Although there is more to Stack Exchange than just points, that doesn't counter the fact that the point system is what makes it thrive, and is valued by the majority. It would be hard to deny this, considering all the discussions on the reputation system here on meta. ('reputation' is the 3rd most used tag, after the obligatory ones)
I find that this ideological selflessness, shouldn't stop the search for a more 'honest' point system.
Isn't the value of reputation proportional to the quality of the reputation system?
Ideally, higher reputation should be a linear mapping to effort and knowledge put into the community. The better this mapping, the higher value reputation has, the more you will value it.
The more you value your reputation, the higher the motivation to participate in the community.
When noticing certain flaws/unfairness in the reputation system, your motivation to participate will decrease. Again, why would it otherwise be such a hot topic on meta.
More motivation, higher quality of Stack Exchange. And isn't that what we are aiming for in the end?
- The better the reputation system,
- the better your reputation represents how much you aided in the community
- the higher the motivation to invest in the community
- the higher the quality of SE?
That's why I believe it's important to have constructive discussions on how to improve the system, instead of shrugging them off as unimportant. On a topic on whether answering difficult questions should earn more points (something which I believe relates to a fairer system), paxdiablo correctly commented that the biggest challenge is to find a good measure for complexity.
Relating to the point mentioned here, wouldn't it be useful to find this measurement (and others)? Perhaps SE's data explorer can be a very useful tool in this quest.
The goal would be to find correlations between measurable (current or to be implemented) data on questions/answers, and 'fair reputation'.
The real 'underlying' question isn't the last mentioned example, but rather the title of this question. "Shouldn't reputation be valued more?"
I feel the title of Erik's post "Why should I keep answering on Stack Overflow?" is spot on, as an opinion of a new user (and most likely many others). Perhaps a majority of opinions aren't represented here on meta, as the people to which this subject might appeal aren't here, or simply can't upvote as is the case for me.