Reddit now lets subreddits design and hand out their own awards

Today, Reddit is officially launching a new feature called Community Awards, which are new Reddit Gold-style medals that subreddits can design for themselves. The feature has been in testing on the site since April, but it’s now being rolled out to all eligible subreddits. The awards can be just as serious or silly as a subreddit likes. Over on r/iama for example, moderators have introduced a “Rampart” medal as a nod toward Woody Harrelson’s infamous AMA.

The Community Awards are an extension of Reddit’s existing awards, which started with the introduction of Reddit Gold. This original medal was a way for anyone to reward a fellow user for a quality post, while also generating revenue for Reddit. If you received Reddit Gold for a post, you’d get access to a premium, ad-free version of Reddit called Reddit Premium, and the medal would display by your post.

Community Awards are a little different. For the most part, they won’t give access to Reddit Premium — that’s a feature reserved for moderator-exclusive awards — and they’re also specific to individual subreddits rather than being site-wide. It’s a small piece of flair more than something that’s functional.

The hope is that the new Community Awards will compliment the specific in-jokes and cultures of Reddit’s roughly 1.2 million subreddits. Some, like r/iama’s Rampart award, poke at notable moments in the subreddit’s history, while others can point to a subreddit’s culture, like the “Apt Analysis” medal that r/nba has been testing. Each of Reddit’s communities will be able to offer up to six awards, and they’re free to make the selection process as democratic as they like. Subreddits can price their Community Awards at anywhere between 500 to 30,000 Coins (which translates to between roughly $1.99 and $75), and 20 percent of any coins spent in a subreddit will go directly into the moderator’s coffers where they’ll be able to use them to give out moderator-exclusive rewards.

Many of these awards sound similar to “Reddit Silver,” the popular in-joke that the site turned into a real award last year. Back when Reddit Gold was the only award available, users would jokingly “award” one another “Reddit Silver” for posts that were neither particularly good nor particularly bad; they were just okay. When Reddit made it official, it included a logo that was every bit as crappy as the fan-made versions that cropped up over the years.

However, with Reddit’s reputation for hosting communities that sometimes engage in borderline illegal behavior, there are concerns that these new awards could allow malicious moderators to promote bad behavior among their subscribers.

When I asked about this, Reddit told me that it does not pre-review content on Reddit, but that users can report awards that they think break its rules. Reddit also says awards must adhere to the site’s current content policies. Reddit is also limiting Community Awards to safe-for-work subreddits which are in good standing with the site. That means no NSFW subreddits will get access to the new medals, and nor will Quarantined or Banned communities.

Reddit’s Community Awards are rolling out to all eligible subreddits “in the coming weeks,” and the company has put together a post detailing how moderators can incorporate them over on r/ChangeLog.