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Reddit tests tipping users, starting with Mr. Hell in a Cell

A Reddit experiment moves beyond upvotes into actual money.

Reddit user "shittymorph" sits along the waterfront in Alameda, east of San Francisco.

James Martin/CNET

Reddit has several ways you can express your appreciation of a good post or comment. You can upvote it or guild it with silver or gold based on a Reddit currency called coins. Now you can also give a monetary tip, but only for one particular Reddit user: shittymorph.

Reddit is testing tipping on one subreddit.

Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Reddit is experimenting with tipping users, starting with the shittymorph subreddit, a group dedicated to the man who has memorably bamboozled many a reader with sneaky comments ending in a reference to a famous pro-wrestling match called Hell in a Cell. 

A Reddit admin with the username "internetmallcop" posted a thread on Tuesday announcing the experiment, calling it a "new feature to support u/shittymorph." Anyone in the group can now tip shittymorph for content he posts in his own subreddit. 

"This is an experimental feature available only in this subreddit, and no other community," internetmallcop writes. 

A "tip" option appears below shittymorph's content. Clicking on it opens a window with suggested $3, $5 or $10 tips, or the choice to select another amount. You can input your credit card number directly into the window. The payments are handled by processor Stripe. 

Shittymorph responded to the admin post by saying he is "super grateful and honored" to be picked for the launch and beta testing. As of this writing Wednesday morning, the comment shows a $75.00 tip total in green above it. 

Internetmallcop explained in a comment how the tipping breaks out: "If you were to tip $100, about $78.5 goes to u/shittymorph, $18.5 to Reddit, and $3 to Stripe." 

Reddit's choice of shittymorph for the experiment may be due in part to the Hell in a Cell writer's infamy and extensive fan base on the site. Shittymorph's intriguing backstory to his creative Reddit comment efforts stem from the tragic loss of his father. He's also known for occasionally posting about his rescue dog Scooby.

Shittymorph has racked up heaps of Reddit's gold, silver and platinum appreciation currency. Now he can receive the real deal from readers who love his literary curveballs.

It's unclear if Reddit plans to expand tipping beyond this experiment, and if it might extend to all users, or just certain content creators.   

"We are always running experiments to test potential features that support and empower our users, and the tipping feature in r/shittymorph is one of them," a Reddit spokesperson told CNET. "Only a small percent of experiments get implemented." 

Originally published Feb. 27, 10:17 a.m. PT.
Update, 10:58 a.m. PT: Adds comment from Reddit.