Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

Have you ever used your reputation (points) outside of this website, say to get a job or something? Or more generally, what are reputation points to you?

share|improve this question

migrated from Oct 10 '09 at 23:41

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Let's see... Marc Gravell and Nick Craver, perhaps? – mmyers Jun 15 '11 at 16:13

10 Answers 10

I've always thought of my reputation points on this site as a shameful secret I must conceal from my employers. Answering questions here is what I do when I'm trying to avoid work!

share|improve this answer
ha ha I don't know whether to +1 for you or -1. – Johnno Nolan Jan 3 '09 at 21:40
@John same here... – Unkwntech Jan 3 '09 at 21:46
+1: Shameful level of nerdiness here, too. We can start SO Anonymous and work out a 12-step program to reduce reps. – S.Lott Jan 3 '09 at 23:15
Shame I can't give + and - for that :) – Phil Lello Apr 25 '11 at 2:46

I told them I am Jon Skeet from Stack Overflow and they hired me right away. Schweet!!

share|improve this answer
If so, you will be charged with impersonation ;-). – Gamecat Jan 3 '09 at 21:47
Yes, I take theft of my identity very seriously – kjack Jan 3 '09 at 21:56
It's very tempting to register a Jon_Skeet user, post a "me too" comment here, and get accused of trying to impersonate myself. I don't think it's funny enough to justify the hassle though. – Jon Skeet Jan 3 '09 at 22:01
me too! (there, you... errr that is don't have to go the hassle now) – DVK Apr 9 '10 at 5:14
@Jon: Remember when we had all those fake Jon Skeets...? – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Sep 14 '10 at 4:18

If I were an employer and an interviewee was boasting about their reputation I'd look at what questions were asked and what answers were given.

For example, "How is babby formed (in PHP)?" would not score well for a PHP guru.

Additionally answering of "just google it, dude" may show things about ability to work within a team.

Having said that I think there should be no fear of asking questions, no matter how stupid. If I were an employee I guess I would see a lot of questions asked as a desire to improve or to understand.

share|improve this answer
Actually, I think I would do the same. It seems to me that scalar credibility scores are not very effective at assessing one's actual credibility for it is but a quantity. Who is the owner of this site anyway? – Nicholas Leonard Jan 3 '09 at 22:26

Or more generally, what are reputation points to you?

As soon as I reach 1.000.000 points I'll fire Jeff and Joel and dominate SO!

share|improve this answer
When I saw 1.000.000 I was confused. Then I remembered that the US isn't the center of the universe! 1,000,000 looks better to me, ha. – jjnguy Jan 3 '09 at 21:37
Now I've got an image of Dr. Evil demanding "one miiillion reputation points"... – Jon Skeet Jan 3 '09 at 21:41
@Jon, close enough: – Dan Dyer Jan 4 '09 at 21:25
check out my new avatar :) – dr. evil Jan 4 '09 at 22:59

I suspect that rep points alone aren't significant, but I can imagine that someone wanting to provide evidence to Microsoft of why they (or anyone else) should be an MVP could certainly point at their answers on Stack Overflow. The important thing is the details of how the reputation has been gained, not the number.

Having said that, I thoroughly enjoy the element of competition that reputation brings to the party. I'm a competitive person, and although the number is in many ways meaningless, it's fun to compete with it. (That's also why I've suggested a monthly league, to even the playing field on a regular basis.)

