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Please get rid of daily reputation limit, if not on SO.com, then at least on metaSO. On SO.com I can at least see both sides of the argument, but on metaSO the cap seems a bit useless. Let the active members of the community flourish here.

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or at least raise it, I guess. –  Jason S Jul 1 '09 at 13:56
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I can easily raise it here, but this question has bifurcated into two questions -- whether the rep cap is GOOD or GOOD ON THIS SPECIFIC SITE. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 2 '09 at 2:49
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Seems like Jon Skeet has done pretty well already, lol. –  devinb Jul 2 '09 at 18:13
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9 Answers

up vote 20 down vote accepted

Agreed. Between the inconsistencies in the rep limit being calculated over a daily basis (thanks to the differences in local vs. server time), and the inconsistencies that other users such as Cletus have pointed out previously, I think it is losing it's popularity (if it ever really had any). It is a serious demotivator for very active users who contribute a lot to the site.

I know I and others have hit our rep limit early in the day and then completely stopped activity for the day, which cuts down the number of people who are willing to answer a question.

Edit: As I mentioned in another comment, I am also a strong advocate of raising the rep limit to something more reasonable for super-active users such as 500 rep in a day if you aren't going to bother getting rid of it.

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When I hit my rep cap I stop answering questions. Sometimes i answer just because the person seems to really need help but usually I'm done for the day. –  Ólafur Waage Jul 1 '09 at 13:48
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@Olafur: Interesting... I don't work that way (I go for accepted answers) but I wonder how many do... –  Jon Skeet Jul 1 '09 at 13:52
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Jon Skeet: With your level of activity, accepted answers are damn near the only way you can accumulate points since I imagine your rep limit gets wiped out a lot by older answers as well. –  TheTXI Jul 1 '09 at 13:54
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@TheTXI: Number of accepted answers (and bounty) is certainly all that separates most of the top few users, I suspect. Oh, and how active one chooses to be over the weekend. I suspect quite a few of the top users hit the cap on almost every weekday. –  Jon Skeet Jul 1 '09 at 13:59
    
Jon Skeet: Oh I have no doubt (I have had stretches where I capped out every day save weekends for three weeks straight myself before losing interest some along the way). With this meta board, I have been regularly capping out after 2 hours of activity in the morning. If it wasn't for the rep cap right now, myself (and probably many others) would already be close to the 1,500-2,000 rep level. –  TheTXI Jul 1 '09 at 14:08
    
@jon: Do you think you're favored when choosing among the answers to accept ? :-) [ Ie: I had my question answered by Jon, yeay ! ] –  Steve Schnepp Jul 1 '09 at 14:21
    
Steve: I wouldn't doubt it. When you see someone with a massive rep, you will more often than not put your trust in that user (which is sort of the idea of reputation) to believe it is the right answer. –  TheTXI Jul 1 '09 at 14:26
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Yes, I suspect that happens. It's an unfortunate form of positive feedback loop. One day I may ask Jeff for permission to create another user to post as (on different questions) and see whether I find it harder to get rep. On the other hand, I remember going past the rep cap on my first full day on SO, so it isn't just that :) –  Jon Skeet Jul 1 '09 at 14:27
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There are just little tricks you use to get reputation cap. For example use the new questions list. Answer with a short version and then spend the 5 minute period to refine the answer, link it and find references. –  Ólafur Waage Jul 1 '09 at 15:23
    
When you know those tricks, it's easy to get rep cap if you're active during one day. –  Ólafur Waage Jul 1 '09 at 15:24
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I usually stop after I hit the rep cap as well. I strongly feel that the accepted answer functionality should be emphasized more than it is, and have commented in the past on this. However, removing the rep cap will lead to a greater disparity in technical vs. non-technical reputation farming, which I think is a very bad thing. –  womp Jul 8 '09 at 22:10
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In my pre 2000 rep days I felt sorry for the lost upvotes. My aim was to get the edit ability so I could reformat things and not wait for someone to come along. My worst experience was on one end of a day: I answered and the next day I noticed the ton of upvotes - sadly all ignored due the cap. I think a degressive limit could help things out. –  kd304 Jul 12 '09 at 11:41
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I don't know for sure whether I'd support a complete removal of the cap, but I'd at least like to see it discussed. I'm still in favour of a per-post cap rather than a daily cap, personally. That way you don't get oodles of points for trivial posts, but a large effort across many posts would reap appropriate rewards.

