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All right. Your current reputation system has two things it attempts to solve:

  • attract people with "a reward" to use the site
  • filter up moderators from the crowd

I've used stackoverflow about a year, written 133 answers and 60 questions, I've got 2500 reputation. About third of my questions haven't been sufficiently answered. About half of my answers haven't been upvoted. One accepted answer has -2 votes.

The maximum rep one can get in a day is 200. That means one can take about two weeks and bypass my rep. 50 days and he's going to be a moderator. He only needs to get 20 people to vote his answer every day.

I don't see how it keeps me in. I'm feeling just cheated from using this site in the first place. I saw stackoverflow was supposed to be a place for getting answers to your questions and get the nicest answers/questions to bubble up. "Whats your programmer cartoon" and "what's your best programmer joke" along some of the others on the "vote" -slab seem to just make things rise up what were already on the top.

Well, there's one thing it succeeds at. Breaking pageranks! Before stackoverflow you used to see Q/A with paywalls and empty forum posts. Now you see an empty stackoverflow question before everything else.

Note this is not everything I'm pissed up about stackoverflow, just the beginning (there's lot worse issues in getting questions for people who can answer them). I'll place it up as a community wiki because it's not so much of a question. More like a perception.

(Oh yeah, I've had a question closed because it had some prepared rambling after the question that most people thought was an answer.)

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I don't seem to see a question here - if this is what your SO posts are like, perhaps that's the problem. And you haven't made it CW. –  nb69307 Jul 29 '10 at 18:07
    
You probably don't see a question because you somehow skipped reading the title. –  Cheery Jul 29 '10 at 18:10
    
...and didn't understood it's a community wiki post. I feel I'm on wrong site anyway. Where's the site to give feedback on stackoverflow? I don't have so much of meta-stackoverflow -related questions. –  Cheery Jul 29 '10 at 18:13
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Cheery, this is the right place. And one thing to note is that on Meta, people downvote when they disagree. Your post, with its generally negative outlook will likely get downvoted. Just a head's up. It does not need to be CW. –  devinb Jul 29 '10 at 18:16
    
@Cheery, although I don't see the need for this to be a CW post, you specifically said in the question that you would make this CW and then you didn't. –  Pops Jul 29 '10 at 18:18
    
@Popular Demand: devinb just took the CW -flag down. –  Cheery Jul 29 '10 at 18:21
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Re: "Does the voting system work at all?" Yes. –  XMLbog Jul 29 '10 at 18:23
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The rep is a fun game. But like all games, it gets old. If you're doing it for the rep, you're gonna reach a point where using the site no longer makes sense for you, and you'll go off to find another game. And yes, the fluff questions suck, but fortunately there are feeds for when you just want some meat. –  Shog9 Jul 29 '10 at 18:25
    
@Cheery, I don't understand your comment; what is "the CW -flag"? –  Pops Jul 29 '10 at 18:27
    
@Popular, I believe Cheery just meant that my comment indicated that he did not need to make it CW, and so he won't. It's nice to know that new people believe that my words have weight. –  devinb Jul 29 '10 at 18:34
    
Typical. The problem can't possibly be with me, so it must be with everyone else, or maybe with the system. OK USA. –  Aarobot Jul 29 '10 at 20:47
    
@Aarobot: Finland. OK Finland. –  Shog9 Jul 29 '10 at 22:46
    
@Shog9: That doesn't even sort of rhyme. –  Aarobot Jul 30 '10 at 4:55
    
@Aarobot: I've used to fixing problems myself, were they within myself or a system. Time will tell whether I were in correct. I let myself some slack and say I am likely partially correct. Right now the overall tone is there's a disaster waiting to happen for stackoverflow. Should have stopped from the beginning when I got my own systems working though I were still fooled to thinking that more eyes are better. –  Cheery Jul 30 '10 at 9:12
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@Cheery. The reputation system built the site. It was what the site was founded on. –  devinb Jul 30 '10 at 18:11

5 Answers 5

Point-by-point. It's gonna be long.

The maximum rep one can get in a day is 200. That means one can take about two weeks and bypass my rep. 50 days and he's going to be a moderator. He only needs to get 20 people to vote his answer every day.

This is far far easier said than done. The vast majority of people will not reach the reputation cap on any day, and the average 20 answers will get fewer than 1 vote per post. If someone spends that much time on SO every day for 50 days, then I would feel comfortable saying that they earned their privileges. Most people are like you, however. They don't spend their entire day on SO, and so it takes a while to accrue rep.

I don't see how it keeps me in. I'm feeling just cheated from using this site in the first place. I saw stackoverflow was supposed to be a place for getting answers to your questions and get the nicest answers/questions to bubble up.

It won't keep you in. StackOverflow is based on the honour system, in the sense that there is no way to keep people coming back. They have to come back on their own. The incentives are just icing. But really, you have to have the drive to help people, because most of the time it will be thankless slogging in the trenches with "How to add two numbers with jquery?".

