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For many programming topics, I believe the set of all answerable/relevant questions is finite. Because of this the amount of duplicate questions will only increase with time.

It could happen that some day, it will be very difficult to ask a question that has not been answered before.

I don't know what is the influx of users into Stack Overflow, but I assume it is more or less constant, or even exponential. Nevertheless people are born every day, many of them will become programmers, and will end up here searching for knowledge.

One could argue that programming languages get created all the time, and that the problems to solve by programming are endless. Although those two premises are correct, for existing languages acquiring reputation points is still going to be harder.

What I'm trying to say is that reputation points are a finite resource and there's not enough RP for everyone.

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    "I believe the set of all answerable/relevant questions is finite" I believe your premise is incorrect. – Servy Nov 19 '13 at 20:19
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    Programming is always changing, new software, languages and libraries are always appearing. There will always be new problems to solve. – Martijn Pieters Nov 19 '13 at 20:19
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    Also, even if reputation were finite, what makes you think there isn't enough for everyone. One only needs 1 reputation to ask and answer questions, which is the primary purpose of the site, and one needs 0 reputation to look at all existing questions, which is more than enough for almost all users of the site. – Servy Nov 19 '13 at 20:20
  • @Servy places like 10xmanagement use stackoverflow to screen for applicants. That would be a valid use for RP. – JustAnotherStackOverflowUser Nov 19 '13 at 20:22
  • @JustAnotherStackOverflowUser But they only need to accept a finite number of applications. If, in the theoretical event that SO stops getting any/many new non-duplicate questions on a topic then such places shouldn't be using rep as a hard requirement for evaluating applicants (not that they should anyway), not that I ever see that happening. – Servy Nov 19 '13 at 20:24
  • @MartijnPieters there will be always be problems to solve, I've thought about that. Still most of the questions "askable" by beginners will be very similar, if not, Computer Science curriculums would be very different. That's a set of questions easy to saturate. – JustAnotherStackOverflowUser Nov 19 '13 at 20:25
  • And meta.stackexchange.com/questions/87743/… – random Nov 19 '13 at 21:26
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For many programming topics, I believe the set of all answerable/relevant questions is finite.

I believe you lack imagination ;)

New languages, platforms, paradigms, hardware and more keep coming. I don't see that stopping.

for existing languages acquiring reputation points is still going to be harder.

OK. So? Why is that a problem? There are new languages/whatever that it will not be.

reputation points are a finite resource

Well, that's where you are wrong. Hardly finite.

there's not enough RP for everyone.

I don't know what that even means.

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    You just wait until Jon Skeet reaches the upper bound of a BigInteger. – Jeroen Vannevel Nov 19 '13 at 20:21
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    @JeroenVannevel - what's the problem? Wrap around and start him at 1 again. He will be back to the top soon enough ;) – Oded Nov 19 '13 at 20:23
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    I, for one, think there should only be 21 million reputation in the pool as a whole. With an unlimited supply, the value of my reputation does nothing but decline. – Nick T Nov 19 '13 at 20:24
  • @NickT - I'll give you some of mine, for bitcoins. – Oded Nov 19 '13 at 20:26
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    @Oded is it that delicious SO rep? Or the fluffy unicorn poo MSO rep? I hope it's not any of that P.SE rep - people make fun of those rep points. – user213963 Nov 19 '13 at 20:27
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    @MichaelT - it could be Anime rep. Or The Workplace rep. – Oded Nov 19 '13 at 20:28
  • RP = RolePlay, they think we should wear more funny costumes and type with old-timey accents I guess? – Jimmy Hoffa Nov 19 '13 at 20:30

New users start with one reputation, not zero. Creating a new user and asking no questions at all creates a reputation point.

There is no rule against creating multiple accounts, so long as you don't use them for voting fraud.

Thus, even if the number of valid questions is finite (a premise I reject, by the way) an infinite amount of reputation can still be created.


For any given topic who is to say that there will be a finite set of questions? Moreover, the fact remains that there is an infinite amount of possible topics provided that time continues to elapse.

So, how is stackoverflow going to handle reputation in the future? More or less the same exact way it handles reputation today. Related: How does "Reputation" work?

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