Reddit, the so-called 'front page of the internet', is trialing a new feature to let users tip each other with real-world money.
The feature is currently only available in a single subreddit, for the well-known (on Reddit, at least) user 'shittymorph' – and only enables users to tip the page's admin rather than each other – so it remains to be seen whether tipping will roll out more widely across the site.
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Speaking to Engadget, Reddit said: "We are always running experiments to test potential features that support and empower our users", but that "only a small percent of experiments get implemented."
You can see a gif of the new feature below from the subreddit, where the 'tip' button sits alongside post actions like 'reply', 'share', or 'save', and allows suggested $3 / $5 / $10 donations or a maximum $100 for those feeling particularly generous. However, you'll need to be using the redesigned Reddit site in order to try it out.
Money money money
It's not hard to imagine problems arising on a large scale: in mid-2018 Reddit was hit by a hack that revealed the personal information (passwords, names, email addresses) of hordes of Reddit users. Adding sensitive financial information to the mix might not end well for users, though all transactions are run through the payment app Stripe and should technically be secure.
And the option to tip users you support, rather than just upvote their comments, would certainly create an intriguing economy of patronage across the popular site's threads and message boards. Our instinct says we won't hear much about tipping again, but Reddit could always surprise us.