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I would like to to know if Stack Overflow reputation has value outside of Stack Overflow and the Stack Exchange network?

I have read How does "Reputation" work ?, and can see why reputation is useful on Stack Overflow. Is this reputation useful on other sites and for other uses?

For example when interviewing for work:

At one Interview
================
interviewer : What is your skill on programming ?
me : Here is a link sir! You can check my reputation on Stack Overflow.
interviewer : Oh! nice , that is a good recomendation for us.

It looks think some peoples are farming reputation, and I wonder why?

Edit: get a mail from Stack Overflow Careers 2.0

Yes , it's a good opportunity for us . Now our reputations , some good questions , some good answers were become very useful for us. How about you ?

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Also, seems strongly related to this: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/30578/… –  jmort253 Dec 2 '13 at 9:21
    
@jmort253 I don't think this is similar questions, this is similar with my example. –  Cataclysm Dec 2 '13 at 9:28
1  
@Cataclysm I believe you can do it. You don't mind if someone fixes some mistakes (I've seen others, esp on SO). Just try and learn. You can use SO for it, and use it as reference that you can write understandable english. –  Johannes Kuhn Dec 2 '13 at 9:41
    
Side note - I think "You can check my reputation" is a terrible thing to say, regardless of how much reputation you have, but probably much worse if you have 'little' reputation (by the definition of whomever you are giving said link to). Rather say you think you have some decent answers (and/or questions or posts or content). –  Dukeling Dec 3 '13 at 1:14
    
If I ever get that answer in an interview - i'll hire the guy on the spot. Unless he out-repped me, can't have that of course. –  Leeor Dec 18 '13 at 9:03
    
Gets you all the girls, every time :) –  Benjol Dec 18 '13 at 10:19

5 Answers 5

up vote 11 down vote accepted
+50

I've been using answers from stackoverflow.com for years and I only finally joined and started participating a month ago. I figure that I can't predict the future but this site keeps getting better and better and more popular everyday. I almost feel obligated to give back to a website that ALWAYS pops up in my technical searches and sometimes gives me quick answers to my problems.

If you'd have asked me 5 years ago "what use would there be for a real-time app that just lets people say dumb stuff and get alerted that someone else is saying dumb stuff right now?", I would have said "none, they can just text that stuff, right? Who would even care about how Paris Hilton dressed her dog today?"

Oops, I saw no value.

So, asking today what value a SO reputation score has, my answer is "not very much, but we live in a crazy stupid society. Anything could happen." Look what happened to the meaning of a credit score. Soon you won't even be able to get a job or rent an apartment without one. If you think about it, Stackoverflow has the same business model as Facebook and Twitter. They show advertising to a huge and growing user base.

One day, that score might mean a lot. Companies LOVE scores. They are tangible. They are measurable evidence of the quality of an investment. Right now, stackoverflow.com has a near monopoly on the Human Resource Scoring Industry :) Back when I was responsible for hiring, I would have loved to have had a way to explore a candidate's writing skills, depth of knowledge, and most importantly their level of intellectual curiosity. That has more real value than Twitter. Eventually, corporate America will figure it out.

Anyhow, this got a little long winded. Just look at it as a possible investment in the future. If it doesn't wind up that way, you still win.

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Aside from maybe being relevant to an employer looking for a good software developer, reputation has little value outside of Stack Exchange.

In the context of employment, it depends on the employer. They may think it's cool that you have a high score on Stack Overflow or they may find it odd that you spend a lot of your off-time online. They may even wonder if you'll be spending that time on Stack Overflow while at work, which hopefully they won't consider a problem.

Hopefully, it shows that you spend time on the Internet possibly helping others and that you have built an online presence for yourself. Hopefully, the employer sees this as a value add. If the person interviewing you is also a contributor to Stack Overflow, this could be a nice ice breaker as long as you weren't caught flaming others in the comments somewhere. Hopefully, you've been nice to others along the way. :)

But, sadly, outside the context of it maybe being valuable to an employer, it's not going to have much value elsewhere.

As for farming reputation, that's hard to do because of numerous safeguards. Plus, participating in any activities that devalue reputation won't really be a good way to show a future employer that you're trustworthy. The best way to participate and gain reputation is to ask good questions, provide decent answers, and do your best to help others do the same.

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We like to think rep is "meaningless". This is because we, the SO community know that it mostly shows SO community interaction and not actual coding skill. It's even a common joke in the chat.

However - allow me to surprise you with some personal anecdotal stats.

Let me start by saying I'm not actively looking for a job, I have a job I'm fond of. My profile doesn't state otherwise.

Last week I got 5 relevant job offers because someone saw me on stack overflow:

  • 3 were from start-ups.
  • 2 were from big companies whose name you probably know but I can't really disclose here. Both technological companies and both known for being lucrative work places.
  • All were real and actual offers.

(I got some freelance offers too, I do include one offer here where it was "Stack Overflow profile and open source contributions")

Now, I got a few other job inquiries but I'm only listing the ones that said "Your Stack Overflow profile" when asked "How did you find me".

These are a lot of serious job offers. My Stack Overflow profile isn't too impressive, I have some good answers but it's nothing extra-ordinary.

Note that this gives reputation, at least from my perspective pretty big financial value. We might not want to believe it but boy oh boy it's there.

Note, this might relate to my location, my specific area of answers in SO, and the answers themselves. I'm sure reputation counted quite a bit though.

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Here's a few examples:

  • Outside of SO, but still the Stack Exchange network.
    • Once you got 200 rep on one Site you get 100 rep on every other site.
    • The chat system uses global reputation.
    • careers shows your reputation (along other things).
  • For interviews/job application:
    • Again careers - To find a job.
    • Some people might take a look at your questions/answers. Meta is usually ignored.
  • Other uses:
    • Bragging. Imagine you were Jon Skeet.

Now that I listed so many things, I'd probably CV for too broad (if I had the rep).

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It is true that in the exchange, users get badges and privileges from reputation. But overall, the reputation earned is just a measure of how much trust a user has earned from the community.

And that is what SO reputation is useful for outside of SO, trust. Any user or observer of SO in "the real world" will be able to derive some level of trust of either your ability or character.

I am fairly certain that anyone aware of SO who came across Jon Skeet in person would highly trust him. I know I would.

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