I think it would help the community to limit which questions an "expert" can answer (whatever the value, figure you're an "expert" if you have 10k reputation).

Dont get me wrong, if something goes unanswered for a day then open it up to all. However I think it would help overall by forcing the top ranked people to answer harder/older unanswered questions in order to get points, while also giving some extra time to let some intermediate coders answer the easier ones to help get their reputation up.

If this was implemented it may also need a separate settings to denote the question as "easy". Possibly be tied directly to the asker's reputation. Meaning if they are new then their questions are labelled as "easy" and are witheld from "experts" for one day.

  • 8
    Why? I bet you can type just as quickly as the next person.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:14
  • 2
    How would you define "harder" questions? Why must harder questions take longer to be answered? Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:14
  • i give the why. and it shouldnt be about speed imo. @BoltClock'saUnicorn im not sure what you mean. all i was saying is by limiting an "expert" you would give them more reason to go after questions that have been unanswered if they want points. leaving the easier questions to others who arnt "experts"
    – owen gerig
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:16
  • 1
    So if it shouldn't be about speed, why are you asking that expert users wait in the first place? Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:17
  • 9
    Everyone gets a trophy! Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:19
  • because it gives the expert users more reason to try and answer harder unanswered questions to get points.
    – owen gerig
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:23
  • 3
    @owengerig No, not really. I lost any interest in reputation after reaching about 3K, after that my only motivation is to help others. And get badges. I might not care for reputation (any more) but I love badges!
    – yannis
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:24
  • 8
    This question seems to be 50% motivated by closing the reputation gap, which I don't care about at all, and 50% motivated by getting answers for the 20% of questions on SO that are currently unanswered, which I care about a lot. I'd love to hear more ideas on the latter if you have them. Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:29
  • 1
    im done being berated, no one gave this a thought before saying no. its almost like money and power, or in this case rep and power. those with it dont want the system changed
    – owen gerig
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:30
  • 9
    @owengerig This isn't the first time someone brought up this idea. It's been given a fair amount of thought over the years. :) People disagreeing with you doesn't mean you're getting berated.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 20:05
  • 1
    Note that downvotes are different here on meta. They're intended to express disagreement. It's not an attack on your suggestion and it doesn't mean that those downvoting didn't think about it. They might simply agree with the answer already posted or comments already made.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 20:47
  • 2
    @BilltheLizard Why not get people to review old unanswered questions, and if they are good questions, StackExchange itself could offer a bounty on them?
    – dash
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 22:23
  • 3
    @dash That's an idea. I can think of a few different ways that could work. Users could nominate questions for bounties, and after 5 nominations in a given time period a 100 point bounty is set. We'd need a separate tab for nominated questions to be viewed before they're moved to the featured tab. Another option would be that questions that stay at the top of the unanswered list for a certain period could automatically get a bounty. You should post this as a separate feature request. Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 22:50
  • 6
    out of curiosity would you have been happier if you had gotten this answer a day later Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 4:27
  • 2
    Please notify me if it has reached 3-digit negative integer. Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 20:33

5 Answers 5


This is completely counter to the idea of Stack Exchange. We want our experts answering questions.

While I can understand the desire to spread the rep wealth here, Stack Exchange is a meritocracy. The people who had done a good job answering questions have more reputation. Those are the people we want answering more questions.

We give these people more privileges, we don't take the ability to help the community away from them. Sure it makes it harder to get rep (heck I've only got a bit over 200 on SO myself because it's hard to answer questions), but rep should be earned.

Plenty of people have gotten to 10k, some that merit it, and some that don't. But by and large they've gotten there because they've worked hard to do so. I don't think that there is any kind of need to change the system to make it harder for these people to contribute.

  • 1
    i guess guys. apparently my feelings on this are so counter to the controllers of the site that it should just be deleted at this point i guess. but if someone with 20k can get rep from questions that are beginners question in the first place then what is their motivation to try and answer one of the MANY unanswered questions.
    – owen gerig
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:22
  • 3
    @owengerig Most unanswered questions are bad. Those that are interesting are exactly what many experts are interested in. Don't confuse high rep and expertise either -- it's possible to get high rep by answering basic questions that don't require expertise. And remember that answerers are volunteers. You don't get to tell them what they should answer.
    – user154510
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:23
  • 1
    its not about stopping them from answering or "limiting" them. its about adding a day delay, if you had a help desk would you give your easiest question to the top level right away???? no. this is easy logic.
    – owen gerig
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:26
  • 4
    @owengerig nope (and I do have a help desk and one of my jobs is quite explicitly to take care of stuff so my boss doesn't have to). But it's their choice what they answer if they want to feast on easy stuff that's their prerogative.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 19:29
  • 17
    @owengerig: Adding a day's delay clearly is limiting people. It's putting a limit on how soon they can answer the question, isn't it? When you employee me, you can decide what questions I answer. Until then, I'll make that decision, thank you.
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 21:20
  • Sorry, is not directally about your answer... I am looking for the "meritocracy": do you see a text (here or at meta-SO) that so-voted (as this) or that is in the portal documentation? There are a "community position" about this ("the portal/communuty is a meritocracy") in some community? Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 23:48

I don't think Stack Overflow has any business limiting what I answer, so long as my answers are inoffensive (and preferably helpful).

In particular, I'd like to think that even easy questions can have good answers and bad answers: there's a certain amount of skill to getting across ideas particularly to beginners. I don't see why those beginners should only get answers from relatively low-rep users.

  • 6
    +1 for that last comment: "the blind leading the blind" is not something to strive for! Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 4:18

One of the things (one of the really important things) that makes Stack Overflow great is that answers come fast. Really mindbogglingly fast for not particularly difficult questions on popular subjects and surprisingly fast even for relatively difficult questions and for questions on relatively obscure topics.1

What you are suggesting would tend to chip away at that.

Why would we want to turn-down one of the best features of the site?

As for tagging the questions with a difficulty level...how does the asker actually know how hard it is (barring the case where the asker is an bona fide expert themselves)? And what is to stop everyone from marking their question with the "open to all right away" setting to get more attention?

1 Yes, there are a lot of unanswered questions. I troll through them from time to time. A lot of them are unanswered for very good reasons: mostly because they suck one way or another, and a few because they are really hard or obscure.


Stack Overflow is not about "getting your reputation up" its about getting good answers to tough questions. If you want to "get your reputation up" do something valuable and the reputation will come. If you aren't getting reputation, then you probably don't deserve it.


One can and should not force limit anyone.

But using common courtesy and in the spirit of mentoring and promoting new talent, senior (high knowledge) people should practice restrain in answering most simple questions to give the opportunity to the new comers to show they knowledge and get rewarded for it.

If a 50k (or even a Moderator) answers the most simple question, nobody will dare challenge them, and the opportunity for newcomer was just blocked.

Obviously there are already some who disagree with showing common courtesy to new comers.

  • 2
    This isn’t so much about your answer as it is advice to you: rep is a trick. A con game. It’s SE exploiting a vulnerability in the human psyche. It tickles your competitive spirit in order to trade you your time and expertise in return for imaginary points. Ignore rep. Don’t worry about it. Don’t be tricked. Post answers to help people and make the world a better place, to challenge yourself, to learn, to teach. Points are fool’s gold. Ignore them. If you just post the best answers you can, caring not a whit for points, they’ll come anyway.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 15:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .