- Do you still talk to people normally?
- Do you plan to donate all after you're gone?
- What are some common pitfalls that a normal user has before achieving such status?
10K was a small personal achievement; just an arbitrary number and goal that felt good to meet.
So let me put a twist on the question: How have I changed by spending enough time on SO to garner 10K rep?
- I have learned to triple-check my work.
- I've learned—though I may not always succeed—to write unambiguously to avoid confusion.
- I've learned to keep my mouth shut when I don't have the complete answer (instead, I may post a comment). In other words, if I can't bring a great answer to the table, I refrain.
- I've learned to love and to read specifications like never before.
- I've been exposed to theories and practices which I had no idea even existed. Part of this comes from reviewing and editing questions (before and after 10K).
- My answers are simply better (based on the above criteria) now than when I first joined SO.
After hitting 20K a few weeks ago, I decided that I should become more actively involved in meta. And here I am...
I remember my reaction on Superuser when I hit 10K...
Someone else was like "Congratulations" and I was all "Wait, WHAT?". Then I hit 20K and realised there were
no more worlds to conquer no more privileges to be gained ...
I'm close to 50K now. Rep is really just a number, and it has not really changed the way I view other users. The stuff I've learned and the people I meet are far more valuable than reputation to me - the communities around the sites I am on matter more to me than reputation.
One change I've taken to since hitting 40K is giving away bounties for questions (maybe 50-100 rep a month, give or take), now that I don't need to worry about privileges.
Comparing it to the other two sites I'm active on, where I have under 3K rep as things are, I do kinda miss the tools available for me to clean things up. Flagging is just inefficient.
Copying Tim Medora's spin on the question I found that there are a few small things that helped me get there.
1 Answer a question a day, at least
Assume you get an upvote for each question. In a year, you hit 3650 rep. You're obviously going to get more than that. This is the secret to really getting lots of rep and not spending hours on the site. If you don't do anything else do this
2 Have fun
The questions you find interesting, others might as well. Some of my most highly voted answers were things I am interested in myself. Post good, clear answers which answer the question, and reflect what you think about them. This question, now CWified was an epic example of a lot of people solving the problem and having fun
3 clarity is king
If it was simple, people wouldn't be asking. While it isn't as useful on SO, on SU I often post screenshots to help illustrate an answer. I also format things for readability first.
4 Quality is the Emperor!
Post good answers. Improve your answers as you learn more.
5 Be Altruistic
I improve answers I would have posted myself by the same things I'd do. Adding screenshots is one example. This means better answers, and the chance someone notices you do these things.
6 Don't be the fastest gun in the west, find someone who's a bad shot, and shoot better than him
This is sneaky. I get annoyed by bad answers, so I post better answers. It's entirely incidental that this makes your answer look even better and get upvotes.
7 Abuse the hot questions the right way.
I've gotten a ton of rep by posting reasonable quality questions on hot questions. I've learnt to spot these to an extent on SU, and on a good week, I seem to have managed over a kilorep off these.
Don't post shitty answers, Post something that is rule 6 compliant and post a better, well researched answer. Make it clear, make it pop (Relevant graphics are nice here) so it floats up above the rabble , and get a lot of rep
You assume we talked to people normally in the first place.
I think 10k is a fairly low bar. IMO it's 100-200k that's a real differentiator: The rest of us are just here, doing what we can and/or have actual time for.
That said, I've found that my modest 65k gives people the (largely mistaken) notion that I actually Know What I'm Talking About, leading to general hilarity when the truth is revealed.
I get random emails and tweets from people asking questions. There are surprisingly few people showering me with money for time spent. I have gotten a few legitimate work inquiries, and it has made a difference in my job search.
Honestly, I've found my motivation has decreased somewhat, although that's partially due to just not having time. I'm also in generally low-volume groups meaning that even on a good day it an be a bit of a struggle to get my goal 200 rep so I can earn a Legendary badge, one that I'd actually like.
(My Generalist badge, one I actually cared about, appears to be the result of a glitch.)
So now I'm at the point of not having any more rep-based super-powers goals, running out of badges I care about earning, and the rep milestones I now see as "interesting" will be a long time coming. I now take the long view: I still enjoy answering questions, but it's a rare occasion I have the time to keep up with my earlier ambitions, and 100k+ is a long way off.
Edit Quite by accident, 100k is no longer a long way off. I still feel about the same, along with some explicit negativity these days. I almost never have time to be very active, instead I have time for relatively short comment-only clues-to-an-answer, but some people are offended by those.
To speak for myself, my focus shifted from answering questions to performing more maintenance oriented tasks.
An annoying side effect of having 10k/20k on one site, is that you are going to miss the privileges on the other sites. But that is another incentive to provide lots of quality posts.
Personally, there was a moment of "cool, I made it to 10,000 points!" followed rather soon by the realization that there is an awful lot of trash (deleted posts) on the site. This question soon followed:
Then I came to terms with deleted answers and accepted the responsibility of it (review) rather than worrying about the "pretty" site I was used to before. In fact I became a community-elected moderator for Mathematica and deal with these things all the more. :-)
I take the second point as jest, but as a matter of fact I have recently started giving points away.
One pitfall is equating "reputation" with actual knowledge. Dave Newton stated this in his answer most humorously. It goes both ways; as a new user you may think that the 10k users must know a lot but that's really not the case. As a high-rep user (not by StackOverflow standards but good for my site) I have to accept the self-deprecation of regularly reminding people that I'm not the most knowledgeable or skilled guy on the site (far from it).
I participate on small- and medium-sized sites, not the trilogy, so the scale is rather different. Even though it's just a number, every time I've hit 10k I've felt like I'd reached a real milestone. Then, as someone else said, I saw how much junk there was that others had been cleaning up before I ever saw it, so I started using my newly-granted delete votes. I have yet to reach 20k on any site so there is still that to work toward. But I'm a moderator on some sites, so I've seen and used the custodial powers there.
As I've gained reputation I've tended to do more site-maintenance tasks. All along I try to leave helpful comments trying to steer newer posters to better-formed questions and answers, but maybe those comments carry more weight with a bigger number in the mouse-hover. Don't know.
What are common pitfalls that users have before reaching 10k? I'd say the biggest is not using the powers they do have -- reviews, votes to close and reopen, and flags all kick in well below 10k, and one of the most important of all, the guiding comment, requires only 50 rep. The first time I hit 10k I felt like I'd gotten a lot of new powers, but in reality I'd had most of them for rather a while. Don't wait for the rep number to roll over into five digits; there's a lot you can do now.
And, above all, keep doing what brought you to that site in the first place -- asking and answering questions.