Most of the time, I don't need to ask questions to find the answers I am looking for. Because I just find all the answers on Stack Overflow. It is a huge resource of good tips, tricks and solutions. And by only looking around and searching (= lurking), my reputation stays at 1 of course.

But I also want to show my active participation by things like:

  • pointing out the answers that helped me out.
  • somehow say "good answer, buddy, you saved my day today".

So no blablabla, just vote up the good stuff.

But I cannot. Frustrating.

  • 16
    If you don't want to ask or answer questions, try to edit some posts, you would get 2 reputations for each approved edits. It takes only 15 reputation to upvote.
    – Yu Hao
    Jan 29 '14 at 20:39
  • 1
    Post some answers in an area you are very familiar with. Use your Favorite Tags to troll for questions.
    – rheitzman
    Jan 29 '14 at 20:44
  • 12
    If you can't find even a single question that you feel qualified to provide a quality answer for, and have just one or two people recognize it as such, then I'm not terribly worried about you not being able to upvote others. When you've shown that you can write just one good answer, you'll be able to judge others. Honestly, I wish it was quite a bit more.
    – Servy
    Jan 29 '14 at 20:50
  • 4
    @YuHao Making good edits is generally quite a bit harder than writing answers, especially for a new user not familiar with the guidelines/standards of the site, an understanding of what kinds of edits are/are not appropriate, etc.
    – Servy
    Jan 29 '14 at 20:54
  • Comments like Servy's put me off from even using SE at all. It's easy for the users who've cracked the code to pretend the reputation system implements a simple meritocracy, but that's not accurate. I deleted my longer previous comment so as not to be argumentative, but if you look around on the web, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that the barriers to participation are unduly frustrating and drive qualified, potentially valuable users, of that sort I personally wouldn't be so cavalier about dismissing from a community I cared about the quality of, away. YMMV. Feb 5 '15 at 23:04
  • @lvr123 Sorry if you didn't like the title edit, but I still think that the new title IS more akin to the question than before. You had "How can I use Stack Overflow as a lurker only without getting frustrated just by it's reputation system" which seem more of a rant, and is not very searchable too. Considered that the message says " I also want to show my active participation " it seem pretty matching with the new title, which express the intention of "contribute just by voting without posting answers/questions"
    – SPArcheon
    Mar 17 '15 at 15:44
  • @lvr123 Btw, you may also want to review the edit history. I touched the title. Not the question. Anyway, free to rollback.
    – SPArcheon
    Mar 17 '15 at 15:45
  • 1
    @Pierre.Vriens : I cannot vote up with Reputation of 1 on Meta ;-)
    – lvr123
    Mar 18 '15 at 19:34

The system may be frustrating to you, but imagine our frustration if anyone, including bots, could make comments to any and all posts. For this reason, to reward contributors to the site, and to allow strong contributors increasing editing power, the reputation system is in place.

Solution: make some contributions: Edit questions/answers, ask questions, answer questions, give to the site.

  • So there's no middle ground between preventing spam and driving away qualified participants in droves? From one of the most technically knowledgable online communities? And, if your solution actually worked for everybody, do you think people would be here complaining? Feb 5 '15 at 21:40
  • @RaymondUppier-Püpschrute: and if their structure and current plan didn't work, how then to explain the success of the site? The potential energy barrier towards being able to comment is so low as to be almost trivial, so I don't see the point of your comment. Feb 6 '15 at 2:05
  • Thank you for your input. Feb 7 '15 at 3:26
  • On further consideration, it's a funny definition of "success" that includes driving experts who actively seek to share their knowledge away from participating in Q&A. But, since the operative philosophy behind your comment here seems to be that if you didn't experience it that way then nobody has, I doubt this observation will fall on anything like fertile cognitive ground. Feb 7 '15 at 3:42

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .