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Simple question.

SO had turned me into a better developer by far, I like to browse questions that strike my interest and curiosity and just read through the answers. I never fail to learn something new everyday, whether it's something trivial or something much more complex.

When I receive reputation it means a lot to me, almost a self achievement of sorts. Something I can show to someone to prove my "worth". I think it works for me as a great confidence booster, also its something I can show my friends who don't understand what I do.

It almost feels like I can finally have something to back me up if need to be.

So the question is what does YOUR reputation mean to YOU? Is it simply a number, is it a score as if you're playing a game, or does it help you mentally achieve your goals and improve yourself like it does for me.

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closed as not constructive by Rosinante, Anna Lear, John, Mark Trapp, Pops Nov 10 '11 at 16:14

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How does showing your friends "who don't understand what I do" your SO rep help anything? –  Troggy Oct 20 '09 at 14:35
    
I just tell them I am a developer. I participate on a site for which I get reputation if I answer question correctly. Then I can show them something..rather then just try to explain everything to them –  Stan R. Oct 20 '09 at 14:37
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for me, reputation == ego. I am constantly trying to inflate mine. Vote my comment up. Let it rep! edit: damn community wiki, curses! –  abel Jan 26 '11 at 9:25
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17 Answers 17

It means I'm wasting entirely too much time on my computer.

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So the question is what does YOUR reputation mean to YOU?

It means that when I see a post that needs editing, I'm free to do so.

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It is like you can edit "the Internet" –  Troggy Oct 20 '09 at 16:34
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It means nothing.

I can't even buy hamburgers with it.

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I have purchased many hamburgers using your reputation. Some had cheese on them, making them cheeseburgers. Some had bacon, making them bacon burgers and bacon cheeseburgers. Some were bison instead of beef, making them bison burgers, bacon bison burgers, bison cheeseburgers, and bacon bison cheeseburgers. Some had two patties, making them double hamburgers, double cheeseburgers, double bacon burgers, double bacon cheeseburgers, double bison burgers, double bacon bison burgers, double bison cheeseburgers, and double bacon bison cheeseburgers. Man, I'm hungry. What were we talking about again? –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Oct 20 '09 at 15:50
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Welbog bobblehead included with every kids meal! –  Troggy Oct 20 '09 at 16:10
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It was difficult designing the bobblehead, since Welbog doesn't have a body. –  Brad Gilbert Oct 20 '09 at 20:32
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@BradGilbert But man can that head bobble! –  Adam Davis Nov 10 '11 at 2:17
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Reputation on Stack Overflow == Farmville on Facebook

Both have crack like effects on the population.

I am a zombie

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I wish I could ask the Meta-Question: Is the Stack a form of Farmville? . . . Well, at least that's what my brother asked me after I tried to explain the thing... –  brasofilo Dec 7 '12 at 4:14
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Score in a game, definitely.

Confidence booster to some extent - although comments do that more than just rep.

Something to show to prove "worth"? No... it's too easy to give examples of how you could get rep without actually showing much knowledge for that to be a good idea. If I wanted to impress people with what I've done on SO, I'd ask them to look at the content, not the votes.

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I agree with this, content is very important. There are a lot of people with reputation from just asking questions but not actively participating in helping other people out. I feel that if someone knows about SO then they know to look at content. –  Stan R. Oct 20 '09 at 14:40
    
Stumpled across this and this is a more meaningfull answer I personally agree with. Believe it or not if you have your SO account linked on linked-in or similar , agencies and some companies using those services now also look at SO and reading the content can try to get a feel for the person's thought process and knocklwedge. That is what I was told by one agency anyway that they realised SO is a nice tool to see what people are about. If it is the right or wrong thing to do is a different story. –  François Wahl Apr 12 '13 at 8:35
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So far:

  • some Trilogy stickers
  • a set of Telerik tools
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Plus a T-shirt! –  mmyers Jan 25 '11 at 18:40
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and DevExpress tools! –  Steven A. Lowe Jan 25 '11 at 18:44
    
@Michael - I never managed to get a SO T-shirt. I've got a SU one though. –  ChrisF Jan 26 '11 at 9:19
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enter image description here

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Ah! The joy of metal coins hurting me. –  abel Jan 26 '11 at 9:28
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It's a nice number that gets bigger at the top of my page. When I'm downvoted, 2 things happen: I go "Oh no, I posted something that was at least partially incorrect :(", and try to change it, and then I think "Damn, the number at the top of my page is no longer pretty. It has, like, 7s in it and stuff"

From there, the only way to fix it is to tactically hit the rep cap (or hope to see 2 bad answers)

The actual number itself is meaningless. A fun game, but it's the knowledge I hang around for. edit: Though, yes, I really hope I get an accepted answer on SU right now - that'd put me on 2000 exactly! What a lovely round number, it's like a game within a game getting those :3)

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My reputation is a sign that I am worth something as a programmer.

That makes me feel... wanted.

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I'd love to be able to say 'Nothing, it's just a number', but I'd be lying and proving my 'e-ddiction'.

I definately think it's important though - it's like the score in a game, showing me how well I'm doing. The higher I go, the more satisfaction I have with myself, the better a developer I think I am.

I don't really know. It means something - but it's not the end of the world if it were to be wiped.

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I think people who say its "just a number" are not telling the whole truth, or lying to themselves. There is a reason why people come back and actively participate in the site and I think that number has a large role in it. So I agree with your answer, its not necessarily the end of the world, but its also not so trivial. –  Stan R. Oct 20 '09 at 14:44
    
I think it's extremely hard to define - it's just one of those things. You're attached, but if it were to go, would you be horrified, or would you realise it's just a few numbers? –  Daniel May Oct 20 '09 at 14:47
    
It's trivial once you've reached the level where you have the abilities you want/need. There's no significant difference, aside from ego, between 10K and 100K. (Sorry Jon.) –  John Rudy Oct 20 '09 at 14:47
    
@Daniel, the answers to this question reveal how different a few numbers are to different people. I think that everyone has some sort of attachment to their reputation. –  Stan R. Oct 20 '09 at 14:51
    
@John, I completely agree with you, but before you reach those numbers there is something inside of you that keeps you attached and makes you want to participate. –  Stan R. Oct 20 '09 at 14:53
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It means a lot when I need an urgent answer! (by setting bounties on questions)

Never been happier to give fake money away.

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It's a nice affirmation that maybe I do know a thing or two about my profession after all.

I haven't applied for a job since joining SO, but I imagine it will be a very useful backup to all the claims I make in my resume.

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Its a side-effect of participating in this online community.

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It shows me that I helped a bunch of people. Sometimes I even inspired them, sometimes they just took my code without appreciating my help.

Basically its just a number, but it can also be a motivation to take some time and invest some work for a good answer.

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At first it meant a lot until I started to understand how the whole concept is meant to work. It definitely meant a lot for me until I reached the 2.500 so I can finally edit posts.

At the moment I don't really care but I also don't totally ignore it. I'm at the point from where I mainly edit/format questions to improve the readability and cast close votes if necessary. The way I'm trying to answer questions has changed too. Simply put I care more about the quality of my answers and the questions of others than I do about my reputation.

However I still keep an eye on my rep. until I reach 10k so I can finally do more than just editing posts and casting close votes.

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I'd like to put mine on a bumper sticker and keep crossing it over every day :)

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