Remember that whole thing, where social news and bookmark site Reddit came out asking its users for donations without offering any specific features or much of anything in return? Well, it looks like it's working.

While the Reddit team only offered its "undying gratitude and an optional trophy", it looks like users have gotten some new site functionality and even a potentially more stable site in return for their donations.

Shortly after adopting the "Reddit Gold" freemium model, Reddit began offering those who donated to the site a set of features, such as the ability to turn off sidebar and sponsored ads, "Friends with Benefits", which added the ability to add notes to friends to better keep track of them, and "access to a super-secret members-only community that may or may not exist".

As of yesterday, when one of Reddit's continually-pesky servers crashed yet again, a new set of features were added site-wide and the Reddit team took advantage of the downtime to swap out some hardware.

According to a blog post by Reddit programmer Mike Shiraldi, the site now offers a sort function, meaning everyone can sort their userpages. If you're familiar with Reddit, then you might also be familiar with the often enigmatic mascot in the masthead. If the allusion seems unclear, a mouseover will now show some titletext and decipher the daily changing mascot.

For gold users, Reddit will also be adding "moar comments", loading up to 1,000 comments at a time. I don't know about you, but I often go to Reddit for the detective-esque crowdsourcing of information that happens in the comments, so loading more at once is always great.

The biggest change of all, however, has to be the swapping out of a flaky server. When the site went down yet again yesterday (it's been experiencing some downtime as of late), the team took the downtime as an opportunity to swap out some bad hardware. While Shiraldi warns that "there may be some initial issues while we bring it up to speed", he notes that this is a change that should benefit all Redditors, paying or not.

While there was certainly some doubt floating around the blogosphere when the site came out asking for donations, it seems to have paid off. Reddit is a perfect example of what all that "community building" hype is all about - build a devoted base of users and you can offer them little more than a virtual trophy and get enough out of them to put in new servers and hire some much needed developers.