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That's how probably 99% of karma is gained and lost. It can also be gained and lost by doing moderation well or poorly (as judged by the metamoderators later). And by doing metamoderation well or poorly (also as judged by the user's fellow metamoderators). Finally, you gain 3 karma by having a submission accepted for posting as a story.
All karma changes are relative; you accumulate or lose points, and don't jump instantly to a specific karma level.
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