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Looking at Jon Skeet's profile he has an enormous lead in reputation over number 2.

Given the huge amount of rep that he gets from up votes on existing answers and that he either hits or exceeds the daily reputation cap every day I am drawn to the conclusion that it is possible for him to maintain the number 1 position forever whilst never answering another question.

What do you think? Can anyone disprove my theory?

UPDATE:

Ok, the challenge is given. Once this post is eligible for bounty I'm going to put as much bounty as I can on this question and award it to whoever can give the best answer for when Jon Skeet would be overtaken if he stopped answering questions. I know you all love a challenge :)

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15  
Jon Skeet doesn't answer questions. Questions answer Jon Skeet. Whut? –  Cole Johnson Sep 25 '13 at 13:18
7  
Without new answers, accepts are limited to the existing pool. After a while (all answers accepted), Jon would be capped at 200/day. Another awesome user with new answers could then overtake with upvote rep+accepts to get a higher rep/day rate. (Bounties not taken into account.) –  Mat Sep 25 '13 at 13:19
3  
I think I saw that he would have to answer question around the 75th century –  user234239 Sep 25 '13 at 13:19
4  
I would consider adding a big bounty to award to someone who did some detailed analysis of this re the other top-five users. ;) –  Andrew Barber Sep 25 '13 at 13:22
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5  
The 2nd place all-time user has only gained about 209 reputation per day for the past year. If he continues at that pace and Jon Skeet slows down to only 200 reputation per day, it will take over 43 years to catch him. –  Bill the Lizard Sep 25 '13 at 13:28
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OMG just noticed the jon-skeet tag?! –  user234239 Sep 25 '13 at 13:31
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I think it would be neat if M. Skeet stopped using his current account and started a fresh one, just to see how long it would take him to catch himself. –  Al E. Sep 25 '13 at 13:34
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The analysis is somewhat complicated by the fact that Jon Skeet answers (while obviously excellent) get extra attention due to "the legend of Skeet", if he was no longer on the site the ledged might fade –  Richard Tingle Sep 25 '13 at 13:36
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There is a tag called Jon Skeet!? OMG! Soon enough people will start tagging questions with that... –  Sid Sep 25 '13 at 13:48
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Probably depends how much effort the competition wants to put into it. Currently there are 388 bounty questions. That is a minimum of 20K additional rep up for grabs. possibly much more. If one of the top answers started focusing on those, even answering questions outside their comfort zone, they could likely narrow the gap much quicker. –  Martin Smith Sep 25 '13 at 13:56
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I have this insane fantasy that Jon Skeet will answer this question himself and win the Bounty. –  RBarryYoung Sep 25 '13 at 15:45
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In what magical universe can a question be marked as a duplicate of a closed question with no accepted answer? –  jmac Sep 26 '13 at 0:12
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I'm very disappointed to see that this question was closed and on very arbitrary grounds. Even though it was light hearted and not "on topic" I thought it was OK to ask these sort of questions on Meta :( –  MikeD Sep 26 '13 at 11:02
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@MikeD Just got it reopened ;) –  Josh Crozier Dec 18 '13 at 20:57

4 Answers 4

up vote 57 down vote accepted

As x approaches infinity, nobody will ever pass Jon Skeet.

In all seriousness, there are a few variables to account for.

  • Will Jon Skeet only earn exactly 200 points a day from now on?
  • What if some of his past answers are accepted?
  • How many points will #2 get daily?
  • What if the world ends before it is possible for anyone to pass him?

There is currently a gap of ~ 143k (607k - 464k)

Based on #2's daily repuation, we will assume that he will earn a steady average of 275 points a day.

Lets make a couple equations..

Jon Skeet: y=200x+607,000

enter image description here

Darin Dimitrov (#2): y=275x+464,000

enter image description here


At the rate mentioned above, it will take 1,906 days, or 5.2 years.

If it takes that long, they will both almost have 1 million reps.


enter image description here


Here are the rates..

  • At 250 reps a day, it will take 2,860 days, or 7.8 years.

  • At 275, it will take 1,906 days, or 5.2 years.

  • At 300, it will take 1,430 days, or 3.9 years.

  • At 350, it will take 953 days, or 2.6 years.

  • At 400, it will take 715 days, or 1.9 years.

  • At 450, it will take 572 days, or 1.6 years.

  • At 500, it will take 476 days, or 1.3 years.

  • At 550, it will take 408 days, or 1.1 years.

  • At 600, it will take 357 days, or 1 year.

You get the point..

That's all assuming Jon Skeet only receives 200 reps a day from this point on.


In the meantime:

Jon Skeet is still earning more reputation a week than Darin Dimitrov...

