I am creating a game where users have karma. They can buy good and bad karma. They can give good karma to users who do good things and can give bad karma to users who do bad things.

I will display this information for each player. Currently I have this, which is clearly going to confuse some users.

Good Karma Owned: 5
Good Karma: 3
Bad Karma Owned: 5
Bad Karma: 3

What terms, language, or techniques can I use to intuitively explain the difference between "Owning" and "Having"?

2 Answers 2


I would recommend the wording of "Available Karma" vs "Gained Karma" as this shows it is something you have access to the distribution of, while separating it from the karma you have been given.

I'm not sure how instrumental it is to your game, but does the owned good karma and owned bad karma have to be separate? Could you have a single supply pool, from which you can give good or bad.

  • Great answer. And yes, it needs to be separate for the game mechanics. If you could get rid of bad karma, it wouldn't be very meaningful.
    – Goose
    Jun 4, 2017 at 14:38
  • If you're happy with my answer, would you mind marking it as correct?
    – lukesrw
    Jun 4, 2017 at 21:33

If this was a text based game then I think the wording would be quite important. In a way I think available and gained is still a little bit ambiguous because you could gain karma by purchasing it, but it just doesn't add to your attributes. Instead I would consider creating a category that explains it in an even clearer way.


  • Good Karma - 5
  • Bad Karma - 3


  • Good Karma - 5
  • Bad Karma - 3

To me this makes it much clearer that the karma that people give you becomes your character attribute, while the karma that you buy becomes items that you can give to other people.

If this was a visual game then you can simply design the HUD or user interface so that the attributes are where it is normally located, and the items are stored in an inventory.

  • Maybe it's my specific situation, but this seems potentially problematic? Probably mainly because there's pretty much no other attributes or items in my case. Probably a useful answer in most contexts though.
    – Goose
    Jun 4, 2017 at 23:52
  • Sounds like an interesting game... I assume it is mobile based? A game having very little character attributes or items would rely heavily on the game design and mechanics. Unless it is purely text based, I think the visual styling will help the most here. I just think the wording of available and gained can still be ambiguous.
    – Michael Lai
    Jun 4, 2017 at 23:54

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