"Whats your programmer cartoon" and "what's your best programmer joke" along some of the others on the "vote" -slab seem to just make things rise up what were already on the top.

This is a source of chagrin to many of the regulars here. We have all made our peace with it, as Jeff said repeatedly, "A little fun is good every now and then". In our halycon youth, StackOverflow was a much freer place, and thats how the questions you references came about. Look at the post numbers on them, they are VERY low. Nowadays, poll questions get closed very quickly. The rules have hardened and questions such as that are not acceptable.

Note this is not everything I'm pissed up about stackoverflow,

We can't respond to critisism you won't air. Please tell us. I can't promise that no one will mock or downvote you, in fact, on Meta its pretty much guaranteed that they will. But if you have a thick enough skin to deal with it, then we can all work together to try and make StackOverflow better.

(Oh yeah, I've had a question closed because it had some prepared rambling after the question that most people thought was an answer.)

Questions get closed very quickly if they aren't tight, concise and clear.

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"Point-by-point. It's gonna be long." - nobody expects anything less from you :p +1 –  Andy E Jul 29 '10 at 18:34
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@Andy E, Working with remote desktop, SharePoint and IE6 gives you a lot of time to think. –  devinb Jul 29 '10 at 18:36
    
Actually, it's fairly easy to hit the cap - I normally do it in a couple of hours on a weekday. –  nb69307 Jul 29 '10 at 18:42
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@Neil, I've read some of your answers and it became rapidly apparent that I, for one, am not nearly as bright as you. –  devinb Jul 29 '10 at 18:47
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+1 for mocking and downvoting. That's why my MSO rep > SO rep. sigh –  user27414 Jul 29 '10 at 18:49
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@devinb Honestly, most of my answers could be provided by any half-competent C++ programmer - I'm certainly not a C++ god. I just have time on my hands. –  nb69307 Jul 29 '10 at 18:55
    
+1 for "How to add two numbers with jquery?" hahahahaha! –  Richard JP Le Guen Jul 29 '10 at 19:22
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@Neil Butterworth: Half-competent C++ programmers are a somewhat rare breed, it would seem. Don't sell yourself short. –  mmyers Jul 29 '10 at 19:52
    
@mmyers Actually, I would estimate that at least 50% of the C++ programmers I've worked with were OK. They were, after all, in the most part writing 24/7 servers, where crappy code soon becomes apparent. And the other 50% I hear you ask - well I beat them to death, of course :-) –  nb69307 Jul 29 '10 at 20:18

Wow. You got 2/3 of your questions answered for free by programming experts and you're still whining. Can you imagine being able to get free medical, legal, or financial advice, vetted by a community of experts, on specific questions that you have -- usually within a matter of minutes? Doesn't happen. Even then, most of the time when a question doesn't get an answer -- at least from me -- it's because it either doesn't have enough information to be able to provide a meaningful answer or it's a problem that requires much more energy and effort than I'm willing or able to give for free. It's ok that there might be problems complex enough that you'd have to pay someone to solve them or invest a significant amount of time to solve it yourself. If it weren't most of us would be out of jobs and our managers would be writing the software.

I'll agree with you that voting on questions is not particularly useful, especially with respect to reputation. The great rep recalc seems to reflect that in that question up vote values got cut in half. Personally, I don't bother even looking at the number of votes on a question, I'm more interesting in simply finding a question similar to my problem and then finding a good answer. SO does seem to be very good in that respect. You've got to use Google with site: stackoverflow.com, though, for the search to be reasonably successful. Most questions do get a large number of views (hundreds, if not thousands). Given a choice between having lots of people potentially help solve my problem and getting a few (meaningless) rep points for asking about it, I'd take the former without complaint.

I suspect I might have more 0 voted answers than you have questions and answers combined. One difficultly is that most questions come from new users to the site who don't have enough rep to cast a vote yet. Once they get their answer they may or may not be back. There's certainly little incentive to revisit an answer to your question later once you do reach the voting milestone. I've always felt that a person should be able to vote on answers to their own question in addition to accepting an answer, but I've been overruled.

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Even better, use stackoverflow.com/search –  nb69307 Jul 29 '10 at 18:41
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Some of the questions I've answered myself later. Though it's maybe true I've had too high expectations even if I've thought someone would be able to answer all my questions from straight off. –  Cheery Jul 29 '10 at 18:58
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@Neil -- I hadn't seen that they put extra provider options there. Of course, the only way to get there (if you don't already know about it) is to enter nothing in the search box and hit the enter key. Completely unintuitive. No hover over or anything. Wasn't @Jeff the one recommending "Don't Make Me Think" codinghorror.com/blog/2005/08/…. –  tvanfosson Jul 29 '10 at 19:08

Reputation isn't a contest. It's a measure of how others on the site have perceived your contribution to the site.

You really shouldn't feel cheated. You've asked some good questions and posted some good answers. Obviously you have received some benefit from using the site, and you have made a positive impact as well.

If you are disappointed that some of your questions did not receive adequate answers, it may be because the topics were not mainstream or because you did not word the question well enough to draw good responses. If you post a specific example, we can discuss it.


