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6 simple tips to get Stack Overflow reputation fast
What is the best way to increase my reputation and privileges?

I usually look over the tags for and , but they are all usually answered within a couple of seconds. How can I gain some reputation? I was hoping to get into the chat rooms sometime this year.

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marked as duplicate by Martijn Pieters, Jim, ChrisF, ЯegDwight, animuson Oct 10 '12 at 23:15

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Is it really that difficult? Maybe you just need some sleep. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Oct 10 '12 at 20:24
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Plenty of posts could do with some serious editing. Not just a typo here and there; proper grammar, spelling checks, formatting, etc. 2 points per substantial edit, once approved! As for tags; find your niche, slightly away from the mainstream most popular tags, in the shallower waters where the big fish don't swim yet. –  Martijn Pieters Oct 10 '12 at 20:25
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And if you can't answer questions, perhaps you have some of your own to ask. 5 rep per upvote right there. –  Bart Oct 10 '12 at 20:26
    
hmm maybe a faster internet connection, answering bounties, unanswered questions –  S.P. Oct 10 '12 at 20:29
    
Try related tags where the mean gunslingers don't hang out so much (e.g. ant). Answerable questions there can go un-answered for hours. –  martin clayton Oct 10 '12 at 20:30
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By the way, don't be discouraged by the quick answers. Just have a look at them. Are the really perfect? Is there nothing you could add or expand on? If you could, take your time to write an answer of your own and add it. It might not get the so desired significant number of upvotes, but if it's good enough it will gather a few at least. –  Bart Oct 10 '12 at 20:32
    
I always found getting the first 20 points to be inhumanely hard. The good news is, once you have figured out how to get to 20, getting to 2000 is a breeze. –  ЯegDwight Oct 10 '12 at 22:27

3 Answers 3

Allow me to expand on @bart's comment...

I frequent the and tags. These tags are similar to the tag in that they have a high volume not only of questions, but answers too. Many times there will by multiple answers to a post within seconds of it being posted. Usually these lightning fast answers are one liners and don't give much explanation and while they might technically answer the question they provide no additional information or explanations as to why the problem exists in the first place. These answers will probably get an upvote or two (just for being correct). I really don't like these types of answers because I feel that they are suggesting to the OP to just copy and paste their code and it will fix the issue. I do not believe that is what Stack Overflow is about or how it should work.

The idea here is to create a database of questions and answers that will be able to help not only the person asking the question, but also people in the future who are experiencing the same or similar problems. Future visitors will most likely have similar (but not identical) code making these short code only or one liner answers pretty useless. It is always preferable to add some information and explanations (where possible) to a post to ensure that the OP and future visitors will understand the problem and the solution.

Basically, what I'm trying to convey in my rant is that people who put the effort into their answers will ultimately benefit in the long run by providing complete and concise answers including examples, explanations and possibly the thought process of the person answering. These posts will definitely take longer to type up and there will most likely be a few answers already posted (and they'll probably already have some upvotes too). Don't let this deter you from posting your own fantastic answer. Take the time, put in the effort and don't worry too much about gaining reputation. Reputation is a by-product of contributing great material to the site. The OP will appreciate your explanations and in the event of multiple correct answers, they might choose the most comprehensive answer to mark as the accepted one as opposed to the quickest (this is not always the case... but lets try to stay optimistic OK? ;)

Looking at your reputation (before I submit this answer) I see that you already have reached the required 20 rep to get into chat...so I guess...problem solved :P

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Another way to get a reputation boost would be to leverage the account association bonus.

There are many other Stack Exchange sites dealing with varying topics. Perhaps you'll be able to answer a few questions on one of those sites and once you reach 200 reputation there, you can associate your Stack Overflow account and receive a 100 reputation bonus.

For all we know, you could be the next John Skeet of the home improvement site or bycicles.SE :P

Take a look at some of the sites, you might find it much easier on a different site to get that initial reputation.

