I see profiles of Jon Skeet, BalusC, Mysticial etc and realize that even if they were to go inactive, it'll take years to beat them in terms of total rep, because they'll hit the rep cap every single day, thanks to their popular old answers for years to come.

I do realize, the answers totally deserve the rep they get, they are brilliant! But they do have to stop generating rep at some point to be fair right?

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    This is the first time somebody has openly admitted to stalking me. Is that a good thing? :P – Mysticial Nov 16 '12 at 6:21
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    The rep gain will stop and collapse once the upvote counter overflows ;-) – Jack Nov 16 '12 at 6:51
  • @Cthulhu: You're jealous of a great answer? Why not just be happy that it's out there? – David Robinson Nov 16 '12 at 7:03
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    No pitchfork or torch, but plain -1 because "take years to beat them in terms of total rep" is really not a reason to stop gaining rep. So some people will always be first. So what? What's so horrible about that? I'm happy for Jon and amazed at how much he invest and still investing. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Nov 16 '12 at 7:05
  • So you suggest that once a year the user's reputation will be reset to 0? Will this satisfy your jealousy? – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Nov 16 '12 at 7:07
  • Maybe a different metric like "Rep this year" or "Rep this quarter" could be emphasised on user-profiles along with total rep being the way it is? – Anirudh Ramanathan Nov 16 '12 at 7:19
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    Related but different: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/136059/… – Ral Zarek Nov 16 '12 at 7:43
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    @Cthulhu: You mean like in the weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly leagues? stackexchange.com/leagues/1/week/stack-overflow (Likewise on the Users page, you can change the time period for rep.) – Jon Skeet Nov 16 '12 at 7:46
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    @JonSkeet :) Yep those except they could be made more visible on user-profiles – Anirudh Ramanathan Nov 16 '12 at 7:59
  • A moving average (or sliding window) would be actually be better. The "top users" in the tag pages already do this. – Mysticial Nov 16 '12 at 8:05
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    @Cthulhu: You're being evil again, dude, get back to sleep! ;) – Time Traveling Bobby Nov 16 '12 at 8:39
  • I don't think the age of a question should be relevant to reputation gains. But IMO there should be a limit on how much reputation a single post can earn. – CodesInChaos Nov 16 '12 at 10:28
  • No. No, they should not. – user164207 May 31 '13 at 22:18

Is it going to be hard to catch the top users? Yes of course.

But should we even care? Unless you're into the gaming aspect of it, or you're just really obsessed with big numbers (note that I shouldn't be the one talking :P) it really doesn't make a difference whether someone has 30k or 300k.

Both a 30k and a 300k user know their way around the site very well. Both are trusted. The only difference is that the 300k user has probably been around a lot longer or simply has a lot more time on his/her hands.

In any case, I find that rep is a pretty poor indicator of expertise past the basics.

Personally, I find it pointless to try to reach the top. The repcap makes it almost impossible since it blocks anyone from "jumping" to the top in a short amount of time.

Out of curiosity, I made this query just to see how much it has affected me. And was mildly surprised that I was near the top.

To me, rep doesn't mean anything past, say 30k. If anything, I care more about delta-rep and vote/answer ratios. The last thing I want is a potential employer to see my profile and go,

"Hey, you spend all your time on Stackoverflow. How could you possibly get anything done?"

At 70k, in no way do I consider myself a "top" user. I'm never going to reach the top, nor do I care.
I use Stackoverflow because I enjoy it.

  • @Cthulhu I believe Eric Lippert's vote/answer ratio is even higher along with a handful of low-volume users. That said, if you exclude my top 4 answers, my vote/answer ratio is about average for the tags that I'm in. – Mysticial Nov 16 '12 at 7:42
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    Jon Skeet could have been at 1.6m rep? Wow! – Jack Nov 17 '12 at 2:11

No. These answers are letting the users hit the reputation cap every day because they are upvoted every day. In other words, those answers continue to be of great value to the community, and there's no reason they should stop getting benefits (in the form of reputation) from them.

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    I agree. Maybe stop getting benefits is a little too harsh. A reduction in the amount of rep a question/answer older than x days fetches? – Anirudh Ramanathan Nov 16 '12 at 7:01
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    Why does an upvote on an old post indicate less value to the community than an upvote on a new post? – David Robinson Nov 16 '12 at 7:02

As reputation is a measure of how much the community trusts you, it's logical to think people who've been around since the beginning deserve the rep they continue to gain.

Your reasoning could also be applied to popular tags, where rep is easier to gain due to the abundance of questions and expertise.

It's interesting to think how a normalized score could be introduced. Such as, your rep per tags you participate in perhaps taking in to account some current context.


I like the question, but I don't believe rep should have diminishing returns. The way I see it, the point of rep is not to make whoever earns it feel better. Instead, rep should be an indicator of the amount of good answers etc. that person has provided to the community. Placing diminishing returns makes no sense. If an increasing amount of people feel a given answer is valuable, then its impact should scale equally.

Keep in mind that rep points are just fancy unicorn magic bubbles with no real use, there is no point in farming it except for epeen. In fact, rep farming can induce worse answers/reviews and may even need to be stopped somehow. Nobody should be trying to 'get on top'.


Reps can be a function of time. New answers get 10 reps. Upvotes on Old answers can be awarded smaller reps depending on their age, eventually converging to 0.

In other words, those answers continue to be of great value to the community, and there's no reason they should stop getting benefits (in the form of reputation) from them

The answers are of great value, so they should keep registering UpVotes.

Questions that were answered in the initial days tend to benefit from the fact that they were "first in market" and have become cash-cows that CANNOT be replaced. A lot of these questions solved fundamental problems that a lot of people come across (and this will continue to happen in future). A lot of questions can be answered very well (or better) by new SOers but because they have already been answered, they can't be answered again. Doesn't this make it unfair?

SO is more fun when everyone gets a fair chance to gain reps - I know reps don't matter a lot to many, but some do find it fun to gain high reps!

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