...and I am 9 places under Jon Skeet -_-

enter image description here

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3  
I see you won a bounty on that :nth-child() answer, congrats :D –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Sep 25 '13 at 18:37
    
@BoltClock'saUnicorn thanks xD I am pretty surprised considering it was so basic and I got 38 upvotes. –  Josh Crozier Sep 25 '13 at 18:39
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The upvote thing? Yeah, that happens with basic questions and answers a lot. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Sep 25 '13 at 18:41
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This is a great answer. –  Pëkka Sep 25 '13 at 22:25
    
@perhapsPekka Thanks! Too bad the question was closed. –  Josh Crozier Sep 25 '13 at 22:42
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+1 for linear equations –  Jeffrey Lin Sep 26 '13 at 1:14
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For a moment there, you almost sounded like my calc professor. :P –  American Luke Sep 26 '13 at 1:39
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-1 for the mechanical circles. Get a crayon and draw some real circles! :P –  American Luke Sep 26 '13 at 1:42
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@AmericanLuke actually, those are circles drawn by a crayon. Jon Skeet drew them so you just assumed they were mechanical circles because they are so perfect –  Josh Crozier Sep 26 '13 at 1:44
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@JoshC A great answer. You get the accept points. Shame I can't give you the bounty too. –  MikeD Sep 26 '13 at 11:03
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@JoshC: it is not just about you not paying attention to duplicates, but you unnecessarily highlight yourself in the answer as well. The question was not about you, but Jon Skeet. –  lpapp Oct 27 '13 at 3:37
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@LaszloPapp Alright, thanks for the opinion.. you're the first of 40 people to downvote ;) –  Josh Crozier Oct 27 '13 at 16:10
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You are welcome. –  lpapp Oct 27 '13 at 16:14
    
Your calculation for the graph is incorrect; you're assuming that Jon is getting 2000 rep per day, not 200 –  Canadian Luke Dec 18 '13 at 21:14
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Do you know what is the only thing-not-so-odd that I find about this? The #1 = John Skeet and #2 = #2. –  Braiam Dec 18 '13 at 21:38

Jon can't exceed the daily gap without a large number of accepted answers (which, along with bounties, are the only things that don't count towards the gap). To get accept marks, you'll have to keep on contributing.

If Jon were to stop answering, he would still gain 200 points every day for the foreseeable future, but other users who continue to gain accept marks would likely overtake him at some point not that far in the future.

Bottom line: Jon couldn't be #1 with the "interest" coming from his past contributions alone - I'm sure most of the top 10 users would gain 200 rep every day without any activity. He's #1 simply because of an insane amount of continued activity that manages to gain many many accept marks.

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1  
Yup; I can definitely see any of the top five catching up to him if he just stopped today. When? Who knows... but they would. –  Andrew Barber Sep 25 '13 at 13:21
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Perhaps, but this would happen when a 64-bit unix timestamp can no longer represent time. Jon Skeet is absolute. –  Second Rikudo Sep 25 '13 at 13:21
    
then again, when Jon thinks of a post, isn't that automatically accepted? –  user234239 Sep 25 '13 at 13:22
    
I'm going to have to dig into the stats now and try to work out what the average excess is over the daily cap and then determine how long it would take him to catch up. I reckon he could have at least a few years off and still be ok :) –  MikeD Sep 25 '13 at 13:22
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@UV-D I guess... and also, I suspect if he left, his account would just go on answering for him, anyway. –  Andrew Barber Sep 25 '13 at 13:22
    
@MikeD I don't think it would be years. Or at least not many. Would be an interesting exercise to find out! –  Pëkka Sep 25 '13 at 13:24
    
Jon wakes up in the morning, SE accepts; Jon eats his breakfast or absorbs nutrients, SE accepts... –  user234239 Sep 25 '13 at 13:24
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I was gonna point to Alex Martelli as one such example (didn't log in for years and was still hitting the rep cap regularly), only to find out he has logged in a few weeks ago. –  Oded Sep 25 '13 at 14:26
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I disagee with your bottom line. Having looked into this a little more now I am pretty sure that Jon Skeet could continue to be number one for quite a few years with no continued activity. It is a testament to Jon Skeet's insane amount of activity that his lead is as big as it is. –  MikeD Sep 25 '13 at 15:37
    
@MikeD This answer is attempting to come up with a minimum possible value, given a close to best case scenario. It specifically states that the more likely time would be noticeably longer. –  Servy Sep 25 '13 at 15:40
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@MikeD looking at the math, PearsonArtPhoto's estimate of 3 years below sounds realistic. I agree that Jon isn't going to stop gaining 200/day even without activity anytime soon, if ever. –  Pëkka Sep 25 '13 at 15:43
    
@Servy Oops. You are right. I'm guilty of skim reading. –  MikeD Sep 25 '13 at 15:45
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@Oded He may have logged in a few weeks ago, but his most recent post as in October of 2010, so still a good example. –  ughoavgfhw Sep 25 '13 at 16:33
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"I'm sure most of the top 10 users would gain 200 rep every day without any activity." Nope. I wouldn't. Not during the week-end. –  VonC Sep 27 '13 at 7:12

This math is pretty straightforward. At the moment I write this, Jon has 606,882 rep and #2 has 463,940 - a gap of about 150,000 rep. He gets 200-400 rep a day, the rep cap plus accepts. (Other answers have said 10K a month, which is roughly 300 a day.) Assume, for the fastest possible catchup:

  • Jon's accepts stop dead when he stops posting answers
  • #2 gets a steady diet of 400-rep days, which are Jon's current best days

Neither of these assumptions is strictly correct and they both err in the direction of a faster catchup.

