So, I looked at stackoverflow.com/reputation for the first time recently and I couldn't help but notice the word, *only* in:

rep cap was reached via rep from upvotes *only* on <n> days

I was wondering, does this *only* disappear at some point? Or does Jon Skeet have

rep cap was reached via rep from upvotes *only* on 1460 days?

(That's right, that puts Jon Skeet at 124k rep before StackOverflow even started)

  • 4
    The best phrasing is probably placing only before upvotes.
    – waiwai933
    Aug 21, 2011 at 3:52
  • I'd tag this feature-request or something -- this bothers me too.
    – agf
    Aug 21, 2011 at 4:14
  • I disagree with waiwai... This is the correct English phrasing. To place only before upvotes sounds strange, grammatically. If you really want to eliminate syntactic ambiguity, you would need to use parentheses. Just like most programming languages do in their formal grammars. Aug 21, 2011 at 6:28
  • 1
    What about a couple of commas? rep cap was reached, via rep from upvotes \*only\*, on <n> days. That resolves ambiguity without resorting to parenthetical statements (which I always feel are more on the less formal side) Aug 21, 2011 at 6:32
  • Yeah, okay. Commas would work. Little wanna-be parentheses. ;-) Aug 21, 2011 at 6:54
  • 2
    @Cody NAY SIR! Commas are the life-breath of poetry! They are the source of context and meaning. They convey belonging, and, dare I say, communion with their surrounding words. Parenthesis, on the other hand, militantly oppose union with their compatriots, almost as if to say, "this piece of the sentence does not belong, but we will stand sentinel to prevent pollution from these lesser beings". Aug 21, 2011 at 6:56
  • Suggest rep cap was reached *solely* via rep from upvotes on <n> days Sep 5, 2015 at 15:28

2 Answers 2


That sentence actually means:

rep cap was reached via rep from upvotes alone on <n> days

In other words:

rep cap was reached via rep from 20+ upvotes on <n> days

Meaning you didn't need any accepted answers, etc in order to reach the cap; it was purely based on upvotes.

Technically your interpretation would have to be worded this way:

rep cap was reached via rep from upvotes on only <n> days

I don't blame you for misinterpreting, though, most people aren't very careful with the placement of words like that.

  • 2
    Yea... English... I love my native tongue, but it is seriously messed up. Aug 21, 2011 at 3:39
  • 1
    Not necessarily 20 upvotes, if you also got downvotes.
    – agf
    Aug 21, 2011 at 4:08
  • Yes, this is an interesting statistic, but how is it relevant? There is no badge related to it, like "Ballot Mortarboard". Aug 21, 2011 at 4:25

I think you're parsing the sentence wrong. I read it as

The reputation cap was reached (via reputation which only came from upvotes) on 1460 days.

The "only" is referring to the fact that reputation from accepted answers and bounties is not counted, only reputation from upvotes.

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