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Sometimes I'd have a Good Day where I scored way too much in excess of the cap, but then I'd have a Bad Day where I didn't score much at all.

I realize that the cap is a good thing, but I'm just wondering if it's possible to engineer the system such that excess points aren't simply lost, but rather withheld, to be given out later when the user is eligible to receive more points (i.e. when the daily cap is reset the next day). That way, user still needs to build reputation through time with the same pace as everybody, but no effort is truly wasted, and points can be banked for later use, etc.

Note that this will not reduce anybody's current reputation; it will only increase it. And some people with a lot in the bank could just sit tight and do nothing and reap the reward of what was sown in the past.

I don't think that either is necessarily a bad thing.


I've addressed some concerns in the comments below, but I'll also write it here for further discussion:

  • "This defeats the purpose of the cap"
    • No! The actual acquisition of those points are still pace-controlled by the cap! Let's say you get 100 votes in one day, then three things are possible:
      • Without cap: you get 1000 pts NOW. This is NOT what I'm asking for.
      • With cap, no rollover: you get 200 pts NOW, and then ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
      • With cap, with rollover: you get 200 pts everyday for the next 5 days.
        • Note that you still have to wait 5 days to get the full 1000 pts (i.e. the cap "works")

  • "A user can just do nothing and get points"
    • YES! But note that this is the case now anyway!!! A user can be away from the site for a month, but as long as someone votes on an old answer, he/she would still get points! The difference is that right now it matters WHEN those votes are received; I'd like to eliminate this limitation.

  • If you don't like the concept of rollover reps, what about rollover unused cap? That is, if today you get only 100 pts, then tomorrow your cap is 300 pts. You still can only get 400 pts over two days, so the cap still works.

  • "This would only benefit the top 1% who always get 200 rep daily"
    • NOT TRUE! It's the exact opposite, in fact. If the top 1% do get 200 rep, say 99% of the time, then the rollover feature would not significantly boost their rep, because there aren't many holes to fill by rollover points. Instead, this feature would positively affect the majority case of the average people who have their shares of Good Days and Bad Days.
      • It is true that this feature may give the top 1% so many banked points enough for a week/month/year, but they'd still only receive them at the capped rate of 200 pts/day.
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You keep saying that "I realize that the cap is a good thing" but your solution completely removes the rep cap except for the top 1% of SO who always get 200 rep daily. I don't think you really do understand what the rep cap accomplishes and why it's a good thing. Nevertheless, this change is significant and would only affect less than 1% of the SO population in a significant manner. But the real question is: What is the problem this solves? How, exactly, will SO be SIGNIFICANTLY improved with this change? What will get worse if this 'problem' isn't fixed now? –  Adam Davis Apr 9 '10 at 6:11
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It allows, among other things, higher degree of accuracy in using reputation as measure of performance (and obviously reputation does measure something or else we wouldn't have it). If I had gotten 500 votes in the last 30 days, then with rollover I would have gotten 5000 pts for that period (which is less than 30x200 = 6000 monthly cap), regardless of how those 500 votes were spread out. Currently, if those 500 votes were cast all in one day, I would've only gotten 200 pts. –  polygenelubricants Apr 9 '10 at 6:24
    
Also, if the top 1% of SO do receive 200 rep daily say 99% of the time, then this change would NOT affect their rep significantly, because there aren't many holes to fill by rollover pts. This would positively affect the majority case of the average people who have their shares of Good Days and Bad Days. –  polygenelubricants Apr 9 '10 at 6:30
    
@polygene - Oh, it would. Jon Skeet and assimilates could take a year vacation, and still hit their rep cap every day! –  Gnoupi Apr 9 '10 at 7:27
    
And his rep would climb at the rate as it did before, 200 pts/day (not counting exempt pts). Is that a problem? He didn't get those points for doing absolutely nothing; he must've done something in the past to have gotten those votes. He's just reaping what he's sown. –  polygenelubricants Apr 9 '10 at 7:49
    
@polygene - not all answers are worthy of the votes they get. Many are getting upvoted because of a "funny" reaction from community. And even, you can put an excellent answer in 2 lines, which will bring you plenty of votes, more than the rep cap for 4 days. Does that mean that you brought as much value as someone who posted for 4 days on several questions? –  Gnoupi Apr 9 '10 at 7:53
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@Gnoupi: but those problems are here already regardless of rollover points! The votes for the excellent 2-line answer, if it were somehow spread out over 4 days, would've gotten the same points as if it were gotten within 5 minutes but with rollover points... WHICH IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!!! Rep should be about value to the community (rate-controlled by the cap); WHEN votes are received, and HOW they're distributed, shouldn't matter. And RIGHT NOW IT DOES!!! –  polygenelubricants Apr 9 '10 at 8:11
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@polygene - the point is to push people to come regularly, that's all. It might seem unfair to you, but it's like this. Remember that reputation is just a little number in a single site. Not money, nothing real. It's just to push people to provide good content. And the cap is to push them to do that regularly and not only once in a while. Also, caps and exclamation points are really helping to make a point. So is sarcasm. –  Gnoupi Apr 9 '10 at 8:26
    
OH I GET IT NOW!!! No, seriously, you're right; I get it now. I sincerely thank you for the discussion. –  polygenelubricants Apr 9 '10 at 8:43

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You suggest that rep should be rolled over so the user's rep gain is evened out over time, but the reality is that the rep cap is designed to perform exactly the opposite result:

Rather than your suggestion of self-leveling reputation, the rep cap forces self-leveling of user participation.

