Let's say you have a 2000 reputation score on the java tag, if you vote on a question/answer that also has the java tag you have the same influence that someone who has 0 on that particular tag.

If the purpuse of Stackoverflow is to find the best questions/answers then a pure democracy isn't the best way to do it. Everyone can have an opinion, but those who have contributed more can in fact continue to do so and their contributions will probably be better than those of new or inexperienced users.

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This is a nice try, but still doesn't account for the specificity of knowledge. I might have gotten all of my [java] reputation on questions tagged [swing], but my vote would still count for more on questions tagged [servlets], which I may know nothing about at all. (Assuming they're both also tagged [java], for you non-Java folks.) –  Bill the Lizard Jul 15 '10 at 17:28
    
@Bill the Lizard: That's the problem with tags, there's no hierarchy. –  Max Toro Jul 17 '10 at 16:11
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

On the Indicate how trustwortyh the Upvotes are question, I wrote a long and detailed answer, I'll simply summarize those here.

  • We have no way of knowing if they are actually experts. High rep in a particular tag doesn't mean expertise it means participation.

  • People are attracted to high numbers. It won't matter if one answer has ten upvotes, and a total score of 2000, they'll choose the one with two upvotes and a total score of 17000.

  • Reputation (in general) is NOT expertise! Reputation is at best a measure of some part quality answers, and mostly time spent on SO.

  • Another barrier to new people. New people don't have high rep in any tag, so their votes "wouldn't matter".

Basically, we have no way of knowing how and why a user has their reputation, so we can't make any assumptions about their ability to make strong (worthwhile) votes. Also, we know nothing about new users, so it is not fair to assume that their votes are worthless.

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http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Winston_Churchill

Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

We have never been for this, and whenever it is brought up, it is (rightly IMO) voted down heavily.

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Politicians solve nothing. –  Max Toro Jul 15 '10 at 18:59
    
I'd mention the voting system at newgrounds if it weren't just a flash game portal... But you're right, no one has come up with anything better than democracy yet. –  Tobias Kienzler Jul 16 '10 at 8:28
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