I found several very-close-to-duplicate questions/answers. However, I want to restate some questions and discuss the answers from these questions.

Here the questions which I found:

I find it quite unfair that super simple questions and their answers upvote give the same amount of reputation points per upvote as complex questions. I think reputation points should be much closer linked to contribution. And I think that contribution in answering/asking a simple question (both in time, value and time saved to other developers) is way less than for some more complex questions.

Why doesn't Stack Overflow change this?

I saw several common answers:

if you change the game, then the only result is that people will game it differently.

I agree only partly with this. Sure, people will always game the system. However, any improvement can be rejected based on this argument. I believe if there is an obvious problem, it makes sense to fix it. And it looks like this question was asked number of times (meaning that it's not only me thinking that it should be changed).

Reputation is NOTHING more than an INCENTIVE to contribute.

Again. I agree only partly. Reputation doesn't have any real value (it can't be converted to anything). However, let's be honest. People are competitive and people like to have some measurement stick and most of software developers want to have a fair game. Based on this, reputation isn't NOTHING, reputation is very important tool which makes Stack Overflow popular. Calculating reputation one way or another way may lure or discourage people from participating.

Esoteric questions are only of interest to people working with that item.

I believe one of the biggest values of Stack Overflow that it contains a lot of information which is hard to find somewhere else.

So, sure, there are some rare questions which aren't valuable to the whole community. But, I would say that a question which saves 25 people a day of work (complex question) is more valuable than a question which saves a 1000 people 3 minutes of googling (simple question).

My summary:

I believe it makes sense to change a system a little bit. The simplest way would be the ability to mark a question as trivial. If some number of people marked the question as trivial (let's say 10), all upvotes for this question/answers become less valuable (for example, 1 or 2 points, instead of 5). This will close this gap.

  • ...and thus the Great Trivial Wars started.
    – yannis
    Aug 24, 2012 at 17:42
  • 3
    What's trivial to one person may not be trivial to another and trivial questions may provoke more thinking than you expect.
    – Yawus
    Aug 24, 2012 at 17:44
  • 3
    Who is to judge whether a question is simple? Also what about the case when I can construct a comprehensive and complex answer for what seems to some to be a trivial question, or even one that is a trivial question?
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Aug 24, 2012 at 17:44
  • Votes and closures handle that. If it is truly useless, it will get downvoted and maybe closed/deleted. If it is useful, it will get upvoted. I see no compelling reason to make this more complicated than it already is.
    – yoozer8
    Aug 24, 2012 at 17:45
  • 2
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_Law_of_Triviality. You're not going to change human nature.
    – user102937
    Aug 24, 2012 at 17:45
  • Welcome to Meta, Victor! Please note that downvotes here often just indicate disagreement, not any particular problem(s) with your question.
    – Pops
    Aug 24, 2012 at 17:46
  • And another one you missed: Why is it some very simple questions get lots of up votes?
    – Mysticial
    Aug 24, 2012 at 18:24
  • Big question. Who determines value? Or do you suggest a higher rep user can vote with more weight? Aug 24, 2012 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


Questions which suffer from the bikeshed problem are most likely Not Constructive. Vote accordingly.

Some legitimate answers get more votes than others because:

  1. The question gets more views, and
  2. The answer is more easily verifiable as correct.

For the more obscure questions with well-thought-out answers, there are bounties available to reward folks who put in the hard work.

  • Sure. It's hard to argue with "more views", because it's objective measure. However, I believe reputation should be more related to value (which is more subjective) than to a number of views. Aug 24, 2012 at 17:56
  • If a question gets more views (and is not simply the color of the shed), doesn't that make it (and its answers) more valuable by definition?
    – user102937
    Aug 24, 2012 at 17:57
  • There is no need to change the human nature. There is a need to incentivize behavior which brings the value to the communitity. I don't think that SO wants to work the same way as big beuqacratic company. Aug 24, 2012 at 17:58
  • 2
    Er... What? I think you're just fighting a straw man now. Besides, I like beuqacratic companies. They're much more fun than bureaucratic companies.
    – user102937
    Aug 24, 2012 at 17:58
  • For me the value = number of view * amount of time saves per view. That's why I gave the example with 20 peoples * 8 hours saved = 160 hours is more valuable than 1000 people * 3 minutes saved = 50 hours. Aug 24, 2012 at 18:02
  • You can't change the human nature, at least not with the public at large. Aug 24, 2012 at 19:08
  • 6
    @VictorRonin I'm curious how you propose to measure the amount of time a user would have spent on a problem if he hadn't visited a given SO question, even as an average.
    – Pops
    Aug 24, 2012 at 19:16

You must log in to answer this question.

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