot, wait for the “Karma” to rise. It didn’t. Actually took a week to break 20. I wasn’t happy, but I kept trying.

I’ve discovered some tricks and tips, rising to a marginally respectable Karma around 1700 over several months. Most of those points have come in the last two. Still, I really couldn’t find rhyme or reason to what was working and what wasn’t. Stories that I thought would surely hit the homepage got down-modded to oblivion, while others that were decent stories at best got dozens, even hundreds of votes.

So, I asked.

I started messaging a bunch of the top dogs on reddit. Sadly, I received few replies. Perhaps it was my message:

Hello (name),I just wanted to say hello. I’ve been marginally active in Reddit for a little while. Lately, I’ve started to become more active and I wanted to message my “friends” and really try to be a friend on Reddit. For a while, I’ve not quite understood how Reddit worked. Now, I’m trying to learn. Any advice you can give me would be great. Should I send messages? Make more friends? I really want to be active on here.Thanks! DiffeeOnline Over 80 messages sent. Seven replied. The advice was great from those who bothered. One in particular stood out, and to my pleasant surprise, it was a response from qgyh2, the Reddit member who gets more Karma in a day than I’ve been able to accumulate over several months. Here is the response:
Hi! thank you for your kind words!! well… I would suggest some of the following:

  • post a wide variety of stories
  • if a good story is buried, delete and resubmit – by this I mean sometimes if you post a story that a lot of people like, and some people downmod also, its worth deleting it and resubmitting it in an hour or so.
  • keep trying – reddit is sometimes rather saddening as people keep downmodding stories. Just ignore this and keep submitting the stories you like. Pretend that there is nobody else but you and just keep submitting what you like and believe in.
  • after submitting a story, watch it and delete it if it is heavily downmodded – sometimes people will start to downmod a story for some random reason – e.g. they don’t like it – when this happens it can affect your karma score so its best to delete the story – but first be sure that people are not upmodding the story also! because if people are upmodding also then it could be a good story!! yes do send messages to people. some people on reddit are quite good and they are friendly. besides i guess its always worth a try. some people may not respond but some people do.. and a few would become friends so why not 🙂 well, wish you best of luck on reddit! keep trying you can get there!!

The part about deleting concerned me. Was it ethical to take a story that had been down-modded and resubmit it? Wouldn’t the results be the same?

I tried it, and within a few posts, I understood. Some excellent stories get dumped because the way the system works now, it only takes a handful of abusive users to down-mod a story and make it virtually invisible. A couple of great stories would have never made it to the light if it wasn’t for this advice.

THANK YOU, qgyh2. Your concern and willingness to take interest in a junior-reddit-jedi-padawan-wannabe and offer a thoughtful response reinvigorated my belief that Reddit can be very useful and enjoyable in the social news segment of the Internet.

Here are some other great points from the advice I received from other members:

  • I would advise probably doing the same as you’ve done to me – sending friendly emails and working a relationship. Reddit is a little different where friends are not held as accountable as sites like Digg where you can actually see if a friend has voted or not.
  • Otherwise, the only other advice I can offer is don’t be discouraged if your submissions are not instant hits – keep trying.
  • The best way to be active in the reddit community, AFAIK, is submit good stories, thoughtful comments, vote often.
  • You can view your friends post here. Here is a good place to learn the commenting syntax. People on the programming subreddit can be a bitch. Beware of getting into fights with trolls. Sometimes a quick and witty smartass reply can be better than a long thought out one. Looks like you have enough karma to get past the posting block, so you are good there.
  • My main advice is to have fun. It’s a place to read about what’s new online, and to see peoples takes on it. This will show you the base rules to making nice. You don’t always have to follow, but do what’s fun for you.

I hope it helps!

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Read more about How to Reddit on this blog.

Written by JD Rucker
JD Rucker is Editor of this site as well as The New Americana, a Conservative News Aggregator. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and co-founder of the Federalist Party. Find him on Twitter or Facebook.