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Should answers to old questions get more (or less) reputation points?

I've noticed that when I post a question, it gets looked at by many people, but if it does not have an easy answer, and nobody responds, the number of views freezes. This is, I think, because people are more interested in earning points than helping others. This can be alleviated by giving more points when people answer older questions.

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marked as duplicate by Michael Mrozek, Shog9, waiwai933, David Thornley, Grace Note Nov 22 '10 at 21:46

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

If a question doesn't have any answers in a long time. Its probably much more intresting than say how do you add 1 and 1 in javascript. Which actually can be alarmingly difficult due to the extremely lose typing. Therefore an answer to an unpopular question may be inheritly more valueable. IMHO good call. – Wes Nov 22 '10 at 20:34
Lose typing - I think that's what VB6 used... – Shog9 Nov 22 '10 at 20:35
I like to imagine that public school teachers surfing the internet think to themselves "where did we go wrong that 98% of the population can't differentiate between 'lose' and 'loose'?" – Michael Mrozek Nov 22 '10 at 20:40
@Michael Morzek I'm dyslexic so shoot me. – Wes Nov 22 '10 at 21:46
I like to imagine that public school teachers surfing the internet think to themselves "wher did we go rong that 1/98 percent uf the people cant difference between "losse" and "lose"?. – Kzqai Apr 8 '11 at 15:06
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think that the biggest problem with this proposal is that, based on your (not entirely unfounded) assumption that people care more about rep than helping others, if it goes through then it becomes profitable for the few people that can answer a difficult question to wait until the higher rep comes into play. So the assumption that motivates the action also causes the action to be pointless.

Yeah, that really is two sentences.

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If we're going to get into a biggest problem discussion, I think the biggest problem is the assumption that older -> better. Some questions languish without answers because they're terrible, not because they're so difficult that only a handful of people know the answer. It's the same problem all these feature-requests about changing the rep per question have -- it's difficult to determine how much rep each question is worth – Michael Mrozek Nov 22 '10 at 21:00
@Michael Mrozek Good point. The title 'biggest problem' might be a bit instigative. On the other hand, the fact that a proposal contradicts its own aim is a good candidate for the title. – aaronasterling Nov 22 '10 at 21:10

You could try putting a bounty on the question. That puts it into the featured questions list for 7 days, and awards the bounty to the person who answers your question. So they get more rep, and you get more views.

How does the bounty system work?

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This is already alleviated by badges; askers get Tumbleweed if their question is neglected, and answerers of old questions get Revival and Necromancer to encourage people to go over old questions. Skewing points on an individual question basis has been pretty frequently

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Don't think badges are anywhere near an alleviation for not having an answer to your question personally. – Wes Nov 22 '10 at 20:31
Unfortunately your nice status-declined tag links to Stack Overflow itself rather than Meta. – ChrisF Nov 22 '10 at 21:32
@ChrisF It was more for aesthetics; I didn't expect people to use it to view all status-declined posts – Michael Mrozek Nov 22 '10 at 21:33
I didn't intend to click it either, but I was curious as it's colour coded. – ChrisF Nov 22 '10 at 21:35
@ChrisF Ah, yeah; there's a bug report about that – Michael Mrozek Nov 22 '10 at 21:40

This can be alleviated by giving more points when people answer older questions.


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because i think people would be more interested in paging through the list of unanswered questions rather than rushing to the first simple question they see. – akonsu Nov 22 '10 at 20:27
@akonsu: so the people who viewed your question initially and didn't answer are now motivated to view it again... What makes you think they'll answer the second time around? Or are you assuming that folks with answers did view your question initially, but declined to answer because they didn't feel the price was right...? I think this is what bounties were intended for (whether or not they work is another discussion...) – Shog9 Nov 22 '10 at 20:34
i was only assuming that the farther away from the beginning of the list a question is the fewer people look at it. people do not like paging through a long list. so in other words, if these who do know the answer do not look at the question right after it is asked, they have less chances of finding it later because it disappears under a pile of newer questions. – akonsu Nov 22 '10 at 20:40
@akonsu: regardless of how much rep they might get for doing it, folks are still not gonna like paging through a long list. – Shog9 Nov 22 '10 at 20:53

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