In one of the stackoverflow podcasts, Jeff pondered the idea of having a reputation limit. The concern was that certain users (e.g. Jon Skeet) will get so far ahead and might discourage other users. I don't particularly see that as a huge problem because most people aren't doing this in order to become the #1 user on the site. On the other hand, promoting competition for good questions and answers is certainly a goal of the site, and being an early user of the site leads to a higher reputation and doesn't evenly promote the competitive spirit.

One way to address this would be to have two stats next to everyone's name: their total reputation and their "average reputation" (total reputation divided by the number of days that they've been using the site). Alternatively, you could put a "rolling reputation" (the reputation over the past year, for instance). In essence, you could base it on a sports metaphor: this a new reputation season.

What do people think? Would that be worthwhile? Of course, I would still expect the top users to lead in this category (over 200 a day), but it would also motivate late adopters.

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@ChrisF that would still be a rolling reputation. –  René Nyffenegger Dec 4 '09 at 18:05
    
@Rene - my (now deleted) comment was added before the post was edited. –  ChrisF Dec 4 '09 at 20:26
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6 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've previously suggested a "monthly league" for reputation, which was a popular idea... although as you say, the usual suspects would probably be near the top.

One interesting point would be to have two reputation graphs (either show one at a time, or overlay them) - one would be absolute reputation, and the other would be reputation gained per day, basically the gradient of the first. I'd be interested in seeing that, certainly - and it can easily be done with the existing data. (Heck, it could be done with the data which is already being shipped down to the browser - it could be entirely client-side.)

Showing the average per-day rep in things like the Users screen would be interesting as well, certainly.

One problem with this: it all focuses people a little too heavily on reputation. Reputation should be a corollary of giving good answers, rather than the driving force. That doesn't mean I'm not hopeful of one day achieving 500 in a day without bounty of course...

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Please, don't.

I put time into SO when I can. That isn't very much time, so my rep growth over time is slow. If I put a lot of time into it in a day, I can make some strides, but I have more important tasks. I think I may have a rep/day of <15.

Further, those who have been members a long time are then at a disadvantage, particularly if they have to neglect SO for a while to address real-life issues... their rep will be averaged over a longer time period that doesn't reflect their trustworthiness.

I think the amount of rep you can get from asking lots of stupid, badly worded questions is a much larger issue, as is the rep from the 'fun' questions. Worry about how rep is gained, not how much Jon Skeet, et. al. have.

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I'm not suggesting replacing the existing system, just adding to it. Are you saying that you would be at a disadvantage because you've been a member for a long time but don't contribute much? Isn't that the whole point? –  Shane Dec 4 '09 at 16:49
    
Yeah, that's the whole point. The point that I don't like. It isn't 'leveling the playing field' at all. –  retracile Dec 4 '09 at 18:38
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Interesting idea, but I think that it might be a bit more interesting if the linked account box was updated to have the total reputation as well as the average number of up-votes per answer. This might need to be tweaked a bit to exclude outlier questions due to popularity, but might give a fair idea of how their responses are accepted by the community.

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IMHO the best idea would be to focus on average reputation per post. That way people are rewarded for quality rather than quantity.

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And for sticking to the top-viewed tags... –  mmyers Oct 27 '10 at 21:01
    
true, but isn't that also true if the focus is on absolute reputation? –  AdamRalph Oct 27 '10 at 21:27
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I don't particularly see that as a big problem because most people aren't doing this in order to become the #1 user on the site

(...) being an early user of the site does lead to a higher reputation and might be considered an unfair advantage

Isn't that a little contradictory?

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Just asking..... –  jmfsg Dec 4 '09 at 15:49
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@Juan: Not really. The first sentence gives his personal opinion, the second sentence gives a hypothetical third parties' opinion (note the use of the passive voice). –  ベレアー アダム Dec 4 '09 at 15:50
    
So, he doesn't think this is a problem, but he wonders if others might, and if so, how it could be addressed. –  ベレアー アダム Dec 4 '09 at 15:51
    
@Adam, oh... ok –  jmfsg Dec 4 '09 at 15:53
    
Fair point. I clarified further. –  Shane Dec 4 '09 at 15:56
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