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When you answer a question from a user with high reputation, should the user that answered that question gain more credit than when you answer a question from a user with low reputation?

My point of view is that users with high reputation ask more difficult questions because they proved to have bigger knowledge.

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There are plenty of low rep users who are more of an expert that high rep users, and plenty of good and interesting questions from users of all rep. High rep only means they are active on SO (usually for several years) and have enough knowledge to provide good answers or ask good questions. Doesn't mean they are more of an expert (or have "bigger knowledge") –  psubsee2003 Sep 27 '13 at 9:47
    
it can be that low rep users have a big knowledge too, but i noticed that the beginner questions are mostly asked from users that are new and have low rep. so in many cases high rep users have bigger knowlege? –  jonas vermeulen Sep 27 '13 at 9:51
    
sure, they likely do have more knowledge since they needed it to answer enough questions, but it could also mean they are just "experts" in gaining rep on Stack Overflow. The point is why should a question of theirs automatically be worth more because it is assumed it was good based on their rep –  psubsee2003 Sep 27 '13 at 9:53
    
If question is in fact more difficult, it will have a bounty on it. Especially if it comes from an user who has high reputation already. –  Mołot Sep 27 '13 at 10:09
    
Obligatory –  Doorknob 冰 Sep 27 '13 at 13:01
    
I think it's popularity of upvoted answers on pupular-voted questions. A man with huge knowledge could appreciate unknown field and very good decision. So reputation doesn't matter at all in the field of knowing something. It only somehow correlates and the balance between the average quality education/ popularity of known issues / writing skills & grammar. And niceness contrubution to THIS site. To count all you, like a scientist should count all-of-all and their interinfluence. –  Xsi Sep 27 '13 at 14:10

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Voting should be done on the merit of the post, not the poster.

Consider, however, that those that have high reputation have more experience in writing posts and know what kind of post gains more reputation, and as such are more likely to write a post that will gain votes.


As for your assertion that high rep users have more knowledge - possibly, in certain areas. C# experts are not normally Objective-C experts as well. Cobol experts are not normally CSS experts as well.

Everyone will have questions in areas that they are newbies in.

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and if you look at the number of questions answered/upvoted form a user in a certain topic? like if a user answered a lot of questions about objective c and asks a question on objective c? –  jonas vermeulen Sep 27 '13 at 10:03
    
@jonasvermeulen - So? Perhaps a user wants to ask a newbie question so there is a place for a good answer to be posted? What problem would your suggestion solve? What issue would this address? In other words, why is this something good for the community? –  Oded Sep 27 '13 at 10:06
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+1 for Voting should be done on the merit of the post, not the poster. It seems that people often fail to realize that. –  devnull Sep 27 '13 at 10:42

Reputation and expertise do not go hand-in-hand. Someone who is an expert might not be active enough on Stack Overflow (or any SE site) to earn enough reputation. Likewise, someone with a little knowledge just might have a lot of free time and decides they like to spend it earning rep on Stack Overflow.

However, what it doesn't mean is that they ask harder questions (besides, who defines harder). If someone who is an expert in Java decides they want to learn C++, they might ask some pretty basic questions.

To quote myself (in the comments)

There are plenty of low rep users who are more of an expert that high rep users, and plenty of good and interesting questions from users of all rep. High rep only means they are active on SO (usually for several years) and have enough knowledge to provide good answers or ask good questions. Doesn't mean they are more of an expert (or have "bigger knowledge")

They likely do have more knowledge since they needed it to answer enough questions, but it could also mean they are just "experts" in gaining rep on Stack Overflow. The point is why should a question of theirs automatically be worth more because it is assumed it was good based on their rep

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So if Rasmus Lerdorf joined Stack Overflow today (rep 1) and answered a basic PHP question from me (rep 788), he should get more rep because compared to me he's a ahem "noob"...?

As has been stated, rep in no way reflects knowledge. I've seen really high rep users answer really badly and incorrectly, and vice-versa.

High rep could have been gained from good knowledge and constantly obtaining many up votes from good answers, but it can also be from mediocre to low knowledge and basic answers but over a long time they accumulate a lot of odd up vote here and there.
And a mishmash mixture of in-between all that, which makes it nearly impossible to design, implement and maintain what you propose and remain fair and a decent system.

What of high rep users (50k+) - they get a pittance for answering the simpler questions? So while you'd potentially gain more rep and rank up more quickly, we'd lose great answers from the high rep people on simple questions as they might be offended and wouldn't bother.

With daily activity old Rasmus wouldn't need more than half a week to catch my rep, so giving him more rep to begin with but then after a little while then giving me more rep answering him [unlikely to happen] sounds to me like a potential for an obscure imbalance in rep.

I don't want to see people unnaturally gain high rep. It is not fair or how a system should work.

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