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I was thinking about the atitude that someone should have towards the reputation points.

Should he be indifferent? needy? desperate? bloodthirsty? addicted?

Should it be a big part of your stack exchange experience?

I think it is an interesting topic for discussion.

I guess that maybe as long as the quality of the questions and answer are good, it doesn't matter so much, but the principles reasons behind an answer might be very important because it may make and answer and it´s follow up much better!

But after all isn´t SE designed "like a game"?


Thanks in advance!!

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Is there a reason other than points to participate?!?! –  James McNellis Oct 16 '10 at 1:34
Community? Knowledge? Get help? Answer a question? any of this ring a bell? :) –  Trufa Oct 16 '10 at 1:54

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't understand the point of this question. The points are designed as an incentive to contribute.

Whether they are an incentive for a given user, and the reason they cause that user to continue to contribute varies from user to user.

The site does not say, nor does it endeavor to define how a person should feel incentivized by those points.

Some will do so out of competition. Some will do so for the instant feedback. Others will ignore them because they are more interested in some other aspect of the system (badges, search for knowledge and increased skills, etc.)

While it's easy to wink and nudge about it being designed as a "game" the reality is that it's no more a game than a business is. People trade time for something else. The same things that work for stackoverflow work for good managers and coworkers.

So: What attitude should someone have towards reputation? Whatever attitude helps them achieve their personal goals. Conveniently, for many, their goals for visiting and contributing align fairly well with stackoverflow's goals.

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Thank you very much for your answer and with all due respect: To answer you, the point of the question is a better understanding of whats "behind" people´s question and answers and to deppen the "relationship" with the site and eventually eventually ask better questions and reply better answers! –  Trufa Oct 16 '10 at 2:18

I think it's fair to say that rep points are currently designed as a "game".

  • Voting points are limited to 200 per day. Thus, on days when you've reached the cap, if voting points were an incentive to contribute, it would be an incentive that turns itself off after a certain amount of contribution.

  • As a new user (and perhaps also an established user) you can't post two or more answers within 3 minutes, I think it was. That's clearly a rule that goes against contribution. Perhaps it's an anti-spam measure, but jeez.

  • Similarly, new users are not allowed to debate (within the extremely limited form of debate that comments constitute). That's, again, a rule that goes against contribution.

  • There is no distinction between rep points scored on answering non-trivial questions versus rep points scored on asking I-forgot-that-I-could-just-read-the-documentation questions. Thus, rep points do not measure quality.

It appears that in effect, rep points divided by time mostly measures a user's general activity level.

But the question then is, is that necessarily something negative, and is it necessarily negative that it isn't quite obvious that it's so?

I don't think it's necessarily negative. I've already seen an 8-year old asking programming questions here. I've never seen an 8-year old asking questions in e.g. [comp.lang.c++] (Usenet group). And I think perhaps the game-like aspect of StackOverflow helps to engage children and teenagers, drawing them to a "serious" forum.

In short, StackOverflow is different from Usenet forums.

And diversity is in general just Good.

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Very nice! thank you! –  Trufa Oct 16 '10 at 5:13

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