This was something that was discussed briefly on UserVoice in the past but I feel that this should be another good avenue for it's discussion.

What we have seen recently is an influx of users gaining moderation capabilities for what many consider gaming the system. What I mean is that you have users who will post literally hundreds of questions, the vast majority of which will receive either negative or break-even vote totals, but the few sympathy upvotes they do receive is enough to keep their rep score climbing higher. So now we have users gaining thousands in rep even though they may have less than 10 total answers.

What I am initially suggesting is some sort of ratio between questions asked and questions answered. This would ensure that those gaining moderation capabilities are the same type of people who actually use StackOverflow (and it's sister sites) to help other users.

This suggestion could also be expanded in other ways to incorporate other metrics such as the number of high score answers vs. low score answers. This would further insure ensure that you are promoting the users who are providing good contributions to the site.

  • 2
    Agreed. Moderator capabilities should come to the well rounded SOpedians and not the freak, lopsided anomalies. But, I didn't realize this was an issue. Can you give an example? Jun 30, 2009 at 11:52
  • @Stu - It's probably not yet, but there's certainly potential for mod-creep in the future
    – bananakata
    Jun 30, 2009 at 11:55
  • Stu: As I said in another comment below, I am not one to personally point fingers at individual users, but I have a feeling there are a few of us around here without that impediment.
    – TheTXI
    Jun 30, 2009 at 12:13
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    Examples of the problem: stackoverflow.com/users/67396 stackoverflow.com/users/39677
    Jun 30, 2009 at 12:19
  • the second user looks like a problem, but the first could be legit to my mind
    – bananakata
    Jun 30, 2009 at 12:48
  • 1
    annakata: the first user has been put in the penalty box twice now if I am not mistaken so far already for being a general nuisance.
    – TheTXI
    Jun 30, 2009 at 12:50
  • 1
    well now I want to know how to find out who's in the penalty box...
    – bananakata
    Jun 30, 2009 at 13:02
  • @annakata: It is pretty obvious when you look at their profile.
    Jul 1, 2009 at 0:14
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    I didn't realize asking tons of stupid questions would get you a ton of reputation like that. Jul 5, 2009 at 5:05
  • This is a duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1326/… (or since this has the lower question number, the other is a duplicate of this). Jul 5, 2009 at 6:29
  • I want to further this discussion, so I asked my own question. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2557/… Jul 6, 2009 at 14:41
  • The data, so far, shows that this request, is premature, at best. Please read this answer for more information: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2557/… Jul 6, 2009 at 17:54

4 Answers 4


I don't want a ratio, I just want to see questions either not earn rep or at least put a freeze on rep if you ask too many questions and never do anything else.

We have users who have simply become question pumps and just ask questions about every little thing they have to do in a day. These mindless zombies are fine to have around, since they give us someone to laugh at (and laugh we do!), but they should not be earning moderation abilities.

I can point out at least one of these question pumps who also uses his abilities to 'farm' his questions through constant edits and close/reopen wars. He has been in the penalty box quite a bit for it, and yet we trust him with >3k rep?

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    I answer more questions than one of the "pumps", and I only have slightly more than half of their reputation. Jul 5, 2009 at 5:10

I'm struggling to see exactly why you would grant moderation like powers based on questions at all. The ability to comment is one thing, but editing and closing suggests a value judgement which isn't related to how good your questions are, even if your questions are very good. Simply put, how can you be an authority without having been authoritative?

Privilege karma based on karma(total) - karma(questions)?

  • 1
    I think you miss the idea of reputation, but I agree, questions should not earn abilities.
    Jun 30, 2009 at 12:21
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    How so? Reputation (in the sense of a high value being a good thing) has never made much sense when applied to questions.
    – bananakata
    Jun 30, 2009 at 12:38
  • 2
    Perhaps just less rep. Jul 5, 2009 at 5:11

After reading through the comments on this page, I started thinking that perhaps Question Rep should possibly be less than Answer Rep.

I of course would first like to know who, and how much, peoples rep would be affected, before actually doing this.

It should be noted that this wouldn't really affect Jon Skeet that much, for example, he has about a dozen questions, but over 4000 answers. Also his top two answers are higher than all of his questions.

I have asked a question to find out more information about these users.

According to the responses on my related question, This isn't a big enough deal yet, to worry about.

  • 1
    I think this would be an awesome change. If questions were only worth 5 rather than 10, and a global rep recalc performed, we'd see the high answerers go down scarcely at all (zero for the high performers who would still hit the daily rep cap), and the question pumps take most of the hit. I don't see a downside, and it reinforces the reality that answers are more valuable than questions.
    – Ether
    Oct 23, 2009 at 4:09

Reputation != Moderating abilities.

I also think it's actually quite hard to game the system and I can't think of any users with high rep who have not correctly earned it.

  • 1
    Reputation is supposed to be a score of your trustworthiness on the site. I am not the type to go out and point fingers at individual users (others probably will not be so kind), but there are some users who literally have hundreds of questions each hovering around a 0 total score and have less than 20 answers, but are still managing to accumulate enough rep to be able to vote to close and reopen questions.
    – TheTXI
    Jun 30, 2009 at 12:12
  • Then you are not looking very hard. They are all over the place. See my two examples above. And reputation of >3-5k does include moderation abilities. Not sure where you got that idea.
    Jun 30, 2009 at 12:20

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