I am a developer who is a fairly regular user of Stack Exchange sites. I am not an expert in any subject and find that most of my questions are answered by either searching Google or the relevant SE site(s). For this reason I find it difficult to gain reputation on any one site (let alone Stack Overflow which is crawling with SMEs). Gaining 200 reputation is an extremely difficult task for me and would require me to stalk SO daily to try to answer easy questions (or post questions to which I already know the answer [or don't care about], just to try to gain reputation).

That being said, I would love to give back to the community. Today I had a computer problem which I solved and wanted to post the question and answer to on SuperUser. Unfortunately, I only have 6 reputation there and am unable to post the answer until 8 hours from now. This is despite the fact that I have been an active member of the community for over 6 months and have over 50 rep on 4 SE sites. That is not impressive, but I think that would at least merit me the ability to answer my own question!

This seems a bit ridiculous and too tight of a restraint for regular Stack Exchange users who have not reached the magical "200" rep threshold (at which point I know you automatically get 100 on other SE sites). Despite what you're thinking it's not easy to do, unless you have expertise in some subject.

Can a "bonus" reputation level be added (or new user restrictions be dropped somehow) so that a Stack Exchange user like myself can at least be afforded the minimum rights of upvoting questions and answering questions on other SE sites once they have passed a smaller reputation (or activity level) barrier in other SE sites? Or does somebody have a better suggestion?

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It already does, it's just that it happens at 200, which many established users consider to be a very tiny amount of reputation. Get 200 on any one site and you'll gain 100 on all the rest. –  Kate Gregory Oct 16 '12 at 16:25
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From my personal experience, it's always insanely hard to get the first 20 points, moderately hard to get to 200, and getting to 2000 is a breeze. That is true of every site of the network I frequent, and of many other places as well. The association bonus Kate mentioned helps you to get started. –  ЯegDwight Oct 16 '12 at 16:25
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This already exists. Once you reach 200 reputation on any Stack Exchange site, you'll be awarded 100 bonus reputation on every other SE site where you have an associated account. –  Bill the Lizard Oct 16 '12 at 16:25
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Also, you want them to change the way the rep system works just so you don't have to wait 8 hours to post your answer? If your question and your answer are both good, tomorrow you'll have all the rep you need. There is no substitute for patience. –  Kate Gregory Oct 16 '12 at 16:28
    
I recognize the 200 rep bonus. I am just saying its difficulty to obtain is not on par with the privilege of answering your own question on other SE sites. Waiting 8 hours to post an answer feels punitive when I'm trying to improve the community. In anycase, I will wait the required 8 hours and post the answer later. –  n00b Oct 16 '12 at 16:34
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2 Answers

Getting to 200 rep on Stack Overflow is very do-able... don't underestimate yourself. There are some true phenoms on SO, but a lot of users "stalk SO daily" to earn their rep (just look at the number of users with the Enthusiast and Fanatic badges. Honestly, as a developer it's a good activity to participate in on your path to becoming a SME (it's especially good at helping you stay on top of trends/updates in your field, and helping you weed out bad practices that you've learned) and it can be quite fun.

Just keep posting questions (and make sure that the quality is high, showing your research, and linking to appropriate materials) and keep trying to answer questions, even when they're not directly applicable what you're doing. And when you're answering questions, keep in mind that Google is your friend... just because you don't know the answer off the top of your head doesn't mean you don't have some insight that could be converted into an answer with five minutes of research.

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The last sentence is spot on. More than just a few of my answers have been to questions where I saw an interesting problem, said "Huh. I don't know, but I bet I can figure it out." and raced to my compiler to investigate. –  Josh Caswell Oct 16 '12 at 19:00
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Just ask some questions. Even if you found some answers on Google or SE, ask the questions and present your research alongside, asking if this shows the answer. If you did your research at all well, you'll be voted up quickly.

SO wants questions and answers. Don't starve it and expect rewards. And let's not modify the system to encourage that.

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