I totally agree that on Meta it makes very little sense indeed, but I suspect that it would be awkward (with the current code base) to have a per-site reputation algorithm. It ought to be easily pluggable, but I would guess that the pluggability would have to be designed in from the start :)

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I would argue that all activity on meta is somewhat trivial, and the measure thereof would be subjective at best. –  GEOCHET Jul 1 '09 at 13:44
    
Interesting idea - not that it would apply to me. –  ChrisF Jul 1 '09 at 13:44
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I was wanting to suggest something along the same lines as Rich did, but I was also going to leave in the possibility for significantly raising that cap (perhaps 500 in a day). –  TheTXI Jul 1 '09 at 13:45
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Making the cap site-specific may well be very much easier than having a different algorithm per site. –  Jon Skeet Jul 1 '09 at 13:51
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+1: "I'm still in favour of a per-post cap rather than a daily cap" –  Jason S Jul 1 '09 at 13:57
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i also vote for per-post cap. I think that's much better –  Johannes Schaub - litb Jul 1 '09 at 13:58
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I don't agree with the per-post cap idea. I have some posts I've put significant effort into where I've received a lot of votes. A per-post cap would encourage people just to go after all the low-hanging fruit (moreso). –  cletus Jul 1 '09 at 14:15
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I agree with cletus. I understand the idea of wanting the limit gained from answers such as mine from the Code Wedding Cake (which altogether I managed to gain 120 rep from and that' sit) but I have a feeling it would unfairly diminish the rep gains from legit answers that were worked on heavily. –  TheTXI Jul 1 '09 at 14:25
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@cletus: On the other hand, the answers I've received the most votes from have been trivial. There's often little correspondence between "working hard on an answer" and "lots of votes". It depends on the topic and the question visibility. –  Jon Skeet Jul 1 '09 at 14:26
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@Jon: I know what you mean, I've gotten 200 rep from suggesting to use "".equals(s) instead of s.equals("") in Java to avoid null pointer exceptions (don't ask me why!) but I think the potential benefit of good, long answers being justly rewarded outweighs that downside. –  cletus Jul 1 '09 at 14:37
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I think if they would make a limit of say 500 rep per answer, that's enough to give you credit for a good answer. –  Johannes Schaub - litb Jul 1 '09 at 14:58
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@litb - isn't 200 rep, a "nice answer" followed by a "good answer" and potentially "enlightened" and "guru" badges enough credit? –  womp Jul 8 '09 at 22:12
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I think what is important to promote and incentivize, is the quality of the answers on SO - not their popularity. I have seen many answers that are posted more as humorous remarks or rants against another answer. These sometimes get upvoted (and hence contribute rep) because they are appealing rather than helpful. One way to rebalance the incentive model IMO - would be to increase the reputation awarded for accepted answers, add additional reputation for upvotes on accepted answers, and have rep from accepting an answer ignore the daily cap. –  LBushkin Jul 15 '09 at 18:17
    
@LBushkin: Interesting idea... although it would mean the difference between an accepted answer and an unaccepted-though-equally-good answer would be hundreds of rep points... –  Jon Skeet Jul 15 '09 at 19:04
    
@JonSkeet - The reputation difference already is significant - because accepted answers tend to get "posthumous" (can't think of a better term here) upvotes - and the equally good answers tend to stagnate. I see your point though - perhaps there should be a point of diminishing returns for upvotes on accepted answers. Alternatively, you could use thresholding - so that the first 10 upvotes on an accepted answer add X rep, the next 90 add a little less, the next 900 add even less, etc. –  LBushkin Jul 15 '09 at 19:47
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Please don't get rid of the rep cap on SO.com. Here is another story.

The rep cap on SO.com is good. It acts as a hint to limit yourself to a certain amount of time on the site each day. Of course you can stay as long as you like but the daily cap is a gentle hint that maybe you should be doing something else for awhile.

What I would like however is some consistency with above-the-cap items (accepted answers, bounties, etc) such that whether they were above the cap or not wasn't a timing issue with whether you happened to be at or above the daily cap at the time they happened.

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+1 I agree on both counts. (By the way, you seem to be maxed out--why are you still here?) –  mmyers Jul 1 '09 at 17:04
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I agree with this. Maybe we need a special type of "methodone" reputation to wean people off the harder stuff... :) –  Jeff Atwood Jul 2 '09 at 2:48
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@Jeff: isn't that... this site? –  Shog9 Jul 2 '09 at 4:59
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@Shog9 - no, this is a metadone site –  Antony Jul 2 '09 at 23:45
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I completely agree that "accepted answers" and "bounties" should not count toward the cap whenever they're awarded. It's funny that when you've got 190 rep and a guy accepts and upvotes your answer you get less rep than if he had upvoted then accepted. It looks like a bug in the SO rep strategy. –  LeakyCode Jul 3 '09 at 0:38
    
@Mehrdad: exactly. –  cletus Jul 3 '09 at 0:44
    
Would also be funny if someone offered a bounty of 500 rep and accepts your answer while you've already earned 200 rep that day. –  rightfold Aug 17 '09 at 23:12
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[I know SO isn't only about reputation but, putting that asside for a moment...]

