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Tipping on good answers has been dealt before, so I'm not suggesting that here. And, of course, we are able to pass on a few rep at any time to a deserving person. Nothing wrong with that option, except that the reward isn't tied to the helpful behavior in any meaningful way; It's clear that thankful people frequently want that association.

What I would like to suggest is a mechanism for directly tipping someone for being particularly helpful on a comment or in a chat room.

It would need to be:

  1. Visible to at least the tippee where it came from
  2. Cost the tipper some rep
  3. An unexpected reward after the fact

I think to satisfy condition 3 it would have to be limited to a relatively small amount, so people aren't inclined to shop questions around chat offering bounties in advance, for instance, would be useful.

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Your interpretation of the rep for chat system is entirely not what's represented by the votes or answers –  random Dec 23 '10 at 0:02
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@random The rep for chat system question explains the need looking to be filled. It feels like the same issue to me. The accepted answer is that chat should be a place to communicate without a rep system, which is fine, but the SO ecosystem does have a rep system, and it would be useful to find a more natural way of thanking someone for something outside a non-CW answer without upvoting unrelated high quality questions/answers (though that would continue to be ok). –  TCPMAN.EXE Dec 23 '10 at 0:14
    
for comments I think this may have some merit –  jk. Sep 12 '11 at 13:36

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think this runs counter to the entire philosophy of chat. It is a "third place" that has a different flow, and a different set of dynamics than "home" (Stack Overflow) and "work" (Meta Stack Overflow).

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/04/do-trilogy-sites-need-a-third-place/

Chat is more akin to the corner bar. It's not about reputation there, it's about being real time and discussiony and coordinating with your peers in way that is almost completely inexpressible on the sites proper.

Adding reputation system dynamics to that would only harm the experience.

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Even if it's a small amount of rep, even only 1 point? I think the goal is not to gain rep, but to show appreciation to a user. I think the intention is for it to be symbolic rather than actually useful to increase your rep. –  Andreas Bonini Dec 23 '10 at 0:42
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If I go to a bar with coworkers, I can certainly buy one I appreciate a drink. This isn't a different reward system from work, as the drink costs money. I don't think my buying someone a drink makes the bar about money. –  TCPMAN.EXE Dec 23 '10 at 1:34
    
@moot drinks are usable only at the bar, unless your workplace allows beers. That's part of the problem with this scheme you're proposing -- stuff from "home" and "work" bleeds over into the bar. It's no longer a third place. –  Jeff Atwood Dec 23 '10 at 1:55
    
I might get a reputation at work or home for being a [Drunk] if I take too many free drinks at the bar. Perhaps some sort of commendation which costs a small amount of rep to give, and maybe a badge for having received several would be a better metaphor. –  TCPMAN.EXE Dec 23 '10 at 2:14
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+1 Jeff, not because I agree with your disagreement about mootinator's idea, but for so eloquently describing your philosophy of chat, which I tried to explain but did so much more cruedly. –  The Unhandled Exception Dec 23 '10 at 2:46
    
@Kop: if you want it to be symbolic, give them a star or reply with "thanks" or ask for their address and send them a fruitcake. Rep is already symbolic, but in another context; give it too many meanings, and it loses all of them. –  Shog9 Dec 23 '10 at 3:09
    
I think this addresses the chat part of the question but not the comment part, which is a bit less clear to me as comments ate inextricably linked to their questions and answers –  jk. Sep 12 '11 at 13:35

If people wanted EXP for solving problems, they would be posting answers.

If you want to thank someone with some arbitrary EXP, post your question on the site, not in the chat, and accept their answer. If they wanted to post one. For bloat, attach a bounty to it.

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This. No matter how helpful someone might be in Chat, the answer is lost in the noise. It's the sort of problem SO was created to solve - providing incentives to subvert one of the primary goals of the entire site is beyond stupid. –  Shog9 Dec 23 '10 at 3:12

There could just be a link in the User Profile that will allow a small amount of rep to be input, with a short message. Rate-limited to once per day (to keep the gaming away).

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I love this idea! –  The Unhandled Exception Dec 23 '10 at 0:04
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I mean, what could possibly go wrong? –  mmyers Dec 23 '10 at 16:05

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