- Help other users out.
- Get help.
- And subsequently, share knowledge.
Reputation, according to the FAQ, is:
a rough measurement of how much the community trusts you; it is earned by convincing your peers that you know what you’re talking about.
Which is fair. As a user's reputation increases, he/she gets more privileges, which gives the ability to improve the overall quality of the site.
On the other hand, some users have become literally reputation-seekers. You generally see them around the site (usually in a specific tag), restlessly answering questions; deleting answers that get downvoted, and celebrating ones that get upvoted. It's because of the belief that having a lot of reputation will help establish experience for future employers.
Is that the correct, fair spirit? Isn't one supposed to answer a question only when he/she thinks it will be a positive contribution to the community?
On the other hand, isn't a motivation like reputation necessary to 'push' the community?