I am for changing the "daily cap" to a "per-message cap." Here's why...

It may make no ultimate difference in the reputation scores (Jeff Atwood said he tested it and it made no difference) but, since I have been a "top-scoring" user on meta.SO (temporarily, I'm sure), I can see how per-day limits might provide a diminishing incentive to contribute for some.

I asked a few vaguely interesting questions (on meta.SO) which have pretty much maxed out my daily rep thereafter. I continue contributing but, strictly from a reputation-as-incentive point of view, why bother? A few even-mildly good posts essentially "cancels out" anything else you contribute to the site for some period of time.

I can only imagine what someone who continually contributes top contents feels like. Jon Skeet could flat-out leave this site for months and still have one of the fastest growing reputations on the system. He's earned it.

But, in the interest of rewarding someone's on-going contribution to the system, maybe the rep from a single post should max-out at some point, while a continuing contribution to the site is rewarded.

Just a thought.

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Which brings up an interesting corollary question - are votes past a certain point meaningless? –  womp Jul 8 '09 at 22:14
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The only good I can speak of the Cap is that when I hit it...I often times am less-distracted by SO throughout the rest of the day :)

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Bump for great justice. It's unrewarding to get nothing for your answers. 400 rep limit seems fine, and would stop the insane people that need to step away from the keyboard. But when I post a few good answers, it becomes lame to not get anything.

And like others, I'm not inclined to help as much if I don't get anything out of it. People that earn that much rep deserve it, anyway.

Please consider only capping certain answers or raising the limit, again.

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But if there is no cap, we'll never leeeeeeeeeaaaave...... –  random Sep 9 '09 at 7:54
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This is one of the few times I agree with Rich B :).

I seem to remember the daily cap limit was intended to prevent runaway rep totals, but to be honest, even with the rep cap it's already happened. Just look at the first page of the user list.

Either the daily cap needs a bump to say 500 or 1000 or just removed. It seems a bit unfair that new users to SO who are contributing great answers are hobbled by the 200 pt daily limit with no real chance of catching up with the high scoring beta crowd.

Whilst rep isn't the be all and end all, it is nice to see those numbers going up. And as some others have said, once you hit the rep cap it's a bit of a disincentive to spend a proper amount of time on a particularly gnarly question.

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Actually, Jon Skeet & Marc Gravel joined after the beta period. But you're right, when they both get 200+ rep a day, there's no chance of catching up. –  Kyle Cronin Jul 1 '09 at 15:44
    
You do realize that if there were no rep limit, Jon Skeet would be somewhere around 150k now, right? –  mmyers Jul 1 '09 at 16:16
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@mmyers: A quick calculation on the data dump before made me guess at about 220K, but I may well have been misinterpreting the data... –  Jon Skeet Jul 1 '09 at 16:52
    
I was just guessing based on upvotes in the c# and java tags. I'm sure you've answered many questions with neither tag. –  mmyers Jul 1 '09 at 16:53
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I hardly think increasing rep cap will benefit low-rep users. I think it'll work in the opposite way. –  LeakyCode Jul 3 '09 at 1:22
    
John: Yep, based on the June data-dump, you would have had 230,084 reputation were it not for the rep cap.. –  dbr Jul 6 '09 at 11:52
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Personally I would suggest perhaps a sliding scale of rep cap rather than a single bump. As has been mentioned its meant to be about runaway totals. So it should probably start low that way you have to show a certain commitment of time to the site as well as "knowledge" before the site "trusts you" more. After all that was one of the primary purposes of the rep anyway.

I wonder how valuable the cap is after the user has passed 10k, unless the dev team plans to add more trusted access to even higher reps.

Or perhaps if the cap was removed after 10k John Skeet would have overflowed the counter on his account record :-)

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Keep the limit. That said, one of the happiest times of my day is when my SO rep. resets. (How sad is that? :)

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Think yourself lucky you're not in the UK - it's 1am when my limit resets. 8-( –  RichieHindle Jul 7 '09 at 17:40
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