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Let's say there's two questions that have been upvoted by different amounts: 10 and 5, say. To me, that's a rough measure of their 'importance' the community at large. One is twice as important as the other.

Now let's say that there's an answer to each, and both of the answers have the same number of upvotes: 2. The answerer gets 20 rep for each of them.

But isn't it the case that the answer to the 10 vote question is more important than the answer to the 5 vote question? If that's the case, shouldn't the answerer get more reputation for an equally good answer to a more important question?

I've got no idea what the 'normalization' factor should be between the two, nor how this would be shown to the user (ie, does the answerer see a penalization in their reputation history on the date that the question was downvoted?). Just wondering whether this intuitive sense of the relative value of answers is correct/shared by the community.

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I think the rep system is complicated enough as it is already... – Mysticial Mar 1 '13 at 20:15
@Asad I couldn't find it, do you know where it is? – sharakan Mar 1 '13 at 20:19
Votes represent popularity. It's a common mistake to confuse that with importance, or quality. – Servy Mar 1 '13 at 20:22
@Servy Sure, but isn't it true that a popular question is one that many people want a good answer for? – sharakan Mar 1 '13 at 20:23
@sharakan Nope. Often it's just because that question was redit-ed, or hit the social networking circuit in some other way. A lot of them may be interesting, or entertaining, but not terribly practical. – Servy Mar 1 '13 at 20:25
@Servy Side question if you don't mind: I know that in Meta, downvotes mean don't agree. Is it good practice here for me to simply delete this question, given that people don't think it's a good idea? – sharakan Mar 1 '13 at 20:39
@sharakan Well, as there is an answer with a score of one or more, you couldn't even if you wanted to. That said, I see no reason to delete it. Leaving it provides something for someone else to find before proposing it again. – Servy Mar 1 '13 at 20:40
@Servy "Votes represent popularity". Agree. No to mention that many questions (More than 50% in my opinion) from newbies with 1 rep in not so popular tags like .htaccess, mod_rewrite, etc., never get an answer and almost none get any attention from high (>5000) rep users. – Felipe Alameda A Mar 1 '13 at 21:32

No. I do not want answers to mildly useful bikeshed questions like:

How do I create a div element in jQuery? (261 upvotes)

gaining rep exponentially faster than answers to challenging, yet well researched questions.

The number of upvotes on a question is an extremely poor indicator of its "importance" , and as such should not tie into the rep reward for upvotes on answers.

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Sometimes we get great answers to pretty crappy questions. Why shouldn't those answers get the full slate of reputation points?

Further, what happens when the question gets upvotes after the answer and the votes that were cast for it?

This would incentivize the wrong behavior. People would flock to already highly-voted questions, drowning them in answers, while low-voted (and, of course, new) questions will be avoided, and thus simply perpetuate their low-vote status.

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As per your last point: That already happens. People flock to the popular questions and post answers because they know it gets views and upvotes. – Mysticial Mar 1 '13 at 20:20
@Mysticial: Which is why there's no need to make it worse... – David Robinson Mar 1 '13 at 20:20
That would be a negative side effect. To be clear, I'm not sure how this can/should be done, just asking whether equally 'good' answers to not equally 'good' questions should be worth different amounts. – sharakan Mar 1 '13 at 20:24
@sharakan And what positive behavior are you attempting to elicit from that change? – Servy Mar 1 '13 at 20:26
@DavidRobinson Yeah, it's already a fairly concerning problem as pointed out here. That's a very technical question with really only one answer. And yet it somehow manages to attract some 20 answers. (half of which are deleted now) – Mysticial Mar 1 '13 at 20:27
@Servy something like an efficient market's allocation of resources. If an answer to a more highly upvoted question is more important to SO than an equivalent answer to a less highly upvoted question, then SO should reward the answer to the higher question more. – sharakan Mar 1 '13 at 20:29
And where do you get this "a highly upvoted question is more important than a not-as-upvoted question" stuff? – Al E. Mar 1 '13 at 20:30
@AlEverett nowhere in particular, as I said in my question "To me, that's a rough measure...". If that's an incorrect opinion, then my entire question is irrelevant! And, it sounds like it is incorrect. – sharakan Mar 1 '13 at 20:32
@sharakan So have you noticed that there are a lot of highly upvoted questions that are not getting quality answers? So far the opposite seems to be the case, it's rare for highly upvoted questions to go for a long period of time without being answered. The added attention they get leads to more people trying to answer, which leads to more high quality answers. Good questions that don't get many upvotes (due to being on low traffic tags, posted in off-peak hours, etc) are the questions that tend to be not answered that probably should be. – Servy Mar 1 '13 at 20:32
@Servy point taken, sounds like I've got a solution (an unpopular one at that ;) ) in search of a problem here. – sharakan Mar 1 '13 at 20:33

This pretty much happens already. Great answers on great questions tend to rack up more upvotes than great answers to ok questions. This is just the nature of great questions getting more views, especially over the course of time.

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