I was expecting this to have already been asked, but can't find any clear explanation in the archives. There are a lot of mentions of the phrase "rep farming" in various meta questions, but it seems the people posting are just assuming the readers know what they mean by that. Well I personally don't find it very clear, and I can't find any clear definition either.
So, what is "rep farming" in the context of Stack Exchange?
- Is it taking advantage of holes or edge cases in the site game mechanics just to gain rep?
- Is it engaging in troll-like or antisocial behavior for the purpose of gaining rep (for example, down-voting good answers just because they compete with yours)?
- Is it posting a flood of low quality questions/answers in hopes of gaining rep statistically?
- Is it regular quality contribution but by someone who happens to care more about reputation than about helping other people?
- Is it some amalgamation of the above? Something else entirely? Is there a clear definition at all, or is it one of those things that is left intentionally vague?
Finally, is rep farming considered bad/harmful for the community, good/helpful, or neutral?
Update: What's the difference between "rep farming" and "rep whoring" (if any)?