“+1” has long been used in internet forums as a means of expressing one’s agreement with the preceding post. On April 28th, 2004, a definition for the phrase was added to Urban Dictionary by user Joe Mama (shown below).
Use of the phrase saw a steep decline in use through the 2010s as forums such as Reddit and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook used upvote and “like” systems to allow users to express their agreement with an opinion. One of the more recent inquiries into the phrase appeared in a Quora post on March 9th, 2020. As described by Shulamit Widawsky:
1 for mentioning…” then it is saying something like, “I might not have bothered to upvote, but since you mentioned this thing that is important to me, I am upvoting.
”Think of a teacher grading a test–if the teacher wrote “89/100, +1 for including ….” and then writing “A” on the page. It means they earned an extra point for something that wasn’t necessarily part of the original requirements, but the teacher found it valuable enough to bump up a B to an A.
Online it mostly means I agree with what you wrote if there is no other comment, and I’m giving you extra points for including something other people missed if they describe what the +1 was specifically for.
Upvoting can just mean it was a worthwhile answer, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the person agreed with the answer. Also, sometime someone posts something that is sad or otherwise seems crass to “upvote” but the reader agrees with what they wrote, so they offer a +1.
While use of the phrase has largely fallen off on social media sites through the 2010s, it has continued to see use among commenters at KnowYourMeme, who will use it less to express their agreement with a post but to voice their opinion on a site’s page.
The term “+1” first entered Know Your Meme’s community vernacular in late 2009. It was initially used by Know Your Meme administrators and moderators to express their views on an entry submission, but by 2010, it had become one of the most frequently used site-specific jargons among the commenters. According to the site’s FAQ thread:
Q: What do all these “+1 Deadpool/work/confirm” mean?
A: As you read through the comments of any entry, you’ll undoubtedly stumble upon a “+1 thing”. This kind of comment was initially used by the Admins to tell another admin when they were ready to confirm/deadpool an entry and that they were awaiting for another opinion on it. Overtime, it has then been utilized by all users but they mustn’t be taken seriously or for granted. This is because even the newest of newcomers are jumping in on it and they usually don’t know what they are doing. We invite you to not lose your temper with other users’ comments as well as to look for the comments that are adding arguments in their opinions as these are more likely to help you.
The phrase “+1” is followed by an aspect of a page that the poster is pointing out in that precise moment. Some of the more common of this comments are:
- +1 Work (the submission needs more work)
- +1 Confirm (the submission is ready to be confirmed as a meme)
- +1 Meme (the submission is a meme, although it may need more work)
- +1 Deadpool (the submission is not a meme)