The number of days till catchup will be 150,000 / 200 (the rep delta as #2 gains) which is 750 days, or about two years. Minimum. In practice it would be longer, but not centuries. For example if #2 got an average of 100 over the rep cap (or 100 over Jon if you want to imagine him still getting accepts) then it would take four years instead of two. The only thing that would make it take less time is if Jon stopped hitting the rep cap and started earning less than 200 rep/day. With almost 30,000 posts I think that's impossible.

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7  
Pretty amazing that he could essentially take a 2 year hiatus/vacation and come back and still be the top user –  Shoe Sep 25 '13 at 13:36
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Jon Skeet is immortal isn't he? –  user234239 Sep 25 '13 at 13:39
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I agree that with 30000 posts he is unlikely to stop hitting the daily rep cap for a very long time. A quick query on the data explorer suggests that he is getting 909 up votes a day over the last 90 days from posts more than 150 days old (data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/139099/…). –  MikeD Sep 25 '13 at 15:13

Jon Skeet is about 143K reputation above the next highest users. Furthermore, he has over 27,000 posts. He hit the reputation cap today 6 hours in to the day. Most likely, he will get 200 reputation even if he doesn't answer another question for a long time to come. But that will limit his ability to get accepted answers, dropping his rate down some. This quarter, he has earned 27.6K reputation. We are almost through the quarter, let's say there's been about 85 days, or 17K reputation via the cap. That means he earned 10K extra reputation through either bounties or accepted answers over the reputation limit. Okay, so what does all of that mean?

If Jon Skeet passively quit today, he would likely still continue to get 200 reputation most days for some time to come. A better estimate can be found by what his "Passive" reputation is, which can be easily found via "My Money for Jam". This would be great, but it unfortunately crashes for Jon Skeet. So I looked around a bit more and found an interesting query, "Staying Power". And that one crashed too... As MikeD mentioned in the comments, with some approximations, his passive reputation is averaging 900, and his older than 4 years is averaging 292, so he's probably going to repcap most days for some time to come.

In the same time, if one of his closest competitors kept up, he would lose his lead by about 13K/quarter (Highest reputation this quarter is 30K as of writing). So that means he would stop being the highest reputation user in about 11 quarters, give or take, or 3 years. But most likely he would not continue to get 200 reputation every day if he passively quit for 4 years. If he stopped increasing his reputation entirely, he would likely have the lead for about 1 year, assuming people kept up their rate. Thus, I would state that it would probably take at least 3 years before anyone overtook him, if he passively quit today. And it would take even longer if no one was actually trying to manage the task, and people suddenly stopped upvoting his answers, which seems unlikely.

Fudging the numbers even more, and given the likelihood that no one would keep up that extreme rate for the time required to make it happen, I'd say his lead is probably safe for at least 4 years, maybe longer, if he stops answering questions today. But that just wouldn't be any fun...

Even if he keeps his current rate, he is 2K below the top person for the quarter. At that rate, given the #2 user, he could keep his #1 spot up for about 20 years, with his recent "Slacking" rate of only ~28K/quarter.

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Wow. He hits the reputation cap by 6am?!? In that case I reckon that given his huge backlog of answers and the enduring popularity of c# and Java he should easily be hitting the daily reputation cap for 5 years hence I'm not sure you can factor that into your calculation. –  MikeD Sep 25 '13 at 13:42
    
@MikeD: He doesn't hit it that early on the weekends, but you are right. I'm working on adjusting my calculation now. –  PearsonArtPhoto Sep 25 '13 at 13:51
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606,897 - 464,140 = 143K not 250K –  Martin Smith Sep 25 '13 at 14:09
    
@MartinSmith: That's what I get for doing math in my head when I didn't get enough sleep the night before. –  PearsonArtPhoto Sep 25 '13 at 14:11
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@PearsonArtPhoto I created a quick query in the data explorer to approximate Jon Skeets passive rep for the last 90 days. It was a daily average of 909 up and 0.84 down! I had to make some approximations so that the query didn't time out so posts within the last 150 days aren't considerd. (data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/139099/…) –  MikeD Sep 25 '13 at 15:10
    
In fact he is still getting 292 up votes/day from questions more than four years old so it is fair to assume that he will hit the daily rep cap for at least 5 years without answering any new questions. –  MikeD Sep 25 '13 at 15:19

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