I’m still kind of shocked to read that this is how it really works … kinda changes my whole perspective on Reddit, at least a little!
It’s always baffled me whenever I saw random posts that could only be derived as being overwhelmingly positive, only to see that the post had earned itself a number of downvotes in addition to all of its upvotes. I’ve even gotten these myself in some really benign scenarios (i.e. trading Lego minifigs), and I’d always attributed it to there just being some miserable fucks on Reddit who hate everything and everyone and who take a particular joy in shitting on people’s parades.
Granted, that still might be a fair assessment for some corners of Reddit, but apparently there’s also a perfectly legitimate explanation for some of those downvotes, and that’s simply because … apparently they’re not really real.
From the Reddit FAQ – How is a submission’s score determined?
A submission’s score is simply the number of upvotes minus the number of downvotes. If five users like the submission and three users don’t it will have a score of 2. Please note that the vote numbers are not “real” numbers, they have been “fuzzed” to prevent spam bots etc. So taking the above example, if five users upvoted the submission, and three users downvote it, the upvote/downvote numbers may say 23 upvotes and 21 downvotes, or 12 upvotes, and 10 downvotes. The points score is correct, but the vote totals are “fuzzed”.
So basically there’s no way to actually see the split between up and down … the total is the only thing that’s correct, which kind of begs the question as to why even show up and down values in the first place if they’re potentially false. But whatever, I guess the takeaway here is that there might not be as many assholes on Reddit as you think.
I mean, there probably still are, but there might not be…