If the answer to my question is true, does that mean Jon Skeet is the most experienced and intelligent programmer on Stack Overflow?

I only thought of this question from the Chuck Norris-style jokes made about him.

  • 6
    If you ask me, to find true ingenuity browse this list of users Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 11:28
  • Why the -3 - especially with no explanation? lol people on meta are pretty touchy. +1 for the -3.
    – ajacian81
    Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 13:40
  • 3
    @ajacian81 downvote on Meta means the downvoter does not agree with the idea in general. In this case it means people don't think that high reputation means more experience. :) Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 13:49

5 Answers 5


No, it means more experience on Stack Overflow.

(And occasionally just lucky timing.)

  • 3
    +1 for lucky timing. It does help to max out the rep by votes.
    – nhahtdh
    Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 12:03
  • 2
    Although I upvoted Martijn this is the "true" answer. Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 12:04

No, it means Jon Skeet is an expert in his field and has spent a long time on Stack Overflow answering questions in large quantities.

There could still be more experienced and intelligent programmers on SO, but they haven't answered as many questions as Jon has. Moreover, if you are an expert on a less popular subject, you'll have fewer questions to give answers to, and fewer other users to give your answers votes.

Reputation is a measurement of how well your answers are appreciated, not how intelligent or experienced you are. Intelligence and experience help you write great answers, but is not the whole picture.

  • 14
    It also helps being an expert on a current subject. I know a lot about Z80 assembly language (33 questions), and COBOL (341), but nothing about C# (346000). </envy>
    – Bo Persson
    Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 11:04
  • @BoPersson: Exactly. I can keep up with Jon on good python days, but there are many more c# questions to reap reputation on. Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 11:06
  • 10
    It doesn't even mean I'm an expert in any kind of field, really. There are an awful lot of questions which require someone "reasonably experienced" rather than "expert".
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 11:28
  • 7
    And many questions require only an ability to think, and to Google; I don't know how many questions I've answered where I didn't know the answer when I started, but did with a small amount of effort, occasionally driven by irritation. Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 12:00
  • 1
    @JonSkeet: Well, you do have a lot of experience and expertise to help you formulate answers quickly, which does help. :-) Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 12:01
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    @JonSkeet furthermore, you have this hype around yourself and I see people upvoting you and commenting "+1 for being Jon Skeet". On these days I die a bit inside with my sh*tty 20k rep. (Disclaimer: re-reading my own comment, it sounds offensive - I don't edit it because it's true that I wrote inside, but I didn't want by any means to be rude.)
    – H2CO3
    Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 12:12
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    @H2CO3: When you have as many answers as Jon has on SO, you hit the rep cap within hours of the new day starting, just on upvotes on the back catalog. That means any "fame" votes are not going to make much, if any, difference to Jon's reputation. It's the accepts on new posts you then have to win your rep over that initial 200 on, and that means your answer actually has to work. Clearly, Jon is still posting answers that help, 3 accepts and counting today. Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 12:16
  • @MartijnPieters of course that's true, but still...
    – H2CO3
    Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 12:19

I can't answer regarding experience of other programmers but I know that I gain more reputation points

  • on trivial questions, both because more people "agree" by upvoting and because more people may be interested in the answer
  • on areas interesting a lot of people (.net programmation will gain you more reputation than obscure languages)
  • when I spend more time on SO

So reputation for sure isn't a accurate measure of my experience, even if, of course, people having a high reputation on SO are probably all well experienced in programming.


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It means that you are respected by the community, you are a good person, have good communication skills, and sometimes (you know how to Google quickly!)

  • 1
    When I see the answers of programmers with high rep, I don't have the impression they're Google based. You have frequently to google to find the link to the document you already know, or to check a syntax, but that's all. Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 15:12
  • yes that is because I added sometimes. Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 15:23
  • +1 for the funny picture. A dash of humor int he right place also helps.
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 20:47

It's more about how many meaningful posts (questions or answers) a user has submitted. Jon Skeet (@JonSkeet) can leave stack overflow for weeks at a time, but with his 22k+ answers, as people go through looking for answers, they're likely to come across his and upvote. Since there's a maximum of 200 rep points per day for questions and answers (not including bounties), then he's likely hitting the maximum on days he's not even near a computer.

That being said, no matter how many questions you attempt to answer, you're not going to get far if you don't really know your subject matter :).

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