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I see that many of the questions posted all have really low reputations points, from 1-50. Given that you get points for simply editing and selecting answers, I find this hard to believe.

It makes me less likely to want to answer questions as it seems these users create accounts just to mine information and then open up another account for their next question.

Why not give users more incentives to use the site as an actual user and not just a place to mine information?

For example - the ability to delete down-voted posts, the ability to block users ( trolls, etc. ). Basically any of the things popular social sites have?

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marked as duplicate by gnat, Diago, Lance Roberts, Doorknob, Andrew Barber Aug 20 '13 at 16:51

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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Why do you think they're opening multiple accounts (why would they do that)? Why do you find it hard to believe most people just use the site for one or two questions then stop? –  David Robinson Aug 20 '13 at 16:00
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@DavidRobinson: I agree with Smurfy that there are likely many users that create multiple accounts just because they don't care (or forgot what email they used) about accounts that they created X months ago, just so they could get some question they had closed. Don't agree with any of Smurfy's other points though –  musefan Aug 20 '13 at 16:04
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Stack Overflow is not a social, it's a Q&A site. IMO There is some incentives already. When you register you can ask question or answer ,but you can't do much. If you want to do more you need to participate in order to earn more privileges. But keep in mind that it's not every body that want to actively participate. –  Marc-Andre Aug 20 '13 at 16:06
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Considering that you have 63 reputation yourself, don't you think it's a little early to be looking down on those with <50 reputation? –  David Robinson Aug 20 '13 at 16:19
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Because everybody starts out with 1 reputation. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Aug 20 '13 at 16:27
    
And the Universe will never run out of 1 rep users. –  Uphill Luge Aug 21 '13 at 10:59

3 Answers 3

The first thing to know and understand about Stack Exchange:

We are the anti-forum.

In fact, we're basically anti-anything that doesn't produce good answers to your questions, and that includes social networking (although it could be argued that we're actually the most successful at this, because we don't put up with the crap that is generated by most social networking sites).

OK, now on to some of your specific points:

many of the questions posted all have really low reputations points

Most questions asked on Stack Overflow are pretty pedestrian, and don't really warrant any votes. "How do I fix this?" A lot of our members have motives that are more altruistic than reputation points (we like to help), so we help when we can, but many questions are "under-specified" ... There's insufficient information in the question to answer it.

We save our upvotes for interesting posts for the most part. It's an imperfect system, but it works.

The ability to delete down-voted posts, the ability to block users ( trolls, etc. ).

We do have that capability. Now for what you were really asking:

Why are there so many users with low “reputation” points?

Would it surprise you to know that the vast majority of visitors to Stack Overflow probably don't even have an account? The veteran users forget this sometimes (I know I do), but the audience for our website is not Jon Skeet or Eric Lippert; it is everyone on the internet who has an interest in programming.

Most visitors to Stack Overflow have one motivation only: they want to get an answer to their programming problem. To get that, they can either find an answer that's already there and leave, or they can create an account, ask their question, get an answer and leave. That's why you see so many 1 rep accounts. These folks don't care anything about reputation or badges, and that's perfectly fine.

This, incidentally, is why Stack Exchange can make money. We veterans never see advertising because we have enough reputation that ads are turned off for us, so we're baffled that Stack Exchange keeps hiring new people, but most users do see ads, and those ads can be specifically targeted to the site topic, whether it's bicycles or kosher meat.

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You shouldn't really look at the user's identity or the user's reputation to decide whether or not to answer the question. You should decide based on the merit of the question itself.

The thing is, even though it looks that way, the OP is merely one of the many who would view the question. By answering the question, you're not merely informing the OP, you're also informing other users/visitors that have the same question (or those who simply came upon the question).

So if you think the question by itself is worth answering, then go ahead. It's not constructive to go speculating on the user's identity/behavior unless you have a very good reason to suspect some sort of foul play (for example, user B answers several questions of user A and user B's answer always get accepted despite the lack of upvotes).

As for the low reputation, it's likely that some users don't actively participate in Stack Overflow and only use it in the rare occasion when they need to ask a question.

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I see that many of the questions posted all have really low reputations points, from 1-50. Given that you get points for simply editing and selecting answers, I find this hard to believe.

It makes me less likely to want to answer questions as it seems these users create accounts just to mine information and then open up another account for their next question.

The majority of programmers in the world don't even have a StackOverflow account. Why is it hard to believe that many of those who do use it for only a handful of questions?

There's no evidence that most users are creating multiple new accounts (why would they do this?) But even if that were true, why would it matter? Why would that change how you answer their questions?

Why not give users more incentives to use the site as an actual user and not just a place to mine information?

For example - the ability to delete down-voted posts, the ability to block users ( trolls, etc. ). Basically any of the things popular social sites have?

"Make StackOverflow more like a social network" has been asked before and is always a very unpopular request. StackOverflow is not a social site: the point is not to talk to your friends about programming. Getting and giving information is exactly what it is meant to do.

As for "the ability to delete down-voted posts": it's unclear whether you mean your own posts or those of other users, but in either case we do have that ability. Diamond moderators or users with high reputation can delete other people's posts: see how does deleting work. If you mean your own posts: you can delete your own answers unless they have been accepted, and you can delete a question unless it has multiple answers or an upvoted answer.

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