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Often the amount of work for an answer to a question and the reputation gain for this answer are inversely proportional.

For example, today I answered six questions on Stackoverflow, and two of them where quite simple answers, typed in a minute or less. These got (in less then one hour each) 9 votes or 6 votes and an accept, i.e. 90 or 75 reputation points. I doubt that these were from people who had the same problem.

For the other answers, I invested more time, but only got one upvote (or none, but this . Okay, in one case there was another better answer written while I wrote mine, but for example this one is the only answer.

I feel a bit that this is not really fair.


So, what is the recipe for getting many upvotes?

  • Having a live feed on new questions and reply to simple ones before anyone else has the chance to do so?
  • other ideas?

Note that I'm normally not chasing simple questions, I just got "lucky" today with two of those.

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8  
"Bikeshed" problems en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson's_Law_of_Triviality –  ChrisF Apr 18 '11 at 21:31
    
possible duplicate of Answering simple questions gets more points than complicated questions –  YOU Apr 19 '11 at 0:36
    
reputation is not all... –  Carlos Heuberger Apr 19 '11 at 7:08
    
possible duplicate of Noob questions, simple answers and big rep points –  waiwai933 Apr 20 '11 at 20:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Simpler answers have more people who also know they are the right answers and can confirm that they are correct. Longer answers take more time to digest and often take more domain-specific knowledge that folks may not be as certain about.

One of my best scoring answers is "you put a semicolon in when you shouldn't have" because it's very obvious to everybody. Of course, I made it a little more explanatory than that, but it really was that simple, and I got a Good Answer badge for it.

Also, most people who are trying to be the FGITW on these simple questions tend to remove their own (basically identical) answer in favor of the "clear winner" at some point and many of them are good sports and provide an upvote.

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In my experience, the questions that warrant a longer answer tend to be more complex sounding, and people tend to skip over the complex questions, in comparison to those that sound simpler.

Less people opening the question results in less votes.

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