There are some people who have high reputation in a field, say CSS3, and they express their idea about a post which is related to Matlab and Machine Learning, while they are not expert in this field and their ideas and rankings are not necessarily correct. Is this fair that everyone has the same general reputation in the whole system?

Thank you for your feedback.

I am just trying to explain one of the advantages of this idea: Applying PageRank-like algorithm to Stack Overflow votes

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    Do you have a specific question in mind? Those high-rep users have a lot of experience with how Stack Overflow works and what we generally expect of questions. – Martijn Pieters Oct 29 '13 at 17:50
  • Are you proposing something different? What are you going to do differently based on the answer to this question? Does it matter if it's fair or not? Also note that you can't assume an answer is right just based on the rep of the author; even if it is in their area of expertise. – Servy Oct 29 '13 at 17:50
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    But people generally judge answers on their technical merit. If I were to post a Matlab answer, or a Machine Learning answer, I'd probably make a mess of it and would be downvoted regardless of my reputation. At best I would attract surprised and incredulous comments asking why I went so far out of my field of expertise. – Martijn Pieters Oct 29 '13 at 17:53
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    @MartijnPieters "It boggles the mind that someone can gain 171k reputation on this site without knowing the first thing about circular dimensionality reduction!" – Bill the Lizard Oct 29 '13 at 17:58
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    @BilltheLizard: "What boggles me is how a low-rep such as yourself dare criticize me! A mere 127k does not buy you the arrogance you just so casually donned!". Etc. etc. etc. until Nazis are mentioned. – Martijn Pieters Oct 29 '13 at 18:07
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    @MartijnPieters - When locked in a bitter battle of indignant rep snobbery, one should always round down (not up, as you have done) with extreme prejudice. For example, Bill has 100k rep, and I have 0 rep. – JDB still remembers Monica Oct 29 '13 at 18:13
  • @JDB If Jon Skeet does the rounding to .5 millions... well... – Andrew Barber Oct 29 '13 at 19:43
  • I am not sure rep is weighted as heavily as you think by other users. I have a medium amount of rep, but am still extremely cautious posting in tags I am less familiar with. If anything it makes me take longer than normal to post to make sure I don't include any common pitfalls for that tag on accident or suggest something that "everyone should know". If anything, being incorrect with high rep will probably elicit a swifter negative response. As for the other side of the coin - where someone is correct who has high rep - why gripe about that? Expert knowledge is where Unicorns come from. – Travis J Oct 29 '13 at 21:58

If their posts in other tags are wrong, they should be downvoted regardless of the user's overall reputation.

This is very much intentional - a lot of developers are knowledgeable about multiple technologies and languages, and site reputation is meant to measure overall site participation.


If a person's reputation was all that was needed to evaluate their posts, we wouldn't have voting. Reputation is a measure of familiarity with the site, and effort devoted to the site. Some people with a lot of expertise gain rep more quickly than others, but you can't assume rep means expertise.

It's not unfair to have the same rep throughout the site, as you have the same familiarity with the cultural norms and mechanics of the site no matter what tag you're in. What might be unfair would be for someone to automatically vote up or accept an answer based on nothing more than the answerer's rep. But you clearly know that's not right, and I suspect most other people do too.

BTW, there are "tag badges" that identify people who earned a lot of rep in a particular tag. If you want to know whether an answerer knows a lot about your tag, the presence of tag badges will carry more information than their overall rep.


As I read your question, you are basically proposing that one's reputation is calculated by tag.

You can already see the total score a given person has for each tag by going to their user profile, and then selecting tag.

In the overall views (the "flair"), there simply wouldn't be room to put all of this information. Instead, it really is correct to think of a person's overall contribution to StackOverflow - not just in their tag areas. To be sure, if you want to understand how credible a person is on CSS as opposed to Matlab, you have that information available. But to present it just wouldn't fit.

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