Is there any way of getting to the first 15 reputation (at which point you can actually do something) on Stack Overflow other than by asking questions?

My problem is this: if I see a good answer that works, I can't vote for it (not enough reputation). I have been programming for many years and often see a question I could contribute, but I can't (not enough reputation). I so far have never needed to ask a question (I know how to use a search facility, and so can find an already existing answer).

Therefore asking questions can't possibly be the only mechanism to get enough reputation to get started, can it? Because if it is then as more and more questions get asked on Stack Overflow, the need to ask new ones will diminish, so if this is the only mechanism of gaining those first few reputation, soon all new joiners will never be able to contribute, or will need to re-ask already answered questions (not good for anyone).

Advice on how to get those first few reputation gratefully received.

  • 1
    There you go, you have 6 points here now :) – Szymon Sep 25 '13 at 10:24
  • 10
    You could simply answer a question. – CodesInChaos Sep 25 '13 at 11:43
  • 2
    The answers here are vastly superior to the duplicate. – hayd Sep 26 '13 at 4:43
  • Like you I know how to use a search facility, and so can find an already existing answer So I have only asked 1 Question in SO.My rep >2000 mainly obtained by Answering. – david strachan Sep 26 '13 at 7:48
  • I'm sorry, I had no idea I was allowed to answer questions. I assumed that answering was the same as commenting, which I couldn't do. thank you everyone for this. – user2394276 Sep 27 '13 at 11:29

at which point you can actually do something on stack overflow other than by asking questions

Other than asking questions when you have less than 15 reputation you can:

  • answer questions
  • suggest some good edits

which will help you gain reputation.


You can suggest edits. For every approved edit you get 2 rep points. So with 7 of them you have 15 rep.

Look for posts that need improvement and edit them. But do this only for posts where your edits aren't too minor since other people need to review your suggestions and that would be a waste of time for minor edits.

  • 5
    Misformatted code is by far the easiest source of these edits. Walls of code are often posted and properly indenting will earn you +2 (obviously if you see other issues in the post correct them too) – Richard Tingle Sep 25 '13 at 10:21

Easy, you can:

  1. Get one of your answers accepted.
  2. Edit at least 7 posts.
  3. Ask a good question with 3 upvotes.
  4. Ask 7 questions (no downvotes) and accept their answers.
  5. Earn 2 upvotes on your answer to a post.
  • I'm sorry, I had no idea what 'accept their answers' was. now that you've said it i realize what i have to do. is there some introductory page that i've totally missed on how all this works? – user2394276 Sep 27 '13 at 11:33

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