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I don't have that much rep on SO (about 3.8k), and I've been less active over the last month or two, but I've noticed that I still get a trickle of rep from the occasional upvote on my old answers (85 over the last month). This momentum is obviously going to be more noticeable to someone with much higher rep given the larger surface area of questions/answers to catch stray upvotes, which got me thinking, there must be a point at which reputation becomes self-sustaining...

Based on my 85 momentum over a month on 3800 means, I'm getting a ~2.2% increase per month. Assuming I'm vaguely representative, to reach per-rep-tual (yes I went there) motion, you'd need about 275k rep (275k * 2.2%/month = 6k/month = 200/day = daily rep cap).

Obviously my extrapolation above is not going to be very accurate (nothing like stats based off one data point), so I was just curious, has anyone done any analysis of the data dumps to see if/when high rep users will reach a point that they will continue to hit the daily rep cap without any further contribution?

(note: I don't see this as a problem, more as a simple curiosity)

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+1 I think that you should not be completely wrong. –  Vicente Botet Escriba May 4 '10 at 22:21

2 Answers 2

Jon Skeet hasn't hit the perpetual motion point yet. By the time he hits the theoretical point of self-sustainment (I'm guessing at around 500K), many of his older answers will become obsolete, and will no longer garner rep.

Seriously, the long tail drops off rapidly towards a zero asymptote; it is self-limiting. I doubt that there is such a self-sustaining rep; it would require many, many top-quality answers to develop such a rep-machine.

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I read only 54k rep at your bar, let me know when you hit 500K number how fast it is growing ;) –  Yauhen Yakimovich Dec 16 '12 at 2:28

People tend to stop up voting questions if the correct answer is already way in the lead, so each answer you post tends to max out at a certain level unless the question has lots of very highly rated responses. I don't usually upvote if they already have 25+ votes and are way in the lead, and I have never upvoted a question with 100 points already (although these are usually community wiki).

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Why do you assume that other people think the same way as you? –  Péter Török May 30 '10 at 15:03
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I think that way too, if it helps –  Michael Mrozek May 31 '10 at 0:26

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