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I mean, I know that it shouldn't, if you're just doing things for the fun of it. That's how I was too, until I answered one question in the morning in a way that caused many people to upvote it for some reason.

Because of that one question, I hit the rep cap for the first time, and now this entire day, I've been browsing and looking at the upvotes still piling up on the question and begging "Please, nobody vote for it anymore today. That blank spot on the rep gained spot is a dagger to my heart."

I thought I was someone who was here truly for the joy of helping others. I thought I was a good stack overflow user. But somehow, maybe somewhere along the lines, I got caught up in the game.

I started browsing the questions again in my relentless search to find more to answer, but somewhere along the way, I thought to myself,

"What's the point? Why answer any more things today? Why can't I just wait until tomorrow, when the rep cap is cleared?"

And there really isn't any reason why I shouldn't wait til tomorrow...for one, the question will still be there. However, it will probably likely already be answered. No rep gained, so either way, it's the same outcome. However, there's also the risk that nobody will even look at an answer that is posted after an accepted answer has already been chosen. Why bother putting so much effort into an answer that might not even be read?

And so I am left here watching the upvotes on that accursed answer of mine pile up, approaching doubling in number and yielding me no rep points, my un-capped rep for the day fast approaching 300-400 on one answer alone. And it shouldn't matter. Rep shouldn't matter. But that blank vacuum where a number should be is like the vacuum of my soul.

"why not just wait til tomorrow?" I could just log off the site for good and wait until tomorrow. But something just draws me back. The longing to...answer. But then the previously mentioned phenomenon happens.

I am faced with a moral conundrum and my life is spiraling into a sinkhole of pity and despair. What can be done? Any advice, or analysis of the system?

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possible duplicate of What is the reasoning behind the reputation cap? –  devinb Jun 23 '10 at 8:48
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Post all your answers as community wiki, then the rep cap will never bother you ;-) –  Andy E Jun 23 '10 at 8:57
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@Andy ahahaha! Great idea. :) –  Pëkka Jun 23 '10 at 9:02
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Delete your answer to the problem question :) –  Benjol Jun 23 '10 at 9:08
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There are a couple of badges you can only get by hitting the rep cap (mortarboard, epic, legendary), so it's not a total loss. –  Kevin Panko Jun 23 '10 at 14:30
    
@KevinPanko - Once you get Legendary, you're back to being depressed :( –  DVK Jan 20 at 19:49
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4 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

See Podcast #72

The daily reputation cap is partly there to encourage programmers to take a break. The goal isn’t to be on Stack Overflow, but to generally do things that make you a better programmer. While that certainly includes the fractional time slices of questions and answers that programmers so generously contribute, it also means doing your job, and writing code! To the extent that Stack Overflow itself becomes the goal, we are failing you.

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So I guess it's for my own good after all =) –  Justin L. Jun 23 '10 at 18:35
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And yet we have the Fanatic badge. Something doesn't add up. –  Kendall Frey Oct 5 '12 at 19:59
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analysis of the system?

One thing the rep cap does is somewhat regulate the amount the hard-core users's reputation grows by. IIRC, without the reputation cap, Jon Skeet would already have something in the region of 500,000 points.

Any advice

Answer the question nevertheless, for the reward of doing a nice thing and the possibility of gaining fifteen points for the accepted answer.

Alternatively, just log off! You have already spent too much time on Stack Overflow that day. :D

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But I can't leave =( (my car has an exploded tire) (also, I appear to be addicted) –  Justin L. Jun 23 '10 at 8:48
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@Justin fix the car. :P –  Pëkka Jun 23 '10 at 8:49
    
@Pëkka - we don't have an SE to ask a question on how to fix cars –  DVK Jan 20 at 19:50
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I hit the cap practically daily, but it doesn't discourage me from answering the question. I just love to share knowledge and help others. I have always done it at other forums and the rep cap wouldn't change it.

Just answer it if noone else did and you can. Who know you'll get 15 points for it being accepted or some more votes tomorrow or the days after.

The cap is however useful to avoid that the rep for some grows excessively. Also see query How high would my rep be when there was no cap? of Interesting Queries on Data Explorer. Jon Skeet is ID 22656.

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There are suggestions to have reputation league for recent content only: see

Should we have a new "Trending Users" reputation league that is weighted towards recent content? and New League Biased Towards Recent Content

If it would be implemented, it will encourage users to get reputation on recent content, even if total cap will be exceeded.

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