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They are example questions after all, aren't they? Why do they affect your reputation on Area 51?

Even if an example question is downvoted, why punish the user with -2 reputation for it? It's excellent that example questions get downvoted in the definition phase; otherwise, we'd only know what kind of questions should be asked and not what shouldn't.

So why have votes affect a user's reputation on Area 51 when downvoted questions are vital to the scoping and true purposing of a site? I feel no reward or punishment is necessary for helping identify a proposal's actual legitimacy/validity.

This will also help people who really do understand the site proposal system get their privileges faster.

Is Area 51 reputation similar to Meta's, in that it's not really a measure of anything but whether people agree or disagree with you?

EDIT: Just some more reasoning. If we remove the gain/loss of reputation from example questions, it empowers our experienced users, the ones that understand the system of proposing the site more than any of us, because the only other source of incoming reputation would be to get followers on a proposal or to refer people to another proposal. I think this would be valuable on Area 51. Sure, it would reduce the amount of users with higher privileges, but it puts the ones we can trust more with the system in power.

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1 Answer 1

If you look at the FAQ for reputation, you'll find these possible ways to gain (or lose) it:

In the definition phase:

Proposal is followed or committed to +5 (owner of proposal only)
Question is voted up (useful) +5
Question is voted down (not useful) -2

I completely agree with you that getting some questions downvoted is useful to the proposal and that the user shouldn't be penalized for it, but completely removing reputation gain for definition questions basically eliminates the potential for reputation gain by users in that phase of the site's creation. The only other way to gain reputation there is by the person who created the proposal.

In the commitment phase:

Referred user with a confirmed email address commits to the proposal +5

In the beta phase:

Follow through on your commitment +50
Referred user with a confirmed email address follows through on their commitment +25


As you can see, question definition isn't the most awarded, but it should still be awarded. Removing it makes it extremely hard for those people who don't socialize a lot or participate on social networks such as Facebook or Twitter (such as myself) to gain reputation. Since we don't have friends or audiences to refer, we're basically capped to the 50 reputation for following through on our commitment. It would basically become a popularity contest, whoever refers the most people gets the reputation points. Defining the proposal and the scope of the site is just as important as finding people to actually use it and, well, using it.

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