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It seems SO is a great site to come forward and ask questions, but then they threw in this rating system, which is also good; however, now you have new problems:

  1. People asking the same questions over and over

    Granted moderators can vote to close as a duplicate, but there are often more duplicates than what can be moderated. I've seen numerous questions asked over and over, almost identical, but maybe phrased in a slightly different way.

  2. Users that want to participate, but that don't have any questions to ask or answers/comments to make. It seems like once you get to a certain reputation point, you are in this club. The same people are upvoting each other and the same people are voting to close answers. I'm not sure that's in SO's best interest, as I thought the whole point of the rating system was to encourage openness and not discourage users.

How might a user gain reputation w/o asking questions or making answers/comments?

I first want to propose two things:

  1. Give some reputation for login activity and possibly even page views. You might have to develop an engine to remove users that try to automate the process, but it might increase activity and be good for those users that want to participate, but not bloat the system. Especially those users that spend a lot of time reading through the questions and logging in on a daily basis.

  2. Possibly re-engineer the upvote system so that one good question/answer won't automatically place a user in a different bracket. There should be some sort of diminishing returns for up/downvotes. Sure they're great, but should 1 really good question/answer put you in a whole different user bracket; especially when the site is trying to reduce redundancy in questions and answers?

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I've never seen a stack overflow user with brackets, except in a code sample. – Rosinante Sep 5 '11 at 22:58
@Rosinante: Bracket as in a grouping... there are tiers of "power" that users are given based on their reputation. The tier is a bracket. – BotNet Sep 5 '11 at 23:00
In regards to proposal 1: If all you're doing is passively reading the site, exactly what use is reputation? – waiwai933 Sep 5 '11 at 23:06
Why do you need reputation if you are not asking or answering questions? – Marcelo Sep 5 '11 at 23:09
Suggest some (good!) edits. Once approved, you get 2 points for each. Please note that posting comments doesn't yield any reputation points, which is what your post seems to suggest. – BalusC Sep 5 '11 at 23:09
How would one "participate more" without asking or answering questions, considering this is a Q&A site? – waiwai933 Sep 5 '11 at 23:13
@waiwai933: some people like to reduce duplication. Some people like to have the features that higher reputation gets you. I'm not saying that they don't use the site, just not as much to gain the exceptional level of reputation points that others get. – BotNet Sep 5 '11 at 23:15
up vote 8 down vote accepted

People asking the same questions over and over

The community will regulate it by voting for close. Also, Jeff has ever stated that duplicates to a certain degree are healthy. More duplicates = more keywords = more search hits = more visitors, etc.

How might a user gain reputation w/o asking questions or making answers/comments?

As long as you're below 2000 reputation, you can do it by making some (good!) suggested edits. Every approved suggested edit gives you 2 points. The maximum reputation which you can earn with suggested edits alone is 1000 reputation.

Please note that posting comments doesn't yield any reputation.

I first want to propose two things:

I disagree the first. You earn reputation by contributing to the community. With simply viewing some pages you don't contribute anything to the community. Further I fail to understand the value of the second proposal, but that doesn't matter, I find the current reputation system perfectly fine.

share|improve this answer
Chichiray, thank you, I knew the comment system does move up the comments in the stack, but I also thought it contributed some minor pts. The second proposal, Michael, has already said is currently in place. I'm not sure what the formulas are, but I guess there is something there. It's not a linear rating system. – BotNet Sep 5 '11 at 23:32
By not bloating the system, and increasing page views, I believe a user is contributing. But my question wasn't asked for someone that never asks questions and never makes comments - it was those that come here every day, but aren't really getting as much out of it, despite the fact that they are reading and participating. – BotNet Sep 5 '11 at 23:34
@Armando: Increasing page views might be useful for SE Inc, which can sell ad space there, but is not really a contribution to the community. If you think there are too many duplicates (I agree to a point), get some starting reputation (by good edits or asking/answering questions) and then flag/close-vote the worse ones as duplicates. That is contribution to the community, "not bloating the system" is simply nothing. – Paŭlo Ebermann Sep 6 '11 at 0:03
I guess it depends on what you define as "contribution" I believe there are other ways than simply adding questions/answers – BotNet Sep 6 '11 at 3:49

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