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On the one hand, I've earned an embarrassing amount of rep for this flipant, throwaway answer, whereas I worked like a dog to crack this particular little nut.

Show me your extremes.

Edit: I am not asking 'why' there is a disparity between ease-of-answer and reputation-gained, I want to see individual's own examples of the two extremes. Show me your easiest gains and hardest fought wins.

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how the heck is #1 not community wiki? Tempted to go back in time and "fix" that one, it's so egregious. –  Jeff Atwood Jun 15 '10 at 8:04
    
This is hilarious! –  Adam Davis Jun 15 '10 at 8:20
    
@pollyanna care to elaborate? –  graphicdivine Jun 15 '10 at 8:30
    
@graphicdivine - I just think it's funny that you post one of your highest rated questions, and the immediate response is, "That's not right!" I suspect it will put a damper on others contributing answers to this post... –  Adam Davis Jun 15 '10 at 8:37
    
@pollyanna Thanks. And, yes, I couldn't agree more. (Although - just to be clear - these are my answers, not my questions. In fact, I supoose I should re-title this question). –  graphicdivine Jun 15 '10 at 8:41
    
It has been documented here (several times) that rare knowledge is often unrewarded. Is that what you are investigating? –  Tim Post Jun 15 '10 at 8:55
    
@tim-post something like that, but also the distance between 'rare' and 'common' - the latitude of it all. –  graphicdivine Jun 15 '10 at 9:06

1 Answer 1

It has already been mentioned countless times on Meta.

Easy questions always generate more rep. This is because reputation is crowd-sourced. With an easy question title, more people will view. With an easy (well explained) question, more people will read the responses. If the answer is clear (flippant or short) people will say "I agree." and upvote.

If the question is difficult, fewer views. Of the people who view, fewer will understand and bother reading the answers. If the answers are technically difficult, even fewer people will be able to understand/verify that it is correct, so they can't (don't) upvote.

There really isn't much that can be done about this. The tumbleweed badge, and necromancer badges are designed to recognize this issue, but it can't necessarily be fixed. People simply cannot (or shouldn't) vote up answers that they don't understand or can't verify.

Ultimately, the only thing you can do is work hard to raise the level of skill of all those around you. Once more people understand more difficult questions, then you can start gaining more rep for them :). (Of course, you'll also have more competition.)

Some similar discussions:

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I'm not asking why. I'm asking for individual's examples of the two extremes. –  graphicdivine Jun 15 '10 at 8:43
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@Graphic How is that beneficial or purposeful? What gain would it have? Perhaps I don't understand. –  devinb Jun 15 '10 at 8:50
    
I guess in a "Getting To Know You" way? GTKY? That's not really what we do here, though. However, in this third place I'm proposing .. blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/04/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/48249/… –  Jeff Atwood Jun 15 '10 at 8:55
    
I suppose in some small, 'getting to know you' sense, but not primarily. I'm genuinely just curious to see how broad the spread is, to actually see the contrast, rather than anecdoting it. Purpose? Gain? I don't know. Knowledge for it's own sake. Some marks on the bench, perhaps. If, as @tim-post suggests, rare knowledge is the issue, let's see some of it. And let's see it in contrast with some very 'common' knowledge. –  graphicdivine Jun 15 '10 at 9:04
    
Actually, the other aspect you didn't mention is the actual reputation number. For example, I may not know a lot about C#, but if I see someone like Jon Skeet writing a complete answer on a C# question, I know I can upvote him, because his reputation, and his tag badges are indicating that this is someone who knows what he is talking about. So even if the answer is very technical and I can't know for sure if exact, I "know" I can upvote him. (I'm saying "I", but it's in a general meaning). –  Gnoupi Jun 15 '10 at 9:10
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@Gnoupi Surely you are not saying that upvoting answers who's quality you cannot judge is a good thing???? –  nb69307 Jun 15 '10 at 9:38
    
@Neil - I'm not, I'm saying this is another factor entering in the current upvoting situations. Because people can upvote easily, and seeing an "expert" writing a lenghty answer is often enough to click the up arrow. At least from what I observed, I could be wrong. –  Gnoupi Jun 15 '10 at 9:50

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