How about complete revamp or removal of reputation system?
The issue I'm having with current system is that as far as I can tell, current system:
- Does not reward knowledgeable people and difficult questions (and answering those questions).
- Rewards trivial questions that can be answered by opening any tutorial on first page. Also encourages energetic people (who are not necessarily knowledgeable) to answer.
Direct consequences I've observed so far:
- Most difficult question I ever encountered in last 5 years or answer that took 3 hours of research - zero or one upvote in month.
- Simple question that can be answered with 3 lines of code and requires you to open any programming book and think for 15 seconds - 50 upvotes in next 3 minutes.
In my opinion, this is pure lunacy. I think this will be harmful to community in long term, although it will attract many people to the site.
I think that current system encourages beginner programmers who are incredibly active, but do not necessarily posses enough experience. I've already seen person that hasn't passed fanboyism phase in C++ (and needs 5 more years of practice) pass 10k rep barrier in one year. I would prefer a system that would reward experienced people and would encourage programmer to grow and hone skills/knowledge further (internet is already flooded with questionable beginner material), because in my opinion programming needs more professionals. Current system "aint it".
Of course, it is possible that I misunderstood purpose of SO, and it was originally supposed to help hobbyists without encouraging them to grow and learn more. In this case I'd appreciate if somebody pointed me to section of faq that states that SO wasn't meant to promote getting better at programming. Also my opinion can be unpopular.
Unfortunately, I can't suggest how reputation system could be improved (since there's difficulty of automatically measuring question complexity), but it doesn't mean that there is no way to do it.