share|improve this answer
It surprises me that you still have only 1 gold badge...just thinking out loud. – jjnguy Jan 3 '09 at 21:40
Most of the gold badges are for questions (I haven't asked many) and answers with 100 votes tend to be on "fluffy" topics - I tend to stay on more specific questions. – Jon Skeet Jan 3 '09 at 21:43
I kinda look at having a ton of silver and bronze badges as being more prestigious than 2 or three gold badges. – jjnguy Jan 3 '09 at 21:44
@jinguy: Great Answer (GOLD): Answer voted up more than 100 times; Peer Pressure (BRONZE): Deleted own post with 3 or more downvotes; I'd say some golden badges are more prestigious than some bronze badges. – luiscubal Jan 3 '09 at 22:16
Agreed that some are more prestigious. However, it seems that most of the Gold badges are earned in questions that are questionable content here. – jjnguy Jan 4 '09 at 5:22
Jon may have only 1 gold badge, but he's probably the only person to earn a gold badge by answering a question about himself. – Dan Dyer Jan 4 '09 at 21:27
I agree; rep points alone is not significant. Personally, I divide the number of 'nice answer' badges against total answers of whom ever I am looking at. This ratio gives me a pretty good idea on the quality of that users contributions, and how much I should respect their opinion. – John MacIntyre Jan 15 '09 at 10:14
Jon-May I ask you how much time you invest on this site, and is it a planned investment of your time? (which I see as a good thing) With that rep and all those answers, you must invest a lot of time at this. – John MacIntyre Jan 15 '09 at 10:18
I can't easily quantify the time spent here, but yes, it's a fair amount. I mostly do it in odd bits of free time though - waiting for a test run, or a deployment etc, and during my commute. – Jon Skeet Jan 15 '09 at 10:59
"during my commute" ... I have this image of you driving down the street, typing into your phone, steering with your knee, changing lanes without signal, running red lights, killing pedestrians ... all while spreading your knowledge. ;-) – John MacIntyre Jan 15 '09 at 13:03
LOL: Fortunately not. I have three sections to the commute each way: walking (home/station; listen to the news on Radio 4); train (Stack Overflow); bus or tube (generally reading or listening to a podcast). No driving :) – Jon Skeet Jan 15 '09 at 13:18

I enjoy having a mid-sized rep so I can edit questions and answers to make them better/more complete.

I do more editing nowadays than actual answering or asking.

I did mention at my last interview that Stack Overflow is something I do in my free time. It was a nice conversation piece for the interview and showed that I am interested in programming outside of work too.

share|improve this answer

Can you have too much rep though?

share|improve this answer
I often wonder who has time to get uber rep. – Johnno Nolan Jan 3 '09 at 21:36
or the knowledge – kjack Jan 3 '09 at 21:58
the problem is always time... – Nicholas Leonard Jan 3 '09 at 22:27

Being new, and not having been on a job search lately, my personal answer is "no". However, in order to keep my brain engaged and myself involved in more than just my daily work, I've made it a goal to give one useful answer here a day. I've found that teaching, no matter how formal or informal, clarifies my thoughts and helps me learn. So, no, I don't think anybody is going to give me a job based on my SO reputation, but it certainly helps me learn more about what's going on and keeps my mind focused on problem solving.

share|improve this answer
I agree. I was a teacher's assistant for a lower level Com Sci class an I found that I learned a lot from helping people with their mistakes. – jjnguy Jan 3 '09 at 21:48

One of my tasks is to get more programming knowledge into the team. So yes I have mentioned that I'm sometimes active on this site and even forwarded the link. But as far as I know, none of them has registered yet.

share|improve this answer
I can't seem to get people as interested in the site as I am. I think it takes a special breed to hang out here! – jjnguy Jan 3 '09 at 21:50
I have done the same! – Nicholas Leonard Jan 3 '09 at 22:28
Some programmers are more equal than other programmers ;-). – Gamecat Jan 10 '09 at 14:44

I'm a recruiter (no, not fishing, just answering). I like the idea of using rep points, as long as the recruiter/ manager checks for quality of the questions along with the quantity of points. Might be cool to include a couple of links to answers you're proud of having given/ have gotten high useful ratings for (high quality, ie not "noob!"). I was repping a candidate like that, I'd probably make that part of the pitch to get them in the door.

Also: If you're worried about a manager wondering what you were doing here during work hours - would you want to work for them? I mean, to me, great engineers don't work 9-5, they're always noodling around problems, and if part of how they learn is by teaching/ asking questions somewhere like SO, I think that's pretty freaking special. That may just be me, of course...

share|improve this answer
You can highlight answers you're particularly proud of in your Careers profile. – ChrisF Jun 15 '11 at 16:06
Good to know - thanks Chris – RecruiterMoe Jun 15 '11 at 16:36

You must log in to answer this question.