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This is great advice for getting the initial rep to enable all the basic features. SO is a shark pit compared to other stacks. –  blahdiblah Oct 10 '12 at 23:18
    
    
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Not to mention taking other users' excellent comments and turning them into answers. :p –  Bart Oct 10 '12 at 23:32
    
@bar - that is my favorite thing to do :P –  Lix Oct 10 '12 at 23:34
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@lix Thanks, copy paste fail. –  Yannis Oct 10 '12 at 23:42
    
@yan - happy accident :P –  Lix Oct 10 '12 at 23:42
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@Lix Or getting elevated to veteran status got to my head ;P –  Yannis Oct 10 '12 at 23:43

Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, Lix's answer holds a beautiful vision of what SO should be and is definitely not the fastest way to get the 20 rep required for chat.

The fastest way to get 20 rep quickly is to give an answer that's first, correct, and seen. Having your answer be seen is the most important. You could be writing Shakespeare in response to an question and it wouldn't matter because no one would see it. No views = no upvotes. The best way to be seen to is answer easy questions in popular tags. Everyone looks at the easy looking questions; everyone follows popular tags. Being first is another part of being seen. Everyone sees the first answer; if it's reasonable, it'll get upvotes. Being correct is a distant third. If you give the first answer to an easy question in a popular tag, you'll get upvotes as long as your answer isn't outright wrong. So make sure that websockets are working to see questions as they come up, and when an easy looking one in a good tag comes up, get in there fast and say something that's not wrong. Your answer won't be the best, and it probably won't be accepted, but it'll get you a couple upvotes.

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Being correct is a distant third?? Erm...no... The fastest gun in the west problem is exactly that... a problem. –  Lix Oct 10 '12 at 22:25
    
@Lix Don't get me wrong, I don't think that this is the right way to gain rep on SO, I think it's the fastest way to get 20 points. Though the top answer on FGITW is that quick and dirty answers are good. –  blahdiblah Oct 10 '12 at 23:05
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I realize you're playing devil's advocate and are only stating what already happens a lot, but I hardly think we should turn this into advice or a recommendation. Let new users please focus on correctness first. Let them take their time. Speed will come with practice and experience. –  Bart Oct 10 '12 at 23:05
    
@Bart As in the top FGITW answer I don't see quick answers that move the questioner in the right direction as bad, just not great long-term. Mostly I wanted to offer a counterweight to the "pick an unknown tag" advice because it's more frustrating to have a great answer linger unseen than to get beat on the draw. –  blahdiblah Oct 10 '12 at 23:16
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I don't go for the "pick an unknown tag" option either. I would say, pick a tag you're familiar with and take your time. Guaranteed insta-rep? Nope. Possibly decent answers with some rep to get you rolling? Yep. –  Bart Oct 10 '12 at 23:17
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@Bart I feel like many junior programmers (as opposed to experts who are just new to SO) might be frustrated by that advice because they don't have much breadth. What they're familiar with is C#. The C# questions they're comfortable with were asked and answered years ago, and on new questions they're struggling to organize their thoughts while Jon Skeet gives answers that are going to be quoted in the docs. Obviously juniors aren't going to be at the top of the leagues, but if they just want enough to use chat... –  blahdiblah Oct 10 '12 at 23:24
    
You know, I personally don't really care all that much. If you're so junior that you can't answer a question properly and gain rep as a result, perhaps you should not be answering questions. Learn from the site. Don't focus on rep. Rep means nothing anyway. Knowledge gained does. Ultimately, if you learn enough, you'll be able to answer questions. Sure, some quick rep is attractive. But IMO it's the wrong thing to focus on. I've gotten far more out of SO in terms of what I learned than the couple of k rep I've earned by now. –  Bart Oct 10 '12 at 23:31
    
@Bart Absolutely, but OP's question was frustration at not being able to use basic features like chat. Hanging out with seasoned programmers is a great way for folks to learn, so it's a shame to see people shut out of that because of what are essentially spam controls. –  blahdiblah Oct 10 '12 at 23:36

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