Responses to specific examples:

How car physics in carmageddon 2 were implemented?

  • You tagged the question physics. Because SO is a programming site, this isn't likely to get a lot of attention.
  • You are asking about how a specific game implemented a specific feature. Unless one of the game designers is on SO, you are not likely to get an accurate answer.

Transform shape built of contour splines to simple polygons

This isn't a topic I know much about, but it appears you're asking a rather advanced question about 3D graphics. There's nothing wrong with this, but it is out of the mainstream for SO, which is why it has low views and no answers.

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stackoverflow.com/questions/1213455/… stackoverflow.com/questions/2781711/… There's two. I've accepted answers on most questions because eventually dropped hopes that someone would answer it better. –  Cheery Jul 29 '10 at 18:53
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"It's a measure of how others on the site have perceived your contribution to the site" - everyone trots this out, but is it really? I've said before that rep is really only a measure of how much time you have to waste. –  nb69307 Jul 29 '10 at 18:53
    
@Neil: what's the difference? Seriously, if I don't have time to waste, then I can't make much of a contribution. –  user27414 Jul 29 '10 at 18:55
    
@Jon Quality versus quantity, perhaps :-) –  nb69307 Jul 29 '10 at 19:03
    
@Neil - it's odd, isn't it, that the rep cap actually favors quantity. –  user27414 Jul 29 '10 at 19:07
    
@Jon: not at all. Some of the most prolific authors on SO have also been the most vocal about getting the system changed to make that more the case... –  Shog9 Jul 29 '10 at 19:13
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@Shog - not sure I'm following you... What I meant was that you can post one or two brilliant answers every day and hit the rep cap, while I post a ton of mediocre answers every day and also hit the rep cap. Obviously, the latter is easier, hence the system basically encourages quantity over quality. (The low penalty for poor answers further supports this). I'm not saying this is good/bad or needs to be changed. I just thought it was an interesting observation. –  user27414 Jul 29 '10 at 19:23
    
@Jon: yeah, I was responding to the "odd" bit. Because there's a third scenario: post a ton of decent answers every day, and exceed the rep cap due to the acceptance bonuses. For a long time, that was a risky strategy, as the bonuses were only exempt if they were awarded after the rep cap was hit... The folks who lobbied to change that tended to be those who stood to gain from it - so, not odd at all. –  Shog9 Jul 29 '10 at 19:33
    
@Shog - I see what you mean. I think I slept through that change (as I don't post a large quantity of any kind of answers!) –  user27414 Jul 29 '10 at 19:48

I actually looked at some of your answers - for example this one http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3282785/question-about-nested-loops/3282852#3282852 where you provide an answer that doesn't seem to work. And this one http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2984148/where-c-really-shines/2984157#2984157 which I think needs no comment from me. If you post answers like this (and it's OK to do so - I post similar things myself from time to time) you can't expect upvotes.

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That second example is not OK. It's borderline flaggable. –  user27414 Jul 29 '10 at 20:26
    
@Jon I think it's OK, but maybe the question isn't. –  nb69307 Jul 29 '10 at 20:31

The voting does work and works very well, but only inside well defined domains. The problem with the popular fluff is that "fun" is not the same domain as technical questions.

To a lesser extent basic, highly accessible questions show the same behavior: they attract many (sometimes dozens) of answers and a great many (sometimes scores) of votes, while demanding detailed questions get a few answers and a handful of votes. But allowing for this, the tendency is for good answers to have more votes than poor one.

So the voting works, but the "system" is broken by allowing people to mix "fun" with "work".


BTW-- Your question shows some misunderstandings of what is going on here.

The maximum rep one can get in a day is 200.

No, the maximum you can get from upvotes is 200; acceptances and bounties can push you beyond that magic number and often does for the score leaders. Take note of the epic and legendary badges.

One accepted answer has -2 votes.

This is usually a feature, not a bug. If your problem is solved to your satisfaction, good. But if you want to learn something revisit the issue. Likely you either wrote your question poorly, or you adopted a suboptimal answer.

(Oh yeah, I've had a question closed because it had some prepared rambling after the question that most people thought was an answer.)

So, did you fix it? Or at least explain why you thought that was a wrong call?

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"the voting works, but the 'system' is broken" - wait, how does that make sense? Isn't the voting and the system one and the same? –  polygenelubricants Jul 29 '10 at 18:28
    
Attempted. Though I didn't get enough movement around to get it back up (only 4 reopens). I dropped the question pretty much after that. –  Cheery Jul 29 '10 at 18:29
    
@poly: No. The system is broken because it accepts out-of-domain questions. I understand fully why Jeff didn't want to weigh in against the "fun", but he made the wrong call there. –  dmckee Jul 29 '10 at 18:39
    
Agreed. But it's really the diamond mods that are to blame here I feel - they should be stomping all over the "fun" questions - which almost never are funny, instead of leaving it up to those of us with close-vote rights, and a sense of humour. –  nb69307 Jul 29 '10 at 18:50

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