I have noticed that there's not much worth in posting on obscure subjects (reputation point wise). Is it possible to weight some tag or categories in order to get a more balanced representation?

Another problem I have found is that popular doctrine is often short sighted. Consider a post such as 'yeah but jquery is awesome and it's what everyone is using so there' is likely to get 100 up-votes, whereas a post saying 'jquery is flawed because of a b and c' is likely to get down-voted because of the massive fan base. Anyway, that's not a side-swipe at jquery btw, I happen to be a fan of jquery.

That really is a side discussion, so for now, what could be done to reward posts in a way that doesn't just favour the popular topics?

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    There are 2 problems here: 1) Increase posting in unpopular tag 2) Opinion-based voting. Consider splitting into 2 questions? – nhahtdh Jul 24 '12 at 9:42
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    A question = A problem. What good can you bring if you incentivize questions on an unpopular tag? It may attracts posting question just for the sake of the badge without contributing a good problem. – nhahtdh Jul 24 '12 at 9:46
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    You should ask a question on a particular topic if you have a good question to ask. Not if you just want to get some rep out of it. The same goes for answers really, although there the hunt for rep might be slightly more justified. – Bart Jul 24 '12 at 9:46
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    Why should we get a lot of rep for posting things hardly anybody is interested in? – Bo Persson Jul 24 '12 at 10:01
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    The main problem I have with reputation is that people with high scores tend to wield more power. I'm concerned that being a jquery overflower will give you power because there is is bigger audience. It doest't seem fair to me. It shapes the way we respond to questions because we know that saying anything negative about a popular theme will just result in either the question being buried or you being ganged-up upon, with the defenders of the popular subject getting even more points and even more power. Is this an inherent problem of the current incentive model that cannot be avoided? – thomas-peter Jul 24 '12 at 10:03
  • If you say something negative about a topic with less active users, the effect will still be the same, though perhaps less severe. That has more to do with the number of users than their acquired reputation it seems. – Bart Jul 24 '12 at 10:05
  • Everything has pros and cons. If someone says only positive things about something, you can make a new answer about the negative things. Of course, you need to back up your statements - not just a simple rant. This way, you contribute to the question by making the view point more balanced (less biased). – nhahtdh Jul 24 '12 at 10:07
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    @Bart You are right. Any criticism seems to result in negative voting. I think this might be the root of the problem. For example, you got 3 points under this post and I got zero, even though I totally agree with you it is assumed that I'm the bad guy. – thomas-peter Jul 24 '12 at 10:09
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    Well, for one, don't take downvotes here personally. They are most likely used to indicate disagreement with the idea you propose. Nothing more than that. As is often linked to, sometimes votes are different here on MSO. So you're not the bad guy, you just have bad ideas. (just kidding, just kidding) – Bart Jul 24 '12 at 10:10
  • Maybe if I told a joke I could redeem myself. How do know if you are a pirate? – thomas-peter Jul 24 '12 at 10:16
  • you just arrrrrrre – thomas-peter Jul 24 '12 at 10:23
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    Haha, or if all your questions are tagged R. – Bart Jul 24 '12 at 10:24
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    You know what Bart, the thing that disappoints me the most is that instead of actually thinking about ways in which it 'could' be done it was decided that it should not be done. Not one person was prepared to put there neck out and say that maybe the system might not be perfect. THAT is the culture of stackoverlow. Here it comes..... – thomas-peter Jul 24 '12 at 10:33
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    Do you think it is a good feature? I have just had some posts pulled for asking meta questions. I have not offended anyone I have just asked questions and yet I have been censored. Is that a feature? – thomas-peter Jul 24 '12 at 11:52
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    As someone who trawls in one of the more unpopular tags I can relate to the sentiment here. However, I can see how it would be gamed to death, requiring a lot more cleanup of mistagged questions. There's already too much work to do here. I see a lot of downside with very little positive gain. – ale Jul 24 '12 at 12:49

I see absolutely no reason for that.

You should ask a question if you're facing a problem and you have a good question to ask. Whether or not the topic is popular and you can expect a high number of upvotes should not factor in. You're facing a problem you want a solution for after all. Why would topic popularity and reputation matter there?

A similar thing goes for answers. Though reputation gain is perhaps more of a factor there, the basic reason for answering should be that you have a good answer to provide. Why withhold your answer just because you might not get as much reputation out of it as you would have for a popular topic?

In fact, if you know the answers within a certain somewhat obscure tag, you might even have somewhat of a monopoly on them. So who knows what you might gain in terms of rep and ranking for that particular tag/topic.

In summary I see no reason why someone who posts in a more obscure tag/topic should be rewarded more per upvote than someone who posts in a popular topic. If there are terrible consequences related to the current system I would like to hear about them, but I don't see them.

  • indeed one could argue posting to obscure tags already 'rewards' you by making it very easy to get into the top users – jk. Jul 24 '12 at 14:14

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