In other words, the rep cap forces, by design, the user to participate daily to continue gaining reputation.

This is a community building feature.

Reputation is designed to get people hooked. The rep cap is designed to get them to come back.

You suggestion undermines this designed behavior.

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+1, Very well put! –  The Unhandled Exception Apr 9 '10 at 12:14

SO is not AT&T.

Red rover, red rover, send rollover rep over!

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Maybe we should have like a rep-ration. and if we exceed that ration we have to pay SO back the rep. Kinda a form of awesomeness-tax. </sarcasm> –  Earlz Apr 9 '10 at 5:17
    
"Answers" like yours are the reason people are arguing for a rep cap. The point is to keep people from trolling and receiving reputation simply out of a joke's "popularity". –  Hawken Mar 25 '12 at 14:48

It really contradicts the purpose of the reputation cap.

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Mind you, I don't know why there is a cap, apart from avoiding having to calculate Jon Skeet's score in googols. That's the only really reasonable excuse. –  MPelletier Apr 9 '10 at 4:04
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Rep cap is to stop rep rockets: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/22447/why-so-rep-cap –  random Apr 9 '10 at 4:04
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Diago makes the most salient point about the rep cap: "I would not want someone who has been on the site for 2 days to suddenly have the ability to close questions, or edit my posts, if he hasn't had time to understand the nature of the sites." –  Adam Davis Apr 9 '10 at 4:17
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@random - This suggestion would also stop rep rockets, so that is no argument against it. –  deleted Apr 9 '10 at 4:18
    
@Pollyanna: you'd still have to wait to get enough points to do those things; so no, you can't do it in 2 days. You may be able to do it based on 2 days on the site, and then waiting out the rest of the days doing nothing, but that's the case right now anyway, since your old answer can still generate points for you as long as someone votes on it. The problem is that 100 votes on an old answer scores differently depending on whether it happens in 1 day or spread over the year. My suggestion eliminates this distinction. It's HOW MANY votes that count, not WHEN. –  polygenelubricants Apr 9 '10 at 4:49
    
@Pollyanna: The way I see it, if there was a need to prevent someone from becoming a mod in 2 days, there would have been a 2 day limit (or more, presumably), on modship being awarded. The community argument makes more sense. –  MPelletier Apr 9 '10 at 18:33
    
@MPelletier - I'm pretty sure the rep cap serves many purposes. The community argument is a strong purpose, but the fact that it takes awhile to become a mod is a good feature, and prevents having to write additional code to check additional conditions - it's built in to an existing structure. –  Adam Davis Apr 9 '10 at 18:36

What's the point of the cap then? You'll end up with the same amount of rep points eventually; they'll just keep rolling over and over. No, I think the rep cap serves a very useful purpose, and I don't think a rollover helps in any way...

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Certain users could be getting rep well after they died. –  Gnome Apr 9 '10 at 4:39
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@Gnome: that's the case with/without the new feature request anyway. Voters can still vote on their old answers. –  polygenelubricants Apr 9 '10 at 4:47
    
@Josh: the purpose of the cap is to control the PACE of points acquisition. Assuming 200 pts/day cap and no exempt pts, a total of 1000 pts from 100 votes would still only be acquired after 5 days. The difference is that my feature request makes WHEN those 100 votes received irrelevant. Even if it happens all within 1 minute, the points will come EVENTUALLY (instead of LOST FOREVER). –  polygenelubricants Apr 9 '10 at 4:54

Can I get an advance on next week's rep? I am having a slow week. Maybe someone could give me a loan to help me get by.

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If you don't like hypothetical rep rolling over from the future, how about unused rep rolling over from the past? That is, if today you only get 100 pts, then tomorrow your cap is 300 pts. You can still only get 400 pts in 2 days, so the pace remains the same. –  polygenelubricants Apr 9 '10 at 4:57
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Why does rep even matter? It's not a competition. Use the site to gain/share knowledge and the reputation will come to you. Everyone has the same "rules" –  ecounysis Apr 9 '10 at 5:34
    
You are right that knowledge is more important than points, but you're also wrong saying that rep doesn't matter. It does. It's an important part of the system. Else we wouldn't have it. And we wouldn't be where we are. –  polygenelubricants Apr 9 '10 at 8:16

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