Behind the scenes there appears to be a great hierarchy of highly educated individuals. To enter this secret club you require great scores of reputation. Once entered you are coveted by other members and you well and truly are now 'one' of the chosen few.

Along with the great privileges comes the notoriety. There are high fives and secret handshakes, multiple thumbs up between buddies, pats on the back.

It appears the mere mortals seeking out valuable information must bow down in front of the almighty chosen few.

My question or request is if there is a better way to integrate the mere mortals with the chosen few. Many people with low reputation may have a great deal more knowledge and insight. It seems some early beta users may have answered some rather elementary questions which has propelled them through the ranks. The more intelligent are left to deal with the inate, poignant and moving bare bone questions that get to the real heart of what a programmer would expect.


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    Sometimes it sucks to be late to the game. – Michael Todd Jan 25 '13 at 15:14
  • @MichaelTodd Nobody appreciates someone who comes prematurely. I was always told, it is better to be fashionably late than to come too soon – anon Jan 25 '13 at 15:17
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    Nah, anyone can use SO pretty easily. Meta, on the other hand.... Who makes decisions on closing posts? Who tells the mods which noobs to roast? We do. We do! – Pops Jan 25 '13 at 15:17
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    There aren't any stonecutters on stackexchange. Now, let me find where I put my square&compass set...^_^ – BlueSoul Jan 25 '13 at 15:24
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    There is a secret handshake?! Noone tells me anything! D-: – Martijn Pieters Jan 25 '13 at 15:28
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    @MartijnPieters no secret handshake, but there is a secret breakfast club. They dine on waffles. – MikeTheLiar Jan 25 '13 at 15:30
  • What exactly can't mere mortals do? The priviledges you get are all either bonus features unnecessary for asking/answering questions or moderation features which, obviously, require some time with the system to understand. I don't see what the real problem is here besides "their number is bigger and I don't like them" – Ben Brocka Jan 25 '13 at 15:30
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    @MartijnPieters I'll give you a hint, the secret handshake starts with SYN--wait I've already said too much – Ben Brocka Jan 25 '13 at 15:31
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    I present my self as a counter example then; I only became active 6 months ago. All I did was answer questions, I did not have to break into a secret cabal or anything. – Martijn Pieters Jan 25 '13 at 15:32
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    @MartijnPieters - you only need to send a mail to Twilight Sparkle asking for entering the secret Pony&Unicorn club and if you have shown enough unicorn love in the past you will be a member in no time ^_^ – BlueSoul Jan 25 '13 at 15:34
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    @MartijnPieters You have to construct your own tinfoil hat before we teach you the secret handshake. – Bill the Lizard Jan 25 '13 at 15:34
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    Even allowing for a language barrier, I have no idea what "The more intelligent are left to deal with the inate, poignant and moving bare bone questions that get to the real heart of what a programmer would expect" is supposed to mean. Wait, you're from Dublin!? – AakashM Jan 25 '13 at 15:46
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    As it stands, this is little more than a pretty unconstructive rant. I assume you have run into some things that make you believe SO is a "hierarchical organization". If you are interested in a constructive discussion (I'm not sure you are), you should start talking about those in detail – Pekka Jan 25 '13 at 15:54
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    @Pekka웃: if it is a hierarchy, I want a rank. Maybe El Diablo! – user7116 Jan 25 '13 at 15:58
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    @Pekka웃 . No way. We are a pony club, so the max the mighty Sparkling Jefficorn can give you is a cupcacke and the title of "Cutie Princess". If you really want it, that's it.... – BlueSoul Jan 25 '13 at 16:11

I've found the best way to use StackOverflow is to provide answers to many questions and to ask questions when you need a little help. This may or may not be what the "highly educated individuals" have done.

You probably are disenchanted by the fastest guns in the west, but fear not. Good content gets upvotes in the long run.

The high reputation users have all figured out that reputation is the long game not the short game. What is 0 today can be +1 tomorrow and +5 by next week.

I can assure you though, if you do not ask or answer questions you probably will not accrue reputation in a meaningful way.

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    I would agree, the higher rep users are generally answerers rather than askers. Those few questions they do ask is something they've found interesting/difficult and generally attract more upvotes. Asking averagely interesting questions isn't going to get you "high" rep easily when you get half the rep per upvote and people feel more comfortable downvoting as there's no penalty. – ben is uǝq backwards Jan 25 '13 at 15:45
  • Although it would be nice if the "high rep" users would wait a little while before answering, especially the questions with "easier" answers. Some of us can't type that fast! – BellevueBob Jan 25 '13 at 16:08
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    @BobDuell: unless you're Jon Skeet (or apparently Martin), then by definition you are a low rep user. – user7116 Jan 25 '13 at 16:18
  • @sixlettervariables DO NOT talk about Number One. We do not want the info to get public. Not enough members alcolyte robes left. – BlueSoul Jan 25 '13 at 16:28
  • I spy a possible reversal badge... – Azulflame Jan 25 '13 at 16:56

Reputation is, at its heart, completely meaningless.

Yes, it unlocks certain janitorial abilities like editing and closing, and people tend to trust what you say a bit more if you have lots of it. (Sometimes that isn't even justified.)

Overall though, I put it to you that there is no "hierarchical society" here. A newbie has every chance of being heard if the content they contribute is good.

If you're disputing any of this, bring your evidence. Until you do, I call BS.

It appears the mere mortals seeking out valuable information must bow down in front of the almighty chosen few.

No, they are expected to ask a good question. I admit the standards for that are a bit complicated to grasp these days even to someone who's been around for a while, but it's still possible to do. There is plenty of help if you care to read it.

These standards apply to everyone asking a question, especially high-reputation members who are expected to understand the rules of the site. You'll see bad that questions from high-rep members are downvoted and closed with extreme prejudice.

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    Not to mention the "almighty few" ask extremely disproportionately few questions... – Ben Brocka Jan 25 '13 at 16:46
  • Obviously the "almighty few" tremble in their pants at the thought of how the community would react to their asking a question and thus almost rarely do! – user7116 Jan 25 '13 at 21:06
  • "Reputation is, at its heart, completely meaningless.": Not exactly true: capped reputation is what make this Q&A site brilliant: see meta.stackexchange.com/a/136139/6309 – VonC Jan 27 '13 at 12:41