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I realize asking questions should be encouraged, but someone who asks a lot of questions without giving any answers is not really reputable with the community.

For example, this user is nearing moderation tools access, with over 99% of his reputation coming from asking questions (and almost 1/5th of that coming just from accepting answers!)

To fix this, I propose we implement a cap to the rep gained from asking/accepting questions. So that it scales over time, I think this cap should be 200 points or 20% of your total rep from answers (whichever is larger).

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Related:… – Pëkka Mar 6 '11 at 20:53
43 votes for asking what's funny about Little Bobby Tables? Really? And 36 for initiation of force on the Eastern Front of the Style Wars. Sheesh! – dmckee Mar 6 '11 at 21:22
declined in favor of… – Jeff Atwood Apr 6 '11 at 5:29

Let's ask a few questions to put this in context:

  • How big is this problem?
  • How many users are we talking about?
  • Do these users misuse the power they get with their rep?

My view is that provided we are not talking about many users and these users are not misusing the power they are getting then this is not an important issue.

What is an important issue is the number of low quality questions in the system and that the quality of questions seems to be getting worse. I don’t think the two issues are connected.

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really? You're not able to connect the dots between "asking lots of questions tends to generate rep no matter what", and "# of low quality questions .. and the quality of questions seems to be getting worse"? really? – Jeff Atwood Mar 7 '11 at 4:09
@Jeff, how many of the low quality questions are asked by people with enough rep to hit any cap? (And would these peole care, e.g. are they asking the questions to get the rep?) – Ian Ringrose Mar 7 '11 at 9:20

I think reputable in the context of StackOverflow means you're contributing in a valuable way.

One of those ways is asking good questions that contribute to the community. Glancing at someone's reputation doesn't really give you a good indicator of how knowledgeable they are, it just tells you the level of their involvement in the community (whether it's questions or answers or both that they contribute).

Therefore, reputation gained by either questions or answers should be capped.

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The problem is that one can, on average, gain a point or two per question even when they are total junk (plus two more for accepting an answer). You really can, and few people really do. And making a habit of downvoting those questions is generally counterproductive, because they receive sympathy upvotes. – dmckee Mar 6 '11 at 21:38
You can't really help how people vote though. I don't (and it sounds like you don't either) upvote crappy questions. In fact there's no incentive to. Seems like bad voting by the community is not the OP's fault... – Andrew Whitaker Mar 6 '11 at 21:51

I have historically resisted this, but I am starting to wonder if we should cap reputation gained for questions.

We already do this for suggested edits -- you can never get more than +1000 total reputation from suggested edits.

I wonder if a limit of max +2000 reputation from question upvotes would make sense?

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There goes my chances of reaching 10k on SO... – Ivo Flipse Mar 6 '11 at 21:10
2000 or 3000 sounds good to me. It is going to be unfair to a small number of persistent very high-quality question askers who put a lot of work in questions asked out of curiosity or for academic purposes, but I expect that number is going to be really small. – Pëkka Mar 6 '11 at 21:11
Oh and, "historically resisted" means, "accused users who pointed this out in the past of making things up" :P – Pëkka Mar 6 '11 at 21:17
I would rather like to see a cap that depends on the reputation from answers, e.g maximum rep(questions) = 2000 + answer rep. – Mad Scientist Mar 6 '11 at 21:25
If you put a hard cap up like that, the users who are essentially gaming the system by asking lots of questions lose all incentive to continue asking questions. That's an unintended consequence, as some of the questions asked by that user are really quite good. If, however, you scale the cap with their answer-rep, they now have incentive to keep asking questions and to answer more questions! – BlueRaja Mar 6 '11 at 21:25
@Jeff I also thought what you mentioned in a response to my related question was an idea worth thinking about: Splitting the reputation count into rep from answers, and rep from questions. Possibly with privileges getting unlocked only by the former? – Pëkka Mar 6 '11 at 21:42
@blue "the users who are essentially gaming the system by asking lots of questions lose all incentive to continue asking questions" and this is bad.. how? – Jeff Atwood Mar 6 '11 at 21:43
@Jeff: "as some of the questions asked by that user are really quite good." - also, I'm sure the intentions of these users are not malicious; they just want to be a part of the community, and get the community's respect, without putting the effort into it that answering questions would require. We don't want to scare them away, just disallow this gaming. – BlueRaja Mar 6 '11 at 21:55
@blue after a certain point, getting an answer to your question should be its own reward. You can put your thoughts here… – Jeff Atwood Mar 6 '11 at 22:11
I would support this proposal, with a caveat, the way that an accepted answer is immune from the rep cap, perhaps a question is immune from the rep cap once it reaches a threshold (say, +10), because then you can be sure that it is a good question. However, the threshold would have to differ for sites, because great questions on SF almost never reach +10. I'm not sure about SU, but I'm guessing the same is also for the smaller SE sites. – Mark Henderson Mar 6 '11 at 22:25
@Jeff - I'd agree if we lowered the threshold for gold question badges, or perhaps introduced some other reward for asking a question that received high views and at least several up-voted answers. If it weren't for questions, there'd be no traffic. Still, the 'rewards' should favor the experts that provide the answers, which in the spirit of chickens and eggs provide the incentive for good questions. – Tim Post Mar 7 '11 at 3:25
Couldn't the limit be simply dynamic, for example the reputation from questions/accepting answers can't be more than reputation form answers + N? (say, N=500) – Danubian Sailor Apr 22 '13 at 22:00

The real question is though is "Are their questions providing benefit to the wider internet, or are they just rubbish?"

If they're providing valuable information to the community by collecting great answers, then I don't see a problem with how much rep they earn from asking questions.

Additionally, if they're asking great questions, it doesn't matter if they've asked 2,000 of them, they deserve the rep for putting the time and effort into asking great questions.

However if their questions are rubbish, mostly simple, un-researched or very localised, they are the real problem, but there's no real way of detecting this programatically.

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Good for drawing attention to the different contribution that good and poor question make to the community. That's important. Mind you, I have a couple of users I love to hate because they ask one rubbish question after another and never seem to learn. It really chaps my hid to see them pass 3k, much less 10k. – dmckee Mar 6 '11 at 21:35

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