What is the origin of the term "upmod" that is used by some people as a synonym of "upvote"? ("Downmod" also exists for the opposite action.) I found a Reddit thread that raises the question but doesn't answer it. It seems like it might be connected to "mod" = "moderator"/"moderation," but why would voting be considered a form of moderation?

It seems to be a somewhat recent term, so I hope someone will be able to tell me when and where it first originated (I'd assume on some kind of social media).

  • upmod..........! – Dan Bron Aug 4 '16 at 0:18

After doing some more research, I uncovered some information that might serve as a partial answer. I hope somebody else knows more, but I'm posting this so that other people don't have to go through the same stuff I did.

The terminology does in fact seem to be derived from "moderator." I found this page describing the moderation system of SoylentNews that uses the terms “modder” = “moderator,” “modding” = “moderating” = “voting on posts." It doesn't use "upmod" or "downmod," but “modded down” and “modded up” are used to refer to the comments that had their score decreased or increased by the actions of a moderator.

SoylentNews uses Slashcode, and I found references to "modding" posts in this page of SlashDot .sigs from 2003:

"I'll likely get modded down for this but..." - Slashdot Karma Whores

“Usually at karma-cap, please upmod my troller account instead.”

So far, the term seems to be connected most strongly to the internet community Slashdot. I also found an article that suggests this, "Slashdot and CmdrTaco — the end of another geek era" by Mathew Ingram, which says:

Slashdot’s “upmod,” a vote for a smart comment or thread, was the dominant geek status symbol, a predecessor to the “digg” vote and the Facebook “like.”

Wikipedia says Slashdot was founded in 1997, but the site's info page on "Slashdot Moderation" says that the moderation system was introduced some time after the site was established. Unfortunately, it doesn't give an exact date.

  • 3
    Slashdot (at least when I logged in regularly) was unusual in that you couldn't always vote up/down. Instead logged-in users were sometimes (rarely in my case as a light user) given mod points which could be spent as votes. This was only true if the user had positive karma (approximately: modded up more than down, no spam). Slashdot had more of an influence on terminology than you might think now - e.g. "Slashdot effect" – Chris H Aug 4 '16 at 6:44
  • Seconding @ChrisH. 1. Origin/popularization: because you never knew who had mod points on a given day, people without them would comment on posts they thought were good saying "Mod parent up". So the verb got used and reinforced more than it otherwise would. 2. The reason this qualified as moderation was that comments with a low score were collapsed (<4 on a scale of -1 to 5) or hidden entirely (<2), effectively removing them from the conversation, and thus (in theory) the default view was only the most insightful/interesting/funny comments on a given article. – SirTechSpec Oct 8 '17 at 13:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.