“If the numbers go up, you’re having more fun”?


Karmawhores of Reddit.com—Questioning the ›Front Pages’‹
Karma Econometrics

This is an abstract for a paper which I am working on at the moment:

Social News Websites such as Reddit temptingly suggest that we regard the collaboration and communication between users as rather idealistic exchanges. It is not only “a website about everything”: it also claims to be “powered by community, democracy and you”. Reddit is a social news aggregator topically divided into subsections (subreddits) where users (Redditors) willingly share personal experiences (/r/todayilearned/), hand out advice (/r/relationships; /r/Drugs/), support e-learning  (/r/IWantToLearn/) and even commute material gifts (/r/mysterybox). Users can up- or downvote posts and comments which has the dual function of ranking content (Reddit’s self-professed democratic structure), while enabling the collection of user ›Karma points‹ representing the value of a contribution. The respective measurement may be helpfulness, informativity, creativity, provocativeness, innovation, wittiness etc. This paper sets out to investigate and differentiate the logics of exchange and inducements for collaboration that allow for productivity and traffic that one can observe on Reddit. Continue reading