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I'm a beginner on Stack Exchange. I have a Stack Overflow account. What is the benefit of reputation count? Do people with more reputation have more knowledge?

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marked as duplicate by Nicol Bolas, hims056, Lance Roberts, Hugo Dozois, Rory May 23 '13 at 17:25

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3 Answers 3

The reputation on the SE sites are a rough measurement of how much the community trusts you. As you answer questions or ask them - the community will give you feedback in the form of votes or accepting your answer. The more votes you get the better or more helpful your post was - raising an interesting question is also helpful sometimes as it can make people look again at the way they do things - perhaps your question attracted an excellent answer that helped many many people. For answers I think it is pretty obvious - The better the answer the more votes and reputation you get.

Reputation is sometimes considered a measure of your knowledge (which is not always true). A user with a very high reputation could attempt to answer a question in a field in which he has minimal or no experience - in this case his/her/it's reputation means nothing. However, a high rep user's answer (when they do know what they are talking about) is usually golden as they have worked hard on the site providing great answers and advice for the rest of us. Another use of reputation is to track users progress on the site and award users additional privileges.

Its also FUN! Seeing that you received an upvote or that one of your answers is accepted is a great way to get feedback from the community! If people acknowledge your input it's like a pat on the back and you will be encouraged to continue to contribute good material.

You can checkout the faq section for more details - http://meta.stackoverflow.com/faq#reputation

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+1 for pat on the back, but you wrote "it'll like a pat on the back", you forgot the verb! :P –  Alenanno Feb 29 '12 at 10:11
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Thanks for that! Give yourself a pat on the back :P –  Lix Feb 29 '12 at 10:19
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The benefit of reputation is increased privileges. Apart from that it has no concise representable meaning due to the way it is gained, except for maybe high reputation means you spend too much time on this site.

It does not equal knowledge since you usually gain the most reputation by answering simple questions repeatedly (aka repwhoring). And because of that and the fact that SO still doesnt reward any other community activities (like closevoting) it does not work as the purported rough measure of how much the community trusts you.

A high reputation can get you a t-shirt though.

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T-shirt? You mean swag? :P –  Lix Feb 29 '12 at 14:24
    
@Lix please clarify swag ;) –  Gordon Feb 29 '12 at 14:28
    
This should clarify things ;) –  Lix Feb 29 '12 at 14:32
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@Lix then it's swag indeed –  Gordon Feb 29 '12 at 14:37
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Beneficiaries can be the developers finding an answer OR the stackoverflow itself. It is quite amazing that how stackoverflow has motivated skilled developers to post over their site. Just in return of some points that display on their profile.

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