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Active contributors on SO probably hit the reputation cap of 200 fairly quickly and fairly often. Would it not be a good idea to base an individual's reputation cap on their existing reputation.

For example, if a user with only 500 rep, gets 300 points in a single day, it's probably suspicious, but if Jon Skeet with his millions of reputation gets the same amount of points in a day, it's probably a slow day for him.

Of course, this isn't a perfect system, as a new user would be limited by a lower cap initially, but quite like privileges, he can 'unlock' himself a higher cap.

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Do you think Jon Skeet really needs more rep? –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Jun 14 '12 at 7:10
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Exponential rep increases? Nah. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 14 '12 at 7:10
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I had a discrete increase in mind. Something like, cap = 10% if rep < 1000, cap = 12% if 1000 < rep < 10k, and so on. Also, so many downvotes? If you don't agree with me, does that warrant a downvote? It is a discussion after all. –  xbonez Jun 14 '12 at 7:17
    
@xbonez, down votes are different on meta. –  ben is uǝq backwards Jun 14 '12 at 7:25
    
@Ben: Fair enough. I suppose I was thinking of them in terms of SO. –  xbonez Jun 14 '12 at 7:25
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I believe there are reasons to change the way the rep cap works, but I don't think it should be done based on existing rep. –  Jon Skeet Jun 14 '12 at 7:34
    
If you look at Jon Skeets Profile you should see one of the problems this brings with it: E.g. Jon has a so vast amount of answers that he could stop answering and still get more rep then any of us on a day. That means it would be a recursive(?)(forgot the correct term) system, the more rep you gain, the more rep you can gain, which allows you to gain even more rep and so and on and on... –  Time Traveling Bobby Jun 14 '12 at 7:41
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@GardenGnobobby: But why is that a bad thing. Any rep that Jon (or anyone else, for that matter) receives even on days they don't visit SO have been deservedly earned by them. –  xbonez Jun 14 '12 at 7:42
    
Because it accelerates the more rep you gain, the faster you gain rep. So at (guess) 100k rep/5k answers your rep suddenly starts to explode and skyrocket. I could imagine that the daily cap is there to exactly prevent this. –  Time Traveling Bobby Jun 14 '12 at 7:46
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@GardenGnobobby: IMO, there are better ways of doing this: capping based on rep per answer, and also capping based on age of answer. (If an answer is 6 months old, I don't think new votes need to contribute more rep.) I've been considering creating a Meta question with a proposal around this, but I know Jeff is already sick of rep cap questions... –  Jon Skeet Jun 14 '12 at 8:59
    
@JonSkeet: That actually sounds reasonable and interesting. –  Time Traveling Bobby Jun 14 '12 at 9:21
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2 Answers

What statistics do you have to back up your point? At the time of writing only 25 users have hit the reputation cap every day this week. That's 25 out of 1,201,667, i.e. 0.00208% of the user-base so I don't really see where you got "fairly quickly and fairly often" from. Personally I've never hit the reputation cap on Stack Overflow; the most I ever got in a single UTC day was 190.

Not only that why would you want to disallow newer, and equally qualified users, from achieving what longer term users have been able to do? You're advocating an entrenchment of privilege for a reason that I can't quite discern from your question.

If you're talking about sock-puppets and / or serial-voting then it'll be reversed automatically.

As accepts and bounties are excluded from the cap would these be included in your new one? If not then your idea has huge holes. If so then how would a new-user be awarded a 500 bounty for a fine answer? How would this answer have received the accolades it deserved? A user joined Super User to answer a single question (thank you Sathya for the link!). Is that suddenly worthless?

There are other instances of users posting a single amazing question as their first. Are their contributions worth less than Jon Skeets because they only recently found out about Stack Exchange?

Most of these questions are rhetorical. If a new users contribution is worthy then it should be worth as much as an equally worthy contribution from a very established user.

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The reason I thought of this was I hit the rep cap in about 6 hours today. And, no, I don't have any statistics to back this up. As for 'disallowing new members to achieve what long term users can do', if a new member finds he's hitting his cap regularly, don't you think, by my system, he'll find his cap to have increased rather soon? –  xbonez Jun 14 '12 at 7:23
    
@xbonez, a user would have their reputation increased slower then they otherwise would though. –  ben is uǝq backwards Jun 14 '12 at 7:26
    
Not if the minimum reputation cap is set at 200, as it is now. And then, say, after you hit 1k, it increases to 250, > 5k it increases to 350...and so on. (These are, of course, completely arbitrary numbers) –  xbonez Jun 14 '12 at 7:27
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One of the hooks of the Stack Overflow (at least it was for me), is the "leaderboard". Tilting the rep cap like this would tilt the playing field. More than that, it would tilt it further than it already is. Experienced users already have huge advantages: they are very familiar with the tricks of the trade; they're accruing upvotes from previous answers.

Changing the system like this would send the wrong message to new users. The system as it is now, is democratic; when you start, even if you have fewer privileges, your answers are judged on their merits, and your rep is counted by the same criteria as the guy with 300K+.

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